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A Book of Remarkable Criminals
H. B. Irving
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while his brother Hippolyte and his sister were well cared for at home. The effect
of this unjust neglect on the character of Auguste Ballet was, as may be
imagined, had; he became indolent and dissipated. His brother Hippolyte, on the
other hand, had justified the affectionate care bestowed on his upbringing; he
had grown into a studious, intelligent youth of a refined and attractive
temperament. Unhappily, early in his life he had developed consumption, a
disease he inherited from his mother. As he grew older his health grew steadily
worse until, in 1822, his friends were seriously alarmed at his condition. It
became so much graver that, in the August of that year, the doctors
recommended him to take the waters at Enghien. In September he returned to
Paris apparently much better, but on October 2 he was seized with sudden
illness, and three days later he was dead.
A few years before the death of Hippolyte his father and mother had died almost
at the same time. M. Ballet had left to each of his sons a fortune of some 260,000
francs. Though called to the bar, both Auguste and Hippolyte Ballet were now
men of independent means. After the death of their parents, whatever jealousy
Auguste may have felt at the unfair preference which his mother had shown for
her younger son, had died down. At the time of Hippolyte's death the brothers
were on good terms, though the more prudent Hippolyte disapproved of his elder
Of Hippolyte Ballet Dr. Castaing had become the fast friend. Apart from his
personal liking for Castaing, it was a source of comfort to Hippolyte, in his critical
state of health, to have as his friend one whose medical knowledge was always
at his service.
About the middle of August, 1822, Hippolyte, on the advice of his doctors, went
to Enghien to take the waters. There Castaing paid him frequent visits. He
returned to Paris on September 22, and seemed to have benefited greatly by the
cure. On Tuesday, October 1, he saw his sister, Mme. Martignon, and her
husband; he seemed well, but said that he was having leeches applied to him by
his friend Castaing. On the Wednesday evening his sister saw him again, and
found him well and with a good appetite. On the Thursday, after a night disturbed
by severe attacks of vomiting, his condition seemed serious. His brother-in-law,
who visited him, found that he had taken to his bed, his face was swollen, his
eyes were red. His sister called in the evening, but could not see him. The
servants told her that her brother was a little better but resting, and that he did
not wish to be disturbed; they said that Dr. Castaing had been with him all day.
On Friday Castaing himself called on the Martignons, and told them that
Hippolyte had passed a shockingly bad night. Madame Martignon insisted on
going to nurse her brother herself, but Castaing refused positively to let her see
him; the sight of her, he said, would be too agitating to the patient. Later in the
day Mme. Martignon went to her brother's house. In order to obey Dr. Castaing's
injunctions, she dressed herself in some of the clothes of the servant Victoire, in