Captain Dreyfus

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Captain Dreyfus (in mufti) being hurried through the prison-yard at Rennes-- but the "biograph" man "took" him.
Copyright Photos of British Mutoscope and Biograph Company Limited.
The Sketch, Londres, 16 août 1899, p. 137.


Captain Dreyfus

A snapshot of the famous Frenchman in the military prison yard at Rennes, during the trial. this picture was secured with great difficulty from a second-story window of an adjoining building. It shows Dreyfus taking his daily exercise.

AMB 1902-11


1 American Mutoscope & Biograph Company 5107   
2 [Eugène Lauste]  

This is a breathless story of resource and enterprise. The Biograph and Mutoscope Company for France sent their photographer from Paris with instructions to photograph Captain Dreyfus at Rennes.
The artist of the camera packed up his traps and went, but it was several days before he scored a point. Then he made friends with a certain person -no names, mind you!- who lives somewhere opposite the prison, and who put a room, towards the front of the house, at his disposal.
Here the intrepid man had to build a scaffolding in order to get the necessary view of the prison-yard. The prison authorities twigged the game, and, in their turn, built a screen which reached all along the prison-wall and entirely blocked out the view of the courtyard where Dreyfus was in the habit of exercising for an hour or so daily.
The photographer moved the next piece on the board, putting up a barricade in front of his camera to conceal both himself and the instrument. Here he passed three tedious days; but the reward came when the prison people took it for granted that the "Biograph" gentleman was tired of the fun and pulled down their screen. Now the time of excitement was at hand. The moment Dreyfus appeared in the yard, down went the photographer's board, and the machine was set in motion. The noise caused by the camera, however, attracted the attention of the sentries, who speedily bustled the Captain through the nearest door. After this, the screen was replaced on the prison-wall, and there it remains to this day.
But the "Biograph" man had done well by his company, and you may see the result of his work on this page of The Sketch and at the Palace Theatre of Varieties, where the "Biograph" is so great an attraction. This is only one incident of the great Dreyfus drama, but it is far from being the least interesting. The accounts of the re-trial are, to put it mildly, vague; but it seems that the prisoner is keeping himself well in hand, and preserving some outward show of composure. It is fervently to be hoped that Madame Dreyfus, and the other members of the family, including the Captain's devoted brother, will stand the prolonged strain with as much courage and fortitude.

The Sketch, Londres, 16 août 1899, p. 137.

3 <15/07/1899 30 ft

L' affaire Dreyfus
Dreyfus continue à se très bien porter. Il parle avec une facilité qui ne laisse guère soupçonner l'état d'isolément qu'il a subi. Il raconte avec plaisir certaines périodes de sa vie militaire et ne laisse échapper aucunes plaintes sur son sort.
Une seule chose l'ennuyait pendant sa promenade quotidiennne : le bruit d'un cinématographe installé chez un voisin.
Il sentait qu'on le photographiait continuellement au moyen de cet appareil. C'est à la suite de sa réclamation que l'autorité militaire a fait installer une toile qui cache le prévenu.
Ce matin, Dreyfus a tenu une longue conversation avec le jardinier qui ramassait des limaces pour nourrir ses oiseaux.
Il lui a parlé du bien-être que lui causait le climat de Rennes comparé à celui de l'île du Diable ; puis il est rentré pour essayer le dolman que lui apportait le tailleur du 7e d'artillerie.

Le Courrier de l'Aude, Carcassonne, 16 juillet 1899, p. 1.

4 France, Rennes  




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Mdme. Dreyfus and M. Mathieu Dreyfus.
Madame Dreyfus and her brother-in-law leaving the prison in which captain Dreyfus is confined at Rennes.
Copyright Photos of British Mutoscope and Biograph Company Limited.
The Sketch, Londres, 16 août 1899, p. 137.