Imatges de pÓgina
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tion in which he had held it, and ex- alarmed Springthorpe, who knew the man, pressed surprise that the bullet should and as he stepped back among his friends, have lodged at all, as only a few days the earl ran again into the house, bolted before a ball from the same pistol had gone all the doors, and apparently prepared for through an inch-and-a-half plank. The a desperate resistance. The angry crowd surgeon then went down-stairs to prepare blockaded his house, but no one appeared. dressings, and the earl went back again to About two hours after, however, the earl his beer jug. As he got more and more thrust his wild face out of a garret win, drunk, fits of compassion alternated with dow, and called out, “How is Johnson ?” storms of rage and pangs of fear, till his Springthorpe shouted up the terrible words, reason seemed almost tottering. He la- “He is dead." The earl replied, “You're mented his rage, then trembled for himself, a liar, d- you. I'll believe nobody but and the next moment was rushing up-stairs Kirkland.” to Johnson's room to rouse the dying man, On being solemnly assured that the to pull his legs, to try to tear off the bed steward was dead, the earl at last desired the clothes, and to threaten to shoot “the people to disperse, and he would surrender. villain" through the head, all the while at The next moment, with all a madman's de. intervals promising to maintain Johnson's sultoriness, he asked some one to bring him daughter and the whole family if they would some meat and wine. Then cursing every promise not to prosecute. "Mrs. Clifford, one in a sudden rage, he said he would not who had returned, alarmed at the earl's be taken at all, and, slamming the window, violence, and afraid of further ill conse- disappeared. quences, suggested that poor Johnson Two hours later the earl was seen strutshould be removed to his own house, but ting about his bowling-green, probably that set Lord Ferrers again raging, and he quite drunk by this time, and armed with screamed : “He shall not be moved. I a huge bell-mouthed blunderbuss, two or will keep him here to plague the villain !” three pistols, and a dagger. They closed in

Between eleven and twelve the murderer upon him, however, and Austin, a collier, went gloomily to bed, entreating the sur- resolutely ran in at him and seized him, geon to make things all right, and, above without even a shot being fired, or any all, to prevent his being seized, especially scuffle taking place. The moment his hands leaving word to see him in the morning, were tied he began to glory in the fact of however early he left. In the night the having, as he said, killed a villain. He doctor began to foresee new dangers with was taken to Ashby-de-la-Zouch and locked the next daylight. In fresh ravings the up in a public-house till the coroner's jury earl might shoot Johnson as he lay in brought in a verdict of “wilful murder,' bed, or, what was even worse (from his when the earl was driven off to Leicester the doctor's point of view), he might, if the Jail. A fortnight later Lord Ferrers was steward died at the hall, shoot him (the taken to London in his own landau, dressed doctor) for having let the man die. So, in like a jockey, in a close riding-frock, jockey the darkness, Kirkland stole off to the boots, cap, and a plush shirt. steward's house, and rigged up an easy

The House of Peers committed the mur. chair, with side poles, as a sedan. About derer to the Tower. He was placed in a two o'clock in the morning Johnson was round building near the drawbridge, and quietly removed. The poor fellow lingered strictly guarded. Two warders constantly till nine in the morning, and then expired. attended in his room: a third waited at the

The news of the crime and its results door. At the bottom of the stairs, two aroused the neighbours, who armed them- soldiers stood with fixed bayonets, and one selves and bore down on the hall. As they sentinel paced at the door of the tower. crowded murmuring into the court-yard, The great gates were shut an hour before the earl, half dressed, his stockings down, the usual time while this miserable criminal and carrying his garters in his hand, passed remained a prisoner. Mrs. Clifford and her towards the stable as if to take horse and children came up to town and lodged in fly, the news of the steward's death having Tower-street, but the interchanged mesno doubt already reached him. A bold sages became at last so troublesome to the Leicestershire man, named Springthorpe, warders that they had to be restricted to at once pushed to the front, and presenting one letter a day. His children were occaa pistol, summoned the madman to sur- sionally allowed to see him. The earl lived render. The earl, however, putting his hand regularly, and drank his quart of wine a in his pocket as if to pull out a pistol, | day.

pistol, | day. His behaviour in general was rea

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sonable, but at times, when denouncing mind to a rational balance, or soften his the murdered steward, his passion broke bull-dog heart. He told the chaplain frankly all bounds.

that he was a deist, and could not beThe trial of Lord Ferrers took place at lieve in justification by faith. He boasted Westminster Hall on the 16th of April, that he had never led the faith of any one 1760, Lord Henley (afterwards Earl of astray. He thought all persons who asNorthington), the Chancellor, presiding as sailed the religion of a country enemies high steward over the one hundred and of society, and he blamed Lord Bolingforty peers present. The criminal,“ bad broke for disseminating sceptical theories. and villanous in figure,” as Horace Walpole As for Johnson, he said the affair was says, pleaded insanity, against his own in- under peculiar circumstances, and he had clination, to please his family. The earl's met with so many crosses and vexations two brothers attended to prove lunacy in that he scarcely knew what he did, but he the blood.

was graciously pleased to say that he bore The plea of madness not holding, the no malice against the unfortunate man. worthless earl was found guilty by the The chaplain finally hinted something unanimous voice of his peers, and was sen- about the world requiring satisfaction. tenced to be duly hung, like any low-bred “Sir,” replied the earl, with allowable cut-throat, and afterwards to be anato- impatience, and more good sense than mised, on the 21st of April. He was after- usual, “ sir, what have I to do now with Fards respited till the 5th of May. While the world ? I am going to pay a forfeit awaiting his sentence, Lord Ferrers did life. What do I care what the world the little he could to atone for his crime thinks of me?" by leaving thirteen hundred pounds in The morning of the execution he began India bonds to the children of Mr. John the following lines, when the warders, son : « just legacy, that nevertheless re- coming to tell him his carriage was ready, mained long unpaid. He also left sixty interrupted the composition : pounds a year to Mrs. Clifford, and one

In doubt I live, in doubt I die, thousand pounds to each of his natural Yet undismayed the vast abyss I'll try ; daughters. He petitioned very hard to And plunge into eternity be beheaded in private on Tower Green ;

Through rugged paths. but with this request King George very

The next earl who is hung may perhaps properly refused to comply. His legacies carry on the poem. About nine A.m. the were, however, permitted to be held as procession left the Tower-gate. First came legal.

a body of constables to clear a passage In prison the earl now drank as much as through the dense crowd, patrols of horse he could get, and continued to act in a way and foot guards followed; then came the that bordered as nearly as possible on mad- sheriff's carriage, the horses decorated with ness. The very night that sentence was ribbons. Last of all came Lord Ferrers in passed, he played at piquet, for money, his own landau, drawn by six horses, his with the warders, and would have remained old coachman crying all the way, and almost all night over the cards had they not re- unable to drive. The earl was dressed in fused to play after midnight. On the his wedding suit of white silk, richly emgovernor lessening his rather excessive broidered with silver—a costume, as he allowance of wine, the earl artfully con- said bitterly, “as fit for one day as the sented to an interview with one of his other.” When he saw the vast crowd brothers, his only object being to get his jostling all the way up Holborn and the brother to intercede for more claret. The Oxford-road, he remarked calmly: “Ah! moment this request was granted, the earl I suppose they never saw a lord hanged said coolly to his brother : “ Now is as before.” good a time as any to take leave of you- At the Tower-gate Mr. Sheriff Vaillant,

a French bookseller, with many apologies, So the door closed upon the brother for took his seat in the landau. “ It was very erer, and the mad earl shuffled the cards, disagreeable to him,” he said, with perfect ent for a new deal, and went gaily on with good manners, “ to wait on his lordship on

so awful an occasion, but he would enThe earl's aunt, that excellent woman the deavour to render his situation as agreeCountess of Huntingdon, the great patroness able as possible.” Earl Ferrers asked the of Whitfield, frequently visited the prisoner polite sheriff if he had ever seen such a in the Tower, but nothing could restore his crowd before. The sheriff had not. The

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mob was so great that it took the landau their notice. The earl, in his laced white three hours to reach the Tyburn fields. silk coat, was placed upright in his coffin

At St. Giles's the earl wanted to stop, as in a sentry-box, and remained for some and have a draught of wine-and-water, time, under care of a sentinel, under the but the sheriff suggested that the halt inspection of a curious crowd. His lordwould only draw together an unmanage- ship's cocked-hat and the severed rope were able crowd, and Lord Ferrers replied: laid at his feet. On the lid of the coffin “ That is true. I say no more. By no the cager crowds read these words: means stop.”

“ Laurence Earl Ferrers, suffered May He then remarked that the antecedents 5th, 1760." of death were more terrible than death itself. There was a scaffold covered with black baize under the scaffold in honour

LOVE'S DANGER. of the criminal, and the place where the A SUDDEN glance, a hint no others guess, earl was to stand to die was eighteen inches And all the surface of a life is stirred higher than the rest. At the gallows he | To the light rippling waves of happiness. expressed a wish to bid Mrs. Clifford fare- A jarring jest, an act unseen or slighted, well, but the sheriff, suggesting it might A shy allusion missed, a mocking smile ; nnman him, the earl replied : “ If you, sir, Shrink back like April buds by east winds blighted. think I am wrong, I submit.” He then the sheriff a pocket-book Ye'loved ones ! know your sceptre's boundless sway;

Ah, mighty arbiters of heart and life, gave containing a bank-note, and a ring, and a Nor in a careless hour fling gems away, purse of guineas for Mrs. Clifford. A troop Whose worth would buckler you through storm and

. of horse quite unnecessarily formed a circle round the man, whom not one

The flowers of joy as fragile are, as fair; person in the crowd had the slightest Let Love's strong hand their first bright bloom secure,

The leaves may wither, though the roots endure ; desire to rescue. The criminal ascended Or dread to lose the tender glory there. the black steps calm and collected, and joined the chaplain in repeating the Lord's Prayer, which he stopped to pronounce a

THE IDLE LAKE. fine composition, and he uttered the words, “O Lord forgive me all my errors, pardon He who is acquainted with the Idle all my sins," with great fervour. He then Lake should be thoroughly versed in the presented his watch to the sheriff, and, topography of mythical localities-should by mistake, gave five guineas (for your be familiar with the Bower of Bliss, the hanging was then an expensive luxury) to House of Fame, and the Cave of Despair the assistant - executioner, which led to - with Doubting Castle, Vanity Fair, an unseemly wrangling between the two and the Valley of the Shadow—with the learned legal functionaries, which must Debateable Land, and the Islands of the have almost upset the earl's temper for the Blest—with Armida's Garden, and that last time at the unbearable delay of busi- fearfully beautiful Arbour of Proserpine,

Lord Ferrers was the first sufferer where nothing but that which was noxious by the new drop, just then introduced in grew. All these legendary regions should place of the barbarous cart, ladder, and strengthen in the beholder the love and medieval three-cornered gibbet, such as wonderment which, as a confirmed lotusHogarth has shown us in the last scene of eater, an inveterate truant, and an incorthe Idle Apprentice. The earl's neckcloth rigible sluggard, he should feel for the Idle being removed, and a white cap drawn Lake. from

his pocket and put on, his arms were It is situated-anywhere; and why not bound with a black sash, and the halter in Fairyland ? Why should I not chronicle slipped round his bull neck.

its bearings, thus ? Once upon a time a During the hour and a half that the certain Sir Cymochles, a mailed knight cerearl's body hung, the sheriff and some tainly, who had the privilege of the entrée friends quietly partook of a cosey little at Arthur's Court on levee days, whatever lunch. The body was then placed in a the privilege of the entrée may mean, but coffin lined with quilted white satin, and otherwise of no very bright repute, was conveyed to Surgeon's Hall to be dis- wandering up and down “miscellaneously" sected. The surgeons universally declared (a common practice in Faëry), accompanied that they had never seen greater promise by one Atin, a person of unquestionably of long life in anybody that had come under bad character, and in quest of another chi

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valrous person, hight Sir Guyon, with the took off his helmet, and laid his disarmed wicked intent him to kill and slay. Sir head in her lap; how she, as he sank into Cymochles, on this felonious errand bent, slumber, lulled him with a wondrously chanced to come to a river, and, moored | beautiful love lay, in which she sang of by the bank thereof, what should he discern " the lily, lady of the flow'ring field,” and but a little "gondelay," or gondola, spick of "the fleur de lys, her lovely paramour;" and span, shining like a new pin, and so how, subsequently, steeping with strong trimly bedecked with boughs and cun- narcotics the eyelids of that bamboozled ningly woven arbours, that the tiny cabin knight, she left him snoring, and hied her at the stern looked like a floating forest. to her gondelay again; and how eventually In this delightful wherry there sat a lady she, plying at the Wapping Old Stairs of fair to see, gaily dressed, and with a quan- Faëry, like a jolly, wicked young watertity of wild flowers in her hair. She was woman as she was, picked up Sir Guyon, seemingly of a frivolous and irreverent and him inveigled to the Idle Island in temperament, and (the legends say) sat in that Idle Lake; and how there was the gondola grinning like a Cheshire cat. terrific broadsword combat of two about When she ceased to grin, she giggled, or that “ladye debonnaire”-are not all these hummed a refrain from some idle ditty. things written in the chronicle of the land Now Sir Cymochles was desirous of passing which never was — in the Faerie Queene to the other side of the river, and he asked of Edmund Spenser? If you be wise, you the giggling lady if she would give him a will take the marvellous poem with you as cast across. Said the lady tittering, “As your only travelling companion the next welcome, Sir Knight, as the flowers in time you journey to the Idle Lake. May;" but she was not so ready to oblige I am not habitually idle. I cannot afford Atin : stoutly, indeed, refusing him boat- it. Highly as I appreciate the delight of room. Possibly she doubted his capacity doing nothing, of lying in bed and being fed to trim the boat properly, or haply she with a spoon, or of eating peaches from the thought that he could not pay the ferry wall with my hands in my pockets, like fee. So Atin was, like Lord Ullin in the Thomson, I am yet constrained, as a rule, to ballad, “left lamenting” on the shore, and work for a certain number of hours in the Sir Cymochles, with the grinning lady, course of every day or night, in order to obwent on a rare cruise. Away slid the tain a certain quantity of household bread. I shallow ship, more swift than swallows have been wandering these many years past skim the liquid sky;” but the behaviour in a wilderness of work, not unrelieved, howof the merry mariner on the voyage was, I ever, by occasional oases. I remember them regret to say, most improper. She pos- all, and dwell on the remembrance of them sessed a whole storehouse of droll anec- with infinite delight; even as that stolid dotes, and while she told them she laughed wretch in hodden grey, tramping the treadtill the tears rolled down her pretty naughty mill's intolerable stairs, may dwell upon face. It is certain that she “chaffed” Sir that soft and happy Sybarite time he passed Cymochles, and I am very much afraid after he was so lucky as to find the gentlethat she tickled him; but he was rather man's gold watch and chain in the gentle. pleased than otherwise with “ her light be- man's pocket, and before he was “wanted" haviour and loose dalliance.” Her name, by the myrmidons of a justice which would she said, was Phædria. The inland sea, take no denial, and stigmatised his treasure from which the river ran, and on whose trove as plunder, and his lucky find as an bosom the gondelay was floating, was act of larceny. A jovial time he had : all named, she remarked, the Idle Lake. tripe and dominoes, and shag tobacco and

How the pair came at last to an island warm ale. It was an oasis in his desert waste and void that floated in the midst of life of walking about in search of something that great lake; how the laughing lady to steal ; and although there are poets and conducted the bemused knight to a chosen philosophers who maintain that the memory plot of fertile land,"amongst wide oases set, of happier days is a sorrow's crown of like a little nest;" how in that painted oasis sorrow, I have always been of a contrary there was “no tree whose branches did not opinion; holding that, as hope springs bravely spring, no branch on which a fine eternal in the human breast, a man is selbird did not sit;" how she fed his eyes and dom so miserable but that, if he has been senses with false delights; how she led him already happy, he cherishes the aspiration of to a shady vale, and laid him down on a being happy again. He may be conjuring up grassy plain ; how he-oh! idiotic knight, visions of future tripe and warm ale, more succulent and more stimulating than ever: as his name; a beaming, pious, gushing, that tramping man in hodden

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amiable creature, as innocent as a lamb, I am mindful of an oasis in Hampshire, as brave as a lion-I marked his conduct and of one in Surrey; of a lotus-garden once in a battle, from which, with the pru. (where I overeat myself once) in an island dence of a non-combatant camp-follower, I in the Adriatic, and of a Valley of Poppies timeously retreated — and as affectionate in North Africa. I know a bank in Anda- as a young gazelle. I wish they would lusia on which I have reclined, pleasantly keep such exemplary Englishmen as Mildyawning, and drawing idle diagrams with man's race in England; but the good felmy walking-stick in the sands of time at lows have a strange fancy for wasting my feet. Į know a cascade, far, far up in their sweetness on the desert air of foreign the mountains of Mexico, among the silver countries; they do good at Florence, and mines, the silvery plashing of whose down blush to find it fame at Malaga; they come rings in the ear of my soul now, act the part of the Man of Ross in Norway, drowning the actual and prosaic lapping and their right hand knoweth not what of the water “coming in” at Number Nine, their left hand doeth at Smyrna; they ennext door. I am braced up tight between rich Thebes and beautify Tadmor in the the shafts, blinkers block my eyes, and a wilderness; and, with deplorable frequency, cruel bit chafes my mouth, while those and in the prime of life, they die of low tearing wheels behind me seem pressing on fever at Damascus. Mildman was just the my heels, and ever and anon the smacking kind of charitable soul to die at Damascus, whip of the driver scathes my sides; but universally regretted, yet with a life wasted, do you think I forget the paddock in which somehow, in good deeds, done at the wrong I kicked up my heels, or resting my nose time, in the wrong place, for the benefit of on the top of the fence, calmly contem- the wrong kind of people. He was beau. plated the hacks on the highway, bridled tifully purposeless when I met him; was and bitted, pursued by wheels, and quiver- undecided as to whether he should publish ing under the whipcord ? Do you think a series of translations from the Sarmatian that I forget the Idle Lake ?

anthology, in aid of the Polish emigration, I had been to the wars when I came or raise a loan in furtherance of public (deupon it. It was an ugly war in which I nominational) education in the republic of was concerned, a despltory, unsatisfactory, Guatimozin. Meanwhile he had been fightsemi-guerilla warfare, in the Italian Tyrol. ing a little with Garibaldi. I need scarcely Our commander was a famous Hero, but add that he was a spiritualist and a hohis troops were, to use the American ex- møopathist, and that he occasionally spoke, pression," a little mixed,” and I am afraid not in the strongest terms of censure, of that in several of the encounters in which the community of Oneida Creek, the Agawe were engaged we ran away. We got pemone, the followers of Johanna Southscarcely anything to eat, and we slept more cote, and the Unknown Tongues. It was frequently in the open air than under a a toss up, I used to warn Mildman, between roof. It was a campaign performed by La Trappe and Colney Hatch for him. snatches, and interspersed with armistices; “Do something practical,” I used to say and now and again I used to come down to Mildman. Pay a premium to a stockout of the mountains, ragged, dirty, hungry, broker, and spend a year in his office. demoralised, and “exceeding fierce," and Article yourself to a sharp solicitor. Enjourney to Milan for letters, money, and list in the Sappers and Miners. You have clean linen, to have a warm bath, and plenty of money. Take chambers in St. enjoy a little civilisation. I am afraid that James's, and discount bills at sixty per cent. the guests at the Hotel Cavour, in the Make a voyage to Pernambuco before the capital of Lombardy, formed anything but mast. Go in for the realities.” But he a favourable opinion of my manners ; still, wouldn't; and I am afraid that he will die if I did nearly swallow my spoon as well at Damascus, universally regretted, and as my soup, and occasionally seize a mutton that his courier will run away with bis cutlet by the shank, and gnaw it wolfishly, dressing-case and his circular notes. where was the harm ? It was so long since I shall be ever grateful to Eugenius MildI had had a decent dinner; nor did I know, man, for he made me acquainted with the when I got back to the mountains, when I Idle Lake. It was during one of my exmight get another.

peditions to Milan, and broiling summer It was on one of these expeditions to weather. The Scala was closed; and at the Milan that Eugenius Mildman and I Canobbiana (the operatic succursal to the struck up a friendship. He was as mild grander theatre) the tenor had a wooden

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