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lived, just by ’Ans-place, ain't likely, so far as I can see, to be the and that you used to take notice of, and last.' give money to, and pat him on the 'ed, and 6. Why it ain't common sense,' the man say what honest
he'd got, and what a continued, 'to do as you done. Why don't hopen look? Ah, you remember, I see, fast you think what you're doing, all on you? enough. You remember, for I'm that very Why don't you use your reason and your same boy, and what do you think of me hintellects ? What can come of letting a now, and how would you like to pat my lot of little beggars run wild about the 'ed now, and how about the hopen look, streets pretending to sell things, and never and the honest eyes that caught sight of getting into the way of doing somethink your watch-chain the other day in the for their living. Why you're just breedcrowd ?'
ing up a set of
thieves and tramps, “"What, little Mike !' I faltered, almost as careful as if you'd set about it a purmechanically, "are you
pose.' “Yes, little Mike—big Mike now that “And now,governor,' theman concluded, I've grow'd up, and a precious grow up addressing the policeman who stood beside I've made of it. But what I want to tell him, 'we'll move off if you're agreeable. you, and him,' pointing to the magistrate, I've said what I'd got to say, and I'm
and all the rest on you, is, that what I've ready to back to my old apartments at grow'd to is only just what might have Millbank, or wherever it is, and I hope I been expected and looked for.'
shall find the lining aired and heverythink I glanced towards the magistrate, half comf'able.' expecting that he would put a stop to this address. I believe that I rather hoped he " And now, my dear,” the old lady conwould, for though I should have been will cluded, " I've brought my story to an end. ing to hear what my old acquaintance had My friend is still undergoing his sentence to say in private, this public expostulation --after his trial at the Old Bailey he was was almost more than I could bear. The committed to prison for twelve months, magistrate, however, seemed in a certain but when he comes out. I shall certainly way interested in the man's address and did make an endeavour to find the means of not interfere.
giving him a fresh start of some kind or “ Yes, it's your own doings,' the prisoner another. For I do hold that to a certain went on. 'Why did you go for to en- extent he was right in his accusation, and courage me?' And he again addressed him that a certain measure of responsibility self especially to unhappy me. "Did yon attaches to me for having helped to start think it was kindness ? 'It would ’a been him in about the most hopeless way of life a precious sight kinder if you'd just cotched in which any human creature could possibly old of me by the 'air that you was so fond be embarked.” of-though carrots was the best name I got for it from the other boys—and walked me off to a prison, or a school, or some place
CASTAWAY. or another were I might have been kep' out of mischief and been learnt a trade, and how to get a living otherways than off the streets. That's what would have been real
BOOK III. kindness, instead of praising of my good
CHAPTER XII. THE LONDON LAWYER. looks, and giving me sixpences and 'ot The rector stepped softly into the dinners on the doorstep, all for running darkened room, and closing the door bealongside of you with a stump of a broom hind him advanced towards the bed, and in my hand, and grinning and flattering of seated himself in a chair by its side. Madge you hup. Yes, and then what do you do? lay with her head propped up by pillows, Why you gets tired of me after a time and over which her long brown hair, here and won't 'ave nothink to say to me, and calls there clotted with a deep dark stain, and me impudent and troublesome, and then I damp from the fomentations which had ain't long finding out that there's other been applied, lay streaming. Her head was ways of scraping a living besides cadging turning restlessly from side to side, and a abont with a broom, and so I gets from one cry of agony, not sharp, not broken, but one thing to another, till it comes to something low-pitched, long-continued wail, in which like this 'ere. For this ain't the first time, her acute suffering often expressed itself, mind you, that I've been in trouble, nor it I broke from her lips. At first she seemed not
BY THE AUTHOR OF “BLACK SHEEP,' " " WRECKED IN
PORT,” &c. &c.
to notice that any one had entered the room, The rector bowed his head. “If I reand it was not until the rector had first fuse to answer any question you may put, lightly touched her hand, and then taken or stop in the midst of my recital, you will it gently between his own, that she ceased understand, Margaret, that it is solely on moaning, and, calming herself by a great your own account.” effort, saw her friend seated by her side. “I understand," she replied; then in. Even then she seemed either not to recog- voluntarily sinking her voice, she asked, nise him, or to forget the circumstances “Sir Geoffry—is he—is he dead ?” under which he was present, for she pressed “ He is.” the hand that was free hard upon her fore- As the rector spoke, he felt a convulsive head, and closed her eyes again for some thrill in the hand that lay within his own, moments before she spoke.
and the pallor of Madge's face grew yet Then she said, “I know now why you more intense and ghastly, but she evinced
no other sign of emotion. “You sent for me," said the rector, in “Tell me all about it,” she murmured. his gentlest tone; you told the servant Mr. Drage once more hesitated, until you wished to see me.
prompted by a nervous hand clasp. * When Yes,” she said, “I recollect it all the servants, whose attention had been now. My mind is a little confused, I am aroused by the sound of the struggle and afraid, and when I first saw you sitting the crashing of the overturned furniture there and holding my hand just as you used and the broken glass, collected their senses to do in the old days when I had the fever, sufficiently to rush in a body to the library, I thought that time had come back again, they found a man bending over Sir and wondered whether all the things which Geoffry's dead body, and endeavouring to have occurred in the interval had been seen raise it from the ground on which it lay by me in a dream. I wish they had, oh, to the couch; your presence on the spot how I wish they had !”
was not noticed for some moments, not, “Your strength is not yet sufficiently indeed, until the man had been secured returned to enable you to think, much less and removed into the hall." to speak of anything which is certain to Secured, do
? Is the man, then, excite your brain,” said the rector, bending in custody, and is he known ?” over her. “Margaret,” he added, as if re- “He is; he was recognised by Riley on plying to an impatient gesture on her part, the instant; by a servant who had seen “I must speak plainly to you; your state him on the occasion of the previous visit; is most critical, and if you excite yourself, finally, by Captain Cleethorpe, who spoke your life, or, what is perhaps worse, your to you about him in the afternoon, when reason, is in imminent peril."
you expressed your dread lest he should "You mean that I shall go mad,” said come toMadge, turning her eyes upon him and “Ah, my God!" screamed Madge, supclutching his hand. "If I do, it will be porting herself on both hands, and drawing from reticence, not from speaking. You herself towards him. “Of whom are you have been often pleased to praise my com- speaking ?” mon sense; believe me it has never been “Of Sir Geoffry's son, George Heriot." more active or more capable of doing me But at that instant Madge's strength gave service than at the present moment. I way, and she fell prone on her face with must know from you what has occurred outstretched arms, and hands working conthis night; you must tell me all without vulsively. attempting to suppress or disguise anything. The rector gently raised her, and laid Do you hear me? you must, I say !” her back upon the pillow. He was about
The rector hesitated a moment before he to ring the bell to summon assistance, when said, “Will you not wait until Dr. Che- he saw her eyes open and her lips move. noweth, who is coming up again to-night, “Stay," she murmured, " for pity's sake. has seen and spoken to you?”
This is now a matter of life and death, which “This is no matter for doctor's decision. must be talked out at once between you and You, best of all men in the world, can judge me alone; don't fear for me, I am strong how I can bear up against illness and enough; but I could not let things rest trouble ; you alone in the world know the thus, even if I knew that to speak of them story of my life, and what I have gone would kill me. What proofs are there through. I tell you I must hear of to- against this young man ?" night's occurrence at once and from you !". “Many and various, and most
vincing. Riley, sorely against his will — young man, Margaret,” said the rector, infor he is almost heart-broken at the turn quiringly. affairs have taken-will be called upon “ Then," said Madge, “I speak what is to prove the original quarrel between the the fact. I knew him intimately for two father and son; when Sir Geoffry told him years, saw him constantly, shared his conthat he had discarded and disowned his fidence, knew the inmost workings of his son, whose name was never again to be mind, and never saw aught that was mean mentioned in the household. Riley will or dishonourable. And he bas been arrested further prove that on a recent occasion the for this crime !" young man came to Springside to seek an “The evidence was so strong,” said Mr. interview with his father, entered the house Drage, “that it would have been imposat the same time and much in the same sible to avoid arresting him, even if the manner as he entered it to-night; and that expression of public opinion had not been he, Riley, was finally ordered by the loud against him.” general to show George Heriot the door, “ That evidence shall be overthrown; and never give him admittance again. that public opinion turned in his favour !" Cleethorpe, who had some slight acquaint- cried Madge. ance with young Heriot several years ago, “That can only be done by directly will speak to meeting him in the afternoon, proving George Heriot's innocence,” said and to the young man's evident desire to the rector. "And who can do that?" avoid recognition; and I should almost “I can," said Madge. “I, who stood by, think, Margaret, if you are sufficiently re- powerless, and saw the attack made upon covered, that you will be called upon to Sir Geoffry, which I was helpless to prestate why you were so strongly anxious vent: and who saw my dear friend and that a meeting between the two men should master struggling with a man whose back be prevented.”
was then towards me, but whom I after"All these facts that you have alleged wards recognised, when, after Sir Geoffry will be taken as reasons and motives, pro- had fallen prostrate, he ran past me, and bable inducements for him to commit the hurled me to the ground.” crime. What proof is there that he did “And this man was not George Heriot?” commit it?”
“No, that I can safely and positively “As circumstantial evidence it can hardly swear.” be stronger. He is seized upon the spot “ Thank God !” said the rector, reveimmediately after the commission of the rently raising his hands, “thank God for crime; the body of the victim is in his that! That our old friend should meet arms; his clothes are stained with blood. a sudden and a violent death is in itself When you couple this with the enmity awful enough, without the horrible idea known to exist between him and the mur- that he died by his son's hand.” dered man, with the fact of his presence “What is the first step to be taken that at the place from which he had been more Gerald can be at once set free ?" than once ejected and warned, with the “Nothing can be done to-night, Marfact that he evidently shunned discovery garet,” said the rector, quietly," and it is and recognition-witness his behaviour absolutely essential that you should now to Captain Cleethorpe-however unwilling have thorough quiet, and not move until one may be to believe in the existence of you have been again seen by the doctor." such monstrous guilt, the charge seems to “But am I to lie here while he remains me impossible of refutation."
in prison with this fearful charge still “The crime is one which it would have hanging over him; with the belief in his been impossible for George Heriot to have guilt yet universal? Oh, it is monstrous committed.”
to think of such a thing. I cannot and “One would think so,” said the rector, will not bear it !" “ but still, sons have been known
"Margaret, listen to reason. No informal " It is not as a son that I speak of George steps can be taken ; all our proceedings Heriot; it is of himself,” cried Madge. henceforward must be taken under legal “He is too gentle-hearted, too brave, too guidance, and nothing can be done to noble, to injure any human being, much less rescue this unhappy young man from the his father, whom he always held in affection position in which he is placed, until his and reverence, notwithstanding the bad public examination." treatment he had received."
“ His public examination! Will he have "You speak as if you had known this to take his trial in court?”
“ He will first be examined before the
my testimony shall fully clear him of the magistrates, and upon the result of that charge." examination depends whether he will be “And at the same time that it does so, sent for trial or not; that result, mean- it must implicate another. That is the while, rests upon the quality of the evidence point I want to urge upon you; that is the which you will give on his behalf. And point which you
do not seem to see.” you must remember, Margaret, that your “I see it fully, perfectly, and plainly," evidence will not merely have the effect of said Madge, “in all its most horrible signiclearing George Heriot, but will have the ficance. Oh, if you did but know what effect of putting the officers of justice on you are asking me to do, in bidding me the track of the actual murderer.”
give up the name of the real criminal! If “What !” cried Madge, starting up in you did but know what accusations of consternation. “Is that so ?”
heartlessness and wickedness you are bid. “Unquestionably. You, in your position, ding me call down upon myself!” must not merely show that this young man "Stay," cried the rector, suddenly again did not commit the deed, but that some rising from his seat, and clasping her arm one else did. A minute's reflection will with agitated, trembling hand. show you that George Heriot's innocence you first came to this place, the hand of cannot be established until some other man Providence led me to you, that I might is proved to be guilty. Who that other be of service to you, a service which you man is, the magistrates will look to you afterwards repaid a hundred-fold by your
care of my motherless daughter. Since Madge fell back on her pillow in a state then we have been thrown constantly of collapse. “I could not do it,” she mur- together, and you have shown that you mured, “I could not do it."
believed in my devotion to you by making “Could not do it,” repeated the rector, me the confidant of your life's history. Is bending over her in astonishment. “Do this confidence to be brought suddenly to you know what you are saying? You could an end, at this most momentous crisis of not, or, rather, you would not give up to your life, or is it to be extended ? Speak.” justice the name of the atrocious villain “ I allow all you say,” said Madge. “I who cruelly murdered a weak and unof- grant that to no one perhaps in the world fending old man. Margaret, did I hear you am I so thoroughly known as to you; but aright?"
I do not see what you now wish me to But still she only murmured, “I could do!” not do it!"
“ To let me be to you now still your con“ Then will it go hard with George fidant and adviser. It is impossible for you, Heriot's chance of escape," said the rector. you say, to make public the name of this
Oh, no," moaned Madge, tossing rest- criminal. Can you not tell it to me, that I lessly on her pillow, "the magistrates will may consider what, under the circumHe must be saved."
stances, is best to be done ?" Then,” persisted the rector, “you must “I cannot, I dare not !" give up the name of the man whom you The rector reflected for an instant, then saw struggling with Sir Geoffry, and by with a sudden lighting up of his face, he whom you were hurled to the ground.” turned to her suddenly and said: “Sup
But Madge only murmured, “I could pose I, too, have my secret in this matter; not do it! I could not do it!”
suppose I, by certain chance, know who The rector rose from his chair and committed this crime, and tell the name to began pacing the room.
you-what then ?” Margaret,” he exclaimed, stopping "It is impossible for you to have this short by the bedside, and again taking her information ; the secret is known to me hand, do you know the importance of alone on earth,” said Madge, gazing in what you are saying, and the effect of the astonishment at his eagerness. determination you have arrived at ? Do "Not to you alone!” he cried, bending you know that this young man's life is in closer to her and dropping his voice. “It your hands ? That according to the weight is known to the murderer-to your husattaching to the testimony which you may band !" be able to give, he will either be set free Madge uttered a short sharp cry. “How or sent to the gibbet? And yet do you did you learn that?" she whispered. hesitate?”
No matter how I learned it, so that I “He shall be set free,” cried Madge; know it now, while there is yet time for
me to consider what is best to be done. knocking at his door, and by his servant's Margaret, you must trust in me and leave informing him that a gentleman, whose all to me now, as you have done before. card she had brought with her, was in the You know how thoroughly I appreciate study very anxious to see him. Taking the difficulties of your position. You know the card from the servant's hand, and how sacredly I will guard your name and reading on it, to his intense astonishment, fame; you know that this matter in which “ Mr. L. Moss, Thavies Inn,” the rector life, and more than life, are at stake, re- bade her say that he would be down in a quires the fullest and calmest considera- very few minutes, and immediately plunged tion.
into a cold bath which was awaiting him. Just then the servant, tapping at the Much refreshed in body and brain by this door, announced that Doctor Chenoweth proceeding, Mr. Drage on emerging was had arrived, and was waiting to see Mrs. yet unable to understand the object of Mr. Pickering. And the rector took his leave Moss's visit. of Madge, promising to be with her early “Moss," he repeated, glancing at the the next day.
card, “ Moss, of Thavies Inn; surely that
was the name of the firm of London attorDuring the various phases of sorrow neys, so celebrated for their conduct of through which the Reverend Onesiphorus criminal business, whom Mr. Drew said he Drage had passed in his lifetime; when had retained. What on earth has the man his lot was cast amongst felons, who either come to me for? The last person in the openly jeered at his ministration, or pre- world to give him any information or help, tended to believe in it, with a view to the more especially situated as I now am. improvement of their position; when the What on earth can he have come to me wife of his youth was gradually fading for?” away before his eyes; when he himself
Then Mr. Drage thought that the best was wrestling with temptation, striving to way to obtain this information was to finish do what he imagined to be his duty dressing himself, and go down and see. towards that dead wife by blotting Madge's The rector had not formed much idea of image from his mind; he had never spent a what a London criminal attorney would night of greater agony than that which he probably be like, but on entering the study went through after quitting Wheatcroft. he was certainly astonished at the compaNot once throughout the night did he miss rative youth of the gentleman whom he hearing the clock's weary record of the saw before him. Mr. Leopold Moss was passing hour; and as he lay tossing rest- a man of apparently not more than thirty lessly on his bed, the difficulties surround- years of age, with sharp aquiline profile, ing the case which he had taken under his and keen bright eyes. He was dressed charge seemed to become increased and very plainly, wore no jewellery, save a thin magnified. How George Heriot was to strip of gold watch-chain, and, until be saved, except by the sacrifice of Philip thoroughly warmed to his work, spoke in Vane, the rector could find no means to a soft voice, and with a certain amount of discover; and though Margaret had not what was almost diffidence. But, if you absolately told him the name of the mur inquired amongst those who knew, you derer, he had learned it under such cir- would learn that there was no man in the cumstances as would render it almost im- legal profession to be compared to Mr. possible for him to disclose it to the law. Leopold Moss in his manner of grasping a Harassed by these two contending emo- subject, or in his method of dealing with tions; now nearly driven to madness by its details. In the conduct of certain great the reflection that the young man of whom legal commercial cases, with the woof of Margaret thought and spoke so highly which a strong criminal warp was interwas lying in prison, accused of an atrocious mingled, he had held his own against the crime, of which he was wholly innocent; ablest men at the bar, and even the great now racked with fear at the idea of being Mr. Barnstaple, Q.C., had admitted that compelled to divulge the secret gleaned nothing was more pleasant than to be infrom Margaret, whom he so deeply loved, structed by Leopold Moss, nothing more the wretched rector became thoroughly worn vexations than to be opposed by him. “Our out towards morning, and as the first signs dear Leopold,” Mr. Barnstaple would reof renewed life were audible in the house, mark, “has not the misfortune to be like he fell into a deep slumber.
myself, a man of pleasure. He prefers Chitty From this he was aroused by a loud to Kitty, and Blackstone to Burgundy,