The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One
by William Carleton
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"Darby," said Mr. Gray, now approaching that worthy, "a single word with you—we understand one another—I intended to bribe old Ned, the villain; but you shall have it."

"Very good, it's a bargain," replied the virtuous Darby; "fork out."

"Here, then, is ten shillings, and bring me out of it."

Darby privately pocketed the money, and moving toward Ned, whispered to him—"Don't take the charge for a few minutes. I'll fleece them both. Amby has given me half-a-crown; another from her, and then, half and half between us. Mrs. Mulroony, a word with you. Listen—do you wish to succeed in this business?"

"To be sure I do; why not?"

"Well, then, if you do, slip me five shillings, or you're dished, like one of your own-dinners, and that Amby Gray will slice you to pieces. Ned's his friend at heart, I tell you."

"Well, but you'll see me rightified?"

"Hand the money, ma'am; do you know who you're speaking to? The senior of the office."

On receiving the money, the honest senior whispers to the honest officer of the night—"A crown from both, that is, half from each; and now act as you like; but if you take the widow's charge, we'll have a free plate, at all events, whenever we call to see her, you know."

Honest Ned, feeling indignant that he was not himself the direct recipient of the bribes, and also anxious to win favor in the widow's eyes, took the charge against Mr. Gray, who was very soon locked up, with the "miscellanies," in the black hole, until bail could be procured.

On finding that matters had gone against him, Gray, who, although unaffected in speech, was yet rather tipsy, assumed a look of singular importance, as if to console himself for the degradation he was about to undergo; he composed his face into an expression that gave a ludicrous travesty of dignity.

"Well," said he, with a solemn swagger, nodding his head from side to side as he spoke, in order to impress what he uttered with a more mysterious emphasis—"you are all acting in ignorance, quite so; little you know who the person is that's before you; but it doesn't signify—I am somebody, at all events."

"A gentleman in disguise," said a voice from the black hole. "You'll find some of your friends here."

"You are right, my good fellow—you are perfectly right;" said Ambrose, nodding with drunken gravity, as before; "high blood runs in my veins, and time will soon tell that; I shall stand and be returned for the town of Ballytrain, as soon as there comes a dissolution; I'm bent on that."

"Bravo! hurra! a very proper member you'll make for it," from the black hole.

"And I shall have the Augean stables of these corrupt offices swept of their filth. Ned, the scoundrel, shall be sent to the right about; Mr. Darby, for his honesty, shall have each wrist embraced by a namesake."

Here he was shoved by Garvy, the watchman, head foremost into the black hole, after having received an impulse from behind, kindly intended to facilitate his ingress, which, notwithstanding his drunken ambition, the boast of his high blood, and mighty promises, was made with extraordinary want of dignity.

Although we have described this scene nearly in consecutive order, without the breaks and interruptions which took place whilst it proceeded, yet the reader should imagine to himself the outrage, the yelling, the clamor, the by-battles, and scurrilous contests in the lowest description of blackguardism with which it was garnished; thus causing it to occupy at least four times the period we have ascribed to it. The simple-minded priest, who could never have dreamt of such an exhibition, scarcely knew whether he was asleep or awake, and sometimes asked himself whether it was not some terrible phantasm by which he was startled and oppressed. The horrible impress of naked and hardened villany—the light and mirthful delirium of crime—the wanton manifestations of vice, in all its shapes, and the unblushing front of debauchery and profligacy—constituted, when brought together in one hideous group, a sight which made his heart groan for human nature on the one hand, and the corruption of human law on the other.

"The contamination of vice here," said he to himself, "is so concentrated and deadly, that innocence or virtue could not long resist its influence. Alas! alas!"

Old Dunphy now made his appearance; but he had scarcely time to shake hands with the priest, when he heard himself addressed from between the bars of Gray's limbo, with the words,

"I say, old Corbet, or Dunphy, or whatever the devil they call you; here's a relation of yours by the mother's side only, you old dog—mark that; here I am, Ambrose Gray, a gentleman in disguise, as you well know; and I want you to bail me out."

"An' a respectable way you ax it," said Dunphy, putting on his spectacles, and looking at him through the bars.

"Respect! What, to a beggarly old huckster and kidnapper! Why, you penurious slicer of musty bacon—you iniquitous dealer in light weights—what respect are you entitled to from me? You know who I am—and you must bail me. Otherwise never expect, when the time comes, that I shall recognize you as a base relative, or suffer you to show your ferret face in my presence."

"Ah!" exclaimed the old man, bitterly; "the blood is in you."

"Eight, my old potatomonger; as true as gospel, and a great deal truer. The blood is in me."

"Ay," replied the other, "the blood of the oppressor—the blood of the villain—the blood of the unjust tyrant is in you, and nothing else. If you had his power, you'd be what he is, and maybe, worse, if the thing was possible. Now, listen; I'll make the words you just said to me the bitterest and blackest to yourself that you ever spoke. That's the last information I have for you; and as I know that you're just where you ought to be, among the companions you are fit for, there I leave you."

He then turned toward the priest, and left Gray to get bail where he might.

When Skipton, the messenger, who returned with Dunphy, or Corbet, as we shall in future call him, entered the watch-house, he drew Darby aside, and held some private conversation with him, of which it was evident that Corbet was the subject, from the significant glances which each turned upon him from time to time.

In the meantime, the old man, recognizing the priest rather by his voice than his appearance, lost no time in acquainting the officers of justice that they were completely mistaken in the individual. The latter had briefly mentioned to him the circumstance and cause of his arrest.

"I want you," said the priest, "to go to Sir Thomas Gourlay directly, and tell him that I have his money and pistols quite safe, and that I was on my way up to town with them, when this unpleasant mistake took place."

"I will, your reverence," said he, "without loss of time. I see," he added, addressing Darby and the others, "that you have made a mistake here."

"What mistake, my good man?" asked Darby.

"Why, simply, that instead of a robber, you have been sharp enough to take up a most respectable Catholic clergyman from Ballytrain."

"What," said Darby, "a Popish priest! Curse me, but that's as good, if not better, than the other thing. No Papist is allowed, under the penalty of a felony, to carry arms, and here is a Popish priest travelling with pistols. The other thing, Skipton, was only for the magistrates, but this is a government affair."

"He may be Finnerty, after all," replied Skipton, aside; "this old fellow is no authority as to his identity, as you may guess from what I told you."

"At all events," replied Darby, "we shall soon know which he is—priest or robber; but I hope, for our own sakes, he'll prove a priest on our hands. At any rate the magistrates are now in the office, and it's full time to bring his reverence up."

Corbet, in the meantime, had gone to Sir Thomas Gourlay's with his reverence's message, and in a few minutes afterwards the prisoner, strongly guarded, was conducted to the police office.

CHAPTER XXV. The Police Office

—Sir Spigot Sputter and Mr. Coke—An Unfortunate Translator—Decision in "a Law Case."

It is not our intention to detail the history of occurrences that are calculated to fill the mind with sorrow, not unmingled with disgust, or to describe scenes that must necessarily lower our estimate of both man and woman. On the bench sat two magistrates, of whom we may say that, from ignorance of law, want of temper, and impenetrable stupidity, the whole circle of commercial or professional life could not produce a pair more, signally unqualified for the important offices they occupied. One of them, named Sputter, Sir Spigot Sputter, was an old man, with a red face and perpetual grin, whose white hair was cropped close; but in compensation for this he wore powder and a queue, so that his head, except in vivacity of motion, might not inappropriately be compared to an overgrown tadpole struggling to get free from his shoulders, and escape to the nearest marsh. He also wore a false eye, which gave him a perennial blink that was sadly at variance with magisterial dignity. Indeed the consequences of it were sometimes ludicrous enough. When, for instance, one of those syrens who perambulate our fashionable streets after the sun has gone down, happened to be brought up to answer some charge that came under his jurisdiction, Sir Spigot's custom always was to put his glass to the safe eye, and peer at her in the dock; which act, when taken in connection with the grin and the droop of the glass eye, seemed to the spectators as if he and she understood each other, and that the wink in question was a kind of telegraphic dispatch sent to let her know that she had a friend on the bench. Sir Spigot was deaf, too, a felicitous circumstance, which gave him peculiar facility in the decision of his cases.

The name of his brother on the bench was Coke, who acted in the capacity of what is termed a law magistrate. It is enough, however, to say, that he was a thin man, with a long, dull face, a dull eye, a dull tongue, a dull ear, and a dull brain. His talents for ambiguity were surprising, and it always required a hint from the senior of the office, Darby, to enable him to understand his own decisions. This, however, was not without some beneficial consequences to the individuals before him; as it often happened, that when he seemed to have committed some hardened offender, after the infliction of a long, laborious, obscure harangue, he has immediately ordered him to be discharged. And, on the contrary, when some innocent individual heard with delight the sentence of the court apparently, in his favor, judge of what he must have felt on finding himself sent off to Newgate, Kilmainham, or the Penitentiary. In this instance, however, the advantage to the public was nearly equal; for if the guilty escaped in one case, so did the innocent in another. Here now is where Darby became useful; for Darby, who was well acquainted with his style, and with his meaning, when he had any, always interpreted his decisions to him, and told him in a whisper, or on a slip of paper, whether he had convicted the prisoner, or not.

We shall detail one case which occurred this morning. It happened that an amiable and distinguished literary gentleman, an LL.D., and a barrister, had lost from his library a book on which he placed great value, and he found this book on a stall not very far from the office. On seeing the volume he naturally claimed it, and the woman who had received it from the thief, who was a servant, refused to give it up, unless the money she had paid for it were returned to her. Neither would the wretch disclose the name of the thief, but snapped her fingers in Dr. A——'s face, saying she defied him, and that he could only bring her before Mr. Coke, who, she knew very well, would see justice done her. She lived by buying books, she said, and by selling books; and as he lived by writing books, she thought it wasn't handsome of him to insult the profession by bringing such a blackguard charge against them in her name.

He summoned her, however, and the case was one of the first called on the morning in question. The receiver of the stolen book came forward, with much assurance, as defendant, and modest Dr. A—— as plaintiff; when Sir Spigot, putting his glass to his eye, and looking from the one to the other with his wink and grin as usual, said to Darby:

"What is this man here for?"

"It's a law case, your worship," replied the senior officer.

Coke, who sat solemn and silent, looked at the doctor, and said:

"Well, sir, what is your case? Please to state it."

The case, being a very plain and brief one, was soon stated, the woman's reply was then heard, after which Mr. Coke looked graver than before, and proceeded somewhat to the following effect:

"This is a case of deep interest to that important portion of the bibiliopolist profession who vend their wares on stalls."

"Thank your worship," said the woman, with a courtesy.

"This most respectable body of persons, the booksellers—[another courtesy from the woman]—are divided into several classes; first, those who sell books in large and splendid shops; next, those who sell them in shops of less pretension; thirdly, those who sell them on stalls in thoroughfares, and at the corners of streets; fourthly, those who carry them in baskets, and who pass from place to place, and combine with the book-selling business that of flying stationer; and fifthly, those who do not sell them at all, but only read them; and as those who read, unless they steal or borrow, must purchase, I accordingly class them as booksellers indirectly, inasmuch as if they don't sell books themselves, they cause others to do so. For this reason it is evident that every man living, and woman too, capable of reading a book, is a bookseller; so that society at large is nothing but one great bookselling firm.

"Having thus established the immense extent and importance of the business, I now proceed to the consideration of the case before us. To steal a book is not in every case an offence against the law of libel, nor against the law of arson, nor against the law of insurrection, nor against the law of primogeniture; in fact, it is only against the law of theft—it offends only one law—and is innocent with respect to all the others. A person stealing a book could not be indicted under the statute of limitations, for instance; except, indeed, in so far as he may be supposed to limit the property of the person from whom he stole it. But on this point the opinion of the learned Folderol would go pretty far, were it not for the opinion of another great man, which I shall presently quote. Folderol lays it down as a fixed principle in an able treatise upon the law of weathercocks, that if property be stolen from an individual, without the aggregate of that property suffering reduction or diminution, he is not robbed, and the crime of theft has not been committed. The other authority that I alluded to, is that of his great and equally celebrated opponent, Tolderol, who lays it down on the other hand, that when a thief, in the act of stealing, leaves more behind him than he found there at first, so that the man stolen from becomes richer by the act of theft than he had been before it, the crime then becomes dupleis delicti, or one of harum-scarum, according to Doodle, and the thief deserves transportation or the gallows. And the reason is obvious: if the property of the person stolen from, under the latter category, were to be examined, and that a larger portion of it was found there than properly had belonged to him before the theft, he might be suspected of theft himself, and in this case a double conviction of the parties would ensue; that is, of him who did not take what he ought, and of him who had more than he was entitled to. This opinion, which is remarkable for its perspicuity and soundness, is to be found in the one hundred and second folio of Logerhedius, tome six hundred, page 9768.

"There is another case bearing strongly upon the present one, in 'Snifter and Snivell's Reports,' vol. 86, page 1480, in which an old woman, who was too poor to purchase a Bible, stole one, and was prosecuted for the theft. The counsel for the prosecution and the defence were both equally eminent and able. Counsellor Sleek was for the prosecution and Rant for the defence. Sleek, who was himself a religious barrister, insisted that the locus delicti aggravated the offence, inasmuch as she had stolen the Bible out of a church; but Rant maintained that the locus delicti was a prima facie evidence of her innocence, inasmuch as she only complied with a precept of religion, which enjoins all sinners to seek such assistance toward their spiritual welfare as the church can afford them.

"Sleek argued that the principle of theft must have been innate and strong, when the respect due to that sacred edifice was insufficient to restrain her from such an act—an act which constituted sacrilege of a very aggravated kind.

"Rant replied, that the motive and not the act constituted the crime. There was prima facie proof that she stole it for pious purposes—to wit, that she might learn therefrom a correct principle for the conduct of her life. It was not proved that the woman had sold the book, or pledged it, or in any-other way disposed of it for her corporal or temporal benefit; the inference, therefore, was, that the motive, in the first place, justified the act, which was in se a pious one; and, besides, had the woman been a thief, she would have stolen the plate and linen belonging to the altar; but she did not, therefore there existed on her part no consciousness nor intention of wrong.

"Sleek rejoined, that if the woman had felt any necessity for religious advice and instruction, she would have gone to the minister, whose duty it was to give it.

"Rant replied, that upon Sleek's own principles, if the minister had properly discharged his duty, the woman would have been under no necessity for taking the Bible at all; and that, consequently, in a strict spirit of justice, the theft, if theft it could be called, was not the theft of the old woman, but that of the minister himself, who had failed to give her proper instructions. It was the duty of the minister to have gone to the old woman, and not that of the old woman to have gone to the minister; but, perhaps, had the woman been young and handsome, the minister might have administered consolation.

"I find that Sleek here made a long speech about religion, which he charged Rant with insulting; he regretted that a false humanity had repealed some of those stringent but wholesome laws that had been enacted for the preservation of holy things, and was truly sorry that this sacrilegious old wretch could not be brought to the stake. He did not envy his learned, friend the sneering contempt for religion that ran through his whole argument.

"Rant bowed and smiled, and replied that, in his opinion, the only stake the poor woman ought to be brought to was a beefsteak; for he always wished to see the law administered with mercy.

"Sleek was not surprised at hearing such a carnal argument brought to the defence of such a crime, and concluded by pressing for the severest punishment the law could inflict against this most iniquitous criminal, who—and he dared even Rant himself to deny the fact—came before that court as an old offender; he therefore pressed for a conviction against a person who had acted so flagrantly contra bonos mores.

"Rant said, she could not or ought not to be convicted. This Bible was not individual property; it was that of a parish that contained better than eighteen thousand inhabitants. Now, if any individual were to establish his right of property in the Bible, and she herself was a proprietress as well as any of them, the amount would be far beneath any current coin of the realm, consequently there existed no legal symbol of property for the value of which a conviction could be had.

"As I perceive, however," added Mr. Coke, "that the abstract of the arguments in this important case runs to about five hundred pages, I shall therefore recapitulate Judge Nodwell's charge, which has been considered a very brilliant specimen of legal acumen and judicial eloquence.

"'This, gentlemen of the jury,' said his lordship,' is a case of apparently some difficulty, and I cannot help admiring the singular talent and high principles displayed by the learned counsel on both sides, who so ably argued it. Of one thing I am certain, that no consciousness of religious ignorance, no privation of religious knowledge, could ever induce my learned friend Sleek to commit such a theft. Rather than do so, I am sure he would be conscientious enough to pass through the world without any religion at all. As it is, we all know that he is a great light in that respect—'

"'He would be a burning light, too, my lord,' observed Rant.

"No; his reverence for the Bible is too great, too sincere to profane it by such vulgar perusal as it may have received at the hands of that destitute old woman, who probably thumbed it day and night, without regard either to dog-ears or binding, or a consideration of how she was treating the property of the parish. The fact, however, gentlemen, seems to be, that the old woman either altogether forgot the institutions of society, or resolved society itself in her own mind into first principles. Now, gentlemen, we cannot go behind first principles, neither can we go behind the old woman. We must keep her before us, but it is not necessary to keep the Bible so. It has been found, indeed, that she did not sell, pledge, bestow, or otherwise make the book subservient to her temporal or corporal wants, as Mr. Rant very ingeniously argued. Neither did she take it to place in her library—for she had no library; nor for ostentation in her hall—for she had no hall, as my pious friend Counsellor Sleek has. But, gentlemen, even if this old woman by reading the Bible learned to repent, and felt conversion of heart, you are not to infer that the act which brought her to grace and repentance may not have been a hardened violation of the law. Beware of this error, gentlemen. The old woman by stealing this Bible may have repented her of her sins, it is true; but it is your business, gentlemen, to make her repent of the law also. The law is as great a source of repentance as the Bible any day, and, I am proud to say, has caused more human tears to be shed, and bitterer ones, too, than the Word of God ever did. Even although justified in the sight of heaven, it does not follow that this woman is to escape here. It is the act, and not the heart, that the law deals with. The purity of her motives, her repentance, are nothing to the law; but the law is everything to the person in whom they operate; because, although the heart may be innocent, the individual person must be punished. A penitent heart, or a consciousness of the pardon of God, are not fit considerations for a jury-box. You are, therefore, to exclude the motive, and to take nothing into consideration but the act; for it is only that by which the law has been violated.

"'But is there no such thing as mercy, my lord?' asked a juror.

"In the administration of the law there is such a fiction—a beautiful negation, indeed—but we know that Justice always holds the first place, and when she is satisfied, then we call in Mercy. Such, at least, is the wholesome practice and constitutional spirit of British law. I have now, gentlemen, rendered you every assistance in my power. If you think this old woman guilty, you will find accordingly; if not, you will give her the benefit of any doubt in her favor which you may entertain.

"The woman," continued Coke, "was convicted, and here follows the sentence of the judge.

"Martha Dotinghed—you have been convicted by the verdict of twelve as intelligent and respectable gentlemen as I ever saw in a jury-box; convicted, I am sorry to say, very properly, of a most heinous crime, that of attempting to work out your salvation in an improper manner—to wit, by making illegally free with the Word of God.

"'In troth, my lord,' replied the culprit, 'the Word of God is become so scarce nowadays, that unless one steals it, they have but a poor chance of coming by it honestly, or hearing it at all'."

"You have been convicted, I say, notwithstanding a most able defence by your counsel, who omitted no argument that could prove available for your acquittal; and I am sorry to hear from your own lips, that you are in no degree penitent for the crime you have committed. You say, the Word of God is scarce nowadays—but that fact, unhappy woman, only aggravates your guilt—for in proportion to the scarcity of the Word of God, so is its value increased—and we all know that the greater the value of that which is stolen, the deeper, in the eye of the law, is the crime of the thief. Had you not given utterance to those impenitent expressions, the court would have been anxious to deal mercifully with you. As it is, I tell you to prepare for the heaviest punishment it can inflict, which is, that you be compelled to read some one of the Commentaries upon the Book you have stolen, once, at least, before you die, should you live so long, and may God have mercy on you!

"Here the prisoner fell into strong hysterics, and was taken away in a state of insensibility from the dock.

"Now," proceeded Coke, closing the ponderous tome, "I read this case from a feeling that it bears very strongly upon that before us. Saponificus, the learned and animated civilian, in his reply to the celebrated treatise of 'Rigramarolius de Libris priggatis,' commonly called his Essay on Stolen Books, asserts that there never yet was a book printed but was more or less stolen; and society, he argues, in no shape, in none of its classes—neither in the prison, lockup, blackhole, or penitentiary—presents us with such a set of impenitents and irreclaimable thieves as those who write books. Theft is their profession, and gets them the dishonest bread by which they live. These may always read the eighth commandment by leaving the negative out, and then take it in an injunctive sense. Such persons, in prosecuting another for stealing a book, cannot come into court with clean hands. Felons in literature, therefore, appear here with a very bad grace in prosecuting others for the very crime which they themselves are in the habit of committing."

"But, your worship," said Dr. A——, "this charge against authors cannot apply to me; the book in question is a translation."

"Pooh!" exclaimed Coke, "only a translation! But even so, has it notes or comments?"

"It has, your worship; but they—"

"And, sir, could you declare solemnly, that there is nothing stolen in the notes and comments, or introduction, if there is any?"

The doctor, "Ehem! hem!"

"But in the meantime," proceeded Coke, "here have I gone to the trouble of giving such a profound decision upon a mere translation! Who is the translator?"

"I am myself, your worship; and in this case I am both plaintiff and translator."

"That, however," said Coke, shaking his head solemnly, "makes the case against you still worse."

"But, your worship, there is no case against me. I have already told you that I am plaintiff and translator; and, with great respect, I don't think you have yet given any decision whatever."

"I have decided, sir," replied Coke, "and taken the case I read for you as a precedent."

"But in that case, your worship, the woman was convicted."

"And so she is in this, sir," replied Coke. "Officer, put Biddy Corcoran forward. Biddy Corcoran, you are an old woman, which, indeed, is evident from the nature of your offence, and have been convicted of the egregious folly of purchasing a translation, which this gentleman says was compiled or got up by himself. This is conduct which the court cannot overlook, inasmuch as if it were persisted in, we might, God help us, become inundated with translations. I am against translations—I have ever been against them, and I shall ever be against them. They are immoral in themselves, and render the same injury to literature that persons of loose morals do to society. In general, they are nothing short of a sacrilegious profanation of the dead, and I would almost as soon see the ghost of a departed friend as the translation of a defunct author, for they bear the same relation. The regular translator, in fact, is nothing less than a literary ghoul, who lives upon the mangled carcasses of the departed—a mere sack-'em-up, who disinters the dead, and sells their remains for money. You, sir, might have been better and more honestly employed than in wasting your time upon a translation. These are works that no men or class of men, except bishops, chandlers, and pastrycooks, ought to have anything to do with; and as you, I presume, are not a bishop, nor a chandler, nor a pastrycook, I recommend you to spare your countrymen in future. Biddy Corcoran, as the court is determined to punish you severely, the penalty against you is, that you be compelled to read the translation in question once a week for the next three months. I had intended to send you to the treadmill for the same space of time: but, on looking more closely into the nature of your offence, I felt it my duty to visit you with a much severer punishment."

"That, your worship," replied the translator, "is no punishment at all; instead of that, it will be a pleasure to read my translation, and as you have pronounced her to be guilty, it goes in the very teeth of your decision."

"What—what—what kind of language is this, sir?" exclaimed Sir Spigot Sputter! "This is disrespect to the court, sir. In the teeth of his decision! His worship's decision, sir, has no teeth."

"Indeed, on second thoughts, I think not, sir," replied, the indignant wit and translator; "it is indeed a very toothless decision, and exceedingly appropriate in passing sentence upon an old woman in the same state."

"Eh—eh," said Sir Spigot, "which old woman? who do you mean, sir? Yourself or the culprit? Eh? eh?"

"Your worship forgets that there are four of us," replied the translator.

"Well, sir! well, sir! But as to the culprit—that old woman there—having no teeth, that is not her fault," replied Sir Spigot; "if she hasn't teeth, she has gum enough—eh! eh! you must admit that, sir."

"You all appear to have gum enough," replied the wit, "and nothing but gum, only it is gum arabic to me, I know."

"You have treated this court with disrespect, sir," said Coke, very solemnly; "but the court will uphold its dignity. In the meantime you are fined half-a-crown."

"But, your worship," whispered Darby, "this is the celebrated Dr. A——, a very eminent man."

"I have just heard, sir," proceeded Coke, "from the senior officer of the court, that you are a very eminent man; it may be so, and I am very sorry for it. I have never heard your name, however, nor a syllable of your literary reputation, before; but as it seems you are an eminent man, I take it for granted that it must be in a private and confidential way among your particular friends. I will fine you, however, another half-crown for the eminence."

"Well, gentlemen," replied the doctor, "I have heard of many 'wise saws and modern instances,' but—"

"What do you mean, sir?" said Sir Spigot. "Another insult! You asserted, sir, already, that Mr. Coke's decision had teeth—"

"But I admitted my error," replied the other.

"And now you mean to insinuate, I suppose, that his worship's saws are handsaws. You are fined another half-crown, sir, for the handsaw."

"And another," said Coke, "for the gum arabic."

The doctor fearing that the fines would increase thick and threefold, forthwith paid them all, and retired indignantly from the court.

And thus was the author of certainly one of the most beautiful translations in any language, at least in his own opinion, treated by these two worthy administrators of the law. (* A fact.)

CHAPTER XXVI. The Priest Returns Sir Thomas's Money and Pistols

—A Bit of Controversy—A New Light Begins to Appear.

Very fortunately for the priest he was not subjected to an examination before these worthies. Sir Thomas Gourlay, having heard of his arrest and the cause of it, sent a note with his compliments, to request that he might be conducted directly to his residence, together with his pocket-book and pistols, assuring them, at the same time, that their officers had committed a gross mistake as to his person.

This was quite sufficient, and ere the lapse of twenty minutes Father M'Mahon, accompanied by Skipton and another officer, found himself at the baronet's hall-door. On entering the hall, Sir Thomas himself was in the act of passing from the breakfast parlor to his study above stairs, leaning upon the arm of Gibson, the footman, looking at the same time pale, nervous, and unsteady upon his limbs. The moment Skipton saw him, he started, and exclaimed, as if to himself, but loud enough for the priest to hear him:

"'Gad! I've seen him before, once upon a time; and well I remember the face, for it is not one to be forgotten."

The baronet, on looking round, saw the priest, and desired him to follow them to his study.

"I beg your pardon, Sir Thomas," said the officer, "we now place his reverence safely in your hands; here, too, is your pocket-book and pistols."

"Hand them to him, sir," replied the baronet, nodding toward the priest; "and that is enough."

"But, Sir Thomas—"

"What is it, sir? Have you not done your duty?"

"I hope so, sir; but if it would not be troublesome, sir, perhaps you would give us a receipt; an acknowledgment, sir."

"For what?"

"For the priest's body, sir, in the first place, and then for the pocket-book and pistols."

"If I were a little stronger," replied the baronet, in an angry voice, "I would write the receipt upon your own body with a strong horsewhip; begone, you impudent scoundrel!"

Skipton turned upon him a bitter and vindictive look, and replied, "Oh, very well, sir—come, Tom, you are witness that I did my duty."

Sir Thomas on entering the study threw himself listlessly on a sofa, and desired Gibson to retire.

"Take a seat, sir," said he, addressing Father M'Mahon. "I am far from well, and must rest a little before I speak to you; I know not what is the matter with me, but I feel all out of sorts."

He then drew a long breath, and laid his head upon his hand, as if to recover more clearly the powers of his mind and intellect. His eyes, full of thought not unmingled with anxiety, were fixed upon the carpet, and he seemed for a time wrapped in deep and painful abstraction. At length he raised himself up, and drawing his breath apparently with more freedom began the conversation.

"Well, sir," said he, in a tone that implied more of authority and haughtiness than of courtesy or gentlemanly feeling; "it seems the property of which I have been robbed has come into your possession."

"It is true, sir; and allow me to place it in your own hands exactly as I got it. I took the precaution to seal the pocket-book the moment it was returned to me, and although it was for a short time in possession of the officers of justice, yet it is untouched, and the seal I placed on it unbroken."

The baronet's hand, as he took the pocket-book, trembled with an agitation which he could not repress, although he did everything in his power to subdue it: his eye glittered with animation, or rather with delight, as he broke the seal.

"It was very prudently and correctly done of you, sir, to seal up the pocket-book; very well done, indeed: and I am much obliged to you so far, although we must have some conversation upon the matter immediately—"

"I only did what, as a Catholic clergyman, Sir Thomas, and an honest man, I conceived to be my duty."

"What—what—what's this?" exclaimed the baronet, his eye blazing with rage and disappointment. "In the name of hell's fire, sir, what is this? My money is not all here! There is a note, sir, a one pound note wanting; a peculiar note, sir; a marked note; for I always put a marked note among my money, to provide against the contingency of such a robbery as I sustained. Pray, sir, what has become of that note? I say, priest, the whole pocket-book ten times multiplied, was not worth a fig compared with the value I placed upon that note."

"How much did you lose, Sir Thomas?" asked the priest calmly.

"I lost sixty-nine pounds, sir."

"Well, then," continued the other, "would it not be well to see whether that sum is in the pocket-book. You have not yet reckoned the money."

"The note I speak of was in a separate compartment; in a different fold of the book; apart from the rest."

"But perhaps it has got among them? Had you not better try, sir?"

"True," replied the other; and with eager and trembling hands he examined them note by note; but not finding that for which he sought, he stamped with rage, and dashing the pocket-book, notes and all, against the floor, he ground his teeth, and approaching the priest with the white froth of passion rising to his lips, exclaimed, "Hark you, priest, if you do not produce the missing note, I shall make you bitterly repent it! You know where it is, sir! You could understand from the note itself—" He paused, however, for he felt at once that he might be treading dangerous ground in entering into particulars. "I say, sir," he proceeded, with a look of menace and fury, "if you refuse to produce the note I speak of, or to procure it for me, I shall let you know to your cost what the power of British law can effect."

The priest rose up with dignity, his cheek heightened with that slight tinge, which a sense of unmerited insult and a consciousness of his own integrity render natural to man—so long as he is a man.

"Sir Thomas Gourlay," he proceeded, "upon your conduct and want of gentlemanly temper since I have entered this apartment it is not my intention to make any comment; but I need not tell you that the minister of God is received in Christian society with the respect due to his sacred office."

"Minister of the devil, sir," thundered the baronet; "do you think that I shall be influenced by this slavish cant? Where is the note I speak of? If you do not produce it, I shall consider you an accomplice after the fact, and will hold you responsible as such. Remember, you are but a Popish priest."

"That is a fact, sir, which I shall always recollect with an humble sense of my own unworthiness; but so long as I discharge its duties conscientiously and truly, I shall also recollect it with honor. Of the note you allude to in such unbecoming words, I know nothing; and as to your threats, I value them not."

"If you know nothing of the note, sir, you do certainly of the robber."

"I do, Sir Thomas; I know who the man is that robbed you."

"Well, sir," replied the other, triumphantly, "I am glad you have acknowledged so much. I shall force you to produce him. At least I shall take care that the law will make you do so."

"Sir Thomas Gourlay, I beg you to understand that there is a law beyond and above your law—the law of God—the law of Christian duty; and that you shall never force me to transgress. The man who robbed you in a moment of despair and madness, repented him of the crime; and the knowledge of that crime, and its consequent repentance were disclosed to me in one of the most holy ordinances of our religion."

"Is it one of the privileges of your religion to throw its veil over the commission of crime? If so, the sooner your religion is extirpated out of the land the better for society."

"No, sir, our religion does not throw its veil over the criminal, but over the penitent. We leave the laws of the land to their own resources, and aid them when we can; but in the case before us, and in all similar cases, we are the administrators of the laws of God to those who are truly penitent, and to none others. The test of repentance consists in reformation of life, and in making restitution to those who have been injured. The knowledge of this comes to us in administering the sacred ordinance of penance in the tribunal of confession; and sooner than violate this solemn compact between the mercy of God and a penitent heart, we would willingly lay down our lives. It is the most sacred of all trusts."

"Such an ordinance, sir, is a bounty and provocative to crime."

"It is a bounty and provocative to repentance, sir; and society has gained much and lost nothing by its operation. Remember, sir, that those who do not repent, never come to us to avow their crimes, in which case we are ignorant both of the crime and criminal. Here there is neither repentance, on the one hand, nor restitution, on the other, and society, of course, loses everything and gains nothing. In the other case, the person sustaining the injury gains that which he had lost, and society a penitent and reformed member. If, then, this sacred refuge for the penitent—not for the criminal, remember—had no existence, those restitutions of property which take place in thousands of cases, could never be made."

"Still, sir, you shield the criminal from his just punishment."

"No, sir; we never shield the criminal from his just punishment. God has promised mercy to him who repents, and we merely administer it without any reference to the operation of the law. It often happens, Sir Thomas Gourlay, that a person who has repented and made restitution, is taken hold of by the law and punished. This ordinance, therefore, does not stand between the law and its victim; it only deals between him and his God, leaving him, like any other offender, to the law he has violated."

"I am no theologian, sir; but without any reference to your priestly cant, I simply say, that the man who is cognizant of another's crime against the law, either of God or man, and who will shield him from justice, is particeps criminis, and I don't care a fig what your obsolete sacerdotal dogmas may assert to the contrary. You say you know the man who unjustly deprived me of my property; if then, acknowledging this, you refuse to deliver him up to justice, I hold you guilty of his crime. Suppose he had taken my life, as he was near doing, how, pray, would you have made restitution? Bring me to life again, I suppose, by a miracle. Away, sir, with this cant, which is only fit for the barbarity of the dark ages, when your church was a mass of crime, cruelty, and ignorance; and when a cunning and rapacious priesthood usurped an authority over both soul and body, ay, and property too, that oppressed and degraded human nature."

"I will reason no longer with you, sir," replied the priest; "because you talk in ignorance of the subject we are discussing—but having now discharged an important duty, I will take my leave."

"You may of me," replied the other; "but you will not so readily shift yourself out of the law."

"Any charge, sir, which either law or Justice may bring against me, I shall be ready to meet; and I now, for your information, beg to let you know that the law you threaten me with affords its protection to me and the class to which I belong, in the discharge of this most sacred and important trust. Your threats, Sir Thomas, consequently, I disregard."

"The more shame for it if it does," replied the baronet; "but, hark you, sir, I do not wish, after all, that you and I should part on unfriendly terms. You refuse to give up the robber?"

"I would give up my life sooner."

"But could you not procure me the missing note?"

"Of the missing note, Sir Thomas Gourlay, I know nothing. I consequently neither can nor will make any promise to restore it."

"You may tell the robber from me," pursued the baronet, "that I will give him the full amount of his burglary, provided he restores me that note. The other sixty-nine pounds shall be his on that condition, and no questions asked."

"I have already told you, sir, that it was under the seal of confession the knowledge of the crime came to me. Out of that seal I cannot revert to the subject without betraying my trust; for, if he acknowledged his guilt to me under any other circumstances, it would become my duty to hand him over to the law."

"Curse upon all priests!" said the other indignantly; "they are all the same; a crew of cunning scoundrels, who attempt to subjugate the ignorant and the credulous to their sway; a pack of spiritual swindlers, who get possession of the consciences of the people through pious fraud, and then make slavish instruments of them for their own selfish purposes. In the meantime I shall keep my eye upon you, Mr. M'Mahon, and, believe me, if I can get a hole in your coat I shall make a rent of it."

"It is a poor privilege, sir, that of insulting the defenceless. You know I am doubly so—defenceless from age, defenceless in virtue of my sacred profession; but if I am defenceless against your insults, Sir Thomas Gourlay, I am not against your threats, which I despise and defy. The integrity of my life is beyond your power, the serenity of my conscience beyond your vengeance. You are not of my flock, but if you were, I would say, Sir Thomas, I fear you are a bold, bad man, and have much to repent of in connection with your past and present life—much reparation to make to your fellow-creatures. Yes; I would say, Sir Thomas Gourlay, the deep tempest of strong passions within you has shaken your powerful frame until it totters to its fall. I would say, beware; repent while it is time, and be not unprepared for the last great event. That event, Sir Thomas, is not far distant, if I read aright the foreshadowing of death and dissolution that is evident in your countenance and frame. I speak these words in, I trust, a charitable and forgiving spirit. May they sink into your heart, and work it to a sense of Christian feeling and duty!

"This I would say were you mine—this I do say, knowing that you are not; for my charity goes beyond my church, and embraces my enemy as well as my friend;" and as he spoke he prepared co go.

"You may go, sir," replied the baronet, with a sneer of contempt, "only you have mistaken your man. I am no subject for your craft—not to be deceived by your hypocrisy—and laugh to scorn your ominous but impotent croaking. Only before you go, remember the conditions I have offered the scoundrel who robbed me; and if the theological intricacies of your crooked creed will permit you, try and get him to accept them. It will be better for him, and better for you too. Do this, and you may cease to look upon Sir Thomas Gourlay as an enemy."

The priest bowed, and without returning any reply left the apartment and took his immediate departure.

Sir Thomas, after he had gone, went to the glass and surveyed himself steadily. The words of the priest were uttered with much solemnity and earnestness; but withal in such a tone of kind regret and good feeling, that their import and impressiveness were much heightened by this very fact.

"There is certainly a change upon me, and not one for the better," he said to himself; "but at the same time the priest, cunning as he is, has been taken in by appearances. I am just sufficiently changed in my looks to justify and give verisimilitude to the game I am playing. When Lucy hears of my illness, which must be a serious one, nothing on earth will keep her from me; and if I cannot gain any trace to her residence, a short paragraph in the papers, intimating and regretting the dangerous state of my health, will most probably reach her, and have the desired effect. If she were once back, I know that, under the circumstances of my illness, and the impression that it has been occasioned by her refusal to marry Dunroe, she will yield; especially as I shall put the sole chances of my recovery upon her compliance. Yet why is it that I urge her to an act which will probably make her unhappy during life? But it will not. She is not the fool her mother was; and yet I am not certain that her mother was a fool either. We did not agree; we could not. She always refused to coincide with me almost in everything; and when I wished to teach Lucy the useful lessons of worldly policy, out came her silly maxims of conscience, religion, and such stuff. But yet religious people are the best. I have always found it so. That wretched priest, for instance, would give up his life sooner than violate what he calls—that is, what he thinks—his duty. There must be some fiction, however, to regulate the multitude; and that fiction must be formed by, and founded on, the necessities of society. That, unquestionably, is the origin of all law and all religion. Only religion uses the stronger and the wiser argument, by threatening us with another world. Well done, religion! You acted upon a fixed principle of nature. The force of the enemy we see not may be magnified and exaggerated; the enemy we see not we fear, especially when described in the most terrible colors by men who are paid for their misrepresentations, although these same impostors have never seen the enemy they speak of themselves. But the enemy we see we can understand and grapple with; ergo, the influence of religion over law; ergo, the influence of the priest, who deals in the imaginary and ideal, over the legislator and the magistrate, who deal only in the tangible and real. Yes, this indeed, is the principle. How we do fear a ghost! What a shiver, what a horror runs through the frame when we think we see one; and how different is this from our terror of a living enemy. Away, then, with this imposture, I will none of it. Yet hold: what was that I saw looking into the window of the carriage that contained my brother's son? What was it? Why a form created by my own fears. That credulous nurse, old mother Corbet, stuffed me so completely with superstition when I was young and cowardly, that I cannot, in many instances, shake myself free from it yet. Even the words of that priest alarmed me for a moment. This, however, is merely the weakness of human nature—the effect of unreal phantasms that influence the reason while we are awake, just as that of dreams does the imagination while we are asleep. Away, then, ye idle brood! I will none of you."

He then sat himself down on the sofa, and rang for Gibson, but still the train of thought pursued him.

"As to Lucy, I think it is still possible to force her into the position for which I destined her—quite possible. She reasons like a girl, of course, as I told her. She reasons like a girl who looks upon that silly nonsense called love as the great business of life; and acts accordingly. Little she thinks, however, that love—her love—his love—both their loves—will never meet twelve months after what is termed the honey-moon. No, they will part north and south. And yet the honey-moon has her sharp ends, as well as every other moon. When love passes away, she will find that the great business of life is, to make as many as she can feel that she is above them in the estimation of the world; to impress herself upon her equals, until they shall be forced to acknowledge her superiority. And although this may be sometimes done by intellect and principle, yet, in the society in which she must move, it is always done by rank, by high position, and by pride, that jealous vindictive pride which is based upon the hatred of our kind, and at once smiles and scorns. What would I be if I were not a baronet? Sir Thomas Gourlay passes where Mr. Gourlay would be spurned. This is the game of life, and we shall play it with the right weapons. Many a cringing scoundrel bows to the baronet who despises the man; and for this reason it is that I have always made myself to be felt to some purpose, and so shall Lucy, if I should die for it. I hate society, because I know that society hates me; and for that reason I shall so far exalt her, that she will have the base compound at her feet, and I shall teach her to scorn and trample upon it. If I thought there were happiness in any particular rank of life, I would not press her; but I know there is not, and for that reason she loses nothing, and gains the privilege—the power—of extorting homage from the proud, the insolent, and the worthless. This is the triumph she shall and must enjoy."

Gibson then entered, and the baronet, on hearing his foot, threw himself into a languid and invalid attitude.

"Gibson," said he, "I am very unwell; I apprehend a serious attack of illness."

"I trust not, sir."

"If any person should call, I am ill, observe, and not in a condition to see them."

"Very well, sir."

"Unless you should suspect, or ascertain, that it is some person on behalf of Miss Gourlay; and even then, mark, I am very ill indeed, and you do not think me able to speak to any one; but will come in and see."

"Yes, sir; certainly sir."

"There, then, that will do."

The priest, on leaving the baronet's residence, was turning his steps toward the hotel in which the stranger had put up, when his messenger to Constitution Hill approaching put his hand to his hat, and respectfully saluted him.

"I beg your pardon, sir," said he, "and I am sorry, now that I know who you are, for the trouble you got into."

"Thank you, my friend," said the priest; "I felt it wouldn't signify, knowing in my conscience that I was no robber. In the meantime, I got one glimpse of your metropolitan life, as they call it, and the Lord knows I never wish to get another. Troth, I was once or twice so confounded with the noise and racket, that I thought I had got into purgatory by mistake."

"Tut, sir, that's nothing," replied Skipton; "we were very calm and peaceable this morning; but with respect to that baronet, he's a niggardly fellow. Only think of him, never once offering us the slightest compensation for bringing him home his property! There's not another man in Ireland would send us off empty-handed as he did. The thing's always usual on recovering property."

"Speak for yourself, in the singular number, if you plaise; you don't imagine that I wanted compensation."

"No, sir, certainly not; but I'm just thinking," he added, after curiously examining Father M'Mahon's face for some time, "that you and I met before somewhere."

"Is that the memory you have?" said the priest, "when you ought to recollect that we met this morning, much against my will, I must say."

"I don't mean that," said the man; "but I think I saw you once in a lunatic asylum."

"Me, in a lunatic asylum?" exclaimed the good priest, somewhat indignantly. "The thing's a bounce, my good man, before you go farther. The little sense I've had has been sufficient, thank goodness, to keep me free from such establishments."

"I don't mean that, sir," replied the other, smiling, "but if I don't mistake, you once brought a clergyman of our persuasion to the lunatic asylum in ———."

"Ay, indeed," returned the priest; "poor Quin. His was a case of monomania; he imagined himself a gridiron, on which all heretics were to be roasted. That young man was one of the finest scholars in the three kingdoms. But how do you remember that?"

"Why for good reasons; because I was a servant in the establishment at the time. Well," he added, pausing, "it is curious enough that I should have seen this very morning three persons I saw in that asylum."

"If I had been much longer in that watch-house," replied the other, "I'm not quite certain but I'd soon be qualified to pay a permanent visit to some of them. Who were the three persons you saw there, in the mane time?"

"That messenger of yours was one of them, and that niggardly baronet was the other; yourself, as I said, making the third."

The priest looked at him seriously; "you mane Corbet," said he, "or Dunphy as he is called?"

"I do. He and the baron brought a slip of a boy there; and, upon my conscience, I think there was bad work between them. At all events, poor Mr. Quin and he were inseparable. The lad promised that he would allow himself to be roasted, the very first man, upon the reverend gridiron;—and! for that reason Quin took him into hand; and gave him an excellent education."

"And no one," replied the priest, "was better qualified to do it. But what bad work do you suspect between Corbet and the baronet?"

"Why, I have my suspicions," replied the man. "It's not a month since I heard that the son of that very baronet's brother, who was heir to the estate and titles, disappeared, and has never been heard of since. Now, all the water in the sea wouldn't wash the pair of them clear of what I suspect, which is—that both had a hand in removing that boy. The baronet was a young man at the time, but he has a face that no one could ever forget. As for Corbet, I remember him well, as why shouldn't I? he came there often. I'll take my oath it would be a charity to bring the affair to light."

"Do you think the boy is there still?" asked the priest, suppressing all appearance of the interest which he felt.

"No," replied the other, "he escaped about two or three years ago; but, poor lad, when it was discovered that he led too easy a life, and had got educated, his treatment was changed; a straight waistcoat was put on him, and he was placed in solitary confinement. At first he was no more mad than I am; but he did get occasionally mad afterwards. I know he attempted suicide, and nearly cut his throat with a piece of glass one day that his hands got loose while they were changing his linen. Old Rivet died, and the establishment was purchased by Tickleback, who, to my own knowledge, had him regularly scourged."

"And how did he escape, do you know?" inquired the priest.

"I could tell you that, too, maybe," replied Skipton; "but I think, sir, I have told you enough for the present. If that young man is living, I would swear that he ought to stand in Sir Thomas Gourlay's shoes. And now do you think, sir," he inquired, coming at last to the real object of his communication, "that if his right could be made clear, any one who'd help him to his own mightn't expect to be made comfortable for life?"

"I don't think there's a doubt about it," replied the priest. "The property is large, and he could well afford to be both generous and grateful."

"I know," returned the man, "that he is both one and the other, if he had it in his power."

"Well," said the priest, seriously; "mark my words—this may be the most fortunate day you ever saw. In the mane time, keep a close mouth. The friends of that identical boy are on the search for him this moment. They had given him up for dead; but it is not long since they discovered that he was living. I will see you again on this subject."

"I am now a constable," said the man, "attached to the office you were in to-day, and I can be heard of any time."

"Very well," replied the priest, "you shall hear either from me or from some person interested in the recovery of the boy that's lost."

CHAPTER XXVII. Lucy calls upon Lady Gourlay, where she meets her Lover

Sir Thomas, who shams Illness, is too sharp for Mrs. Mainwaring, who visits Him—Affecting interview between Lucy and Lady Gourlay

Lucy Gourlay, anxious to relieve her father's mind as much as it was in her power to do, wrote to him the day after the visit of Ensign Roberts and old Sam to Summerfield Cottage. Her letter was affectionate, and even tender, and not written without many tears, as was evident by the blots and blisters which they produced upon the paper. She fully corroborated the stranger's explanation to her father; for although ignorant at the time that an interview had taken place between them, she felt it to be her duty toward all parties to prevent, as far as her testimony could go, the possibility of any misunderstanding upon the subject. This letter was posted in Dublin, from an apprehension lest the local post-office might furnish a clew to her present abode. The truth was, she feared that if her father could trace her out, he would claim her at once, and force her home by outrage and violence. In this, however, she was mistaken; he had fallen upon quite a different and far more successful plan for that purpose. He knew his daughter well, and felt that if ever she might be forced to depart from those strong convictions of the unhappiness that must result from a union between baseness and honor, it must be by an assumption of tenderness and affection toward her, as well as by a show of submission, and a concession of his own will to hers. This was calculating at once upon her affection and generosity. He had formed this plan before her letter reached him, and on perusing it, he felt still more determined to make this treacherous experiment upon her very virtues—thus most unscrupulously causing them to lay the groundwork of her own permanent misery.

In the meantime, Mrs. Mainwaring, having much confidence in the effect which a knowledge of her disclosure must, as she calculated, necessarily produce on the ambitious baronet, resolved to lose no time in seeing him. On the evening before she went, however, the following brief conversation took place between her and Lucy:

"My dear Lucy," said she, "a thought has just struck me. Your situation, excepting always your residence with us, is one of both pain and difficulty. I am not a woman who has ever been much disposed to rely on my own judgment in matters of importance."

"But there, my dear Mrs. Mainwaring, you do yourself injustice."

"No, my dear child."

"But what is your thought?" asked Lucy, who felt some unaccountable apprehension at what her friend was about to say.

"You tell me that neither you nor your aunt, Lady Gourlay, have ever met."

"Never, indeed," replied Lucy; "nor do I think we should know each other if we did."

"Then suppose you were, without either favor or ceremony, to call upon her—to present yourself to her in virtue of your relationship—in virtue of her high character and admirable principles—in virtue of the painful position in which you are placed—to claim the benefit of her experience and wisdom, and ask her to advise you as she would a daughter."

Lucy's eyes glistened with delight, and, stooping down, she imprinted a kiss upon the forehead of her considerate and kind friend.

"Thank you, my dear Mrs. Mainwaring," she exclaimed: "a thousand thanks for that admirable suggestion. Many a time has my heart yearned to know that extraordinary woman, of whose virtues the world talks so much, and whose great and trusting spirit even sorrow and calamity cannot prostrate. Yes, I will follow your advice; I will call upon her; for, even setting aside all selfish considerations, I should wish to know her for her own worth."

"Very well, then; I am going in to see your father to-morrow—had you not better come with me? I shall leave you at her house, and can call for you after my interview with him shall have been concluded. I shall order a chaise from the hotel to be with us in the morning, so that you may run little or no risk of being seen or known."

"That will be delightful," replied Lucy; "for I am sure Lady Gourlay will be a kind and affectionate friend to me. In seeking her acquaintance—may I hope, her friendship—I am not conscious of violating any command or duty. Ever since I recollect, it was a well-known fact, that the families, that is to say, my father and uncle, never met, nor visited—mamma knew, of course, that to keep up an intimacy, under such circumstances, would occasion much domestic disquietude. This is all I know about it; but I never remember having heard any injunction not to visit."

"No," replied Mrs. Mainwaring; "such an injunction would resemble that of a man who should desire his child not to forget to rise next morning, or, to be sure to breathe through his lungs. I can very well understand why such a prohibition was never given in that case. Well, then, we shall start pretty early in the morning, please God; but remember that you must give me a full detail of your reception and interview."

The next day, about the hour of two o'clock, a chaise drew up at the residence of Lady Gourlay, and on the hall-door being opened, a steady, respectable-looking old footman made his appearance at the chaise door, and, in reply to their inquiries, stated, "that her ladyship had been out for some time, but was then expected every moment."

"What is to be done?" said Lucy, in some perplexity; "or how am I to bestow myself if she does not return soon?"

"We expect her ladyship every moment, madam," replied the man; "and if you will have the goodness to allow me to conduct you to the drawing-room, you will not have to wait long—I may assure you of that."

"You had better go in, my dear," said Mrs. Mainwaring, "and I shall call for you in about an hour, or, perhaps, a little better."

It was so arranged, and Lucy went in accordingly.

We must now follow Mrs. Mainwaring, who, on inquiring if she could see Sir Thomas Gourlay, was informed by Gibson, who had got his cue, that he was not in a condition to see any one at present.

"My business is somewhat important," replied Mrs. Mainwaring, with a good deal of confidence in the truth of what she said.

Gibson, however, approached her, and, with the air of a man who was in possession of the secrets of the family, said, "Perhaps, ma'am, you come on behalf of Miss Gourlay?"

"Whatever my business may be," she replied, indignantly, "be it important or otherwise, I never communicate it through the medium of a servant; I mean you no offence," she proceeded; "but as I have already stated that it is of importance, I trust that will be sufficient for the present."

"Excuse me, ma'am," replied Gibson, "I only put the question by Sir Thomas's express orders. His state of health is such, that unless upon that subject he can see no one. I will go to him, however, and mention what you have said. He is very ill, however, exceedingly ill, and I fear will not be able to see you; but I shall try."

Sir Thomas was seated upon a sofa reading some book or other, when Gibson reappeared.

"Well, Gibson, who is this?"

"A lady, sir; and she says she wishes to see you on very important business."

"Hum!—do you think it anything connected with Miss Gourlay?"

"I put the question to her, sir," replied the other, "and she bridled a good deal—I should myself suppose it is."

"Well, then, throw me over my dressing-gown and nightcap; here, pull it up behind, you blockhead;—there now—how do I look?"

"Why, ahem, a little too much in health, Sir Thomas, if it could be avoided."

"But, you stupid rascal, isn't that a sign of fever? and isn't my complaint fulness about the head—a tendency of blood there? That will do now; yes, the plethoric complexion to a shade; and, by the way, it is no joke either. Send her up now."

When Mrs. Mainwaring entered, the worthy invalid was lying incumbent upon the sofa, his head raised high upon pillows, with his dressing-gown and night-cap on, and his arms stretched along by his sides, as if he were enduring great pain.

"Oh, Mrs. Norton," said he, after she had courtesied, "how do you do?"

"I am sorry to see you ill, Sir Thomas," she replied, "I hope there is nothing serious the matter."

"I wish I myself could hope so, Mrs. Norton."

"Excuse me, Sir Thomas, I am no longer Mrs. Norton; Mrs. Mainwaring, at your service."

"Ah, indeed! Then you have changed your condition, as they say. Well, I hope it is for the better, Mrs. Mainwaring; I wish you all joy and happiness!"

"Thank you, Sir Thomas, it is for the better; I am very happily married."

"I am glad to hear it—I am very glad to hear it; that is to say, if I can be glad at anything. I feel very ill, Mrs. Mainwaring, very ill, indeed; and this blunt, plain-spoken doctor of mine gives me but little comfort. Not that I care much about any doctor's opinion—it is what I feel myself that troubles me. You are not aware, perhaps, that my daughter has abandoned me—deserted me—and left me solitary—sick—ill; without care—without attendance—without consolation;—and all because I wished to make her happy."

"This, Sir Thomas," replied Mrs. Mainwaring, avoiding a direct reply as to her knowledge of Lucy's movements, "is, I presume, with reference to her marriage with Lord Dunroe."

"Oh yes; young women will not, now-a-days, allow a parent to form any opinion as to what constitutes their happiness; but I cannot be angry with Lucy now; indeed, I am not. I only regret her absence from my sick bed, as I may term it; for, indeed, it is in bed I ought to be."

"Sir Thomas, I, came to speak with you very seriously, upon the subject of her union with that young nobleman."

"Ah, but I am not in a condition, Mrs. Mainwaring, to enter upon such a topic at present. The doctor has forbidden me to speak upon any subject that might excite me. You must excuse me, then, madam; I really cannot enter upon it. I never thought T loved Lucy so much;—I only want my child to be with me. She and I are all that I are left together now; but she has deserted me at the last moment, for I fear I am near it."

"But, Sir Thomas, if you would only hear me for a few minutes, I could satisfy you that—"

"But I cannot hear you, Mrs. Mainwaring; I cannot hear you; I am not in a state to do so; I feel feverish, and exceedingly ill."

"Five minutes would do, Sir Thomas."

"Five minutes! five centuries of torture! I must ring the bell, Mrs. Mainwaring, if you attempt to force this subject on me. I should be sorry to treat you rudely, but you must see at once that I am quite unable to talk of anything calculated to disturb me. I have a tendency of blood to the head—I am also nervous and irritable. Put it off, my dear madam. I trust you shall have another and a better opportunity. Do ring, and desire Lucy to come to me."

Mrs. Mainwaring really became alarmed at the situation of the baronet, and felt, from this request to have his daughter sent to him, which looked like delirium, that he was not in a state to enter upon or hear anything that might disappoint or disturb him. She consequently rose to take her leave, which she did after having expressed her sincere regret at his indisposition, as she termed it.

"I wish it was only indisposition, Mrs. Mainwaring, I wish it was. Present my respects to your husband, and I wish you and him all happiness;" and so with another courtesy, Mrs. Mainwaring took her leave.

After she had gone, Gibson once more attended the bell.

"Well, Gibson," said his master, sitting up and flinging his nightcap aside, "did you see that old grindress? Zounds and the devil, what are women? The old mantrap has got married at these years! Thank heaven, my grandmother is dead, or God knows what the devil might put into her old noddle."

"Women are very strange cattle, certainly, sir," replied Gibson, with a smirk, "and not age itself will keep them from a husband."

"Lucy—Miss Gourlay, I mean—is with her; I am certain of it. The girl was always very much attached to her, and I know the sly old devil has been sent to negotiate with me, but I declined. I knew better than to involve myself in a controversy with an old she prig who deals in nothing but maxims, and morals, and points of duty. I consequently sent her off in double quick time, as they say. Get me some burgundy and water. I really am not well. There is something wrong, Gibson, whatever it is; but I think it's nothing but anxiety. Gibson, listen. I have never been turned from my purpose yet, and I never shall. Miss Gourlay must be Countess of Cullamore, or it is a struggle for life and death between her and me; either of us shall die, or I shall have my way. Get me the burgundy and water," and Gibson, with his sleek bow, went to attend his orders.

Mrs. Mainwaring having some purchases to make and some visits to pay, and feeling that her unexpectedly brief visit to Sir Thomas had allowed her time for both, did not immediately return to call upon Lucy, fearing that she might only disturb the interview between her and Lady Gourlay.

Lucy, as the servant said, was shown up to the drawing-room, where she amused herself as well as she could, by examining some fine paintings, among which was one of her late uncle. The features of this she studied with considerable attention, and could not help observing that, although they resembled collectively those of her father, the deformity of the one eye only excepted, yet the general result was strikingly different. All that was harsh, and coarse, and repulsive in the countenance of her father, was here softened down into an expression of gentleness, firmness, and singular candor, whilst, at the same time, the family likeness could not for a moment be questioned or mistaken.

Whilst thus occupied, a foot was heard, as if entering the drawing-room, and naturally turning round, she beheld the stranger before her. The surprise of each was mutual, for the meeting was perfectly unexpected by either. A deep blush overspread Lucy's exquisite features, which almost in a moment gave way to a paleness that added a new and equally delightful phase to her beauty.

"Good heavens, my dear Lucy," exclaimed the stranger, "do I find you here! I had heard that the families were estranged; but on that very account I feel the more deeply delighted at your presence under Lady Gourlay's roof. This happiness comes to me with a double sense of enjoyment, from the fact of its being unexpected."

The alternations of red and white still continued as Lucy replied, her sparkling eye chastened down by the veil of modesty as she spoke: "I am under Lady Gourlay's roof for the first time in my life. Indeed, I have come here to make an experiment, if I may use the expression, upon the goodness of her heart. The amiable lady with whom I now reside suggested to me to do so, a suggestion which I embraced with delight. I have been here only a few minutes, and await her ladyship's return, which they tell me may be expected immediately."

"It would indeed be unfortunate," replied the stranger, "that two individuals so nearly connected by family, and what is more, the possession of similar virtues, should not be known to each other."

This compliment brought a deeper tinge of color to Lucy's cheek, who simply replied, "I have often wished most sincerely for the pleasure—the honor, I should say—of her acquaintance; but unfortunately the ill-feeling that has subsisted between the families, or rather between a portion of them, has hitherto prevented it. If I were now under my father's roof a visit here were out of the question; but you know, Charles, I cannot, and I ought not, to inherit his resentments."

"True, my dear Lucy, and I am glad to see you here for many, many reasons. No, your father's resentments would perish for want of nurture in a heart like yours. But, Lucy, there is a subject in which I trust we both feel a dearer and a deeper interest than that of family feud. I am aware of this hateful union which your father wishes to bring about between you and this Lord Dunroe. I have been long aware of it, as you know; but need I say that I place every reliance, all honorable confidence, in your truth and attachment?"

He had approached, and gently taking her hand in his as he spoke, he uttered these words in a tone so full at once of tenderness and that sympathy to which he knew her sufferings on this point had entitled her, that Lucy was considerably affected, although she restrained her emotions as well as she could.

"If it were not so," she replied, in a voice whose melody was made more touchingly beautiful by the slight tremor which she endeavored to repress, "if it were not so, Charles, I would not now be a fugitive. from my father's roof."

The stranger's eye sparkled with the rapturous enthusiasm of love, as the gentle girl, all blushes, gave expression to an assurance so gratifying, so delicious to his heart.

"Dearest Lucy," said he, "I fear I am unworthy of you. Oh, could you but know how those words of yours have made my heart tremble with an excess of transport which language fails to express, you would also know that the affection with which I love you is as tender, as pure, as unselfish, as ever warmed the heart of man. And yet, as I said, I fear it is unworthy of you. I know your father's character, his determination, the fierce force of his will, and the energy with which he pursues every object on which he sets his heart or ambition. I say I know all this, and I sometimes fear the consequences. What can the will of only one pure, gentle, and delicate heart avail against the united powers of ambition, authority, persuasion, force, determination, perhaps violence? What, I repeat, can a gentle heart like yours ultimately avail against such a host of difficulties? And it is for this reason that I say I am unworthy of you, for I fear—and you know that perfect love casteth out all fear."

"My dear Charles, if love were without fear it would lose half its tenderness. An eternal sunshine, would soon sicken the world. But as for your apprehensions of my solitary heart failing against such difficulties as it must encounter, you seem to omit one slight element in calculating your terrors, and that simple element is a host in itself."

"Which is?"

"Love for you, dear Charles. I know you may probably feel that this avowal ought to be expressed with more hesitation, veiled over by the hypocrisy of language, disguised by the hackneyed forms of mere sentiment, uttered like the assertions of a coquette, and degraded by that tampering with truth which makes the heart lie unto itself. Oh, yes!—perhaps, Charles, you may think that because I fail to express what I feel in that spirit of ambiguity which a love not confident in the truth, purity, and rectitude of its own principles must always borrow—that because my heart fails to approach yours by the usual circuitous route with which ordinary hearts do approach—yes, you may imagine for all these reasons that my affection is not—but—" and here she checked herself—"why," she added, with dignity, whilst her cheeks glowed and her eyes sparkled, "why should I apologize for the avowal of a love of which I am not ashamed, and which has its strongest defence in the worth and honor of its object?"

Tears of enthusiasm rushed down her cheeks as she spoke, and her lover could only say, "Dearest Lucy, most beloved of my heart, your language, your sentiments, your feelings—so pure, so noble, so far above those commonplaces of your sex, only cause me to shrink almost into nothing when I compare or contrast myself with you. Let, however, one principle guide us—the confidence that our love is mutual and cannot be disturbed. I am for the present placed in circumstances that are exceedingly painful. In point of fact, I am wrapped in obscurity and shadow, and there exists, besides, a possibility that I may not become, in point of fortune, such a man as you might possibly wish to look upon as your husband."

"If you are now suffering your fine mind, Charles, to become unconsciously warped by the common prejudices of life, I beseech you to reflect upon the heart to which you address yourself. Society presents not a single prejudice which in any degree aids or supports virtue, and truth, and honor, that I do not cherish, and wish you to cherish; but if you imagine that you will become less dear to me because you may fail to acquire some of the artificial dignities or honors of life, then it is clear that you know not how to estimate the spirit and character of Lucy Grourlay."

"I know you will be severely tried, my dear Lucy."

"Know me aright, Charles. I have been severely tried. Many a girl, I am sorry to say, would forget Dunroe's profligacy in his rank. Many a girl, in contemplating the man, could see nothing but the coronet; for ambition—the poorest, the vainest, and the most worthless of all kinds of ambition—that of rank, title, the right of precedence—is unfortunately cultivated as a virtue in the world of fashion, and as such it is felt. Be it so, Charles; let me remain unfashionable and vulgar. Perish the title if not accompanied by worth; fling the gaudy coronet aside if it covers not the brow of probity and honor. Retain those, dear Charles—retain worth, probity, and honor—and you retain a heart that looks upon them as the only titles that confer true rank and true dignity."

The stranger gave her a long gaze of admiration, and exclaimed, deeply affected,

"Alas, my Lucy, you are, I fear, unfit for the world. Your spirit is too pure, too noble for common life. Like some priceless gem, it sparkles with the brilliancy of too many virtues for the ordinary mass of mankind to appreciate."

"No such thing, Charles: you quite overrate me; but God forbid that the possession of virtue and good dispositions should ever become a disqualification for this world. It is not so; but even if it were, provided I shine in the estimation of my own little world, by which I mean the affection of him to whom I shall unite my fate, then I am satisfied: his love and his approbation shall constitute my coronet and my honor."

The stranger was absolutely lost in admiration and love, for he felt that the force of truth and sincerity had imparted an eloquence and an energy to her language that were perfectly fascinating and irresistible.

"My dear life," said he, "the music of your words, clothing, as it does, the divine principles they utter, must surely resemble the melody of heaven's own voices. For my part, I feel relaxed in such a delicious rapture as I have never either felt or dreamt of before—entranced, as it were, in a sense of your wonderful beauty and goodness. But, dearest Lucy, allow me to ask on what terms are you with your father? Have you heard from him? Have you written to him? Is he aware of your present residence?"

"No," she replied; "he is not aware of my present residence, but I have written to him. I wished to set his mind at rest as well as I could, and to diminish his anxiety as far as in me lay. Heaven knows," she added, bursting into tears, "that this unnatural estrangement between father and daughter is most distressing. I am anxious to be with papa, to render him, in every sense, all the duties of a child, provided only he will not persist in building up the superstructure of rank upon my own unhappiness. Have you seen him?" she inquired, drying her eyes, a task in which she was tenderly assisted by the stranger.

"I saw him," he replied, "for a short time;" but the terms in which he explained the nature of the interview between himself and the baronet were not such as could afford her a distinct impression of all that took place, simply because he wished to spare her the infliction of unnecessary pain.

"And now, Lucy," he added, "I feel it necessary to claim a large portion of your approbation."

She looked at him with a smile, but awaited his explanation.

"You will scarcely credit me when I assure you that I have had a clew to your place of residence, or concealment, or whatever it is to be termed, since the first morning of your arrival there, and yet I disturbed you not, either by letter or visit. Thus you may perceive how sacred your lightest wish is to me."

"And do you imagine that I am insensible to this delicate generosity?" she asked—"oh, no; indeed, I fully appreciate it; but now, Charles, will you permit me to ask how, or when, or where you have been acquainted with my aunt Gourlay, for I was not aware that you had known each other?"

"This, my dear Lucy," he replied, smiling, "you shall have cleared up along with all my other mysteries. Like every riddle, although it may seem difficult now, it will be plain enough when told."

"It matters not, dear Charles; I have every confidence in your truth and honor, and that is sufficient."

He then informed her briefly, that he should be under the necessity of going to France for a short space, upon business of the deepest importance to himself.

"My stay, however," he added, "will not be a very long one; and I trust, that after my return, I shall be in a position to speak out my love. Indeed, I am anxious for this, dear Lucy, for I know how strong the love of truth and candor is in your great and generous heart. And yet, for the sake of one good and amiable individual, or rather, I should say, of two, the object of my journey to France will not be accomplished without the deepest pain to myself. It is, I may say here, to spare the feelings of the two individuals in question, that I have preserved the strict incognito which I thought necessary since my arrival in this country."

"Farewell until then, my dear Charles; and in whatever object you may be engaged, let me beg that you will not inflict a wanton or unnecessary wound upon a good or amiable heart; but I know you will not—it is not in your nature."

"I trust not," he added, as he took his leave. "I cannot wait longer for lady Gourlay; but before I go, I will write a short note for her in the library, which will, for the present, answer the same purpose as seeing her. Farewell, then, dearest and best of girls!—farewell, and be as happy as you can; would that I could say, as I wish you, until we meet again."

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