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´╗┐Title: It Is Never Too Late to Mend
Author: Reade, Charles, 1814-1884
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "It Is Never Too Late to Mend" ***

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IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND

By Charles Reade


This attempt at a solid fiction is, with their permission, dedicated to
the President, Fellows, and demies of St. Mary Magdalen College. Oxford,
by a grateful son of that ancient, learned, and most charitable house.



CHAPTER I.


George Fielding cultivated a small farm in Berkshire.

This position is not so enviable as it was. Years ago, the farmers
of England, had they been as intelligent as other traders, could have
purchased the English soil by means of the huge percentage it offered
them.

But now, I grieve to say, a farmer must be as sharp as his neighbors,
or like his neighbors he will break. What do I say? There are soils and
situations where, in spite of intelligence and sobriety, he is almost
sure to break; just as there are shops where the lively, the severe, the
industrious, the lazy, are fractured alike.

This last fact I make mine by perambulating a certain great street every
three months, and observing how name succeeds to name as wave to wave.

Readers hardened by the _Times_ will not perhaps go so far as to weep
over a body of traders for being reduced to the average condition of
all other traders. But the individual trader, who fights for existence
against unfair odds, is to be pitied whether his shop has plate glass
or a barn door to it; and he is the more to be pitied when he is sober,
intelligent, proud, sensitive, and unlucky.

George Fielding was all these, who, a few years ago, assisted by his
brother William, filled "The Grove"--as nasty a little farm as any in
Berkshire.

Discontented as he was, the expression hereinbefore written would have
seemed profane to young Fielding, for a farmer's farm and a sailor's
ship have always something sacred in the sufferer's eyes, though one
sends one to jail, and the other the other to Jones.

It was four hundred acres, all arable, and most of it poor sour land.
George's father had one hundred acres grass with it, but this had been
separated six years ago.

There was not a tree, nor even an old stump to show for this word
"Grove."

But in the country oral tradition still flourishes.

There had been trees in "The Grove," only the title had outlived the
timber a few centuries.

On the morning of our tale George Fielding might have been seen near his
own homestead, conversing with the Honorable Frank Winchester.

This gentleman was a character that will be common some day, but was
nearly unique at the date of our story.

He had not an extraordinary intellect, but he had great natural gayety,
and under that he had enormous good sense; his good sense was really
brilliant, he had a sort of universal healthy mind that I can't
understand how people get.

He was deeply in love with a lady who returned his passion, but she
was hopelessly out of his reach, because he had not much money or
expectations; instead of sitting down railing, or sauntering about
whining, what did me the Honorable Frank Winchester? He looked over
England for the means of getting this money, and not finding it there,
he surveyed the globe and selected Australia, where, they told him, a
little money turns to a deal, instead of dissolving in the hand like a
lozenge in the mouth, as it does in London.

So here was an earl's son (in this age of commonplace events) going
to Australia with five thousand pounds, as sheep farmer and general
speculator.

He was trying hard to persuade George Fielding to accompany him as
bailiff or agricultural adviser and manager.

He knew the young man's value, but to do him justice his aim was not
purely selfish; he was aware that Fielding had a bad bargain in "The
Grove," and the farmer had saved his life at great personal risk one
day that he was seized with cramp bathing in the turbid waters of Cleve
millpool, and he wanted to serve him in return. This was not his first
attempt of the kind, and but for one reason perhaps he might have
succeeded.

"You know me and I know you," said Mr. Winchester to George Fielding;
"I must have somebody to put me in the way. Stay with me one year,
and after that I'll square accounts with you about that thundering
millpool."

"Oh! Mr. Winchester," said George, hastily and blushing like fire,
"that's an old story, sir?" with a sweet little half-cunning smile that
showed he was glad it was not forgotten.

"Not quite," replied the young gentleman dryly; "you shall have five
hundred sheep and a run for them, and we will both come home rich and
consequently respectable."

"It is a handsome offer, sir, and a kind offer and like yourself, sir,
but transplanting one of us," continued George, "dear me, sir, it's like
taking up an oak tree thirty years in the ground--besides--besides--did
you ever notice my cousin, Susanna, sir?"

"Notice her! why, do you think I am a heathen, and never go to the
parish church? Miss Merton is a lovely girl; she sits in the pew by the
pillar."

"Isn't she, sir?" said George.

Mr. Winchester endeavored to turn this adverse topic in his favor; he
made a remark that produced no effect at the time. He said, "People
don't go to Australia to die--they go to Australia to make money, and
come home and marry--and it is what you must do--this "Grove" is a
millstone round your neck. Will you have a cigar, farmer?"

George consented, premising, however, that hitherto he had never got
beyond a yard of clay, and after drawing a puff or two he took the cigar
from his mouth, and looking at it said, "I say, sir! seems to me the
fire is uncommon near the chimbly." Mr. Winchester laughed; he then
asked George to show him the blacksmith shop. "I must learn how to shoe
a horse," said the honorable Frank.

"Well, I never!" thought George. "The first nob in the country going to
shoe a horse," but with his rustic delicacy he said nothing, and led Mr.
Winchester to the blacksmith's shop.

While this young gentleman is hammering nails into a horse's hoof,
and Australia into an English farmer's mind, we must introduce other
personages.

Susanna Merton was beautiful and good. George Fielding and she were
acknowledged lovers, but marriage was not spoken of as a near event, and
latterly old Merton had seemed cool whenever his daughter mentioned the
young man's name.

Susanna appeared to like George, though not so warmly as he loved her;
but at all events she accepted no other proffers of love. For all that
she had, besides a host of admirers, other lovers besides George;
and what is a great deal more singular (for a woman's eye is quick as
lightning in finding out who loves her), there was more than one of
whose passion she was not conscious.

William Fielding, George's brother, was in love with his brother's
sweetheart, but though he trembled with pleasure when she was near him,
he never looked at her except by stealth; he knew he had no business to
love her.

On the morning of our tale Susan's father, old Merton, had walked over
from his farm to "The Grove," and was inspecting a field behind George's
house, when he was accosted by his friend, Mr. Meadows, who had seen
him, and giving his horse to a boy to hold had crossed the stubbles to
speak to him.

Mr. Meadows was not a common man, and merits some preliminary notice.

He was what is called in the country "a lucky man"; everything he had
done in life had prospered.

The neighbors admired, respected, and some of them even hated this
respectable man, who had been a carter in the midst of them, and now at
forty years of age was a rich corn-factor and land-surveyor.

"All this money cannot have been honestly got," said the envious ones
among themselves; yet they could not put their finger on any dishonest
action he had done. To the more candid the known qualities of the man
accounted for his life of success.

This John Meadows had a cool head, an iron will, a body and mind alike
indefatigable, and an eye never diverted from the great objects of sober
industrious men--wealth and respectability. He had also the soul of
business--method!

At one hour he was sure to be at church; at another, at market; in his
office at a third, and at home when respectable men should be at home.

By this means Mr. Meadows was always to be found by any man who
wanted to do business; and when you had found him, you found a man
superficially coy perhaps, but at bottom always ready to do business,
and equally sure to get the sunny side of it and give you the windy.

Meadows was generally respected; by none more than by old Merton, and
during the last few months the intimacy of these two men had ripened
into friendship; the corn-factor often hooked his bridle to the old
farmer's gate, and took a particular interest in all his affairs.

Such was John Meadows.

In person he was a tall, stout man, with iron gray hair, a healthy,
weather-colored complexion, and a massive brow that spoke to the depth
and force of the man's character.

"What, taking a look at the farm, Mr. Merton? It wants some of your
grass put to it, doesn't it?"

"I never thought much of the farm," was the reply, "it lies cold; the
sixty-acre field is well enough, but the land on the hill is as poor as
death."

Now this idea, which Merton gave out as his, had dropped into him from
Meadows three weeks before.

"Farmer," said Meadows, in an undertone, "they are thrashing out new
wheat for the rent."

"You don't say so? Why I didn't hear the flail going."

"They have just knocked off for dinner--you need not say I told you, but
Will Fielding was at the bank this morning, trying to get money on their
bill, and the bank said No! They had my good word, _too_. The people of
the bank sent over to me."

They had his good word! but not his good tone! he had said. "Well,
their father was a safe man;" but the accent with which he eulogized the
parent had somehow locked the bank cash-box to the children.

"I never liked it, especially of late," mused Merton. "But you see the
young folk being cousins--"

"That is it, cousins," put in Meadows; "it is not as if she loved him
with all her heart and soul; she is an obedient daughter, isn't she?"

"Never gainsaid me in her life; she has a high spirit, but never with
me; my word is law. You see, she is a very religious girl, is Susan."

"Well, then, a word from you would save her--but there--all that is your
affair, not mine," added he.

"Of course it is," was the reply. "You are a true friend. I'll step
round to the barn and see what is doing." And away went Susan's father
uneasy in his mind.

Meadows went to the "Black Horse," the village public house, to see what
farmers wanted to borrow a little money under the rose, and would
pawn their wheat ricks, and pay twenty per cent for that overrated
merchandise.

At the door of the public-house he was met by the village constable, and
a stranger of gentlemanly address and clerical appearance. The constable
wore a mysterious look and invited Meadows into the parlor of the
public-house.

"I have news for you, sir," said he, "leastways I think so; your pocket
was picked last Martinmas fair of three Farnborough bank-notes with your
name on the back."

"It was!"

"Is this one of them?" said the man, producing a note.

Meadows examined it with interest, compared the number with a memorandum
in his pocketbook, and pronounced that it was.

"Who passed it?" inquired he.

"A chap that has got the rest--a stranger--Robinson--that lodges at "The
Grove" with George Fielding; that is, if his name is Robinson, but we
think he is a Londoner come down to take an airing. You understand,
Sir."

Meadows' eyes flashed actual fire. For so rich a man, he seemed
wonderfully excited by this circumstance.

To an inquiry who was his companion, the constable answered _sotto
voce_, "Gentleman from Bow Street, come to see if he knows him." The
constable went on to inform Meadows that Robinson was out fishing
somewhere, otherwise they would already have taken him; "but we will
hang about the farm, and take him when he comes home."

"You had better be at hand, sir, to identify the notes," said the
gentleman from Bow Street, whose appearance was clerical.

Meadows had important business five miles off; he postponed it. He wrote
a line in pencil, put a boy upon his black mare, and hurried him off to
the rendezvous, while he stayed and entered with strange alacrity into
this affair. "Stay," cried he, "if he is an old hand he will twig the
officer."

"Oh, I'm dark, sir," was the answer; "he won't know me till I put the
darbies on him."

The two men then strolled as far as the village stocks, keeping an eye
ever on the farm-house.

Thus a network of adverse events was closing round George Fielding this
day.

He was all unconscious of them; he was in good spirits. Robinson had
showed him how to relieve the temporary embarrassment that had lately
depressed him.

"Draw a bill on your brother," said Robinson, "and let him accept it.
The Farnborough Bank will give you notes for it. These country banks
like any paper better than their own. I dare say they are right."

George had done this, and expected William every minute with this and
other moneys. And then Susanna Merton was to dine at "The Grove" to-day,
and this, though not uncommon, was always a great event with poor
George.

Dilly would not come to be killed just when he was wanted. In other
words, Robinson, who had no idea how he was keeping people waiting,
fished tranquilly till near dinner-time, neither taking nor being taken.

This detained Meadows in the neighborhood of the farm, and was the cause
of his rencontre with a very singular personage, whose visit he knew at
sight must be to him.

As he hovered about among George Fielding's ricks, the figure of an old
man slightly bowed but full of vigor stood before him. He had a long
gray beard with a slight division in the center, hair abundant but
almost white, and a dark, swarthy complexion that did not belong to
England; his thick eyebrows also were darker than his hair, and under
them was an eye like a royal jewel; his voice had the Oriental richness
and modulation--this old man was Isaac Levi; an Oriental Jew who had
passed half his life under the sun's eye, and now, though the town of
Farnborough had long been too accustomed to him to wonder at him, he
dazzled any thoughtful stranger; so exotic and apart was he--so romantic
a grain in a heap of vulgarity--he was as though a striped jasper had
crept in among the paving-stones of their marketplace, or a cactus
grandiflora shone among the nettles of a Berkshire meadow.

Isaac Levi, unlike most Jews, was familiar with the Hebrew tongue, and
this and the Eastern habits of his youth colored his language and his
thoughts, especially in his moments of emotion, and above all, when he
forgot the money-lender for a moment, and felt and thought as one of a
great nation, depressed, but waiting for a great deliverance. He was a
man of authority and learning in his tribe.

At sight of Isaac Levi Meadows' brow towered, and he called out rather
rudely without allowing the old gentleman to speak, "If you are come to
talk to me about that house you are in you may keep your breath to cool
your porridge."

Meadows had bought the house Isaac rented, and had instantly given him
warning to leave.

Isaac, who had become strangely attached to the only place in which he
had ever lived many years, had not doubted for a moment that Meadows
merely meant to raise the rent to its full value, so he had come to
treat with his new landlord. "Mr. Meadows," said he persuasively, "I
have lived there twenty years--I pay a fair rent--but, if you think
any one would give you more you shall lose nothing by me--I will pay a
little more; and you know your rent is secure?"

"I do," was the answer.

"Thank you, sir! well, then--"

"Well, then, next Lady-day you turn out bag and baggage.

"Nay, sir," said Isaac Levi, "hear me, for you are younger than I. Mr.
Meadows, when this hair was brown I traveled in the East; I sojourned in
Madras and Benares, in Bagdad, Ispahan, Mecca and Bassora, and found no
rest. When my hair began to turn gray, I traded in Petersburg and Rome
and Paris, Vienna and Lisbon and other western cities and found no rest.
I came to this little town, where, least of all, I thought to pitch my
tent for life, but here the God of my fathers gave me my wife, and here
He took her to Himself again--"

"What the deuce is all this to me, man?"

"Much, sir, if you are what men say; for men speak well of you; be
patient, and hear me. Two children were born to me and died from me in
the house you have bought; and there my Leah died also; and there at
times in the silent hours I seem to hear their voices and their feet. In
another house I shall never hear them--I shall be quite alone. Have pity
on me, sir, an aged and a lonely man; tear me not from the shadows of my
dead. Let me prevail with you?"

"No!" was the stern answer.

"No?" cried Levi, a sudden light darting into his eye; "then you must be
an enemy of Isaac Levi?"

"Yes!" was the grim reply to this rapid inference.

"Aha!" cried the old Jew, with a sudden defiance, which he instantly
suppressed. "And what have I done to gain your enmity, sir?" said he, in
a tone crushed by main force into mere regret.

"You lend money."

"A little, sir, now and then--a very little."

"That is to say, when the security is bad, you have no money in hand;
but when the security is good, nobody has ever found the bottom of Isaac
Levi's purse."

"Our people," said Isaac apologetically, "can trust one another--they
are not like yours. We are brothers, and that is why money is always
forthcoming when the deposit is sound."

"Well," said Meadows, "what you are, I am; what I do on the sly you do
on the sly, old thirty per cent."

"The world is wide enough for us both, good sir--"

"It is!" was the prompt reply. "And it lies before you, Isaac. Go where
you like, for the little town of Farnborough is not wide enough for me
and any man that works my business for his own pocket--"

"But this is not enmity, sir."

Meadows gave a coarsish laugh. "You are hard to please," cried he. "I
think you will find it is enmity."

"Nay! sir, this is but matter of profit and loss. Well, let me stay, and
I promise you shall gain and not lose. Our people are industrious and
skillful in all bargains, but we keep faith and covenant. So be it. Let
us be friends. I covenant with you, and I swear by the tables of the
law, you shall not lose one shilling per annum by me."

"I'll trust you as far as I can fling a bull by the tail. You gave me
your history--take mine. I have always put my foot on whatever man
or thing has stood in my way. I was poor, I am rich, and that is my
policy."

"It is frail policy," said Isaac, firmly. "Some man will be sure to put
his foot on you, soon or late."

"What, do you threaten me?" roared Meadows.

"No, sir," said Isaac, gently but steadily. "I but tell you what these
old eyes have seen in every nation, and read in books that never lie.
Goliath defied armies, yet he fell like a pigeon by a shepherd-boy's
sling. Samson tore a lion in pieces with his hands, but a woman laid him
low. No man can defy us all, sir! The strong man is sure to find one
as strong and more skillful; the cunning man one as adroit and stronger
than himself. Be advised, then, do not trample upon one of my people.
Nations and men that oppress us do not thrive. Let me have to bless you.
An old man's blessing is gold. See these gray hairs. My sorrows have
been as many as they. His share of the curse that is upon his tribe has
fallen upon Isaac Levi." Then, stretching out his hands with a slight
but touching gesture, he said, "I have been driven to and fro like a
leaf these many years, and now I long for rest. Let me rest in my little
tent, till I rest forever. Oh! let me die where those I loved have died,
and there let me be buried."

Age, sorrow, and eloquence pleaded in vain, for they were wasted on the
rocks of rocks, a strong will and a vulgar soul. But indeed the whole
thing was like epic poetry wrestling with the _Limerick Chronicle_ or
_Tuam Gazette_.

I am almost ashamed to give the respectable western brute's answer.

"What! you quote Scripture, eh? I thought you did not believe in that.
Hear t'other side. Abraham and Lot couldn't live in the same place,
because they both kept sheep, and we can't, because we fleece 'em.
So Abraham gave Lot warning as I give it you. And as for dying on my
premises, if you like to hang yourself before next Lady-day, I give you
leave, but after Lady-day no more Jewish dogs shall die in my house nor
be buried for manure in my garden."

Black lightning poured from the old Jew's eyes, and his pent-up wrath
burst out like lava from an angry mountain.

"Irreverent cur! do you rail on the afflicted of Heaven? The Founder of
your creed would abhor you, for He, they say, was pitiful. I spit upon
ye, and I curse ye. Be accursed!" And flinging up his hands, like St.
Paul at Lystra, he rose to double his height and towered at his insulter
with a sudden Eastern fury that for a moment shook even the iron
Meadows. "Be accursed!" he yelled again. "Whatever is the secret wish
of your black heart Heaven look on my gray hairs that you have insulted,
and wither that wish. Ah, ah!" he screamed, "you wince. All men have
secret wishes--Heaven fight against yours. May all the good luck you
have be wormwood for want of that--that---that--that. May you be near
it, close to it, upon it, pant for it, and lose it; may it sport, and
smile, and laugh, and play with you till Gehenna burns your soul upon
earth!"

The old man's fiery forked tongue darted so keen and true to some sore
in his adversary's heart that he in turn lost his habitual self-command.

White and black with passion he wheeled round on Isaac with a fierce
snarl, and lifting his stick discharged a furious blow at his head.

Fortunately for Isaac wood encountered leather instead of gray hairs.

Attracted by the raised voices, and unseen in their frenzy by either of
these antagonists, young George Fielding had drawn near them. He had,
luckily, a stout pig-whip in his hand, and by an adroit turn of his
muscular wrist he parried a blow that would have stopped the old Jew's
eloquence perhaps forever. As it was, the corn-factor's stick cut like
a razor through the air, and made a most musical whirr within a foot
of the Jew's ear. The basilisk look of venom and vengeance he instantly
shot back amounted to a stab.

"Not if I know it," said George. And he stood cool and erect with a calm
manly air of defiance between the two belligerents. While the stick and
the whip still remained in contact, Meadows glared at Isaac's champion
with surprise and wrath, and a sort of half fear half wonder that this
of all men in the world should be the one to cross weapons with and
thwart him. "You are joking, Master Meadows," said George coolly. "Why
the man is twice your age, and nothing in his hand but his fist. Who are
ye, old man, and what d'ye want? It's you for cursing, anyway."

"He insults me," cried Meadows, "because I won't have him for a tenant
against my will. Who is he? A villainous old Jew."

"Yes, young man," said the other, sadly, "I am Isaac Levi, a Jew. And
what is your religion" (he turned upon Meadows)? "It never came out of
Judea in any name or shape. D'ye call yourself a heathen? Ye lie, ye
cur; the heathen were not without starlight from heaven; they respected
sorrow and gray hairs."

"You shall smart for this. I'll show you what my religion is," said
Meadows, inadvertent with passion, and the corn-factor's fingers grasped
his stick convulsively.

"Don't you be so aggravating, old man," said the good-natured George,
"and you, Mr. Meadows, should know how to make light of an old man's
tongue; why it's like a woman's, it's all he has got to hit with;
leastways you mustn't lift hand to him on my premises, or you will have
to settle with me first; and I don't think that would suit your book or
any man's for a mile or two round about Farnborough," said George with
his little Berkshire drawl.

"He!" shrieked Isaac, "he dare not! see! see!" and he pointed nearly
into the man's eye, "he doesn't look you in the face. Any soul that
has read men from east to west can see lion in your eye, young man, and
cowardly wolf in his."

"Lady-day! Lady-day!" snorted Meadows, who was now shaking with
suppressed rage.

"Ah!" cried Isaac, and he turned white and quivered in his turn.

"Lady-day!" said George, uneasily, "Confound Lady-day, and every day of
the sort--there, don't you be so spiteful, old man--why if he isn't
all of a tremble. Poor old man." He went to his own door, and called
"Sarah!"

A stout servant-girl answered the summons.

"Take the old man in, and give him whatever is going, and his mug and
pipe," then he whispered her, "and don't go lumping the chine down under
his nose now."

"I thank you, young man," faltered Isaac, "I must not eat with you, but
I will go in and rest my limbs which fail me, and compose myself; for
passion is unseemly at my years."

Arrived at the door, he suddenly paused, and looking upward, said:

"Peace be under this roof, and comfort and love follow me into this
dwelling."

"Thank ye kindly," said young Fielding, a little surprised and touched
by this. "How old are you, daddy, if you please?" added he respectfully.

"My son, I am threescore years and ten--a man of years and grief--grief
for myself, grief still more for my nation and city. Men that are men
pity us; men that are dogs have insulted us in all ages."

"Well," said the good-natured young man soothingly--"don't you vex
yourself any more about it. Now you go in, and forget all your trouble
awhile, please God, by my fireside, my poor old man."

Isaac turned, the water came to his eyes at this after being insulted
so; a little struggle took place in him, but nature conquered prejudice
and certain rubbish he called religion. He held out his hand like the
king of all Asia; George grasped it like an Englishman.

"Isaac Levi is your friend," and the expression of the man's whole face
and body showed these words carried with them a meaning unknown in good
society.

He entered the house, and young Fielding stood watching him with a
natural curiosity.

Now Isaac Levi knew nothing about the corn-factor's plans. When at
one and the same moment he grasped George's hand, and darted a long,
lingering glance of demoniacal hatred on Meadows, he coupled two
sentiments by pure chance. And Meadows knew this; but still it struck
Meadows as singular and ominous.

When, with the best of motives, one is on a wolf's errand, it is not
nice to hear a hyena say to the shepherd's dog, "I am your friend," and
see him contemptuously shoot the eye of a rattlesnake at one's self.

The misgiving, however, was but momentary; Meadows respected his own
motives and felt his own power; an old Jew's wild fury could not shake
his confidence.

He muttered, "One more down to your account, George Fielding," and left
the young man watching Isaac's retreating form.

George, who didn't know he was gone, said:

"Old man's words seem to knock against my bosom, Mr. Meadows--Gone,
eh?--that man," thought George Fielding, "has everybody's good word,
parson's and all--who'd think he'd lift his hand, leastways his stick
it was and that's worse, against a man of three score and upward--Ugh!"
thought George Fielding, yeoman of the midland counties--and unaffected
wonder mingled with his disgust.

His reverie was broken by William Fielding just ridden in from
Farnborough.

"Better late than never," said the elder brother, impatiently.

"Couldn't get away sooner, George; here's the money for the sheep, 13
pounds 10s.; no offer for the cow, Jem is driving her home."

"Well, but the money--the 80 pounds, Will?"

William looked sulkily down.

"I haven't got it, George! There's your draft again, the bank wouldn't
take it."

A keen pang shot across George's face, as much for the affront as the
disappointment.

"They wouldn't take it?" gasped he. "Ay, Will, our credit is down, the
whole town knows our rent is overdue. I suppose you know money _must_ be
got some way."

"Any way is better than threshing out new wheat at such a price," said
William sullenly. "Ask a loan of a neighbor."

"Oh, Will," appealed George, "to ask a loan of a neighbor, and be
denied--it is bitterer than death. _You_ can do it."

"I! Am I master here?" retorted the younger. "The farm is not farmed my
way, nor ever was. No! Give me the plow-handle and I'll cut the furrow,
George."

"No doubt, no doubt!" said the other, very sharply, "you'd like to draw
the land dry with potato crops, and have fourscore hogs snoring in the
farmyard; that's your idea of a farm. Oh! I know you want to be elder
brother. Well, I tell'ee what do; you kill me first, Bill Fielding, and
then you will be elder brother, and not afore."

Here was a pretty little burst of temper! We have all our sore part.

"So be it, George!" replied William, "you got us into the mud, elder
brother, you get us out of the mire!"

George subdued his tone directly.

"Who shall I ask?" said he, as one addressing a bosom counselor.

"Uncle Merton, or--or---Mr. Meadows the corn-factor; he lends money at
times to friends. It would not be much to either of them."

"Show my empty pockets to Susanna's father! Oh, Will! how can you be so
cruel?"

"Meadows, then."

"No use for me, I've just offended him a hit; beside he's a man that
never knew trouble or ill luck in his life; they are like flints, all
that sort."

"Well, look here, I'm pretty well with Meadows. I'll ask him if you will
try uncle; the first that meets his man to begin."

"That sounds fair," said George, "but I can't--well--yes," said he,
suddenly changing his mind. "I agree," said he, with simple cunning, and
lowered his eyes; but suddenly raising them, he said cheerfully, "Why,
you're in luck, Bill; here's your man," and he shot like an arrow into
his own kitchen.

"Confound it," said the other, fairly caught.

Meadows, it is to be observed, was wandering about the premises until
such time as Robinson should return; and while the brothers were
arguing, he had been in the barn, and finding old Merton there had
worked still higher that prudent man's determination to break off
matters between his daughter and the farmer of "The Grove."

After the usual salutations William Fielding, sore against the grain,
began:

"I did not know you were here, sir! I want to speak to you."

"I am at your service, Mr. Willum."

"Well, sir. George and I are a little short just at present; it is only
for a time, and George says he should take it very kind if you would
lend us a hundred pound, just to help us over the stile."

"Why, Mr. Willum," replied Meadows, "I should be delighted, and if you
had only asked me yesterday, I could have done it as easy as stand here;
but my business drinks a deal of money, Mr. Willum, and I laid out
all my loose cash yesterday; but, of course, it is of no
consequence--another time--good morning, Mr. Willum."

Away sauntered Meadows, leaving William planted there, as the French
say.

George ran out of the kitchen.

"Well?"

"He says he has got no money loose."

"He is a liar! he paid 1,600 pounds into the bank yesterday, and you
knew it; didn't you tell him so?"

"No; what use? A man that lies to avoid lending won't be driven to
lend."

"You don't play fair," retorted George. "You could have got it from
Meadows, if you had a mind; but you want to drive your poor brother
against his sweetheart's father; you are false, my lad."

"You are the only man that ever said so; and you durstn't say it if you
weren't my brother."

"If it wasn't for that, I'd say a deal more."

"Well, show your high stomach to Uncle Merton, for there he is.
Hy!--uncle!" cried William to Merton, who turned instantly and came
toward them. "George wants to speak to you," said William, and shot like
a cross-bow bolt behind the house.

"That is lucky," said Merton, "for I want to speak to you."

"Who would have thought of his being about?" muttered George.

While George was calling up his courage and wits to open his subject,
Mr. Merton, who had no such difficulties, was beforehand with him.

"You are threshing out new wheat?" said Merton, gravely.

"Yes," answered George, looking down.

"That is a bad lookout; a farmer has no business to go to his barn door
for his rent."

"Where is he to go, then? to the church door, and ask for a miracle?"

"No; to his ship-fold, to be sure."

"Ay! you can; you have got grass and water and everything to hand."

"And so must you, young man, or you'll never be a farmer. Now, George, I
must speak to you seriously" (George winced).

"You are a fine lad, and I like you very well, but I love my own
daughter better."

"So do I!" said George simply.

"And I must look out for her," resumed Merton. "I have seen a pretty
while how things are going here, and if she marries you she will have to
keep you instead of you her."

"Heaven forbid! Matters are not so bad as that, uncle."

"You are too much of a man, I hope," continued Merton, "to eat a woman's
bread; and if you are not, I am man enough to keep the girl from it."

"These are hard words to bear," gasped George. "So near my own house,
old man."

"Well, plain speaking is best when the mind is made up," was the reply.

"Is this from Susanna, as well as you?" said George, with a trembling
lip, and scarce able to utter the words.

"Susan is an obedient daughter. What I say she'll stand to; and I hope
you know better than to tempt her to disobey me; you wouldn't succeed."

"Enough said," answered George very sternly. "Enough said, old man; I've
no need to tempt any girl."

"Good morning, George!" and away stumped Merton.

"Good morning, uncle! (ungrateful old thief)."

"William," cried he, to his brother, who came the next minute to hear
the news, "our mother took him out of the dirt.--I have heard her say
as much--or he'd not have a ship-fold to brag of. Oh! my heart--oh!
Will!--"

"Well, will he lend the money?"

"I never asked him."

"You never asked him!" cried William.

"Bill, he began upon me in a moment," said George, looking appealingly
into his brother's face; "he sees we are going down hill, and he as good
as bade me think no more of Susan."

"Well," said the other, harshly, "it was your business to own the truth
and ask him help us over the stile--he's our own blood."

"You want to let me down lower than I would let that Carlo dog of yours.
You're no brother of mine," retorted George fiercely and bitterly.

"A bargain is a bargain," replied the other sullenly: "I asked Meadows,
and he said No. You fell talking with uncle about Susan, and never put
the question to him at all. Who is the false one, eh?"

"If you call me false, I'll knock your ugly head off, sulky Bill."

"You're false, and a fool into the bargain, bragging George!"

"What, you will have it, then?"

"If you can give it me."

"Well, if it is to be," said George, "I'll give you something to put you
on your mettle. The best man shall farm 'The Grove,' and the other shall
be a servant on it, or go elsewhere, for I am sick of this."

"And so am I!" cried William, hastily; "and have been any time this two
years."

They tucked up their sleeves a little, shook hands, and then retired
each one step, and began to fight.

And how came these two honest men to forget that the blood they proposed
to shed was thicker than water? Was it the farm, money, agricultural
dissension, temper? They would have told you it was, and perhaps thought
it was. It was Susanna Merton!

The secret subtle influence of jealousy had long been fermenting, and
now it exploded in this way and under this disguise.

Ah! William Fielding, and all of you, "Beware of jealousy"--cursed
jealousy! it is the sultan of all the passions, and the Tartar chief of
all the crimes. Other passions affect the character; this changes, and,
if good, always reverses it! Mind that, reverses it! turns honest men to
snakes, and doves to vultures. Horrible unnatural mixture of Love
with Hate--you poison the whole mental constitution--you bandage the
judgment--you crush the sense of right and wrong--you steel the bowels
of compassion--you madden the brain--you corrupt the heart--you damn the
soul.

The Fieldings, then, shook hands mechanically, and receding each a step
began to spar.

Each of these farmers fancied himself slightly the best man; but they
both knew they had an antagonist with whom it would not do to make the
least mistake.

They therefore sparred and feinted with wary eye before they ventured
to close; George, however, the more impetuous, was preparing to come
to closer quarters when all of a sudden, to the other's surprise, he
dropped his hands by his sides, and turned the other way with a face
anything but warlike, fear being now the prominent expression.

William followed the direction of his eye, and then William partook
his brother's uneasiness; however, he put his hands in his pockets, and
began to saunter about, in a circumference of three yards, and to get up
a would-be-careless whistle, while George's hands became dreadfully in
his way, so he washed them in the air.

While they were employed in this peaceful pantomime a beautiful young
woman glided rapidly between the brothers.

Her first words renewed their uneasiness.

"What is this?" cried she, haughtily, and she looked from one to the
other like a queen rebuking her subjects.

George looked at William--William had nothing ready.

So George said, with some hesitation, but in a mellifluous voice,
"William was showing me--a trick--he learned at the fair--that is all,
Susan."

"That is a falsehood, George," replied the lady, "the first you ever
told me"--(George colored)--"you were fighting, you two boys--I saw your
eyes flash!"

The rueful wink exchanged by the combatants at this stroke of sagacity
was truly delicious.

"Oh, fie! oh, fie! brothers by one mother fighting--in a Christian
land--within a stone's throw of a church, where brotherly love is
preached as a debt we owe to strangers, let alone our own blood."

"Yes! it is a sin, Susan," said William, his conscience suddenly
illuminated. "So I ask _your_ pardon, Susanna."

"Oh! it wasn't your fault, I'll be bound," was the gracious reply. "What
a ruffian you must be, George, to shed your brother's blood."

"La! Susan," said George, with a doleful whine, "I wasn't going to
shed the beggar's blood. I was only going to give him a hiding for his
impudence."

"Or take one for your own," replied William coolly.

"That is more likely," said Susan. "George, take William's hand; take it
this instant, I say," cried she, with an air imperative and impatient.

"Well, why not? don't you go in a passion, Susan, about nothing," said
George coaxingly.

They took hands; she made them hold one another by the hand, which they
did with both their heads hanging down. "While I speak a word to you
two," said Susan Merton.

"You ought both to go on your knees, and thank Providence that sent me
here to prevent so great a crime; and as for you, your character must
change greatly, George Fielding, before I trust myself to live in a
house of yours."

"Is all the blame to fall on my head?" said George, letting go William's
hand with no great apparent reluctance.

"Of course it is! William is a quiet lad that quarrels with nobody; you
are always quarreling; you thrashed our carter last Candlemas."

"He spoke saucy words about you."

Susan, smiling inwardly, made her face as repulsive outside as lay in
her power.

"I don't believe it," said Susan; "your time was come round to fight and
be a ruffian, and so it was to-day, no doubt."

"Ah!" said George, sorrowfully, "it is always poor George that does all
the wrong.

"Oh!" replied the lady, an arch smile playing for a moment about her
lips, "I could scold William, too, if you think I am as much interested
in his conduct and behavior as in yours."

"No, no!" cried George, brightening up, "don't think to scold anybody
but me, Susan; and William," said he, suddenly and frankly, "I ask your
pardon."

"No more about it, George, if you please," answered William in his
dogged way.

"Susan," said George, "you don't know all I have to bear. My heart is
sore, Susan, dear. Uncle twitted me not an hour ago with my ill luck,
and almost bade me to speak to you no more, leastways as my sweetheart;
and that was why, when William came at me on the top of such a blow, it
was more than I could bear; and Susan--Susan--uncle said you would stand
to whatever he said."

"George," said Susan gently, "I am very sorry my father was so unkind."

"Thank ye kindly, Susan; that is the first drop of dew that has fallen
on me to-day."

"But obedience to parents," continued Susan, interrogating, as it were,
her conscience, "is a great duty. I _hope_ I shall never disobey my
father," faltered she.

"Oh!" answered the goose George hastily, "I don't want any girl to be
kind to me that does not love me; I am so unlucky, it would not be worth
her while, you know."

At this Susan answered still more sharply, "No, I don't think it would
be worth any woman's while, till your character and temper undergo a
change."

George never answered a word, but went and leaned his head upon the side
of a cart that stood half in and half out of a shed close by.

At this juncture a gay personage joined the party. He had a ball
waistcoat, as alarming tie, a shooting jacket, wet muddy trousers and
shoes, and an empty basket on his back.

He joined our group, just as George was saying to himself very sadly, "I
am in everybody's way here"--and he attacked him directly.

"Everybody is in this country."

The reader is to understand that this Robinson was last from California;
and California had made such an impression upon him, that he turned the
conversation that way oftener than a well-regulated understanding recurs
to any one topic, except, perhaps, religion.

He was always pestering George to go to California with him, and it must
be owned that on this one occasion George had given him a fair handle.

"Come out of it," continued Robinson, "and make your fortune."

"You did not make yours there," said Susan sharply.

"I beg your pardon, miss. I made it, or how could I have spent it?"

"No doubt," said William. "What comes by the wind goes by the water."

"Alluding to the dust?" inquired the Cockney.

"Gold dust especially," retorted Susan Merton.

Robinson laughed. "The ladies are sharp, even in Berkshire," said he.

Mr. Robinson then proceeded to disabuse their minds about the facility
of gold.

"A crop of gold," said he, "does not come by the wind any more than a
crop of corn; it comes by harder digging than your potatoes ever saw,
and harder work than you ever did--oxen and horses perspire for you,
Fielding No. 2."

"Did you ever see a horse or an ox mow an acre of grass or barley?"
retorted William dryly.

"Don't brag," replied the other; "they'll eat all you can mow and never
say a word about it."

This repartee was so suited to their rustic idea of wit, that Robinson's
antagonists laughed heartily, except George.

"What is the matter with him?" said Robinson, sotto voce, indicating
George.

"Oh! he is cross, never mind him," replied Susan ostentatiously loud.
George winced, but never spoke back to her.

Robinson then proceeded to disabuse the rural mind of the notion that
gold is to be got without hard toil, even in California. He told them
how the miners' shirts were wet through and through in the struggle
for gold; he told them how the little boys demanded a dollar apiece for
washing these same garments; and how the miners to escape this extortion
sent their linen to China in ships on Monday morning, and China sent
them back on Saturday, only it was Saturday six weeks.

Next Mr. Robinson proceeded to draw a parallel between England
and various nations on the other side of the Atlantic, not at all
complimentary to his island home; above all, he was eloquent on the
superior dignity of labor in new countries.

"I heard one of your clodhoppers say the other day, 'The squire is a
good gentleman, he often _gives me a day's work_.' Now I should think it
was the clodhopper gave the gentleman the day's work, and the gentleman
gave him a shilling for it--and made five by it."

William Fielding scratched his head. This was a new view of things to
him, but there seemed to be something in it.

"Ay! rake that into your upper soil," cried our republican orator; then
collecting into one his scattered items of argument, he invited his
friend George to take his muscle, pluck, wind, backbone, and self, out
of this miserable country, and come where the best man has a chance to
win.

"Come, George," he cried, "England is the spot if you happen to be
married to a duke's daughter, and got fifty thousand a year and three
houses.

"_And_ a coach.

"_And_ a brougham.

"_And_ a curricle.

"_And_ ten brace of pointers.

"_And_ a telescope so big the stars must move to it, instead of it to
the stars.

"_And_ no end of pretty housemaids.

"_And_ a butler with a poultice round his neck and whiskers like a
mop-head.

"_And_ a silver tub full of rose-water to sit in and read the _Morning
Post_.

"_And_ a green-house full of peaches--and green peas all the year round.

"_And_ a pew in the church warmed with biling eau de Cologne.

"_And_ a carpet a foot thick.

"_And_ a piano-forte in every blessed room in the house. But this island
is the Dead Sea to a poor man."

He then, diverging from the rhetorical to the metropolitan style,
proposed to his friend "to open one eye. That will show you this hole
you are in is all poor hungry arable ground. You know you can't work it
to a profit." (George winced.) "No! steal, borrow, or beg 500 pounds.
Carry out a cargo of pea-jackets and fourpenny bits to swap for
gold-dust, a few tools, a stout heart, and a light pair of--'Oh, no; we
never mention them; their name is never heard'--and we'll soon fill both
pockets with the shiney in California."

All this Mr. Robinson delivered with a volubility to which Berkshire had
hitherto been a stranger.

"A crust of bread in England before buffalo beef in California," was
George's reply; but it was not given in that assured tone with which he
would have laughed at Robinson's eloquence a week ago.

"I could not live with all those thieves and ruffians that are settled
down there like crows on a dead horse; but I thank you kindly, my lad,
all the same," said the tender-hearted young man.

"Strange," thought he, "that so many should sing me the same tune," and
he fell back into his reverie.

Here they were all summoned to dinner, with a dash of asperity, by Sarah
the stout farm servant.

Susan lingered an instant to speak to George. She chose an unfortunate
topic. She warned him once more against Mr. Robinson.

"My father says that he has no business nor trade, and he is not a
gentleman, in spite of his red and green cravat, so he must be a rogue
of some sort."

"Shall I tell you his greatest fault?" was the bitter reply. "He is my
friend; he is the only creature that has spoken kind words to me to-day.
Oh! I saw how cross you looked at him."

Susan's eyes flashed, and the color rose in her cheek, and the water in
her eyes.

"You are a fool, George," said she; "you don't know how to read a woman,
nor her looks, nor her words either."

And Susan was very angry and disdainful, and did not speak to George all
dinner-time.

As for poor George, he followed her into the house with a heart both
sick and heavy.

This Berkshire farmer had a proud and sensitive nature under a homely
crust.

Old Merton's words had been iron passing through his soul, and besides
he felt as if everything was turning cold and slippery and gliding from
his hand. He shivered with vague fears, and wished the sun would set at
one o'clock and the sorrowful day come to an end.



CHAPTER II.

THE meal passed almost in silence; Robinson was too hungry to say a
word, and a weight hung upon George and Susan.

As they were about to rise, William observed two men in the farmyard
who were strangers to him--the men seemed to be inspecting the hogs. It
struck him as rather cool; but apparently the pig is an animal which to
be prized needs but to be known, for all connoisseurs of him are also
enthusiastic amateurs.

When I say the pig I mean the four-legged one.

William Fielding, partly from curiosity to hear these strangers'
remarks, partly hoping to find customers in them, strolled into the
farmyard before his companions rose from the table.

The others, looking carelessly out of the window, saw William join the
two men and enter into conversation with them; but their attention was
almost immediately diverted from that group by the entrance of Meadows.
He came in radiant; his face was a remarkable contrast to the rest of
the party.

Susan could not help noticing it.

"Why, Mr. Meadows," cried she, "you look as bright as a May morning;
it is quite refreshing to see you; we are all rather down here this
morning."

Meadows said nothing, and did not seem at his ease under this remark.

George rose from the table; so did Susan; Robinson merely pushed back
his chair and gave a comfortable little sigh, but the next moment he
cried "Hallo!"

They looked up, and there was William's face close against the window.

William's face was remarkably pale, and first he tried to attract
George's attention without speaking, but finding himself observed by the
whole party, he spoke out.

"George, will you speak a word?" said he.

George rose and went out; but Susan's curiosity was wakened, and she
followed him, accompanied by Meadows.

"None but you, George," said William, with a voice half stern, half
quivering.

George looked at his brother.

"Out with it," cried he, "it is some deadly ill-luck; I have felt it
coming all day, but out with it; what can't I bear after the words I
have borne this morning?"

William hung his head.

"George, there is a distress upon the farm for the rent."

George did not speak at first, he literally staggered under these words;
his proud spirit writhed in his countenance, and with a groan, he turned
his back abruptly upon them all and hid his face against the corner of
his own house, the cold hard bricks.

Meadows, by strong self-command, contrived not to move a muscle of his
face.

Up to this day and hour, Susan Merton had always seemed cool, compared
with her lover; she used to treat him a little _de haut en bas_.

But when she saw his shame and despair, she was much distressed.

"George, George!" she cried, "don't do so. Can nothing be done? Where
is my father?--they told me he was here. He is rich, he shall help you."
She darted from them in search of Merton; ere she could turn the angle
of the house he met her.

"You had better go home, my girl," said he gravely.

"Oh, no, no! I have been too unkind to George already," and she turned
toward him like a pitying angel with hands extended as if they would
bring balm to a hurt soul.

Meadows left chuckling and was red and white by turns.

Merton was one of those friends one may make sure of finding in
adversity.

"There," cried he, "George, I told you how it would end."

George wheeled round on him like lightning.

"What, do you come here to insult over me? I must be a long way lower
than I am, before I shall be as low as you were when my mother took you
up and made a man of you."

"George, George!" cried Susan in dismay; "stop, for pity's sake,
before you say words that will separate us forever. Father," cried the
peace-making angel, "how can you push poor George so hard and him in
trouble! and we have all been too unkind to him to-day."

Ere either could answer, there was happily another interruption. A smart
servant in livery walked up to them with a letter. With the instinctive
feeling of class they all endeavored to conceal their agitation from the
gentleman's servant. He handed George the note, and saying, "I was to
wait for an answer, Farmer Fielding," sauntered toward the farm-stables.

"From Mr. Winchester," said George, after a long and careful inspection
of the outside.

In the country it is a point of honor to find out the writer of a letter
by the direction, not the signature.

"The Honorable Francis Winchester! What does he write to you?" cried
Merton, in a tone of great surprise. This, too, was not lost on George.

Human nature is human nature. He was not sorry to be able to read a
gentleman's letter in the face of one who had bitterly reproached him,
and of others who had seen him mortified and struck down.

"Seems so," said George, dryly, and with a glance of defiance; and he
read out the letter.

"George Fielding, my fine fellow, think of it again. I have two berths
in the ship that sails from Southampton to-morrow. You will have every
comfort on the voyage--a great point. I will do what I said for you"
("he promised me five hundred sheep and a run"). "I must have an honest
man, and where can I find as honest a man as George Fielding?" ("Thank
you, Mr. Winchester; George Fielding thanks you, sir.") And there was
something noble and simple in the way the young farmer drew himself up,
and looked fearlessly in all his companions' eyes.

"You saved my life--I can do nothing for you here--and you are doing no
good at 'The Grove'--everybody says so ("everybody says so!"--and George
Fielding winced at the words).

"And it really pains me, my brave fellow, to go without you where I know
I could put you on the way of fortune. My heart is pretty stout; but
home is home; and be assured that I wait with some anxiety to know
whether my eyes are to look on nothing but water for the next four
months, or are to be cheered by the sight of something from home, the
face of a thoroughbred English yeoman, and--a friend--and--and--"

Poor George could read no more, the kind words, coming after his
affronts and troubles, brought his heart to his mouth.

Susan took the letter from him, and read out--

"And an upright, downright honest man"--"AND SO YOU ARE, GEORGE!" cried
she, warmly, drawing to George's side, and darting glances of defiance
vaguely around. Then she continued to read--

"If the answer is favorable, a word is enough. Meet me at 'The Crown,'
in Newborough, to-night, and we will go up to Town by the mail train."

"The answer is, Yes," said George to the servant, who was at some
distance.

Susan, bending over the letter, heard, but could not realize the word,
but the servant now came nearer. George said to him, "Tell your master,
Yes."

"Yes? George!" cried Susan, "what do you mean by yes? It is about going
to Australia."

"The answer is yes," said George.

The servant went away with the answer.

The others remained motionless.

"This nobleman's son respects me if worse folk don't. But it is not the
great bloodhounds and greyhounds that bark at misfortune's heels, it is
only the village curs, when all is done. This is my path. I'll pack up
my things and go." And he did not look at Susan or any of them, but went
into the house like a man walking in his sleep.

There was a stupefied pause.

Then Susan gave a cry like a wounded deer.

"Father! what have you done?"

Merton himself had been staggered, but he replied stoutly:

"No more than my duty, girl, and I hope you will do no less than yours."

At this moment Robinson threw up the window and jumped out into the
yard.

Meadows, under stronger interests, had forgotten Robinson; but now at
sight of him he looked round, and catching the eye of a man who was
peering over the farmyard wall, made him a signal.

"What is the matter?" cried Robinson.

"George is going to Australia," replied Merton, coldly.

"Australia!" roared Robinson--"Australia! He's mad. Who ever goes there
unless they are forced? He shan't go there! I wouldn't go there if my
passage was paid, and a new suit of clothes given me, and the governor's
gig to take me ashore to a mansion provided for my reception, fires
lighted, beds aired and pipes laid across upon the table."

As Robinson concluded this tirade the policeman and constable, who had
crept round the angle of the farm-house, came one on each side, put each
a hand on one of his elbows and--took him!

He looked first down at their hands in turn, then up at their faces in
turn, and when he saw the metropolitan's face a look of simple disgust
diffused itself over his whole countenance.

"Ugh!!!" interjected Robinson.

"Ay!" replied the policeman, while putting handcuffs on him. "To
Australia you'll go, for all that, Tom Lyon, alias Scott, alias
Robinson, and you'll have a new suit of clothes, mostly one color,
and voyage paid, and a large house ashore waiting for you; and the
governor's gig will come alongside for you, provided they can't find the
convicts' barge," and the official was pleased with himself and his wit
and allowed it to appear.

But by this time Robinson was on his balance again. "Gentlemen,"
answered he with cold dignity, "what am I to understand by this violence
from persons to whom I am an utter stranger?" and he might have set for
the picture of injured innocence. "I am not acquainted with you, sir,"
added he; "and by the titles you give me it seems you are not acquainted
with me."

The police laughed, and took out of this injured man's pocket the stolen
notes which Meadows instantly identified.

Then Mr. Robinson started off into another key equally artistical in its
way.

"Miss Merton," snuffled he, "appearances are against me, but mark my
words, my innocence will emerge all the brighter for this temporary
cloud."

Susan Merton ran indoors, saying, "Oh! I must tell George." She was
not sorry of an excuse to be by George's side, and remind him by her
presence that if home had its thorns it had its rose tree, too.

News soon spreads; rustic heads were seen peeping over the wall to see
the finale of the fine gentleman from "Lunnun." Meantime the constable
went to put his horse in a four-wheeled chaise destined to convey
Robinson to the county jail.

If the rural population expected to see this worthy discomposed by so
sudden a change of fortune, they were soon undeceived.

"Well, Jacobs," said he, with sudden familiarity, "you seem uncommon
pleased, and I am content. I would rather have gone to California; but
any place is better than England. Laugh those who win. I shall breathe a
delicious climate; you will make yourself as happy as a prince, that
is to say, miserable, upon fifteen shillings and two colds a week; my
sobriety and industry will realize a fortune under a smiling sun. Let
chaps that never saw the world, and the beautiful countries there are in
it, snivel at leaving this island of fogs and rocks and taxes and nobs,
the rich man's paradise, the poor man's--I never swear, it's vulgar."

While he was crushing his captors with his eloquence, George and
Susan came together from the house; George's face betrayed wonder and
something akin to horror.

"A thief!" cried he. "Have I taken the hand of a thief?"

"It is a business like any other," said Robinson deprecatingly.

"If you have no shame I have; I long to be gone now."

"George!" whined the culprit, who, strange to say, had become attached
to the honest young farmer. "Did ever I take tithe of you? You have got
a silver candle cup, a heavenly old coffee-pot, no end of spoons double
the weight those rogues the silversmiths make them now; they are in a
box under your bed in your room," added he, looking down. "Count them,
they are all right; and Miss Merton, your bracelet, the gold one with
the cameo: I could have had it a hundred times. Miss Merton, ask him to
shake hands with me at parting. I am so fond of him, and perhaps I shall
never see him again.

"Shake hands with you?" answered George sternly; "if your hands were
loose I doubt I should ram my fist down your throat; but there, you are
not worth a thought at such a time, and you are a man in trouble, and I
am another. I forgive you, and I pray Heaven I may never see your face
again."

And Honesty turned his back in Theft's face.

Robinson bit his lip and said nothing, but his eyes glistened; just then
a little boy and girl, who had been peering about mighty curious, took
courage and approached hand in hand. The girl was the speaker, as a
matter of course.

"Farmer Fielding," said she curtsying, a mode of reverence which was
instantly copied by the boy, "we are come to see the thief; they say
you have caught one. Oh, dear!" (and her bright little countenance was
overcast), "I couldn't have told it from a man!"

We don't know all that is in the hearts of the wicked. Robinson was
observed to change color at these silly words.

"Mr. Jacobs," said he, addressing the policeman, "have you authority to
put me in the pillory before trial?" He said this coldly and sternly;
and then added, "Perhaps you are aware that I am a man, and I might
say a brother, for you were a thief, you know!" Then changing his tone
entirely, "I say, Jacobs," said he, with cheerful briskness, "do you
remember cracking the silversmith's shop in Lambeth along with Jem
Salisbury and Black George, and--"

"There, the gig is ready," cried Mr. Jacobs; "you come along," and the
ex-thief pushed the thief hastily off the premises and drove him away
with speed.

George Fielding gave a bitter sigh. This was a fresh mortification. He
had for the last two months been defending Robinson against the surmises
of the village.

Villages are always concluding there is something wrong about people.

"What does he do?" inquired our village.

"Where does he get his blue coat with brass buttons, his tartan
waistcoat and green satin tie with red ends? We admit all this looks
like a gentleman. But yet, somehow, a gentleman is a horse of another
color than this Robinson."

George had sometimes laughed at all this, sometimes been very angry, and
always stood up stoutly for his friend and lodger.

And now the fools were right and he was wrong. His friend and protege
was handcuffed before his eyes and carried off to the county jail amid
the grins and stares of a score of gaping rustics, who would make a fine
story of it this evening in both public-houses; and a hundred voices
would echo some such conversational Tristich as this:

1st Rustic. "I tawld un as much, dinn't I now, Jarge?"

2d Rustic. "That ye did, Richard, for I heerd ee."

1st Rustic. "But, la! bless ye, he don't vally advice, he don't."

George Fielding groaned out, "I'm ready to go now--I'm quite ready to
go--I am leaving a nest of insults;" and he darted into the house, as
much to escape the people's eyes as to finish his slight preparations
for so great a journey.

Two men were left alone; sulky William and respectable Meadows. Both
these men's eyes followed George into the house, and each had a strong
emotion they were bent on concealing, and did conceal from each other;
but was it concealed from all the world?

The farm-house had two rooms looking upon the spot where most of our
tale has passed.

The smaller one of these was a little state parlor, seldom used by the
family. Here on a table was a grand old folio Bible; the names, births,
and deaths of a century of Fieldings appeared in rusty ink and various
handwritings upon its fly-leaf.

Framed on the walls were the first savage attempts of woman at
worsted-work in these islands. There were two moral commonplaces, and
there was the forbidden fruit-tree, whose branches diverged, at set
distances like the radii of a circle, from its stem, a perpendicular
line; exactly at the end of each branch hung one forbidden
fruit--pre-Raphaelite worsted-work.

There were also two prints of more modern date, one agricultural, one
manufactural.

No. 1 was a great show of farming implements at Doncaster.

No. 2 showed how, one day in the history of man and of mutton, a sheep
was sheared, her wool washed, teased, carded, etc., and the cloth *'d
and *'d and *'d and *'d, and a coat shaped and sewed and buttoned upon a
goose, whose preparations for inebriating the performers and spectators
of his feat appeared in a prominent part of the picture.

The window of this sunny little room was open and on the sill was a row
of flower-pots from which a sweet fresh smell crept with the passing air
into the chamber.

Behind these flower-pots for two hours past had crouched--all eye and
ear and mind--a keen old man.

To Isaac Levi age had brought vast experience, and had not yet dimmed
any one of his senses. More than forty-five years ago he had been
brought to see that men seldom act or speak so as to influence the
fortunes of others without some motive of their own; and that these
motives are seldom the motives they advance; and that their real motives
are not always known to themselves, and yet can nearly always be read
and weighed by an intelligent bystander.

So for near half a century Isaac Levi had read that marvelous page of
nature written on black, white and red parchments, and called "Man."

One result of his perusal was this, that the heads of human tribes
differ far more than their hearts.

The passions and the heart he had found intelligible and much the same
from Indus to the Pole.

The people of our tale were like men walking together in a coppice;
they had but glimpses of each others' minds. But to Isaac behind his
flower-pots they were a little human chart spread out flat before him,
and not a region in it he had not traveled and surveyed before to-day:
what to others passed for accident to him was design; he penetrated more
than one disguise of manner; and above all his intelligence bored like
a center-bit into the deep heart of his enemy, Meadows, and at each
turn of the center-bit his eye flashed, his ear lived, and he crouched
patient as a cat, keen as a lynx.

He was forgotten, but not by all.

Meadows, a cautious man, was the one to ask himself, "Where is that old
heathen, and what is he doing?"

To satisfy himself, Meadows had come smoothly to the door of the little
apartment, and burst suddenly into it.

There he found the reverend Israelite extended on a little couch, a
bandana handkerchief thrown over his face, calmly reposing.

Meadows paused, eyed him keenly, listened to his gentle but audible,
equable breathing, relieved his mind by shaking his fist at him, and
went out.

Thirty seconds later Isaac _awoke!_ spat in the direction of Meadows,
and crouched again behind the innocent flowers, patient as a cat, keen
as a lynx.

So then; when George was gone in, William Fielding and Mr. Meadows both
felt a sudden need of being alone; each longed to indulge some feeling
he did not care the other should see; so they both turned their faces
away from each other and strolled apart.

Isaac Levi caught both faces off their guard, and read the men as by a
lightning flash to the bottom line of their hearts.

For two hours he had followed the text, word by word, deed by deed,
letter by letter, and now a comment on that text was written in these
faces.

That comment said that William was rejoiced at George's departure and
ashamed of himself for the feeling. That Meadows rejoiced still more and
was ashamed anybody should know he had the feeling.

Isaac withdrew from his lair; his task was done.

"Those men both love that woman, and this Meadows loves her with all his
soul, and she-aha!" and triumph flashed from under his dark brows.
But at his age calm is the natural state of the mind and spirits; he
composed himself for the present, and awaited an opportunity to strike
his enemy with effect.

The aged man had read Mr. Meadows aright; under that modulated exterior
raged as deep a passion as ever shook a strong nature.

For some time he had fought against it. "She is another man's
sweetheart," he had said to himself; "no good will come of courting
her." But by degrees the flax bonds of prudence snapped one by one as
the flame every now and then darted at them. Meadows began to reason the
matter coolly.

"They can never marry, those two. I wish they would marry or break off,
to put me out of this torture; but they can't marry, and my sweet Susan
is wasting her prime for nothing, for a dream. Besides, it is not as
if she loved him the way I love her. She is like many a young maid.
The first comer gets her promise before she knows her value. They walk
together, get spoken of; she settles down into a groove, and so goes on,
whether her heart is in it or not; it is habit more than anything."

Then he watched the pair, and observed that Susan's manner to George was
cool and off-hand, and that she did not seem to seek opportunities of
being alone with him.

Having got so far, he now felt it his duty to think of her interest.

He could not but feel that he was a great match for any farmer's
daughter; whereas "poor young Fielding," said he compassionately, "is
more likely to break as a bachelor than to support a wife and children
upon 'The Grove.'"

He next allowed his mind to dwell with some bitterness upon the poor
destiny that stood between him and the woman he loved.

"George Fielding! a dull dog, that could be just as happy with any other
girl as with my angel. An oaf, so little alive to his prize that he
doesn't even see he has rivals; doesn't see that his brother loves her.
Ah! but I see that, though; lovers' eyes are sharp. Doesn't see me, who
mean to take her from both these Fieldings--and what harm? It isn't as
if their love was like mine. Heaven forbid I should meddle if it was.
A few weeks, and a few mugs of ale would wash her from what little mind
either of them have; but I never loved a woman before, and never could
look at another after her."

And so by degrees Meadows saw that he was quite justified in his resolve
to win Susan Merton, PROVIDED IT WAS DONE FAIRLY.

This resolve taken, all this man's words and actions began to be colored
more or less by his secret wishes; and it is not too much to say, that
this was the hand which was gently but adroitly, with a touch here and a
touch there, pushing George Fielding across the Ocean.

You see, a respectable man can do a deal of mischief; more than a rogue
could.

A shrug of the shoulders from Meadows had caused the landlord to
distrain.

A hint from Meadows had caused Merton to affront George about Susan.

A tone of Meadows had closed the bank cash-box to the Fieldings' bill
of exchange, and so on. And now, finding it almost impossible to contain
his exultation--for George once in Australia he felt he could soon
vanquish Susan's faint preference, the result of habit--he turned off,
and went to meet his mare at the gate; the boy had just returned with
her.

He put his foot in the stirrup, but ere he mounted it occurred to him to
ask one of the farm servants whether the old Jew was gone.

"I sin him in the barn just now," was the reply.

Meadows took his foot out of the stirrup. Never leave an enemy behind
you, was one of his rules. "And why does the old heathen stay?" Meadows
asked himself; he clinched his teeth and vowed he would not leave the
village till George Fielding was on his way to Australia.

He sent his mare to the "Black Horse," and strolled up the village;
then he showed the boy a shilling and said, "You be sure and run to the
public-house and let me know when George Fielding is going to start--I
should like to see the last of him."

This was true!



CHAPTER III.

AND now passed over "The Grove" the heaviest hours it had ever known;
hours as weary as they were bitter to George Fielding. "The Grove"
was nothing to him now--in mind he was already separated from it; his
clothes were ready, he had nothing more to do, and he wished he could
fling himself this moment into the ship and hide his head, and sleep
and forget his grief, until he reached the land whose fat and endless
pastures were to make him rich and send him home a fitter match for
Susan.

As the moment for parting drew nearer there came to him that tardy
consolation which often comes to the honest man then when it can but add
to his pangs of regret.

Perhaps no man is good, manly, tender, generous, honest and unlucky
quite in vain; at last, when such a man is leaving all who have been
unjust or cold to him, scales fall from their eyes, a sense of his value
flashes like lightning across their half-empty skulls and tepid hearts,
they feel and express some respect and regret, and make him sadder to
leave them; so did the neighbors of "The Grove" to young Fielding. Some
hands gave him now their first warm pressure, and one or two voices even
faltered as they said "God bless thee, lad!"

And now the carter's lad ran in with a message from a farmer at the top
of the hill.

"Oh! Master George, Farmer Dodd says, if you please, he couldn't think
to let you walk. You are to go in his gig to Newbury, if you'll walk
up as fur as his farm; he's afeared to come down _our_ hill, a says,
because if _he_ did, _his_ mare 'ud kick _his_ gig into toothpicks, _he_
says. Oh! Master George, _I_ be sorry _you_ be going," and the boy, who
had begun quite cheerfully, ended in a whimper.

"I thank him! Take my bag, boy, and I'll follow in half an hour."

Sarah brought out the bag and opened it, and, weeping bitterly, put
into it a bottle with her name on a bit of paper tied round the neck,
to remind poor George he was not forgotten at "The Grove," and then she
gave George the key and went sadly in, her apron to her eyes.

And now George fixed his eye on his brother William, and said to him,
"Wilham, will you come with me, if _you_ please?"

"Ay, George, sure."

They went through the farmyard side by side; neither spoke, and George
took a last look at the ricks, and he paused, and seemed minded to
speak, but he did not, he only muttered "not here." Then George led the
way out into the paddock, and so into the lane, and very soon they saw
the village church. William wondered George did not speak. They passed
under the yewtree into the churchyard. William's heart fluttered. They
found the vicar's cow browsing on the graves. William took up a stone.
George put out his hand not to let him hurt her, and George turned
her gently into the lane; then he stepped carefully among the graves.
William followed him, his heart fluttering more and more with vague
fears. William knew now where they were going, but what was George going
to say to him there? his heart beat faint-like. By-and-by the brothers
came to this--

[Drawing of Grave]

The grave was between the two men--and silence--both looked down.

George whispered, "Good-by, mother! She never thought we should be
parted this way." Then he turned to William and opened his mouth to
say something more to him; doubtless that which he had come to say,
but apparently it was too much for him. I think he feared his own
resolution. He gasped and with a heavy sigh led the way home. William
walked with him, not knowing what to think or do or say; at last he
muttered, "I wouldn't go, if my heart was here!"

"I shall go, Will," replied George, rather sternly as it seemed.

When they came back to the house they found several persons collected.

Old Fielding, the young men's grandfather, was there; he had made them
wheel him in his great chair out into the sun.

Grandfather Fielding had reached the last stage of human existence. He
was ninety-two years of age. The lines in his face were cordage, his
aspect was stony and impassible, and he was all but impervious to
passing events; his thin blood had almost ceased to circulate in his
extremities; for every drop he had was needed to keep his old heart
a-beating at all, instead of stopping like a clock that has run down.

Meadows had returned to see George off, and old Merton was also there,
and he was one of those whose hearts gave them a bit of a twinge.

"George," said he, "I'm vexed for speaking unkind to you to-day of all
days in the year; I didn't think we were to part so soon, lad."

"No more about it, uncle," faltered George; "what does it matter now?"

Susan Merton came out of the house; she had caught her father's
conciliatory words; she seemed composed, but pale; she threw her arms
round her father's neck.

"Oh! father," said she imploringly, "I thought it was a dream, but he is
going, he is really going. Oh! don't let him go from us; speak him fair,
father, his spirit is so high!"

"Susan!" replied the old farmer, "mayhap the lad thinks me his enemy,
but I'm not. My daughter shall not marry a bankrupt farmer, but you
bring home a thousand pounds--just one thousand pounds--to show me you
are not a fool, and you shall have my daughter and she shall have my
blessing."

Meadows exulted.

"Your hand on that, uncle," cried George, with ardor; "your hand on that
before Heaven and all present."

The old farmer gave George his hand upon it.

"But, father," cried Susan, "your words are sending him away from me."

"Susan!" said George sorrowfully but firmly, "I am to go, but don't
forget it is for your sake I leave you, my darling Susan--to be a better
man for your sake. Uncle, since your last words there is no ill-will;
but (bluntly) I can't speak my heart before you."

"I'll go, George, I'll go; shan't be said my sister's son hadn't leave
to speak his mind to letbe who atool,* at such a time."

     *Let be who it will. Cui libet.

Merton turned to leave them, but ere he had taken two steps a most
unlooked-for interruption chained him to the spot. An old man, with a
long beard and a glittering eye, was among them before they were aware
of him; he fixed his eye upon Meadows, and spoke a single word--but that
word fell like a sledge-hammer.

"No!!" said Isaac Levi in the midst. "No!!" repeated he to John Meadows.

Meadows understood perfectly what "No" meant; a veto upon all his plans,
hopes and wishes.

"Young man," said Isaac to George, "you shall not wander forth from the
home of your fathers. These old eyes see deeper than yours (and he sent
an eye-stab at Meadows); you are honest--all men say so--I will lend
you the money for your rent, and one who loves you (and he gave another
eye-stab at Meadows) will bless me."

"Oh! yes, I bless you," cried Susan innocently.

The late exulting Meadows was benumbed at this.

"Surely Heaven sends you to me," cried Susan. "It is Mr. Levi, of
Farnborough."

Here was a diversion. Meadows cursed the intruder, and his own evil star
that had raised him up so malignant an enemy.

"All my web undone in a moment," thought he, and despair began to take
possession of him.

Susan, on the other hand, was all joy and hope; William more or less
despondent.

The old Jew glanced from one to another, read them all, and enjoyed his
triumph.

But when his eye returned to George Fielding he met with something he
had not reckoned upon.

The young man showed no joy, no emotion. He stood immovable, like
a statue of a man, and when he opened his lips it was like a statue
speaking with its marble mouth.

"No! Susan. No! old man. I am honest, though I'm poor--and proud, though
you have seen me put to shame near my own homestead more than once
to-day. To borrow without a chance of paying is next door to stealing;
and I should never pay you. My eyes are opened in spite of my heart. I
can't farm 'The Grove' with no grass, and wheat at forty shillings. I've
tried all I know, and I can't do it. Will there is dying to try, and
he shall try, and may Heaven speed his plow better than it has poor
George's."

"I am not thinking of the farm now, George," said William. "I'm thinking
of when we were boys, and used to play marbles--together--upon the
tombstones." And he faltered a little.

"Mr. Levi! seems you have a kindness for me. Show it to my brother when
I'm away, if you _will_ be so good."

"Hum?" said Isaac doubtfully. "I care not to see your stout young heart
give way, as it will. Ah, me! I can pity the wanderer from home. I will
speak a word with you, and then I will go home."

He drew George aside, and made him a secret communication.

Merton called Susan to him, and made her promise to be prudent, then he
shook hands with George and went away.

Now Meadows, from the direction of Isaac's glance, and a certain
half-surprised half-contemptuous look that stole over George's face,
suspected that his enemy, whose sagacity he could no longer doubt, was
warning George against him.

This made him feel very uneasy where he was, and this respectable man
dreaded some exposure of his secret. So he said hastily, "I'll go along
with you, farmer," and in a moment was by Merton's side, as that worthy
stopped to open the gate that led out of George's premises. His feelings
were anything but pleasant when George called to him:

"No, sir! stop. You are as good a witness as I could choose of what I
have to say. Step this way, if you please, sir."

Meadows returned, clinched his teeth, and prepared for the worst, but
inwardly he cursed his uneasy folly in staying here, instead of riding
home the moment George had said "Yes!" to Australia.

George now looked upon the ground a moment; and there was something in
his manner that arrested the attention of all.

Meadows turned hot and cold.

"I am going--to speak--to my brother, Mr. Meadows!" said he, syllable by
syllable to Meadows in a way brimful of meaning.

"To me, George?" said William, a little uneasy.

"To you!--Fall back a bit." (Some rustics were encroaching upon the
circle.)

"Fall back, if you please; this is a family matter."

Isaac Levi, instead of going quite away, seated himself on a bench
outside the palings.

It was now William's turn to flutter; he said, however, to himself, "It
is about the farm; it must be about the farm."

George resumed. "I've often had it on my mind to speak to you, but I was
ashamed, now that's the truth; but now I am going away from her I must
speak out, and I will--William!"

"Yes, George?"

"You've taken--a fancy--to my Susan, William!"

At these words, which, though they had cost him so much to say, George
spoke gravely and calmly like common words, William gave one startled
look all round, then buried his face directly in his hands in a paroxysm
of shame.

Susan, who was looking at George, remonstrated loudly, "How can you be
so silly, George! I am sure that is the last idea poor William--"

George drew her attention to William by a wave of the hand.

She held her tongue in a moment, and turned very red, and lowered her
eyes to the ground. It was a very painful situation--to none more than
to Meadows, who was waiting his turn.

George continued: "Oh, it is not to reproach you, my poor lad. Who could
be near her, and not warm to her? But she is my lass, Will, and no other
man's. It is three years since she said the word. And though it was my
hard luck there should be some coolness between us this bitter day,
she will think of me when the ocean rolls between us if no villain
undermines me--"

"Villain! George!" groaned William. "That is a word I never thought to
hear from you."

"That's why I speak in time," said George. "I do suppose I am safe
against villainy here." And his eye swept lightly over both the men.
"Anyway, it shan't be a _mis_take or a _mis_understanding; it shall be
villainy if _'tis_ done. Speak, Susanna Merton, and speak your real mind
once for all."

"Oh! George," cried Susan, fluttering with love; "you shall not go in
doubt of me. We are betrothed this three years, and I never regretted my
choice a single moment. I never saw, I never shall see, the man I could
bear to look on beside you, my beautiful George. Take my ring and my
promise, George." And she put her ring on his little finger and kissed
his hand. "While you are true to me, nothing but death shall part us
twain. There never was any coolness between us, dear; you only thought
so. You don't know what fools women are; how they delight to tease the
man they love, and so torment themselves ten times more. I always loved
you, but never as I do to-day; so honest, so proud, so unfortunate; I
love you, I honor you, I adore you, oh! my love!--my love!--my love!!"

She saw but George--she thought but of George--and how to soften his
sorrow, and remove his doubts, if he had any. And she poured out these
words of love with her whole soul--with blushes and tears and all the
fire of a chaste and passionate woman's heart. And she clung to her
love; and her tender bosom heaved against his; and she strained him,
with tears and sighs, to her bosom; and he kissed her beautiful head;
and his suffering heart drew warmth from this heavenly contact.

The late exulting Meadows turned as pale as ashes, and trembled from
head to foot.

"Do you hear, William?" said George.

"I hear, George," replied William in an iron whisper, with his sullen
head sunk upon his breast.

George left Susan, and came between her and William.

"Then, Susan," said he, rather loud, "here is your brother."

William winced.

"William! here is my life!" And he pointed to Susan. "Let no man rob me
of it if one mother really bore us."

It went through William's heart like a burning arrow. And this was why
George had taken him to their mother's grave. That flashed across him,
too.

The poor sulky fellow's head was seen to rise inch by inch till he held
it as erect as a king's.

"Never!" he cried, half shouting, half weeping. "Never, s'help me God!
She's my sister from this hour--no more, no less. And may the red blight
fall on my arm and my heart, if I or any man takes her from you--any
man!" he cried, his temples flushing and his eye glittering; "sooner
than a hundred men should take her from you while I am here I'd die at
their feet a hundred times."

Well done, sullen and rugged but honest man; the capital temptation of
your life is wrestled with and thrown. That is always to every man a
close, a deadly, a bitter struggle; and we must all wade through this
deep water at one hour or another of our lives. It is as surely our fate
as it is one day to die.

It is a noble sight to see an honest man "cleave his own heart in twain,
and fling away the baser part of it." These words, that burst from
William's better heart, knocked at his brother's you may be sure. He
came to William, "I believe you," said he; "I trust you, I thank you."
Then he held out his hand; but nature would have more than that, in a
moment his arm was round his brother's neck, where it had not been,
this many a year. He withdrew it as quickly, half ashamed; and Anne
Fielding's two sons grasped one another's hands, and holding hands
turned away their heads and tried to hide their eyes.

They are stronger than bond, deed or indenture, these fleshly compacts
written by moist eyes, stamped by the grip of eloquent hands, in those
moments full of soul when men's hearts beat from their bosoms to their
fingers' ends.

Isaac Levi came to the brothers, and said to William, "Yes, I will now,"
and then he went slowly and thoughtfully away to his own house.

"And now," faltered George, "I feel strong enough to go, and I'll go."

He looked round at all the familiar objects he was leaving, as if to
bid them farewell; and last, while every eye watched his movements, he
walked slowly up to his grandfather's chair.

"Grandfather," said he, "I am going a long journey, and mayhap shall
never see you again; speak a word to me before I go."

The impassive old man took no notice, so Susan came to him.
"Grandfather, speak to George; poor George is going into a far country."

When she had repeated this in his ear their grandfather looked up for a
moment. "George, fetch me some snuff from where you're going."

A spasm crossed George's face; he was not to have a word of good omen
from the aged man.

"Friends," said he, looking appealingly to all the rest, Meadows
included, "I wanted him to say God bless you, but snuff is all his
thought now. Well, old man, George won't forget your last word, such as
'tis."

In a hutch near a corner of the house was William's pointer, Carlo.
Carlo, observing by the general movement that there was something on
foot, had the curiosity to come out to the end of his chain, and as he
stood there, giving every now and then a little uncertain wag of his
tail, George took notice of him and came to him and patted his head.

"Good-by, Carlo," faltered George, "poor Carlo--you and I shall never go
after the partridges again, Carlo. The dog shows more understanding than
the Christian. By, Carlo." Then he looked wistfully at William's dog,
but he said nothing more.

William watched every look of George, but he said nothing at the time.

"Good-by, little village church, where I went to church man and boy;
good-by, churchyard, where my mother lies; there will be no church
bells, Susan, where I am going; no Sunday bells to remind me of my soul
and home."

These words, which he spoke with great difficulty, were hardly out of
young Fielding's mouth when a very painful circumstance occurred; one
of those things that seem the contrivance of some malignant spirit. The
church bells in a moment struck up their merriest peal!

George Fielding started, he turned pale and his lips trembled. "Are they
mocking me?" he cried. "Do they take a thought what I am going through
this moment, the hard-hearted--"

"No, no, no!" cried William; "don't think it, George; I know what
'tis--I'll tell ye."

"What's it?"

"Well, it is--well, George, it is Tom Clarke and Esther Borgherst
married to-day. Only they couldn't have the ringers till the afternoon."

"Why, Will, they have only kept company a year, and Susan and I have
kept company three years; and Tom and Esther are married to-day; and
what are George and Susan doing to-day? God help me! Oh, God help me!
What _shall_ I do? what _shall_ I do?" And the stout heart gave way, and
George Fielding covered his face with his hands and burst out sobbing
and crying.

Susan flung her arms round his neck. "Oh! George, my pride is all gone;
don't go, don't think to go; have pity on us both, and don't go." And
she clung to him--her bonnet fallen off, her hair disheveled--and they
sobbed and wept in one another's arms.

Meadows writhed with the jealous anguish this sad sight gave him, and
at that moment he could have cursed the whole creation. He tried to
fly, but he was rooted to the spot. He leaned sick as death against the
palings.

George and Susan cried together, and then they wiped one another's eyes
like simple country folk with one pocket-handkerchief; and then they
kissed one another in turn, and made each other's tears flow fast again;
and again wiped one another's eyes with one handkerchief.

Meadows griped the palings convulsively--hell was in his heart.

"Poor souls, God help them!" said William to himself in his purified
heart.

The silence their sorrow caused all around was suddenly invaded by
a voice that seemed to come from another world--it was Grandfather
Fielding. "The autumn sun is not so warm as _she_ used to be!"

Yes, there was the whole map of humanity on that little spot in the
county of Berks. The middle-aged man, a schemer, watching the success
of his able scheme, and stunned and wounded by its recoil. And old
age, callous to noble pain, all alive to discomfort, yet man to the
last--blaming any one but Number One, cackling against heavenly bodies,
accusing the sun and the kitchen fire of frigidity--not his own empty
veins! And the two poor young things sobbing as if their hearts would
break over their first great earthly sorrow.

George was the first to recover himself.

"Shame upon me!" he cried; he drew Susan to his bosom, and pressed a
long, burning kiss upon her brow.

And now all felt the wrench was coming. George, with a wild,
half-terrified look, signaled William to come to him.

"Help me, Will! you see I have no more manhood than a girl."

Susan instinctively trembled. George once more pressed his lips to her,
as if they would grow there. William took her hand. She trembled more
and more.

"Take my hand; take your brother's hand, my poor lass," said he.

She trembled violently; and then George gave a cry that seemed to tear
his heart, and darted from them in a moment.

Poor Susan uttered more than one despairing scream, and stretched out
both her hands for George. He did not see her, for he dared not look
back.

"Bob, loose the dog," muttered William hastily, in a broken voice.

The dog was loosed, and ran after George, who, he thought, was only
going for a walk. Susan was sinking pale and helpless upon her brother's
bosom.

"Pray, sister," said gentle William; "pray, sister, as I must."

A faint shiver was all the answer; her senses had almost left her.

When George was a little way up the hill, something ran suddenly against
his legs----he started--it was Carlo. He turned and lifted up his hands
to Heaven; and William could see that George was blessing him for this.
Carlo was more than a dog to poor George at that cruel moment. Soon
after that, George and Carlo reached the crown of the hill. George's
figure stood alone a moment between them and the sky. He was seen to
take his hat off, and raise his hands once more to Heaven, while he
looked down upon all he loved and left; and then he turned his sorrowful
face again toward that distant land--and they saw him no more!



CHAPTER IV.

THE world is full of trouble.

While we are young we do not see how true this ancient homely saying is.

That wonderful dramatic prologue, the first chapter of Job, is but a
great condensation of the sorrows that fall like hail upon many a mortal
house. Job's black day, like the day of the poetic prophets--the true
_sacri vates_ of the ancient world--is a type of a year--a bitter human
year. It is terrible how quickly a human landscape all gilded meadow,
silver river and blue sky can cloud and darken.

George Fielding had compared himself this very day to an oak tree, "Even
so am I rooted to my native soil." His fate accepted his simile. The oak
of centuries yields to an impalpable antagonist, whose very name stands
in proverbs for weakness and insignificance. This thin, light trifle,
rendered impetuous by motion, buffets the king of the forest, tears
his roots with fury out of the earth, and lays his towering head in
the dust; and even so circumstances, none of them singly irresistible,
converging to one point, buffeted sore another oak pride of our fields,
and, for aught I know, of our whole island--an honest English yeoman;
and tore him from his farm, from his house hard by his mother's grave,
from the joy of his heart, his Susan, and sent him who had never
traveled a hundred miles in his life across a world of waters to keep
sheep at the Antipodes. A bereaved and desolate heart went with Farmer
Dodd in the gig to Newborough; sad, desolate and stricken hearts
remained behind. When two loving hearts are torn bleeding asunder it is
a shade better to be the one that is driven away into action, than the
bereaved twin that petrifies at home.

The bustle, the occupation, the active annoyances are some sort of
bitter distraction to the unfathomable grief--it is one little shade
worse to lie solitary and motionless in the old scenes from which the
sunlight is now fled.

It needed but a look at Susan Merton, as she sat moaning and quivering
from head to foot in George's kitchen, to see that she was in no
condition to walk back to Grassmere Farm to-night.

So as she refused--almost violently refused--to stay at "The Grove,"
William harnessed one of the farm-horses to a cart and took her home
round by the road.

"It is six miles that way 'stead of three, but then we shan't jolt her
going that way," thought William.

He walked by the side of the cart in silence.

She never spoke but once all the journey, and that was about half way,
to complain in a sort of hopeless, pitiful tone that she was cold. It
was a burning afternoon.

William took off his coat, and began to tie it round her by means of
the sleeves; Susan made a little, silent, peevish and not very rational
resistance; William tied it round her by brotherly force.

They reached her home; when she got out of the cart her eye was fixed,
her cheek white, she seemed like one in a dream.

She went into the house without speaking or looking at William. William
was sorry she did not speak to him; however he stood disconsolately
by the cart, asking himself what he could do next for her and George.
Presently he heard a slight rustle, and it was Susan coming back along
the passage. "She has left something in the cart," thought he, and he
began to look in the straw.

She came like one still in a dream, and put her hand out to William, and
it appeared that was what she had come back for.

William took her hand and pressed it to his bosom a moment. At this
Susan gave a hysterical sob or two, and crept away again to her own
room.

What she suffered in that room the first month after George's departure
I could detail perhaps as well as any man living; but I will not. There
is a degree of anguish one shrinks from intruding upon too familiarly
in person; and even on paper the microscope should spare sometimes these
beatings of the bared heart. It will be enough if I indicate by-and-by
her state, after time and religion and good habits had begun to
struggle, sometimes gaining, sometimes losing, against the tide of
sorrow. For the present let us draw gently back and leave her, for
she is bowed to the earth--fallen on her knees, her head buried in
the curtains of her bed; dark, faint and leaden, on the borders of
despair--a word often lightly used through ignorance. Heaven keep us all
from a single hour, here or hereafter, of the thing the Word stands for;
and Heaven comfort all true and loving hearts that read me, when their
turn shall come to drain the bitter cup like Susan Merton.



CHAPTER V.

THE moment George Fielding was out of sight, Mr. Meadows went to
the public-house, flung himself on his powerful black mare, and rode
homeward without a word.

One strong passion after another swept across his troubled mind. He
burned with love, he was sick with jealousy, cold with despondency, and
for the first time smarted with remorse. George Fielding was gone, gone
of his own accord; but like the flying Parthian he had shot his keenest
arrow in the moment of defeat.

"What the better am I?" thus ran this man's thoughts. "I have opened
my own eyes, and Susan seems farther from me than ever now--my heart
is like a lump of lead here--I wish I had never been born!--so much for
scheming--I would have given a thousand pounds for this, and now I'd
give double to be as I was before; I had honest hopes then; now where
are they? How lucky it seemed all to go, too. Ah! that is it--'May all
your good luck turn to wormwood!' that was his word--his very word--and
my good luck is wormwood; so much for lifting a hand against gray hairs,
Jew or Gentile. Why did the old heathen provoke me, then? I'd as soon
die as live this day. That's right, start at a handful of straw; lie
down in it one minute and tremble at the sight of it the next, ye idiot.
Oh, Susan! Susan! Why do I think of her? why do I think of her? She
loves that man with every fiber of her body. How she clung to him! how
she grew to him! And I stood there and looked on it, and did not kill
them both. Seen it! I see it now, it is burned into my eyes and my heart
forever; I am in hell!--I am in hell!--Hold up, you blundering fool; has
the devil got into you, too?--Perdition seize him! May he die and rot
before the year's out, ten thousand miles from home! may his ship sink
to the bottom of the ----. What right have I to curse the man, as well
as drive him across the sea? Curse yourself, John Meadows. They are
true lovers, and I have parted them, and looked on and seen their tears.
Heaven pity them and forgive me. So he knew of his brother's love for
her, after all. Why didn't he speak to me, I wonder, as well as to
Will Fielding? The old Jew warned him against me, I'll swear. Why? why
because you are a respectable man, John Meadows, and he thought a hint
was enough to a man of character. 'I do suppose I am safe from villainy
here,' says he. That lad spared me; he could have given me a red face
before them all. Now if there are angels that float in the air and see
what passes among us sinners, how must John Meadows have looked beside
George Fielding that moment? This love will sink my soul! I can't
breathe between these hedges; my temples are bursting!--Oh! you want
to gallop, do you? gallop, then, and faster than you ever did since you
were foaled--confound ye!" With this he spurred his mare furiously up
the bank, and went crushing through the dead hedge that surmounted it.
He struck his hat, at the same moment, fiercely from his head (it was
fast by a black ribbon to his button-hole), and as they lighted by a
descent of some two feet on the edge of a grass-field he again drove his
spurs into his great fiery mare, all vein and bone. Black Rachel snorted
with amazement at the spur, and with warlike delight at finding grass
beneath her feet and free air whistling round her ears, she gave one
gigantic bound like a buck with arching back and all four legs in the
air at once (it would have unseated many a rider but never moved the
iron Meadows), and with dilating nostril and ears laid back she hurled
herself across country like a stone from a sling.

Meadows' house was about four miles and a half distant as the crow
flies, and he went home to-day as the crow flies, only faster. None
would have known the staid, respectable Meadows, in this figure that
came flying over hedge and ditch and brook, his hat dangling and leaping
like mad behind him, his hand now and then clutching his breast, his
heart tossed like a boat among the breakers, his lips white, his teeth
clinched and his eyes blazing! The mare took everything in her stride,
but at last they came somewhat suddenly on an enormous high, stiff
fence. To clear it was impossible. By this time man and beast were
equally reckless; they went straight into it and through it as a bullet
goes through a pane of glass; and on again over brook and fence, plowed
field and meadow, till Meadows found himself, he scarce knew how, at his
own door. His old deaf servant came out from the stable-yard and gazed
in astonishment at the mare, whose flank panted, whose tail quivered,
whose back looked as if she had been in the river, while her belly was
stained with half a dozen different kinds of soil, and her rider's face
streamed with blood from a dozen scratches he had never felt.

Meadows flung himself from the saddle and ran up to his own room. He
dashed his face and his burning hands into water; this seemed to do
him a little good. He came downstairs; he lighted a pipe (we are the
children of habit); he sat with his eyebrows painfully bent. People
called on him; he fiercely refused to see them.

For the first time in his life he turned his back on business. He sat
for hours by the fireplace. A fierce mental struggle wrenched him to and
fro.

Evening came, still he sat collapsed by the fireplace. From his window,
among other objects, two dwellings were visible; one, distant four
miles, was a whitewashed cottage, tiled instead of thatched, adorned
with creepers and roses and very clean, but in other respects little
superior to laborers' cottages.

The other, distant six long miles, was the Grassmere farmhouse, where
the Mertons lived; the windows seemed burnished gold this evening.

In the small cottage lived a plain old woman--a Methodist. She was
Meadows' mother.

She did not admire worldly people, still less envied them.

He was too good a churchman and man of business to permit conventicles
or psalm-singing at odd hours in his house. So she preferred living in
her own, which moreover was her own--her very own.

The old woman never spoke of her son, and checked all complaints of him,
and snubbed all experimental eulogies of him.

Meadows never spoke of his mother, paid her a small allowance with the
regularity and affectionate grace of clock-work; never asked her if she
didn't want any more--would not have refused her if she had asked for
double.

This evening, while the sun was shining with all his evening glory on
Susan Merton's house, Meadows went slowly to his window and pulled down
the blind, and drawing his breath hard shut the loved prospect out.

He then laid his hand upon the table, and he said: "I swear by the holy
bread and wine I took last month that I will not put myself in the way
of this strong temptation. I swear I will go no more to Grassmere Farm,
never so long as I love Susan." He added faintly, "Unless they send for
me, and they won't do that, and I won't go of my own accord, I swear
it. I have sworn it, however, and I swear it again--unless they send for
me!"

Then he sat by the fire with his head in his hands--a posture he never
was seen in before. Next he wrote a note and sent it hastily with a
horse and cart to that small whitewashed cottage.

Old Mrs. Meadows sat in her doorway reading a theological work called
"Believers' Buttons." She took the note, looked at it. "Why, this is
from John, I think; what can he have to say to me?" She put on her
spectacles again, which she had taken off on the messenger first
accosting her, and deliberately opened, smoothed and read the note. It
ran thus:


"Mother, I am lonely. Come over and stay awhile with me, if you please.

"Your dutiful son, JOHN MEADOWS"


"Here, Hannah," cried the old woman to a neighbor's daughter that was
nearly always with her.

Hannah, a comely girl of fourteen, came running in.

"Here's John wants me to go over to his house. Get me the pen and ink,
girl, out of the cupboard, and I'll write him a word or two any way.--Is
there anything amiss?" said she quickly to the man.

"He came in with the black mare all in a lather, just after dinner,
and he hasn't spoke to a soul since. That's all I know, missus. I think
something has put him out, and he isn't soon put out, you know, he
isn't."

Hannah left the room, after placing the paper as she was bid.

"You will all be put out that trust to an arm of flesh, all of ye,
master or man, Dick Messenger," said the disciple of John Wesley
somewhat grimly. "Ay, and be put out of the kingdom of heaven, too, if
ye don't take heed."

"Is that the news I'm to take back to Farnborough, missus?" said
Messenger with quiet, rustic irony.

"No; I'll write to him."

The old woman wrote a few lines reminding Meadows that the pursuit of
earthly objects could never bring any steady comfort, and telling him
that she should be lost in his great house--that it would seem quite
strange to her to go into the town after so many years' quiet--but that
if he was minded to come out and see her she would be glad to see him
and glad of the opportunity to give him her advice, if he was in a
better frame for listening to it than last time she offered it to him,
and that was two years come Martinmas.

Then the old woman paused, next she reflected, and afterward dried her
unfinished letter. And as she began slowly to fold it up and put it in
her pocket--"Hannah," cried she thoughtfully.

Hannah appeared in the doorway.

"I dare say--you may fetch--my cloak and bonnet. Why, if the wench
hasn't got them on her arm. What, you made up your mind that I should
go, then?"

"That I did," replied Hannah. "Your warm shawl is in the cart, Mrs.
Meadows."

"Oh! you did, did you. Young folks are apt to be sure and certain. I was
in two minds about it, so I don't see how the child could be sure," said
she, dividing her remark between vacancy and the person addressed--a
grammatical privilege of old age.

"Oh! but _I_ was sure, for that matter," replied Hannah firmly.

"And what made the little wench so sure, I wonder?" said the old woman,
now in her black bonnet and scarlet cloak.

"Why, la!" says Hannah, "because it's your son, ma'am--and you're his
mother, Dame Meadows!"



CHAPTER VI.

JOHN MEADOWS had always been an active man, but now he was
indefatigable. He was up at five every morning, and seemed ubiquitous;
added a gray gelding to his black mare, and rode them both nearly off
their legs. He surveyed land in half a dozen counties--he speculated in
grain in half a dozen markets, and did business in shares. His plan
in dealing with this ticklish speculation was simple. He listened to
nothing anybody said, examined the venture himself, and, if it had a
sound basis, bought when the herd was selling, and sold wherever the
herd was buying. Hence, he bought cheap and sold dear.

He also lent money, and contrived to solve the usurers' problem--perfect
security and huge interest.

He arrived at this by his own sagacity and the stupidity of mankind.

Mankind are not wanting in intelligence; but, as a body, they have one
intellectual defect--they are muddle-heads.

Now these muddle-heads have agreed to say that land is in all cases five
times a surer security for money lent than movables are. Whereas the
fact is that sometimes it is and sometimes it is not. Owing to the above
delusion the proprietor of land can always borrow money at four
per cent, and other proprietors are often driven to give
ten--twenty--thirty.

So John Meadows lent mighty little upon land, but much upon oat-ricks,
wagons, advantageous leases and such things, solid as land and more
easily convertible into cash.

Thus without risk he got his twenty per cent. Not that he appeared
in these transactions--he had too many good irons in the fire to let
himself be called a usurer.

He worked this business as three thousand respectable men are working it
in this nation. He had a human money-bag, whose strings he went behind a
screen and pulled.

The human money-bag of Meadows was Peter Crawley.

This Peter Crawley, some years before our tale, lay crushed beneath
a barrowful of debts--many of them to publicans. In him others saw a
cunning fool and a sot--Meadows an unscrupulous tool. Meadows wanted a
tool, and knew the cheapest way to get the thing was to buy it, so he
bought up all Crawley's debts, sued him, got judgments out against him,
and raising the ax of the law over Peter's head with his right hand,
offered him the left hand of fellowship with his left. Down on his knees
went Crawley and resigned his existence to this great man.

Human creatures, whose mission it is to do whatever a man secretly bids
them, are not entitled to long and interesting descriptions.

Crawley was fifty, wore a brown wig, the only thing about him that did
not attempt disguise, and slouched in a brown coat and a shirt peppered
with snuff.

In this life he was an infinitesimal attorney. Previously, unless
Pythagoras was a goose, he had been a pole-cat.

Meadows was ambidexter. The two hands he gathered coin with were Meadows
and Crawley. The first his honest, hard-working hand; the second his
three-fingered Jack, his prestidigital hand; with both he now worked
harder than ever. He hurried from business to business--could not
wait to chat, or drink a glass of ale after it; it was all work! work!
work!--money! money! money! with John Meadows, and everything he touched
turned to gold in his hands; yet for all this burning activity the
man's heart had never been so little in business. His activity was the
struggle of a sensible, strong mind to fight against its one weakness.

"Cedit amor rebus; res age tutus eris," is a very wise saying, and
Meadows, by his own observation and instinct, sought the best antidote
for love.

But the Latins had another true saying, that "nobody is wise at all
hours."

After his day of toil and success he used to be guilty of a sad
inconsistency. He shut himself up at home for two hours, and smoked
his pipe, and ran his eye over the newspaper, but his mind over Susan
Merton.

Worse than this, in his frequent rides he used to go a mile or two out
of his way to pass Grassmere farmhouse; and however fast he rode the
rest of his journey he always let his nag walk by the farmhouse, and his
eye brightened with hope as he approached it, and his heart sank as he
passed it without seeing Susan.

He now bitterly regretted the vow he had made, never to visit the
Mertons again unless they sent for him.

"They have forgotten me altogether," said he bitterly. "Well, the best
thing I can do is to forget them."

Now, Susan had forgotten him; she was absorbed in her own grief; but
Merton was laboring under a fit of rheumatism, and this was the reason
why Meadows and he did not meet. In fact, farmer Merton often said to
his daughter, "John Meadows has not been to see us a long while."

"Hasn't he, father?" was Susan's languid and careless reply.

One Sunday, Meadows, weakened by his inner struggle, could not help
going to Grassmere church. At least he would see her face. He had seated
himself where he could see her. She took her old place by the pillar;
nobody was near her. The light from a side window streamed full upon
her. She was pale, and the languor of sorrow was upon every part of her
face, but she was lovely as ever.

Meadows watched her, and noticed that more than once without any visible
reason her eyes filled with tears, but she shed none. He saw how hard
she tried to give her whole soul to the services of the church and to
the word of the preacher; he saw her succeed for a few minutes at a
time, and then with a lover's keen eye he saw her heart fly away in a
moment from prayer and praise and consolation, and follow and overtake
the ship that was carrying her George farther and farther away from her
across the sea; and then her lips quivered with earthly sorrow even as
she repeated words that came from Heaven, and tried to bind to her heavy
heart the prayers for succor in every mortal ill, the promises of help
in every mortal woe, with which holy Church and holier Writ comfort her
and all the pure of heart in every age.

Then Meadows, who up to this moment had been pitying himself, had a
better thought and pitied Susan. He even went so far as to feel that he
ought to pity George, but he did not do it; he could not, he envied him
too much; but he pitied Susan, and he longed to say something kind and
friendly to her, even though there should not be a word or a look of
love in it.

Susan went out by one of the church doors, Meadows by another, intending
to meet her casually upon the road home. Susan saw his intention
and took another path, so that he could not come up with her without
following her.

Meadows turned upon his heel and went home with his heart full of
bitterness.

"She hates the sight of me," was his interpretation.

Poor Susan, she hated nobody, she only hated to have to speak to a
stranger, and to listen to a stranger; and in her present grief all were
strangers to her except him she had lost and her father. She avoided
Meadows not because he was Meadows, but because she wanted to be alone.

Meadows rode home despondently, then he fell to abusing his folly, and
vowed he would think of her no more.

The next day, finding himself, at six o'clock in the evening, seated
by the fire in a reverie, he suddenly started fiercely up, saddled his
horse, and rode into Newborough, and, putting up his horse, strolled
about the streets and tried to amuse himself looking at the shops before
they closed.

Now it so happened that, stopping before a bookseller's shop, he saw
advertised a work upon "The Australian Colonies."

"Confound Australia!" said Meadows to himself, and turned on his heel,
but the next moment, with a sudden change of mind, he returned and
bought the book. He did more, he gave the tradesman an order for every
approved work on Australia that was to be had.

The bookseller, as it happened, was going up to London next day, so
that in the evening Meadows had some dozen volumes in his house, and a
tolerably correct map of certain Australian districts.

"Let me see," said Meadows, "what chance that chap has of making a
thousand pounds out there." This was no doubt the beginning of it, but
it did not end there. The intelligent Meadows had not read a hundred
pages before he found out what a wonderful country this Australia is,
how worthy a money-getter's attention or any thoughtful man's.

It seemed as if his rival drew Meadows after him wherever he went, so
fascinated was he with this subject. And now all the evening he sucked
the books like a leech.

Men observed, about this time, an irritable manner in Mr. Meadows which
he had never shown before, and an eternal restlessness; they little
divined the cause, or dreamed what a vow he had made, and what it cost
him every day to keep it. So strong was the struggle within him, that
there were moments when he feared he should go mad; and then it was that
he learned the value of his mother's presence in the house.

There was no explanation between them, there could be no sympathy; had
he opened his heart to her he knew she would have denounced his love for
Susan Merton as a damnable crime. Once she invited his confidence. "What
ails you, John?" said the old woman. "You had better tell me; you would
feel easier, I'm thinking."

But he turned it off a little fretfully, and she never returned to the
charge. But though there could be no direct sympathy, yet there was
a soothing influence in this quaint old woman's presence. She moved
quietly about, protecting his habits, not disturbing them; she seemed
very thoughtful, too, and cast many a secret glance of inquiry and
interest at him when he was not looking at her.

This had gone on some weeks when, one afternoon, Meadows, who had been
silent as death for a full half hour, started from his chair and said
with sudden resolution:

"Mother, I must leave this part of the country for a while."

"That is news, John."

"Yes. I shall go into the mining district for six months or a year,
perhaps."

"Well! go, John! you want a change. I think you can't do better than
go."

"I will, and no later than to-morrow."

"That is sudden."

"If I was to give myself time to think, I should never go at all."

He went out briskly with the energy of this determination.

The same evening, about seven o'clock, as he sat reading by the fire, an
unexpected visitor was announced--Mr. Merton.

He came cordially in and scolded Meadows for never having been to see
him.

"I know you are a busy man," said the old farmer, "but you might have
given us a look in coming home from market; it is only a mile out of the
way, and you are pretty well mounted in a general way."

Then the old man, a gossip, took up one of Meadows' books. "Australia!
ah!" grunted Merton, and dropped it like a hot potato; he tried another,
"Why, this is Australia, too; why, they are all Australia, as I am a
living sinner." And he looked with a rueful curiosity into Meadows'
face.

Meadows colored, but soon recovered his external composure.

"I have friends there," said he hastily, "who tell me there are capital
investments in that country, and they say no more than the truth."

"Do you think he will do any good out there?" asked the old man,
lowering his voice.

"I can't say," answered Meadows dryly.

"Tell us something about that country, John," said Merton; "and if you
was to ask me to take a glass of your home-brewed ale I don't think I
should gainsay you."

The ale was sent for, and over it Meadows, whose powers of acquisition
extended to facts as well as money, and who was full of this new
subject, poured the agricultural contents of a dozen volumes into Mr.
Merton.

The old farmer sat open-mouthed, transfixed with interest, listening
to his friend's clear, intelligent and masterly descriptions of
this wonderful land. At last the clock struck nine; he started up in
astonishment.

"I shall get a scolding if I stay later," said he, and off he went to
Grassmere.

"Have you nothing else to say to me?" asked Meadows, as the farmer put
his foot in the stirrup.

"Not that I know of," replied the other, and cantered away.

"Confound him!" muttered Meadows; "he comes and stops here three hours,
drinks my ale, gets my knowledge without the trouble of digging for't,
and goes away, and not a word from Susan, or even a word about her--one
word would have paid me for all this loss of time--but no, I was not to
have it. I will be in Devonshire this time to-morrow--no, to-morrow is
market day--but the day after I will go. I cannot live here and not see
her, nor speak to her--'twill drive me mad."

The next morning, as Meadows mounted his horse to ride to market, a
carter's boy came up to him, and taking off his hat and pulling his
head down by the front lock by way of salute, put a note into his hand.
Meadows took it and opened it carelessly; it was a handwriting he did
not know. But his eye had no sooner glanced at the signature than his
eyes gleamed and his whole frame trembled with emotion he could hardly
hide. This was the letter:


"DEAR MR. MEADOWS--We have not seen you here a long time, and if you
could take a cup of tea with us on your way home from market, my father
would be glad to see you, if it is not troubling you too much.

"I believe he has some calves he wishes to show you.

"I am, yours respectfully,

                                        "SUSAN MERTON.

"P. S.--Father has been confined by rheumatism, and I have not been well
this last month."


Meadows turned away from the messenger, and said quietly, "Tell Miss
Merton I will come, if possible." He then galloped off, and as soon as
there was no one in sight gave vent to his face and his exulting soul.

Now he congratulated himself on his goodness in making a certain vow and
his firmness in keeping it.

"I kept out of their way, and they have invited me; my conscience is
clear."

He then asked himself why Susan had invited him; and he could not but
augur the most favorable results from this act on her part. True, his
manner to her had never gone beyond friendship, but women, he argued,
are quick to discern their admirers under every disguise. She was dull
and out of spirits, and wrote for him to come to her; this was a great
point, a good beginning. "The sea is between her and George, and I am
here, with time and opportunity on my side," said Meadows; and as
these thoughts coursed through his heart, his gray nag, spurred by an
unconscious heel, broke into a hand-gallop, and after an hour and a half
hard riding they clattered into the town of Newborough.

The habit of driving hard bargains is a good thing for teaching a man to
suppress his feelings and feign indifference, yet the civil nonchalance
with which Meadows, on his return from Newborough, walked into the
Merton's parlor cost him no ordinary struggle.

The farmer received him cordially--Susan civilly, and with a somewhat
feeble smile. The former soon engaged him in agricultural talk. Susan,
meanwhile, made the tea in silence, and Meadows began to think she was
capricious, and had no sooner got what she asked for than she did not
care for it. After a while, however, she put in a word here and there,
but with a discouraging languor.

Presently Farmer Merton brought her his tea-cup to be replenished, and
upon this opportunity Susan said a word to her father in an undertone.

"Oh, ay!" replied the farmer very loud indeed; and Susan colored.

"What was you saying to me about that country--that Christmas-day is the
hottest day in the year?" began Mr. Merton.

Meadows assented, and Merton proceeded to put other questions, in order,
it appeared, to draw once more from Meadows the interesting information
of last night.

Meadows answered shortly and with repugnance. Then Susan put in: "And
is it true, sir, that the flowers are beautiful to the eye, but have
no smell, and that the birds have all gay feathers, but no song?" Then
Susan, scarcely giving him time to answer, proceeded to put several
questions, and her manner was no longer languid, but bright and
animated. She wound up her interrogatories with this climax:

"And _do_ you think, sir, it is a country where George will be able to
do any good. And will he have his health in that land, so far from every
one to take care of him?"

And this doubt raised, the bright eyes were dimmed with tears in a
moment.

Meadows gasped out, "Why not? why not?" but soon after, muttering
some excuse about his horse, he went out with a promise to return
immediately.

He was no sooner alone than he gave way to a burst of rage and
bitterness.

"So, she only sent for me here to make me tell her about that infernal
country where her George is. I'll ride home this instant--this very
instant--without bidding them good-by."

Cooler thoughts came. He mused deeply a few minutes, and then, clinching
his teeth, returned slowly to the little parlor: he sat down and took
his line with a brisk and cheerful air.

"You were asking me some questions about Australia. I can tell you all
about that country, for I have a relation there who writes to me. And I
have read all the books about it, too, as it happens."

Susan brightened up.

Meadows, by a great histrionic effort, brightened up, too, and poured
out a flood of really interesting facts and anecdotes about this
marvelous land.

Then, in the middle of a narrative, which enchained both his hearers, he
suddenly looked at his watch, and putting on a fictitious look of dismay
and annoyance, started up with many excuses and went home--not, however,
till Susan had made him promise to come again next market-day.

As he rode home in the moonlight Susan's face seemed still before him.
The bright look of interest she had given him, the grateful smiles with
which she had thanked him for his narration--all this had been so sweet
at the moment, so bitter upon the least reflection. His mind was in a
whirl. At last he grasped at one idea, and held it as with a vise.

"I shall be always welcome to her if I can bring myself to talk about
that detestable country. Well, I will grind my tongue down to it. She
shall not be able to do without my chat; that shall be the beginning;
the middle shall be different; the end shall be just the opposite. The
sea is between him and her. I am here with opportunity, resolution and
money. I _will_ have her!"

The next morning his mother said to him:

"John, do you think to go to-day?"

"Where, mother?"

"The journey you spoke of."

"What journey?"

"Among the mines."

"Not I."

"You have changed your mind, then?"

"What, didn't you see I was joking?"

"No!" (very dryly.)

Soon after this little dialogue Dame Meadows proposed to end her visit
and return home. Her son yielded a cheerful assent. She went gravely and
quietly back to her little cottage.

Meadows had determined to make himself necessary to Susan Merton. He
brought a woman's cunning to bear against a woman's; for the artifice to
which his strong will bent his supple talent is one that many women have
had the tact and temporary self-denial to carry out, but not one man in
a hundred.

Men try to beat an absent rival by sneering at him, etc. By which means
the asses make their absent foe present to her mind and enlist the whole
woman in his defense.

But Meadows was no ordinary man. Susan had given his quick intelligence
a glimpse of a way to please her. He looked at the end, and crushed his
will down to the thorny means.

Twice a week he called on the Mertons, and much of his talk was
Australia. Susan was grateful. To hear of the place where George would
soon be was the nearest approach she could make to hearing of George.

As for Meadows, he gained a great point, but he went through tortures on
the way. He could not hide from himself why he was so welcome; and many
a time as he rode home from the Mertons he resolved never to return
there, but he took no more oaths; it had cost him so much to keep the
last; and that befell which might have been expected, after a while, the
pleasure of being near the woman he loved, of being distinguished by her
and greeted with pleasure however slight, grew into a habit and a need.

Achilles was a man of steel, but he had a vulnerable part; and iron
natures like John Meadows have often one spot in their souls where
they are far tenderer than the universal dove-eyed, and weaker than the
omnipotent. He never spoke a word of love to Susan, he knew it would
spoil all; and she, occupied with another's image, and looking upon
herself as confessedly belonging to another, never suspected the deep
passion that filled this man's heart. But if an observer of nature had
accompanied John Meadows on market-day he might have seen--diagnostics.

All the morning his eye was cold and quick; his mouth, when silent,
close, firm, and unreadable; his voice clear, decided, and occasionally
loud. But when he got to old Merton's fireside he mellowed and softened
like the sun toward evening. There his forehead unknit itself; his
voice, pitched in quite a different key from his key of business, turned
also low and gentle, and soothed and secretly won the hearer by its
deep, rich and pleasant modulation and variety; and his eye turned
deeper in color, and, losing its keenness and restlessness, dwelt calmly
and pensively for minutes at a time upon some little household object
close to Susan; seldom, unless quite unobserved, upon Susan herself.

But the surrounding rustics suspected nothing, so calm and deep ran
Meadows.

"Dear heart," said Susan to her father, "who would have thought Mr.
Meadows would come a mile out of his way twice a week to talk to me
about Geo--about the country where my heart is--and the folk say he
thinks of nothing but money and won't move a step without making it."

"The folk are envious of him, girl--that is all. John Meadows is too
clever for fools, and too industrious for the lazy ones; he is a good
friend of mine, Susan; if I wanted to borrow a thousand pounds I have
only to draw on Meadows; he has told me so half a dozen times."

"We don't want his money, father," replied Susan, "nor anybody's; but I
think a great deal of his kindness, and George shall thank him when
he comes home--if ever he comes home to Susan again." These last words
brought many tears with them, which the old farmer pretended not to
notice, for he was getting tired of his daughter's tears. They
were always flowing now at the least word, "and she used to be so
good-humored and cheerful-like."

Poor Susan! she was very unhappy. If any one had said to her, "to-morrow
you die," she would have smiled on her own account, and only sighed
at the pain the news would cause poor George. Her George was gone, her
mother had been dead this two years. Her life, which had been full of
innocent pleasures, was now utterly tasteless, except in its hours
of bitterness when sorrow overcame her like a flood. She had a pretty
flower-garden in which she used to work. When George was at home what
pleasure it had been to plant them with her lover's help, to watch them
expand, to water them in the summer evening, to smell their gratitude
for the artificial shower after a sultry day, and then to have George
in, and set him admiring them with such threadbare enthusiasm, simply
because they were hers, not in the least because they were Nature's.

I will go back, like the epic writers, and sketch one of their little
garden scenes.

One evening, after watering them all, she sat down on a seat at the
bottom of the garden, and casting her eyes over her whole domain, said,
"Well, now, I do admire flowers; don't you, George?"

"That I do," replied George, taking another seat, and coolly turning his
back on the parterre, and gazing mildly into Susan's eyes.

"Why, he is not even looking at them!" cried Susan, and she clapped her
hands and laughed gleefully.

"Oh, yes, he is; leastways he is looking at one of them, and the
brightest of the lot to my fancy."

Susan colored with pleasure. In the country compliments don't drip
constantly on beauty even from the lips of love. Then, suppressing her
satisfaction, she said, "You will look for a flower in return for that,
young man; come and let us see whether there is one good enough for
you." So then they took hands, and Susan drew him demurely about the
garden. Presently she stopped with a little start of hypocritical
admiration; at their feet shone a marigold. Susan culled the gaudy
flower and placed it affectionately in George's buttonhole. He received
it proudly, and shaking hands with her, for it was time to part, turned
away slowly. She let him take a step or two, then called him back. "He
was really going off with that nasty thing." She took it out of his
buttonhole, rubbed it against his nose with well-feigned anger and then
threw it away.

"You are all behind in flowers, George," said Susan; "here, this is good
enough for you," and she brought out from under her apron, where she had
carried the furtively culled treasure, a lovely clove-pink. Pretty soul,
she had nursed and watered and cherished this choice flower this three
weeks past for George, and this was her way of giving it him at last; so
a true woman gives--(her life, if need be). George took it and smelled
it, and lingered a moment at the garden gate, and moralized on it.
"Well, Susan, dear, now I'm not so deep in flowers as you, but I like
this a deal better than the marigold, and I'll tell you for why; it is
more like you, Susan."

"Ay! why?"

"I see flowers that are pretty, but have no smell, and I see women that
have good looks, but no great wisdom nor goodness when you come nearer
to them. Now the marigold is like those lasses; but this pink is good as
well as pretty, so then it will stand for you, when we are apart, as we
mostly are--worse luck for me."

"Oh, George," said Susan, dropping her quizzing manner, "I am a long way
behind the marigold or any flower in comeliness and innocence, but at
least I wish I was better."

"I don't."

"Ay, but I do, ten times better, for--for--"

"For why, Susan?"

Susan closed the garden gate and took a step toward the house.
Then, turning her head over her shoulder, with an ineffable look of
tenderness, tipped with one tint of lingering archness, she let fall,
"For your sake, George," in the direction of George's feet, and glided
across the garden into the house.

George stood watching her. He did not at first take up all she had
bestowed on him, for her sex has peculiar mastery over language, being
diabolically angelically subtle in the art of saying something that
expresses 1 oz. and implies 1 cwt.; but when he did comprehend, his
heart exulted. He strode home as if he trod on air and often kissed the
little flower he had taken from the beloved hand, "and with it words
of so sweet breath composed, as made the thing more rich;" and as he
marched past the house kissing the flower, need I tell my reader that so
innocent a girl as Susan was too high-minded to watch the effect of her
proceedings from behind the curtains? I hope not, it would surely be
superfluous to relate what none would be green enough to believe.

These were Susan's happy days. Now all was changed. She hated to water
her flowers now. She bade one of the farm-servants look to the garden.
He accepted the charge, and her flowers' drooping heads told how nobly
he had fulfilled it. Susan was charitable. Every day it had been her
custom to visit more than one poor person; she carried meal to one,
soup to another, linen to another, meat and bread to another, money to
another--to all words and looks of sympathy. This practice she did not
even now give up, for it came under the head of her religious duties;
but she relaxed it. She often sent to places where she used to go. Until
George went she had never thought of herself; and so the selfishness
of those she relieved had not struck her. Now it made her bitter to
see that none of those she pitied, pitied her. The moment she came into
their houses it was, "_My_ poor head, Miss Merton; _my_ old bones do
ache so."

"I think a bit of your nice bacon would do ME good. I'M a poor sufferer,
Miss Merton. _My_ boy is 'listed. I thought as how you'd forgotten _me_
altogether. But 'tis hard for poor folk to keep a friend." "You see,
miss, _my_ bedroom window is broken in one or two places. John, he
stopped it up with paper the best way he could, but la, bless you, paper
baint like glass. It is very dull for _me_. You see, miss, I can't get
about now as I used to could, and I never was no great reader. I often
wish as some one would step in and knock me on the head, for I be no
use, I baint, neer a mossel." No one of them looked up in her face
and said, "Lauks, how pale _you_ ha got to look, miss; I hopes as how
nothing amiss haven't happened to _you_, that have been so kind to us
this many a day." Yet suffering of some sort was plainly stamped on the
face and in the manner of this relieving angel. When they poured out
their vulgar woes, Susan made an effort to forget her own and to cheer
as well as relieve them. But she had to compress her own heart hard to
do it; and this suppression of feeling makes people more or less bitter.
She had better have out with it, and scolded them well for talking as if
they alone were unhappy; but her woman's nature would not let her. They
kept asking her for pity, and she still gulped down her own heart and
gave it them, till at last she began to take a spite against her pets;
so then she sent to most of them instead of going. She sent rather
larger slices of beef and bacon, and rather more yards of flannel than
when she used to carry the like to them herself. Susan had one or two
young friends, daughters of farmers in the neighborhood, with whom she
was a favorite, though the gayer ones sometimes quizzed her for her
religious tendencies, and her lamentable indifference to flirtation.
But then she was so good and so good-humored, and so tolerant of
other people's tastes. The prattle of these young ladies became now
intolerable to Susan, and when she saw them coming to call on her she
used to snatch up her bonnet and fly and lock herself up in a closet at
the top of the house, and read some good book as quiet as a mouse, till
the servants had hunted for her and told them she must be out. She was
not in a frame of mind to sustain tarlatans, barege, the history of the
last hop, and the prophecies of the next; the wounded deer shrunk from
its gamboling associates, and indeed from all strangers, except John
Meadows. "He talks to me about something worth talking about," said
Susan Merton. It happened one day, while Susan was in this sad and I may
say dangerous state of mind, that the servant came up to her, and told
her a gentleman was on his horse at the door, and wanted to see Mr.
Merton.

"Father is at market, Jane."

"Yes, miss, but I told the gentleman you were at home."

"Me! what have I to do with father's visitors?"

"Miss," replied Jane mysteriously, "it is a parson, and you are so fond
of them, I could not think to let him go away without getting a word
with anybody; and he has such a face. La, miss, you never saw such a
face."

"Silly girl, what have I to do with handsome faces?"

"But he is not handsome, miss, not in the least, only he is beautiful.
You go and see else."

"I hate strangers' faces, but I will go to him, Jane; it is my duty,
since it is a clergyman. I will just go upstairs."

"La, miss, what for? you are always neat, you are--nobody ever catches
you in your dishables like the rest of 'em."

"I'll just smooth my hair."

"La, miss, what for? it is smooth as marble--it always is."

"Where is he, Jane?"

"In the front parlor."

"I won't be a moment."

She went upstairs. There was no necessity; Jane was right there; but it
was a strict custom in the country, and is, for that matter, and will
be till time and vanity shall be no more. More majorum a girl must go up
and look at herself in the glass if she did nothing more, before coming
in to receive company.

Susan entered the parlor; she came in so gently that she had a moment
to observe her visitor before he saw her. He had seated himself with
his back to the light, and was devouring a stupid book on husbandry that
belonged to her father. The moment she closed the door he saw her and
rose from his seat.

"Miss Merton?"

"Yes, sir."

"The living of this place has been vacant more than a month."

"Yes, sir."

"It will not be filled up for three months, perhaps."

"So we hear, sir."

"Meantime you have no church to go to nearer than Barmstoke, which is a
chapel-of-ease to this place, but two miles distant."

"Two miles and a half, sir."

"So then the people here have no divine service on the Lord's day."

"No, sir, not for the present," said Susan meekly, lowering her lashes,
as if the clergyman had said, "This is a parish of heathens, whereof you
are one."

"Nor any servant of God to say a word of humility and charity to the
rich, of eternal hope to the poor, and" (here his voice sunk into sudden
tenderness) "of comfort to the sorrowful."

Susan raised her eyes and looked him over with one dove-like glance,
then instantly lowered them.

"No, sir, we are all under a cloud here," said Susan sadly.

"Miss Merton, I have undertaken the duty here until the living shall be
filled up; but you shall understand that I live thirty miles off, and
have other duties, and I can only ride over here on Saturday afternoon
and back Monday at noon."

"Oh, sir!" cried Susan, "half a loaf is better than no bread! The parish
will bless you, sir, and no doubt," added she timidly, "the Lord will
reward you for coming so far to us."

"I am glad you think so," said the clergyman thoughtfully. "Well, let us
do the best we can. Tell me first, Miss Merton, do you think the absence
of a clergyman is regretted here?"

"Regretted, sir! dear heart, what a question. You might as well ask me
do father's turnips long for rain after a month's drought;" and Susan
turned on her visitor a face into which the innocent venerating love her
sex have for an ecclesiastic flashed without disguise.

Her companion smiled, but it was with benevolence, not with gratified
vanity.

"Let me explain my visit. Your father is one of the principal people
in the village. He can assist me or thwart me in my work. I called to
invite his co-operation. Some clergymen are jealous of co-operation; I
am not. It is a good thing for all parties; best of all for those who
co-operate with us; for in giving alms wisely they receive grace, and
in teaching the ignorant they learn themselves. Am I right?" added he
rather sharply, turning suddenly upon Susan.

"Oh, sir," said Susan, a little startled, "it is for me to receive your
words, not to judge them."

"Humph!" said the reverend gentleman rather dryly; he hated intellectual
subserviency. He liked people to think for them-selves; and to end by
thinking with him.

"Father will never thwart you, sir, and I--I will co-operate with you,
sir, if you will accept of me," said Susan innocently.

"Thank you, then let us begin at once." He took out his watch. "I have
an hour and a half to spare, then I must gallop back to Oxford. Miss
Merton, I should like to make acquaintance with some of the people.
Suppose we go to the school, and see what the children are learning,
and then visit one or two families in the village, so I shall catch a
glimpse of the three generations I have to deal with. My name is Francis
Eden. You are going to get your bonnet?"

"Yes, sir."

"Thank you."

They passed out through the garden. Mr. Eden stopped to look at the
flowers. Susan colored.

"It has been rather neglected of late," said she apologetically.

"It must have been very well taken care of before, then," said he, "for
it looks charming now. Ah! I love flowers dearly!" and he gave a little
sigh.

They reached the school, and Mr. Eden sat down and examined the little
boys and girls. When he sat down Susan winced. How angry he will be at
their ignorance! thought Susan. But Mr. Eden, instead of putting on
an awful look, and impressing on the children that a being of another
generation was about to attack them, made himself young to meet their
minds. A pleasant smile disarmed their fears. He spoke to them in very
simple words and childish idioms, and told them a pretty story, which
interested them mightily. Having set their minds really working, he put
questions arising fairly out of his story, and so fathomed the moral
sense and the intelligence of more than one. In short, he drew the brats
out instead of crushing them in. Susan stood by, at first startled at
the line he took, then observant, then approving. Presently he turned to
her.

"And which is your class, Miss Merton?"

Susan colored.

"I take these little girls when I come, sir.

"Miss Merton has not been here this fortnight," said a pert teacher.

Susan could have beat her. What will this good man think of me now?
thought poor Susan. To her grateful relief, the good man took no notice
of the observation; he looked at his watch.

"Now, Miss Merton, if I am not giving you too much trouble," and they
left the school.

"You wish to see some of the folk in the village, sir?"

"Yes."

"Where shall I take you first, sir?"

"Where I ought to go first."

Susan looked puzzled.

Mr. Eden stopped dead short.

"Come, guess," said he, with a radiant smile, "and don't look so scared.
I'll forgive you if you guess wrong."

Susan looked this way and that, encouraged by his merry smile. She let
out--scarce above a whisper, and in a tone of interrogation, as who
should say this is not to be my last chance since I have only asked a
question not risked an answer--

"To the poorest, Mr. Eden?"

"Brava! she has guessed it," cried the Reverend Frank triumphantly; for
he had been more anxious she should answer right than she had herself.
"Young lady, I have friends with their heads full of Latin and Greek
who could not have answered that so quickly as you; one proof more
how goodness brightens intelligence," added he in soliloquy. "Here's a
cottage."

"Yes, sir, I was going to take you into this one, if you please."

They found in the cottage a rheumatic old man, one of those we alluded
to as full of his own complaints. Mr. Eden heard these with patience,
and then, after a few words of kind sympathy and acquiescence, for he
was none of those hard humbugs who tell a man that old age, rheumatism
and poverty are strokes with a feather, he said quietly:

"And now for the other side; now tell me what you have to be grateful
for."

The old man was taken aback and his fluency deserted him. On the
question being repeated, he began to say that he had many mercies to
be thankful for. Then he higgled and hammered and fumbled for the said
mercies, and tried to enumerate them, but in phrases conventional and
derived from tracts and sermons; whereas his statement of grievances had
been idiomatic.

"There, that will do," said Mr. Eden smiling, "say nothing you don't
feel; what is the use? May I ask you a few questions," added he,
courteously; then, without waiting for permission, he dived skillfully
into this man's life, and fished up all the pearls--the more remarkable
passages.

Many years ago this old man had been a soldier, had fought in more than
one great battle, had retreated with Sir John Moore upon Corunna, and
been one of the battered and weary but invincible band who wheeled round
and stunned the pursuers on 'that bloody and glorious day. Mr. Eden went
with the old man to Spain, discussed with great animation the retreat,
the battle, the position of the forces, and the old soldier's personal
prowess. Old Giles perked up, and dilated, and was another man; he
forgot his rheumatism, and even his old age. Twice he suddenly stood
upright as a dart on the floor, and gave the word of command like a
trumpet in some brave captain's name; and his cheek flushed, and his
eye glittered with the light of battle. Susan looked at him with
astonishment. Then when his heart was warm and his spirits attentive Mr.
Eden began to throw in a few words of exhortation. But even then he did
not bully the man into being a Christian; gently, firmly, and with a
winning modesty, he said: "I think you have much to be thankful for,
like all the rest of us. Is it not a mercy you were not cut off in your
wild and dissolute youth? you might have been slain in battle."

"That I might, sir; three of us went from this parish and only one came
home again.

"You might have lost a leg or an arm, as many a brave fellow did; you
might have been a cripple all your days."

"That is true, sir."

"You survive here in a Christian land, in possession of your faculties;
the world, it is true, has but few pleasures to offer you--all the
better for you. Oh, if I could but make that as plain to you as it is
to me. You have every encouragement to look for happiness there, where
alone it is to be found. Then courage, corporal; you stood firm at
Corunna--do not give way in this your last and most glorious battle. The
stake is greater than it was at Vittoria, or Salamanca, or Corunna, or
Waterloo. The eternal welfare of a single human soul weighs a thousand
times more than all the crowns and empires in the globe. You are in
danger, sir. Discontent is a great enemy of the soul. You must pray
against it--you must fight against it."

"And so I will, sir; you see if I don't."

"You read, Mr. Giles?" Susan had told Mr. Eden his name at the
threshold.

"Yes, sir; but I can't abide them nasty little prints they bring me."

"Of course you can't. Printed to sell, not to read, eh? Here is a book.
The type is large, clear and sharp. This is an order-book, corporal. It
comes from the great Captain of our salvation. Every sentence in it is
gold; yet I think I may safely pick out a few for your especial use at
present." And Mr. Eden sat down, and producing from his side pockets,
which were very profound, some long thin slips of paper, he rapidly
turned the leaves of the Testament and inserted his markers; but this
occupation did not for a moment interrupt his other proceedings.

"There is a pipe--you don't smoke, I hope?"

"No, sir; leastways not when I han't got any baccy, and I've been out of
that this three days--worse luck."

"Give up smoking, corporal, it is a foul habit."

"Ah, sir! you don't ever have a half-empty belly and a sorrowful heart,
or you wouldn't tell an old soldier to give up his pipe."

"Take my advice. Give up all such false consolation, to oblige me, now."

"Well, sir, to oblige you, I'll try; but you don't know what his pipe is
to a poor old man full of nothing but aches and pains, or you wouldn't
have asked me," and old Giles sighed. Susan sighed, too, for she thought
Mr. Eden cruel for once.

"Miss Merton," said the latter sternly, his eye twinkling all the time,
"he is incorrigible; and I see you agree with me that it is idle to
torment the incurable. So" (diving into the capacious pocket) "here
is an ounce of his beloved poison," and out came a paper of tobacco.
Corporal's eyes brightened with surprise and satisfaction. "Poison him,
Miss Merton, poison him quick, don't keep him waiting."

"Poison him, sir?"

"Fill his pipe for him, if you please."

"That I will, sir, with pleasure." A white hand with quick and supple
fingers filled the brown pipe.

"That is as it should be. Let beauty pay honor to courage; above all to
courage in its decay."

The old man grinned with gratified pride. The white hand lighted the
pipe, and gave it to the old soldier. He smiled gratefully all round and
sucked his homely consolation.

"I compound with you, corporal. You must let me put you on the road
to heaven, and, in return, I must let you go there in a cloud of
tobacco--ugh!"

"I'm agreeable, sir," said Giles dryly, withdrawing his pipe for a
moment.

"There," said Mr. Eden, closing the marked Testament, "read often in
this book. Read first the verses I have marked, for these very verses
have dropped comfort on the poor, the aged and the distressed for more
than eighteen hundred years, and will till time shall be no more. And
now good-by, and God bless you."

"God bless you, sir, wherever you go!" cried the old man with sudden
energy, "for you have comforted my poor old heart. I feel as I han't
felt this many a day. Your words are like the bugles sounding a charge
all down the line. You must go, I suppose; but do ye come again and see
me. And, Miss Merton, you never come to see me now, as you used."

"Miss Merton has her occupations like the rest of us," said Mr. Eden
quickly; "but she will come to see you--won't she?"

"Oh, yes, sir!" replied Susan, hastily. So then they returned to the
farm, for Mr. Eden's horse was in the stable. At the door they found Mr.
Merton.

"This is father, sir. Father, this is Mr. Eden, that is coming to take
the duty here for a while."

After the ordinary civilities Susan drew her father aside, and,
exchanging a few words with him, disappeared into the house. As Mr. Eden
was mounting his horse, Mr. Merton came forward and invited him to stay
at his house whenever he should come to the parish. Mr. Eden hesitated.

"Sir," said the farmer, "you will find no lodgings comfortable within a
mile of the church, and we have a large house not half occupied. You can
make yourself quite at home."

"I am much obliged to you, Mr. Merton, but must not trespass too far
upon your courtesy."

"Well, sir," replied the farmer, "we shall feel proud if you can put up
with the like of us."

"I will come. I am much obliged to you, sir, and to your daughter."

He mounted his horse and bade the farmer good morning. Susan came out
and stood on the steps and curtsied low--rustic fashion--but with a
grace of her own. He took off his hat to her as he rode out of the gate,
gave her a sweet, bright smile of adieu, and went down the lane fourteen
miles an hour. Old Giles was seated outside his own door with a pipe
and a book. At the sound of horses' feet he looked up and recognized
his visitor, whom he had seen pass in the morning. He rose up erect and
saluted him, by bringing his thumb with a military wave to his forehead.
Mr. Eden saluted him in the same manner, but without stopping. The old
soldier sat down again and read and smoked. The pipe ended--that solace
was not of an immortal kind--but the book remained; he read it calmly
but earnestly in the warm air till day declined.



CHAPTER VII.

THE next Saturday Susan was busy preparing two rooms for Mr. Eden--a
homely but bright bedroom looking eastward, and a snug room where he
could be quiet downstairs. Snowy sheets and curtains and toilet-cover
showed the good housewife. The windows were open, and a beautiful
nosegay of Susan's flowers on the table. Mr. Eden's eye brightened at
the comfort and neatness and freshness of the whole thing; and Susan,
who watched him furtively, felt pleased to see him pleased.

On Sunday he preached in the parish church. The sermon was opposite to
what the good people here had been subject to; instead of the vague and
cold generalities of an English sermon, he drove home-truths home in
business-like English. He used a good many illustrations, and these
were drawn from matters with which this particular congregation were
conversant. He was as full of similes here as he was sparing of them
when he preached before the University of Oxford. Any one who had
read this sermon in a book of sermons would have divined what sort
of congregation it was preached to--a primrose of a sermon. Mr. Eden
preached from notes and to the people--not the air. Like every born
orator, he felt his way with his audience, whereas the preacher who is
not an orator throws out his fine things, hit or miss, and does not know
and feel and care whether he is hitting or missing. "Open your hand,
shut your eyes, and fling out the good seed so much per foot--that is
enough." No. This man preached to the faces and hearts that happened
to be round him. He established between himself and them a pulse, every
throb of which he felt and followed. If he could not get hold of them
one way, he tried another; he would have them--he was not there to fail.
His discourse was human; it was man speaking to man on the most vital
and interesting topic in the world or out of it; it was more, it was
brother speaking to brother. Hence some singular phenomena. First,
when he gave the blessing (which is a great piece of eloquence commonly
reduced to a very small one by monotonous or feeble delivery), and
uttered it, like his discourse, with solemnity, warmth, tenderness and
all his soul, the people lingered some moments in the church and seemed
unwilling to go at all. Second, nobody mistook their pew for their
four-poster during the sermon. This was the more remarkable as many of
the congregation had formed a steady habit of coming to this place once
a week with the single view of snatching an hour's repose from earthly
and heavenly cares.

The next morning Mr. Eden visited some of the poorest people in the
parish. Susan accompanied him, all eyes and ears. She observed that his
line was not to begin by dictating his own topic, but lie in wait for
them; let them first choose their favorite theme, and so meet them on
this ground, and bring religion to bear on it. "Oh, how wise he is!"
thought Susan, "and how he knows the heart!"

One Sunday evening three weeks after his first official visit he had
been by himself to see some of the poor people, and on his return found
Susan alone. He sat down and gave an account of his visits.

"How many ounces of tea and tobacco did you give away, sir?" asked
Susan, with an arch smile.

"Four tea, two tobacco," replied the reverend gentleman.

"I do notice, sir, you never carry gingerbread or the like for the
children."

"No; the young don't want lollypops, for they have youth. Old age wants
everything, so the old are my children, and I tea and tobacco them."

After this there was a pause.

"Miss Merton, you have shown me many persons who need consolation, but
there is one you say nothing about."

"Have I, sir? Who? Oh, I think I know. Old Dame Clayton?"

"No, it is a young demoiselle."

"Then I don't know who it can be."

"Guess."

"No, sir," said Susan, looking down.

"It is yourself, Miss Merton."

"Me, sir! Why, what is the matter with me?"

"That you shall tell me, if you think me worthy of your confidence."

"Oh, thank you, sir. I have my little crosses, no doubt, like all the
world; but I have health and strength. I have my father."

"My child, you are in trouble. You were crying when I came in.

"Indeed I was not, sir!--how did you know I was crying?"

"When I came in you turned your back to me, instead of facing me, which
is more natural when any one enters a room; and soon after you made an
excuse for leaving the room, and when you came back there was a drop of
water in your right eyelash."

"It need not have been a tear, sir!"

"It was not; it was water. You had been removing the traces of tears."

"Girls are mostly always crying, sir; often they don't know for why, but
they don't care to have it noticed always."

"Nor would it be polite or generous; but this of yours is a deep grief,
and alarms me for you. Shall I tell you how I know? You often yawn and
often sigh; when these two things come together at your age they are
signs of a heavy grief; then it comes out that you have lost your relish
for things that once pleased you. The first day I came here you told me
your garden had been neglected of late, and you blushed in saying so.
Old Giles and others asked you before me why you had given up visiting
them; you colored and looked down. I could almost have told them, but
that would have made you uncomfortable. You are in grief, and no common
grief."

"Nothing worth speaking to you about, sir; nothing I will ever complain
of to any one."

"There I think you are wrong; religion has consoled many griefs; great
griefs admit of no other consolation. The sweetest exercise of my office
is to comfort the heavy hearted. Your heart is heavy, my poor lamb--tell
me--what is it?"

"It is nothing, sir, that you would understand; you are very skilled and
notice-taking, as well as good, but you are not a woman, and you must
excuse me, sir, if I beg you not to question me further on what would
not interest you."

Mr. Eden looked at her compassionately, and merely said to her again,
"What is it?" in a low tone of ineffable tenderness.

At this Susan looked in a scared manner this way and that. "Sir, do not
ask me, pray do not ask me so;" then she suddenly lifted her hands, "My
George is gone across the sea! What shall I do! what shall I do!!" and
she buried her face in her apron.

This burst of pure Nature--this simple cry of a suffering heart--was
very touching, and Mr. Eden, spite of his many experiences, was not
a little moved. He sat silent, looking on her as an angel might be
supposed to look upon human griefs, and as he looked on her various
expressions chased one another across that eloquent face. Sweet and
tender memories and regrets were not wanting among them. After a long
pause he spoke in a tone soft and gentle as a woman's, and at first in
a voice so faltering that Susan, though her face was hidden, felt there
was no common sympathy there, and silently put out her hand toward it.

He murmured consolation. He said many gentle, soothing things. He told
her that it was very sad the immense ocean should roll between two
loving hearts, "but," said he, "there are barriers more impassable than
the sea. Better so than that he should be here and jealousy, mistrust,
caprice, or even temper come between you. I hope he will come back; I
think he will come back."

She blessed him for saying so. She was learning to believe everything
this man uttered.

From consolation he passed to advice.

"You must do the exact opposite of what you have been doing."

"Must I?"

"You must visit those poor people; ay, more than ever you did; hear
patiently their griefs; do not expect much in return, neither sympathy
nor a great deal of gratitude; vulgar sorrow is selfish. Do it for God's
sake and your own single-heartedly. Go to the school, return to your
flowers, and never shun innocent society, however dull. Milk and water
is a poor thing, but it is a diluent, and all we can do just now is to
dilute your grief."

He made her promise: "Next time I come tell me all about you and
George. 'Give sorrow words, the grief that does not speak whispers the
o'erfraught heart and bids it break.'"

"Oh! that is a true word," sobbed Susan, "that is very true. Why a
little of the lead seems to have dropped off my heart now I have spoken
to you, sir."

All the next week Susan bore up as bravely as she could, and did what
Mr. Eden had bade her, and profited by his example. She learned to draw
from others the full history of their woes; and she found that many
a grief bitter as her own had passed over the dwellers in those small
cottages; it did her some little good to discover kindred woes, and much
good to go out of herself a while and pity them.

This drooping flower recovered her head a little, but still the sweetest
hour in all the working days of the week was that which brought John
Meadows to talk to her of Australia.



CHAPTER VIII.

SUSAN MERTON had two unfavored lovers; it is well to observe how
differently these two behaved. William Fielding stayed at home, threw
his whole soul into his farm, and seldom went near the woman he loved
but had no right to love. Meadows dangled about the flame; ashamed and
afraid to own his love, he fed it to a prodigious height by encouraging
it and not expressing it. William Fielding was moody and cross and sad
enough at times; but at others a little spark ignited inside his heart,
and a warm glow diffused itself from that small point over all
his being. I think this spark igniting was an approving conscience
commencing its uphill work of making a disappointed lover, but honest
man, content.

Meadows, on his part, began to feel content and a certain complacency
take the place of his stormy feelings. Twice a week he passed two hours
with Susan. She always greeted him with a smile, and naturally showed an
innocent satisfaction in these visits, managed as they were with so much
art and self-restraint. On Sunday, too, he had always a word or two with
her.

Meadows, though an observer of religious forms, had the character of a
very worldly man, and Susan thought it highly to his credit that he came
six miles to hear Mr. Eden.

"But, Mr. Meadows, your poor horse," said she, one day. "I doubt it is
no Sabbath to him now."

"No more it is," said Meadows, as if a new light came to him from Susan.
The next Sunday he appeared in dusty shoes, instead of top-boots.

Susan looked down at them, and saw, and said nothing; but she smiled.
Her love of goodness and her vanity were both gratified a little.

Meadows did not stop there; wherever Susan went he followed modestly in
her steps. Nor was this mere cunning. He loved her quite well enough to
imitate her, and try and feel with her; and he began to be kinder to the
poor, and to feel good all over, and comfortable. He felt as if he
had not an enemy in the world. One day in Farnborough he saw William
Fielding on the other side of the street. Susan Merton did not love
William, therefore Meadows had no cause to hate him. He remembered
William had asked a loan of him and he had declined. He crossed over to
him.

"Good-day, Mr. William."

"Good-day, Mr. Meadows."

"You were speaking to me one day about a trifling loan. I could not
manage it just then, but now--" Here Meadows paused. He had been on the
point of offering the money, but suddenly, by one of those instincts of
foresight these able men have, he turned it off thus: "but I know who
will. You go to Lawyer Crawley; he lends money to people of credit."

"I know he does; but he won't lend it me."

"Why not?"

"He does not like us. He is a poor sneaking creature, and my brother
George he caught Crawley selling up some poor fellow or other, and they
had words; leastways it went beyond words, I fancy. I don't know the
rights of it, but George was a little rough with him by all accounts."

"And what has that to do with this?" said the man of business coolly.

"Why, I am George's brother."

"And if you were George himself and he saw his way to make a shilling
out of you he would do it, wouldn't he? There, you go to Crawley and
ask him to lend you one hundred pounds, and he will lend it you, only he
will make you pay heavy interest, heavier than I should, you know, if I
could manage it myself."

"Oh, I don't care," said simple William; "thank you kindly, Mr.
Meadows," and off he went to Crawley.

He found that worthy in his office. Crawley, who instantly guessed
his errand, and had no instructions from Meadows, promised himself the
satisfaction of refusing the young man. He asked, with a cringing manner
and a treacherous smile, "What security, sir?"

Poor William higgled and hammered, and offered first one thing, which
was blandly declined for this reason; then another, which was blandly
declined for that, Crawley drinking deep draughts of mean vengeance all
the while from the young man's shame and mortification, when the door
opened, a man walked in, and gave Crawley a note and vanished. Crawley
opened the note; it contained a check drawn by Meadows, and these words:
"Lend W. F. the money at ten per cent on his acceptance of your draft at
two months."

Crawley put the note and check in his pocket.

"Well, sir," said he to William, "you stay here, and I will see if I
have got a loose hundred in the bank to spare." He went over to the
bank, cashed the check, drew a bill of exchange at two months' date,
deducted the interest and stamp, and William accepted it, and Crawley
bowed him out cringing, smiling, and secretly shooting poisoned arrows
out of his venomous eye in the direction of William's heels.

William thanked him warmly.

This loan made him feel happy.

He had paid his brother's debt to the landlord by sacrificing a large
portion of his grain at a time the price was low; and now he was so
cramped he had much ado to pay his labor when this loan came. The very
next day he bought several hogs--hogs, as George had sarcastically
observed, were William Fielding's hobby; he had I confidence in that
animal. Potatoes and pigs versus sheep and turnips was the theory of
William Fielding.

Now the good understanding between William and Meadows was not to last
long. William, though he was too wise to visit Grassmere Farm much, was
mindful of his promise to George, and used to make occasional inquiries
after Susan. He heard that Meadows called at the farm twice a week, and
he thought it a little odd. He pondered on it, but did not quite go the
length of suspecting anything, still less of suspecting Susan. Still, he
thought it odd; but he thought it odder, when, one market-day, old Isaac
Levi said to him:

"Do you remember the promise you made to the lion-hearted young man,
your brother?"

"Do you ask that to affront me?"

"You never visit her; and others are not so neglectful."

"Who?"

"Go this evening and you will see."

"Yes, I will go, and I will soon see if there is anything in it," said
William, not stopping even to inquire why the old Jew took all this
interest in the affair.

That evening, as Meadows was in the middle of a description of the town
of Sydney, Susan started up. "Why, here is William Fielding!" and she
ran out and welcomed him in with much cordiality, perhaps with some
excess of cordiality.

William came in and saluted the farmer and Meadows in his dogged way.
Meadows was not best pleased, but kept his temper admirably, and,
leaving Australia, engaged both the farmers in a conversation on home
topics. Susan looked disappointed. Meadows was content with that, and
the party separated half an hour sooner than usual.

The next market evening in strolls William. Meadows again plays the same
game. This time Susan could hardly restrain her temper. She did not want
to hear about the Grassmere acres, and "The Grove," and oxen and hogs,
but about something that mattered to George.

But when the next market evening William arrived before Mr. Meadows,
she was downright provoked and gave him short answers, which raised his
suspicions and made him think he had done wisely in coming. This evening
Susan excused herself and went to bed early.

She was in Farnborough the next market-day, and William met her and
said:

"I'll take a cup of tea with you to-night, Susan, if you are agreeable."

"William," said Susan sharply, "what makes you always come to us on
market-day?"

"I don't know. What makes Mr. Meadows come that day?"

"Because he passes our house to go to his own, I suppose; but you live
but two miles off; you can come any day that you are minded."

"Should I be welcome, Susan?"

"What do you think, Will? Speak your mind; I don't understand you."

"Seems to me I was not very welcome last time."

"If I thought that I wouldn't come again," replied Susan, as sharp as
a needle. Then instantly repenting a little, she explained: "You are
welcome to me, Will, and you know that as well as I do, but I want you
to come some other evening, if it is all the same to you."

"Why?"

"Why? because I am dull other evenings, and it would be nice to have a
chat with you."

"Would it, Susan?"

"Of course it would; but that evening I have company--and he talks to me
of Australia."

"Nothing else?" sneered the unlucky William.

Susan gave him such a look.

"And that interests me more than anything you can say to me--if you
won't be offended," snapped Susan.

William bit his lip.

"Well, then, I won't come this evening, eh! Susan?"

"No, don't, that is a good soul."

"Les femmes sont impitoyables pour ceux qu'elles n'aiment pas." This
is a harsh saying, and of course not pure truth; but there is a deal of
truth in it.

William was proud, and the consciousness of his own love for her made
him less able to persist, for he knew she might be so ungenerous as to
retort if he angered her too far. So he altered the direction of his
battery. He planted himself at the gate of Grassmere Farm, and as
Meadows got off his horse requested a few words with him. Meadows ran
him over with one lightning glance, and then the whole man was on the
defensive. William bluntly opened the affair.

"You heard me promise to look on Susan as my sister, and keep her as she
is for my brother that is far away."

"I heard you, Mr. William," said Meadows with a smile that provoked
William as the artful one intended it should.

"You come here too often, sir."

"Too often for who?"

"Too often for me, too often for George, too often for the girl herself.
I won't have George's sweetheart talked about."

"You are the first to talk about her; if there's scandal it is of your
making."

"I won't have it--at a word."

Meadows called out, "Miss Merton, will you step here."

William was astonished at his audacity; he did not know his man.

Susan opened the parlor window.

"What is it, Mr. Meadows?"

"Will you step here, if you please?" Susan came. :Here is a young man
tells me I must not call on your father or you."

"I say you must not do it often enough to make her talked of."

"Who dares to talk of me?" cried Susan, scarlet.

"Nobody, Miss Merton. Nobody but the young man himself; and so I
told him. Is your father within? Then I'll step in and speak with him
anyway." And the sly Meadows vanished to give Susan an opportunity of
quarreling with William while she was hot.

"I don't know how you came to take such liberties with me," began Susan,
quite pale now with anger.

"It is for George's sake," said William doggedly.

"Did George bid you insult my friends and me? I would not put up with it
from George himself, much less from you. I shall write to George and ask
him whether he wishes me to be your slave."

"Don't ye do so. Don't set my brother against me," remonstrated William
ruefully.

"The best thing you can do is to go home and mind your farm, and get a
sweetheart for yourself, and then you won't trouble your head about me
more than you have any business to do."

This last cut wounded William to the quick.

"Good-evening, Susan."

"Good-evening."

"Won't you shake hands?"

"It would serve you right if I said no! But I won't make you of so much
importance as you want to be. There! And come again as soon as ever you
can treat my friends with respect."

"I shan't trouble you again for a while," said William sadly. "Good-by.
God bless you, Susan dear."

When he was gone the tears came into Susan's eyes, but she was bitterly
indignant with him for making a scene about her, which a really modest
girl hates. On her reaching the parlor Mr. Meadows was gone, too, and
that incensed her still more against William. "Mr. Meadows is affronted,
no doubt," said she, "and of course he would not come here to be talked
of; he would not like that any more than I. A man that comes here to us
out of pure good nature and nothing else."

The next market-day the deep Meadows did not come. Susan missed him and
his talk. She had few pleasures, and this was one of them. But the next
after he came as usual, and Susan did not conceal her satisfaction. She
was too shy and he too wise to allude to William's interference. They
both ignored the poor fellow and his honest, clumsy attempt.

William, discomfited but not convinced, determined to keep his eye upon
them both. "I swore it and I'll do it," said this honest fellow. "But I
can't face her tongue; it goes through me like a pitchfork; but as for
him"--and he clinched his fist most significantly; then he revolved
one or two plans in his head, and rejected them each in turn. At last
a thought struck him. "Mr. Levi! he 'twas that put me on my guard. I'll
tell him." Accordingly he recounted the whole affair and his failure to
Mr. Levi. The old man smiled. "You are no match for either of these. You
have given the maiden offense, just offense."

"Just offence! Mr. Levi. Now don't ye say so; why, how?"

"By your unskillfulness, my son."

"It is all very well for you to say that, sir, but I can tell you women
are kittle folk--manage them who can? I don't know what to do, I'm
sure."

"Stay at home and till the land," replied Isaac, somewhat dryly. "I will
go to Grassmere Farm."



CHAPTER IX.

"You going to leave us, Mr. Eden, and going to live in a jail? Oh!
Mr. Eden, I can't bear to think of it. You to be cooped up there among
thieves and rogues, and perhaps murderers?"

"They have the more need of me."

"And you, who love the air of heaven so; why, sir, I see you take off
your very hat at times to enjoy it as you are walking along; you would
be choked in a prison. Besides, sir, it is only little parsons that go
there."

"What are little parsons?"

"Those that are not clever enough or good enough to be bishops and
vicars, and so forth; not such ones as you."

"How odd! This is exactly what the Devil whispered in my ear when the
question was first raised, but I did not expect to find you on his
side."

"Didn't you, sir? Ah! well, if 'tis your duty I know I may as well hold
my tongue. And then, such as you are not like other folk; you come like
sunshine to some dark place, and when you have warmed it and lighted it
a bit, Heaven, that sent you, will have you go and shine elsewhere. You
came here, sir, you waked up the impenitent folk in this village and
comforted the distressed and relieved the poor, and you have saved one
poor broken-hearted girl from despair, from madness, belike; and now we
are not to be selfish, we must not hold you back, but let you run the
race that is set before you, and remember your words and your deeds, and
your dear face and voice to the last hour of our lives."

"And give me the benefit of your prayers, little sister, do not deny me
them; your prayers, that I may persevere to the end. Ay! it is too true,
Susan; in this world there is nothing but meeting and parting; it is
sad. We have need to be stout-hearted--stouter-hearted than you are. But
it will not always be so. A few short years and we who have fought
the good fight shall meet to part no more--to part no more--to part no
more!"

As he repeated these words, half mechanically, Susan could see that he
had suddenly become scarce conscious of her presence. The light of other
days was in his eye and his lips moved inarticulately. Delicate-minded
Susan left him, and with the aid of the servant brought out the
tea-things and set the little table on the grass square in her garden,
where you could see the western sun. And then she came for Mr. Eden.

"Come, sir, there is not a breath of wind this evening, so the
tea-things are set in the air. I know you like that."

The little party sat down in the open air. The butter, churned by Susan,
was solidified cream. The bread not very white, but home-made, juicy and
sweet as milk. The tea seemed to diffuse a more flowery fragrance out of
doors than it does in, and to mix fraternally with the hundred odors of
Susan's flowers that now perfumed the air, and the whole innocent meal,
unlike coarse dinner or supper, mingled harmoniously with the scene,
with the balmy air, the blue sky and the bright emerald grass sprinkled
with gold by the descending sun. Farmer Merton soon left them, and then
Susan went in and brought out pen and ink and a large sheet of paper.

Susan sat apart working with her needle, Mr. Eden sketched a sermon and
sipped his tea, and now and then purred three words to Susan, who purred
as many in reply. And yet over this pleasant scene there hung a gentle
sadness, felt most by Susan, as with head bent down she plied her needle
in silence. "He will not sit in my garden many times more, nor write
many more notes of sermons under my eye, nor preach to us all many more
sermons; and then he is going to a nasty jail, where he won't have his
health, I'm doubtful. And then I'm fearful he won't be comfortable in
his house, with nobody to take care of him that really cares for him;
servants soon find out where there is no woman to scold them as should
be, and he is not the man to take his own part against them." And Susan
sighed at the domestic prospects of her friend, and her needle went
slower and slower.

These reflections were interrupted by the servant, who announced a
visitor. Susan laid down her work and went into the parlor, and there
found Isaac Levi. She greeted him with open arms and heightened
color, and never for a moment suspected that he was come there full of
suspicions of her.

After the first greeting a few things of little importance were said on
either side. Isaac watching to see whether Mr. Meadows had succeeded in
supplanting George, and too cunning to lead the conversation that way
himself, lay patiently in wait like a sly old fox. However, he soon
found he was playing the politician superfluously, for Susan laid bare
her whole heart to the simplest capacity. Instead of waiting for
the skillful, subtle, almost invisible cross-examination which the
descendant of Maimonides was preparing for her, she answered all his
questions before they were asked. It came out that her thought by day
and night was George, that she had been very dull, and very unhappy.
"But I am better now, Mr. Levi, thank God. He has been very good to me:
he has sent me a friend, a clergyman, or an angel in the dress of one, I
sometimes think. He knows all about me and George, sir; so that makes
me feel quite at home with him, and I can--and now Mr. Meadows stops
an hour on market-days, and he is so kind as to tell me all about
Australia, and you may guess I like to hear about--Mr. Levi, come and
see us some market evening. Mr. Meadows is capital company; to hear him
you would think he had passed half his life in Australia. Were you ever
in Australia, sir, if you please?"

"Never, but I shall."

"Shall you, sir?"

"Yes; the old Jew is not to die till he has drifted to every part in
the globe. In my old days I shall go back toward the East, and there
methinks I shall lay these wandering bones."

"Oh, sir, inquire after George and show him some kindness, and don't see
him wronged, he is very simple. No! no! no! you are too old; you must
not cross the seas at your age; don't think of it; stay quiet at home
till you leave us for a better world."

"At home!" said the old man sorrowfully; "I have no home. I had a home,
but the man Meadows has driven me out of it."

"Mr. Meadows! La, sir, as how?"

"He bought the house I live in, and next Lady-day, as the
woman-worshiper calls it, he turns me to the door."

"But he won't if you ask him. He is a very good-natured man. You go and
ask him to be so good as let you stay; he won't gainsay you, you take my
word."

"Susannah!" replied Isaac, "you are good and innocent; you cannot fathom
the hearts of the wicked. This Meadows is a man of Belial. I did beseech
him; I bowed these gray hairs to him to let me stay in the house where I
lived so happily with my Leah twenty years, where my children were
born to me and died from me, where my Leah consoled me for their loss a
while, but took no comfort herself and left me, too."

"Poor old man! and what did he say?"

"He refused me with harsh words. To make the refusal more bitter
he insulted my religion and my much-enduring tribe, and at the day
appointed he turns me, at threescore years and ten, adrift upon the
earth."

"Eh, dear! how hard the world is!" cried Susan; "I had a great respect
for Mr. Meadows, but now if he comes here I know I shall shut the door
in his face."

Isaac reflected. This would not have suited a certain subtle Eastern
plan of vengeance he had formed. "No!" said he, "that is folly. Take
not another man's quarrel on your shoulders. A Jew knows how to revenge
himself without your aid."

So then her inquisitor was satisfied; Australia really was the topic
that made Meadows welcome. He departed, revolving Oriental vengeance.

Smooth Meadows, at his next visit, removed the impression excited
against him, and easily persuaded Susan that Levi was more in the wrong
than he, in which opinion she stood firm till Levi's next visit.

At last she gave up all hope of dijudicating, and determined to end the
matter by bringing them together and making them friends.

And now approached the day of Mr. Eden's departure. The last sermon--the
last quiet tea in the garden. On Monday afternoon he was to go to
Oxford, and the following week to his new sphere of duties, which he
had selected to the astonishment of some hundred persons who knew him
superficially--knew him by his face, by his pretensions as a scholar,
a divine and a gentleman of descent and independent means, but had not
sounded his depths.

All Sunday Susan sought every opportunity of conversing with him even on
indifferent matters. She was garnering up his words, his very syllables,
and twenty times in the day he saw her eyes fill with tears apropos of
such observations as this:

"We shall have a nice warm afternoon, Susan."

"It is to be hoped so, sir; the blackbirds are giving a chirrup or two."

All Monday forenoon Susan was very busy. There was bread to be baked and
butter to be made. Mr. Eden must take some of each to Oxford. They would
keep Grassmere in his mind a day or two longer; and besides they were
wholesome and he was fond of them. Then there was his linen to be looked
over, and buttons sewed on for the last time. Then he must eat a good
dinner before he went, so then he would want nothing but his tea when he
got to Oxford; and the bread would be fit to eat by tea-time, especially
a small crusty cake she had made for that purpose. So with all this
Susan was energetic, almost lively; and even when it was all done and
they were at dinner, her principal anxiety seemed to be that he should
eat more than usual because he was going a journey. But when all bustle
of every kind was over and the actual hour of parting came, she suddenly
burst out crying before her father and the servant, who bade her not
take on and instantly burst out crying too from vague sympathy.

The old farmer ordered the girl out of the room directly, and without
the least emotion proceeded to make excuses to Mr. Eden for Susan.

"A young maid's eyes soon flow over," etc.

Mr. Eden interrupted him.

"Such tears as these do not scald the heart. I feel this separation from
my dear kind friend as much as she feels it. But I am more than twice
her age and have passed through--I should feel it bitterly if I thought
our friendship and Christian love were to end because our path of duty
lies separate. But no, Susan, still look on me as your adviser, your
elder brother, and in some measure your pastor. I shall write to you and
watch over you, though it some distance--and not so great a distance.
I am always well horsed, and I know you will give me a bed at Grassmere
once a quarter."

"That we will," cried the farmer, warmly, "and proud and happy to see
you cross the threshold, sir."

"And, Mr. Merton, my new house is large. I shall be alone in it.
Whenever you and Miss Merton have nothing better to do, pray come
and visit me. I will make you as uncomfortable as you have made me
comfortable, but as welcome as you have made me welcome."

"We will come, sir! we will come some one of these days, and thank you
for the honor."

So Mr. Eden went from Grassmere village and Grassmere farmhouse--but he
left neither as he found them; fifty years hence an old man and woman or
two will speak to their grandchildren of the "Sower," and Susan Merton
(if she is on earth then) of "the good Physician." She may well do
so, for it was no vulgar service he rendered her, no vulgar malady he
checked.

Not every good man could have penetrated so quickly a coy woman's grief,
nor, the wound found, have soothed her fever and deadened her smart with
a hand as firm as gentle, as gentle as firm.

Such men are human suns! They brighten and warm wherever they pass.
Fools count them mad, till death wrenches open foolish eyes; they are
not often called "my Lord,"* nor sung by poets when they die; but the
hearts they heal, and their own are their rich reward on earth--and
their place is high in heaven.

   * Sometimes thought.



CHAPTER X.

MR. MEADOWS lived in a house that he had conquered three years ago by
lending money on it at fair interest in his own name. Mr. David Hall,
the proprietor, paid neither principal nor interest. Mr. Meadows
expected this contingency, and therefore lent his money. He threatened
to foreclose and sell the house under the hammer; to avoid this Mr. Hall
said, "Pay yourself the interest by living rent free in the house till
such time as my old aunt dies, drat her, and then I'll pay your money.
I wish I had never borrowed it." Meadows acquiesced with feigned
reluctance. "Well, if I must, I must; but let me have my money as soon
as you can--" (aside) "I will end my days in this house."

It had many conveniences; among the rest a very long though narrow
garden inclosed within high walls. At the end of the garden was a door
which anybody could open from the inside, but from the outside only by a
Bramah key.

The access to this part of the premises was by a short, narrow lane,
very dirty and very little used, because, whatever might have been in
old times, it led now from nowhere to nowhere. Meadows received by
this entrance one or two persons whom he never allowed to desecrate
his knocker. At the head of these furtive visitors was Peter Crawley,
attorney-at-law, a gentleman who every New Year's Eve used to say to
himself with a look of gratified amazement--"Another year gone, and I
not struck off the Rolls!!!"

Peter had a Bramah key intrusted to him.

His visits to Mr. Meadows were conducted thus: he opened the garden-gate
and looked up at the window in a certain passage. This passage was
not accessible to the servants, and the window with its blinds was a
signal-book.

Blinds up, Mr. Meadows out.

White blind down, Mr. Meadows in.

Blue blind down, Mr. Meadows in, but not alone.

The same key that opened the garden-door opened a door at the back
of the house which led direct to the passage above-mentioned. On the
window-seat lay a peculiar whistle constructed to imitate the whining of
a dog. Then Meadows would go to his book-shelves, which lined one side
of the room, and pressing a hidden spring open a door that nobody
ever suspected, for the books came along with it. To provide for every
contingency, there was a small secret opening in another part of the
shelves by which Meadows could shoot unobserved a note or the like
into the passage, and so give Crawley instructions without dismissing a
visitor, if he had one.

Meadows provided against surprise and discovery. His study had double
doors. Neither of them could be opened from the outside. His visitors or
servants must rap with an iron knocker; and while Meadows went to open,
the secret visitor stepped into the passage and shut the books behind
him.

It was a room that looked business. One side was almost papered with
ordnance maps of this and an adjoining county. Pigeon-holes abounded,
too, and there was a desk six feet long, chock full of little
drawers--contents indicated outside in letters of which the proprietor
knew the meaning, not I.

Between the door and the fireplace was a screen, on which, in place
of idle pictures, might be seen his plans and calculations as a land
surveyor, especially those that happened to be at present in operation
or under consideration. So he kept his business before his eye, on the
chance of a good idea striking him at a leisure moment.

"Will Fielding's acceptance falls due to-morrow, Crawley."

"Yes, sir, what shall I do?"

"Present it; he is not ready for it, I know.

"Well, sir; what next?"

"Serve him with a writ."

"He will be preciously put about."

"He will. Seem sorry; say you are a little short, but won't trouble him
for a month, if it is inconvenient; but he must make you safe by signing
a judgment."

"Ay! ay! Sir, may I make bold to ask what is the game with this young
Fielding?"

"You ought to know the game--to get him in my power."

"And a very good game it is, sir! Nobody plays it better than you. He
won't be the only one that is in your power in these parts--he! he!" And
Crawley chuckled without merriment. "Excuse my curiosity, sir, but when
about is the blow to fall?"

"What is that to you?"

"Nothing, sir, only the sooner the better. I have a grudge against the
family."

"Have you? then don't act upon it. I don't employ you to do your
business, but mine.

"Certainly, Mr. Meadows. You don't think I'd be so ungrateful as to
spoil your admirable plans by acting upon any little feeling of my own."

"I don't think you would be so silly. For if you did, we should part."

"Don't mention such an event, sir."

"You have been drinking, Crawley!"

"Not a drop, sir, this two days."

"You are a liar! The smell of it comes through your skin. I won't have
it. Do you hear what I say? I won't have it. No man that drinks can do
business--especially mine."

"I'll never touch a drop again. They called me into the
public-house--they wouldn't take a denial."

"Hold your prate and listen to me. The next time you look at a
public-house say to yourself, Peter Crawley, that is not a public-house
to you--it is a hospital, a workhouse, for a dunghill--for if you go in
there John Meadows, that is your friend, will be your enemy."

"Heaven forbid, Mr. Meadows."

"Drink this basinful of coffee."

"Yes, sir. Thank you, sir. It is very bitter."

"Is your head clear now?"

"As a bell."

"Then go and do my work, and don't do an atom more or an atom less than
your task."

"No, sir. Oh, Mr. Meadows! it is a pleasure to serve you. You are as
deep as the sea, sir, and as firm as the rock. You never drink, nor
anything else, that I can find. A man out of a thousand! No little
weakness, like the rest of us, sir. You are a great man, sir. You are a
model of a man of bus--"

"Good-morning," growled Meadows roughly, and turned his back.

"Good-morning, sir," said Peter mellifluously. And opening the back door
about ten inches, he wriggled out like a weasel going through a chink in
a wall.

William Fielding fell like a child into the trap. "Give me time, and it
will be all right," is the debtor's delusion. William thanked Crawley
for not pressing him, and so compelling him to force a sale of all his
hogs, fat or lean. Crawley received his thanks with a leer, returned
in four days, got the judgment signed, and wriggled away with it to
Meadows' back door.

"You take out an arrest"--Meadows gave him a pocketbook--"put it in
this, and keep it ready in your pocket night and day."

"I dare say it will come into use before the year is out, sir."

"I hope not."

George Fielding gone to Australia to make a thousand pounds by farming
and cattle-feeding, that so he may claim old Merton's promised
consent to marry Susan. Susan observing Mr. Eden's precepts even more
religiously than when he was with her; active, full of charitable deeds,
often pensive, always anxious, but not despondent now, thanks to the
good physician. Meadows falling deeper and deeper in love, but keeping
it more jealously secret than ever; on his guard against Isaac, on
his guard against William, on his guard against John Meadows; hoping
everything from time and accidents, from the distance between the
lovers, from George's incapacity, of which he had a great opinion--"He
will never make a thousand pence"--but not trusting to the things he
hoped. On the contrary, watching with keen eye, and working with subtle
threads to draw everybody into his power who could assist or thwart him
in the object his deep heart and iron will were set on. William Fielding
going down the hill Meadows was mounting; getting the better of his
passion, and substituting, by degrees, a brother-in-law's regard.

Flowers and weeds have one thing in common--while they live they grow.
Natural growth is a slow process, to describe it day by day a slower.
For the next four months matters glided so quietly on the slopes I have
just indicated that an intelligent calculation by the reader may very
well take the place of a tedious chronicle by the writer. Moreover, the
same monotony did not hang over every part of our story. These very four
months were eventful enough to one of our characters; and through him,
by subtle and positive links, to every man and every woman who fills
any considerable position in this matter-of-fact romance. Therefore
our story drags us from the meadows round Grassmere to a massive,
castellated building, glaring red brick with white stone corners. These
colors and their contrast relieve the stately mass of some of that
grimness which characterizes the castles of antiquity; but enough
remains to strike some awe into the beholder.

Two round towers flank the principal entrance. On one side of the
right-hand tower is a small house constructed in the same style as the
grand pile. The castle is massive and grand. This, its satellite, is
massive and tiny, like the frog doing his little bit of bull--like
Signor Hervio Nano, a tremendous thick dwarf now no more. There is one
dimple to all this gloomy grandeur--a rich little flower-garden, whose
frame of emerald turf goes smiling up to the very ankle of the frowning
fortress, as some few happy lakes in the world wash the very foot of the
mountains that hem them. From this green spot a few flowers look up with
bright and wondering wide-opened eyes at the great bullying masonry over
their heads; and to the spectator of both, these sparks of color at the
castle-foot are dazzling and charming; they are like rubies, sapphires
and pink topaz in some uncouth angular ancient setting.

Between the central towers is a sharp arch, filled by a huge oak door
of the same shape and size, which, for further security or ornament, is
closely studded with large diamond-headed nails. A man with keys at
his girdle like the ancient housewives opens the huge door to you with
slight effort, so well oiled is it. You slip under a porch into an
inclosed yard, the great door shuts almost of itself, and now it
depends upon the housewifely man whether you ever see the vain, idle and
every-way objectionable world again.

Passing into the interior of the vast building, you find yourself in
an extensive aisle traversed at right angles by another of similar
dimensions, the whole in form of a cross. In the center of each aisle is
an iron staircase, so narrow that two people cannot pass, and so light
and open that it merely ornaments, not obstructs, the view of the aisle.
These staircases make two springs; the first takes them to the level of
two corridors on the first floor. Here there is a horizontal space of
about a yard, whence the continuation staircase rises to the second
and highest floor. This gives three corridors, all studded with doors
opening on small separate apartments, whereof anon.

Nearly all the inmates of this grim palace wear a peculiar costume and
disguise, one feature of which is a cap of coarse materials, with a
vizor to it, which conceals the features all but the chin and the eyes,
which last peep, in a very droll way, through two holes cut for that
purpose.

They are distinguished by a courteous manner to strangers, whom they
never fail to salute in passing, with great apparent cordiality; indeed,
we fear we shall never meet in the busy world with such uniform urbanity
as in this and similar retreats. It arises from two causes. One is that
here strangers are welcome from their rarity; another, that politeness
is a part of the education of the place, which, besides its other uses,
is an adult school of manners, morals, religion, grammar, writing and
cobbling.

With the exception of its halls and corridors, the building is almost
entirely divided into an immense number of the small apartments noticed
above. These are homely inside, but exquisitely clean. The furniture,
movable and fixed, none of which is superfluous, can be briefly
described. A bedstead, consisting of the side walls of the apartment;
polished steel staples are fixed in these walls, two on each side the
apartment at an elevation of about two feet and a half. The occupant's
mattress (made of cocoa bark) has two stout steel hooks at each end;
these are hooked into the staples, and so he lies across his abode.
A deal table the size of a pocket-handkerchief; also a deal tripod. A
waterspout so ingeniously contrived that, turned to the right it sends
a small stream into a copper basin, and to the left into a bottomless
close stool at some distance. A small gas-pipe tipped with polished
brass. In one angle of the wall a sort of commode, or open cupboard;
on whose shelves a bright pewter plate, a knife and fork and a wooden
spoon. In a drawer of this commode yellow soap and a comb and brush.
A grating down low for hot air to come in, if it likes, and another up
high for foul air to go out, if it chooses. On the wall a large placard
containing rules for the tenant's direction, and smaller placards
containing texts from Scripture, the propriety of returning thanks
after food, etc.; a slate and a couple of leathern kneeguards used in
polishing the room. And that is all. But the deal furniture is so clean
you might eat off it. The walls are snow, the copper basin and the brass
gaspipe glitter like red gold and pale gold, and the bed-hooks like
silver hot from the furnace. Altogether it is inviting at first sight.

To one of these snowy snug retreats was now ushered an acquaintance of
ours, Tom Robinson. A brief retrospect must dispose of his intermediate
history.

When he left us he went to the county bridewell, where he remained until
the assizes, an interval of about a month. He was tried; direct evidence
was strong against him, and he defended himself with so much ingenuity
and sleight of intellect that the jury could not doubt his sleight of
hand and morals, too. He was found guilty, identified as a notorious
thief, and condemned to twelve months' imprisonment and ten years'
transportation. He returned to the county bridewell for a few days, and
then was shifted to the castellated building.

Tom Robinson had not been in jail this four years, and, since his last
visit great changes had begun to take place in the internal economy of
these skeleton palaces and in the treatment of their prisoners.

Prisons might be said to be in a transition state. In some, as in the
county bridewell Robinson had just left, the old system prevailed in
full force. The two systems vary in their aims. Under the old, the jail
was a finishing school of felony and petty larceny. Under the new, it is
intended to be a penal hospital for diseased and contagious souls.

The treatment of prisoners is not at present invariable. Within certain
limits the law unwisely allows a discretionary power to the magistrates
of the county where the jail is; and the jailer, or, as he is now
called, the governor, is their agent in these particulars.

Hence, in some new jails you may now see the non-separate system; in
others, the separate system without silence; in others, the separate
and silent system; in others, a mixture of these, i. e., the hardened
offenders kept separate, the improving ones allowed to mix; and these
varieties are at the discretion of the magistrates, who settle within
the legal limits each jail's system.

The magistrates, in this part of their business, are represented by
certain of their own body, who are called "the visiting justices;" and
these visiting justices can even order and authorize a jailer to flog a
prisoner for offenses committed in jail.

Now, a year or two before our tale, one Captain O'Connor was governor of
this jail. Captain O'Connor was a man of great public merit. He had been
one of the first dissatisfied with the old system, and had written very
intelligent books on crime and punishment, which are supposed to have
done their share in opening the nation's eyes to the necessity of
regenerating its prisons. But after a while the visiting justices of
this particular county became dissatisfied with him; he did not go far
enough nor fast enough with the stone he had helped to roll. Books and
reports came out which convinced the magistrates that severe punishment
of mind and body was the essential object of a jail, and that it was
wrong and chimerical to attempt any cures by any other means.

Captain O'Connor had been very successful by other means, and could
not quite come to this opinion; but he had a deputy governor who did.
System, when it takes a hold of the mind, takes a strong hold, and the
men of system became very impatient of opposition, and grateful for
thorough acquiescence.

Hence it came to pass that in the course of a few months
Captain O'Connor found himself in an uncomfortable position. His
deputy-governor, Mr. Hawes, enjoyed the confidence of the visiting
justices; he did not. His suggestions were negatived; Hawes's
accepted. And, to tell the truth, he became at last useless as well as
uncomfortable; for these gentlemen were determined to carry out their
system, and had a willing agent in the prison. O'Connor was little more
than a drag on the wheel he could not hinder from gliding down the hill.
At last, it happened that he had overdrawn his account, without clearly
stating at the time that the sum, which amounted nearly to one hundred
pounds, was taken by him as an accommodation, or advance of salary.
This, which though by no means unprecedented, was an unbusiness-like
though innocent omission, justified censure.

The magistrates went farther than censure; they had long been looking
for an excuse to get rid of him and avail themselves of the zeal and
energy of Hawes. They therefore removed O'Connor, stating publicly as
their reason that he was old; and their interest put Hawes into his
place. There was something melancholy in such a close to O'Connor's
public career. Fortune used him hardly. He had been one of the first
to improve prisons, yet he was dismissed on this or that pretense, but
really because he could not keep pace with the soi-disant improvements
of three inexperienced persons. Honorable mention of his name, his
doings and his words is scattered about various respectable works by
respectable men on this subject, yet he ended in something very like
discredit.

However, the public gained this by the injustice done him--that an
important experiment was tried under an active and a willing agent.

With Governor Hawes the separate and silent system flourished in ----
Jail.

The justices and the new governor were of one mind. They had been
working together about two years when Robinson came into the jail.

During this period three justices had periodically visited the jail,
perused the reports, examined, as in duty bound, the surgeon, the
officers and prisoners, and were proud of the system and its practical
working here.

With respect to Hawes the governor, their opinion of him was best shown
in the reports they had to make to the Home Office from time to time. In
these they invariably spoke of him as an active, zealous and deserving
officer.

Robinson had heard much of the changes in jail treatment, but they
had not yet come home to him. When, therefore, instead of being turned
adrift among seventy other spirits as bad as himself, and greeted with
their boisterous acclamations and the friendly pressure of seven or
eight felonious hands, he was ushered into a cell white as driven snow,
and his housewifely duties explained to him, under a heavy penalty if a
speck of dirt should ever be discovered on his little wall, his little
floor, his little table, or if his cocoa-bark mattress should not be
neatly rolled up after use, and the strap tight, and the steel hook
polished like glass, and his little brass gas-pipe glittering like gold,
etc., Thomas looked blank and had a misgiving.

"I say, guv'nor," said he to the under-turnkey, "how long am I to be
here before I go into the yard?"

"Talking not allowed out of hours," was the only reply.

Robinson whistled. The turnkey, whose name was Evans, looked at him with
a doubtful air, as much as to say, "Shall I let that pass unpunished or
not?"

However, he went out without any further observation, leaving the door
open; but the next moment he returned and put his head in: "Prisoners
shut their own doors," said he.

"Well!" drawled Robinson, looking coolly and insolently into the man's
face, "I don't see what I shall gain by that." And Mr. Robinson
seated himself, and turning his back a little rudely, immersed himself
ostentatiously in his own thoughts.

"You will gain as you won't be put in the black hole for refractory
conduct, No. 19," replied Evans, quietly and sternly.

Robinson made a wry face and pushed the door peevishly; it shut with
a spring, and no mortal power or ingenuity could now open it from the
inside.

"Well I'm blest," said the self-immured, "every man his own turnkey now;
save the queen's pocket, whatever you do. Times are so hard. Box at the
opera costs no end. What have we got here? A Bible! my eye! invisible
print! Oh! I see; 'tisn't for us to read, 'tis for the visitors to
admire--like the new sheet over the dirty blankets! What's this hung up?

                   "GRACE AFTER MEAT.

"Oh! with all my heart, your reverence! Here, turnkey, fetch up the
venison and the sweet sauce--you may leave the water-gruel till I ring
for it. If I am to say grace let me feel it first; drat your eyes all
round, governor, turnkeys, chaplain and all the hypocritical crew!"

The next morning, at half-past five, the prison bell rang for the
officers to rise, and at six a turnkey unlocked Robinson's door, and
delivered the following in an imperious key, all in one note and without
any rests: "Prisoner to open and shake bedding, wash face, hands and
neck on pain of punishment, and roll up hammocks and clean cells and
be ready to clean corridors if required." So chanting--slammed
door--vanished.

Robinson set to work with alacrity upon the little arrangements; he soon
finished them, and then he would not have been sorry to turn out and
clean the corridor for a change, but it was not his turn. He sat, dull
and lonely, till eight o'clock, when suddenly a key was inserted into
a small lock in the center of his door, but outside; the effect of this
was to open a small trap in the door, through this aperture a turnkey
shoved in the man's breakfast without a word, "like one flinging guts to
a bear" (Scott); and on the sociable Tom attempting to say a civil word
to him, drew the trap sharply back, and hermetically sealed the aperture
with a snap. The breakfast was in a round tin, with two compartments;
one pint of gruel and six ounces of bread. These two phases of farina
were familiar to Mr. Robinson. He ate the bread and drank the gruel,
adding a good deal of salt.

At nine the chapel bell rang. Robinson was glad. Not that he admired the
Liturgy, but he said to himself, "Now I shall see a face or two, perhaps
some old pals."

To his dismay, the warder who opened his cell bade him at the same time
put on the prison cap, with the peak down; and when he and the other
male prisoners were mustered in the corridor, he found them all like
himself, vizor down, eyes glittering like basilisks' or cats' through
two holes, features undistinguishable. The word was given to march in
perfect silence, five paces apart, to the chapel.

The sullen pageant started.

"I've heard of this, but who'd have thought they carried the game so
far? Well, I must wait till we are in chapel and pick up a pal by the
voice, while the parson is doing his patter."

On reaching the chapel he found, to his dismay, that the chapel was as
cellular as any other part of the prison; it was an agglomeration of one
hundred sentry-boxes, open only on the side facing the clergyman, and
even there only from the prisoner's third button upward. Warders stood
on raised platforms and pointed out his sentry-box to each prisoner with
very long slender wands; the prisoner went into it and pulled the door
(it shut with a spring), and next took his badge or number from his neck
and hung it up on a nail above his head in the sentry-box. Between the
reading-desk and the male prisoners was a small area where the debtors
sat together.

The female prisoners were behind a thick veil of close lattice-work.

Service concluded, the governor began to turn a wheel in his pew; this
wheel exhibited to the congregation a number, the convict whose number
corresponded instantly took down his badge (the sight and position of
which had determined the governor in working his wheel), drew the peak
of his cap over his face, and went out and waited in the lobby. When all
the sentry-boxes were thus emptied, dead march of the whole party back
to the main building; here the warders separated them, and sent them,
dead silent, vizors down, some to clean the prison, some to their cells,
some to hard labor, and some to an airing in the yard.

Robinson was to be aired. "Hurrah!" thought sociable Tom. Alas! he found
the system in the yard as well as in the chapel. The promenade was a
number of passages radiating from a common center; the sides of passage
were thick walls; entrance to passage an iron gate locked behind the
promenader. An officer remained on the watch the whole time to see that
a word did not creep out or in through one of the gates.

"And this they call out of doors," grunted Robinson.

After an hour's promenade he was taken into his cell, where at twelve
the trap in his door was opened and his dinner shoved in and the trap
snapped to again, all in three seconds. A very good dinner, better
than paupers always get--three ounces of meat--no bone, eight ounces
of potatoes, and eight ounces of bread. After dinner three weary hours
without an incident. At about three o'clock one of the warders opened
his cell door and put his head in and swiftly withdrew it. Three more
monotonous hours, and then supper--one pint of gruel, and eight ounces
of bread. He ate it as slowly as he could to eke out a few minutes in
the heavy day. Quarter before eight a bell to go to bed. At eight the
warders came round and saw that all the prisoners were in bed. The next
day the same thing, and the next ditto, with this exception, that one of
the warders came into his cell and minutely examined it in dead silence.
The fourth day the chaplain visited him, asked him a few questions,
repeated a few sentences on the moral responsibility of every human
being, and set him some texts of Scripture to learn by heart. This
visit, though merely one of routine, broke the thief's dead silence and
solitude, and he would have been thankful to have a visit every day from
the chaplain, whose manner was formal, but not surly and forbidding like
the turnkeys or warders.

Next day the governor of the jail came suddenly into the cell and put
to Robinson several questions, which he answered with great affability;
then, turning on his heel, said bruskly, "Have you anything to say to
me?"

"Yes, sir, if you please."

"Out with it then, my man," said the governor impatiently.

"Sir, I was condemned to hard labor; now I wanted to ask you when my
hard labor is to begin, because I have not been put upon anything yet."

"We are kinder to you than the judges then, it seems."

"Yes, sir! but I am not naturally lazy, and--"

"A little hard work would amuse you just now?"

"Indeed, sir, I think it would; I am very much depressed in spirits."

"You will be worse before you are better."

"Heaven forbid! I think if you don't give me something to do I shall go
out of my mind soon, sir."

"That is what they all say! You will be put on hard labor, I promise
you, but not when it suits you. We'll choose the time." And the governor
went out with a knowing smile upon his face.

The thief sat himself down disconsolately, and the heavy hours, like
leaden waves, seemed to rise and rise, and roll over his head and
suffocate him, and weigh him down, down, down to bottomless despair.

At length, about the tenth day, this human being's desire to exchange
a friendly word with some other human creature became so strong that in
the chapel during service he scratched the door of his sentry-box, and
whispered, "Mate, whisper me a word, for pity's sake." He received no
answer; but even to have spoken himself relieved his swelling soul for a
minute or two. Half an hour later four turnkeys came into his cell, and
took him down stairs and confined him in a pitch-dark dungeon.

The prisoner whose attention he had tried to attract in chapel had told
to curry favor, and was reported favorably for the same.

The darkness in which Robinson now lay was not like the darkness of our
bedrooms at night, in which the outlines of objects are more or less
visible; it was the frightful darkness that chilled and crushed the
Egyptians soul and body; it was a darkness that might be felt.

This terrible and unnatural privation of all light is very trying to all
God's creatures, to none more so than to man, and among men it is
most dangerous and distressing to those who have imagination and
excitability. Now Robinson was a man of this class, a man of rare
capacity, full of talent and the courage and energy that vent themselves
in action, but not rich in the tough fortitude which does little, feels
little and bears much.

When they took him out of the black hole after six hours' confinement he
was observed to be white as a sheet, and to tremble violently all over,
and in this state at the word of command he crept back all the way to
his cell, his hand to his eyes, that were dazzled by what seemed to
him bright daylight, his body shaking, while every now and then a loud,
convulsive sob burst from his bosom.

The governor happened to be on the corridor, looking down over the rails
as Robinson passed him. He said to him, with a victorious sneer, "You
won't be refractory in chapel again in a hurry."

"No," said the thief, in a low, gentle voice, despairingly.

The day after Robinson was put in the black hole the surgeon came his
rounds. He found him in a corner of his cell with his eyes fixed on the
floor.

The man took no notice of his entrance. The surgeon went up to him and
shook him rather roughly. Robinson raised his heavy eyes and looked
stupidly at him.

The surgeon laid hold of him, and placing a thumb on each side of his
eye, inspected that organ fully. He then felt his pulse; this done, he
went out with the warder. Making his report to the governor, he came in
turn to Robinson.

"No. 19 is sinking."

"Oh! is he? Fry" (turning to a warder), "what has 19's treatment been?"

"Been in his cell, sir, without labor since he came. Blackhole
yesterday, for communicating in chapel."

"What is the matter with him?"

"Doctor says he is sinking."

"What the devil do you mean by his sinking?"

"Well, sir," replied the surgeon, with a sort of dry deference, "he is
dying--that is what I mean."

"Oh, he is dying, is he; d--n him, we'll stop that. Here, Fry, take
No. 19 out into the garden, and set him to work. And put him on the
corridors to-morrow."

"Is he to be let talk to us, sir?"

"Humph! yes!"

Robinson was taken out into the garden; it was a small piece of ground
that had once been a yard; it was inclosed within walls of great height,
and to us would have seemed a cheerless place for horticulture, but to
Robinson it appeared the garden of Eden. He gave a sigh of relief and
pleasure, but the next moment his countenance fell.

"They won't let me stay here!"

Fry took him into the center of the garden, and put a spade into his
hand. "Now you dig this piece," said he in his dry, unfriendly tone,
"and if you have time cut the edges of this grass path square." The
words were scarcely out of his mouth before Robinson drove the spade
into the soil with all the energy of one of God's creatures escaping
from system back to nature.

Fry left him in the garden after making him pull down his vizor, for
there was one more prisoner working at some distance.

Robinson set to with energy, and dug for the bare life. It was a sort of
work he knew very little about, and a gardener would have been disgusted
at his ridges, but he threw his whole soul into it and very soon had
nearly completed his task. Having been confined so long without exercise
his breath was short, and he perspired profusely; but he did not care
for that. "Oh, how sweet this is after being buried alive," cried he,
and in went the spade again. Presently he was seized with a strong
desire to try the other part of his task, the more so as it required
more skill and presented a difficulty to overcome. A part of the path
had been shaved and the knippers lay where they had been last used.
Robinson inspected the recent work with an intelligent eye, and soon
discovered traces of a white line on one side of the path, that served
as a guide to the knippers. "Oh! I must draw a straight line," said
Robinson out loud, indulging himself with the sound of a human voice.
"But how? can you tell me that," he inquired of a gooseberry bush that
grew near. The words were hardly out of his mouth before, peering about
in every direction, he discovered an iron spike with some cord wrapped
round it and, not far off, a piece of chalk. He pounced on them, and
fastening the spike at the edge of the path attempted to draw a
line with the chalk, using the string as a ruler. Not succeeding, he
reflected a little, and the result was that he chalked several feet
of the line all round until it was all white; then with the help of a
stake, which he took for his other terminus, he got the chalked string
into a straight line just above the edge of the grass. Next pressing it
tightly down with his foot, he effected a white line on the grass. He
now removed the string, took the knippers, and following his white
line, trimmed the path secundum artem. "There," said Robinson, to the
gooseberry-bush, but not very loud for fear of being heard and punished,
"I wonder whether that is how the gardeners do it. I think it must be."
He viewed his work with satisfaction, then went back to his digging, and
as he put the finishing stroke Fry came to bring him back to his cell.
It was bedtime.

"I never worked in a garden before," began Robinson, "so it is not so
well done as it might be, but if I was to come every day for a week,
I think I could master it. I did not know there was a garden in this
prison. If ever I build a prison there shall be a garden in it as big as
Belgrave Square."

"You are precious fond of the sound of your own voice, No. 19," said Fry
dryly.

"We are not forbidden to speak to the warders, are we?"

"Not at proper times."

He threw open cell-door 19, and Robinson entered.

Before he could close the door Robinson said, "Good-night and thank
you."

"G'night," snarled Fry sullenly, as one shamed against his will into a
civility.

Robinson lay awake half the night, and awoke the next morning rather
feverish and stiff, but not the leaden thing he was the day before.

A feather turns a balanced scale. This man's life and reason had been
engaged in a drawn battle with three mortal enemies--solitude, silence
and privation of all employment. That little bit of labor and wholesome
thought, whose paltry and childish details I half blush to have given
you, were yet due to my story, for they took a man out of himself,
checked the self-devouring process, and helped elastic nature to recover
herself this bout.

The next day Robinson was employed washing the prison. The next he got
two hours in the garden again, and the next the trades'-master was sent
into his cell to teach him how to make scrubbing-brushes. The man
sat down and was commencing a discourse when Robinson interrupted him
politely:

"Sir, let me see you work, and watch me try to do the same, and correct
me."

"With all my heart," said the trades'-master.

He remained about half an hour with his pupil, and when he went out he
said to one of the turnkeys, "There is a chap in there that can pick up
a handicraft as a pigeon picks up peas."

The next day the surgeon happened to look in. He found Robinson as busy
as a bee making brushes, pulled his eye open again, felt his pulse, and
wrote something down in his memorandum-book. He left directions with
the turnkey that No. 19 should be kept employed, with the governor's
permission.

Robinson's hands were now full; he made brushes, and every day put some
of them to the test upon the floor and walls of the building.

It happened one day as he was doing housemaid in corridor B, that he
suddenly heard unwonted sounds issue from a part of the premises into
which he had not yet been introduced, the yard devoted to hard labor.
First he heard a single voice shouting: that did not last long; then a
dead silence; then several voices, among which his quick ear recognized
Fry's and the governor's. He could see nothing; the sounds came from one
of the hard-labor cells. Robinson was surprised and puzzled. What were
these sounds that broke the silence of the living tomb? An instinct told
him it was no use asking a turnkey, so he devoured his curiosity and
surprise as best he might.

The very next day, about the same hour, both were again excited by
noises from the same quarter equally unintelligible. He heard a great
noise of water slashed in bucketsful against a wall, and this was
followed by a sort of gurgling that seemed to him to come from a human
throat; this latter, however, was almost drowned in an exulting chuckle
of several persons, among whom he caught the tones of a turnkey called
Hodges and of the governor himself. Robinson puzzled and puzzled
himself, but could not understand these curious sounds, and he could
see nothing except a quantity of water running out of one of the labor
cells, and coursing along till it escaped by one of the two gutters
that drained the yard. Often and often Robinson meditated on this, and
exerted all his ingenuity to conceive what it meant. His previous jail
experience afforded him no clew, and as he was one of those who hate to
be in the dark about anything this new riddle tortured him.

However, the prison was generally so dead dumb and gloomy that upon two
such cheerful events as water splashing and creatures laughing he could
not help crowing a little out of sympathy without knowing why.

The next day, as Robinson was working in the corridor, the governor came
in with a gentleman whom he treated with unusual and marked respect.
This gentleman was the chairman of the quarter-sessions, and one of
those magistrates who had favored the adoption of the present system.

Mr. Williams inspected the prison; was justly pleased with its exquisite
cleanness; he questioned the governor as to the health of the prisoners,
and received for answer that most of them were well, but that there
were some exceptions; this appeared to satisfy him. He went into the
labor-yard, looked at the cranks, examined the numbers printed on each
in order to learn their respective weights, and see that the prisoners
were not overburdened.

Went with the governor into three or four cells, and asked the prisoners
if they had any complaint to make.

The unanimous answer was "No!"

He then complimented the governor--and drove home to his own house,
Ashtown Park.

There, after dinner, he said to a brother magistrate, "I inspected the
jail to-day; was all over it."

The next morning Fry, the morose, came into Robinson's cell with a more
cheerful countenance than usual. Robinson noticed it.

"You are put on the crank," said Fry.

"Oh! am I?"

"Of course you are. Your sentence was hard labor, wasn't it? I don't
know why you weren't sent on a fortnight ago."

Fry then took him out into the labor-yard, which he found perforated
with cells about half the size of his hermitage in the corridor. In each
of these little quiet grottoes lurked a monster, called a crank. A crank
is a machine of this sort--there springs out of a vertical post an iron
handle, which the workman, taking it by both hands, works round and
round, as in some country places you may have seen the villagers draw a
bucket up from a well. The iron handle goes at the shoulder into a small
iron box at the top of the post; and inside that box the resistance to
the turner is regulated by the manufacturer, who states the value of the
resistance outside in cast-iron letters. Thus:

5-lb. crank. 7-lb. crank. 10, 12, etc., etc.

"Eighteen hundred revolutions per hour," said Mr. Fry, in his voice of
routine, and "you are to work two hours before dinner."

So saying he left him, and Robinson, with the fear of punishment before
him, lost not a moment in getting to work. He found the crank go easy
enough at first, but the longer he was at it the stiffer it seemed to
turn. And after about four hundred turns he was fain to breathe and rest
himself. He took three minutes' rest, then at it again. All this time
there was no taskmaster, as in Egypt, nor whipper-up of declining sable
energy, as in Old Kentucky. So that if I am so fortunate as to have
a reader aged ten, he is wondering why the fool did not confine his
exertions to saying he had made the turns. My dear, it would not do.
Though no mortal oversaw the thief at his task, the eye of science was
in that cell and watched every stroke and her inexorable finger marked
it down. In plain English, on the face of the machine was a thing like
a chronometer with numbers set all round and a hand which, somehow or
other, always pointed to the exact number of turns the thief had made.
The crank was an autometer, or self-measurer, and in that respect your
superior and mine, my little drake.

This was Robinson's first acquaintance with the crank. The tread-wheel
had been the mode in his time; so by the time he had made three thousand
turns he was rather exhausted. He leaned upon the iron handle and sadly
regretted his garden and his brushes; but fear and dire necessity were
upon him; he set to his task and to work again. "I won't look at the
meter again, for it always tells me less than I expect. I'll just plow
on till that beggar comes. I know he will come to the minute."

Sadly and doggedly he turned the iron handle, and turned and turned
again; and then he panted and rested a minute, and then doggedly to his
idle toil again. He was now so fatigued that his head seemed to have
come loose, he could not hold it up, and it went round and round and
round with the crank-handle. Hence it was that Mr. Fry stood at the
mouth of the den without the other seeing him.

"Halt," said Fry. Robinson looked up, and there was the turnkey
inspecting him with a discontented air. "I'm done," thought Robinson,
"here he is as black as thunder--the number not right, no doubt."

"What are ye at," growled Fry. "You are forty over," and the said Fry
looked not only ill-used but a little unhappy. Robinson's good behavior
had disappointed the poor soul.

This Fry was a grim oddity; he experienced a feeble complacency when
things went wrong--but never else.

The thief exulted, and was taken back to his cell. Dinner came almost
immediately. Four ounces of meat instead of three; two ounces less
bread, but a large access of potatoes, which more than balanced the
account.

The next day Robinson was put on the crank again, but not till the
afternoon. He had finished about half his task, when he heard at some
little distance from him a faint moaning. His first impulse was to run
out of his cell and see what was the matter, but Hodges and Fry were
both in the yard, and he knew that they would report him for punishment
upon the least breach of discipline. So he turned and turned the crank,
with these moans ringing in his ears and perplexing his soul.

Finding they did not cease, he peeped cautiously into the yard, and
there he saw the governor himself as well as Hodges and Fry. All three
were standing close to the place whence these groans issued, and with an
air of complete unconcern.

But presently the groans ceased, and then mysteriously enough the little
group of disciplinarians threw off their apathy. Hodges and Fry went
hastily to the pump with buckets, which they filled, and then came back
to the governor; the next minute Robinson heard water dashed repeatedly
against the walls of the cell, and then the governor laughed, and Hodges
laughed, and even the gloomy Fry vented a brief grim chuckle.

And now Robinson quivered with curiosity as he turned his crank, but
there was no means of gratifying it. It so happened, however, that some
ten minutes later the governor sent Hodges and Fry to another part of
the prison, and they had not been gone long before a message came to
himself, on which he went hastily out, and the yard was left empty.
Robinson's curiosity had reached such a pitch that notwithstanding the
risk he ran--for he knew the governor would send back to the yard the
very first disengaged officer he met--he could not stay quiet. As the
governor closed the gate he ran with all speed to the cell, he darted
in, and then the thief saw what made the three honest men laugh so. He
saw it, and started back with a cry of dismay, for the sight chilled the
felon to the bone.

A lad about fifteen years of age was pinned against the wall in agony by
a leathern belt passed round his shoulders and drawn violently round
two staples in the wall. His arms were jammed against his sides by a
straight waistcoat fastened with straps behind, and those straps drawn
with the utmost severity. But this was not all. A high leathern collar a
quarter of an inch thick squeezed his throat in its iron grasp. His
hair and his clothes were drenched with water which had been thrown in
bucketsful over him, and now dripped from him on the floor. His face
was white, his lips livid, his eyes were nearly glazed, and his teeth
chattered with cold and pain.

A more unprincipled man than Robinson did not exist; but burglary and
larceny do not extinguish humanity in a thinking rascal as resigning the
soul to system can extinguish it in a dull dog.

"Oh, what is this!" cried Robinson, "what are the villains doing to
you?"

He received no answer; but the boy's eyes opened wide, and he turned
those glazing eyes, the only part of his body he could turn, toward the
speaker. Robinson ran up to him, and began to try and loosen him.

At this the boy cried out, almost screaming with terror, "Let me alone!
let me alone! They'll give it me worse if you do, and they'll serve you
out, too!"

"But you will die, boy. Look at his poor lips!"

"No, no, no! I shan't die! No such luck!" cried the boy impatiently and
wildly. "Thank you for speaking kind to me. Who are you? tell me quick,
and go. I am ---- Josephs, No. 15, Corridor A."

"I am Robinson, No. 19, Corridor B."

"Good-bye, Robinson, I shan't forget you. Hark, the door! Go! go! go!
go! go!"

Robinson was already gone. He had fled at the first click of a key in
the outward door, and darted into his cell at the moment Fry got into
the yard. An instinct of suspicion led this man straight to Robinson's
hermitage. He found him hard at work. Fry scrutinized his countenance,
but Robinson was too good an actor to betray himself; only when Fry
passed on he drew a long breath. What he had seen surprised as well
as alarmed him, for he had always been told the new system discouraged
personal violence of all sorts; and in all his experience of the old
jails he had never seen a prisoner abused so savagely as the young
martyr in the adjoining cell. His own work done, he left for his own
dormitory. He was uneasy, and his heart was heavy for poor Josephs; but
he dared not even cast a look toward his place of torture, for the other
executioners had returned, and Fry followed grim at his heels like a
mastiff dogging a stranger out of the premises.

That evening Robinson spent in gloomy reflections and forebodings. "I
wish I was in the hulks or anywhere out of this place," said he. As for
Josephs, the governor, after inspecting his torture for a few minutes,
left the yard again with his subordinates, and Josephs was left alone
with his great torture for two hours more; then Hodges came in and
began to loose him, swearing at him all the time for a little rebellious
monkey that gave more trouble than enough. The rebellious monkey made
no answer, but crawled slowly away to his dungeon, shivering in his
drenched clothes, stiff and sore, his bones full of pain, his heart full
of despondency.

Robinson had now eight thousand turns of the crank per day, and very
hard work he found it; but he preferred it to being buried alive all day
in his cell; and warned by Josephs' fate, he went at the crank with all
his soul, and never gave them an excuse for calling him "refractory." It
happened, however, one day, just after breakfast, that he was taken
with a headache and shivering; and not getting better after chapel,
but rather worse, he rang his bell and begged to see the surgeon. The
surgeon ought to have been in the jail at this hour. He was not, though,
and as he had been the day before, and was accustomed to neglect the
prisoners for any one who paid better, he was not expected this day.
Soon after Fry came to the cell and ordered Robinson out to the crank.
Robinson told him he was too ill to work.

"I must have the surgeon's authority for that, before I listen to it,"
replied Fry, amateur of routine.

"But he is not in the jail, or you would have it."

"Then he ought to be."

"Well, is it my fault he's shirking his duty? Send for him, and you'll
see he will tell you I am not fit for the crank to-day; my head is
splitting."

"Come, no gammon, No. 19; it is the crank or the jacket, or else the
black hole. So take which you like best."

Robinson rose with a groan of pain and despondency.

"It is only eight thousand words you have got to say to it, and they are
not many for such a tongue as yours."

At the end of the time Fry came to the mouth of the labor-cell with a
grim chuckle. "He will never have done his number this time." He found
Robinson kneeling on the ground, almost insensible, the crank-handle
convulsively grasped in his hands. Fry's first glance was at this
figure, that a painter might have taken for a picture of labor
overtasked; but this was neither new nor interesting to Fry. He went
eagerly to examine the meter of the crank--there lay his heart, such as
it was--and to his sorrow he found that No. 19 had done his work before
he broke down. What it cost the poor fever-stricken wretch to do it can
easier be imagined than described.

They assisted Robinson to his cell, and that night he was in a burning
fever. The next day the surgeon happened by some accident to be at his
post, and prescribed change of diet and medicines for him. "He would be
better in the infirmary."

"Why?" said the governor.

"More air."

"Nonsense, there is plenty of air here. There is a constant stream of
air comes in through this," and he pointed to a revolving cylinder in
the window constructed for that purpose. "You give him the right stuff,
doctor," said Hawes jocosely, "and he won't slip his wind this time."

The surgeon acquiesced according to custom.

It was not for him to contradict Hawes, who allowed him to attend the
jail or neglect it, according to his convenience, i. e., to come three
or four times a week at different hours, instead of twice every day at
fixed hours.

It was two days after this that the governor saw Hodges come out of a
cell laughing.

"What are ye grinning at?" said he, in his amiable way.

"No. 19 is light-headed, sir, and I have been listening to him. It would
make a cat laugh," said Hodges apologetically. He knew well enough the
governor did not approve of laughing in the jail.

The governor said nothing, but made a motion with his hand, and Hodges
opened cell 19 and they both went in.

No. 19 lay on his back flushed and restless with his eyes fixed on
vacancy. He was talking incessantly and without sequence. I should fail
signally were I to attempt to transfer his words to paper. I feel my
weakness and the strength of others who in my day have shown a singular
power of fixing on paper the volatile particles of frenzy; however, in
a word, the poor thief was talking as our poetasters write, and amid his
gunpowder, daffodils, bosh and other constellations there mingled gleams
of sense and feeling that would have made you and me very sad.

He often recurred to a girl he called Mary, and said a few gentle words
to her; then off again into the wildest flights. While Mr. Hawes and
his myrmidons were laughing at him, he suddenly fixed his eyes on some
imaginary figure on the opposite wall and began to cry out loudly, "Take
him down. Don't you see you are killing him? The collar is choking him!
See how White he is! His eyes stare! The boy will die! Murder! murder!
murder! I can't bear to see him die." And with these words he buried his
head in the bedclothes.

Mr. Hawes looked at Mr. Fry; Mr. Fry answered the look. "He must have
seen Josephs the other day."

"Ay! he is mighty curious. Well, when he gets well!" and, shaking his
fist at the sufferer, Mr. Hawes went out of the cell soon after.



CHAPTER XI.

"WHAT is your report about No. 19, doctor?"

"The fever is gone."

"He is well, then?"

"He is well of the fever, but a fever leaves the patient in a state of
debility for some days. I have ordered him meat twice a day--that is,
meat once and soup once."

"Then you report him cured of his fever?"

"Certainly."

"Hodges, put No. 19 on the crank."

"Yes, sir."

Even the surgeon opened his eyes at this. "Why, he is as weak as a
child," said he.

"Will it kill him?"

"Certainly not; and for the best of all reasons. He can't possibly do
it."

"You don't know what these fellows can do when they are forced."

The surgeon shrugged his shoulders and passed on to his other patients.
Robinson was taken out into the yard. "What a blessing the fresh air
is!" said he, gulping in the atmosphere of the yard. "I should have got
well long ago if I had not been stifled in my cell for want of room and
air."

Robinson went to the crank in good spirits; he did not know how weak
he was till he began to work; but he soon found out he could not do the
task in the time. He thought therefore the wisest plan would be not
to exhaust himself in vain efforts, and he sat quietly down and did
nothing. In this posture he was found by Hawes and his myrmidons.

"What are you doing there not working?"

"Sir, I am only just getting well of a fever, and I am as weak as
water."

"And that is why you are not trying to do anything, eh?"

"I have tried, sir, and it is impossible. I am not fit to turn this
heavy crank."

"Well, then, I must try if I can't make you. Fetch the jacket."

"Oh! for Heaven's sake don't torture me, sir. There is nobody more
willing to work than I am. And if you will but give me a day or two to
get my strength after the fever, you shall see how I will work."

"There! there! ---- your palaver! Strap him up."

He was in no condition to resist, and moreover knew resistance was
useless. They jammed him in the jacket, pinned him tight to the wall,
and throttled him in the collar. This collar, by a refinement of
cruelty, was made with unbound edges, so that when the victim, exhausted
with the cruel cramp that racked his aching bones in the fierce gripe of
Hawes's infernal machine, sunk his heavy head and drooped his chin, the
jagged collar sawed him directly and lacerating the flesh drove him away
from even this miserable approach to ease. Robinson had formed no idea
of the torture. The victims of the Inquisition would have gained but
little by becoming the victims of the separate and silent system in ----
Jail.

They left the poor fellow pinned to the wall, jammed in the strait
waistcoat, and throttled in the round saw. Weakened by fever and
unnatural exertion, he succumbed sooner than the inquisitors had
calculated upon. The next time they came into the yard they found him
black in the face, his lips livid, insensible, throttled, and dying.
Another half minute and there would have hung a corpse in the Hawes
pillory.

When they saw how nearly he was gone they were all at him together. One
unclasped the saw collar, one unbraced the waistcoat, another sprinkled
water over him--not a bucketful this time, because they would have
wetted themselves. Released from the infernal machine, the body of No.
19 fell like a lump of clay upon the men who had reduced him to this
condition. Then these worthies were in some little trepidation; for
though they had caused the death of many men during the last two years,
they had not yet, as it happened, murdered a single one on the spot
openly and honestly like this; and they feared they might get into
trouble. Adjoining the yard was a bath-room; to this they carried No.
19. They stripped him, and let the water run upon him from the cock, but
he did not come to; then they scrubbed him just as they would a brick
floor with a hard brush upon the back till his flesh was as red as
blood; with this and the water together he began to gasp and sigh and
faintly come back from insensibility to a new set of tortures; but so
long was the struggle between life and death that these men of business,
detained thus unconscionably about a single thief, lost all patience
with him; one scrubbed him till the blood came under the bristles,
another seized him by the hair of his head and jerked his head violently
back several times, and this gave him such pain that he began to
struggle instinctively, and, the blood now fairly set in motion, he soon
moved. The last thing he remembered was a body full of aching bones; the
first he awoke to was the sensation of being flayed alive from the crown
of his head to the sole of his foot.

The first word he heard was, "Put his clothes on his shamming carcass

"Shall we dry him, sir?"

"Dry him!" roared the governor, with an oath. "No! Hasn't he given us
trouble enough?" (Another oath.)

They flung his clothes upon his red-hot dripping skin, and Hodges
gave him a brutal push. "Go to your cell." Robinson crawled off, often
wincing and trying in vain to keep his clothes from rubbing those parts
of his person where they had scrubbed the skin off him.

Hawes eyed him with grim superiority. Suddenly he had an inspiration.
"Come back!" shouted he. "I never was beat by a prisoner yet, and I
never will. Strap him up." At this command even the turnkeys looked
amazed at one another and hesitated. Then the governor swore horribly at
them, and Hodges without another word went for the jacket.

They took hold of him; he made no resistance; he never even looked at
them. He never took his eye off Hawes; on him his eye fastened like a
basilisk. They took him away, and pinioned, jammed and throttled him to
the wall again. Hodges was set to watch him, and a bucket of water near
to throw over him should he show the least sign of shamming again. In
an hour another turnkey came and relieved Hodges--in another hour Fry
relieved him, for this was tiresome work for a poor turnkey--in another
hour a new hand relieved Fry, but nobody relieved No. 19.

Five mortal hours had he been in the vice without shamming. The pain his
skin suffered from the late remedies, and the deadly rage at his heart,
gave him unnatural powers of resistance; but at last the infernal
machine conquered, and he began to turn dead faint; then Hodges, his
sentinel at the time, caught up the bucket and dashed the whole contents
over him. The effect was magical; the shock took away his breath for a
moment, but the next the blood seemed to glow with fire in his veins and
he felt a general access of vigor to bear his torture. When this man had
been six hours in the vise the governor and his myrmidons came into the
yard and unstrapped him.

"You did not beat me, you see, after all," said the governor to No. 19.
The turnkeys heard and revered their chief. No. 19 looked him full in
the face with an eye glittering like a saber, but said no word.

"Sulky brute!" cried the governor, "lock him up" (oath). And that
evening, as a warder was rolling the prisoners' supper along the little
natural railway made by the two railings of Corridor B, the governor
stepped the carriage and asked for 19's tin. It was given him, and he
abstracted one half of the man's gruel. "Refractory in the yard to-day;
but I'll break him before I've done with him" (oath).

The next day brushes were wanted for the jail. This saved Robinson for
that day. It was little Josephs' turn to suffer. The governor put him on
a favorite crank of his, and gave him eight thousand turns to do in four
hours and a half. He knew the boy could not do it, and this was only a
formula he went through previous to pillorying the lad. Josephs had been
in the Pillory about an hour when it so happened that the Reverend John
Jones, the chaplain of the jail, came into the yard. Seeing a group of
warders at the mouth of the labor-cell, he walked up to them, and there
was Josephs in peine forte et dure.

"What is this lad's offense?" inquired Mr. Jones.

"Refractory at the crank," was the reply.

"Why, Josephs," said the reverend gentleman, "you told me you would
always do your best."

"So I do, your reverence," gasped Josephs; "but this crank is too heavy
for a lad like me, and that is why I am put on it to get punished."

"Hold your tongue," said Hodges roughly.

"Why is he to hold his tongue, Mr. Hodges?" said the chaplain quietly;
"how is he to answer my question if he holds his tongue? You forget
yourself."

"Ugh! beg your pardon, sir, but this one has always got some excuse or
other."

"What is the matter?" roared a rough voice behind the speakers. This was
Hawes, who had approached them unobserved.

"He is gammoning his reverence, sir--that is all."

"What has he been saying?"

"That the crank is too heavy for him, sir, and the waistcoat is strapped
too tight, it seems."

"Who says so?"

"I think so, Mr. Hawes."

"Will you take a bit of advice, sir? If you wish a prisoner well don't
you come between him and me. It will always be the worse for him, for I
am master here and master I will be."

"Mr. Hawes," replied the chaplain, "I have never done or said anything
in the prison to lessen your authority, but privately I must remonstrate
against the uncommon severities practiced upon prisoners in this jail.
If you will listen to me I shall be much obliged to you--if not, I am
afraid I must, as a matter of conscience, call the attention of the
visiting justices to the question."

"Well, parson, the justices will be in the jail to-day--you tell them
your story and I will tell them mine," said Hawes, with a cool air of
defiance.

Sure enough, at five o'clock in the afternoon two of the visiting
justices arrived, accompanied by Mr. Wright, a young magistrate. They
were met at the door by Hawes, who wore a look of delight at their
appearance. They went round the prison with him, while he detained them
in the center of the building till he had sent Hodges secretly to undo
Josephs and set him on the crank; and here the party found him at work.

"You have been a long time on the crank, my lad," said Hawes, "you may
go to your cell."

Josephs touched his cap to the governor and the gentlemen and went off.

"That is a nice quiet-looking boy," said one of the justices; "what is
he in for?"

"He is in this time for stealing a piece of beef out of a butcher's
shop."

"This time! what! is he a hardened offender? he does not look it."

"He has been three times in prison; once for throwing stones, once for
orchard-robbing, and this time for the beef."

"What a young villain! at his age---"

"Don't say that, Williams," said Mr. Wright dryly, "you and I were just
as great villains at his age. Didn't we throw stones? rather!"

Hawes laughed in an adulatory manner, but observing that Mr. Williams,
who was a grave, pompous personage, did not smile at all, he added:

"But not to do mischief like this one, I'll be bound."

"No," said Mr. Williams, with an air of ruffled dignity.

"No?" cried the other, "where is your memory? Why, we threw stones at
everything and everybody, and I suppose we did not always miss, eh?
I remember your throwing a stone through the window of a place of
worship--(this was a school-fellow of mine, and led me into all sorts of
wickedness). I say, was it a Wesleyan shop, Williams, or a Baptist? for
I forget. Never mind, you had a fit of orthodoxy. What was the young
villain's second offense?"

"Robbing an orchard, sir."

"The scoundrel! robbing an orchard? Oh, what sweet reminiscences those
words recall. I say, Williams, do you remember us two robbing Farmer
Harris's orchard?"

"I remember your robbing it, and my character suffering for it."

"I don't remember that; but I remember my climbing the pear-tree and
flinging the pears down, and finding them all grabbed on my descent.
What is the young villain's next--Oh! snapping a piece off a counter.
Ah! we never did that--because we could always get it without stealing
it."

With this Mr. Wright strolled away from the others, having had what the
jocose wretch used to call "a slap at humbug."

His absence was a relief to the others. These did not come there to
utter sense in fun but to jest in sober earnest.

Mr. Williams hinted as much, and Hawes, whose cue it was to assent in
everything to the justices, brightened his face up at the remark.

"Will you visit the cells, gentlemen," said he, with an accent of
cordial invitation, "or inspect the book first?"

They gave precedence to the latter.

By the book was meant the log-book of the jail. In it the governor was
required to report for the justices and the Home Office all jail events
a little out of the usual routine. For instance, all punishments of
prisoners, all considerable sicknesses, deaths and their supposed
causes, etc., etc.

"This Josephs seems by the book to be an ill-conditioned fellow; he is
often down for punishment."

"Yes! he hates work. About Gillies, sir--ringing his bell and pretending
it was an accident?"

"Yes! how old is he?"

"Thirteen."

"Is this his first offense?"

"Not by a good many. I think, gentlemen, if you were to order him a
flogging it would be better for him in the end."

"Well, give him twenty lashes. Eh: Palmer?"

Mr. Palmer assented by a nod.

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Hawes, "but will you allow me to make a
remark?"

"Certainly, Mr. Hawes, certainly!"

"I find twenty lashes all at once rather too much for a lad of that age.
Now, if you would allow me to divide the punishment into two so that his
health might not be endangered by it, then we could give him ten or even
twelve, and after a day or two as many more."

"That speaks well for your humanity, Mr. Hawes; your zeal we have long
known."

"Augh, sir! sir!"

"I will sign the order, and we authorize you here to divide the
punishment according to your own suggestion." (Order signed.)

The justices then went round the cells accompanied by Hawes. They
went into the cells with an expression of a little curiosity but more
repugnance on their faces, and asked several prisoners if they were well
and contented. The men looked with the shrewdness of their class into
their visitors' faces and measured them; saw there, first a feeble
understanding, secondly an adamantine prejudice; saw that in those eyes
they were wild beasts and Hawes an angel, and answered to please Hawes,
whose eye was fixed on them all this time and in whose power they felt
they were.

All expressed their content. Some in tones so languid and empty of
heart that none but Justice Shallow could have helped seeing through the
humbug. Others did it better; and not a few overdid it, so that any but
Justice Shallow would have seen through them. These last told Messrs.
Shallow and Slender that the best thing that ever happened to them was
coming to ---- Jail. They thanked Heaven they had been pulled up short
in an evil career that must have ended in their ruin body and soul. As
for their present situation, they were never happier in their lives,
and some of them doubted much whether, when they should reach the penal
settlements, the access of liberty would repay them for the increased
temptations and the loss of quiet meditation and self-communion and the
good advice of Mr. Hawes and of his reverence, the chaplain.

The jail-birds who piped this tune were without a single exception
the desperate cases of this moral hospital. They were old
offenders--hardened scoundrels who meant to rob and kill and deceive to
their dying day. While in prison their game was to be as comfortable as
they could. Hawes could make them uncomfortable; he was always there.
Under these circumstances to lie came on the instant as natural to them
as to rob would have come had some power transported them outside the
prison doors with these words of penitence on their lips.

They asked where that Josephs' cell was. Hawes took them to him. They
inspected him with a profound zoological look, to see whether it was
more wolf or badger. Strange to say, it looked neither, but a simple
quiet youth of the human genus--species snob.

"He is very small to be a ruffian," said Mr. Palmer.

"I am sorry, Josephs," said Mr. Williams pompously, "to find your name
so often down for punishment."

Josephs looked up, hoping to see the light of sympathy in this speaker's
eyes. He saw two owls' faces attempting eagle but not reaching up to
sparrow-hawk, and he was silent. He had no hope of being believed;
moreover, the grim eye of Hawes rested on him, and no feebleness in it.

Messrs. Shallow and Slender, receiving no answer from Josephs, who was
afraid to tell the truth, were nettled, and left the cell shrugging
their shoulders.

In the corridor they met the train just coming along the banisters with
supper. Pompous Mr. Williams tasted the prison diet on the spot.

"It is excellent," cried he; "why the gruel is like glue." And he fell
into a meditation.

"So far everything is as we could wish, Mr. Hawes, and it speaks well
for the discipline and for yourself."

Hawes bowed with a gratified air.

"I will complete the inspection to-morrow."

Hawes accompanied the gentlemen to the outside gate. Here Mr. Williams
turned. For the last minute or two he had been in the throes of an idea,
and now he delivered himself of it.

"It would be well if Josephs' gruel were not made so strong for him."

Mr. Williams was not one of those who often say a great thing, but this
deserves immortality, and could I confer immortality this of Williams'
should never die! Unlike most of the things we say, it does not deserve
ever to die--

"IT WOULD BE WELL IF JOSEPHS' GRUEL WERE NOT MADE SO STRONG FOR HIM!!"



CHAPTER XII.

"WILL you eat your mutton with me to-day, Palmer?" said Mr. Williams at
the gate of the jail.

"I should be very happy, but I am engaged to dine with the
lord-lieutenant."

So Mr. Williams drove home to Ashtown Park, and had to sit down to
dinner with his own small family party.

Mr. Williams' mutton consisted of first a little strong gravy soup
lubricated and gelatinized with a little tapioca; vis-a-vis the soup a
little piece of salmon cut out of the fish's center; lobster patties,
rissoles, and two things with French names, stinking of garlic, on the
flank.

Enter a boiled turkey poult with delicate white sauce; a nice tongue,
not too green nor too salt, and a small saddle of six-tooth mutton,
home-bred, home-fed; after this a stewed pigeon, faced by greengage
tart, and some yellow cream twenty-four hours old; item, an iced
pudding. A little Stilton cheese brought up the rear with a nice salad.
This made way for a foolish trifling dessert of muscatel grapes, guava
jelly and divers kickshaws diluted with agreeable wines varied by a
little glass of Marasquino & Co., at junctures. So far so nice!

But alas! nothing is complete in this world, not even the dinner of a
fair round justice with fat capon lined. There is always some drawback
or deficiency here below--confound it! The wretch of a cook had
forgotten to send up the gruel a la Josephs.

Next day, after Mr. Williams had visited the female prisoners and
complimented Hawes on having initiated them into the art of silence, he
asked where the chaplain was. Hawes instantly dispatched a messenger
to inquire, and remembering that gentleman's threatened remonstrance,
parried him by anticipation, thus:

"By-the-by, sir, I have a little complaint to make of him."

"Indeed!" said Mr. Williams, "what is that?"

"He took a prisoner's part against the discipline; but he doesn't know
them, and they humbug him. But, sir, ought he to preach against me in
the chapel of the jail?"

"Certainly not! Surely he has not been guilty of such a breach of
discipline and good taste."

"Oh! but wait, sir," said Hawes, "hear the whole truth, and then perhaps
you will blame me. You must know, sir, that I sometimes let out an oath.
I was in the army, and we used all to swear there; and now a little of
it sticks to me in spite of my teeth, and if his reverence had done me
the honor to take me to task privately about it, I would have taken off
my hat to him; but it is another thing to go and preach at me for it
before all the jail."

"Of course it is. Do you mean to say he did that?"

"He did, sir. Of course, he did not mention my name, but he preached
five-and-thirty minutes all about swearing, and they all knew who he was
hitting. I could see the warders grinning from ear to ear, as much as to
say, 'There's another rap for you, governor!'"

"I'll speak to him."

"Thank you, sir; don't be hard on him, for he is a deserving officer;
but if you would give him a quiet hint not to interfere with me. We have
all of us plenty to do of our own in a jail, if he could but see it. Ah!
here comes the chaplain, sir. I will leave you together, if you please;"
and Mr. Hawes made off with a business air.

The chaplain came up and bowed to Mr. Williams, who saluted him in turn
somewhat coldly. There was a short silence. Mr. Williams was concocting
a dignified rebuke. Before he could get it out the chaplain began:

"I wished to speak with you yesterday, sir.

"I am at your service, Mr. Jones. What is it?"

"I want you to look into our punishments; they are far more numerous and
severe than they used to be."

"On the contrary I find them less numerous."

"Why, there is one punished every day."

"I have been carefully over the books, and I assure you there is a
marked decrease in the number of punishments."

"Then they cannot be all put down."

"Nonsense, Mr. Jones, nonsense!"

"And, then, the severity of these punishments, sir! Is it your wish that
a prisoner should be strapped in the jacket so tight that we cannot get
a finger between the leather and his flesh?"

"Not unless he is refractory."

"But prisoners are very seldom refractory."

"Indeed! that is news to me."

"I assure you, sir, there are no quieter set of men than prisoners
generally. They know there is nothing to be gained by resistance."

"They are on their good behavior before you. You don't see through them,
my good sir. They are like madmen--you would take them for lambs till
they break out. Do you know a prisoner here called Josephs?"

"Yes, sir, perfectly well."

"Well, now, what is his character, may I ask?"

"HE IS A MILD, QUIET, DOCILE LAD."

"Ha! ha! ha! I thought so. Prisoners are the refuse of the earth.
The governor knows them, and how to manage them. A discretion must be
allowed him, and I see no reason to interfere between him and refractory
prisoners except when he invites us."

"You are aware that several attempts at suicide have been made within
the last few months?"

"Sham attempts, yes."

"One was not sham, sir," said Mr. Jones, gravely

"Oh, Jackson, you mean. No, but he was a lunatic, and would have made
away with himself anywhere--Hawes is convinced of that."

"Well, sir, I have told you the fact; I have remonstrated against the
uncommon seventies practiced in this jail--seventies unknown in Captain
O'Connor's day."

"And I have received and answered your remonstrance, sir, and there that
matter ought to end."

This, and the haughty tone with which it was said, discouraged and
nettled the chaplain; he turned red and said:

"In that case, sir, I have no more to say. I have discharged my
conscience." With these words he was about to withdraw, but Mr. Williams
stopped him.

"Mr. Jones, do you consider a clergyman justified in preaching at
people?"

"Certainly not."

"The pulpit surely ought not to be made a handle for personality. It is
not the way to make the pulpit itself respected."

"I don't understand you, sir."

"Mr. Hawes is much hurt at a sermon you preached against him."

"A sermon against him--never!"

"I beg your pardon; you preached a whole sermon against swearing--and he
swears."

"Oh--yes! I remember--the Sunday before last. I certainly did reprobate
in my discourse the habit of swearing, but no personality to Hawes was
intended."

"No personality intended when you know he swears!"

"Yes, but the warders swear, too. Why should Mr. Hawes take it all to
himself?"

"Oh! if the turnkeys swear, then it was not so strictly personal."

"To be sure," put in Mr. Jones inadvertently, "I believe they learned it
of the governor."

"There you see! Well, and even if they did not, why preach against the
turnkeys? why preach at any individuals or upon passing events at all? I
can remember the time no clergyman throughout the length and breadth of
the land noticed passing events from the pulpit."

"I am as far from approving the practice as you are, sir."

"In those days the clergy and the laity respected one another, and there
was peace in the Church."

"I can only repeat, sir, that I agree with you; the pulpit should be
consecrated to eternal truths, not passing events."

"Good! very good! Well, then?"

"What Mr. Hawes complains of was a mere accident."

"An accident, Mr. Jones? Oh, Mr. Jones!"

"An accident which I undertake to explain to Mr. Hawes himself."

"By all means; that will be the best way of making friends again. I need
not tell you that a jail could not go on in which the governor and the
chaplain did not pull together. The fact is, Mr. Jones, the clergy, of
late, have been assuming a little too much, and that has made the
laity a little jealous. Now, although you are a clergyman, you are her
majesty's servant so long as you are here, and must co-operate with the
general system of the jail. Come, sir, you are younger than I am; let me
give you a piece of advice, 'DON'T OVERSTEP YOUR DUTY,' etc."

In this strain Mr. Williams buz, buz, buzzed longer than I can afford
him paper, it is so dear. He pumped a stream of time-honored phrases
on his hearer, and dissolved away with him as the overflow of a pump
carries away a straw on its shallow stream down a stable-yard.

When the pump was pumped dry he stopped.

Then the chaplain, who had listened with singular politeness, got in a
word. "You forget, sir, I have resigned the chaplaincy of the jail?"

"Oh! ah! yes! well, then, I need say no more; good-day, Mr. Jones."

"Good-morning, sir."

Soon after this up came Hawes with a cheerful countenance.

"Well, parson, are you to manage the prisoners and I to preach to them,
or are we to go on as we are?"

"Things are to go on as they are, Mr. Hawes; but that is nothing to
me, I have discharged my conscience. I have remonstrated against the
seventies practiced on our prisoners. COLD WATER HAS BEEN THROWN ON MY
REMONSTRANCES, and I shall therefore interfere no more."

"That is the wise way to look at it, you may depend!"

"We shall see which was in the right. I have discharged my conscience.
But, Mr. Hawes, I am hurt you should say I preached a sermon against
you."

"I dare say you are, sir, but who began it; if you had not talked of
complaining to the justices of me, I should never have said a word
against you."

"That is all settled; but it is due to my character to show you that
I had no intention of pointing at you or any living creature from the
pulpit."

"Well, make me believe that."

"If you will do me the favor to come to my room I can prove it to you."

The chaplain took the governor to his room and opened two drawers in a
massive table.

"Mr. Hawes," said he, "do you see this pile of sermons in this
right-hand drawer?"

"I see them," said Hawes, with a doleful air, "and I suppose I shall
hear some of them before long."

"These," said Mr. Jones, smiling with perfect good-humor at the
innocuous sneer, "are sermons I composed when I was curate of
Little-Stoke. Of late I have been going regularly through my
Little-Stoke discourses, as you may see. I take one from the pile in
this drawer, and after first preaching it in the jail I place it in the
left drawer on that smaller pile."

"That you mayn't preach it again by accident; well, that is business."

"If you look into the left pile near the top, you will find the one I
preached against profane discourse, with the date at which it was first
composed."

"Here it is, sir--Little-Stoke, May 15, 1847."

"Well, Mr. Hawes, now was that written against you?--come!"

"No! I confess it could not; but look here, if a man sends a bullet into
me, it doesn't matter to me whether he made the gun on purpose or shot
me out of an old one that he had got by him."

"But I tell you that I took the sermon out in its turn, and knew no more
what it was about until I opened it in the pulpit, than I knew what this
one is about which I am going to preach next Sunday morning--it was all
chance."

"It was my bad luck, I suppose," said Hawes a little sulkily.

"And mine, too. Could I anticipate that a discourse composed for and
preached to a rural congregation would be deemed to have a personal
application here?"

"Well, no!"

"I have now only to add that I extremely regret the circumstance."

"Say no more, sir. When a gentleman expresses his regret to another
gentleman, there is an end of the grievance.

"I will take care the sort of thing never happens again."

"Enough said, sir."

"It never can, however, for I shall preach but one more Sunday here."

"And I'm very sorry for it, Mr. Jones."

"And after this occurrence I am determined to write both sermons for the
occasion, so there is sure to be nothing personal in them."

"Yes, that is the surest way. Well, sir, you and I never had but this
one little misunderstanding, and now that is explained, we shall part
friends."

"A glass of ale, Mr. Hawes?"

"I don't care if I do, sir." (The glasses were filled and emptied.) "I
must go and look after my chickens; the justices have ordered Gillies to
be flogged. You will be there, I suppose, in half an hour."

"Well, if my attendance is not absolutely necessary--"

"We will excuse you, sir, if not convenient."

"Thank you--good-morning!" and the reconciled officials parted.

Little Gillies was hoisted to receive twenty lashes; at the twelfth the
governor ordered him down.

He broke off the tale as our magazines do, with a promise--"To be
continued."

Little Gillies, like their readers, cried out, "No, sir. Oh, sir! please
flog me to an end, and ha' done with it. I don't feel the cuts near so
much now--my back seems dead like."

Little Gillies was arguing against himself. Hawes had not divided his
punishment with the view of lessening his pain. It was droll, but more
sad than droll to hear the poor little fellow begging Hawes to flog him
to an end, to flog him out; with similar idioms.

"Hold your [oath] noise!" Hawes shrunk with disgust from noise in his
prison, and could not comprehend why the prisoners could not take their
punishments without infringing upon the great and glorious silence of
which the jail was the temple and he the high priest. "The beggars get
no good by kicking up a row," argued he.

"Hold your noise!--take him to his cell!"

Whether it was because he had desecrated the temple with noise, or from
the accident of having attracted the governor's attention, the weight of
the system fell on this small object now.

Gillies was ordered to make a fabulous number of crank
revolutions--fabulous, at least, in connection with his tender age; he
was put on the lightest crank, but the lightest was heavy to thirteen
years. Not being the infant Hercules, he could not perform this labor;
so Hawes put him in jacket and collar almost the whole day. His young
and supple frame was in his favor, but once or twice he could hardly
help shamming, and then they threw half a bucket over him.

The next day he was put on the crank, and not being able to complete
the task that was set him before dinner, he was strapped up until the
evening. The next day the governor tried another tack. He took away his
meat soup and gruel, and gave him nothing but bread and water. Strange
to say, this change of diet did not supply the deficiency; he could
not do the infant Hercules his work even on bread and water. Then the
governor deprived the obstinate little dog of his chapel. "If you won't
work, I'm [participle] if you shall pray." The boy missed the recreation
of hearing Mr. Jones hum the Liturgy; missed it in a way you cannot
conceive. Your soporific was his excitement; think of that.

Little Gillies became sadly dispirited, and weaker at the crank than
before; ergo, the governor sentenced him to be fourteen days without bed
or gas.

But when they took away his bed and did not light his gas little Gillies
began to lose his temper; he made a great row about this last stroke of
discipline. "I won't live such a life as this," said little Gillies, in
a pet. "Why don't the governor hang me at once?"

"What is that noise?" roared the governor, who was in the corridor and
had long ears.

"It is No. 50 kicking up a row at having his bed and gas taken," replied
a turnkey, with a note of admiration in his voice.

The governor bounced into the cell. "Are you grumbling at that, you
rebellious young rascal? you forget there are a dozen lashes owing you
yet." Now the boy had not forgotten, but he hoped the governor had.
"Well, you shall have the rest to-morrow."

With these words ringing in his ears, little Gillies was locked up
for the night at six o'clock. His companions darkness and unrest-for a
prisoner's bed is the most comfortable thing he has, and the change from
it to a stone floor is as great to him as it would be to us--darkness
and unrest, and the cat waiting to spring on him at peep of day. Quae
cum ita erant, as the warder put the key into his cell the next morning
he heard a strange gurgling; he opened the door quickly, and there was
little Gillies hanging; a chair was near him on which he had got to
suspend himself by his handkerchief from the window; he was black in
the face, but struggling violently, and had one hand above his head
convulsively clutching the handkerchief. Fry lifted him up by the knees
and with some difficulty loosed the handkerchief.

Little Gillies, as soon as his throat could vent a sound, roared with
fright at the recent peril, and then cried a bit, finally expressed
a hope his breakfast would not be taken from him for this act of
insubordination.

This infraction of discipline was immediately reported to the governor.

"Little brute," cried Hawes, viciously, "I'll work him!"

"Oh! he knew I was at hand, sir," said Fry, "or he would not have tried
it."

"Of course he would not; I remember last night he was grumbling at his
bed being taken away. I'll serve him out!"

Soon after this the governor met the chaplain and told him the case. "He
shall make you an apology"--imperative mood him.

"Me, an apology!"

"Of course--you are the officer that has the care of his soul and he
shall apologize to you for making away with it or trying it on."

This resolution was conveyed to Gillies with fearful threats, so when
the chaplain visited him he had got his lesson pat.

"I beg your reverence's pardon for hanging myself," began he at sight,
rather loud and as bold as brass.

"Beg the Almighty's pardon, not mine."

"No! the governor said it was yours I was to beg," demurred Gillies.

"Very well. But you should beg God's pardon more than mine."

"For why, sir?"

"For attempting your life, which was His gift."

"Oh! I needn't beg His pardon; He doesn't care what becomes of me; if He
did He wouldn't let them bully me as they do day after day, drat 'em."

"I am sorry to see one so young as you so hardened. I dare say the
discipline of the jail is bitter to you, it is to all idle boys; but you
might be in a much worse place--and will if you do not mend."

"A worse place than this, your reverence! Oh, my eye!"

"And you ought to be thankful to Heaven for sending the turnkey at that
moment (here I'm sorry to say little Gillies grinned satirically), or
you would be in a worse place. Would you rather be here or in hell?"
half asked, half explained the reverend gentleman in the superior tone
of one closing a discussion forever.

"In hell!!!" replied Gillies, opening his eyes with astonishment at the
doubt.

Mr. Jones was dumfounded; of all the mischances that befall us in
argument this coup perplexes us most. He looked down at the little
ignorant wretch, and decided it would be useless to waste theology
on him. He fell instead into familiar conversation with him, and then
Gillies, with the natural communicativeness of youth, confessed to him
"that he had heard the warder at the next cell before he ventured to
step off the chair and suspend himself."

"Well! but you ran a great risk, too. Suppose he had not come into your
cell--suppose he had been called away for a minute."

"I should have been scragged, and no mistake," said the boy, with a
shiver. Throttling had proved no joke. "But I took my chance of that,"
added Gillies. "I was determined to give them a fright; besides, if he
hadn't come, it would all be over by now, sir, and all the better for
me, I know."

Further communication was closed by the crank, which demanded young
Hopeful by its mouthpiece, Fry. After dinner, to his infinite disgust,
he received the other moiety of his flogging; but by a sort of sulky
compensation his bed was kicked into his cell again at night by Fry
acting under the governor's orders.

"That was not a bad move, hanging myself a little--a very little,"
said the young prig. He hooked up his recovered treasure; and, though
smarting all over, coiled himself up in it, and in three minutes forgot
present pain, past dangers and troubles to come.

The plan pursued with Robinson was to keep him at low-water mark by
lowering his diet; without this, so great was his natural energy and
disposition to work, that no crank excuse could have been got for
punishing him, and at this period he was too wise and self-restrained to
give any other. But after a few days of unjust torture he began to lose
hope; and with hope patience oozed away too, and his enemy saw with grim
satisfaction wild flashes of mad rage come every now and then to his
eye, harder and harder to suppress. "He will break out before long,"
said Hawes to himself, "and then--"

Robinson saw the game, and a deep dark hatred of his enemy fought on the
side of his prudence. This bitter raging struggle of contending passions
in the thief's heart harmed his soul more than had years of burglary and
petty larceny. All the vices of the old jail system are nothing compared
with the diabolical effect of solitude on a heart smarting with daily
wrongs.

Brooding on self is always corrupting; but to brood on self and wrongs
is to ripen for madness, murder and all crime. Between Robinson
and these there lay one little bit of hope--only one, but it was a
reasonable one. There was an official in the jail possessed of a large
independent authority; and paid (Robinson argued) to take the side of
humanity in the place. This man was the representative of the national
religion in the jail, as Hawes was of the law. Robinson was too sharp at
picking up everything in his way, and had been too often in prisons and
their chapels not to know that cruelty and injustice are contrary to
the Gospel, and to the national religion, which is in a great measure
founded thereon. He therefore hoped and believed the chaplain of the
jail would come between him and his persecutor if he could be made to
understand the case. Now it happened just after the justices had thrown
cold water on Mr. Jones's little expostulation that Robinson was pinned
to the wall, jammed in the waistcoat, and throttled in the collar. He
had been thus some time, when, casting his despairing eyes around they
alighted upon the comely, respectable face of Mr. Jones. Mr. Jones was
looking gravely at the victim.

Robinson devoured him with his eyes and his ears. He heard him say in an
undertone:

"What is this for?"

"Hasn't done his work at the crank," was the answer.

Then Mr. Jones, after taking another look at the sufferer, gave a sigh
and walked away. Robinson's hopes from this gentleman rose; moreover,
part of his sermon next Sunday inveighed against inhumanity; and
Robinson, who had no conception the sermon was several years old, looked
on it as aimed at Hawes and his myrmidons and as the precursor of other
and effective remonstrances. Not long after this, to his delight, the
chaplain visited him alone. He seized this opportunity of securing the
good man's interference in his favor. He told him in glowing words the
whole story of his sufferings; and with a plain and manly eloquence
appealed to him to make his chapel words good and come between the
bloodhounds and their prey.

"Sir, there are twenty or thirty poor fellows besides me that will bless
your four bones night and day, if you will but put out your hand and
save us from being abused like dogs and nailed to the wall like kites
and weasels. We are not vermin, sir, we are men. Many a worse man is
abroad than we that are caged here like wild beasts. Our bodies are
men's bodies, sir, and our hearts are men's hearts. You can't soften
_their_ hearts, for they haven't such a thing about them; but only just
you open your mouth and speak your mind in right-down earnest, and you
will shame them into treating us openly like human beings, let them hate
us and scorn us at bottom as they will. We have no friend here, sir, but
you, not one; have pity on us! have pity on us!"

And the thief stretched out his hands, and fixed his ardent, glistening
eyes upon the successor of the apostles.

The successor of the apostles hung his head and showed plainly that he
was not unmoved. A moment of suspense followed--Robinson hung upon his
answer. At length Mr. Jones raised his head and said, with icy coldness:

"Mr. Hawes is the governor of this jail. I have no power to interfere
with his acts, supported as they are by the visiting justices; and I
have but one advice to give you: Submit to the discipline and to Mr.
Hawes in everything; it will be the worse for you if you don't."

So saying, he went out abruptly, leaving his petitioner with his eyes
fixed ruefully upon the door by which his last hope had left him.

The moment the reverend official had got outside the door, his
countenance, which had fallen, took a complacent air. He prided himself
that he had conquered an impulse, an idle impulse.

"The poor fellow is in the right," said he to himself as he left
the cell; "but if I had let him see I thought so, he might have been
encouraged to resist, and then he would have only suffered all the
more."

And so, having done what he calculated was the expedient thing to do, he
went his way satisfied and at peace with Mr. Hawes and all mankind.

When he glided away and took hope with him, disdain, despair and frenzy
gushed from the thief's boiling bosom in one wild moan; and with that
moan he dashed himself on his face on the floor, though it was as hard
as Hawes and cold as Jones.

Thus he lay crushed in blank despair a moment, the next he rose fiercely
to his knees, he looked up through the hole they called his window, and
saw a little piece of blue sky no bigger than a Bible, he held his hand
up to that blue sky, he fixed his dilating eye on that blue sky, and
with one long raging yell of horrible words hurled from a heart set on
fire by wrongs and despair and tempting fiends, he cursed the successor
of the apostles before the Majesty of Heaven.



CHAPTER XIII.

SOLITUDE is no barrier whatever to sin. Such prayers as Robinson's are
a disgrace to those who provoke them, but a calamity to him who utters
them. Robinson was now a far worse man than ever he had been out of
prison. The fiend had fixed a claw in his heart, and we may be sure
he felt the recoil of his ill prayers. He hated the human race, which
produced such creatures as Hawes and nothing to keep them in check.

"From this hour I speak no more to any of those beasts!"

Such was his resolve, made with clinched teeth and nails. And he curled
himself up like a snake and turned his back upon mankind, and his face
to the wall. Robinson had begun his career in this place full of hopes.
He hoped by good conduct to alleviate his condition as he had done in
other jails; conscious of various talents, he hoped by skill as well as
by good conduct to better his condition even in a jail. Such hopes are
a part of our nature, and were not in his case unreasonable. These
hopes were soon extinguished. He came down to a confident hope that
by docility and good conduct he should escape all evils except those
inseparable from a prisoner's lot.

When he discovered that Hawes loved to punish his prisoners, and indeed
could hardly get through the day without it, and that his crank was an
unavoidable trap to catch the prisoners and betray them to punishment,
he sunk lower and lower in despondency, till at last there was but one
bit of blue hope in all his horizon. He still hoped something against
tyranny and cruelty from the representative of the gospel of mercy in
the place. But when his reverence told him nothing was to be expected
from that quarter, his last hope went out and he was in utter darkness.

Yet Mr. Jones was not a hypocrite nor a monster; he was only a
commonplace man--a thing molded by circumstances instead of molding
them. In him the official outweighed the apostle, for a very good
reason--he was commonplace. This was his defect. His crime was
misplacing his commonplace self. A man has a right to be commonplace
in the middle of the New Forest, or in the great desert, or at
Fudley-cum-Pipes in the fens of Lincolnshire. But at the helm of a
struggling nation, or in the command of an army in time of war, or at
the head of the religious department of a jail, fighting against human
wolves, tigers and foxes, to be commonplace is an iniquity and leads to
crime.

The man was a humane man. It was not in his nature to be cruel to a
prisoner, and his humanity was, like himself, negative not positive,
passive not active--of course; it was commonplace humanity.

After looking on in silence for a twelvemonth or two he remonstrated
against Hawes's barbarity. He would have done more; he would have
stopped it--if it could have been stopped without any trouble. Cold
water was thrown on his remonstrance; he cooled directly!

Now cold water and hot fire have been thrown on men battling for causes
no higher nor holier than this, yet neither has fire been able to wither
nor water to quench their honest zeal. But this good soul on being
sprinkled laid down his arms; he was commonplace. Moreover, he was
guilty of something beside cowardice. He let a small egotistical pique
sully as well as betray a great cause. "The justices have thrown cold
water on my remonstrance--very well, gentlemen, torture your prisoners
ad libitum; I shall interfere no more; we shall see which was in the
right, you or I."

This was a narrow little view of wide and terrible consequences; it was
infinitesimal egotism--the spirit and essence of commonplace.

His inclinations were good, but feeble--he was commonplace. His heart
was good, but tepid--he was commonplace. Had he loved the New Testament
and the Saviour of mankind, he would have fought Hawes tooth and nail;
he could not have helped it. But he did not love either; he only liked
them--he was commonplace. When the thief cursed this man, he was guilty
of an extravagance as well as a crime; the man was not worth cursing--he
was commonplace.

The new chaplain arrived soon after these events. The new chaplain was
accompanied by his friend, the Rev. James Lepel, chaplain of a jail
in the north of England. After five years' unremitting duty he was now
enjoying a week's leave of absence.

The three clergymen visited the cells. Mr. Lepel cross-examined several
prisoners. The new chaplain spoke little, but seemed observant, and once
or twice made a note. Now it so happened that almost the last cell they
entered was Tom Robinson's. They found him sitting all of a heap in a
corner, moody and sullen.

At sight of three black coats and white ties the thief opened his eyes,
and with a sort of repugnance turned his back on the intruders.

"Come, my lad," said the turnkey sternly, "no tricks, if you please.
Turn round," cried he savagely, "and make your bow to the gentlemen."

Robinson wheeled round with flashing eyes, and checking an evident
desire to dash at them, instantly made a bow so very low, so very
obsequious, and, by a furtive expression, so contemptuous, that Mr.
Lepel colored with indignation and moved toward the door in silence.

The turnkey muttered, "He has been very strange this few days past. Mr.
Fry thinks he is hardly safe." Then, turning to the new chaplain, the
man, whose name was Evans, said, "Better not go into his cell, sir,
without one of us with you."

"What is the matter with him?" inquired the reverend gentleman.

"Oh, I don't know as there is anything the matter with him; only he has
been disciplined once or twice, and it goes down the wrong way with some
of them at first starting. Governor says he will have to be put in the
dark cell if he does not get better."

"The dark cell? hum! Pray what is the effect of the dark cell on a
prisoner?"

"Well, sir, it cows them more than anything."

"Where are your dark cells?"

"They are down below, sir. You can look at them after the kitchen."

"I must go into the town," said Mr. Lepel, looking at his watch. "I
promised to dine with my relations at three o'clock."

"Come and see the oubliettes first. We have seen everything else."

"With all my heart!"

They descended below the ground-floor, and then Evans unlocked a massive
tight-fitting door opening upon what appeared to be a black substance;
this was, however, no substance--but vacancy without any degree of
light. The light crossing the threshold from the open door seemed to cut
a slice out of it.

The newcomers looked into it. Mr. Lepel with grim satisfaction, the
other with awe and curiosity.

"When shall you be back, Lepel?" inquired he thoughtfully.

"Oh, before nine o'clock."

"Then perhaps you will both do me the honor to drink a cup of tea with
me," said Mr. Jones, courteously.

"With pleasure."

"Good-by, then, for the present," said the new chaplain.

"Why, where are you going?"

"In here."

"What, into the dark cell?"

"Yes!"

"Well!" ejaculated Evans.

"You won't stay there long."

"Until you return, Lepel."

"What a fancy!"

Mr. Jones looked not a little surprised. The turnkey grinned. The
reverend gentleman stepped at once into the cell and was lost to sight.

"Do not let me out before eight o'clock," said his voice, "and you,
Lepel, inquire for me as soon as you return, for I feel a little
nervous. Now shut the door."

The door was closed on the reverend gentleman, and the little group
outside, after looking at one another with a humorous expression,
separated, and each went after his own affairs.

Evans lingered behind, and took a look at the massy door, behind
which for the first time a man had gone voluntarily, and after grave
deliberation delivered himself at long intervals of the two following
profound reflections:

"Well! I'm blest!!"

"Well! I'm blowed!!"



CHAPTER XIV.

MR. LEPEL returned somewhat earlier than he had intended. On entering
the jail it so happened that he met the governor, and seized this
opportunity of conversing with him.

He expressed at once so warm an admiration of the jail and the system
pursued in it, that Hawes began to take a fancy to him.

They compared notes, and agreed that no system but the separate and
silent had a leg to stand on; and as they returned together from
visiting the ground-floor cells, Mr. Lepel had the honor of giving a new
light to Hawes himself.

"If I could have my way the debtors should be in separate cells. I would
have but one system in a jail."

Hawes laughed incredulously. "There would be a fine outcry if we treated
the debtors the same as we do the rogues."

"Mr. Hawes," said the other firmly, "an honest man very seldom finds his
way into any part of a jail. Extravagant people and tradesmen who
have abused the principle of credit, deserve punishment, and above all
require discipline and compulsory self-communion to bring them to amend
their ways."

"That is right, sir," cried Hawes, a sudden light breaking on him, "and
it certainly is a mistake letting them enjoy themselves."

"And corrupt each other."

Hawes. A prison should be confinement.

Lepel. And seclusion from all but profitable company.

Hawes. It is not a place of amusement.

Lepel. There should be no idle conversation.

"And no noise," put in Hawes hastily.

"However, this prison is a model for all the prisons in the land, and I
shall feel quite sad when I go back to my duty in Cumberland."

"Cumberland? Why, you are our new chaplain, aren't ye?"

"No! I am not so fortunate, I am a friend of his; my name is Lepel."

"Oh, you are Mr. Lepel, and where is our one? I heard he had been all
over the jail."

"What, have you not seen him?"

"No! he has never been near me. Not very polite, I think."

"Oh! oh!"

"Hallo! what is wrong!"

"I think I know where he is; he is not far off. I will go and find him
if you will excuse me."

"No! we won't trouble you. Here, Hodges, come here. Have you seen the
new chaplain--where is he?"

"Well, sir, Evans tells me he is--" click!

"Confound you, don't stand grinning. Where is he?"

"In the black hole, sir!"

"What d'ye mean by the black hole? The dust hole?"

"No, sir, I mean the dark cells."

"Then why don't you say the dark cells? Has he been there long?"

Mr. Lepel answered the question. "Ever since three o'clock, and it is
nearly nine; and we are both of us to drink tea with Mr. Jones."

Mr. Hawes showed no hurry. "What did he want to go in them for?"

"I have no idea, unless it was to see what it is like."

"Well, but I like that!" said Hawes. "That is entering into the system.
Let us see how he comes on."

Mr. Hawes, Mr. Lepel and Hodges went to the dark cells; on their way
they were joined by Evans.

The governor took out his own keys, and Evans having indicated the cell,
for there were three, he unlocked it and threw the door wide open. They
all looked in, but there was nothing to be seen.

"I hope nothing is the matter," said Mr. Lepel, in considerable
agitation, and he groped his way into the cave. As he put out his hand
it was taken almost violently by the self-immured, who cried:

"Oh, Lepel!" and held him in a strong but tremulous grasp. Then, after
a pause, he said more calmly: "The light dazzles me! the place seems on
fire now! Perhaps you will be kind enough to lend me your arm, Lepel."

Mr. Lepel led him out; he had one hand before his eyes, which he
gradually withdrew while speaking. He found himself in the middle of a
group with a sly sneer on their faces mixed with some curiosity.

"How long have I been there?" asked he quietly.

"Six hours; it is nine o'clock."

"Only six hours! incredible!"

"Well, sir, I suppose you are not sorry to be out?"

"This is Mr. Hawes, the governor," put in Mr. Lepel.

Hawes continued jocosely, "What does it feel like, sir?"

"I shall have the honor of telling you that in private, Mr. Hawes. I
think, Lepel, we have an engagement with Mr. Jones at nine o'clock." So
saying, the new chaplain, with a bow to the governor, took his friend's
arm and went to tea with Mr. Jones.

"There, now," said Hawes to the turnkeys, "that is a gentleman. He
doesn't blurt everything out before you fellows; he reserves it for his
superior officer."

Next morning the new chaplain requested Mr. Lepel to visit the
prisoner's cells in a certain order, and make notes of their characters
as far as he could guess them. He himself visited them in another order
and made his notes. In the evening they compared these. We must be
content with an extract or two.

         MR. LEPEL'S.                       THE NEW CHAPLAIN'S.

  Rock, No. 37.-- A very promising    37, Rock.-- Professes penitence.
  subject, penitent and resigned.     Asked him suddenly what sins
  Says, "if the door of the prison    weighed most on his conscience.
  was left open he would not go       No answer. Prepared with an
  out." Has learned 250 texts, and    abstract penitence, but no
  is learning fifteen a day.          particulars: reason obvious.

                                      Mem. With this man speak on any
                                      topic rather than religion at
                                      present. Pray for this
                                      self-deceiver as I would for a
                                      murderer.

  Josephs, No. -- An interesting      Josephs.-- An amiable boy; seems
  boy, ignorant, but apparently       out of health and spirits.
  well-disposed. In ill health.       Says he has been overworked
  The surgeon should be consulted     and punished for inability. Shall
  about him.                          intercede with the governor for
                                      him.

                                      Mem. Pale and hollow-eyed; pulse
                                      feeble.

  Strutt, No. -- Sullen, impenitent   Strutt.-- This poor man is in
  and brutal. Says it is no use his   a state of deep depression. I
  learning texts, they won't stay     much fear the want of light
  in his head. Discontented; wants    and air and society is crushing
  to  go  out in the yard. The best   him. He is fifty years old.
  one can hope for here is that the
  punishment, which he finds so       Mem. Inquire whether separate
  severe, will deter him in future.   confinement tries men harder
  Says he will never come here        after a certain age. Talked
  again, but doubts whether he        to him; told him stories with
  shall get out alive. Gave him       all the animation I could.
  some tracts.                        Stayed half an hour with him.
                                      He brightened up a little, and
                                      asked me to come again. Nothing
                                      to be done here at present but
                                      amuse the poor soul.

                                      Mem. Watch him jealously.

  Jessup.-- The prisoner whose        Jessup.-- Like Rock, professes
  term, owing to his excellent        extravagant penitence, indifference
  conduct, is reduced from twelve     to personal liberty, and love of
  months to nine months, so that      Scripture. He overdoes it greatly.
  he goes out next week. Having       However, it appears he has gained
  discovered that the news had        his point by it. He has induced
  not been conveyed to him, I asked   Mr. Jones to plead for him in
  Mr. Hawes to let me be the bearer.  mitigation of punishment, and
  When I told him, his only remark    next week he leaves prison for
  was, with an air of regret:         a little while.
  "Then I shall not finish my
  Gospels!" I begged for an           He asked me to hear some texts.
  explanation, when he told           I said, "No, my poor fellow; they
  me that for eight months he         will do you as much good whether I
  had been committing the Gospels     hear you them or not." By a light
  to heart, and that he was just      that flashed into his eye I saw
  beginning St. John, which now he    he comprehended the equivoque;
  should never finish. I said he      but he suppressed his intelligence
  must finish it at home in the       and answered piously,
  intervals of honest labor. His      "That they will, your reverence."
  countenance brightened, and he
  said he would.


  A most cheering case, and one of
  the best proofs of the efficacy
  of the separate and silent system
  I have met with for some time. I
  fear I almost grudge you the
  possession of such an example.


  Robinson-- A bad subject,            Robinson.--This man wears a
  rebellious and savage; refuses to    singular look of scorn as well
  speak. Time and the discipline       as hatred, which, coupled with
  will probably break him of this;     his repeated refusals to speak
  but I do not think he will ever      to me, provoked me so that I
  make a good prisoner!                felt strongly tempted to knock
                                       him down. How unworthy, to be
                                       provoked at anything a great
                                       sufferer can say or do; every
                                       solitary prisoner must surely be
                                       a great sufferer.

                                       My judgment is quite at fault
                                       here. I know no more than a child
                                       what is this man's character, and
                                       the cause of his strange conduct.

                                       Mem. Inquire his antecedents of
                                       the turnkeys. Oh, Lord, enlighten
                                       me, and give me wisdom for the
                                       great and deep and difficult task
                                       I have so boldly undertaken!


The next day the new chaplain met the surgeon in the jail and took him
into Josephs' cell.

"He only wants a little rest and nourishing food; he would be the better
for a little amusement, but--" and the man of science shrugged his
shoulders.

"Can you read?" said Mr. Lepel.

"Very little, sir."

"Let the schoolmaster come to him every day," suggested that experienced
individual. He knew what separate confinement was. What bores a boy out
of prison amuses him in it.

Hawes gave a cold consent. So poor little Josephs had a richer diet and
rest from crank and pillory, and the schoolmaster spent half an hour
every day teaching him; and above all, the new chaplain sat in his cell
and told him stories that interested him--told him how very wicked some
boys had been; what a many clever wicked things they had done and not
been happy, then how they had repented and learned to pray to be good,
and how by Divine help they had become good, and how some had gone to
heaven soon after, and were now happy and pure as the angels; and others
had stayed on earth and were good and honest and just men; not so happy
as those others who were dead, but content (and that the wicked never
are), and waiting God's pleasure to go away and be happy forever.

Josephs listened to the good chaplain's tales and conversation with
wonderful interest, and his face always brightened when that gentleman
came into his cell. The schoolmaster reported him not quick, but docile.
These were his halcyon days.

But Robinson remained a silent basilisk. The chaplain visited him every
day, said one or two kind words to him and retired without receiving a
word or a look of acknowledgment. One day, surprised and hurt by this
continued obduracy, the chaplain retired with an audible sigh. Robinson
heard it, and ground his teeth with satisfaction. Solitary, tortured and
degraded, he had still found one whom he could annoy a little bit.

The governor and the new chaplain agreed charmingly; constant civilities
passed between them. The chaplain assisted Mr. Hawes to turn the phrases
of his yearly report; and Mr. Hawes more than repaid him by consenting
to his introducing various handicrafts into the prison--at his own
expense, not the county's.

Parson must have got a longer purse than most of us, thought Hawes, and
it increased his respect.

Hawes shrugged his shoulders, as much as to say, "You are just flinging
your money into the dirt;" but the other, interpreting his look, said:

"I hope more good from this than from all the sermons I shall preach in
your chapel."

Probably Mr. Hawes would not have been so indifferent had he known
that this introduction of rational labor was intended as the first step
toward undermining and expelling the sacred crank.

This clergyman had a secret horror and hatred of the crank. He called
it a monster got by folly upon science to degrade labor below theft; for
theft is immoral, but crank labor is immoral and idiotic, too, said
he. The crank is a diabolical engine to keep thieves from ever being
anything but thieves. He arrived at this conclusion by a chain of
reasoning for which there is no room in a narrative already smothered in
words.

This antipathy to the crank quite overpowered him. He had been now three
weeks in the jail, and all that time only thrice in the labor-yard. It
cut his understanding like a knife to see a man turn a handle for hours
and nothing come of it.

However, one day, from a sense of duty, he forced himself into the
labor-yard and walked wincing down the row.

"These are our schoolmen," said he. "As the schoolmen labored most
intellectually and scientifically--practical result, nil, so these labor
harder than other men--result, nil. This is literally 'beating the air.'
The ancients imagined tortures particularly trying to nature, that
of Sisyphus to wit; everlasting labor embittered by everlasting
nihilification. We have made Sisyphism vulgar. Here are fifteen Sisyphi.
Only the wise or ancients called this thing infernal torture; our old
women call it salutary discipline."

He was running on in this style, heaping satire and sorrow upon the
crank, when suddenly, at the mouth of one of the farthest cells, he
stopped and threw up his hands with an ejaculation of astonishment and
dismay. There was a man jammed in a strait waistcoat, pinned against the
wall by a strap, and throttling in a huge collar; his face was white,
his lips livid, and his eyes rolling despairingly. It was Thomas
Robinson. This sight took away the chaplain's breath. When he recovered
himself, "What is this?" said he to the turnkeys, sternly.

"Prisoner refractory at the crank," answered Hodges, doggedly.

The clergyman walked up to Robinson and examined the collar, the
waistcoat and the strap. "Have you the governor's authority for this
act?" said he firmly.

"Rule is if they won't do their work, the jacket."

"Have you the governor's authority for this particular act?"

"In a general way we have."

"In a word, you are not acting under his authority, and you know it.
Take the man down this moment."

The men hesitated.

"If you don't I shall."

The turnkeys, a little staggered by his firmness, began to confer in
whispers. The chaplain, who was one of your decided men, could not wait
the consultation. He sprang to Robinson's head and began to undo the
collar. The others, seeing this decided move, came and helped him. The
collar and the strap being loosed, the thief's body, ensacked as it was,
fell helplessly forward. He had fainted during the discussion; in fact,
his senses were shut when the chaplain first came to the cell. The
chaplain caught him, and being a very strong man, saved him from a
dangerous fall and seated him gently with his back to the wall. Water
was sprinkled in his face. The chaplain went hastily to find the
governor. He came to him pale and out of breath.

"I found the turnkeys outraging a prisoner."

"Indeed!" said the governor. It was a new idea to him that anything
could be an outrage on a prisoner.

"They confessed they had not your authority, so I took upon me to undo
their act."

"Humph!"

"I now leave the matter in your hands, sir."

"I will see into it, sir."

The chaplain left Mr. Hawes abruptly, for he was seized with a sudden
languor and nausea; he went to his own house and there he was violently
sick. Shaking off as quickly as he could this weakness, he went at once
to Robinson's cell. He found him coiled up like a snake. He came hastily
into the cell with the natural effusion of a man who had taken another
man's part.

"I want to ask you one question: What had you done that they should use
you like that?"

No answer.

"It is not from idle curiosity I ask you, but that I may be able to
advise you, or intercede for you if the punishment should appear too
severe for the offense."

No answer.

"Come, I would wait here ever so long upon the chance of your speaking
to me if you were the only prisoner, but there are others in their
solitude longing for me; time is precious; will you speak to one who
desires to be your friend?"

No answer.

A flush of impatience and anger crossed the chaplain's brow. In most men
it would have found vent in words. This man but turned away to hide it
from its object. He gulped his brief ire down and said only, "So then I
am never to be any use to you," and went sorrowfully away.

Robinson coiled himself up a little tighter, and hugged his hatred of
all mankind closer, like a treasure that some one had just tried to do
him out of.

As the chaplain came out of his cell he was met by Hawes, whose
countenance wore a gloomy expression that soon found its way into words.

"The chaplain is not allowed to interfere between me and the prisoners
in this jail."

"Explain, Mr. Hawes."

"You have been and ordered my turnkeys to relax punishment."

"You forget, Mr. Hawes, I explained to you that they were acting without
the requisite authority from you."

"That is all right, and I have called them to account, but then you are
not to order them either; you should have applied to me."

"I see, I see! Forgive me this little breach of routine where a human
being's sufferings would have been prolonged by etiquette."

"Ugh! Well, it must not occur again."

"I trust the occasion will not."

"For that matter, you will often see refractory prisoners punished in
this jail. You had better mind your own business in the jail, it will
find you work enough."

"I will, Mr. Hawes; to dissuade men from cruelty is a part of it."

"If you come between me and the prisoners, sir, you won't be long here."

The new chaplain smiled.

"What does it matter whether I'm here or in Patagonia, so that I do
my duty wherever I am?" said he with a fine mixture of good-humor and
spirit.

Hawes turned his back rudely and went and reduced Robinson's supper
fifty per cent.

"Evans, is that sort of punishment often inflicted here?"

"Well, sir, yes. It is a common punishment of this jail."

"It must be very painful."

"No, sir, it's a little _on_comfortable that is all; and then we've got
such a lot here we are obliged to be down on 'em like a sledge-hammer,
or they'd eat us up alive."

"Have you got the things, the jacket, collar, etc.?"

"I know where to find them," said Evans with a sly look.

"Bring them to me directly to this empty cell."

"Well, sir," higgled Evans, "in course I don't like to refuse your
reverence."

"Then don't refuse me," retorted the other, sharp as a needle.

Evans went off directly and soon returned with the materials. The
chaplain examined them a while; he then took off his coat.

"Operate on me, Evans."

"Operate on you, sir!"

"Yes! There, don't stand staring, my good man; hold up the
waistcoat--now strap it tight--tighter--no nonsense--Robinson was
strapped tighter than that yesterday. I want to know what we are doing
to our fellow-creatures in this place. The collar now."

"But, sir, the collar will nip you. I tell you that beforehand."

"Not more than it nips my prisoners. Now strap me to the wall. Why do
you hesitate?"

"I don't know whether I am doing right, sir, you being a parson. Perhaps
I shall have no luck after this."

"Don't be silly, Evans. Volenti non fit injuria--that means, you may
torture a bishop if he bids you."

"There you are, sir."

"Yes! here I am. Now go away and come in half an hour."

"I think I had better stay, sir. You will soon be sick of it."

"Go, and come in half an hour," was the firm reply.

Our chaplain felt that if the man did not go he should not be five
minutes before he asked to be released, and he was determined to know
"what we are doing."

Evans had not been gone ten minutes before he bitterly repented letting
him go, and when that worthy returned he found him muttering faintly,
"It is in a good cause-it is in a good cause--"

Evans wore a grin.

"You shall pay for that grin," said the chaplain to himself.

"Well, sir, have you had enough of it?"

"Yes, Evans; you may loose me," said the other with affected
nonchalance.

"What is it like, sir? haw! haw!"

"It is as you described it, _on_comfortable; but the knowledge I have
gained in it is invaluable. You shall share it."

"With all my heart, sir; you can tell me what it is like."

"Oh, no! such knowledge can never be imparted by description; you shall
take your turn in the jacket."

"Not if I know it."

"What, not for the sake of knowledge?"

"Oh! I can guess what it is like."

"But you will oblige me?"

"Some other way, sir, if you please."

"Besides, I will give you a guinea."

"Oh! that alters the case, sir. But only for half an hour."

"Only for half an hour."

Evans was triced up and pinned to the wall; the chaplain took out a
guinea and placed it in his sight, and walked out.

In about ten minutes he returned, and there was Evans, his face drawn
down by pain.

"Well, how do you like it?"

"Oh! pretty well, sir; it isn't worth making an outcry about."

"Only a little _on_comfortable."

"That is all; if it wasn't for the confounded cramp."

"Let us compare notes," said the chaplain, sitting down opposite. "I
found it worse than uncomfortable. First there was a terrible sense of
utter impotence, then came on racking cramps, for which there was no
relief because I could not move."

"Oh!"

"What?"

"Nothing, sir! mum--mum--dear guinea!"

"The jagged collar gave me much pain, too; it rasped my poor throat like
a file."

"Why the dickens didn't you tell me all this before, sir," said Evans
ruefully; "it is no use now I've been and gone into the same oven like a
fool."

"I had my reasons for not telling you before; good-by for the present."

"Don't stay over the half hour, for goodness' sake, sir."

"No! adieu for the present."

He did not go far. He listened and heard the plucky Evans groan. He came
hastily in.

"Courage, my fine fellow, only eight minutes more and the guinea is
yours.

"How many more minutes, sir?"

"Eight."

"Then, oh! undo me, sir, if you please."

"What! forfeit the guinea for eight minutes--seven, it is only seven
now."

"Hang the guinea, let me down, sir, if there's pity in you."

"With all my heart," said the reverend gentleman, pocketing the guinea,
and he loosed Evans with all speed.

The man stretched his limbs with ejaculations of pain between every
stretch, and put his handkerchief on very gingerly. He looked sulky
and said nothing. The other watched him keenly, for there was something
about him that showed his mind was working.

"There is your guinea."

"Oh, no! I didn't earn it."

"Oh, if you think that (putting it to the lips of his pocket), let me
make you a present of it" (handing it out again). Evans smiled. "It is a
good servant. That little coin has got me one friend more for these poor
prisoners. You don't understand me, Evans. Well, you will. Now, look at
me; from this moment, sir, you and I stand on a different footing from
others in this jail. We know what we are doing when we put a prisoner in
that thing; the others don't. The greater the knowledge, the greater the
guilt. May we both be kept from the crime of cruelty. Good-night!"

"Good-night, your reverence!" said the man gently, awed by his sudden
solemnity.

The chaplain retired. Evans looked after him, and then down into his own
hand.

"Well, I'm blowed!--Well, I'm blest!--Got a guinea, though!!"



CHAPTER XV.

GOVERNOR HAWES had qualities good in themselves, but ill-directed, and
therefore not good in their results--determination for one. He was not a
man to yield a step to opposition. He was a much greater man than Jones.
He was like a torrent, to whose progress if you oppose a great stone it
brawls and struggles past it and round it and over it with more vigor
than before.

"I will be master in this jail!" was the creed of Hawes. He docked
Robinson's supper one half, ditto his breakfast next day, and set him a
tremendous task of crank. Now in jail a day's food and a day's crank
are too nicely balanced to admit of the weights being tampered with. So
Robinson's demi-starvation paved the way for further punishment. At one
o'clock he was five hundred revolutions short, and instead of going to
his dinner he was tied up in the infernal machine. Now the new chaplain
came three times into the yard that day, and the third time, about four
o'clock, he found Robinson pinned to the wall, jammed in the waistcoat
and griped in the collar. His blood ran cold at sight of him, for the
man had been hours in the pillory and nature was giving way.

"What has he done?"

"Refractory at crank."

"I saw him working at the crank when I came here last."

"Hasn't made his number good, though."

"Humph! You have the governor's own orders?"

"Yes, sir."

"How long is he to be so?"

"Till fresh orders."

"I will see the effect of this punishment on the prisoner and note it
down for my report." And he took out his note-book and leaned his back
against the wall.

The simple action of taking out a notebook gave the operators a certain
qualm of doubt. Fry whispered Hodges to go and tell the governor. On his
return Hodges found the parties as he had left them, except Robinson--he
was paler and his lips turning bluer.

"Your victim is fainting," said the chaplain sternly.

"Only shamming, sir," said Fry. "Bucket, Hodges."

The bucket was brought and the contents were flung over Robinson.

The chaplain gave a cry of dismay. The turnkeys both laughed at this.

"You see he was only shamming, sir," said Hodges. "He is come to the
moment the water touched him."

"A plain proof he was not shamming. A bucket of water thrown over any
one about to faint would always bring them to; but if a man had made up
his mind to sham, he could do it in spite of water. Of course you will
take him down now?"

"Not till fresh orders."

"On your peril be it if any harm befalls this prisoner--you are warned."

At this juncture Hawes came into the yard. His cheek was flushed and
his eye glittered. He expected and rather hoped a collision with his
reverence.

"Well, what is the matter?"

"Nothing, sir; only his reverence is threatening us."

"What is he threatening you for?"

"Mr. Hawes, I told these men that I should hold them responsible if any
harm came to the prisoner for their cruelty. I now tell you that he has
just fainted from bodily distress caused by this infernal engine, and
I hold you, Mr. Hawes, responsible for this man's life and well-being,
which are here attacked contrary to the custom of all her majesty's
prisons, and contrary to the intention of all punishment, which is for
the culprit's good, not for his injury either in soul or body.

"And what will you do?" said Hawes, glaring contemptuously at the
turnkeys, who wore rather a blank look.

"Mr. Hawes," replied the other gravely, "I have spoken to warn you, not
to threaten you."

"What I do is done with the consent of the visiting justices. They are
my masters, and no one else."

"They have not seen a prisoner crucified."

"Crucified! What d'ye mean by crucified?"

"Don't you see that the torture before our eyes is crucifixion?"

"No! I don't. No nails!"

"Nails were not always used in crucifixion; sometimes cords. Don't
deceive yourself with a name; nothing misleads like a false name. This
punishment is falsely called the jacket--it is jacket, collar, straps,
applied with cruelty. It is crucifixion minus nails but plus a collar."

"Whatever it is, the justices have seen and approved it. Haven't they,
Fry?"

"That they have, sir; scores of times."

"Then may Heaven forgive them and direct me." And the chaplain entered
the cell despondently, and bent his pitying eye steadily on the thief,
who seemed to him at the moment a better companion than the three honest
but cruel men.

He waited there very, very sorrowful and thoughtful for more than half
an hour. Then Hawes, who left the yard as soon as he had conquered his
opponent, sent in Evans with an order to take Robinson to his dormitory.

The chaplain saw the man taken down from the wall, and that done went
hastily to his own house; there, the contest being over, he was seized
with a violent sickness and trembling. To see a fellow-creature suffer
and not be able to relieve him was death to this man. He was game to
the last drop of his blood so long as there was any good to be done, but
action ended, a reaction came, in which he was all pity and sorrow and
distress because of a fellow-creature's distress. No one that saw his
firmness in the torture-cell would have guessed how weak he was within,
and how stoutly his great heart had to battle against a sensitive nature
and nerves tuned too high.

He gave half an hour to the weakness of nature, and then he was all duty
once more.

He went first into Robinson's cell. He found him worse than ever:
despair as well as hatred gleamed in his eye.

"My poor fellow, is there no way for you to avoid these dreadful
punishments?"

No answer.

It is to be observed, though, that Robinson had no idea how far
the chaplain had carried his remonstrance against his torture; that
remonstrance had been uttered privately to the turnkeys and the
governor. Besides, the man was half stupefied when the chaplain first
came there. And now he was in such pain and despair. He was like the
genii confined in the chest and thrown into the water by Soliman. Had
this good friend come to him at first starting, he would have thrown
himself into his arms; but it came too late now. He hated all mankind.
He had lost all belief in genuine kindness. Like Orlando,

         He thought that all things had been savage here.

The chaplain, on the other hand, began to think that Robinson was a
downright brute, and one on whom kindness was and would be wasted.
Still, true to his nature, he admitted no small pique. He reasoned
gently and kindly with him--very kindly.

"My poor soul," said he, "have you so many friends in this hard place
that you can afford to repulse one who desires to be your friend and
to do you good?" No answer. "Well, then, if you will not let me comfort
you, at least you cannot prevent my praying for you, for you are on the
road to despair and will take no help."

So, then, this good creature did actually kneel upon the hard stones of
the cell and offer a prayer--a very short but earnest one.

"Oh God, to whom all hearts are open, enlighten me that I may understand
this my afflicted brother's heart, and learn how to do him good, and
comfort him out of Thy word--Thy grace assisting me."

Robinson looked down at him with wild, staring but lack-luster eyes
and open mouth. He rose from the floor, and casting a look of great
benignity on the sullen brute, he was about to go, when he observed that
Robinson was trembling in a very peculiar way.

"You are ill," said he hastily, and took a step toward him.

At this Robinson, with a wild and furious gesture, waved him to the door
and turned his face to the wall; then this refined gentleman bowed
his head, as much as to say you shall be master of this apartment and
dismiss any one you do not like, and went gently away with a little
sigh. And the last that he saw was Robinson trembling with averted face
and eyes bent down.

Outside he met Evans, who said to him half bluntly half respectfully,
"I don't like to see you going into that cell, sir; the man is not to be
trusted. He is very strange."

"What do you mean? do you fear for his reason?"

"Why not, sir? We have sent a pretty many to the lunatic asylum since I
was a warder here."

"Ah!"

"And some have broke prison a shorter way than that," said the man very
gloomily.

The chaplain groaned--and looked at the speaker with an expression of
terror. Evans noticed it and said gravely:

"You should not have come to such place as this, sir; you are not fit
for it."

"Why am I not fit for it?"

"Too good for it, sir."

"You talk foolishly, Mr. Evans. In the first place, 'too good' is a
ludicrous combination of language, in the next the worse a place is the
more need of somebody being good in it to make it better. But I suppose
you are one of those who think that evil is naturally stronger than
good. Delusion springs from this, that the wicked are in earnest and the
good are lukewarm. Good is stronger than evil. A single really good
man in an ill place is like a little yeast in a gallon of dough; it can
leaven the mass. If St. Paul or even George Whitfield had been in Lot's
place all those years there would have been more than fifty good men in
Sodom; but this is out of place. I want you to give me the benefit of
your experience, Evans. When I went to Robinson and spoke kindly to him
he trembled all over. What on earth does that mean?"

"Trembled, did he, and never spoke?"

"Yes!--Well?"

"I'm thinking, sir! I'm thinking. You didn't touch him?"

"Touch him, no; what should I touch him for?"

"Well, don't do it, sir. And don't go near him. You have had an escape,
you have. He was in two minds about pitching into you."

"You think it was rage! Humph! it did not give me that impression."

"Sir, did you ever go to pat a strange dog?"

"I have done myself that honor."

"Well, if he wags his tail you know it is all right; but say he puts his
tail between his legs, what will he do if you pat him?"

"Bite me. Experto crede."

"No! if you are ever so expert he will bite you or try. Now putting of
his tail between his legs, that passes for a sign of fear in a dog, all
one as trembling does in a man. Do you see what I am driving at?"

"Yes."

"Then you had better leave the spiteful brute to himself?"

"No! that would be to condemn him to the worst companion he can have."

"But if he should pitch into you, sir?"

"Then he will pitch into a man twice as strong as himself, and a pupil
of Bendigo. Don't be silly, Evans."

                      SUNDAY.

Hodges. Pity you wasn't in chapel, Mr. Fry.

Fry. Why?

Hodges. The new chaplain!

Fry. Well, what did he do?

Hodges. He waked 'em all up, I can tell you. Governor couldn't get a
wink all the sermon.

Fry. What did he tell you?

Hodges. Told us he loved us.

Fry. Loved who?

Hodges. All of us. Governor, turnkeys, and especially the prisoners,
because they were in trouble. "My Master loves you, though He hates your
sins," says he; and "I love every mother's son of you." What d'ye think
of that? He loves the whole biling! Told 'em so, however.

Fry. Loves 'em, does he? Well, that's a new lay! After all, there's no
accounting for tastes, you know. Haw! haw!

Hodges. Haw! haw! ho!

This same Sunday afternoon, soon after service, the chaplain came to
Robinson's cell. Evans unlocked it, looking rather uneasy, and would
have come in with the reverend gentleman; but he forbade him and walked
quickly into the cell, as Van Amburgh goes among his leopards and
panthers. He had in his hand a little box.

"I have brought you some ointment--some nice cooling ointment," said he,
"to rub on your neck. I saw it was frayed by that collar."

(Pause.) No answer.

"Will you let me see you use it?"

No answer.

"Come!"

No answer.

The chaplain took the box off the table, opened it and went up to
Robinson and began quietly to apply some of the grateful soothing
ointment to his frayed throat. The man trembled all over. The chaplain
kept his eye calm but firm upon him, as on a dog of doubtful temper.
Robinson put up his hand in a feeble sort of way to prevent the other
from doing him good. His reverence took the said hand in a quiet but
powerful grasp, and applied the ointment all the same. Robinson said
nothing, but he was seized with this extraordinary trembling.

"Good-by," said his reverence kindly. "I leave you the box; and see,
here are some tracts I have selected for you. They are not dull; there
are stories in them, and the dialogue is pretty good. It is nearer
nature than you will find it in works of greater pretension. Here a
carpenter talks something like a carpenter, and a footman something
like a footman, and a factory-girl something like a girl employed in a
factory. They don't all talk book--you will be able to read them. Begin
with this one, 'The Wages of Sin are Death.' Good-by!" And with these
words and a kind smile he left the cell.

"From the chaplain, sir," said Evans to the governor, touching his hat.


"DEAR SIR--Will you be good enough to send me by the bearer a copy of
the prison rules, especially those that treat of the punishments to be
inflicted on prisoners?

"I am,

"Yours, etc."


Hawes had no sooner read this innocent-looking missive, than he burst
out into a tide of execrations; he concluded by saying, "Tell him I have
not got a spare copy; Mr. Jones will give him his."

This answer disappointed the chaplain sadly; for Mr. Jones had left the
town, and was not expected to return for some days. The hostile spirit
of the governor was evident in this reply. The chaplain felt he was
at war, and his was an energetic but peace-loving nature. He paced the
corridor, looking both thoughtful and sad. The rough Evans eyed him
with interest, and he also fell into meditation and scratched his head,
invariable concomitant of thought with Evans.

It was toward evening, and his reverence still paced the corridor,
downhearted at opposition and wickedness, but not without hope, and full
of lovely and charitable wishes for all his flock, when the melancholy
Fry suddenly came out of a prisoner's cell radiant with joy.

"What is amiss?" asked the chaplain.

"This is the matter," said Fry, and he showed him a deuce of clubs, a
five of hearts and an ace of diamonds, and so on; two or three cards of
each suit. "A prisoner has been making these out of his tracts!"

"How could he do that?"

"Look here, sir. He has kept a little of his gruel till it turned
to paste, and then he has pasted three or four leaves of the tracts
together and dried them, and then cut them into cards."

"But the colors--how could he get them?"

"That is what beats me altogether; but some of these prisoners know more
than the bench of bishops."

"More evil, I conclude you mean?"

"More of all sorts, sir. However, I am taking them to the governor, and
he will fathom it, if any one can."

"Leave one red card and one black with me."

While Fry was gong the chaplain examined the cards with curiosity and
that admiration of inventive resource which a superior mind cannot help
feeling. There they were, a fine red deuce of hearts and a fine black
four of spades--cards made without pasteboard and painted without paint.
But how? that was the question. The chaplain entered upon this question
with his usual zeal; but happening to reverse one of the cards, it was
his fate to see on the back of it:

              "THE WAGES OF SIN ARE DEATH."

                          A Tract.

He reddened at the sight. Here was an affront! "The sulky brute could
amuse himself cutting up my tracts!"

Presently the governor came up with his satellites.

"Take No. 19 out of his cell for punishment."

At this word the chaplain's short-lived anger began to cool. They
brought Robinson out.

"So you have been at it again," cried the governor in threatening terms.
"Now you will tell me where you got the paint to make these beauties
with?"

No answer.

"Do you hear, ye sulky brute?"

No answer, but a glittering eye bent on Hawes.

"Put him in the jacket," cried Hawes with an oath.

Hodges and Fry laid each a hand upon the man's shoulder and walked him
off.

"Stop!" cried Hawes suddenly; "his reverence is here, and he is not
partial to the jacket."

The chaplain was innocent enough to make a graceful grateful bow to
Hawes.

"Give him the dark cell for twenty-four hours," continued Hawes with a
malicious grin.

The thief gave a cry of dismay and shook himself clear of the turnkeys.

"Anything but that," cried he with trembling voice.

"Oh! you have found your tongue, have you?"

"Any punishment but that," almost shrieked the despairing man. "Leave me
my reason. You have robbed me of everything else. For pity's sake leave
me my reason!"

The governor made a signal to the turnkeys; they stepped toward the
thief. The thief sprung out of their way, his eye rolling wildly as if
in search of escape. Seeing this the two turnkeys darted at him like
bulldogs, one on each side. This time, instead of flying, the thief
was observed to move his body in a springy way to meet them; with two
motions rapid as light and almost contemporaneous, he caught Hodges
between the eyes with his fist and drove his head like a battering-ram
into Fry's belly. Smack! ooff! and the two powerful men went down like
ninepins.

In a moment all the warders within sight or hearing came buzzing round,
and Hodges and Fry got up, the latter bleeding; both staring confusedly.
Seeing himself hemmed in, Robinson offered no further resistance. He
plumped himself down on the ground and there sat, and they had to take
him up and carry him to the dark cells. But as they were dragging him
along by the shoulders he caught sight of the governor and chaplain
looking down at him over the rails of Corridor B. At sight of the latter
the thief wrenched himself free from his attendants, and screamed to
him:

"Do you see this, you in the black coat? You that told us the other day
you loved us, and now stand coolly there and see me taken to the black
hole to be got ready for the mad-house? D'ye hear?"

"I hear you," replied the chaplain gravely and gently.

"You called us your brothers, you."

"I did, and do."

"Well, then, here is one of your brothers being taken to hell before
your eyes. I go there a man, but I shall come out a beast, and that
cowardly murderer by your side knows it, and you have not a word to say.
That is all a poor fellow gets by being your brother. My curse on you
all! butchers and hypocrites!"

"Give him twelve hours more for that," roared Hawes. "---- his eyes,
I'll break him, ---- him."

"Ah," yelled the thief, "you curse me, do you? d'ye hear that? The son
of a ---- appeals to Heaven against me! What? does this lump of dirt
believe there is a God? Then there must be one." Then suddenly flinging
himself on his knees, he cried, "If there is a God who pities them that
suffer, I cry to Him on my knees to torture you as you torture us. May
your name be shame, may your life be pain, and your death loathsome! May
your skin rot from your flesh, your flesh from your bones, your bones
from your body, and your soul split forever on the rock of damnation!"

"Take him away," yelled Hawes, white as a sheet.

They tore him away by force, still threatening his persecutor with
outstretched hand and raging voice and blazing eyes, and flung him into
the dark dungeon.

"Cool yourself there, ye varmint," said Fry spitefully. Even his flesh
crept at the man's blasphemies.

Meantime, the chaplain had buried his face in his hands, and trembled
like a woman at the frightful blasphemies and passions of these two
sinners.

"I'll make this place hell to him. He shan't need to go elsewhere,"
muttered Hawes aloud between his clinched teeth.

The chaplain groaned.

The governor heard him and turned on him: "Well, parson, you see he
doesn't thank you for interfering between him and me. He would rather
have had an hour or two of the jacket and have done with it."

The chaplain sighed. He felt weighed down in spirit by the wickedness
both of Hawes and of Robinson. He saw it was in vain at that moment to
try to soften the former in favor of the latter. He moved slowly away.
Hawes eyed him sneeringly.

"He is down upon his luck," thought Hawes; "his own fault for
interfering with me. I liked the man well enough, and showed it, if he
hadn't been a fool and put his nose into my business."

Half an hour had scarce elapsed when the chaplain came back.

"Mr. Hawes, I come to you as a petitioner."

"Indeed!" said Hawes, with a supercilious sneer very hard to bear.

The other would not notice it. "Pray, do not think I side with a
refractory prisoner if I beg you, not to countermand, but to modify
Robinson's punishment."

"What for?"

"Because he cannot bear so many hours of the dark cell."

"Nonsense, sir."

"Is it too much to ask that you will give him six hours a day for four
days instead of twenty-four at a stretch?"

"I don't know whether it is too much for you to ask. I should say by
what I see of you that nothing is; but it is too much for me to grant.
The man has earned punishment; he has got it, and you have nothing to do
with it at all."

"Yes, I have the care of his soul, and how can I do his soul good if he
loses his reason?"

"Stuff! his reason's safe enough, what little he has."

"Do not say stuff! Do not be rash where the stake is so great, or
confident where you have no knowledge. You have never been in the dark
cell, Mr. Hawes; I have, and I assure you it tried my nerves to the
uttermost. I had many advantages over this poor man. I went in of my
own accord, animated by a desire of knowledge, supported by the
consciousness of right, my memory enriched by the reading of
five-and-twenty years, on which I could draw in the absence of external
objects; yet so dreadful was the place that, had I not been fortified
by communion with my omnipresent God, I do think my reason would have
suffered in that thick darkness and solitude. I repeated thousands
of lines of Homer, Virgil and the Greek dramatists; then I came to
Shakespeare, Corneille, Racine and Victor Hugo; then I tried to think of
a text and compose a sermon; but the minutes seemed hours, leaden hours,
and they weighed my head down and my heart down, and so did the Egyptian
darkness, till I sought refuge in prayer, and there I found it."

"You pulled through it and so will he; and now I think of it, it is too
slight a punishment to give a refractory, blaspheming villain no worse
than a pious gentleman took on him for sport," sneered Hawes. "You heard
his language to me, the blaspheming dog?"

"I did! I did! and therefore pray you to pity his sinful soul,
exasperated by the severities he has already undergone. Oh, sir! the
wicked are more to be pitied than the good; and the good can endure
trials that wreck the wicked. I would rather see a righteous man thrown
into that dismal dungeon than this poor blaspheming sinner."

"The deuce you would!"

"For the righteous man has a strong tower that the sinner lacks. He is
fit to battle with solitude and fearful darkness; an unseen light shines
upon his soul, an unseen hand sustains him. The darkness is no darkness
to him, for the Sun of righteousness is nigh. In the deep solitude he
is not alone, for good angels whisper by his side. 'Yea, though he walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, yet shall he fear no evil,
for God is with him; his rod and his staff they comfort him.' The
wicked have not this comfort. To them darkness and solitude must be too
horrible. Satan--not God--is their companion. The ghosts of their past
crimes rise and swell the present horror. Remorse and despair are added
to the double gloom of solitude and darkness. You don't know what you
are doing when you shut up a poor lost sinner of excitable temperament
in that dreadful hole. It is a wild experiment on a human frame. Pray be
advised, pray be warned, pray let your heart be softened and punish the
man as he deserves--but do not destroy him! oh, do not! do not destroy
him!"

Up to this moment Hawes had worn a quiet, malicious grin. At last his
rage broke through this veil. He turned round black as night upon the
chaplain, who was bending toward him in earnest gasping yet sweet and
gentle supplication.

"The vagabond insulted me before all my servants, and that is why you
take his part. He would send me to hell if he had the upper hand. I've
got the upper hand, and so he shall taste it instead of me, till he goes
down on his marrowbones to me with my foot on his viper's tongue. ----
him!"

"Oh! do not curse him, above all now that he is in trouble and
defenseless."

"Let me alone, sir, and I'll let you," retorted Hawes savagely. "If I
curse him you can pray for him. I don't hinder you. Good-night;" and Mr.
Hawes turned his back very rudely.

"I will pray for him--and for you!"

"Ugh!"

So then the chaplain retired sorrowfully to his private room, and here,
sustained no longer by action, his high-tuned nature gave way. A cold
languor came over him. He locked the door that no one might see his
weakness, and then, succumbing to nature, he fell first into a sickness
and then into a trembling, and more than once hysterical tears gushed
from his eyes in the temporary prostration of his spirit and his powers.

Such are the great. Men know their feats but not their struggles!

Meantime Robinson lay in the dark cell with a morsel of bread and
water, and no bed or chair, that hunger and unrest might co-operate with
darkness and solitude to his hurt. To this horrid abode it is now our
fate to follow a thief and a blasphemer. We must pass his gloomy portal,
over which might have been inscribed what Dante has written over the
gates of hell:

"ALL YE WHO ENTER HERE--ABANDON HOPE!!"

At six o'clock Robinson was thrust in, and his pittance of bread and
water with him; the door, which fitted like mosaic, was closed. The
steps retreated carrying away hope and human kind; there was silence,
and the man shivered in the thick black air that seemed a fluid, not an
atmosphere.

When the door closed his heart was yet beating with rage and wild desire
of vengeance. He nursed this rage as long as he could, but the thick
darkness soon cooled him and cowed him. He sat down upon the floor, he
ate his pittance very slowly, two mouthfuls a minute. "I will be an hour
eating it," said he, "and then an hour will have passed." He thought he
was an hour eating it, but in reality he was scarce twenty minutes. The
blackness seemed to smother him. "I will shut it out," said he. He took
out his handkerchief and wrapped his head in it. "What a weak fool I
am," cried he, "when we are asleep it does not matter to us light or
dark; I will go to sleep." He lay down, his head still wrapped up, and
tried to sleep. So passed the first hour.

Second hour. He rose from the stone floor after a vain attempt to sleep.
"Oh, no!" cried he, "sleep is for those who are well and happy, and who
could enjoy themselves as well awake; it won't come to me to save a poor
wretch from despair. I must tire myself, and I am too cold to sleep.
Here goes for a warm." He groped to the wall, and keeping his hand on
it went round and round like a caged tiger. "Hawes hopes to drive me to
Bedlam. I'll do the best I can for myself to spite him. May he lie in a
place narrower than this, and almost as dark, with his jaw down and his
toes up before the year is out, curse him!" But the poor wretch's curses
quavered away into sobs and tears. "Oh, what have I done to be used
so as I am here? They drive me to despair, then drive me to hell for
despairing. Patience, or I shall go mad. Patience! Patience!" This hour
was passed cursing and weeping and groping for warmth and fatigue--in
vain.

Third hour. The man sat rocking himself to and fro, trying not to think
of anything. For now the past, too, was coming with all its weight upon
him; every minute he started up as if an adder had stung him; crawled
about his cell seeking refuge in motion and finding none; then he threw
himself on the floor and struggled for sleep. Sleep would not come so
sought; and now his spirits were quite cowed. He would cringe to Hawes;
he would lick the dust at his feet to get out of this horrible place;
who could he get to go and tell the governor he was _penitent_. He
listened at the door; he rapped; no one came. He put his ear to the
ground and listened; no sound--blackness, silence, solitude. "They have
left me here to die," shrieked the despairing man, and he flung himself
on the floor and writhed upon the hard stone. "It must be morning,
and no one comes near me; this is my tomb!" Fear came upon him, and
trembling and a cold sweat bedewed his limbs; and once more the past
rushed over him with tenfold force; days of happiness and comparative
innocence now forfeited forever. His whole life whirled round before
his eyes in a panorama, scene dissolving into scene with inconceivable
rapidity; thus passed more than two hours; and now remorse and memory
concentrated themselves on one dark spot in this man's history. "She is
in the tomb," cried he, "and all through me, and that is why I am here.
This is my grave. Do you see me, Mary?--she is here. The spirits of the
dead can go anywhere." Then he trembled and cried for help. Oh! for a
human voice or a human footstep!--none. His nerves and senses were now
shaken. He cried aloud most piteously for help. "Mr. Fry, Mr. Hodges,
help! help! help! The cell is full of the dead, and devils are buzzing
round me waiting to carry me away--they won't wait much longer." He
fancied something supernatural passed him like a wind. He struck wildly
at it. He flung himself madly against the door to escape it; he fell
back bruised and bleeding and lay a while in stupor.

Sixth hour. Robinson was going mad. The blackness and solitude and
silence and remorse and despair were more than his excitable nature
could bear any longer. He prayed Hawes to come and abuse him. He prayed
Fry to bring the jacket to him. "Let me but see a man, or hear a man!"
He screamed, and cursed, and prayed, and dashed himself on the ground
and ran round the cell wounding his hands and his face. Suddenly he
turned deadly calm. He saw he was going mad--better die than so--"I
shall be a beast soon--I will die a man"--he tore down his collar--he
had on cotton stockings; he took one off--he tied it in a loose knot
round his naked throat--he took a firm hold with each hand.

And now he was quiet and sorrowed calmly. A man to die in the prime of
life for want of a little light and a word from a human creature to keep
him from madness.

Then as the thought returned, clinching his teeth, he gathered the ends
of the stocking and prepared with one fierce pull to save his shaken
reason and end his miserable days. Now at this awful moment, While his
hands griped convulsively the means of death, a quiet tap on the outside
of the cell door suddenly rang through the dead stillness, and a moment
after a human word forced its way into the cave of madness and death--

"BROTHER!"

When this strange word pierced the thick door and came into the
hell-cave, feeble as though wafted over water from a distance, yet
distinct as a bell and bright as a sunbeam, Robinson started, and quaked
with fear and doubt. Did it come from the grave, that unearthly tone and
word?

Still holding the ends of the stocking, he cried out wildly in a loud
but quavering voice:

"Who--o--o calls Thomas Sinclair brother?" The distant voice rang back--

"Francis Eden!"

"Ah!--where are you, Francis Eden?"

"Here! within a hand's-breadth of you;" and Mr. Eden struck the door.
"Here!"

"There! are you there?" and Robinson struck the door on his side.

"Yes, here!"

"Ha! don't go away, pray don't go away!"

"I don't mean to. Take courage--calm your fears--a brother is close by
you!"

"A brother!--again! now I know who it must be, but there is no telling
voices here."

"What were you doing?"

"What was I doing? Oh! don't ask me--I was going mad--where are you?"

"Here!" (rap).

"And I am here close opposite; you won't go away yet a while?"

"Not till you bid me--compose yourself--do you hear me?--calm yourself,
compose yourself."

"I will try, sir!--thank you, sir--I will try. What o'clock is it?"

"Half-past twelve."

"Night or day?"

"Night."

"Friday night, or Saturday?"

"Thursday."

"How came you to be in the prison at this hour?"

"I was anxious about you."

"You were what?"

"Fearful about you."

"What! did you give up your sleep only to see after me?"

"Are you not glad I came?"

"Is a shipwrecked sailor glad when a rope is flung him? I hold on to
life and reason by you!"

"Is not this better than sleeping?--Did you speak?"

"No! I am thinking! I am trying to make you out. Were you ever a
p----(hum)?"

"Was I ever what? the door is so thick!"

"Oh! nothing, sir; you seem to know what a poor fellow suffers in the
dark cell."

"I have been in it!"

"Whee-ugh-whee!--what a shame! what did they put you in for?"

"They didn't put me in. I went in."

"The devil you did!" muttered the immured.

"What? Speak out."

"Nothing, your reverence," bawled Robinson. "Why did you go into such a
cur--into such a hole?"

"It was my duty to know what a fellow-creature suffers there, lest,
through inexperience, I might be cruel. Ignorance is the mother of
cruelty!"

"I hear you, sir.

"And cruelty is a fearful crime in His eyes, whose servant I am."

"I am thinking, sir; I am putting two or three things together--I see--"

"Speak more slowly and articulately."

"I will; I see what you are now--you are a Christian."

"I hope so!"

"I might have guessed as much, and I did suspect it; but I couldn't
know, I had nothing to go by. I never fell in with a Christian before."

"Where did you go to look for them?" asked Mr. Eden, his mouth
twitching.

"I have been in many countries, and my eyes open; and I've heard and
read of Christians, and I've met hypocrites; but never met a living
Christian till to-night." Then, after a pause, "Sir, I want to apologize
to you!"

"What for!"

"For my ignorant and ungrateful conduct to you in my cell."

"Let bygones be bygones!"

"Could you forgive me, sir?"

"You punished yourself, not me; I forgive you."

"Thank you."

Robinson was silent.

After a pause Mr. Eden tapped.

"What are you doing?"

"I am thinking over your goodness to me."

"Are you better now?"

"That I am. The place was a tomb; since you came it is only a closet. I
can't see your face--I feel it, though; and your voice is music to me.
Have you nothing to say to me, sir?"

"I have many things to say to you; but this is not the time. I want you
to sleep."

"Why, sir?"

"Sleep is the balm of mind and body--you need sleep."

"And you, sir?"

"I shall sit here."

"You will take your death of cold."

"No, I have my greatcoat."

There was a long pause.

Robinson tapped. "Sir, grant me a favor."

"What is it?"

"Go home to your bed."

"What, leave you?"

"Yes."

"Shall you not miss me?"

"Yes, sir, but you must go. The words you have spoken will stay with me
while you are gone."

"I shall stay."

"No, sir, no! I can't bear it--it isn't fair!"

"What do you mean?"

"It isn't fair that a gentleman like you should be kept shivering at an
unfortunate man's door like me. I am not quite good for nothing, sir,
and this will disgrace me in my own eyes."

"I am on the best side of the door; don't trouble your head about me."

"I shouldn't, sir, if you had not about me--but kindness begets
kindness. Go to your comfortable bed."

Mr. Eden hesitated.

"You will make me more unhappy than I am, if you stay here in the cold."

Now, at the beginning of this argument Mr. Eden was determined not to
go; but on reflection he made up his mind to, for this reason: "This,"
said he to himself, "is an act of uncommon virtue and self-denial in
this poor fellow. I must not balk it, for it will be good for his soul;
it is a step on the right road. This good and, I might say, noble act is
a foundation-stone on which I ought to try and build an honest man and a
Christian."

"Well, then, as you are so considerate I will go."

"Thank you."

"Can I do nothing for you before I go?"

"No, sir; you have done all a man can; yes, you can do something--you
spoke a word to me when you came; it is a word I am not worthy of, but
still if you could leave me that word it would be a companion for me."

"Brother!"

"Thank you."

When he heard Mr. Eden's steps grow fainter and fainter, and at last
inaudible, Robinson groaned; the darkness turned blacker and the
solitude more desolate than ever.

Mr. Eden paced the corridors in meditation. "It is never too late to
mend!" he said. "This man seemed an unredeemable brute, yet his heart
was to be touched by persevering kindness; and once touched, how much
of goodness left in his fallen nature--genuine gratitude, and even the
embers of self-respect. 'I hate myself for my conduct in the cell; it
would disgrace me in my own eyes if I let you shiver at my door.' Poor
fellow, my heart yearns toward him for that. 'Go, or you will make me
more unhappy.' Why, that was real delicacy. I must not let him suffer
for it. In an hour I will go back to him. If he is asleep, well and
good; if not, there I stay till morning."

He went to his room and worked. The hour soon glided by to him; not so
to the poor prisoner. At two in the morning Mr. Eden came softly back to
the dark cell to see whether Robinson was asleep. He scratched the door
with a key. A loud, unsteady voice cried out, "What is that?"

"It is I, brother."

"Why are you not in your bed?"

"I couldn't sleep for anxiety. Come, chat with me till you feel sleepy.
How did you color those cards?"

"I found a coal and a bit of brick in the yard. I pounded them and mixed
them with water and laid them on with a brush I had made and hid."

"Very ingenious! Are you cold?"

"No."

"Because your voice trembles."

"Does it?"

"What is the matter?"

"Can't you guess?"

"No! But I remember you used to tremble when I spoke to you in the
cell. Why was that? Have your nerves been shaken by ill-usage, my poor
fellow?"

"Oh, no! it is not that."

"Tell me, then!"

"Oh, sir! you know all a poor fellow feels. You can guess what made me
tremble, and makes me tremble now, like an aspen I do."

"No, indeed! pray tell me! Are we not friends?"

"The best ever I had, or ever shall."

"Then tell me."

"I'll try; but it is a long story, and the door is so thick."

"Ah! but I hear you better now. I have got used to your voice.

"Well, sir; but I've no words to speak to you as I ought. Why did I use
to tremble when you used to speak kind to me? Sir, when I first came
here I hadn't a bad heart. I was a felon, but I was a man. They turned
me to a brute by cruelty and wrong. You came too late, sir. It wasn't
Tom Robinson you found in that cell. I had got to think all men were
devils They poisoned my soul! I hated God and man!

"The very chaplain before you said good, kind words in church, but out
of it he was Hawes' tool! Then you came and spoke good, kind words. My
heart ran to meet them; then it drew back all shivering and said,
this is a hypocrite, too! I was a fool and a villain to think so for a
moment, and perhaps I didn't at bottom, but I was turned to gall.

"Oh, sir! you don't know what it is to lose hope, to find out that do
what you will you can't be right, can't escape abuse and hatred and
torture. Treat a man like a dog and you make him one!

"But you came. Your voice, your face, your eye were all pity and
kindness. I hoped, but I was afraid to hope! I had seen but two
things--butchers and hypocrites. Then I had sworn in my despair never to
speak again, and I wouldn't speak to you. Fool! How kind and patient you
were. Sir, once when you left me you sighed as you closed the cell door.
I came after you to beg your pardon, when it was too late; indeed I did,
upon my honor. And when you would rub the ointment on my throat in spite
of my ingratitude, I could have worshipped you; but my pride held me
back like an iron hand. Why did I tremble? that was the devil and my
better part fighting inside me for the upper hand. And another thing,
I did not dare speak to you. I felt that if I did I should give way
altogether, like a woman or a child. I feel so now. For, oh! can't you
guess what it must be to a poor fellow when all the rest are savage as
wolves and one is kind as a woman? Oh! you have been a friend to me. You
don't know all you have done. You have saved my life. When you came here
a stocking was knotted round my throat; a minute later the man you call
your brother--God bless you--would have been no more. There, I never
meant you should know that, and now it has slipped out. My benefactor!
my kind friend! my angel! for you are an angel and not a man. What can
I do to show you what I feel? What can I say? There, I tremble all over
now as I did then. I'm choking for words, and the cruel, thick door
keeps me from you. I want to put my neck under your foot, for I can't
speak. All I say isn't worth a button. Words! words! words! give me
words that mean something. They shan't keep me from you, they shan't!
they shan't! My stubborn heart was between us once, now there is only a
door. Give me your hand! give me your hand before my heart bursts."

"There! there!"

"Hold it there!"

"Yes! yes!"

"My lips are here close opposite it. I am kissing your dear hand. There!
there! there! I bless you! I love you! I adore you! I am kissing your
hand, and I am on my knees blessing you and kissing. Oh, my heart! my
heart! my heart!"

There was a long silence, disturbed only by sobs that broke upon the
night from the black cell. Mr. Eden leaned against the door with his
hand in the same place; the prisoner kissed the spot from time to time.

"Your reverence is crying, too!" was the first word spoken, very gently.

"How do you know?"

"You don't speak, and my heart tells me you are shedding a tear for me;
there was only that left to do for me."

Then there was another silence, and true it was that the good man and
the bad man mingled some tears through the massy door. These two hearts
pierced it, and went to and fro through it, and melted in spite of it,
and defied and utterly defeated it.

"Did you speak, dear sir?"

"No! not for the world! Weep on, my poor sinning, suffering brother.
Heaven sends you this blessed rain; let it drop quietly on your parched
soul, refresh you, and shed peace on your troubled heart. Drop, gentle
dew from heaven, upon his spirit; prepare the dry soul for the good
seed!"

And so the bad man wept abundantly; to him old long-dried sources of
tender feeling were now unlocked by Christian love and pity.

The good man shed a gentle tear or two of sympathy--of sorrow, too, to
find so much goodness had been shut up, driven in and wellnigh quenched
forever in the poor thief.

To both these holy drops were as the dew of Hermon on their souls.

          O lacryrnarum fons tenero sacros
          Ducentium ortus ex animo; quater
          Felix in imo qui scatentem
          Pectore te pia Nynmpha sensit.

Robinson was the first to break silence.

"Go home, sir, now; you have done your work, you have saved me. I feel
at peace. I could sleep. You need not fear to leave me now."

"I shall sit here until you are asleep, and then I will go. Do you hear
this?" and he scratched the door with his key.

"Yes, sir."

"Well, when I do so and you do not tap in reply I shall know you are
asleep."

Robinson, whose heart was now so calmed, felt his eyes get heavier and
heavier. After a while he spoke to Mr. Eden but received no reply.

"Perhaps he is dozing," thought Robinson. "I won't disturb him."

Then he composed himself, lying close to the door to be near his friend.

After a while Mr. Eden scratched the door with his key. There was no
answer; then he rose softly and went to his own room.

Robinson slept--slept like an infant after this feverish day. His body
lay still in a hole dark and almost as narrow as the grave, but his
spirit had broken prison. Tired nature's sweet restorer descended like
a dove upon his wet eyelids, and fanned him with her downy wings, and
bedewed the hot heart and smarting limbs with her soothing, vivifying
balm.

At six o'clock Evans went and opened Robinson's cell door. He was on the
ground sleeping, with a placid smile on his face. Evans looked down at
him with a puzzled air. While contemplating him he was joined by Fry.

"Ugh!" grunted that worthy, "seems to agree with him." And he went off
and told Hawes.

Directly after chapel, which he was not allowed to attend, came an order
to take Robinson out of the dark cell and put him on the crank.

The disciplinarian, defeated in his attempt on Robinson, was compensated
by a rare stroke of good fortune--a case of real refractoriness even
this was not perfect, but it answered every purpose.

In one of the labor cells they found a prisoner seated with the utmost
coolness across the handle of his crank. He welcomed his visitants with
a smile, and volunteered a piece of information--"It is all right."

Now it couldn't be all right, for it was impossible he could have done
his work in the time. Hawes looked at the face of the crank to see
how much had been done, and lo! the face was broken and the index had
disappeared. As Mr. Hawes examined the face of the crank, the prisoner
leered at him with a mighty silly cunning.

This personage's name was Carter; it may be as well to explain him. Go
into any large English jail on any day in any year you like, you shall
find there two or three prisoners who have no business to be in such a
place at all--half-witted, half-responsible creatures, missent to jail
by shallow judges contentedly executing those shallow laws they ought to
modify and stigmatize until civilization shall come and correct them.

These imbeciles, if the nation itself was not both half-witted and a
thoughtless, ignorant dunce in all matters relating to such a trifle
(Heaven forgive us!) as its prisons, would be taken to the light not
plunged into darkness; would not be shut up alone with their no-minds to
accumulate the stupidity that has undone them, but forced into collision
with better understandings; would not be closeted in a jail, but in a
mild asylum with a school attached.

The offenses of these creatures is seldom theft, hardly ever violence.
This idiot was sentenced to two years' separate confinement for being
the handle with which two knaves had passed base coin. The same day the
same tribunal sentenced a scoundrel who was not an idiot, and had
beaten and kicked his wife to the edge of the grave--to fourteen years'
imprisonment? no--to four months.


Mr. Carter had observed that Fry looked at a long iron needle on the
face of the crank and that when he had been lazy somehow this needle
pointed out the fact to Fry. He could not understand it, but then the
world was brimful of things he could not understand one bit. It was no
use standing idle till he could comprehend rerum naturam--bother it.
In short, Mr. Carter did what is a dangerous thing for people in his
condition to do, he cogitated, and the result of this unfamiliar process
was that he broke the glass of the crank face, took out the index, shied
the pieces of glass carefully over the wall, secreted the needle, took
about ten turns of the crank, and then left off and sat down, exulting
secretly.

When they came, as usual, and went to consult the accusing needle, he
chuckled and leered with foolish cunning. But his chuckle died away
into a most doleful quaver when he found himself surrounded, jacketed,
strapped and collared. He struggled furiously at first, like some wild
animal in a net; and when resistance was hopeless the poor, half-witted
creature lifted up his voice and uttered loud, wild-beast cries of pain
and terror that rang through the vast prison.

These horrible cries brought all the warders to the spot, and Mr. Eden.
There he found Carter howling, and Hawes in front of him, cursing and
threatening him with destruction if he did not hold his noise.

He might as well have suspended a dog from a branch by the hind leg and
told him he mustn't howl.

This sight drove a knife through Mr. Eden's heart. He stood among them
white as a sheet. He could not speak; but his pale face was a silent
protest against this enormity. His look of horror and righteous
indignation chilled and made uneasy the inquisitors, all but Hawes.

"Hold your noise, ye howling brute, or I'll"--and he clapped his hand
before Carter's mouth.

Carter seized his thumb with his teeth and bit it to the bone. Hawes
yelled with pain and strove furiously to get his hand away, but Carter
held it like a tiger. Hawes capered with agony and yelled again. The
first to come to his relief was Mr. Eden. He was at the biped's side in
a moment, and pinched his nose. Now, as his lungs were puffing like
a blacksmith's bellows, his mouth flew open the moment the other
breathing-hole was stopped, and Hawes got his bleeding hand away.

He held it with the other and shook it, and moaned dismally, like a
great girl; but suddenly looking up he saw a half grin upon the faces of
his myrmidons.

For the contrast of a man telling another who was in pain not to make a
row, and the next moment making an abominable row himself for no better
reason, was funny.

For all this occurred ten times quicker in action than in relation.

Mr. Hawes's conversion to noise came rapidly in a single sentence, after
this fashion:

"---- you! hold your infernal noise. Oh! Augh! Ah! E E! E E! Aah! Oh!
Oh!; E E!E E! O O!O O! O O! O O! O O!O O!"

So Fry and Hodges and Evans and Davis grinned.

For all these men had learned from Hawes to laugh at pain--(another's).
One man alone did not even smile. He was an observer, and did not expect
any one to be great at bearing pain who was rash in inflicting it;
moreover, he suffered with all who suffer. He was sorry for the
pilloried biped, and sorry for the bitten brute.

He then gave them another lesson. "All you want the poor thing to do
is to suffer in silence. Withdraw twenty yards from him." He set the
example by retreating; the others, Hawes included, being off their
guard, obeyed mechanically the superior spirit.

Carter's cries died away into a whimpering moan. The turnkeys looked at
one another, and with a sort of commencement of respect at Mr. Eden.

"Parson knows more than we do."

Hawes interrupted this savagely.

"Ye fools! couldn't you see it was the sight of your ugly faces made him
roar, not the jacket? Keep him there till further orders;" and he went
off to plaster his wounded hand.

Mr. Eden sat down and covered his face. He was as miserable as this vile
world can make a man who lives for a better. The good work he was upon
was so difficult in itself, and those who ought to have helped fought
against him.

When with intelligence, pain and labor he had built up a little good,
Hawes was sure to come and knock it down again; and this was the way to
break his heart.

He had been taking such pains with this poor biped; he had played
round his feeble understanding to find by what door a little wisdom and
goodness could be made to enter him. At last he had found that pictures
pleased him and excited him, and awakened all the intelligence he had.

Mr. Eden had a vast collection of engravings and photographs. His
plan with Carter was to show him some engraving presenting a fact or
anecdote. First he would put under his eyes a cruel or unjust action.
He would point out the signs of suffering in one of the figures. Carter
would understand this because he saw it. Then Mr. Eden would excite his
sympathy. "Poor so and so!" would Mr. Eden say in a pitying voice. "Poor
so and so!" would biped Carter echo. After several easy lessons he would
find him a picture of some more moderate injustice, and so raise the
shadow of a difficulty and draw a little upon Carter's understanding as
well as sympathy. Then would come pictures of charity, of benevolence
and other good actions. These and their effects upon the several figures
Carter was invited to admire, and so on to a score of topics. The
first thing was to make Carter think and talk, which he did in the
happy-go-lucky way of his class, uttering nine mighty simple remarks,
and then a bit of superlative wisdom, or something that sounded like it.
And when he had shot his random bolts, Mr. Eden would begin and treat
each picture as a text, and utter much wisdom on it in simple words.

He found Carter's mind in a state of actual lethargy. He got it out of
that; he created an excitement and kept it up. He got at his little bit
of mind through his senses. Honor to all the great arts! The limit to
their beauty and their usefulness has never yet been found and never
will. Painting was the golden key this thinker held to the Bramah lock
of an imbecile's understanding the ponderous wards were beginning to
revolve--when a blockhead came and did his best to hamper the lock.

In English, Eden was gradually making the biped a man: comes Hawes
and turns him a brute. The whimpering moans of Carter were thoroughly
animal, and the poor biped's degradation as well as his suffering made
Mr. Eden wretched.

To-day for the first time the chaplain saw a prisoner crucified without
suffering that peculiar physical weakness which I have more than once
noticed. Poor soul, he was so pleased at this that he thanked Heaven for
curing him of that contemptible infirmity, so he called it. But he
had to pay for this victory. He never felt so sick at heart as now. He
turned for relief to the duties he had in his zeal added to a chaplain's
acknowledged routine. He visited his rooms and all his rational
work-people.

The sight of all the good he was doing by teaching the sweets of
anti-theft was always a cordial to him.

Almost the last cell he visited was Thomas Robinson's. The man had been
fretting and worrying himself to know why he did not come before. As
soon as the door was opened he took an eager step to meet him, then
stopped irresolutely, and blushed and beamed with pleasure mixed with a
certain confusion. He looked volumes but waited out of respect for his
reverence to address him.

Mr. Eden held out his hand to him with a frank manner and kind smile. At
this Robinson tried to speak but could only stammer; something seemed to
rise in his throat and block up the exit of words.

"Come," said Mr. Eden, "no more of that; be composed, and I will sit
down, for I am tired."

Robinson brought him his stool, and Mr. Eden sat down.

They conversed, and after some kind inquiries, Mr. Eden came to the
grand purport of this visit, which, to the surprise and annoyance of
Robinson, was to reprobate severely the curses and blasphemies he had
uttered as they were dragging him to the dark cell. And so threatening
and severe was Mr. Eden, that at last poor Robinson whined out:

"Sir, you will make me wish I was in the dark cell again, for then you
took my part; now you are against me."

"There is a time for everything under the sun. When you were in the dark
cell, consolation and indulgence were the best things for your soul, and
I gave them you as well as I could. You are not in the dark cell now,
and, out of the same love for you, I tell you that if God took you
this night the curses you uttered yesterday would destroy you to all
eternity."

"I hope not, your reverence!"

"Away with delusive hopes, they war against the soul. I tell you those
curses that came from a tongue set on fire of hell have placed you under
the ban of Heaven. Are you not this Hawes's brother, his brother every
way--two unforgiven sinners?"

"Yes, sir," said Robinson, truckling, "of course I know I am a great
sinner, a desperate sinner, not worthy to be in your reverence's
company. But I hope," he added, with sudden sincerity and spirit, "you
don't think I am such an out-and-out scoundrel as that Hawes."

"Mr. Hawes would tell me you are the scoundrel and he a zealous servant
of morality and order; but these comparisons are out of place. I am now
deferring not to the world's judgment but to a higher, in whose eye Mr.
Hawes and you stand on a level--two unforgiven sinners; if not forgiven
you will both perish everlastingly, and to be forgiven you must forgive.
God is very forgiving--He forgives the best of us a thousand vile
offenses. But He never forgives unconditionally. His terms are our
repentance and our forgiveness of those who offend us one-millionth part
as deeply as we offend Him. Therefore in praying against Hawes you
have prayed against yourself. Give me your slate. No; take it yourself.
Write--"

Robinson took his pencil with alacrity. He wrote a beautiful hand, and
wanted to show off this accomplishment to his reverence.

"Forgive us our sins as we forgive them that trespass against us.'"

"It is down, sir."

"Now particularize."

"Particularize, your reverence?"

"Write under 'us' 'our' and 'we,' 'me',' my' and 'I'; respectively."

"All right, sir."

"Now under 'them' write 'Mr. Hawes.'"

"Ugh! Yes, your reverence, 'Mr. Hawes.'"

"And under the last four words write, 'his cruelty to me.'"

This was wormwood to Mr. Robinson. "'His cruelty to me!'"

"Now read your work out."

"'Forgive me my sins as I forgive Mr. Hawes his cruelty to me.'"

"Now ponder over those words. Keep them before your eye here, and try at
least and bow your stubborn heart to them. Fall on them and be broken,
or they will fall on you and grind you to powder." He concluded in a
terrible tone; then, seeing Robinson abashed, more from a notion he was
in a rage with him than from any deeper sentiment, he bade him farewell
kindly as ever.

"I know," said he, "I have given you a hard task. We can all gabble the
Lord's Prayer, but how few have ever prayed it! But at least try, my
poor soul, and I will set you an example. I will pray for my brother
Robinson and my brother Hawes, and I shall pray for them all the more
warmly that at present one is a blaspheming thief and the other a
pitiless blockhead."

The next day being Sunday, Mr. Eden preached two sermons that many will
remember all their lives. The first was against theft and all the shades
of dishonesty. I give a few of his topics. The dry bones he covered with
flesh and blood and beauty. The tendency of theft was to destroy all
moral and social good. For were it once to prevail so far as to make
property insecure, industry would lose heart, enterprise and frugality
be crushed, and at last the honest turn thieves in self-defense. Nearly
every act of theft had a baneful influence on the person robbed.

Here he quoted by name instances of industrious, frugal persons, whose
savings having been stolen, they had lost courage and good habits of
years' standing, and had ended ill. Then he gave them a simile. These
great crimes are like great trunk railways. They create many smaller
ones. Some flow into them, some out of them. Drunkenness generally
precedes an act of theft; drunkenness always follows it; lies flow from
it in streams, and perjury rushes to its defense.

It breeds, too, other vices that punish it, but never cure
it--prodigality and general loose living. The thief is never the richer
by this vile act which impoverishes his victim; for the money obtained
by this crime is wasted in others. The folly of theft; its ill economy.
What high qualities are laid out to their greatest disadvantage by the
thief; acuteness, watchfulness, sagacity, determination, tact. These
virtues, coupled with integrity, enrich thousands every year. How many
thieves do they enrich? How many thieves are a shilling a year the
better for the hundreds of pounds that come dishonestly into their
hands.

"In ---- Jail (Mr. Lepel's), there is now a family that have stolen,
first and last, property worth eighteen thousand pounds. The entire
possessions of this family are now two pair of shoes. The clothes they
stand in belong to Government; their own had to be burned, so foul were
they. Eighteen thousand pounds had they stolen--to be beggars; and this
is the rule, not the exception, as you all know. Why is this your fate
and your end? Because a mightier power than man's has determined that
thieving shall not thrive. The curse of God is upon theft!"

Then came life-like pictures of the honest man and the thief. The
one with an eye that faced you, with a conscious dignity and often
a cheerful countenance; the other with a shrinking eye, a conscious
meanness, and never with a smile from the heart; sordid, sly and
unhappy--for theft is misery. No wonder this crime degrades a man when
it degrades the very animals; Look at a dog who has stolen. Before this,
when he met his master or any human friend he used to run up to greet
them with wagging tail and sparkling eye. Now see him. At sight of any
man he crawls meanly away, with cowering figure and eye askant, the
living image of the filthy sin he has committed. He feels he has no
longer a right to greet a man, for he is a thief.

And here the preacher gathered images, facts and satire, and hurled a
crushing hailstorm of scorn upon the sordid sin. Then he attacked the
present situation (his invariable custom).

"Not all the inmates of a jail were equally guilty on their arrival
there. A large proportion of felons were orphans or illegitimate
children; others, still more unfortunate, were the children of criminals
who had taught them crime from their cradles. Great excuses were to
be made for the general mass of criminals; excuses that the ignorant,
shallow world could not be expected to make; but the balance of the
Sanctuary is not like the world's clumsy balance; it weighs all men to
a hair. Excuses will be made for many of you in heaven up to a certain
point. And what is that point? The day of your entrance into prison. But
now plead no more the ill example of parents and friends, for here you
are cut off from it.

"Plead no more that you cannot read, for here you have been taught to
read.

"Plead no more the dreadful power of vicious habits that began when
you were unguarded, for those habits have now been cut away from you by
force and better habits substituted.

"Plead no more ignorance of God's Word, for here day by day it is poured
into your ears.

"Your situation has other less obvious advantages. Here you are little
exposed to the soul's most dangerous enemy--self-deception. The world
destroys thousands of sinners by flattery. Half the great sinners upon
earth are what is called respectable. The world tells them they are
good--they believe it, and so die as they have lived, and are lost
eternally. The world, intending to be more unkind to you, is far more
kind; it tells _you_ the truth--that you are desperate sinners.
Here, then, where everything opens your eyes, oh! fight not against
yourselves. Repent, or fearful will be the fresh guilt heaped upon
your heads! Even these words of mine must do you good or do you harm. I
tremble when I tell you so. It is an awful thing to think." The preacher
paused. "You know that I love you--that I would give my life to save
one soul of all those I see before me now! Have pity on me and on
yourselves! Let me not be so unfortunate as to add to your guilt--I,
whose heart yearns to do you good! Oh, my poor brothers and sisters, do
not pity yourselves so much less than I pity you--do not love yourselves
so much less than I love you! Why will ye die! Repent, and be forgiven!

"Some of you profess attachment to me--some talk of gratitude. There are
some of my poor brothers and sisters in this jail that say to me, 'Oh, I
wish I could do something for you, sir!' Perhaps you have noticed that I
have never answered these professions. Well, I will answer them now once
for all."

While the preacher paused there was a movement observed among the
prisoners.

"Would you make me very--very sad? Remain impenitent! Would you make me
happy? Repent, and turn to God! Not to-morrow, or next day, but on your
knees in your own cells the moment you go hence. You don't know, you
can't dream what happiness you will confer on me if you do this!"

Then, suddenly opening his arms with wonderful grace and warmth and
energy, he cried, "My poor wandering sheep, come--come to the heavenly
fold! Let me gather you as a hen gathers her chickens under her wing.
You are my anxiety, my terror--be my joy, my consolation here, and
hereafter the brightest jewels in my heavenly crown."

In this strain he soared higher than my poor earth-clogged wings can
follow him. He had lashed sin severely, so he had earned a right to show
his love for the sinner. Gracious words of entreaty and encouragement
gushed from him in a crystal stream with looks and tones of more
than mortal charity. Men might well doubt was this a man, or was it
Christianity speaking? Christianity, born in a stable, was she there,
illuminating a jail? For now for a moment or two the sacred orator
was more than mortal; so high above earth was his theme, so great his
swelling words. He rose, he dilated to heroic size, he flamed with
sacred fire. His face shone like an angel's, and no silver trumpet or
deep-toned organ could compare with his thundering, pealing, melting
voice, that poured the soul of love and charity and heaven upon friend
and foe. Then seemed it as though a sudden blaze of music and light
broke into that dark abode. Each sinful form stretched wildly forth to
meet them--each ear hung aching on them--each glistening eye lived on
them, and every heart panted and quivered as this great Christian swept
his immortal harp--among thieves and homicides and oppressors--in that
sad house of God.


"What did you think of the sermon, Fry?"

Fry. Liked the first part, sir, where he walked into thieving. Don't
like his telling 'em he loves 'em. 'Tisn't to be supposed a gentleman
could really love such rubbish as that. Sounds like palaver.

Hawes. Now I liked it all, though it spoiled my nap.

Fry. Well, sir, it is very good of you to like it, for I don't think you
like the man.

Hawes. The man is all very well in his place. He ought to be bottled up
in one of the dark cells all the week, and then brought up and uncorked
in chapel o' Sundays. It is as good as a romance is a sermon of his.

Fry. That it is, sir. Comes next after the Newgate Calendar, don't it
now? But there's one thing about all his sermons I can't get over.

Hawes. And what is that?

Fry. Preaches at 'em so.

Hawes. Why, ye fool, that is the beauty of him. How is he to hit 'em if
he doesn't hit at 'em?

Fry. Mr. Jones usen't.

Hawes. Oh, Jones! He shot his arrow up in the air and let it fall
wherever the wind chose to blow it, and then, if it came down on the
wrong man's head he'd say, never mind, my boy, accident!--pure accident!
No! give me a chap that hits out straight from the shoulder. Can't you
see this is worth a hundred Joneses beating about the bush and droning
us all asleep.

Fry. So he is, sir. So he is. But then I think he didn't ought to be
quite so personal. Fancy his requesting such a lot as ours to repent
their sins and go to heaven just to oblige him. There's a inducement! I
call that himper dig from the pulpit.

"What d'ye call it?" growled Hawes snappishly.

"Himper dig!" replied Fry stoutly.

In the afternoon Mr. Eden preached against cruelty.

"No crime is so thoroughly without excuse as this. Other crimes have
sometimes an adequate temptation, this never. The path to other crimes
is down-hill; to cruelty is up-hill. In the very act, Nature, who is on
the side of some crimes, cries out within us against this monstrous sin.
The blood of our victim flowing from our blows, its groans and sighs and
pallor, stay the uplifted arm and appeal to the furious heart. Wonderful
they should ever appeal in vain. Cruelty is not one of our pleasant
vices, and the opposite virtues are a garden of delights: 'Mercy is
twice blessed, it blesseth him that gives and him that takes.' God has
written His abhorrence of this monstrous sin in letters of fire and
blood on every page of history."

Here he ransacked history, and gave them some thirty remarkable
instances of human cruelty, and of its being punished in kind so
strangely, and with such an exactness of retribution, that the finger of
God seemed visible writing on the world--"God hates cruelty."

At the end of his examples he instanced two that happened under his own
eye--a favorite custom of this preacher.

"A man was tried in London for cruelty to animals; he was acquitted by a
legal flaw, though the evidence was clear against him. This man returned
homeward triumphant. The train in which he sat was drawn up by the side
of a station. An express-train passed on the up-line at full speed.
At the moment of passing the fly-wheel of the engine broke; a large
fragment was driven into the air and fell upon the stationary train. It
burst through one of the carriages and killed a man upon the spot.
That man was seated between two other men, neither of whom received
the slightest injury. The man so singled out was the cruel man who had
evaded man's justice, but could not escape His hand who created the
beasts as well as man, and who abhors all men who are cruel to any
creature He has formed.

"A man and his wife conspired to rob and murder their friend and
constant guest. Determined to escape detection, they coldly prepared for
the deed of blood. Long before the murder they dug a hole in the passage
leading from their parlor to their dining-room, and this hole was
to receive the corpse of the man with whom meantime these heartless
wretches eat bread day after day and drank his health at their own
board. Several times the unfortunate man walked with his host and
hostess over this concealed hole, his destined tomb, before the time
came to sacrifice him. At last they murdered him and buried him in
the grave they had prepared for him. The deed done, spite of all their
precaution fear fell on them and hatred, and they fled from the house
where the corpse was and from each other, one to the north, one to the
south. Fled they ever so fast, or so far apart, justice followed to
the north, justice followed to the south, and dragged the miscreants
together again and flung them into one prison. They were convicted and
condemned to death. There came a fatal morning to this guilty pair, when
the sun rose upon them and found them full of health and strength, yet
in one short hour they must be dead. They were taken into the prison
chapel according to custom, and from the chapel they must pass at once
to the gallows. Now it so happened that the direct path from the chapel
to the gallows was blocked up by some repairs that were going on in the
prison, so the condemned were obliged to make a long circuit. It was
one of the largest of our old prisons, a huge, irregular building,
constructed with no simplicity of design, and one set of officers did
not always know at once what was going on in a distant department. Hence
it befell that in a certain passage of the jail the condemned and their
attendants came suddenly upon a new-made grave! Stones had been taken
up, and a grave dug in this passage. The workmen had but just completed
it. The grave filled up the passage, which was narrow and but little
used. The men who accompanied the murderers paused, abashed and chilled.
The murderers paused and looked at one another; no words can describe
that look! Planks were put down, and they walked over their own grave
to their death. Is there a skeptic who tells me this was chance? Then
I tell him he is a credulous fool to believe that chance can imitate
omniscience, omnipotence and holiness so inimitably. In this astounding
fact of exact retribution I see nothing that resembles chance. I see the
arm of God and the finger of God. His arm dragged the murderers to the
gallows, His finger thrust the heartless, cruel miscreants across the
grave that was yawning for their doomed bodies! Tremble, ye cruel, God
hates ye! Men speak of a murder--and sometimes, by way of distinction,
they say 'a cruel murder.' See, now, what a crime cruelty must be, since
it can aggravate murder, the crime before which all other sins dwindle
into nothing."

Of minor cruelties that do not attack life itself the most horrible he
thought was cruelty to women. Here the man must trample on every manly
feeling, on the instinct and the traditions of sex, on the opinion of
mankind, on the generosity that goes with superior strength and courage.
A man who is cruel to a woman is called a brute, but if the brutes could
speak they would appeal against this phrase as unjust to them. What
animal but man did you ever see maltreat a female of his species? The
brutes are not such beasts as bad, cruel men are. Or if you ever saw
such a monstrosity the animal that did it was some notorious coward,
such as the deer, which I believe is now and then guilty in a trifling
degree of this dirty sin, being a rank coward. But who ever saw a lion
or a dog or any courageous animal let himself down to the level of a
cowardly man so far as this?

Here sprang from his lips a true and tender picture of a wife. The
narrow and virtuous circle of her joys, her many sufferings, great and
little--no need of being cruel to her; she must suffer so much without
that. The claims to pity and uncommon consideration every woman builds
up during a few years of marriage! Her inestimable value in the house!
How true to the hearth she is unless her husband corrupts her or drives
her to despair! How often she is good in spite of his example! How
rarely she is evil but by his example! God made her weaker that man
might have the honest satisfaction and superior joy of protecting and
supporting her. To torture her with the strength so intrusted him for
her good is to rebel against heaven's design--it is to be a monster, a
coward, and a fool!

"There was one more kind of cruelty it was his duty to touch upon--harsh
treatment of those unhappy persons to whom it has not pleased God to
give a full measure of reason.

"This is a sacred calamity to which the intelligent and the good in all
ages and places have been tender and pitiful. In some countries these
unfortunates are venerated, and being little able to guard themselves
are held to be under Heaven's especial protection. This is a beautiful
belief and honors our fallen nature. Yet in Christian England, I grieve
and blush to say, cruelty often falls on their unprotected heads. Who
has not seen the village boys follow and mock these afflicted persons?
Youth is cruel because the great parent of cruelty is general ignorance
and inexperience of the class of suffering we inflict. Men who have come
to their full reason have not this excuse. What! persecute those whom
God hath smitten, but whom He still loves, and will take vengeance on
all who maltreat them. On such and on all of you who are cruel, shame
and contempt will fall sooner or later even in this world, and at that
solemn day when the cruel and their victims shall meet the Judge of the
quick and the dead, He on whose mercy hangs your eternal fate will say
to you, 'Have ye shown mercy?' Oh! these words will crush your souls.
Madmen! know ye not that the most righteous man on earth can only be
saved by God's mercy, not by His justice? Would you forfeit all hope,
all chance, all possibility of that mercy, by merciless cruelty to your
brothers and sisters of the race of Adam? Does the day of judgment seem
to you uncertain or so distant that you dare be cruel here during the
few brief days you have to prepare yourself for eternity? If you are
under this delusion here I tear it from your souls. That day is at hand,
at the door."

Then, in a moment, by the magic of eloquence, the great day of
retribution was no longer faint and distant, but upon them in all its
terrors; and they who in the morning had leaned forward eagerly to catch
the message of mercy now shrank and cowered from the thunder that pealed
over their heads, and the lightning of awful words that showed them by
flashes the earth quaking and casting forth her dead--the sea trembling
and casting forth her dead--the terrible trumpet pealing from pole to
pole-the books opened--the dread Judge seated--and hell yawning for the
guilty.


"Well, sir, how did you like this sermon?" said Fry, respectfully.

"He won't preach many more such, (imperative mood) him. I'll teach him
to preach at people from the pulpit."

"Well, that is what I say, sir, but you said you liked to hear him
preach at folk."

"So I do," replied Hawes angrily, "but not at me, ye fool!"

This afternoon two of the prisoners rang their bells, and on the warder
coming to them begged in much agitation to see the chaplain. Mr. Eden
was always at the prisoners' orders and came to both of these; one was
a man about thirty, the other a mere boy. The same evening Mr. Hawes
sat down, his features working wrathfully, and dispatched a note to Mr.
Locock, one of the visiting justices and a particular admirer of his.

Meeting Mr. Eden in the prison, he did not return that gentleman's
salute. This was his way of implying war; events were thickening, a
storm was brewing. This same evening there was a tap at Mr. Eden's
private door and Evans entered the room. The man's manner was peculiar.
He wore outside a dogged look, as if fighting against some inward
feeling; he entered looking down most perniciously at the floor. "Well,
Evans?"

Evans approached, his eyes still glued upon the floor. He shoved a
printed paper roughly into Mr. Eden's hand, and said in a tone of sulky
reproach, "Saw ye fret because ye could not get it, and couldn't bear to
see ye fret."

"Thank you, Evans, thank you!"

"You are very welcome, sir," said Evans, with momentary deference and
kindness. Then turning suddenly at the door in great wrath, with a
tendency to whimper, he roared out, "Ye'll get me turned out of my
place, that's what ye'll do!" and went off apparently in tremendous
dudgeon. The printed paper contained "the rules of the prison," a copy
of which Mr. Eden had asked from Hawes and been refused. Evans had
watched his opportunity, got them from another warder in return for two
glasses of grog outside the jail.

Mr. Eden fell to and studied the paper carefully till bed-time. As he
read it his eye more than once flashed with satisfaction in spite of a
great despondency that had now for a day or two been creeping upon him.

This depression dated from biped Carter's crucifixion or soon after. He
struggled gallantly against it; it appeared in none of his public acts.
But when alone his heart seemed to have turned to lead. A cold, languid
hopelessness most foreign to his high, sanguine nature weighed him to
the earth, and the Dead Sea rolled over his spirit.

Earnest Mr. Hawes hated good Mr. Eden; one comfort, by means of his
influence with the justices he could get him turned out of the
prison. Meantime what could he do to spite him? Begin by punishing
a prisoner--that is the only thing that stings him. With these good
intentions earnest Hawes turned out and looked about for a prisoner to
punish; unfortunately for poor Josephs the governor's eye fell upon
him as he came out of the chapel. The next minute he was put on a stiff
crank, which led in due course to the pillory. When he had been in
about an hour and a half, Hawes winked to Fry, and said to him under his
breath, "Let the parson know."

Fry strolled into the prison. He met Mr. Eden at a cell door. "Josephs
refractory again, sir," said he, with mock civility.

Mr. Eden looked him in the face, but said nothing. He went to his own
room, took a paper off the table, and came into the yard. Josephs was
beginning to sham and a bucket had just been thrown over him amid the
coarse laughter of Messrs. Fry, Hodges and Hawes. Evans, who happened to
be in attendance, stood aloof with his eyes fixed on the ground.

As soon as he saw Mr. Eden coming Hawes gave a vindictive chuckle.

"Another bucket," cried he, and taking it himself, he contrived to
sprinkle Mr. Eden as well as to sluice his immediate victim.

Mr. Eden took no notice of this impertinence, but to the surprise of all
there he strode between the victim and his tormentors, and said sternly,
"Do you know that you are committing an illegal assault upon this
prisoner?'

"No, I don't," said Hawes, with a cold sneer.

"Then I shall show you. Here are the printed rules of the prison; you
have no authority over a prisoner but what these rules give you. Now
show me where they permit you to pillory a prisoner?"

"They don't forbid it, that is enough."

"No! it is not. They don't forbid you to hang him, or to sear him with
a hot iron, but they tell you in this paragraph what punishments you may
inflict, and that excludes all punishments of your own invention. You
may neither hang him nor burn him nor famish him nor crucify him, all
these acts are equally illegal. So take warning, all of you here--you
are all servants of the law--don't let me catch you assaulting a
prisoner contrary to the law, or you shall smart to the uttermost.
Evans, I command you, in the name of the law, release that prisoner."

Evans, thus appealed to, fidgeted and turned color, and his hands worked
by his side. "Your reverence!" cried he, in an imploring tone, and
stayed where he was. On this Mr. Eden made no more ado, but darted to
Josephs' side and began to unfasten him with nimble fingers.

Hawes stood dumfounded for a minute or two, then recovering himself he
roared out:

"Officers, do your duty!"

Fry and Hodges advanced upon Mr. Eden, but before they could get at him
the huge body of Evans interposed itself. The man was pale but doggedly
resolved.

"Mustn't lay a finger on his reverence," said he, almost in a whisper,
but between his clinched teeth and with the look of a bulldog over a
bone.

"What, do you rebel against me, Evans?"

"No, sir," answered Evans softening his tone, "but nobody must affront
his reverence. Look here, sir, his reverence knows a great deal more
than I do, and he says this is against the law. He showed you the Act,
and you couldn't answer him except by violence, which ain't no answer at
all. Now I am the servant of the law, and I know better than go against
the law."

"There, I want no more of your chat. Loose the prisoner."

"Seems to me he is loosed," said Fry.

"Go to the 5-lb. crank, Josephs, and let me see how much you can do in
half an hour."

"That I will, your reverence," and off he ran.

"Now, sir," said Hawes sternly, "I put up with this now because it must
end next week. I have written to the visiting justices, and they will
settle whether you are to be master in the jail or I."

"Neither, Mr. Hawes. The law shall be your master and mine."

"Very good! but there's a hole in your coat; for, as clever as you are,
every jail has its customs as well as its rules."

"Which customs, if illegal, are abuses, and shall be swept out of it."

"I'll promise you one thing--the justices shall sweep you out of the
jail."

"How can you promise that?"

"Because they only see with my eyes, and, hear with my ears; they would
do a great deal more for me than kick out a refractory chaplain."

Mr. Eden's eye flashed, he took out his note-book.

"Present Fry, Hodges, Evans. Mr. Hawes asserts that the visiting
justices see only with his eyes and hear with his ears."

Hawes laughed insolently, but a little uneasily.

"In spite of your statement that the magistrates are unworthy of their
office, I venture to hope, for the credit of the county, there will not
be found three magistrates to countenance your illegal cruelties. But
should there be--"

"Ay; what then?"

"I shall go higher and appeal to the Home Secretary."

"Ha! ha! He won't take any notice of you."

"Then I shall appeal to the sovereign."

"And if she takes you for a madman?"

"I shall appeal to the people. Oh! Mr. Hawes, I give you my honor this
great question whether or not the law can penetrate a prison shall
be sifted to the bottom. Pending my appeals to the Home Office,
the sovereign and the people, I have placed a thousand pounds in my
solicitor's hands--"

"A thousand pounds! have you, sir? What for, if I am not too curious?"

"For this, sir. Each prisoner whom you have pilloried and starved and
assaulted contrary to law shall bring an action of assault against you
the moment he leaves prison. He shall have counsel, and the turnkeys and
myself shall be subpoenaed as evidence. When once we get you into court
you will find that a prison is the stronghold of law, not a den of
lawlessness."

He then turned sharp on the warders.

"I warn you against all your illegal practices. Mr. Hawes's orders shall
neither excuse nor protect you. You owe your first obedience to the
crown and the law. Here are your powers and your duties; you can all
read. Here it is ruled that a prisoner shall receive four visits a day
from the governor, chaplain and two turnkeys; these four visits are to
keep the man from breaking down under the separate and silent system.
You have all been breaking this rule, but you shall not. I shall
report you Evans, you Fry, and you Hodges, and you Mr. Hawes, to the
authorities, if after this warning you leave a single prisoner unvisited
and unspoken with."

"Have you done preaching, parson?"

"Not quite, jailer."

He tapped the printed paper.

"Here is a distinct order that sick prisoners shall be taken out of
their cells into the infirmary, a vast room where they have a much
better chance of recovering than in those stinking cells ventilated
scientifically, i.e., not ventilated at all. Now there are seven
prisoners dangerously ill at this moment; yet you smother these
unfortunates in their solitary cells, instead of giving them the
infirmary and nurses according to the law. Let these seven persons be in
the infirmary before post-time this evening, or to-morrow I report you
to the Secretary of State."

With these words he went off leaving them all looking at one another.
"He is coming back again," said Fry.

He did come back again with heightened color and flashing eyes.

"Here is the prisoners' diet," cried he, tapping the printed rules;
"it is settled to an ounce by law, and I see no authority given to
the jailer to tamper with it under any circumstances. Yet I find you
perpetually robbing prisoners of their food. Don't let me catch either
jailer or turnkeys at this again. Jailers and turnkeys have no more
right to steal a prisoner's food than to rob the till of the Bank of
England. He receives it defined in bulk and quality from the law's
own hand, and the wretch who will rob him of an ounce of it is a felon
without a felon's excuse; and as a felon I will proceed against him by
the dog-whip of the criminal law, by the gibbet of the public press, and
by every weapon that wit and honesty have ever found to scourge cruelty
and theft since civilization dawned upon the earth."

He was gone and left them all turned to statues. A righteous man's wrath
is far more terrible than the short-lived passion of the unprincipled.
It is rarer, and springs from a deeper source than temper. Even Hawes
staggered under this mortal defiance so fierce and unexpected. For a
moment he regretted having pushed matters so far.

This scene let daylight in upon shallow, earnest Hawes, and showed him
a certain shallow error he had fallen into. Because insolence had no
earthly effect on the great man's temper he had concluded that nothing
could make him boil over. A shade of fear was now added to rage, hatred
and a desire for vengeance.

"Fry, come to my house."

Evans had a wife and children, and these hostages to fortune weighed
down his manly spirit. He came to Hawes as he was going out and said
submissively, though not graciously:

"Very sorry, sir, to think I should disobey you, but when his reverence
said it was against the law--"

"That is enough, my man," replied Hawes quietly; "he has bewitched you,
it seems. When he is kicked out you will be my servant again, I dare
say."

The words and the tone were not ill-humored. It was not Hawes's cue to
quarrel with a turnkey.

Evans looked suddenly up, for his mind was relieved by Mr. Hawes's
moderation; he looked up and saw a cold, stern eye dwelling on him with
a meaning that had nothing to do with the words spoken.

Small natures read one another.

Evans saw his fate inscribed in Hawes's eye.



CHAPTER XVI.

HAWES and Fry sat in council. A copy of the prison rules was before
them, and the more they looked at them after Mr. Eden's interpretation,
the less they liked them: they were severe and simple; stringent against
the prisoners on certain points; stringent in their favor on others.

"The sick-list must go to the infirmary, I believe," said Hawes,
thoughtfully. "He'd beat us there. The justices will support me on every
other point, because they must contradict themselves else. I'll have
that fellow out of the jail, Fry, before a month is out, and meantime
what can I do to be revenged on him?"

"Punish 'em all the more," suggested the simple-minded Fry.

"No, that won't do; better keep a little quiet now till he is out of the
jail. Fine it would look if he was really to bribe these vermin to bring
actions against me, and subpoena himself and that sneaking dog, Evans."

"Well, sir, but if you turn him out he will do it all the more."

"You fool, can't you see the difference? If he comes into court a
servant of the crown every lie he tells will go for gospel. But if he
comes a disgraced servant, cashiered for refractory conduct, why then we
could tell the jury it is all his spite at being turned off."

"You know a thing or two, sir," whined the doleful Fry.

Hawes passed him a fresh tumbler of grog, and pondered deeply and
anxiously. But suddenly an idea flashed on him that extinguished his
other meditations. "Give me the rules." He ran his eye rapidly over
them. "Why, no! of course not, what a fool I was not to see that half an
hour ago."

"What is it, sir?"

"Finish your grog first, and then I have a job for you." He sat down and
wrote two lines on a slip of paper.

"Have you done?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then take this order."

"Yes, sir."

"And the printed rules in your hand--here, take 'em."

"Yes, sir."

"And take Hodges and Evans with you, and tell me every word that
sneaking dog, Evans, says and everything he does."

"Yes, sir. But what are we all three to do?"

"Execute this order!"

An ebullition of wrath was as rare with Mr. Eden as an eruption of
Vesuvius. His deep-rooted indignation against cruelty remained; it was
a part of his nature. But his ruffled feathers smoothed themselves the
moment little Hawes & Co. were out of his eye. He even said to himself,
"What is the matter with me? one moment so despondent, the next
irascible. I hardly know myself. I must take a little of my antidote."
So saying he proceeded to visit some of those cells into which he had
introduced rational labor (anti-theft he called it). Here he found
cheerful looks as well as busy hands. Here industry was relished with a
gusto inconceivable to those who have never stagnated body and soul in
enforced solitude and silence. Here for the time at least were honest
converts to anti-theft. He had seen them dull and stupid, brutalized,
drifting like inanimate bodies on the heavy waters of the Dead Sea. He
had drawn them ashore and put life into them. He had taught their glazed
eyes to sparkle with the stimulus of rational and interesting work,
and those same eyes rewarded him by beaming on him with pleasure and
gratitude whenever he came. This soothed and cheered his weary spirit
vexed by the wickedness and stupidity that surrounded him and obstructed
the good work.

His female artisans gave him a keen pleasure, for here he benefited a
sex as well as a prisoner. He had long been saying that women are
as capable as men of a multitude of handicrafts, from which they are
excluded by man's jealousy and grandmamma's imbecility. And this
wise man hoped to raise a few Englishwomen to the industrial level of
Frenchwomen and Englishmen; not by writing and prattling that the sex
are at present men's equals in intelligence and energy, which is a
stupid falsehood calculated to keep them forever our inferiors by
persuading them they need climb no higher than they have climbed.

His line was very different. "At present you are infinitely man's
inferior in various energy," said he. "Dependents are inferiors
throughout the world."

If they were not so at first starting such a relation would make them so
in two months.

"Try and be more than mere dependents on men," was his axiom. "Don't
_talk_ that you are his equal, and then open that eloquent mouth to be
fed by his hand--do something! It is by doing fifty useful and therefore
lucrative things to your one that man becomes your creditor, and a
creditor will be a superior to the world's end. Out of these fifty
things you might have done twenty as well as he can do them, and ten
much better; and those thirty, added to the domestic duties in which you
do so much more than your share, would go far to balance the account and
equalize the sexes."

Thus he would sometimes talk to the more intelligent of his hussies;
but he did a great deal more than talk. He supplied from himself that
deficiency of inventive power and enterprise which is woman's weak
point; and he tilled those wide powers of masterly execution which they
possess unknown to grandpapa Cant and grandmamma Precedent. As this
clear head had foreseen, his women came out artisans. The eye that could
thread a needle proved accurate enough for anything. Their supple, taper
fingers soon learned to pick up type and place it quite as quick as even
the stiff digits of the male, all one size from knuckle to nail. The
same with watch-making and other trades reputed masculine; they beat the
men's heads off at learning many kinds of fingerwork new to both;
their singular patience stood them in good stead here; they undermined
difficulties that the males tried to jump over and fell prostrate.

A great treat was in store; one of the fruit-trees he had planted in the
huge fallow of ---- Jail was to be shaken this afternoon. Two or
three well-disposed prisoners had been set to review their past lives
candidly, and to relate them simply, with reflections. Of these Mr. Eden
cut out every one which had been put in to please him, retaining such as
were sober and seemed genuine to his lynx eye.

Mr. Eden knew that some men and women listen more to their fellows than
their superiors--to the experiences and sentiments of those who are in
their own situation, than to those who stand higher but farther away. He
had found out that a bad man's life honestly told is a beacon. So he set
"roguery teaching by examples."

There were three male narratives in the press and two female. For a day
or two past the printers (all women) had been setting up the type and
now the sheets were to be struck off.

There was no little expectation among the prisoners. They were curious
to see their compeers in print, and to learn their stories, and see how
they would tell them; and as for the writers, their bodies were immured,
but their minds fluttered about on tip-toe round the great engine of
publicity, as the author of the "Novum Organon" fluttered when he first
went into print, and as the future authoress of "Lives and Careers of
Infants in Arms" will flutter.

The press stood in the female-governor's room. One she-artisan, duly
taught before, inked the type and put in a blank sheet.

No. 2 pulled the bar of the press toward her, and at the moment of
contact threw herself back with sudden vigor and gave the telling knip;
the types were again covered with ink, the sheet reversed, and No. 3
(one of the writers) drew out a printed sheet--two copies of two stories
complete.

"Oh! oh! oh!" cried No. 3, flushing with surprise and admiration, "how
beautiful! See, your reverence, here is mine--'Life of an Unfortunate
Girl.'"

"Yes, I see it. And pray what do you mean by an unfortunate girl?"

"Oh, sir! you know."

"Unfortunate means one whom we are bound to respect as well as pity. Has
that been your character?"

"No," was the mournful reply.

"Then why print a falsehood? Falsehoods lurk in adjectives as well as
substantives. Misapplied terms are strongholds of self-deception. Nobody
says, 'I am unfortunate, therefore I abhor myself and repent in dust
and ashes.' Such words are fortifications to keep self-knowledge and its
brother repentance from the soul."

"Oh, sir! what am I to call myself?" She hid her face in her hands.

"My dear, you told me a week ago you were--a penitent."

"So I am, indeed I am. Sir, may I change it to 'a penitent girl?'"

"You would make me very happy if you could do it with truth."

"Then I can, indeed I can." And she took out "an unfortunate," and put
in "a penitent."

"There," said she, glowing with exultation and satisfaction, "'Life of a
Penitent Girl.'"

Oh; it was a pretty sight. Their little hearts were all in it. Their
little spirits rose visibly as the work went on--such beaming eyes--such
glowing cheeks and innocent looks of sparkling triumph to their friend
and father, who smiled back like Jupiter, and quizzings of each other to
stimulate to greater speed.

In went the sheets, on went the press, out came the tales, up grew the
pile, amid quips and cranks and rays of silver-toned laughter, social
labor's natural music. They were all so innocent and so happy, when the
door was unceremoniously opened, and in burst Fry and Hodges, followed
by Evans crawling with his eyes on the ground.

The work-women looked astonished, but did not interrupt their work.
Fry came up to Mr. Eden and gave him a slip of paper on which Hawes
had written an order that all work not expressly authorized by the law
should be expelled from the jail on the instant.

Mr. Eden perused the order, and the color rose to the roots of his hair.
By way of comment Fry put the prison-rules under his eye.

"Anything about printing, or weaving, or watchmaking in these rules,
sir?"

Mr. Eden was silent.

"Perhaps you will cast your eye over 'em and see, sir," continued Fry
slyly. "Shouldn't like to offend the law again."

Mr. Eden took the paper, but not to read it--he knew it by heart. It was
to hide his anguish from the enemy. Hawes had felled him with his own
weapon. He put down the paper and showed his face, which was now stern
and composed.

"What we are doing is against the letter of the law, as your pillory
and your starvation of prisoners are against both letter and spirit.
Mr. Hawes shall find no excuse for his illegal practices in any act of
mine."

He then turned to the artisans. "Girls, you must leave off."

"Leave off, sir?" cried No. 3 faintly.

"Yes, no words; obey the prison-rules; they do not allow it."

"Come, my birds," shouted Hodges roughly to the women. "Stand clear, we
want this gear."

"What do you want of it, Mr. Hodges?"

"Only to put it outside the prison-gate, sir. That is the order."

The printing-press, representative of knowledge, enemy of darkness,
stupidity, cruelty; organ of civilization--was ignominiously thrust to
the door.

This feat performed, they went to attack anti-theft.

"Will you come along with us, sir, to see it is all legal?" sneered Fry.

"I will come to see that insolence is not added to cruelty."

At the door of Mary Baker's cell Mr. Eden hung back as Hodges and Fry
passed in. At last, after a struggle, he entered the cell. The turnkeys
had gathered up the girl's work and tools, and were coming out with
them, while the artisan stood desolate in the middle of the cell.

"Oh, sir," cried she to Mr. Eden, "I am glad you are here. These
blackguards have broke into my cell, and they are robbing it."

"Hush, Mary; what they are doing is the law, and we were acting against
the law."

"Were we, sir?"

"Yes. It is a bad law, and will be changed; but till it is changed we
must obey it. You are only one victim among many. Be patient, and pray
for help to bear it."

"Yes, your reverence. Are they all to be robbed of their tools?"

"All."

"Poor things!" said Mary Baker.

"Evans, it is beyond my strength--I am but a man; I can bear even this,
but I can't bear to see it done. I can't bear it! I can't bear it!"

And his reverence turned his back on the moral butchers, and crept away
to his own room. There he sank into a chair and laid his brow upon
the table with his hands stretched out before him and his whole frame
trembling most piteously.

Eden and Hawes are not level antagonists--one takes things to heart, the
other to temper.

In this bitter hour it seemed to him impossible that he could ever
counteract the pernicious Hawes.

"There is but one chance left for these poor souls. I shall try it,
and it will fail. Well! let it fail! Were there a thousand more chances
against me than there are I must battle to the last. Let me mature my
plan;" and he fell into a sad but stern reverie.

He lay thus crushed, though not defeated, more than two hours in
silence. Had Hawes seen him he would have exulted at his appearance.

"A man from the jail to speak to you, sir."

A heavy rap at the parlor door, and Evans came in sheepishly smoothing
down his hair. Mr. Eden turned his head as he lay on the sofa and
motioned him to a seat.

"I couldn't sleep till I had spoken to you. I obeyed your orders, sir.
We have undone your work."

"How did the poor souls bear it?"

"Some cried, some abused us, one or two showed they were better than we
are."

"How?"

"They prayed Heaven to forgive us and hoped we might never come to know
what they felt. I wish I'd never seen the inside of a jail. Fry got a
scratched face in one cell, sir."

"I am sorry to hear that. I shall have to scold her; who was it?"

"You won't scold her; you won't have the heart."

"I will scold her whether I have the heart or not. Who was it?"

"No. 57, a gal that had some caterpillars."

"Silkworms!"

"Yes, sir, silkworms, and it seems she has got to be uncommon fond of
them, calls 'em her children, poor soul. When we came in and went
to take them away she stood up for 'em and said we had no right--his
reverence gave them her."

"Well?"

"Well, sir, of course they made short work and took them away by force.
Then I saw the girl turn white and her eye getting wildish; however, I
don't know as it would have come to anything, but with them snatching
away the leaves and the grubs one of them fell on the ground. The poor
girl she goes to lift it up and Fry he sees her and put his foot on it
before she could get to it."

"Ah!"

"I dare say he didn't stop to think, you know; but I don't envy him
having done it. Well, sir, he paid for it. The girl just gave one sort
of a yell--you could not call it anything else--and she went right at
his head, both claws going and as quick one after another as a cat. The
blood squirted like a fountain--I never saw anything like it. She'd have
killed him if it hadn't been for Hodges and me."

"Killed him? nonsense--a great strong fellow!"

"No nonsense at all, sir. She was stronger than he was for a moment or
two and that moment would have done his business. She meant killing.
Sir," said Evans, lowering his voice, "her teeth were making for his
jugular when I wrenched her away, and it was like tearing soul from body
to get her off him, and she snarling and her teeth gnashing for him all
the time."

Mr. Eden winced.

"The wretched creature! I was putting her on the way to heaven, and in
one moment they made a fiend of her. Evans, you are not the same man you
were a month ago."

"No, sir, that I am not. When I think of what a brute I used to be to
them poor creatures, I don't seem to know myself."

"What has changed you?"

"Oh, you know very well."

"Do I? No; I have a guess; but--"

"Why your sermons, to be sure."

"My sermons?"

"Yes, sir. Why, how could I hear them and my heart be as hard as it
used? They would soften a stone."

A faint streak of surprise and simple satisfaction crossed Mr. Eden's
sallow face.

"But it isn't your sermons only--it is your life, as the saying is.
I was no better than Hawes and Fry and the rest. I used to look on a
prisoner as so much dirt. But when I saw a gentleman like you respect
them, and say openly you loved them, I began to take a thought, and says
I, Hallo! if his reverence respects them so, an ignorant brute like Jack
Evans isn't to look down on them."

"Ah! confess, too, that half hour in the jacket opened your eyes and so
your heart."

"It did, sir; it did. I was like a good many more that misuse prisoners.
I didn't know how cruel I was."

"You are on my side, then?"

"Yes, I am on your side, and I am come here mainly to speak my mind to
you. Sir, it goes to my heart to see you lost and wasted in such a place
as this."

"You think I do no good here?"

"No! no! sir. Why I am a proof the other way. But you would do more good
anywhere else. Everybody says you are a bright and a shining light,
sir. Then why stay where there is dirty water thrown over you every day?
Besides, it is killing you! I don't want to frighten you, sir; but if
you could only see how you are changed since you came here--"

"I do feel very ill."

"Of course you do; you are ill, and you will be worse if you don't get
out of this dreadful place. If you are so fond of prisons, sir, you
can go from here to another prison. There is more than one easy-going
chaplain as would be glad to change with you.

"Do you think so?" said Mr. Eden faintly, lying on his back on the sofa.

"Not a doubt of it. If it warn't for Hawes you would convert half this
prison; but you see, the governor is against you, and he is stronger
than you. So it is no good to go wasting yourself. Now, what will be the
upshot? Why, you'll break your heart to begin, and lose your health; and
when all is done, at a word from Hawes the justices will turn you out of
the jail--and send me after you for taking your part."

"What do you advise?"

"Why, cut it."

"Cut it?"

"Turn your back on the whole ignorant lot, and save yourself for better
things. Why, you will win many a battle yet, your reverence, if you
don't fling yourself away this time," said Evans in tones of homely
cheerfulness and encouragement.

There was a deal of good sense in the rough fellow's words and a homely
sympathy not intruded but rather, as it were, forcing its way against
the speaker's intention. All this co-operated powerfully with Mr. Eden's
present inclination and feeling as he lay sick and despondent upon the
couch.

"So that is really your advice?" inquired Mr. Eden, feebly and
regretfully.

"Yes, your reverence, that is my advice."

Mr. Eden rose in a moment like an elastic spring, and whirled round in
front of Evans. "And this is my answer--RETRO SATANAS!" shouted he, with
two eyes flashing like a pair of sabers in the sun.

"Mercy on us," roared Evans, recoiling so hastily that he rolled over
a chair, "what is that?" and he sat upon the floor a long way off, with
eyes like saucers, and repeated in a whisper, "what is that?"

"A quotation," replied the other grimly.

"A quotation! now only think of that" said Evans, much relieved.
"Sounded like cussing and swearing in Latin."

"Come here, my good friend, and sit beside me."

Evans came gingerly.

"Well, but ye mustn't thunder at me in Latin any more."

"Well, I won't."

"It isn't fair; how can I stand up against Latin?"

"Well, come here and I'll have at you in the vulgar tongue. Aha! So
you come in robust health and spirits and tempt a poor, broken, sick
creature to mount the white feather; to show his soldierly qualities by
running from the foe to some cool spot where there are no enemies, and
there fighting the good fight in peace. Evans, you are a good creature,
but you are a poor creature. Yes, Hawes is strong, yet I will resist
him. And I am weak--yet I will resist. He will get the justices on his
side--yet I will resist. I am sick and dispirited--yet I will resist.
The representative of humanity and Christianity in a stronghold of
darkness and cruelty and wrong must never sag with doubt nor shake with
fear. I will fight with pen and hand and tongue against these outlaws,
so long as there is a puff of wind in my body, and a drop of indomitable
blood in my veins."

"No doubt you are game enough," mourned Evans; "I wish you wern't."

"And as for you, you came here to seduce a sick, broken creature from
his Master's service; you shall remain to be enlisted in it yourself
instead."

Evans shuffled uneasily on his chair at these words. "I think I am on
your side," said he.

"Half! but it is no use being half anything; your hour is come to choose
between all right and all wrong."

"I wouldn't be long choosing if it warn't for one thing."

"And what is that one thing which can outweigh the one thing needful?"

"My wife and my four children; if I get myself turned out of this jail
how am I to find bread for that small lot?"

"And do you think shilly-shallying between two stools will secure your
seat? You have gone too far with me to retract; don't you see that the
jailer means to get you dismissed the next time the justices visit the
jail for business? Can't you read your fate in the man's eye?"

Evans groaned. "I read it, I read it, but I didn't want to believe it."

"He set a trap for you half an hour after you had defended me."

"He did! I told my wife I was a gone coon, but she overpersuaded me;
'Keep quiet,' said she, 'and 'twill blow over.' But you see it in the
same light as I did, don't you, sir?"

Mr. Eden smiled grimly in assent.

"You are a doomed man," said he coolly; "half measures can't save you,
but whole measures may--perhaps."

"What is to be done, sir?" asked Evans helplessly.

"Your only chance is to go heart and hand with me in the project which
occupies me now."

"I will, sir," cried Fluctuans, with a sudden burst of resolution, "for
I'm druv in a corner. So please tell me what is your project?"

"To get Mr. Hawes dismissed from this jail."

As he uttered these words the reverend gentleman had a severe spasm
which forced him to lie back and draw his breath hard. Evans uttered
something between a cry of dismay and a groan of despair, and stared
down upon this audacious invalid with wonder and ire at his supernatural
but absurd cool courage.

"Turn our governor out of this jail? Now hark to that. You might as well
try to move a mountain; and look at you lying there scarce able to move
yourself, and talking like that."

"Pour me out a cup of tea, Mr. Faintheart; I am in great pain--thank
you."

He took the cup, and as he stirred it he said coolly, "Did you ever read
of Marshal Saxe, Mr. Faintheart? He fought the battle of Fontenoy as he
lay a dying. He had himself carried on his bed of death from one part
of the field to another; at first the fight went against him, but he
spurned craven counsels with his expiring heart; he saw the enemy's
blunder with his dying eye, and waved his troops on to victory with his
dying hand. This is one of the great feats of earth. But the soldiers
of Christ are as stout-hearted as any man that ever carried a marshal's
baton or a sergeant's pike. Yes! I am ill, and I feel as if I were
dying, Evans; but living or dying I am the Lord's. I will fight for Him
to the last gasp, and I will thrust this malefactor from his high office
with the last action of my hand--Will you help me, or will you not?"

"I will, sir! I will! What on earth can I do?"

"You can turn the balanced scale and win the day!"

"Can I, sir?" cried Evans, greatly puzzled.

"You will find some wine in that cupboard, my man; fill yourself a
tumbler. I will sip my tea, and explain myself. You think this Hawes is
a mountain;--no! he is a large pumpkin hollow at the core. You think him
strong;--no! he but seems so, because some of the many at whose mercy he
is are so weak. There is a flaw in Hawes, which must break him sooner or
later. He is a felon. The law hangs over his head by a single hair; he
has forfeited his office, and will be turned out of it the moment we can
find among his many superiors one man with one grain either of honesty
or intelligence."

"But how shall we find that, sir?"

"By looking for it everywhere, till we find it somewhere. Mr. Hawes
tells me, in other words, that the visiting justices do not possess the
one grain we require. I profit by the intelligence the enemy was weak
enough to give me, and I go--not to the visiting justices. To-morrow, if
my case is ready, I send a memorial to the Home-Office, accuse Hawes of
felonious practices, and demand an inquiry."

Evans's eye sparkled; he began to gather strength from the broken man.

"But now comes the difficulty. A man should never strike a feeble blow.
My appeal will be read by half-educated clerks. If I don't advance
something that the small official mind can take in, I shall never reach
the heads of the office. It would be madness to begin by attacking
national prejudices, by combating a notion so stupid, and therefore so
deep-rooted, as that prisoners have no legal rights. No! the pivot of my
assault must be something that a boy can afford to be able to comprehend
for eighty pounds a year and a clerk's desk in a Government office.
Now, Mr. Hawes has, for many months past, furnished false reports to the
justices and to the Home-Office. Here is the true stepping-stone to an
inquiry, here is the fact to tell on the official mind; for the man's
cruelty and felonious practices are only offenses against God and the
law; but a false report is an offense against the office. And here I
need your help."

"You shall have it, sir."

"I want to be able to prove this man's reports to be lies. I think such
a proof exists," said Mr. Eden, very thoughtfully. "Now, if it does, you
alone can get hold of it for me. One of the turnkeys notes down every
punishment of a prisoner in a small pocket-book, for I have seen him."

"Yes, sir; Fry does--never misses!"

"What becomes of those notes?"

"I don't know."

"What if he keeps a book and enters everything in it?"

"But if he had, shouldn't we have caught a glimpse of it?"

"Humph! A man does not take notes constantly and destroy them. Fry, too,
is an enthusiast in his way. I am sure he keeps a record, and if he does
it is a true one, for he has no object in tampering with his own facts.
Bring me such a book or any record kept by Fry; let me have it for
twelve hours and Hawes shall be turned out of the jail and you stay in
it."

"Sir!" cried Evans, in great excitement, "if there is such a thing you
shall see it to-morrow morning."

"No! to-night! come, you have an hour before you. Do you want the sinews
of war? here, take this five pounds with you; you may have to buy a
sight of it; but if you ask him whether I am right in telling you it
is not the custom of jails to crucify prisoners in the present century,
perhaps the barbarian will produce his record of abuses to prove to you
that it is. Work how you please; but be wary--be intelligent, and bring
me Fry's ledger--or never look me in the face again."

He waved his hand, and Evans strode out of the room animated with
a spirit not his own. He who had animated him lay back on the sofa
prostrated. Half an hour elapsed, no Evans; a quarter of an hour more,
still no Evans; but just before the hour struck, in he burst out of
breath but red with triumph.

"Your reverence is a witch--you can see in the dark--look here, sir!"
and he flung a dirty ledger on the table. "Here's all the money, sir. He
did not get a farthing of it. I flattered the creature's pride, and
he dropped the cheese into my hand like the old carrion crow when they
asked him for one of his charming songs. But he had no notion it was
going out of the jail; so you'll bring it in and give it me back the
first thing to-morrow, sir. I must run back, time's up!--Good-night,
your reverence. Am I on your side or whose?"

"Good-night, my fine fellow; you shan't be turned out of the jail now.
Good-night."

He wanted him gone. He went to a drawer and took out his own book, a
copy of Hawes's public log-book, which he had made as soon as he
came into the jail, with the simple view of guiding himself by the
respectable precedents he innocently expected to find there. He lighted
candles, placed his sheets by the side of Fry's well-thumbed ledger, and
plunged into a comparison.

It was as he expected. On one side lay the bare, simple, brutal truth
in Fry's hand, on the other the same set of facts colored, molded and
cooked in every imaginable way to bear inspection, with occasional
suppressions where the deed and consequences were too frightful to bear
coloring, molding, extenuating or cooking.

The book was a thick quarto, containing a strict record of the prison
for four years; two years of Captain O'Connor, and two of Hawes, the
worthy who had supplanted him.

Mr. Eden was a rapid penman; he set to, and by half-past eleven
o'clock he had copied the first part; for under O'Connor there were
comparatively few punishments. Then he attacked Hawes's reign. Sheet
after sheet was filled and numbered. He threw them on another table as
each was filled. Three o'clock; still he wrote with all his might. Four
o'clock; black spots danced before his eyes, and his fingers ached, and
his brow burned, and his feet were ice. Still the light, indefatigable
pen galloped along the paper. Meantime the writer's feelings were of
the most mixed and extraordinary character. Often his eye flashed with
triumph, as Fry exposed the dishonesty and utter mendacity of Hawes.
Oftener still it dilated with horror at the frightful nature of the very
revelations. At six o'clock Fry's record was all copied out.

Mr. Eden shaved and took his bath, and ran into the town. He knocked up
a solicitor, with whom he was acquainted.

"I want you to make my will, while your son attests this copy of this
ledger."

"But my son is in bed."

"Well! he can read in bed. Which is his room?"

"That one."--Rap! (Come in.)

"Here, Mr. Edward, compare these two, and correct or attest this as
a true copy--Twenty minutes' work--Two guineas; here they are on your
drawers;" and he chucked the documents on the bed, opened the shutters,
and drew the bed-curtains; and passing his arm under the father's, he
drew him into his own office, opened the shutters, put paper before
him, and dictated a will. Three bequests (one to Evans), and his mother
residuary legatee. The will written, he ran upstairs, made father and
son execute it, and then darted out, caught a fly that was going to the
railway, engaged it; upstairs again. The work was done, copy attested.

"Half a crown if you are at the jail in five minutes."

Galloped off with his two documents-entered the jail--went to his own
room--sent for Evans--gave him Fry's book, and ordered himself the same
breakfast the prisoners had.

"I am bilious, and no wonder. I have been living too luxuriously; if I
had been content with the diet my poor brothers live on, I should be in
better health. It serves me just right."

Then he sat down and wrote a short memorial to the Secretary for the
Home Department, claiming an inquiry into the jailer's conduct.

"I have evidence on the spot to show that for two years he has been
guilty of illegal practices. That he has introduced into the prison an
unlawful instrument of torture. That during his whole period of office
he has fabricated partial, colored and false reports of his actions in
the prison, and also of their consequences; that he has suppressed all
mention of no less than seven attempts at suicide, and has given a false
color, both with respect to the place of death, the manner of death and
the cause of death of some twenty prisoners besides. That his day-book,
kept in the prison for the inspection and guide of the magistrates, is
a tissue of frauds, equivocations, exaggerations, diminutions and direct
falsehoods; that his periodical reports to the Home Office are a tissue
of the same frauds, suppressions, inventions, and direct falsehoods.

"The truth, therefore, is inaccessible to you, except by a severe
inquiry conducted on the spot. That inquiry I pray for on public
grounds, and if need be, demand in my own person, as her majesty's
servant driven to this strait.

"I am responsible to her majesty for the lives and well-being of the
prisoners, and yet unable, without your intervention, to protect them
against illegal violence covered by organized fraud."

Mr. Eden copied this, and sent the copy at once to Mr. Hawes with two
lines to this effect, that the duplicate should not leave the town till
seven in the evening, so Mr. Hawes had plenty of time to write to the
Home Secretary by same post, and parry or meet this blow if he thought
it worth his while.

It now remained only to post the duplicate for the Home Office. Mr. Eden
directed it and waxed it, but even as he leaned over it sealing it the
room suddenly became dark to him, and his head seemed to weigh a ton.
With an instinct of self-preservation he made for the sofa, which was
close behind him, but before he could reach it his senses had left him,
and he fell with his head and shoulders upon the couch but his feet on
the floor, the memorial tight in his hand. He paid the penalty of being
a blood-horse--he ran till he dropped.



CHAPTER XVII.

"Two ladies to see you," grunted the red-haired servant, throwing open
the door without ceremony; and she actually bounced out again without
seeing anything more than that her master was lying on the sofa.

Susan Merton and her aunt came rapidly and cheerfully into the room.

"Here we are, Mr. Eden, Aunt Davies and I--Oh!" The table being between
the sofa and the door the poor gentleman's actual condition was not
self-evident from the latter, but Susan was now in the middle of the
room and her gayety gave way in a moment to terror.

"Why, the man has fainted!" cried Mrs. Davies hurriedly. Susan clasped
her hands together and turned very pale; but for all that she was the
first at Mr. Eden's head; "he is choking! he is choking! help me, aunt,
help me!" but even while crying for help her nimble fingers had untied
and flung away Mr. Eden's white neck-tie, which, being high and stiff,
was doing him a very ill turn, as the air forcing itself violently
through his nostrils plainly showed.

"Take his legs, aunt; oh! oh! oh!"

"Don't be a fool, girl, it is only a faint." Susan flew to the window
and threw it open, then flew back and seized one end of the couch. Her
aunt comprehended at a glance, and the two carried it with its burden to
the window.

"Open the door, aunt," cried Susan, as she whipped out her scent-bottle
and with her finger wetted the inside of his nostrils with the spirit
as the patient lay in the thorough draught. Susan sobbed with sorrow and
fear, but her emotion was far from disabling her.

She poured some of her scent into a water-glass and diluted it largely.
She made her aunt take a hand-screen from the mantel-piece. She plunged
her hand into the liquid and flung the drops sharply into Mr. Eden's
face; and Mrs. Davies fanned him rapidly at the same time.

These remedies had a speedy effect. First the film cleared from the
patient's bright eye, then a little color diffused itself gradually over
his cheek, and last his lips lost their livid tint. As soon as she saw
him coming to, Susan composed herself; and Mr. Eden, on his return to
consciousness, looked up and saw a beautiful young woman looking down on
him with a cheerful, encouraging smile and wet cheeks.

"Ah!" sighed he, and put out his hand faintly to welcome Susan; "but
what--how do I come here?"

"You have been a little faint," said Susan smiling, "but you are better
now, you know!"

"Yes, thank you! how good of you to come! Who is this lady?"

"My aunt, sir--a very notable woman. See, she is setting your things to
rights already. Aunt, I wonder at you!"

She then dipped the corner of her handkerchief in scent, and slightly
coloring now that her patient was conscious, she made the spirit enter
his nostrils.

He gave a sigh of languid pleasure--"That is so invigorating." Then he
looked upward--"See how good God is to me! in my sore need He has sent
me help. Oh! how pleasant is the face of a friend. By-the-way, I took
you for an angel at first," added he naively.

"But you have come to your senses now, sir! ha! ha! ha!" cried busy,
merry Mrs. Davies, hard at work. For as soon as the patient began
visibly to return to life, she had turned her back on him and fallen on
the furniture.

"I hope you are come to stay with me." As Susan was about to answer in
the negative, Mrs. Davies made signals for a private conference; and
after some whispering, Susan replied, "that her aunt wanted to put the
house in apple-pie order, and that she, Susan, felt too anxious about
him to go until he should be quite recovered."

"In that case, ladies," said he, "I consecrate to you my entire second
floor, three rooms," and he rang the bell and said to the servant, "Take
your orders from these ladies, and show them the second floor."

While his visitors were examining their apartments, Mr. Eden sought a
little rest, and had no sooner dropped upon his bed than sleep came to
his relief.

He slept for nearly four hours; at first soundly, then dozing and
dreaming. While he slept a prisoner sent for him, but Susan would not
have him awakened for that.

By-and-by Susan went into the town, leaving her aunt sole guardian.

"Now, aunt," said she, "don't let him be disturbed whoever comes for
him. It is as much as his life is worth!"

"Well, then, I won't! there."

Susan had not been long gone when a turnkey called, and was shown into
the parlor where Mrs. Davies was very busy. He looked about him and told
her he had called for a book Mr. Eden promised him.

"Mr. Eden is asleep."

"Asleep at this time of day?" said the man incredulously.

"Yes, asleep," answered Mrs. Davies sharply; "is he never to have any
sleep?"

"Well, perhaps you will tell him Mr. Fry has come for the book as
requested."

"Couldn't think of disturbing him for that, Mr. Fry," replied Mrs.
Davies, not intermitting her work for a single moment.

"Very well, ma'am!" said Mr. Fry, in dudgeon. "I never was here before,
and I shan't ever come again--that is all--" and off he went. Mrs.
Davies showed her dismay at this threat by dusting on without once
taking her eye or her mind off her job.

It was eight o'clock. Mr. Eden woke and found it almost dark.

He rose immediately. "Why, I have slept the day away," thought he in
dismay, "and my memorial to the Home Office; it is past post time, and I
have not sent it." He came hastily downstairs and entered the parlor; he
found it in a frightful state. All the chairs were in the middle of
the room, every part of which was choked up except a pathway three feet
broad that ran by the side of the wall all round it. From this path all
access into the interior was blocked by the furniture, which now stood
upon an area frightfully diminished by this loss of three feet taken
from each wall. Mrs. Davies was a character--a notable woman. Mr. Eden's
heart sank at the sight.

To find himself put to rights gives a bachelor an innocent pleasure,
but the preliminary process of being put entirely to wrongs crushes his
soul. "Another fanatic let loose on me," thought he, "and my room is
like a road that is just mended, as they call it." He peered about here
and there through a grove of chairs whose legs were kicking in the air
as they sat bosom downward upon their brethren, but he could see no
memorial. He rang the bell and inquired of the servant whether she had
seen it. While he was describing it to her Mrs. Davies broke in:

"I saw it--I picked it up off the floor--it was lying between the sofa
and the table."

"And what did you do with it?"

"Why, dusted it, to be sure."

"But where did you put it?"

"On the table, I suppose."

Another search and no memorial.

"Somebody has taken it."

"But who? has anybody been in this room since?"

"Plenty. You don't get much peace here, I should say; but Susan gave the
order you were not to be disturbed."

"This won't do," thought Mr. Eden.

"Who has been here?" said he to the servant.

"Mr. Fry is the only one that came into this room."

"Mr. Fry!" said Mr. Eden, with some surprise.

"Ay! ay!" cried Mrs. Davies. "I remember now there was an ill-looking
fellow of that name here talking to me, pretending you had promised him
a book."

"But I did promise him a book."

"Oh, you did, did you! well he looked like a thief, perhaps he
has--goodness gracious me, I hope there was no money in it," and Mrs.
Davies lost her ruddy color in a moment.

"No! no! it was only a letter, but of great importance."

Another violent search at the risk of shins and hands.

"That Fry has taken it. I never saw such a hang-dog looking fellow."

Mr. Eden was much vexed; but he had a trick of blaming himself, Heaven
only knows where he caught it. "My own forgetfulness; even if the paper
had not been lost I had allowed post-time to go by--and Mr. Hawes will
anticipate me with the Home Secretary." He sighed.

In so severe a struggle he was almost as reluctant to give an unfair
advantage as to take one.

He ordered a fire in his little back parlor; and with a sigh sat down
to rewrite his memorial and to try and recover, if he could, the exact
words, and save the next post that left in the morning.

As Mr. Eden sat trying to recover the words of his memorial, Hawes was
seated in Mr. Williams' study at Ashtown Park, concerting with that
worthy magistrate the best way of turning the new chaplain out of
---- Jail. He found no difficulty. Mr. Williams had two very strong
prejudices, one in favor of Hawes personally, the other in favor of the
system pursued this two years in that jail. Egotism was here, too, and
rendered these prejudices almost impregnable. Williams had turned out
O'Connor and his milder system, and put in Hawes and his more rigorous
one. Hawes was "my man--his system mine."

He told his story, and Williams burned to avenge his injured friend,
whose patron and director he called himself, and whose tool he was.

"Nothing can be done until the twenty-fifth, when Palmer returns. We
must be all there for an act of this importance. Do your duty as you
always have, carry out the discipline, and send for me if he gives you
any great annoyance in the meantime."

That zealous servant of her majesty, earnest Mr. Hawes, had never
taken a day's holiday before. No man could accuse him of indolence,
carelessness, or faint discharge of the task he had appointed himself.
He perverted his duties too much to neglect them. He had been reluctant
to leave the prison on a personal affair. The drive, however, was
pleasant, and he returned freshened and animated by assurances of
support from the magistrate.

As he strode across the prison yard to inspect everything before going
to his house, he felt invulnerable and sneered at himself for the
momentary uneasiness he had let a crack-brained parson give him. He went
home; there was a nice fire, a clean-swept hearth, a glittering brass
kettle on the hob for making toddy, and three different kinds of spirits
in huge cruets. For system reigned in the house as well as the jail,
with this difference, that the house system was devoted to making self
comfortable the jail system to making others wretched.

He rang the bell. In came the servant with slippers and candles
unlighted, for he was wont to sip his grog by fire-light. He put on his
slippers. Then he mixed his grog. Then he noticed a paper on the table,
and putting it to the fire he found it was sealed. So he lighted the
candles and placed them a little behind him. Then he stirred his grog
and sipped it, and placing it close beside him, leaned back with a grunt
of satisfaction, opened the paper, read it first slowly, then all in a
flutter, started up as if he was going to act upon some impulse; but
the next moment sat down again and stared wildly a picture of stupid
consternation.

Meantime, as Mr. Eden with a heavy heart was writing himself
out--nauseous task--Susan stood before him with a color like a rose. She
was in a brown cloak, from under which she took out a basket brimful of
little packages, some in blue, some in white paper.

"These are grits," said she, "and these are arrowroot."

"I know--one of the phases of the potato."

"Oh! for shame, Mr. Eden. Well, I never! And I posted your letter, sir."

"What letter? what letter?"

"The long one. I found it on the table."

"You don't mean you posted that letter?"

"Why, it was to go, wasn't it?"

"Yes, it was to go, but it was wonderfully intelligent of you."

"La! Mr. Eden, don't talk so; you make me ashamed. Why, there was
'immediate' written on it in your own hand. Was I to wake you up to
ask whether that meant it was to stay here immediate, or go to London
immediate?" Then she pondered a moment. "He thinks I am a fool," said
she, in quiet explanation, without a shade of surprise or anger.

"Well! Susan, my dear friend, you don't know what a service you have
done me!"

Susan glittered with pleasure.

"There!" cried he, "you have spared me this most unpleasant task," and
he flung his unfinished papers into a basket. Mr. Eden congratulated
himself in his way, i.e., thanked Heaven Susan had come there; the
next thing was, he had a twinge of conscience. "I half suspected Fry
of taking it in the interest of Hawes, his friend. Poor Fry, who is a
brute, but as honest a man as myself, every bit. He shall have his book,
at all events. I'll put his name on it that I mayn't forget it again."
Mr. Eden took the book from its shelf, wrapped it in paper, and wrote on
the cover, "For Mr. Fry from F. Eden." As the incidents of the day are
ended, I may as well relate what this book was and how Fry came to ask
for it.

The book was "Uncle Tom," a story which discusses the largest human
topic that ever can arise; for the human race is bisected into black and
white. Nowadays a huge subject greatly treated receives justice from the
public, and "Uncle Tom" is written in many places with art, in all with
red ink and with the biceps muscle.

Great by theme, and great by skill, and greater by a writer's soul
honestly flung into its pages, "Uncle Tom," to the surprise of many that
twaddle traditional phrases in reviews and magazines about the art of
fiction, and to the surprise of no man who knows anything about the art
of fiction, was all the rage. Not to have read it was like not to have
read the _Times_ for a week.

Once or twice during the crucifixion of a prisoner Mr. Eden had said
bitterly to Fry, "Have you read 'Uncle Tom?'"

"No!" would Fry grunt.

But one day that the question was put to him he asked, with some
appearance of interest, "Who is Uncle Tom?"

Then Mr. Eden began to reflect. "Who knows? The cases are in a great
measure parallel. Prisoners are a tabooed class in England, as are
blacks in some few of the United States. The lady writes better than I
can talk. If she once seizes his sympathies by the wonderful power of
fiction, she will touch his conscience through his heart. This disciple
of Legree is fortified against me; Mrs. Stowe may take him off his
guard. He said slyly to Fry, 'Not know Uncle Tom! Why it is a most
interesting story--a charming story. There are things in it, too, that
meet your case.'"

"Indeed, sir."

"It is a book you will like. Shall I lend it you?"

"If you please, sir. Nights are drawing in now."

"I will, then."

And he would; but that frightful malady, jaundice, among its other
feats, impairs the patient's memory; and he forgot all about it. So
Fry, whose curiosity was at last excited, came for the book. The rest we
know.



CHAPTER XVIII.

MR. HAWES went about the prison next day morose and melancholy. He spoke
to no one, and snapped those who spoke to him. He punished no prisoner
all day, but he looked at them as a wolf at fortified sheep. He did not
know what to do to avert the blow he had drawn so perseveringly on
his own head. At one time he thought of writing to the Home Office and
aspersing his accuser; then he regretted his visit to Ashtown Park.
"What an unlucky dog I am! I go to see a man that I was sure of before I
went, and while I am gone the ---- parson steals a march on me. He will
beat me! If I hadn't been a fool I should have seen what a dangerous
devil he is. No putting him out of temper and no putting him out of
heart! He will beat me! The zealous services of so many years won't save
me with an ungrateful Government. I shall lose my stipend!"

For a while even stout-hearted, earnest Mr. Hawes was depressed with
gloom and bitter foreboding; but he had a resource in trouble good Mr.
Eden in similar case had not.

In the despondency of his soul he turned--to GROG.

Under the inspiration of that deity he prepared for a dogged defense. He
would punish no more prisoners, let them do what they might, and then
if an inquiry should take place he would be in case to show that by his
past severities he had at last brought his patients to such perfection
that weeks had elapsed without a single punishment. With this and the
justices' good word he would weather the storm yet.

Thus passed three days without one of those assaults on prisoners he
called punishment; but this enforced forbearance made him hate his
victims. He swore at them, he threatened them all round, and with deep
malice he gave open orders to punish which he secretly countermanded, so
that in fact he did punish, for blows suspended over the head fall upon
the soul. Thus he made his prisoners share his gloom. He was unhappy; he
was dull; robbed of an excitement which had become butter to his daily
bread.

All prison life is dull. Chaplain, turnkeys, jailers, all who live in
prisons are prisoners. Barren of mental resources, too stupid to see far
less read the vast romance that lay all round him, every cell a volume;
too mindless to comprehend his own grand situation on a salient of
the State and of human nature, and to discern the sacred and endless
pleasures to be gathered there, this unhappy dolt, flung into a lofty
situation by shallow blockheads, who like himself saw in a jail nothing
greater nor more than a "place of punishment," must still like his
prisoners and the rest of us have some excitement to keep him from
going dead. What more natural than that such a nature should find its
excitement in tormenting, and that by degrees this excitement should
become first a habit then a need? Growth is the nature of habit, not of
one sort or another but of all--even of an unnatural habit. Gin grows on
a man--charity grows on a man--tobacco grows on a man--blood grows on a
man.

At a period of the Reign of Terror the Parisians got to find a day weary
without the guillotine. If by some immense fortuity there came a
day when they were not sprinkled with innocent blood the poor souls
s'ennuyaient. This was not so much thirst for any particular liquid
as the habit of excitement. Some months before, dancing, theaters,
boulevard, etc., would have made shift to amuse these same hearts, as
they did some months after when the red habit was worn out. Torture
had grown upon stupid, earnest Hawes; it seasoned that white of egg, a
mindless existence.

Oh! how dull he felt these three deplorable days, barren of groans, and
white faces, and livid lips, and fellow-creatures shamming,* and the
bucket.

     * A generic term for swooning, or sickening, or going mad,
     in a prison.

Mr. Hawes had given a sulky order that the infirmary should be prepared
for the sick, and now on the afternoon of the third day the surgeon had
met him there by appointment.

"Will they get well any quicker here?" asked Hawes ironically.

"Why, certainly," replied the other.

Hawes gave a dissatisfied grunt.

"I hate moving prisoners out of the cells; but I suppose I shall get you
into trouble if I don't."

"Indeed!" said the other, with an inquiring air; "how?"

"Parson threatens you very hard for letting the sick ones lie in their
cells," said Hawes slyly. "But never mind, old boy--I shall stand
your friend and the justices mine. We shall beat him yet," said Hawes,
assuming a firmness he did not feel lest this man should fall away from
him and perhaps bear witness against him.

"I think you have beat him already," replied the other calmly.

"What do you mean?"

"I have just come from Mr. Eden. He sent for me."

"What, isn't he well?"

"I wish he'd die! But there is no chance of that."

"Well, there is always a chance of a man dying who has got a bilious
fever."

"Why you don't mean he is seriously ill?" cried Hawes in excitement.

"I don't say that, but he has got a sharp attack."

Mr. Hawes examined the speaker's face. It was as legible as a book from
the outside. He went from the subject to one or two indifferent matters,
but he could not keep long from what was uppermost.

"Sawyer," said he, "you and I have always been good friends."

"Yes, Mr. Hawes."

"I have never been hard upon you. You ought to be here every day, but
the pay is small and I have never insisted on it, because I said he
can't afford to leave patients that pay."

"No, Mr. Hawes, and I am much obliged to you."

"Are you? Then tell me--between ourselves now--how ill is he?"

"He has got bilious fever consequent upon jaundice."

Hawes lowered his voice. "Is he in danger?"

"In danger? Why, no, not at present."

"Oh! then it is only an indisposition after all."

"It is a great deal more than that--it is fever and bile."

"Can't you tell me in two words how ill he is?"

"Not till I see how the case turns."

"When will you be able to say then?"

"When the disorder declares itself more fully."

Hawes exploded in an oath. "You humbugs of doctors couldn't speak plain
to save yourselves from hanging."

There was some truth in this ill-natured excuse. After fifteen years
given to the science of obscurity Mr. Sawyer literally could not speak
plain all in one moment.

The next morning there was no service in the chapel, the chaplain was in
bed. This spoke for itself, and Hawes wore a look of grim satisfaction
at the announcement.

But this was not all. In the afternoon came a letter from Mr. Williams
with a large inclosure signed by her majesty's secretary's secretary,
and written by her secretary's secretary's secretary.

Its precise contents will be related elsewhere. Its tendency may be
gathered from this.

Hawes had no sooner read it than exultation painted itself on his
countenance.

"Close the infirmary and bring me the key. And you, Fry, put these
numbers on the cranks to-morrow." He scribbled with his pencil, and gave
him a long list of the proscribed.

No Mr. Eden shone now upon Mr. Robinson's solitude. He waited, and
waited, and hoped till the day ended, but no! The next day the same
thing. He longed for Mr. Eden's hour to come; it came, but not with
it came his one bit of sunshine, his excitement, his amusement, his
consolation, his friend, his brother, his all. And so one heavy day
succeeded another, and Robinson became fretful, and very, very sad.
One day, as he sat disconsolate and foreboding in his cell, he heard a
stranger's voice talking to Fry outside. And what was more strange,
Fry appeared to be inviting this person to inspect the cells. The next
moment his door was opened, and a figure peeped timidly into the cell
from behind Fry, whose arm she clutched in some anxiety. Robinson looked
up--it was Susan Merton. She did not instantly know him in his prison
dress and his curly hair cut short; he hung his head, and this action
and the recognition it implied made her recognize him. "Oh!" cried she,
"it is Mr. Robinson!"

The thief turned his face to the wall. Even he was ashamed before one
who had known him as Mr. Robinson; but the next moment he got up and
said earnestly,

"Pray, Miss Merton, do me a favor--you had always a kind heart Ask that
man what has become of Mr. Eden--he will answer you."

"Mr. Robinson," cried Susan, "I have no need to ask Mr. Fry. I am
staying at Mr. Eden's house. He is very ill, Mr. Robinson."

"Ah! I feared as much! he never would have deserted me else. What is the
trouble?"

"You may well say trouble! it is the prison that has fretted him to
death," cried Susan, half bitterly, half sorrowfully.

"But he will get well! it is not serious?" inquired Robinson anxiously.

Fry pricked his ears.

"He is very ill, Mr. Robinson," and Susan sighed heavily.

"I'll pray for him. He has taught me to pray--all the poor fellows will
pray for him that know how. Miss Merton, good for nothing as I am, I
would die for Mr. Eden this minute if I could save his life by it."

Susan thought of this speech afterward. Now she but said, "I will tell
him what you say."

"And won't you bring me one word back from his dear mouth?"

"Yes! I will! good-by, Mr. Robinson." Robinson tried to say good-by, but
it stuck in his throat, Susan retired, and his cell seemed darker than
ever.

Mr. Eden lay stricken with fever. He had been what most of us would have
called ill long before this. The day of Carter's crucifixion was a fatal
day to him. On that day for the first time he saw a crucifixion without
being sick after it. The poor soul congratulated himself so on this; but
there is reason to think that same sickness acted as a safety-valve to
his nature; when it ceased the bile overflowed and mixed with his blood,
producing that horrible complaint jaundice. Even then if the causes
of grief and wrong had ceased he might perhaps have had no dangerous
attack. But everything was against him; constant grief, constant worry
and constant preternatural exertions to sustain others while drooping
himself. Even those violent efforts of will by which he thrust back for
a time the approaches of his malady told heavily upon him at last. The
thorough-bred horse ran much longer than a cocktail would, but he could
not run forever.

He lay unshaven, hollow-eyed and sallow. Mrs. Davies and Susan watched
him by turns, except when he compelled them to go and take a little rest
or amusement. The poor thing's thoughts were never on himself, even when
he was light-headed, and this was often, though not for long together.
It was generally his poor prisoners, and what he was going to do for
them.

This is how Susan Merton came to visit Robinson. One day, seeing his
great interest in all that concerned the prison, and remembering there
was a book addressed to one of the officers, Susan, who longed to do
something, however small, to please him, determined to take this book
to its destination. Leaving Mrs. Davies with a strict injunction not to
stir from Mr. Eden's room till she came back, she went to the prison and
knocked timidly at the great door. It was opened instantly, and as Susan
fancied, fiercely, by a burly figure. Susan, suppressing an inclination
to run away, asked tremulously:

"Does Mr. Fry live here?"

"Yes."

"Can I speak to him?"

"Yes. Come in, miss."

Susan stepped in.

The man slammed the door.

Susan wished herself on its other side.

"My name is Fry. What is your pleasure with me?"

"Mr. Fry, I am so glad I have found you. I am come here from a friend of
yours."

"From a friend of mine??!!" said Fry, with a mystified air.

"Yes; from Mr. Eden. Here is the book, Mr. Fry; poor Mr. Eden could not
bring it you himself, but you see he has written your name on the cover
with his own hand."

Fry took the book from Susan's hand, and in so doing observed that she
was lovely; so to make her a return for bringing him "Uncle Tom," and
for being so pretty, Fry for once in his life felt generous, and repaid
her by volunteering to show her the prison--indulgent Fry!

To his surprise Susan did not jump at this remuneration. On the
contrary, she said hastily:

"Oh! no! no! no!"

Then, seeing by his face that her new acquaintance thought her a
madwoman, she added:

"That is, yes! I think I should like to see it a little--a very
little--but if I do you must keep close by me, Mr. Fry."

"Why of course I shall keep with you," replied Fry somewhat
contemptuously. "No strangers admitted except in company of an officer."

Susan still hung fire.

"But you mustn't go to show me the very wicked ones."

"Why they are all pretty much of a muchness for that."

"I mean the murderers--I couldn't bear such a sight."

"Got none," said Fry sorrowfully; "parted with the last of that sort
four months ago--up at eight down at nine you understand, miss."

Happily Susan did not understand this brutal allusion; and, not to
show her ignorance, she said nothing, but passed to a second
stipulation--"And, Mr. Fry, I know the men that set fire to Farmer
Dean's ricks are in this jail; I won't see them; they would give me such
a turn, for that seems to me the next crime after murder to destroy the
crops after the very weather has spared them."

Fry smiled superior; then he said sarcastically:

"Don't you be frightened, some of our lot are beauties; your friend the
parson is as fond of some of 'em as a cow is of her calf."

"Oh! then show me those ones." Fry took her to one or two cells.
Whenever he opened a cell door she always clutched him on both ribs, and
this tickled Fry, so did her simplicity.

At last he came to Robinson's cell.

"In here there is a sulky chap."

"Oh! then let us go on to the next."

"But this is one his reverence is uncommon fond of," said Fry, with a
sneer and a chuckle; so he flung open the door, and if the man had not
hung his head Susan would hardly have recognized in his uniform corduroy
and close-cropped hair the vulgar Adonis who had sat glittering opposite
her at table the last time they met.

After the interview which I have described, Susan gratified Fry by
praising the beautiful cleanliness of the prison, and returned, leaving
a pleasant impression even on this rough hide and "Uncle Tom" behind
her.

When she got home she found her patient calm but languid.

While she was relating her encounter with Robinson, and her previous
acquaintance with him, the knock of a born fool at a sick man's door
made them all start. It was Rutila, with a long letter bearing an ample
seal.

Mr. Eden took it with brightening eye, read it, and ground it almost
convulsively in his hand. "Asses!" cried he; but the next moment he
groaned and bowed his head. Her majesty's secretary's secretary's
secretary had written to tell him that his appeal for an inquiry had
traveled out of the regular course; it ought to have been made in
the first instance to the visiting justices, whose business it was to
conduct such inquiries, and that it lay with these visiting justices to
apply to the Home Office for an extraordinary inquiry if they found they
could not deal with the facts in the usual way. The office, therefore,
had sent copies of his memorial to each of the visiting justices, who at
their next inspection of the jail would examine into the alleged facts,
and had been requested to insert the results in their periodical report.

Mr. Eden sat up in bed, his eye glittering. "Bring me my writing-desk."

It was put on the bed before him, but with many kind injunctions not to
worry himself. He promised faithfully. He wrote to the Home Office in
this style:

"A question of life and death cannot be played with as you have
inconsiderately proposed; nor can a higher jurisdiction transfer an
appeal to a lower one without the appellant's consent. Such a course is
still more out of order when the higher judge is a salaried servant of
the State and the lower ones are amateurs. This was so self-evident that
I did not step out of the direct line to cast reflections upon unpaid
servants. You have not seen what is self-evident--you drive me,
therefore, to explanations.

"I offered you evidence that this jailer is a felon, who has hoodwinked
the visiting justices and has deceived you. But between you and the
justices is this essential difference: they have been hoodwinked in
spite of their own eyes, their own ears, and contact with that mass of
living and dying evidence, the prisoners. You have been deceived without
a single opportunity of learning the truth.

"Therefore I appealed, and do appeal, not to convicted incompetency,
but to those whose incompetency remains to be proved. Perhaps you will
understand me better if I put it thus: I still accuse the jailer of more
than a hundred felonious assaults upon prisoners, of attacks upon their
lives by physical torture, by hunger, thirst, preposterous confinement
in dark dungeons, and other illegal practices; and I now advance another
step and accuse the visiting justices of gross dereliction of their
duty, of neglecting to ascertain the real practice of the jailer in some
points, and in others of encouraging, aiding and abetting him in open
violations of the prison rules printed and issued by Act of Parliament.
Of these rules, which are the jail code, I send you a copy. I note the
practices of the jail by the side of the rules of the jail. By comparing
the two you may calculate the amount of lawless cruelty perpetrated here
in each single day; then ask yourself whether an honest man who is on
the spot can wait four or five months till justice, crippled by routine,
comes hobbling instead of sweeping to their relief.

"For Heaven's sake, bring to bear upon a matter vital to the State
one-half the intelligence, zeal and sense of responsibility you will
throw this evening into some ambiguous question of fleeting policy of
speculative finance. Here are one hundred and eighty souls to whose
correction, cure and protection the State is pledged. No one of all
these lives is safe a single day. In six weeks I have saved two lives
that were gone but for me. I am now sick and enfeebled by the exertions
I have had to make to save lives, and am in no condition to arrest the
progress of destruction. I tell you that more lives will fall if you do
not come to my aid at once! and for every head that falls from this hour
I hold you responsible to God and the State.

"If I fail to prove my several accusations, as a matter of course I
shall be dismissed from my office deservedly; and this personal risk
entitles me not only to petition for, but to demand an inquiry into the
practice of ---- Jail. And in the queen's name, whose salaried servant I
am, I do demand it on the instant and on the spot."

Thus did flesh and blood address gutta-percha.

The excitement of writing this letter did the patient no good. A
reaction came, and that night his kind nurses were seriously alarmed
about him. They sent for the surgeon, who felt his pulse and his skin
and looked grave. However, he told them there was no immediate danger,
and wrote a fresh prescription.

The patient would eat nothing but bread and water and gruel; but he took
all the doctor's medicines, which were raking ones; only at each visit
and prescription he cross-examined him as to what effect he hoped to
produce by his prescription, and compared the man's expectations with
the result.

This process soon brought him to the suspicion that in his case
Aesculapius's science was guess-work. But we go on hoping and hoping
something from traditional remedies, even when they fail and fail and
fail before our eyes.

He was often light-headed, and vented schemes of charity and benevolence
ludicrous by their unearthly grandeur. One day he was more than
light-headed--he was delirious, and frightened his kind nurses; and to
this delirium succeeded great feebleness, and this day for the first
time Susan made up her mind that it was Heaven's will earth should lose
this man, of whom, in truth, earth was scarce worthy. She came to his
side and said tenderly,

"Let me do something for you. Shall I read to you, or sing you a hymn?"
Her voice had often soothed and done him good. "Tell me what I can do
for you!"

The man smiled gratefully, then looked imploringly in her eyes, and
said, "Dear Susan, go for me into the prison and pay Strutt and Robinson
each a visit. Strutt the longest, he is the oldest. Poor things! they
miss me sadly."

Susan made no foolish objection. She did what she was asked, and came
back and told him all they had said and all she had said; and how kind
everybody was to her in the prison; and how they had all asked how he
was to-day.

"They are very good," said he feebly.

Soon after he dosed; and Susan, who always wore a cheerful look to his
face, could now yield to her real feelings.

She sat at some little distance from the bed and tried to work, and
every now and then looked up to watch him, and again and again her eyes
were blinded; and she laid down her work, for her heart said to her, "A
few short days and you will see him no more."

Mrs. Davies, too, was grave and sad. She had made the house neat and
clean from cellar to garret, and now he who should have enjoyed it lay
there sick unto death.

"Susan," said she, "I doubt I have been sent here to set his house in
order against his--"

"Oh! don't tell me that," cried Susan, and she burst into a fit of
sobbing, for Mrs. Davies had harped her own fear.

"Take care, he is waking, Susan. He must not see us."

"Oh, no!" and the next moment she was by her patient's side with a
cheerful look and voice and manner well calculated to keep any male
heart from sinking, sick or well.

Heavy heart and hopeful face! such a nurse was Susan Merton. This
kind deception became more difficult every day. Her patient wasted and
wasted; and the anxious look that is often seen on a death-stricken
man's face showed itself. Mrs. Davies saw it and Susan saw it; but the
sick man himself as yet had never spoken of his decease; and both Mrs.
Davies and Susan often wondered that he did not seem to see his real
state.

But one day it so happened that he was light-headed and greatly excited,
holding a conversation. His eye was flashing, and he spoke in bursts,
and then stopped a while and seemed to be listening in irritation to
some arguments with which he did not agree. The enthusiast was building
a prison in the air. A prison with a farm, a school, and a manufactory
attached. Here were to be combined the good points of every system, and
others of his own.

"Yes," said he, in answer to his imaginary companion, "there shall be
both separation and silence for those whose moral case it suits--for
all, perhaps, at first--but not for all always. Away with your
Morrison's pill-system; your childish monotony of moral treatment in
cases varying and sometimes opposed.

"Yes, but I would. I would allow a degree of intercourse between such
as were disposed to confirm each other in good. Watch them? why, of
course--and closely, too.

"Intelligent labor for every creature in the place. No tickets-of-leave
to let the hypocritical or self-deceiving ones loose upon the world.

"No, I test their repentance first with a little liberty.

"How? Why fly them with a string before I let them fly free!

"Occupation provided outside the prison-gates; instead of
ticket-of-leave let the candidate work there on parole and come into the
prison at night.

"Some will break parole and run away? All the better. Then you know
their real character. Telegraph them. You began by photographing
them--send their likenesses to every town--catch them--cell them.

"Indeed! And pray what would these same men have done had you given them
the ticket-of-leave instead?

"By the present plan your pseudo-convert commits a dozen crimes before
his hypocrisy is suspected; by ours a single offense warns you and arms
you against him.

"Systems avail less than is supposed. For good or ill all depends on
your men--not your machinery.

"We have got rid of the old patch that rotted our new garment. When I
first was chaplain of a jail--"

His mind had gone forward some years. "Then we were mad--thought a
new system could be worked by men of the past, by jailers and turnkeys
belonging to the dark and brutal age that came before ours.

"Those dark days are passed. Now we have really a governor and warders
instead of jailers and turnkeys. The nation has discovered these are
high offices, not mean ones.

"Yes, Lepel, yes! Our officers are men picked out of all England for
intelligence and humanity. They co-operate with me. Our jail is one of
the nation's eyes--it is a school, thank Heaven, it is not a dungeon!--I
am in bed!"

With these last words he had come to himself, and oh, the sad contrast!
Butcherly blockheads in these high places, and himself lying sick and
powerless, unable to lift a hand for the cause he loved.

The sigh that burst from him seemed to tear his very heart; but the very
next moment he put his hands humbly together and said, "God's will
be done!" Yet one big tear gathered in his lion eye and spite of all
trickled down his cheek while he said, "God's will be done."

Susan saw it, and turned quickly away and hid her face; but he called
her, and though his lip quivered his voice was pretty firm.

"Dear friend, God can always find instruments. The good work will be
done, though not by me."

So then Susan judged, by these few words, and the tear that trickled
from his closed eyes, that he saw what others saw and did not look to
live now.

She left the room in haste not to agitate him by the sorrow she could no
longer restrain or conceal. The patient lay quiet, languidly dozing.

Now about four o'clock in the afternoon the surgeon came to the door;
but what surprised Susan was that a man accompanied him whom she only
just knew by sight, and who had never been there before--the turnkey
Hodges. The pair spoke together in a low tone, and Susan, who was
looking down from an upper window, could not hear what they said; but
the discussion lasted a minute or two before they rang the bell. Susan
came down herself and admitted them: but as she was leading the
way upstairs her aunt suddenly bounced out of the parlor looking
unaccountably red, and said:

"I will go up with them, Susan."

Susan said, "If you like, aunt," but felt some little surprise at Mrs.
Davies's brisk manner.

At the sick man's door Mrs. Davies paused, and said dryly, with a look
at Hodges, "Who shall I say is come with you?"

"Mr. Hodges, one of the warders, is come to inquire after his
reverence's health," replied the surgeon smoothly.

"I must ask him first whether he will receive a stranger."

"Admit him," was Mr. Eden's answer. The men entered the room, and were
welcomed with a kind but feeble smile from the sick man.

"Sit down, Hodges."

The surgeon felt his pulse and wrote a prescription; for it is a
tradition of the elders that at each visit the doctor must do some overt
act of medicine. After this he asked the patient how he felt.

Mr. Eden turned an eloquent look upon him in reply.

"I must speak to Hodges," said he. "Come near me, Hodges," said he in a
kind voice, "perhaps I may not have any more opportunities of giving
you a word of friendly exhortation." Here a short, dissatisfied,
contemptuous grunt was heard at the window-seat.

"Did you speak, Mrs. Davies?"

"No, I didn't," was the somewhat sharp reply.

"We should improve every occasion, Mrs. Davies, and I want this poor man
to know that a dying man may feel happy and hope everything from God's
love and mercy, if he has loved and pitied his brothers and sisters of
Adam's race."

When he called himself a dying man, Hodges, who was looking
uncomfortable and at the floor, raised his head, and the surgeon and he
interchanged a rapid look; it was observed, though not by Mr. Eden.

That gentleman, seeing Hodges wear an abashed look, which he
misunderstood, and aiming to improve him for the future, not punish him
for the past, said, "But first let me thank you for coming to see me,"
and with these words he put his hand out of the bed with a kind smile to
Hodges. His gentle intention was roughly interrupted. Mrs. Davies flung
down her work and came like a flaming turkey-cock across the floor in a
moment, and seized his arm and flung it back into the bed.

"No, ye don't! ye shan't give your hand to any such rubbish."

"Mrs. Davies!"

"Yes, Mrs. Davies; you don't know what they've come here for--I
overheard ye at the door! You have got an enemy in that filthy jail,
haven't you, sir? Well! this man comes from him to see how bad you
are--they were colloguing together backward and forward ever so long,
and I heard 'em--it is not out of any kindness or good will in the
world. Now suppose you march out the way you came in!" screamed Mrs.
Davies.

"Mrs. Davies, be quiet and let me speak?"

"Of course I will, sir," said the woman with a ludicrously sudden calm
and coaxing tone.

There was a silence; Mr. Eden eyed the men. Small guilt peeped from them
by its usual little signs.

Mr. Eden's lip curled magnificently.

"So you did not come to see me--you were sent by that man. (Mrs. Davies,
be quiet; curiosity is not a crime, like torturing the defenseless.) Mr.
Hawes sent you that you might tell him how soon his victims are like to
lose their only earthly defender."

The men colored and stammered; Mrs. Davies covered her face with her
apron and rocked herself on her chair.

Mr. Eden flowed gently on.

"Tell your master that I have settled all my worldly affairs, and caused
all my trifling debts to be paid.

"Tell him that I have made my will! (I have provided in it for the
turnkey Evans--he will know why.)

"Tell him you found my cheeks fallen away, my eye hollow, and my face
squalid.

"Tell him my Bible was by my side, and even the prison was mingling with
other memories as I drifted from earth and all its thorns and tears. All
was blunted but the Christian's faith and trust in his Redeemer.

"Tell him that there is a cold dew upon my forehead.

"Tell him that you found me by the side of the river Jordan, looking
across the cold river to the heavenly land, where they who have been
washed in the blood of the Lamb walk in white garments, and seem, even
as I gaze, to welcome and beckon me to join them.

"And then tell him," cried he, in a new voice like a flash of lightning,
"that he has brought me back to earth. You have come and reminded me
that if I die a wolf is waiting to tear my sheep. I thank you, and I
tell you," roared he, "as the Lord liveth and as my soul liveth, I will
not die but live--and do the Lord's work--and put my foot yet on that
caitiff's neck who sent you to inspect my decaying body, you poor
tools--THE DOOR!"

He was up in the bed by magic, towering above them all, and he pointed
to the door with a tremendous gesture and an eye that flamed. Mrs.
Davies caught the electric spark, in a moment she tore the door open,
and the pair bundled down the stairs before that terrible eye and
finger.

"Susan--Susan!" Susan heard his elevated voice, and came running in in
great anxiety.

"They say there is no such thing as friendship between a man and a
woman. Prove to me this is a falsehood!"

"It is, sir."

"Do me a service."

"Ah!--what is it?"

"Go a journey for me."

"I will go all round England for you, Mr. Eden," cried the girl, panting
and flushing.

"My writing-desk!--it is to a village sixty miles from this, but you
will be there in four hours; in that village lives the man who can cure
me, if any one can."

"What will you take with you?" asked Mrs. Davies, all in a bustle.

"A comb and brush, and a chemise."

"I'll have them down in a twinkling."

The note was written.

"Take this to his house, see him, tell him the truth, and bring him with
you to-morrow--it will be fifty pounds out of his pocket to leave his
patients--but I think he will come. Oh, yes! he will come--for auld lang
syne."

"Good-by, Mr. Eden--God bless you, aunt. I want to be gone; I shall
bring him if I have to carry him in my arms." And with these words Susan
was gone.

"Now, good Mrs. Davies, give me the Bible. Often has that book soothed
the torn nerves as well as the bleeding heart--and let no one come here
to grieve or vex me for twenty-four hours--and fling that man's draught
away, I want to live."

Mrs. Davies had heard Hodges and Fry aright. Mr. Eden by her clew had
interpreted the visit aright, with this exception, that he overrated his
own importance in Mr. Hawes's eyes. For Hawes mocked at the chaplain's
appeal to the Home Office ever since the office had made his tools the
virtual referees.

Still a shade of uneasiness remained. During the progress of this long
duel Eden had let fall two disagreeable hints. One was that he would
spend a thousand pounds in setting such prisoners as survived Hawes's
discipline to indict him, and the other that he would appeal to the
public press.

This last threat had touched our man of brass; for if there is one thing
upon earth that another thing does not like, your moral malefactor,
who happens to be out of the law's reach, hates and shivers at the New
Bailey in Printing-house Yard. So, upon the whole, Mr. Hawes thought
that the best thing Mr. Eden could do would be to go to heaven without
any more fuss.

"Yes, that will be the best for all parties."

He often questioned the doctor in his blunt way how soon the desired
event might be expected to come off, if at all. The doctor still
answered per ambages, ut mos oraculis.

"I see I must go myself--No, I won't, I'll send Fry. Ah, here is Hodges.
Go and see the parson, and come back and tell me whether he is like
to live or like to die. Mr. Sawyer here can't speak English about a
patient; he would do it to oblige me if he could, but--him, he can't."

"Don't much like the job," demurred Hodges sulkily.

"What matters what you like? You must all do things you don't like in a
prison, or get into trouble."

More accustomed to obey than to reflect, Hodges yielded, but at Mr.
Eden's very door, his commander being now out of sight, his reluctance
revived; and this led to an amicable discussion in which the surgeon
made him observe how very ferocious and impatient of opposition the
governor had lately become.

"He can get either of us dismissed if we offend him."

So the pair of cowards did what they were bid--and got themselves
trod upon a bit. It only remains to be said that as they trudged back
together a little venom worked in their little hearts. They hated both
duelists--one for treating them like dogs, the other for sending them
where they had got treated like dogs; and they disliked each other for
seeing them treated like dogs. One bitterness they escaped, it did not
occur to them to hate themselves for being dogs.

If you force a strong-willed stick out of its bent, with what fury
it flies back ad statum quo or a little farther when the coercion is
removed. So hard-grained Hawes, his fears of the higher powers removed,
returned with a spring to his intermitted habits.

There was no incarnate obstacle now to "discipline." There was a
provisional chaplain, but that chaplain was worthy Mr. Jones, who having
visited the town for a month, had consented for a week or two to supply
the sick man's place, and did supply it so far as a good clock can
replace a man. Viewing himself now as something between an officer and a
guest he was less likely to show fight than ever.

Earnest Hawes pilloried, flung into black dungeons, stole beds and
gas-light, crushed souls with mysterious threats, and bodies with a
horrible mixture of those tortures that madden and those other tortures
that exhaust. No Spanish Inquisitor was ever a greater adept at this
double move than earnest Hawes. The means by which he could make any
prisoner appear refractory have already been described, but in the case
of one stout fellow whom he wanted to discipline he now went a step
farther. He slipped into the yard and slyly clogged one of the cranks
with a weight which he inserted inside the box and attached to the
machinery. This contrivance would have beaten Hercules and made him seem
idle to any one not in the secret. In short this little blockhead bade
fair to become one of Mr. Carlyle's great men. He combined the earnest
sneak with the earnest butcher.

Barbarous times are not wholly expunged as book-makers affect to fear.
Legislators, moralists and writers (I don't include book-makers under
that title) try to clap their extinguishers on them with God's help;
but they still contrive to shoot some lurid specimens of themselves
into civilized epochs. Such a black ray of the narrow, self-deceiving,
stupid, bloody past was earnest Hawes.

Not a tithe of his exploits can be recorded here, for though he played
upon many souls and bodies, he repeated the same notes--hunger, thirst,
the blackness of darkness, crucifixion, solitude, loss of sleep--so that
a description of all his feats would be a catalogue of names subjected
to the above tortures, and be dry as well as revolting.

I shall describe therefore only the grand result of all, and a case or
two that varied by a shade the monotony of discipline. He kept one poor
lad without any food at all from Saturday morning till Sunday at twelve
o'clock, and made him work; and for his Sunday dinner gave the famished
wretch six ounces of bread and a can of water. He strapped one prisoner
up in the pillory for twenty-four hours, and directed him to be fed in
it. This prisoner had a short neck, and the cruel collar would not let
him eat, so that the tortures of Tantalus were added to crucifixion. The
earnest beast put a child of eleven years old into a strait-waistcoat
for three days, then kept him three days on bread and water, and robbed
him of his bed and his gas for fourteen days. We none of us know the
meaning of these little punishments so vast beyond our experience; but
in order to catch a glimmer of the meaning of the last item, we must
remember first that the cells admit but little light, and that the gas
is the prisoner's sunlight for the hour or two of rest from hard toil
that he is allowed before he is ordered to bed, and next that a prisoner
has but two sets of clothes--those he stands upright in, and his
bed-clothes; these are rolled up inside the bed every morning. When
therefore a prisoner was robbed of his bed, he was robbed of the means
of keeping himself warm as well as of that rest without which life soon
comes to a full stop.

Having victimized this child's tender body as aforesaid Mr. Hawes made a
cut at his soul. He stopped his chapel.

One ought not to laugh at a worm coming between another worm and his God
and saying, "No! you shall not hear of God to-day--you have displeased
a functionary whose discipline takes precedence of His;" and it is to be
observed, that though this blockhead did not in one sense comprehend the
nature of his own impious act any more than a Hottentot would, yet as
broad as he saw he saw keenly.

The one ideaed-man wanted to punish, and deprivation of chapel is a
bitter punishment to a prisoner under the separate and silent system.

And lay this down as a rule, whenever in this tale a punishment is
recorded as having been inflicted by Hawes, however light it may appear
to you who never felt it, bring your intelligence to bear on it--weigh
the other conditions of a prisoner's miserable existence it was added
to, and in every case you will find it was a blow with a sledge-hammer;
in short, to comprehend Hawes and his fraternity it is necessary to make
a mental effort and comprehend the meaning of the word "accumulation."

The first execution of biped Carter took place about a week after Mr.
Eden was laid prostrate.

It is not generally very difficult to outwit an imbecile, and the
governor enmeshed Carter, made him out refractory and crucified him. The
poor soul did not hallo at first, for he remembered they had not cut his
throat the last time, as he thought they were going to do (he had seen a
pig first made fast--then stuck). But when the bitter cramps came on he
began to howl and cry most frightfully; so that Hawes, who was talking
to the surgeon in the center of the building, started and came at once
to the place. Mr. Sawyer came with him. They tried different ways
of quieting him, in vain. They went to a distance, as Mr. Eden had
suggested, but it was no use; he was howling now from pain, not fear.

"Gag him!" roared Hawes, "it is scandalous; I hate a noise."

"Better loose him," suggested the surgeon.

Hawes blighted him with a look. "What; and let him beat me?"

"There is no gag in the prison," said Fry.

"A pretty prison without a gag in it!" said Hawes; the only reflection
he was ever heard to cast on his model jail; then, with sudden ferocity
he turned on Sawyer. "What is the use of you; don't you know anything
for your money? can't all your science stop this brute's windpipe, you!"

Science thus blandly invoked came to the aid of inhumanity.

"Humph! have you got any salt?"

"Salt!" roared Hawes, "what is the use of salt? Oh! ay, I see! run and
get a pound, and look sharp with it."

They brought the salt.

"Now, will you hold your noise?--then, give it him."

The scientific operator watched his opportunity, and when the poor
biped's mouth was open howling, crammed a handful of salt into it. He
spat it out as well as he could, but some of it dissolved by the saliva
found its way down his throat. The look of amazement and distress that
followed was most amusing to the operators.

"That was, a good idea, doctor," cried Hawes.

The triumph was premature. Carter's cries were choked for a moment by
his astonishment. But the next, finding a fresh torture added to the
first, he howled louder than ever. Then the governor seized the salt,
powdered a good handful, and avoiding his teeth crammed it suddenly into
the poor creature's mouth. He spat it furiously out, and the brine fell
like sea-spray upon all the operators, especially on Hawes, who swore at
the biped, and called him a beast, and promised him a long spell of the
cross for his nastiness. After Hawes, Fry must take his turn; and so now
these three creatures, to whom Heaven had given reason, combined their
strength and their sacred reason to torture and degrade one of
those whom the French call "betes du bon Dieu"--a
heaven-afflicted--heaven-pitied brother.

They respected neither the hapless wight nor his owner. Whenever he
opened his mouth with the instinct that makes animals proclaim their
hurts and appeal for pity on the chance of a heart being within hearing,
then did these show their sense of his appeal thus: One of the party
crammed the stinging salt down his throat; the others watched him, and
kept clear of the brine that he spat vehemently out, and a loud report
of laughter followed instantly each wild grimace and convulsion of fear
and torture. Thus they employed their reason, and flouted as well as
tortured him who had less.

"Haw! haw! haw! haw! haw!"

No lightning came down from heaven upon these merry souls. The idiot's
spittle did not burn them when it fell on them. ALL THE WORSE FOR THEM!

They left Carter for hours in the pillory, and soon a violent thirst was
added to his sufferings. Prolonged pain brings on cruel thirst, and many
a poor fellow suffered horribly from it during the last hours of
his pillory. But in this case the salt he had swallowed made it more
vehement. Most men go through life and never know thirst. It is a
frightful torture, as any novice would have learned who had seen Carter
at six in the evening of this cruel day. The poor wretch's throat was
so parched he could hardly breathe. His eyes were all bloodshot and his
livid tongue lolled stringless and powerless out of his gasping mouth.
He would have given diamonds for drops of water.

The earnest man going his rounds of duty saw his pitiable state and
forbade relief till the number of hours he had appointed for his
punishment should be completed. Discipline before all!

There was one man in the jail, just one, who could no longer view this
barbarity unmoved. His heart had been touched and his understanding
wakened, and he saw these prodigies of cruelty in their true light. But
he was afraid of Hawes, and unfortunately the others by an instinct felt
their comrade was no longer one of them and watched him closely. But his
intelligence was awakened with his humanity. After much thought he hit
upon this; he took the works out of his watch--an old hunting watch--and
stolling into the yard, dipped the case into the bucket, then closed
it; and soon after getting close to Carter, and between him and Fry, he
affected to examine the prisoner's collar, and then hastily gave him
a watchful of cold water. Carter sucked it with frightful avidity,
and small as the draught was no mortal can say what consequences were
averted by it.

Evans was dreadfully out of spirits. His ally lay dying and his enemy
triumphed. He looked to be turned out of the jail at the next meeting of
magistrates. But when he had given the idiot his watch to drink out of
an unwonted warmth and courage seemed to come into his heart.

This touch of humanity coming suddenly among the most hellish of all
fiends--men of system--was like the little candle in a window that
throws its beams so far when we are bewildered in a murky night. For the
place was now a moral coal-hole. The dungeons at Rome that lie under
the wing of Roderick Borgia's successors are not a more awful remnant of
antiquity or a fouler blot on the age, on the law, on the land, and on
human nature.

A thick, dark pall of silence and woe hung over its huge walls. If
a voice was heard above a whisper it was sure to be either a cry of
anguish or a fierce command to inflict anguish. Two or three were
crucified every day; the rest expected crucifixion from morning till
night. No man felt safe an hour; no man had the means of averting
punishment; all were at the mercy of a tyrant. Threats frightful, fierce
and mysterious hung like weights over every soul and body. Whenever a
prisoner met an officer he cowered and hurried crouching by like a dog
passing a man with a whip in his hand; and as he passed he trembled at
the thunder of his own footsteps, and wished to Heaven they would not
draw so much attention to him by ringing so clear through that huge
silent tomb. When an officer met the governor he tried to slip by with a
hurried salute lest he should be stopped, abused and sworn at.

The earnest man fell hardest upon the young; boys and children were
favorite victims; but his favorites of all were poor Robinson and
little Josephs. These were at the head of the long list he crucified, he
parched, he famished, he robbed of prayer, of light, of rest and hope.
He disciplined the sick; he closed the infirmary again. That large room,
furnished with comforts, nurses and air, was an inconsistency.

"A new prison is a collection of cells," said Hawes. The infirmary was
a spot in the sun. The exercise yard in this prison was a twelve-box
stable for creatures concluded to be wild beasts. The labor-yard was
a fifteen-stall stable for ditto. The house of God an eighty-stalled
stable, into which the wild beasts were dispersed for public worship
made private. Here, in early days, before Hawes was ripe, they assembled
apart and repeated prayers, and sang hymns on Sunday. But Hawes found
out that though the men were stabled apart their voices were refractory
and mingled in the air, and with their voices their hearts might, who
knows? He pointed this out to the justices, who shook their skulls and
stopped the men's responses and hymns. These animals cut the choruses
out of the English liturgy with as little ceremony and as good effect
as they would have cut the choruses out of Handel's "Messiah," if the
theory they were working had been a musical instead of a moral one.

So far so good; but the infirmary had escaped Justice Shallow and
Justice Woodcock. Hawes abolished that.

Discipline before all. Not because a fellow is sick is he to break
discipline.

So the sick lay in their narrow cells gasping in vain for fresh air,
gasping in vain for some cooling drink, or some little simple delicacy
to incite their enfeebled appetite.

The dying were locked up at the fixed hour for locking up, and found
dead at the fixed hour for opening. How they had died--no one knew. At
what hour they had died--no one knew. Whether in some choking struggle
a human hand might have saved them by changing a suffocating position or
the like--no one knew.

But this all knew--that these our sinful brethren had died, not like
men, but like vultures in the great desert. They were separated from
their kith and kin, who however brutal would have said a kind word and
done a tender thing or two for them at that awful hour; and nothing
allowed them in exchange, not even the routine attentions of a prison
nurse; they were in darkness and alone when the king of terrors came to
them and wrestled with them. All men had turned their backs on them, no
creature near to wipe the dews of death, to put a cool hand to the brow,
or soften the intensity of the last sad sigh that carried their souls
from earth. Thus they passed away, punished lawlessly by the law till
they succumbed, and then, since they were no longer food for torture,
ignored by the law and abandoned by the human race.

They locked up one dying man at eight o'clock. At midnight the thirst of
death came on him. He prayed for a drop of water, but there was none
to hear him. Parched and gasping the miserable man got out of bed and
groped for his tin mug, but before he could drink the death agony seized
him. When they unlocked him in the morning they found him a corpse on
the floor with the mug in his hand and the water spilled on the floor.
They wrenched the prison property out of its dead hand, and flung the
carcass itself upon the bed as if it had been the clay cast of a dog,
not the remains of a man.

All was of a piece. The living tortured; the dying abandoned; the
dead kicked out of the way. Of these three the living were the most
unfortunate, and among the living Robinson and Josephs. Never since the
days of Cain was existence made more bitter to two hapless creatures
than to these--above all to Josephs.

His day began thus: Between breakfast and dinner he was set five
thousand revolutions of a heavy crank; when he could not do it his
dinner was taken away and a few crumbs of bread and a can of water given
him instead. Between his bread and water time and six o'clock if the
famished, worn-out lad could not do five thousand more revolutions and
make up the previous deficiency he was punished ad libitum. As the whole
thing from first to last was beyond his powers, he never succeeded in
performing these preposterous tasks. He was threatened, vilified and
tortured every day and every hour of it.

Human beings can bear great sufferings if you give them periods of ease
between; and beneficent nature allows for this, and when she means us to
suffer short of death she lashes us at intervals; were it otherwise we
should succumb under a tithe of what we suffer intermittently.

But Hawes, besides his cruelty, was a noodle. He belonged to a knot of
theorists into whose hands the English jails are fast falling; a set of
shallow dreamers, who being greater dunces and greater asses than four
men out of every six that pass you in Fleet Street or Broadway at
any hour, think themselves wiser than Nature and her Author. Josephs
suffered body and spirit without intermission. The result was that his
flesh withered on his bones; his eyes were dim and seemed to lie at the
bottom of two caverns; he crawled stiffly and slowly instead of walking.
He was not sixteen years of age, yet Hawes had extinguished his youth
and blotted out all its signs but one. Had you met this figure in the
street you would have said:

"What, an old man and no beard?"

One day as Robinson happened to be washing the corridor with his beaver
up, what he took for a small but aged man passed him, shambling stiffly,
with joints stiffened by perpetual crucifixion and rheumatism, that had
ensued from perpetually being wetted through. This figure had his beaver
down. At sight of Robinson he started and instantly went down on his
knee and untied both shoe strings; then while tying them again slowly he
whispered:

"Robinson, I am Josephs; don't look toward me."

Robinson, scrubbing the wall with more vigor than before, whispered,
"How are they using you now, boy?"

"Hush! don't speak so loud. Robinson--they are killing me.

"The ruffians! They are trying all they know to kill me, too."

"Fry coming."

"Hist!" said Robinson as Josephs crept away; and having scraped off
a grain of whitewash with his nail he made a little white mark on his
trouser just above his calf, for Josephs to know him by, should they
meet next time with visors both down. Josephs gave a slight and rapid
signal of intelligence as he disappeared. Two days after this they met
on the staircase. The boy, who now looked at every prisoner's trowsers
for the white mark, recognized Robinson at some distance and began to
speak before they met.

"I can't go on much longer like this."

"No more can I."

"I shall go to father."

"Why where is he?"

"He is dead."

"I don't care how soon I go there either, but not till I have sent Hawes
on before--not for all the world. Pass me, and then come back."

They met again.

"Keep up your heart, boy, till his reverence gets well, or goes to
heaven. If he lives he will save us somehow. If he dies--I'll tell you
a secret. I know where there is a brick I think I can loosen. I mean to
smash that beast's skull with it, and then you will be all right, and my
heart will feel like a prince."

"Oh! don't do that," said Josephs piteously. "Better far us he should
murder us than we him."

"Murder!" cried Robinson contemptuously. And there was no time to say
any more.

After this many days passed before these two could get a syllable
together. But one day after chapel as the men were being told off to
their several tasks Robinson recognized the boy by his figure, and
jogging his elbow withdrew a little apart; Josephs followed him, and
this time Robinson was the first speaker.

"We shall never see Mr. Eden alive again, boy," said he in a faltering
voice. Then in a low gloomy tone he muttered, "I have loosened the
brick. The day I lose all hope that day I send Hawes home." And the
thief pointed toward the cellar.

"The day you have no more hope, Robinson; that day has come to me this
fortnight and more. He tells me every day he will make my life hell to
me, and I am sure it has been nothing else ever since I came here."

"Keep up your heart, boy; he hasn't long to live."

"He will live too long for me. I can't stay here any longer. You and I
shan't often chat together again; perhaps never."

"Don't talk so, laddie. Keep up your heart--for my sake."

One bitter tearing sob was all the reply. And so these two parted.

This was just after breakfast. At dinner-time Josephs, not having
performed an impossible task, was robbed of his dinner. A little bread
and water was served out to him in the yard, and he was set on the
crank again with fearful menaces. In particular Mr. Hawes repeated his
favorite threat--"I'll make your life hell to you." Josephs groaned; but
what could a boy of fifteen do, overtasked and famished for a month past
and fitter now for a hospital than for hard labor of any sort? At three
o'clock his progress on the crank was so slow that Mr. Hawes ordered him
to be crucified on the spot.

His obedient myrmidons for the fiftieth time seized the lad and crushed
him in the jacket, throttled him in the collar, and pinned him to the
wall, and this time, the first time for a long while, the prisoner
remonstrated loudly.

"Why not kill me at once and put me out of my misery!"

"Hold your tongue."

"You know I can't do the task you set me. You know it as well as I do."

"Hold your tongue, you insolent young villain. Strap him tighter, Fry."

"Oh no! no! no! don't go to strap me tighter or you will cut me in
half--don't, Mr. Fry. I will hold my tongue, sir." Then he turned his
hollow, mournful eyes on Hawes and said gently, "It can't last much
longer, you know."

"It shall last till I break you, you obstinate, whining dog. You are
hardly used, are you? Wait till to-morrow. I'll show you that I have
only been playing with you as yet. But I have got a punishment in store
for you that will make you wish you were in hell."

Hawes stood over the martyr fiercely threatening him. The martyr shut
his eyes. It seemed as though the enraged Hawes would end by striking
him. He winced with his eyes. He could not wince with any other part of
his body, so tight was it jammed together and jammed against the wall.

Hawes however did but repeat his threat of some new torture on the
morrow that should far eclipse all he had yet endured; and shaking his
fist at his helpless body left him with his torture.

One hour of bitter, racking, unremitting anguish had hardly rolled
over this young head ere his frame, weakened by famine and perpetual
violence, began to give the usual signs that he would soon sham--swoon
we call it when it occurs to any but a prisoner. As my readers have
never been in Mr. Hawes's man-press, and as attempts have been made to
impose on the inexperience of the public and represent the man-press as
restriction not torture, I will shortly explain why sooner or later all
the men that were crucified in it ended by shamming.

Were you ever seized at night with a violent cramp? Then you have
instantly with a sort of wild and alarmed rapidity changed the posture
which had cramped you; ay though the night was ever so cold you have
sprung out of bed sooner than lie cramped. If the cramp would not go
in less than half a minute that half-minute was long and bitter. As for
existing cramped half an hour, that you never thought possible. Imagine
now the severest cramp you ever felt artificially prolonged for hours
and hours. Imagine yourself cramped in a vise, no part of you movable
a hair's breadth, except your hair and your eyelids. Imagine the fierce
cramp growing and growing, and rising like a tide of agony higher and
higher above nature's endurance, and you will cease to wonder that a man
always sunk under Hawes's man-press. Now, then, add to the cramp a high
circular saw raking the throat, jacket straps cutting and burning the
flesh of the back--add to this the freezing of the blood in the body
deprived so long of all motion whatever (for motion of some sort or
degree is a condition of vitality), and a new and far more rational
wonder arises, that any man could be half an hour cut, sawed, crushed,
cramped, Mazeppa'd thus, without shamming--still less be four, six,
eight hours in it, and come out a living man.

The young martyr's lips were turning blue, his face was twitching
convulsively, when a word was unexpectedly put in for him by a
bystander.

The turnkey Evans had been half sullenly half sorrowfully watching him
for some minutes past.

A month or two ago the lips of a prisoner turning blue and his skin
twitching told Evans nothing. He saw these things without seeing them.
He was cruel from stupidity--from blockhead to butcher there is but a
step. Like the English public he _realized_ nothing where prisoners were
concerned. But Mr. Eden had awakened his intelligence, and his heart
waked with it naturally.

Now when he saw lips turning blue and eyes rolling in sad despair, and
skin twitching convulsively, it occurred to him--"this creature must be
suffering very badly," and the next step was "let me see what is hurting
him so."

Evans now stood over Josephs and examined him. "Mr. Fry," said he
doggedly, "is not this overdoing it?"

"What d'ye mean, we are to obey orders, I suppose?"

"Of course, but there was no need to draw the jacket straps so tight as
all this. Boy's bellows can't hardly work for 'em."

He now passed his hand round the hollow of the lad's back.

"I thought so," cried he; "I can't get my finger between the straps and
the poor fellow's flesh, and, good heavens I can feel the skin rising
like a ridge on each side of the straps; it is a black, burning shame to
use any Christian like this."

These words were hardly out of the turnkey's mouth when a startling
cry came suddenly from poor Josephs; a sudden, wild, piercing scream of
misery. In that bitter, despairing cry burst out the pent-up anguish of
weeks, and the sense of injustice and cruelty more than human. The poor
thing gave this one terrible cry. Heaven forbid that you should hear
such a one in life, as I hear his in my heart, and then he fell to
sobbing as if his whole frame would burst.

They were not much, these rough words of sympathy, but they were the
first--the first words, too, of humanity and reason a turnkey had spoken
in his favor since he came into this hell. Above all, the first in which
it had ever been hinted or implied that his flesh was human flesh. The
next moment he began to cry, but that was not so easy. He soon lost his
breath and couldn't cry though his very life depended on it. Tears gave
relief. Dame Nature said, "Cry, my suffering son, cry now, and relieve
that heart swelling with cruelty and wrong."

But Hawes's infernal machine said, "No, you shall not cry. I give you no
room to cry in." The cruel straps jammed him so close his swelling heart
could but half heave. The jagged collar bit his throat so hard he could
but give three or four sobs and then the next choked him. The struggle
between Nature panting and writhing for relief, and the infernal
man-press, was so bitter strong that the boy choked and blackened and
gasped as one in the last agony.

"Undo him," cried Evans hastily, "or we shall kill him among us."

"Bucket," said the experienced Fry quite coolly.

The bucket was at hand--its contents were instantly discharged over
Josephs' head.

A cry like a dying hare--two or three violent gasps--and he was quiet,
all but a strong shiver that passed from head to foot; only with the
water that now trickled from his hair down his face scalding tears from
his young eyes fell to the ground undistinguished from the water by any
eye but God's.

At six o'clock Hawes came into the yard and ordered Fry to take him
down. Fry took this opportunity of informing against Evans for his mild
interference.

"He will pay for that along with the rest," said Hawes with an oath.

Then he turned on Josephs, who halted stiffly by him on his way to his
cell.

"I'll make your life hell to you, you young vagabond--you are hardly
used, are you? all you have ever known isn't a stroke with a feather to
what I'll make you know by-and-by. Wait till to-morrow comes, you shall
see what I can do when I am put to it."

Josephs sobbed, but answered nothing, and crawled sore, stiff, dripping,
shivering to his cell. In that miserable hole he would at least be at
peace.

He found the gas lighted. He was glad, for he was drenched through and
bitterly cold. He crept up to the little gaslight and put his dead white
hands over it and got a little warmth into them; he blessed this spark
of light and warmth; he looked lovingly down on it, it was his only
friend in the jail, his companion in the desolate cell. He wished he
could gather it into his bosom; then it would warm his heart and his
blighted flesh and aching, shivering bones.

While he hung shivering over his spark of light and warmth and comfort,
a key was put into his door. "Ah! here's supper," thought he, "and I
am so hungry." It was not supper, it was Fry who came in empty-handed,
leaving the door open. Fry went to his gaslight and put his finger and
thumb on the screw.

"Oh! it burns all right, Mr. Fry," said Josephs, "it won't go any
higher, thank you."

"No, it won't," said Fry dryly, and turned it out, leaving the cell in
utter darkness.

"There, I told you so," said Josephs pettishly, "now you have been and
turned it out."

"Yes, I have been and turned it out," replied Fry with a brutal laugh,
"and it won't be turned on again for fourteen days, so the governor
says, however, and I suppose he knows," and Fry went out chuckling.

Josephs burst out sobbing and almost screaming at this last stroke; it
seemed to hurt him more than his fiercer tortures. He sobbed so wildly
and so loud that Mr. Jones, passing on the opposite corridor, heard him
and beckoned to Evans to open the cell.

They found the boy standing in the middle of his dungeon shaking with
cold in his drenched clothes and sobbing with his whole body. It was
frightful to see and hear the agony and despair of one so young in
years, so old in misery.

Mr. Jones gave him words of commonplace consolation. Mr. Jones tried to
persuade him that patience was the best cure.

"Be patient, and do not irritate the governor any more--the storm will
pass."

He seemed to Josephs as one that mocketh. Jones's were such little
words to fling in the face of a great despair; to chatter unreasonable
consolation was to mock his unutterable misery of soul and body.

Mr. Jones was one of those who sprinkle a burning mountain with a
teaspoonful of milk and water, and then go away and make sure they have
put it out. When he was gone with this impression, Evans took down the
boy's bed and said:

"Don't ye cry now like that; it makes me ill to hear any Christian cry
like that."

"Oh, Mr. Evans! oh! oh! oh! oh! What have I done? Oh, my mother! my
mother! my mother!"

Evans winced. What! had he a mother, too? If she could see him now!
and perhaps he was her darling though he was a prisoner. He shook the
bed-clothes out and took hold of the shivering boy and with kind force
made him lie down; then he twisted the clothes tight round him.

"You will get warm, if you will but lie quiet and not think about it."

Josephs did what he was bid. He could not still his sobs, but he
turned his mournful eyes on Evans with a look of wonder at meeting with
kindness from a human being, and half doubtingly put out his hand. So
then Evans, to comfort him, took his hand and shook it several times in
his hard palm, and said:

"Good-night. You'll soon get warm, and don't think of it--that is the
best way;" and Evans ran away in the middle of a sentence, for the look
of astonishment the boy wore at his humanity went through the man's
penitent heart like an arrow.

Josephs lay quiet and his sobs began gradually to go down, and, as Evans
had predicted, some little warmth began to steal over his frame; but
he could not comply with all Evans's instructions; he could not help
thinking of it. For all that, as soon as he got a little warm, Nature,
who knew how much her tortured son needed repose, began to weigh down
his eyelids, and he dozed. He often started, he often murmured a prayer
for pity as his mind acted over again the scenes of his miserable
existence; but still he dozed, and sleep was stealing over him. Sleep!
life's nurse sent from heaven to create us anew day by day!--sleep! that
has blunted and gradually cured a hundred thousand sorrows for one that
has yielded to any moral remedy--sleep! that has blunted and so cured by
degrees a million fleshly ills for one that drugs or draughts have ever
reached--sleep had her arm round this poor child and was drawing him
gently, gently, slowly, slowly to her bosom--when suddenly his cell
seemed to him to be all in a blaze, and a rough hand shook him, and a
harsh voice sounded in his ear.

"Come, get up out of that, youngster," it said, and the hand almost
jerked him off the floor.

"What is the matter?" inquired Josephs yawning.

"Matter is, I want your bed."

Josephs rose half stupid, and Hodges rolled up his bed and blanket.

"Are you really going to rob me of my bed?" inquired Josephs slowly and
firmly.

"Rob you, you young dog? Here is the governor's order. No bed and gas
for fourteen days."

"No bed nor gas for fourteen days! Ha! ha! ha! ha! ha!"

"Oh, you laugh at that, do you?"

"I laugh at Mr. Hawes thinking to keep me out of bed for fourteen days,
a poor wornout boy like me. You tell Hawes I'll find a bed in spite of
him long before fourteen days."

Hodges looked about the cell for this other bed. "Come," said he, "you
must not chaff the officers. The governor will serve you out enough
without your giving us any of your sauce."

Hodges was going with the bed. Josephs stopped him. The boy took this
last blow quite differently from the gas; no impatience or burst of
sorrow now.

"Won't you bid me good-by, Mr. Hodges?" asked he.

"Why not? Good-night."

"That isn't what I mean. Mr. Evans gave me his hand."

"Did he? what for?"

"And so must you. Oh, you may as well, Mr. Hodges. I never came to you
and took away your little bit of light and your little bit of sleep. So
you can take my hand if I can give it you. You will be sorry afterward
if you say no."

"There it is--what the better are you for that, you young fool? I'll
tell you what it is, you are turning soft. I don't know what to make of
you. I shall come to your cell the first thing in the morning."

"Ay, do, Mr. Hodges," said Josephs, "and then you won't be sorry you
shook hands at night."

At this moment the boy's supper was thrust through the trap-door; it was
not the supper by law appointed, but six ounces of bread and a can of
water.

Hodges, now that he had touched the prisoner's hand, felt his first
spark of something bordering on sympathy. He looked at the grub half
ashamed and made a wry face. Josephs caught his look and answered it.

"It is as much as I shall want," said he very calmly, and he smiled at
Hodges as he spoke, a sweet and tender but dogged smile; a smile to live
in a man's memory for years.

The door was closed with a loud snap, and Josephs was left to face the
long night (it was now seven o'clock) in his wet clothes, which smoked
with the warmth his late bed had begun to cherish; but they soon ceased
to smoke as the boy froze.

Night advanced. Josephs walked about his little cell, his teeth
chattering, then flung himself like a dead log on the floor, and finding
Hawes's spirit in the cold, hard stone, rose and crawled shivering to
and fro again.

Meantime we were all in our nice soft beds; such as found three blankets
too little added a dressing-gown of flannel, or print lined with wadding
or fleecy hosiery, and so made shift. In particular all those who
had the care of Josephs took care to lie warm and soft. Hawes, Jones,
Hodges, Fry, Justices Shallow and Woodcock, all took the care of their
own carcasses they did not take of Josephs' youthful frame.

"Be cold at night? Not if we know it; why you can't sleep if you are not
thoroughly warm!!"



CHAPTER XIX.

MIDNIGHT!

Josephs was crouched shivering under the door of his cell, listening.

"All right now. I think they are all asleep; now is the time."

Hawes, Hodges, Jones, Fry, were snoring without a thought of him they
had left to pass the live-long night, clothed in a sponge, cradled on a
stone.

DORMEZ, MESSIEURS! TOUT EST TRANQUILLE; DORMEZ!



CHAPTER XX.

PAST one o'clock!

The moon was up, but often obscured; clouds drifted swiftly across her
face; it was a cold morning--past one o'clock. Josephs was at his window
standing tiptoe on his stool. Thoughts coursed one another across
his broken heart as fast as the clouds flew past the moon's face. But
whatever their nature, the sting was now out of them. The bitter sense
of wrong and cruelty was there, but blunted. Fear was nearly extinct,
for hope was dead.

There was no tumult in his mind now; he had gone through all that, and
had got a step beyond grief or pain.

Thus ran his thoughts: "I wonder what Hawes was going to do with me
to-morrow. Something worse than all I have gone through, he said. That
seems hard to believe. But I don't know. Best not give him the chance.
He does know how to torture one. Well, he must keep it for some
other poor fellow. I hope it won't be Robinson. I'll have a look at
out-a-doors first. Ah! there is the moon. I wonder does she see what is
done here. And there is the sky; it is a beautiful place. Who would stay
here under Hawes if they could get up there? God lives up there! I am
almost afraid He won't let a poor wicked boy like me come where He
is. And they say this is a sin, too. He will be angry with me--but
I couldn't help it. I shall tell Him what I went through first, and
perhaps He will forgive me. His reverence told me He takes the part
of those that are ill-used. It will be a good job for me if 'tis so.
Perhaps He will serve Hawes out for this instead of me. I think I should
if I was Him. I know He can't be so cruel as Hawes; that is my only
chance, and I'm going to take it.

"Some folk live to eighty; I am only fifteen; that is a long odds, I
dare say it is five times as long as fifteen. It is hard--but I can't
help it. Hawes wouldn't let me live to be a man; he is stronger than I
am. Will it be a long job, I wonder. Some say it hurts a good deal;
some think not. I shall soon know--but I shall never tell. That
doesn't trouble me, it is only throttling when all is done; and ain't I
throttled every day of my life. Shouldn't I be throttled to-morrow if I
was such a spoon as to see to-morrow. I mustn't waste much more time or
my hands will be crippled with cold and then I shan't be able to.

"Mr. Evans will be sorry. I can't help it. Bless him for being so
good to me; and bless Mr. Eden. I hope he will get better, I do. My
handkerchief is old, I hope it won't break; oh, no! there is no fear of
that. I don't weigh half what I did when I came here.

"My mother will fret--but I can't help it. Oh dear! oh dear! oh dear! I
hope some one will tell her what I went through first; and then she will
say, 'Better so than for my body to be abused worse than a dog every day
of my life.' I can't help it! and I should be dead any way before the
fourteen days were out.

"Now is as good a time as any other; no one is stirring, no. Please
forgive me, mother. I couldn't help it. Please forgive me, God Almighty,
if you care what a poor boy like me does or is done to--I couldn't help
it."

                            .......

IL EST DEUX HEURES; TOUT EST TRANQUILLE; DORMEZ, MAITRES, DORMEZ!



CHAPTER XXI.

IT was a bright morning. The world awoke. The working Englishman, dead
drunk at the public-house overnight, had got rid of two-thirds of his
burning poison by the help of man's chief nurse, sleep; and now he must
work off the rest, grumbling at this the kind severity of his lot.
Warm men, respectable men, among whom justices of the peace and other
voluptuous disciplinarians, were tempted out of delicious beds by
the fragrant berry, the balmy leaf, snowy damask, fire glowing behind
polished bars--in short, by multifarious comfort set in a frame of gold.
They came down.

"How did you sleep, dear sir?"

"Pretty well," said one with a doubtful air. "Scarce closed my eyes all
night," snarled another.

Another had been awakened by the barking of a dog, and it was full
half an hour before he could lose the sense of luxurious ease in
unconsciousness again. He made an incident of this, and looked round
the table for sympathy, and obtained it, especially from such as were
toadies.

Now all these had slept as much as nature required. No. 1, ar hyd y
nos--like a top. No. 2, eight hours out of the nine. The ninth his
sufferings had been moderate; they had been confined to this--a bitter
sense of two things; first, that he was lying floating in a sea of
comforts; secondly, that the moment he should really need sleep, sleep
was at his service.

In ---- Jail, governor, turnkeys, chaplain, having had something to do
the day before, slept among Class 1, and now turned out of their warm
beds as they had turned into them, without a shade of anxiety or even
recollection of him whom they had left last evening at eight to pass the
livelong night in a sponge--upon a stone.

Up rose refreshed with sleep that zealous officer, Hawes. He was in the
prison at daybreak, and circulated with inspecting eye all through it.
Went into the kitchen--saw the gruel making--docked Josephs and three
more of half their allowance; then into the corridors, where on one
of the snowy walls he found a speck; swore; had it instantly removed.
Thence into the labor-yard, and prepared a crank for an athletic
prisoner by secretly introducing a weight, and so making the poor crank
a story-teller, and the prologue to punishment. Returning to the body of
the prison, he called out, "Prisoners on the list for hard labor to be
taken to the yard."

He was not answered with the usual alacrity, and looked up to repeat
his summons, when he observed a cell open and two turnkeys standing in
earnest conversation at the door. He mounted the stairs in great heat.

"What are you all humbugging there for, and why does not that young
rascal turn out to work? I'll physic him, ---- him!"

The turnkeys looked in their chief's face with a strange expression of
stupid wonder. Hawes caught this--his wrath rose higher.

"What d'ye stand staring at me like stuck pigs for? Come out, No. 15,
---- you all! why don't you bring him out to the crank?"

Hodges answered gloomily from the cell, "Come and bring him yourself, if
you can."

At such an address from a turnkey, Hawes, who had now mounted the last
stair, gave a snort of surprise and wrath--then darted into the cell,
threatening the most horrible vengeance on the bones and body of poor
Josephs, threats which he confirmed with a tremendous oath. But to
that oath succeeded a sudden dead stupid staring silence; for running
fiercely into the cell with rage in his face, threats and curses on his
tongue, he had almost stumbled over a corpse.

It lay in the middle of the cell--stark and cold, but peaceful. Hawes
stood over it. If he had not stopped short his foot would have been upon
it. His mouth opened but no sound came. He stood paralyzed. A greater
than he was in that cell, and he was dumb. He looked up--Hodges and Fry
were standing silent, looking down on the body. Fry was grave; Hodges
trembled. Part of a handkerchief fluttered from the bar of the window. A
knife had severed it. The other fragment lay on the floor near the
body, where Hodges had dropped it. Hawes took this in at a glance and
comprehended it all. This was not the first or second prisoner that had
escaped him by a similar road. For a moment his blood froze in him. He
wished to Heaven he had not been so severe upon the poor boy.

It was but for a moment. The next he steeled himself in the tremendous
egotism that belongs to and makes the deliberate manslayer.

"The young viper has done this to spite me," said he. And he actually
cast a look of petulant anger down.

At this precise point the minds that had borne his company so long began
to part from it. Fry looked in his face with an expression bordering on
open contempt, and Hodges shoved rudely by him and left the cell.

Hodges leaned over the corridor in silence. One of the inferior turnkeys
asked him a question dictated by curiosity about the situation in which
he had found the body. "Don't speak to me!" was the fierce, wild answer.
And he looked with a stupid wild stare over the railings.

So wild and white and stricken was this man's face that Evans, who was
exchanging some words with a gentleman on the basement floor, happening
to catch sight of it, interrupted himself and hallooed from below,
"What, is there anything the matter, Hodges?" Hodges made no reply. The
man seemed to have lost his speech for some time past.

"Let us go and see," said the gentleman; and he ascended the steps
somewhat feebly, accompanied by Evans.

"What is it, Hodges?"

"What is it?" answered the man impatiently. "Go in there and you'll see
what it is!"

"I don't like this, sir," said Evans. "Oh! I am fearful there is
something unfortunate has happened. You mustn't come in, sir. You stay
here, and I'll go in and see." He entered the cell.

Meantime a short conference had passed between Hawes and Fry.

"This is a bad business, Fry."

"And no mistake."

"Had you any idea of this?"

"No! can't say I had."

"If the parson ever gets well he will make this a handle to ruin you and
me."

"Me, sir! I only obey orders."

"That won't save you. If they get the better of me you will suffer along
with me."

"I shouldn't wonder. I told you you were carrying it too far, but you
wouldn't listen to me."

"I was wrong, Fry. I ought to have listened to you, for you are the only
one that is faithful to me in the jail."

"I know my duty, sir, and I try to do it."

"What are we to do with him, Fry?"

"Well, I don't think he ought to lie on the floor. I'd let him have his
bed now, I think."

"You are right. I'll send for it. Ah! here is Evans. Go for No. 15's
bed."

Evans, standing at the door, had caught but a glimpse of the object that
lay on the floor, but that glimpse was enough. He went out and said to
Hodges, "Wasn't it you that took Josephs' bed away last night?" The man
cowered under the question. "Well, you are to go and fetch it back, the
governor says." Hodges went away for it without a word. Evans returned
to the cell. He came and kneeled down by Josephs and laid his hand upon
him. "I feared it! I feared it!" said he. "Why he has been dead a long
time. Ah! your reverence, why did you come in when I told you not? Poor
Josephs is no more, Sir."

Mr. Eden, who had already saluted Mr. Hawes with grave politeness,
though without any affectation of good-will, came slowly up, and sinking
his voice to a whisper in presence of death said in pitiful accents,
"Poor child! he was always sickly. Six weeks ago I feared we should lose
him, but he seemed to get better." He was now kneeling beside him. "Was
he long ill, sir?" asked he of Hawes. "Probably he was, for he is much
wasted. I can feel all his bones." Hardened as they were, Hawes and
Fry looked at one another in some confusion. Presently Mr. Eden started
back. "Why, what is this? he is wet. He is wet from head to foot. What
is the cause of this? Can you tell me, Mr. Hawes?"

Mr. Hawes did not answer, but Evans did.

"I am afraid it is the bucket, your reverence. They soused him in the
yard late last night."

"Did they?" said Mr. Eden, looking the men full in the face. "Then they
have the more to repent of this morning. But stay. Why then he was not
under the doctor's hands, Evans?"

"La! bless you, no. He was harder worked and worse fed than any man in
the jail."

"At work last night! Then at what hour did he die? He is stiff and cold.
This is a very sudden death. Did any one see this boy die?"

The men gave no answer, but the last words--"Did any one see this boy
die?"--seemed to give Evans a new light.

"No!" he cried. "No one saw him die. Look here, sir. See what is
dangling from the window--his handkerchief."

"And this mark round his throat, Evans. He has destroyed himself." And
Mr. Eden recoiled from the corpse.

"Oh! you may forgive him, sir," said Evans. "We should all have done the
same. No human creature could live the life they led him. Who could live
upon bread and water and punishment? It is a sorrowful sight, but it is
a happy release for him. Eh! poor lad," said Evans, laying his hand upon
the body; "I liked thee well, but I am glad thou art gone. Thou hast
escaped away from worse trouble."

"Come, it is no use sniveling, Evans," put in Hawes. "I am as sorry for
this job as you are. But who would have thought he was so determined? He
gave us no warning."

"Don't you believe that, sir," cried Evans to Mr. Eden. "He gave them
plenty of warning. I heard him with my own ears tell you you were
killing him; not a day for the last fortnight he did not tell you so,
Mr. Hawes."

"Well, I didn't believe him, you see."

"You mean you didn't care."

"Hold your tongue, Evans! You are disrespectful. How dare you speak to
me, you insolent dog? Hold your tongue!"

"No, sir, I won't hold my tongue over this dead body."

"Be silent, Evans," said Mr. Eden. "This is no place for disputes.
Evans, my heart is broken. While there is life there is hope; but here,
what hope is there? Many in this place live in crime, but this one has
died in crime; he of whom I had such good hopes has died in crime--died
by his own hand; he has murdered his own soul; my heart is broken!--my
heart is broken!" The good man's anguish was terrible.

Evans consoled him. "Don't go on so, sir! pray don't. Josephs is where
none of us but you shall ever get to; he is in heaven as sure as we are
upon earth. He was the best lad in the place; there wasn't a drop of
gall in him; who ever heard a bad word from him? and he did not kill
himself till he found he was to die whether or no; so then he shortened
his own death-struggle, and he was right."

"I don't understand you."

"I dare say not, sir; but those two understand me. Oh, it is no use to
look black at me now, Mr. Hawes; I shall speak my mind though my head
was to be cut off. I have been a coward; I thought too much of my wife
and children; but I am a man now. Eh! poor lad, thou shan't be maligned
now thou art dead, as well as tormented alive. Sir, he that lies here
so pale and calm was not guilty of self-destruction. He was driven to
death!--don't speak to me, sir, but look at me, and hear the truth,
as it will come out the day all of us in this cell are damned, except
you--and him!"

The man fell suddenly on his knees, took the dead boy's hand in his left
hand and held his right up, and in this strange attitude, which held all
his hearers breathless, he poured out a terrible tale.

His boiling heart and the touch of him, whom now too late he defended
like a man, gave him simple but real eloquence, and in few words, that
scalded as they fell, he told as powerfully as I have feebly by what
road Josephs had been goaded to death.

He brought the dark tale down to where he left the sufferer rolled up
in the one comfort left him on earth, his bed; and then turning suddenly
and leaving Josephs he said sternly:

"And now, sir, ask the governor where is the bed I wrapped the wet boy
up in, for it isn't here."

"You know as much as I do!" was Hawes's sulky reply.

But at this moment Hodges came into the cell with the bed in question in
his arms.

"There is his bed," cried he, "and what is the use of it now? If you had
left it him last night it would be better for him and for me, too," and
he flung the bed on the floor.

"Oh! it was you took it from him, was it?" said Evans.

"Well, I am here to obey orders, Jack Evans; do you do nothing but what
you like in this place?"

"Let there be no disputing in presence of death!"

"No, sir."

"One thing only is worth knowing or thinking of now; whether there
is hope for this our brother in that world to which he has passed all
unprepared. Hodges, you saw him last alive!"

Hodges groaned. "I saw him last at night, and first in the morning."

"I entreat you to remember all that passed at night between you!"

"Then cover up his face--it draws my eyes to it."

Mr. Eden covered the dead face gently with his handkerchief.

"Mr. Hawes met me in the corridor and sent me to take away his bed. I
found him dozing, and I took--I did what I was ordered."

Mr. Eden sighed.

"Tell me what _he_ said and did."

"Well, sir! when I showed him the order, 'fourteen days without bed and
gas,' he bursts out a laughing--"

"Good heavens!"

"And says he, 'I don't say for gas, but you tell Mr. Hawes I shan't be
without bed nothing nigh so long as that.'"

Mr. Eden and Evans exchanged a meaning glance; so did Fry and Hawes.

"Then I said, 'No! I shan't tell Mr. Hawes anything to make him punish
you any more, because you are punished too much as it is,' says I--"

"I am glad you said that. But tell me what _he_ said. Did he complain?
did he use angry or bitter words?--you make me drag it out of you."

"No! he didn't! He wasn't one of that sort! The next thing was, he asked
me to give him my hand. Well, I was surprised like at his asking for my
hand, and I doing him such an ill-turn. So then he said, 'Mr. Hodges,'
says he, 'why not? I never took away your bed from under you, so you can
give me your hand, if I can give you mine.'"

"Oh! what a beautiful nature! Ah! these are golden words. I hope for the
credit of human nature you gave him your hand?"

"Why, of course I did, sir. I had no malice; it was ignorance, and owing
to being so used to obey the governor."

Here Mr. Hawes, who had remained quiet all this time, now absorbed in
his own reflections, now listening sullenly to these strange scenes in
which the dead boy seemed for a time to have eclipsed his importance,
burst angrily in.

"I have listened patiently to you, Mr. Eden, to see how far you would
go; but I see if I wait till you leave off undermining me with my
servants, I may wait a long while."

Mr. Eden turned round impatiently.

"You! who thinks of you or such as you in presence of such a question
as lies here. I am trying to learn the fate of this immortal soul, and I
did not see you--or think of you--or notice you were here."

"That is polite! Well, sir, the governor is somebody in most jails,
but it seems he is to be nobody here so long as you are in it, and that
won't be long. Come, Fry, we have other duties to attend to." So saying
he and his lieutenant went out of the cell.

Hodges went, too, but not with them.

The moment they were gone--"Well, sir," burst out Evans, "don't you see
that the real murderer is not that stupid, ignorant owl, Hodges?"

"Hush! Evans! this is no time or place for unkindly thoughts; thank
Heaven that you are free from their guilt, and leave me alone with him."

He was left alone with the dead.

Evans looked through the peep-hole of the cell an hour later. He
was still on his knees fearing, hoping, vowing, and, above all,
praying--beside the dead.



CHAPTER XXII.

MR. EDEN, when he reappeared in the prison, was sallow and his limbs
feeble, but his fatal disease was baffled, and a few words are due
to explain how this happened. The Malvern doctor came back with Susan
within twenty hours of her departure. She ushered him into Mr. Eden's
room with blushing joy and pride.

The friends shook hands. Mr. Eden thanked him for coming, and the doctor
cut him short by demanding an accurate history of his disorder, and the
remedies that had been applied. Mr. Eden related the rise and progress
of his complaint, and meantime the doctor solved the other query by
smelling a battalion of empty phials.

"The old story," said he with a cheerful grin. "You were weak--therefore
they gave you things to weaken you. You could not put so much
nourishment as usual into your body--therefore they have been taking
strength out. Lastly, the coats of your stomach were irritated by your
disorder--so they have raked it like blazes. This is the mill-round of
the old medicine; from irritation to inflammation, from inflammation to
mortification, and decease of the patient. Now, instead of irritating
the irritated spot, suppose we try a little counter-irritation."

"With all my heart."

The doctor then wetted a towel with cold water, wrung it half dry, and
applied it to Mr. Eden's stomach.

This experiment he repeated four times with a fresh towel at intervals
of twenty minutes. He had his bed made in Mr. Eden's room. "Tell me if
you feel feverish."

Toward morning Mr. Eden tossed and turned, and the doctor rising found
him dry and hot and feverish. Then he wetted two towels, took the sheets
off his own bed, and placed one wet towel on a blanket; then he made his
patient strip naked, and lie down on this towel, which reached from the
nape of his neck to his loins.

"Ah!" cried Mr. Eden, "horrible!"

Then he put the other towel over him in front.

"Ugh! That is worse; you are a bold man with your remedies. I shiver to
the bone."

"You won't shiver long."

He laid hold of one edge of the blanket and pulled it over him with a
strong, quick pull, and tucked it under him. The same with the
other side; and now Mr. Eden was in a blanket prison--a regular
strait-waistcoat--his arms pinned to his sides. Two more blankets were
placed loosely over him.

"Mighty fine, doctor; but suppose a fly or a gnat should settle on my
face?"

"Call me and I'll take him off."

In about three quarters of an hour Dr. Gulson came to his bedside again.

"How are you now?"

"In Elysium."

"Are you shivering?"

"Nothing of the kind."

"Are you hot?"

"Nothing of the sort. I am Elysian. Please retreat. Let no mere mortals
approach. Come not near our fairy king," murmured the sick man. "I am
Oberon, slumbering on tepid roses in the garden whence I take my name,"
purred our divine, mixing a creed or two.

"Well, you must come out of this paradise for the present."

"You wouldn't be such a monster as to propose it."

Spite of his remonstances, he was unpacked, rubbed dry, and returned
to his own bed, where he slept placidly till nine o'clock. The next day
fresh applications of wet cloths to the stomach, and in the evening one
of the doctor's myrmidons arrived from Malvern. The doctor gave him full
and particular instructions.

The next morning Mr. Eden was packed again. He delighted in the
operation, but remonstrated against the term.

"Packed!" said he to them; "is that the way to speak of a Paradisiacal
process under which fever and sorrow fly and calm complacency steals
over mind and body?"

A slight diminution of all the unfavorable symptoms, and a great
increase of appetite relieved the doctor's anxiety so far that he left
him under White's charge. So was the myrmidon called.

"Do not alter your diet--it is simple and mucilaginous--but increase the
quantity by degrees."

He postponed his departure till midnight. Up to the present time he had
made rather light of the case, and as for danger he had pooh-poohed it
with good-humored contempt. Just before he went he said:

"Well, Frank, I don't mind telling you now that I am very glad you sent
for me, and I'll tell you why. Forty-eight hours more of irritating
medicines, and no human skill could have saved your life."

"Ah! my dear friend, you are my good angel--you can have no conception
how valuable my life is."

"Oh, yes, I can!"

"And you have saved that life. Yes! I am weak still, but I feel I shall
live. You have cured me."

"In popular language, I have. But between ourselves nobody ever cures
anybody. Nature cures all that are cured. But I patted Nature on the
back; the others hit her over the head with bludgeons and brick-bats."

"And now you are going. I must not keep you or I shall compromise other
lives. Well, go and fulfill your mission. But first think--is there
anything I can do in part return for such a thing as this, old friend?"

"Only one that I can think of. Outlive me, old friend."

A warm and tender grasp of the hand on this, and the Malvern doctor
jumped into a fly, and the railway soon whirled him into Worcestershire.

His myrmidon remained behind and carried out his chief's orders with
inflexible severity, unsoftened by blandishments, unshaken by threats.

In concert with Susan he closed the door upon all harassing
communications.

One day Evans came to tell the invalid how the prisoners were
maltreated. Susan received him, wormed from him his errand, and told him
Mr. Eden was too ill to see him, which was what my French brethren call
_une sainte mensonge_--I a fib.

A slow but steady cure was effected by these means: applications of
water in various ways to the skin, simple diet, and quiet. A great
appetite soon came; he ate twice as much as he had before the new
treatment, and would have eaten twice as much as he did, but the
myrmidon would not let him. Whenever he was feverish the myrmidon packed
him, and in half an hour the fever was gone. His cheeks began to fill,
his eyes to clear and brighten, only his limbs could not immediately
recover their strength.

As he recovered, his anxiety to be back among his prisoners increased
daily, but neither Susan nor the myrmidon would hear of it. They acted
in concert, and stuck at nothing to cure their patient. They assured him
all was going on well in the prison. They meant well; but for all that,
every lie, great or small, is the brink of a precipice the depth of
which nothing but Omniscience can fathom.

He believed them, yet he was uneasy; and this uneasiness increased with
his returning strength. At last one morning, happening to awake earlier
than usual, he stole a march on his nurses, and taking his stick walked
out and tottered into the jail.

He found Josephs dead under the fangs of Hawes, and the whole prison
groaning.

Now the very day his symptoms became more favorable it so happened that
he had received a few lines from the Home Office that had perhaps aided
his recovery by the hopes they inspired.


"The matter of your last communication is forwarded to the 'Inspector of
Prisons.' He is instructed to inquire strictly into your statements and
report to this office."


The short note concluded with an intimation that the tone in which Mr.
Eden had conveyed his remonstrances was intemperate, out of place, and
WITHOUT PRECEDENT.

Mr. Eden was rejoiced.

The "Inspector of Prisons" was a salaried officer of the crown,
enlightened by a large comparison of many prisons, and, residing at a
distance, was not open to the corrupting influences of association and
personal sympathy with the governor, as were the county magistrates.

Day after day Mr. Eden rose in hope that day would not pass without
the promised visit from the "Inspector of Prisons." Day after day no
inspector. At last Mr. Eden wrote to him to inquire when he was coming.

The letter traveled about after him, and after a considerable delay came
his answer. It was to this effect. That he was instructed to examine
into charges made against the governor of ---- Jail; but that he had no
instructions to make an irregular visit for that purpose. His progress
would bring him this year to ---- Jail in six weeks' time, when he
should act on his instructions, but these did not justify him in varying
from the routine of his circuit.

Six weeks is not long to wait for help in a matter of life and death,
thought the eighty pounders, the clerks who execute England.

Three days of this six weeks had scarce elapsed when two prisoners were
driven a step each farther than their wretched fellow sufferers who were
to follow them in a week or two. Of these, one, "a mild, quiet, docile
boy," was driven to self-slaughter; and another, one of the best-natured
rogues in the place, was driven to manslaughter.

This latter incident Mr. Eden prevented. I will presently relate how; it
was not by postponing his interference for six weeks.

When Mr. Eden rose from his knees beside the slaughtered boy he went
home at once and wrote to the Home Secretary. On the envelope he wrote
"private," and inside to this effect:


"Two months ago I informed you officially that prisoners are daily
assaulted, starved, and maltreated to the danger of their lives by the
governor of ---- Jail. I demanded of you an inquiry on the spot. In
reply you evaded my demand, and proposed to refer me to the visiting
justices.

"In answer I declined these men for referees on two grounds, viz., that
I had lodged an appeal with a higher jurisdiction than theirs, and
that they were confederates of the criminal; and to enforce the latter
objection I included your proposed referees in my charges, and once
more demanded of you in the queen's name an examination of her unworthy
servants on the instant and on the spot.

"On this occasion I warned you in these words:

"'Here are 180 souls, to whose correction, care and protection the State
is pledged. No one of these lives is safe a single day; and for every
head that falls from this hour I hold you responsible to God and the
State.'

"Surely these were no light words, yet they fell light on you.

"In answer you promised us the 'Inspector of Prisons,' but you gave him
no instructions to come to us. You fooled away time when time was human
life. Read once more my words of warning, and then read these:

"This morning a boy of fifteen was done to death by Mr. Hawes. Of his
death you are not guiltless. You were implored to prevent it, you
could have prevented it, and you did not prevent it. The victim of jail
cruelty and of the maladministration in government offices lies dead in
his cell.

"In three days I shall commit his body to the dust; but his memory
never--until he is avenged and those who are in process of being
murdered like him receive the protection of the State.

"If in the three days between this boy's murder and his burial your
direct representative and agent does not come here and examine this jail
and sift the acts of those who govern it, on the fourth day I lay the
whole case before her majesty the queen and the British nation, by
publishing it in all the journals. Then I shall tell her majesty that,
having thrice appealed in vain to her representatives, I am driven to
appeal to herself; with this I shall print the evidence I have thrice
offered you of this jailer's felonies and their sanguinary results.
That lady has a character; one of its strong, unmistakable features is a
real, tender, active humanity.

"I read characters; it is a part of my business; and, believe me, this
lady once informed of the crimes done in her name will repudiate and
abhor alike her hireling's cruelty and her clerks' and secretaries'
indifference to suffering and slaughter. Nor will the public hear
unmoved the awful tale. Shame will be showered on all connected with
these black deeds, even on those who can but be charged with conniving
at them.

"To be exposed to national horror on the same column with the greatest
felon in England would be a cruel position, a severe punishment for a
man of honor, whose only fault perhaps is that he has mistaken an
itch for eminence for a capacity for business, and so serves the State
without comprehending it. But what else can I do? I, too, serve the
State, and I comprehend what I owe it, and the dignity with which it
intrusts me, and the deep responsibility it lays on me. I therefore
cannot assent to future felonies any more than I have to past and
present, but must stop them, and will stop them--how I can.

"So, sir, I offer you the post of honor or a place of shame. Choose! for
three whole days you have the choice. Choose! and may God enlighten you
and forgive me for waiting these three days.

"I have the honor to be, etc., etc."


To this letter, whose tone was more eccentric, more flesh and blood,
and WITHOUT PRECEDENT, than the last, came an answer in a different hand
from the others.


"--acknowledged receipt of the chaplain's letter.

"Since a human life has succumbed under the discipline of ---- Jail, an
inquiry follows immediately as a matter of course. The other inducements
you have held out are comparatively weak and something more than
superfluous. How far they are in good taste will be left to your own
cooler consideration. A person connected with the Home Department will
visit your jail with large powers soon after you receive this.

"He is instructed to avail himself of your zeal and knowledge.

"Be pleased to follow this course. Select for him the plainer facts
of your case. If on the face of the business he sees ground for
deeper inquiry, a commission will sit upon the jail, and meanwhile all
suspected officers will be suspended. You will consider yourself still
in direct correspondence with this office, but it is requested,
on account of the mass of matter daily submitted to us, that your
communications may be confined to facts, and those stated as concisely
as possible."


On reading this Mr. Eden colored with shame as well as pleasure. "How
gentleman-like all this is!" thought he. "How calm and superior to me,
who, since I had the jaundice, am always lowering my office by getting
into a heat! And I to threaten this noble, dignified creature with the
_Times_. I am thoroughly ashamed of myself. Yet what could I do? I had
tried everything short of bullying and failed. But I now suspect ----
never saw my two first letters. Doubtless the rotten system of our
public offices is more to blame than this noble fellow."

Thus accusing himself Mr. Eden returned with somewhat feeble steps to
the jail. One of the first prisoners he visited was Thomas Robinson.
He found that prisoner in the attitude of which he thought he had cured
him, coiled up like a snake, moody and wretched. The man turned round
with a very bad expression on his face, which soon gave way to a look
of joy. He uttered a loud exclamation, and springing unguardedly up,
dropped a brickbat which rolled toward Mr. Eden and nearly hit him.

Robinson looked confused, and his eyes rose and fell from Mr. Eden's
face to the brickbat.

"How do you do?"

"Not so well as before you fell ill, sir. It has been hard times with us
poor fellows since we lost you."

"I fear it has."

"You have just come back in time to save a life or two. There is a boy
called Josephs. I hope the day won't go over without your visiting him,
for they are killing him by inches."

"How do you know that?"

"I heard him say so."

Mr. Eden groaned.

"You look pale, my poor fellow."

"I shall be better now," replied the thief, looking at him
affectionately.

"What is this?"

"This, sir--what, sir?"

"This brick?"

"Well! why--it is a brick, sir!

"Where did you get it?"

"I found it in the yard."

"What were you going to do with it?"

"Oh! I wasn't going to do any ill with it."

"Then why that guilty look when you dropped it. Come, now--I am in no
humor to be hard upon you. Were you going to make some more cards?"

"Now, sir, didn't I promise you I never would do that again;" and
Robinson wore an aggrieved look. "Would I break a promise I made to
you?"

"What was it for then?"

"Am I bound to criminate myself, your reverence?"

"Certainly not to your enemy! but to your friend, and to him who has the
care of your soul--yes!"

"Let me ask you a question first, sir. Which is worth most, one life or
twenty?"

"Twenty."

"Then if by taking one life you can save twenty, it is a good action to
put that one out of the way?"

"That does not follow."

"Oh! doesn't it? I thought it did. There's a man in this prison that
murders men wholesale. I thought if I could any way put it out of his
power to kill any more what a good action it would be!"

"A good action! so then this brick--"

"Was for Hawes's skull, your reverence."

"This, then, is the fruit of all my teaching. You will break my heart
among you.

"Don't say so, sir! pray don't say so! I won't touch a hair of his head
now you are alive; but I thought you were dead or dying, so what did
it matter then what I did? Besides, I was driven into a corner; I could
only kill that scoundrel or let him kill me. But you are alive, and you
will find some way of saving my life as well as his."

"I will try. But first abandon all thoughts of lawless revenge.
'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.' Come, promise me."

"Now, sir, is it likely I would offend you for the pleasure of dirtying
my fingers with that rascal's blood? Don't let such a lump of dirt as
him make mischief between you and me, sir."

"I understand! with you any unchristian sentiment is easily driven
out--by another. Hatred is to give way to contempt."

"No, sir, but you are alive, and I don't think of Hawes now one way or
other--with such scum as that out of sight is out of mind. When did
you begin to get better, sir? and are you better? and shall I see your
blessed face in my cell every day as I used?" And the water stood in the
thief's eyes.

Mr. Eden smiled and sighed. "Your mind is like an eel--Heaven help the
man that tries to get hold of it to do it any lasting good. You and I
must have a good pray together some day."

"Ah! your reverence, that would do me good soul and body," said Mr.
Supple.

"Let me now feel your pulse; it is very low. What is the matter?"

"Starvation, overwork, and solitude. I feel myself sinking."

"If I could amuse your mind."

"Even you could hardly do that, sir."

"Hum! I have brought you a quire of paper and one of Mr. Gillott's
swan-quill pens and a penny ink-bottle."

"What for?"

"You are to write a story."

"But I never wrote one in my life."

"Then this will be the first."

"Oh, I'll try, sir. I've tried a hundred things in my life and they none
of them proved so hard as they looked. What kind of story?"

"The only kind of story that is worth a button--a true story--the story
of Thomas Robinson, alias Scott, alias Lyon, alias etc."

"Then you should have brought a ream instead of a quire."

"No! I want to read it when it is written. Now write the truth--do not
dress or cook your facts. I shall devour them raw with twice the relish,
and they will do you ten times the good. And intersperse no humbug, no
sham penitence. When your own life lies thus spread out before you like
a map, you will find you regret many things you have done, and view
others with calmer and wiser eyes; for self-review is a healthy process.
Write down these honest reflections, but don't overdo it--don't write a
word you don't feel. It will amuse you while you are at it."

"That it will."

"It will interest me more than the romance of a carpet writer who never
saw life, and it may do good to other prisoners."

"I want to begin."

"I know you do, creature of impulse! Let me feel your pulse again. Ah!
it has gained about ten."

"Ten, your reverence? Fifty, you mean. It is you for putting life into
a poor fellow and keeping him from despair. It is not the first time you
have saved me. The devil hates you more than all the other parsons, for
you are as ingenious in good as he is in mischief."

In the midst of this original eulogy Mr. Eden left the cell suddenly
with an aching heart, for the man's words reminded him that for all his
skill and zeal a boy of fifteen years lay dead of despair hard by. He
went, but he left two good things behind him--occupation and hope.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE inexperienced in jails would take for granted that the death of
Josephs gave Mr. Hawes's system a fatal check. No such thing. He
was staggered. So was Pharaoh staggered several times, yet he always
recovered himself in twenty-four hours. Hawes did not take so long as
that. A suicide was no novelty under his system. Six hours after he
found his victim dead he had a man and a boy crucified in the yard,
swore horribly at Fry, who, for the first time in his life, was behind
time, and tore out of his hands "Uncle Tom," which was the topic that
had absorbed Fry and made him two minutes behind him; went home and
wrote a note to his friend Williams informing him of the suicide that
had taken place, and reflecting severely upon Josephs for his whole
conduct, with which this last offense against discipline was in strict
accordance. Then he had his grog, and having nothing to do he thought he
would see what was that story which had prevailed so far over the stern
realities of system as to derange that piece of clock work that went by
the name of Fry. He yawned over the first pages, but as the master hand
unrolled the great chromatic theory, he became absorbed, and devoured
this great human story till his candles burned down in their sockets and
sent him to bed four hours later than usual.

The next morning soon after chapel a gentleman's servant rode up to the
jail and delivered a letter for Mr. Hawes. It was from Justice Williams.
That worthy expressed in polysyllables his sorrow at the death of
Josephs after this fashion:

"A circumstance of this kind is always to be deplored, since it gives
occasion to the enemies of the system to cast reflections, which,
however unphilosophical and malignant, prejudice superficial judgments
against our salutary discipline."

He then went on to say that the visiting justices would be at the jail
the next day at one o'clock to make their usual report, in which Mr.
Hawes might be sure his zeal and fidelity would not pass unnoticed. He
concluded by saying that Mr. Hawes must on that occasion present his
charges against the chaplain in a definite form, and proceedings would
be taken on the spot.

"Aha! aha! So I shall get rid of him. Confound him! he makes me harder
upon the beggars than I should be. Fry, put these numbers on the cranks
and bring me your report after dinner."

With these words Mr. Hawes vanished, and to the infinite surprise of the
turnkeys was not seen in the jail for many hours. At two o'clock, as he
was still not in the prison, Fry went to his house. He found Mr. Hawes
deep in a book.

"Brought the report, sir."

"Give it to me. Humph! No. 40 and 45 refractory at the crank. No. 65
caught getting up to his window; says he wanted to feel the light.
65--that is one of the boys, isn't it?"

"Yes, sir."

"How old is the young varmint?"

"Eleven, sir."

"No. 14 heard to speak to a prisoner that was leaving the jail, his term
being out. What did he say to him?"

"Said 'Good-by! God bless you!'"

"I'll shut his mouth. Confound the beggars! how fond they are of
talking. I think they would rather go without their food than without
their jaw.

"No. 19 caught writing a story. It is that fellow Robinson, one of
the parson's men. I'll write something on his skin. How did he get the
things to write with?"

"Chaplain gave them him."

"Ah! I am glad of that. You brought them away, of course?"

"Yes, sir; here they are. He made a terrible fuss about parting with
them."

"What did he say?"

"He said Heaven was to judge between me and him."

"Blaspheming dog! ---- him! I'll break him. What else?"

"'Get out of my sight,' said he, 'for fear I do you a mischief.' So then
down he pops on his knees in a corner and turns his back on me, like an
ignorant brute that he is."

"Never mind, Fry, I'll break him."

"I suppose we shall see you in the prison soon, shan't we, sir? The
place looks strange to me without you."

"By-and-by--by-and-by. This confounded book sticks to me like a leech.
How far had you got when you lent it me?"

"Got just to the most interesting part," said Fry dolefully, "where he
comes under a chap called Legree; and then you took it away."

"Well, you'll have it again as soon as I have done with it. I say, what
do you think of this book? is it true do you think?"

"Oh! it is true--I'd take my oath of that."

"Why how do you know?"

"Because it reads like true."

"That is no rule, ye fool."

"Well, sir, what do you think?"

This question staggered Hawes for a moment. However he assumed an
oracular look, and replied, "I think some of it is true and some isn't."

"Do you think it is true about their knocking down blackee in one lot,
and his wife in another, and sending 'em a thousand miles apart?"

"Oh, that is true enough! I daresay."

"And running them down with bloodhounds?"

"Why not; they look upon the poor devils as beasts. If you tell a Yankee
a nigger is a man he thinks you are poking fun at him."

"It is a cursed shame!"

"Of course it is! but I'll tell you what I can't swallow in this book.
Hem! did you ever fall in with any Yankees?"

"One or two, sir."

"Were they green at all?"

"That they weren't. They were rather foxy, I should say."

"Rather. Why one of them would weather upon any three Englishmen that
ever were born. Now here is a book that as good as tells me it is a
Yankee custom to disable their beasts of burden. Gammon! they can't
afford to do it. I believe," continued this candid personage (who had
never been in any of the States), "they are the cruelest set on the face
of the earth, but then they are the 'cutest (that is their own word),
and they are a precious sight too 'cute to disable the beast that
carries the grist to the mill."

"Doesn't seem likely--now you put it to me."

"Have a glass of grog, Fry."

"Thank you, sir."

"And there is the paper. Run your eye over it and don't speak to me for
ten minutes, for I must see how Tom gets on under this bloody-minded
heathen."

Fry read the paper; but although he moistened it with a glass of grog,
he could not help casting envious glances from his folio at Mr. Hawes's
duodecimo.

Fibs mixed with truth charm us more than truth mixed with fibs.

Presently an oath escaped from Mr. Hawes.

"Sir!"

"Nothing, it is only this infernal--humph!"

Presently another expletive. "I'll tell you what it is, Fry, if somebody
doesn't knock this thundering Legree on the head, I'll put the book on
the fire."

"Well, but if it isn't true, sir?"

"But it is true, every word of it, while you are reading it, ye fool.
What heathens there are in the world! First they sell a child out of his
mother's arms. She cuts sooner than be parted. They hunt her and come up
with her; but she knows what they are, and trusts her life and the child
to one of their great thundering frozen rivers as broad as the British
Channel sooner than fall into their hands. That is like a woman, Fry. A
fig for me being drowned if the kid is drowned with me; and I don't even
care so much for the kid being drowned if I go down with him--and the
cowardly vermin dogs and men stood barking on the bank and dursn't
follow a woman; but your cruel ones are always cowards. And now the rips
have got hold of this Tom. A chap with no great harm in him that I see,
except that he is a ---- sniveler and psalm-singer, and makes you sick
at times, but he isn't lazy; and now they are mauling him because he
couldn't do the work of two. A man can but do his best, black or white,
and it is infernal stupidity as well as cruelty to torment a fellow
because he can't do more than he can do. And all this because over
the same flesh and blood there is the sixteenth of an inch of skin a
different color. Wonder whether a white bear takes a black one for a
hog, or a red fox takes a blue one for a badger. Well, Fry, thank your
stars that you were born in Britain. There are no slaves here, and no
buying and selling of human flesh; and one law for high and low, rich
and poor, and justice for the weak as well as the strong."

"Yes, sir," said Fry deferentially--"are you coming into the jail, sir?"

"No," replied Hawes sturdily, "I won't move till I see what becomes of
the negro, and what is done to this eternal ruffian."

"But about the prisoners in my report, sir," remonstrated Fry.

"Oh, you can see to that without my coming," replied Hawes with
nonchalance. "Put 40 and 45 in the jacket four hours apiece. Mind
there's somebody by with the bucket against they sham."

"Yes, sir."

"Put the boy on bread and water--and to-morrow I'll ask the justices to
let me flog him. No. 14--humph! stop his supper--and his bed--and gas."

"And Robinson?"

"Oh, give him no supper at all--and no breakfast--not even bread and
water, d'ye hear. And at noon I'll put him with his empty belly in the
black-hole--that will cow him down to the ground--there, be off!"

Next morning Mr. Hawes sat down to breakfast in high spirits. This very
day he was sure to humiliate his adversary, most likely get rid of him
altogether.

Mr. Eden, on the contrary, wore a somber air. Hawes noticed it, mistook
it, and pointed it out to Fry. "He is down upon his luck; he knows he is
coming to an end."

After breakfast Mr. Eden went into Robinson's cell. He found him
haggard. "Oh, I am glad you are come, sir; they are starving me! No
supper last night, no breakfast this morning, and all for--hum."

"For what?"

"Well, sir, then--having paper in my cell, and for writing--doing what
you bade me--writing my life."

Mr. Eden colored and winced. The cruelty and the personal insult
combined almost took away his breath for a moment. "Heaven grant me
patience a little longer," said he aloud. Then he ran out of the cell,
and returned in less than a minute with a great hunch of bread and a
slice of ham. "Eat this," said he, all fluttering with pity.

The famished man ate like a wolf; but in the middle he did stop to say,
"Did one man ever save another so often as you have me! Now my belly is
full I shall have strength to stand the jacket, or whatever is to come
next."

"But you are not to be tormented further than this, I hope?"

"Ah, sir!" replied Robinson, "you don't know the scoundrel yet. He
is not starving me for nothing. This is to weaken me till he puts the
weight on that is to crush me."

"I hope you exaggerate his personal dislike to you and your own
importance--we all do that."

"Well," sighed Robinson, "I hope I do. Any way now my belly is full I
have got a chance with him."

The visiting justices met in the jail. The first to arrive was Mr.
Woodcock. In fact he came at eleven o'clock, an hour before the others.
Had Mr. Hawes expected him so soon, he would have taken Carter down, who
was the pilloried one this morning; but he was equal to the emergency.
He met Mr. Woodcock with a depressed manner, as of a tender but wise
father, who in punishing his offspring had punished himself, and said
in a low, regretful voice, "I am sorry to say I have been compelled to
punish a prisoner very severely."

"What is his offense?"

"Being refractory and breaking his crank. You will find him in the
labor-yard. He was so violent we were obliged to put him in the jacket."

"I shall see him. The labor-yard is the first place I go to."

Mr. Hawes knew that, Mr. Woodcock.

The justice found Carter in that state of pitiable torture, the sight
of which made Mr. Eden very ill. He went up to him and said, "My poor
fellow, I am very sorry for you; but discipline must be maintained, and
you are now suffering for fighting against it. Make your submission to
the governor, and then I dare say he will shorten your punishment as far
as he thinks consistent with his duty."

Carter, it may well be imagined, made no answer. It is doubtful
whether the worthy magistrate expected or required one. An occasion
for misjudging a self-evident case of cruelty had arrived. This worthy
seized the opportunity, received an ex-parte statement for Gospel, and
misjudged, spite of his senses.

Item. An occasion for twaddling had come, and this good soul seized it
and twaddled into a man's ear who was fainting on the rack.

At this moment the more observant Hawes saw the signs of shamming coming
on. So he said hastily, "Oh, he will come to soon, and then he will be
taken down;" and moved away. Mr. Woodcock followed him without one grain
of suspicion or misgiving.

The English State has had many opportunities of gauging the average
intellects of its unpaid jurists. By these it has profited so well that
it intrusts blindly to this gentleman and his brethren the following
commission:--

They are to come into a place of darkness and mystery, a place locked
up; a place which, by the folly of the nation and the shallow egotists
who are its placemen and are called its statesmen, is not subject to
the only safeguard of law and morals--daily inspection by the great
unprejudiced public. They are to come into this, the one pitch-dark hole
that is now left in the land. They are to come here once in two months,
and at this visit to see all that has been done there in the dark since
their last visit. Their eagle eye is not to be hoodwinked by appearances
got up to meet their visit. They are to come and comprehend with one
piercing glance the past months as well as the present hour. Good. Only
for this task is required, not the gullibility that characterizes the
many, but the sagacity that distinguishes the few.

Mr. Woodcock undertook not to be deceived as to what had been done in
the jail while he was forty miles distant--and Hawes gulled him under
his own eyes.

What different men there are in the world, and how differently are the
same things seen by them! The first crucifixion Eden saw he turned as
sick as a dog--the first crucifixion Woodcock saw he twaddled in
the crucified's ear, left him on the cross, and went on his way well
pleased.

Hawes, finding what sort of a man he had to deal with, thought within
himself, "Why should I compromise discipline in any point?" He said to
Mr. Woodcock, "There is another prisoner whom I am afraid I must give an
hour in the dark cell."

"What has he been doing?"

"Scribbling a lot of lies upon some paper he got from the chaplain."

Mr. Hawes's brief and unkind definition of autobiography did Robinson's
business. Mr. Woodcock simply observed that the proposed punishment was
by no means a severe one for the offense.

They visited several cells. Woodcock addressed the prisoners in certain
words, accompanied with certain tones and looks, that were at least as
significant as his words, and struck the prisoners as more sincere.

The words.

"If you have anything to complain of here, now is the time to say so,
and your complaint shall be sifted."

The tones and looks.

"I know you are better off here than such scum as you deserve, but you
have a right to contradict me if you like; only mind, if you don't prove
it to my satisfaction, who am not the man to believe anything you say,
you had better have held your tongue."

Meantime Mr. Hawes said nothing, but fixed his eye on the rogue, and
that eye said, "One word of discontent and the moment he is gone I
massacre you." Then followed in every case the old theatrical business
according to each rogue's measure of ability. They were in the Elysian
fields; one thing alone saddened them; some day or other they must
return to the world.

Fathers, sent by your apprehensive wives to see whether Dicky is well
used at that school or not, don't draw Dicky into a corner of the
playground, and with tender kisses and promises of inviolable secrecy
coax him to open his little heart to you, and tell you whether he is
really happy; leave such folly to women--it is a weakness to wriggle
into the truth as they do.

No! you go like a man into the parlor with the schoolmaster--then have
Dicky in--let him see the two authorities together on good terms--then
ask him whether he is happy and comfortable and well used. He will tell
you he is. Go home rejoicing--but before you go into the drawing-room do
pray spend twenty minutes by the kitchen fire, and then go upstairs to
the boy's mother--and let her eat you, for you belong to the family of
the Woodcocks.

"We are passing one cell."

"Oh! that one is empty," replied Hawes.

Not quite empty; there was a beech coffin standing in that cell, and the
corpse of a murdered thief lay waiting for it.

At twelve o'clock the justices were all assembled in their room. "We
will send you a message in half an hour, Mr. Hawes."

Mr. Hawes bowed and retired, and bade Fry to take Robinson to the dark
cell. The poor fellow knew resistance was useless. He came out at the
word of command, despair written on his face. Of all the horrors of this
hell the dark cell was the one he most dreaded. He looked up to Hawes
to see if anything he could say would soften him. No! that hardened face
showed neither pity nor intelligence; as well appeal to a stone statue
of a mule.

At this moment Mr. Eden came into the jail. Robinson met him on the
ground-floor, and cried out to him, "Sir, they are sending me to the
black hole for it. I am a doomed man; the black hole for six hours."

"No!" roared Hawes from above, "for twelve hours; the odd six is for
speaking in prison." Robinson groaned.

"I will take you out in three," said Mr. Eden calmly. Hawes heard and
laughed aloud.

"Give me your hand on that, sir, for pity's sake," cried Robinson. Mr.
Eden gave him his hand and said, firmly, "I will take you out in two
hours, please God."

Hawes chuckled. "Parson is putting his foot in it more and more. The
justices shall know this."

This momentary contact with his good angel gave Robinson one little ray
of hope for a companion in the cave of darkness, madness, and death.



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE justices went through their business in the usual routine. They had
Mr. Hawes's book up--examined the entries--received them with implicit
confidence looked for no other source of information to compare them
with. Examined one witness and did not cross-examine him.

This done, one of them proposed to concoct their report at once. Another
suggested that the materials were not complete; that there was a charge
against the chaplain. This should be looked into, and should it prove
grave, embodied in their report.

Mr. Williams overruled this. "We can reprimand, or if need be the bench
can dismiss a chaplain without troubling the Secretaries of State. Let
us make our report and then look into the chaplain's conduct, who is,
after all, a newcomer, and they say a little cracked; he is a man of
learning."

So they wrote their report, and in it expressed their conviction that
the system on the whole worked admirably. They noticed the incident of
Josephs' suicide, but attached no significance and little importance to
it. Out of a hundred and eighty prisoners there would be a few succumb
in one way or another under the system, but on the whole the system
worked well.

Jugger system's wheels were well greased, and so long as they were well
greased it did not matter their crushing one or two. Besides the crushed
were only prisoners--the refuse of society. They reported the governor,
Mr. Hawes, as a painstaking, active, zealous officer; and now Mr. Hawes
was called in--the report was read to him--and he bowed, laid his hand
upon his aorta, and presented a histrionic picture of modest merit
surprised by unexpected praise from a high quarter.

Next, Mr. Hawes was requested to see the report sent off to the post.

"I will, gentlemen;" and in five minutes he was at the post-office
in person, and his praises on the way to his sovereign or her
representative.

"How long will the parson take us?"

"Oh! not ten minutes."

"I hope not, for I want to look at a horse."

"We had better send for him at once, then."

The bell was rung and the chaplain sent for. The chaplain was praying
the prayers for the sick by the side of a dying prisoner. He sent back
word how he was employed, and that he would come as soon as he had done.

This message was not well received. Keep a living justice waiting for a
dying dog!

"These puppies want taking down," said Mr. Woodcock.

"Oh, leave him to me," replied Mr. Williams.

Soon after this the following puppy came into the room. A gentleman of
commanding figure, erect but easy, with a head of remarkable symmetry
and an eye like a stag's. He entered the room quietly but rather
quickly, and with an air of business; bowed rapidly to the three
gentlemen in turn, and waited in silence their commands.

Then Mr. Williams drew himself up in his chair, and wore the solemn and
dignified appearance that becomes a judge trying a prisoner, with this
difference, that his manner was not harsh or intentionally offensive,
but just such as to reveal his vast superiority and irresistible weight.

In a solemn tone, with a touch of pity, he began thus:

"I am sorry to say, Mr. Eden, that grave charges are laid against you in
the prison."

"Give yourself no uneasiness on my account, sir," replied Mr. Eden
politely, "they are perhaps false."

"Yet they come from one who has means of knowing--from the governor, Mr.
Hawes."

"Ah! then they are sure to be false."

"We shall see. Four Sundays ago you preached a sermon."

"Two."

"Ay, but one was against cruelty."

"It was; the other handled theft."

"Mr. Hawes conceives himself to have been singled out and exposed by
that sermon."

"Why so? there are more than thirty cruel men in this jail besides him."

"Then this sermon was not aimed at him?" put Mr. Williams with a pinning
air.

"It was and it was not. It was aimed at that class of my parishioners
to which he belongs; a large class, including all the turnkeys but
one, between twenty and thirty of the greater criminals among the
prisoners--and Mr. Hawes."

Mr. Williams bit his lip. "Gentlemen, this classification shows the
animus;" then turning to Mr. Eden he said, with a half-incredulous
sneer, "How comes it that Mr. Hawes took this sermon all to himself?"

Mr. Eden smiled. "How does it happen that two prisoners, 82 and 87, took
it all to themselves? These two men sent for me after the sermon; they
were wife-beaters. I found them both in great agitation. One terrified,
the other softened to tears of penitence. These did not apply my words
to Mr. Hawes. The truth is when a searching sermon is preached each
sinner takes it to himself. I am glad Mr. Hawes fitted the cap on. I am
glad the prisoners fitted the cap on. I am sorry Mr. Hawes was irritated
instead of reformed. I am glad those two less hardened sinners were
reformed instead of irritated."

"And I must tell you, sir, that we disapprove of your style of preaching
altogether, and we shall do more, we shall make a change in this respect
the condition of your remaining in office."

"And the bishop of the diocese?" asked Mr. Eden.

"What about him?"

"Do you think he will allow you, an ignorant, inexperienced layman, to
usurp the episcopal function in his diocese."

"The episcopal function? Mr. Eden."

Mr. Eden smiled. "He does not even see that he has been trying to usurp
sacred functions and of the highest order. But it is all of a piece--a
profound ignorance of all law, civil or ecclesiastical, characterizes
all your acts in this jail. My good soul, just ask yourself for what
purpose does a bishop exist? Why is one priest raised above other
priests, and consecrated bishop, but to enable the Church to govern
its servants. I laugh--but I ought rather to rebuke you. What you have
attempted is something worse than childish arrogance. Be warned! and
touch not the sacred vessels so rashly--it is profanation."

The flashing eye and the deepening voice, and the old awful
ecclesiastical superiority suddenly thundering upon them quite cowed
the two smaller magistrates. Williams, whose pomposity the priest had
so rudely shaken, gasped for breath with rage. Magisterial arrogance was
not prepared for ecclesiastical arrogance, and the blow was stunning.

"Gentlemen, I wish to consult you. Be pleased to retire for a minute,
sir."

A discussion took place in the chaplain's absence. Williams was for
dismissing him on the spot, but the others who were cooler would not
hear of it. "We have made a false move," said they, "and he saw our
mistake and made the most of it. Never mind! we shall catch him on other
ground."

During this discussion Mr. Eden had not been idle; he went into
Robinson's empty cell and coolly placed there another inkstand, pen
and quire in the place of those Hawes had removed. Then glancing at his
watch he ran hastily out of the jail. Opposite the gate he found four
men waiting; they were there by appointment.

"Giles," said he to one, "I think a gentleman will come down by the next
train. Go to the station and hire Jenkyns's fly with the gray horse.
Let no one have it who is not coming on to the jail. You two stay by the
printing-press and loom till further orders. Jackson, you keep in the
way, too. My servant will bring you your dinner at two o'clock." He then
ran back to the justices. They were waiting for him.

Mr. Williams began with a cutting coldness. "We did not wish to go to
the length of laying a complaint against you before the bishop, but if
you really prefer this to a friendly remonstrance--"

"I prefer the right thing to the wrong thing," was the prompt and calm
rejoinder.

"The complaint shall be made."

Mr. Eden bowed and his eyes twinkled. He pictured to himself this
pompous personage writing to the Bishop of ---- to tell him that he
objected to Mr. Eden's preaching; not that he had ever heard it; but
that in attacking a great human vice it had hit a jailer.

"The next I think we can deal with. Mr. Hawes complains that you
constantly interfere between him and the prisoners, and undermine his
authority."

"I support him in all his legal acts, but I do oppose his illegal ones."

"Your whole aim is to subvert the discipline of the jail."

"On the contrary, I assure you I am the only officer of the jail who
maintains the discipline as by law established."

"Am I to understand that you give Mr. Hawes the lie?"

"You shall phrase my contradiction according to your own taste, sir."

"And which do you think is likeliest to be believed?"

"Mr. Hawes by you gentlemen; Mr. Eden by the rest of the nation."

Here Mr. Palmer put in his word. "I don't think we ought to pay less
respect to one man's bare assertion than to another's. It is a case for
proof."

"Well, but, Palmer," replied Woodcock, "how can the jail go on with
these two at daggers drawn?"

"It cannot," said Mr. Eden.

"Ah, you can see that."

"A house divided against itself!" suggested Mr. Eden.

"Well, then," said Mr. Woodcock, "let us try and give a more friendly
tone to this discussion."

"Why not?--our weapons would bear polishing."

"Yes; you have a high reputation, Mr. Eden, both for learning and
Christian feeling; in fact, the general consideration in which you are
held has made us more lenient in this case than we should have been with
another man in your office."

"There you are all wrong."

"You can't mean that; make us some return for this feeling. You know and
feel the value of peace and unity?"

"I do."

"Then be the man to restore them to this place."

"I will try."

"The governor and you cannot pull together--one must go."

"Clearly."

"Well, then, no stigma shall rest on you--you will be allowed to offer
us your voluntary resignation."

"Excuse me, I propose to arrive at peace and unity by another route."

"But I see no other."

"If I turn Mr. Hawes out it will come to the same thing, will it not?"

"Mr. Hawes?"

"Mr. Hawes."

"But you can't turn him out, sir," sneered Williams.

"I think I can."

"He has our confidence and our respect, and shall have our protection."

"Still I will turn him out with God's help."

"This is a defiance, Mr. Eden."

"You cannot really think me capable of defying three justices of the
peace!" said Mr. Eden in a solemn tone, his eyes twinkling.

"Defiance! no," said Mr. Palmer innocently.

"Well, but, Palmer, his opposition to Mr. Hawes is opposition to us, and
is so bitter that it leaves us no alternative. We must propose to the
bench to remove you from your office."

Mr. Eden bowed.

"And meantime," put in Mr. Williams, "we shall probably suspend you this
very day by our authority." Mr. Eden bowed.

"We will not detain you any longer, sir," said Williams, rather
insolently.

"I will but stay to say one word to this gentleman, who has conducted
himself with courtesy toward me. Sir, for your own sake do not enter on
this contest with me; it is an unequal one. A boy has just been murdered
in this prison. I am about to drag his murderer into the light; why
hang upon his skirts and compel me to expose you to public horror as his
abettor? There is yet time to disown the fell practices of--hell!" He
looked at his watch. "There is half an hour. Do not waste it in acts
which our superiors will undo. See here are the prison rules; a child
could understand them. A child could see that what you call 'the
discipline' is a pure invention of the present jailer, and contradicts
the discipline as by law established, and consequently that Josephs
and others have been murdered by this lawless man. These are the prison
rules, are they not? and here are the jailer's proceedings in the month
of January--compare the two, and separate your honorable name from the
contact of this caitiff, whose crimes will gibbet him in the nation's
eyes, and you with him, unless you seize this chance and withdraw your
countenance from him."

The three injustices rose by one impulse. "Make your preparations to
leave the jail," said Mr. Woodcock.

"Half an hour is quite enough under the circumstances," said Williams.

Palmer stood aghast--his mind was not fast enough to keep up.

Mr. Eden bowed and retired. He was scarcely out of the room when the
justices drew up an order for his suspension from his office.

Mr. Hawes was next sent for.

"We have found the chaplain all you described him. Discipline is
impossible with such a man; here is an order for his suspension."
Hawes's eyes sparkled. "We will enter it into the book, meantime you are
to see it executed." Hawes went out, but presently returned.

"He won't go, gentlemen."

"What do you mean by he won't go?" said Williams.

"I told him your orders; and he said, 'Tell their worships they are
exceeding their authority, and I won't go.' Then I said, 'They give you
half an hour to pack up and then you must pack off.'"

"He! he! he! and what did he say?"

"'Oh, they give me half an hour, do they?' says he--'you take them
this'--and he wrote this on a slip of paper--here it is."

The slip contained these words--

[Greek letters]

While the justices were puzzling over this, Hawes added, "Gentlemen, he
said in his polite way, 'If it is like the prison rules and beats their
comprehension, you may tell them it means--

                          "'There is many a slip
                           'Twixt the cup and the lip.'"

"Well, Mr. Hawes--what next?"

"'I am victualed for a siege,' says he, and he goes into his own room,
and I heard him shoot the bolt."

"What does that mean?" inquired Mr. Palmer.

"It means, sir, that you won't get him out except by kicking him out."
Hawes had been irritating their wounded vanity in order to get them up
to this mark.

"Then turn him out by force," said Williams. But the other two were
wiser. "No, we must not do that--we can keep him out if once he crosses
the door."

"I will manage it for you, gentlemen," said Mr. Hawes.

"Do."

Mr. Hawes went out and primed Fry with a message to Mr. Eden that a
gentleman had ridden over from Oxford to see him, and was at his house.

Mr. Eden was in his room busy collecting and arranging several papers.
He had just tied them up in a little portfolio when he heard Fry's voice
at the door. When that worthy delivered his message his lip curled with
scorn. But he said, "Very well." I will disappoint the sly boobies,
thought he. But the next moment, looking out of his window, he saw a
fly with a gray horse coming along the road. "At last," he cried, and
instantly unbolted his door, and issued forth with his little portfolio
under his arm. He had scarce taken ten steps when a turnkey popped out
from a corner and stood sentinel over his room-door, barring all return.

Mr. Eden smiled and passed on along the corridor. He descended from the
first floor to the basement. Here he found Hawes affecting business, but
not skillfully enough to hide that he was watching Mr. Eden out.

In the yard leading to the great door he found the injustices. Aha!
thought he--waiting to see me out. He raised his hat politely. Williams
took no notice. The others slight.

          "There is many a slip
           'Twixt the cup and the lip,"

said he to them, looking them calmly over, then sauntered toward the
gate.

Mr. Hawes came creeping after and joined the injustices; every eye
furtively watched the parson whom they had outwitted. Fry himself had
gone to the lodge to let him out and keep him out. He was but a few
steps from the door. Hawes chuckled; his heart beat with exultation. A
nether moment and that huge barrier would be interposed forever between
him and his enemy, the prisoners' friend.

"Open the door, Mr. Fry," said the chaplain. Fry pulled it quickly open.
"And let that gentleman in!"

A middle-aged gentleman was paying off his fly. The door being thus
thrown open he walked quickly into the jail as if it belonged to him.

"Who is this?" inquired Mr. Williams sharply. The newcomer inquired as
sharply, "The governor of this jail?"

Mr. Hawes stepped forward: "I am the governor." The newcomer handed him
his card and a note.

"Mr. Lacy from the Home Office," said Mr. Hawes to the injustices.
"These, sir, are the visiting justices."

Mr. Lacy bowed, but addressed himself to Mr. Hawes only. "Grave charges
have been made against you, sir. I am here to see whether matters are
such as to call for a closer investigation."

"May I ask, sir, who makes the charges against me?"

"The chaplain of your own jail."

"But he is my enemy, sir, my personal enemy."

"Don't distress yourself. No public man is safe from detraction. We hear
an excellent account of you from every quarter but this one. My visit
will probably turn to your advantage."

Hawes brightened.

"Is there any room in which I could conduct this inquiry?"

"Will you be pleased to come to the justices' room?"

"Yes. Let us go there at once. Gentlemen, you shall be present if you
choose."

"It is right you should know the chaplain is cracked," said Mr.
Williams.

"I should not wonder. Pray," inquired Mr. Lacy, "who was that
bilious-looking character near the gate when I came in?"

"Why, that was the chaplain."

"I thought so! I dare say we shall find he has taken a jaundiced view of
things. Send for him, if you please, and let us get through the business
as quickly as we can."

When Mr. Eden came he found Mr. Lacy chatting pleasantly with his four
adversaries. On his entrance the gentleman's countenance fell a
little, and Mr. Eden had the pleasure of seeing that this man, too, was
prejudiced against him.

"Mr.--Mr.--?"

"Eden."

"Mr. Eden, be seated, if you please. You appear to be ill, sir?"

"I am recovering from a mortal sickness."

"The jaundice, eh?"

"Something of that nature."

"A horrible complaint."

Mr. Eden bowed.

"I have had some experience of it. Are you aware of its effect on the
mind?"

"I feel its effect on the temper and the nerves."

"Deeper than that, sir--it colors the judgment. Makes us look at
everything on the dark side."

Mr. Eden sighed: "I see what you are driving at; but you confound effect
with cause."

Mr. Lacy shrugged his shoulders, opened his portfolio, and examined a
paper or two.

"Mr. Hawes, you served her majesty in another way before you came here?"

"Five and twenty years, sir, man and boy."

"And I think with credit?"

"My will has been good to do my duty, whatever my abilities may be."

"I believe you distinguished yourself at sea in a storm in the West
Indies?"

Mr. Williams put in warmly, "He went out to a vessel in distress in a
hurricane at Jamaica."

"It was off the Mauritius," observed Mr. Eden with a gleam of
satisfaction.

"Well," said Mr. Lacy, "he saved other lives at the risk of his own, no
matter where. Pray, Mr. Eden, does your reading and experience lead you
to believe that a brave man is ever a cruel one?"

"Yes."

"There is a proverb that the cruel are always cowards."

"Cant! seven out of twelve are cowards and five brave."

"I don't agree with you. The presumption is all on Mr. Hawes's side."

"And only the facts on mine."

Mr. Lacy smiled superciliously. "To the facts let us go, then. You
received a note from the Home Office this morning. In compliance with
that note have you prepared your case?"

"Yes."

"Will you begin by giving me an idea what the nature of your evidence
will be?"

"A page or two of print--twenty of manuscript--three or four living
witnesses, and--one dead body."

"Hum! he seems in earnest, gentlemen. How long do you require to state
your case? Can it be done to-day?" Mr. Lacy looked at his watch half
peevishly.

"Half an hour," was the reply.

"Only half an hour?"

"Ay, but half an hour neat."

"What do you mean by neat?"

"The minutes not to be counted that are wasted in idle interruptions or
in arguments drawn from vague probabilities where direct evidence lies
under our senses. For instance, that because I have been twenty-five
years a servant of Christ with good repute, therefore it is not to be
credited I could bring a false accusation; or that because Mr. Hawes was
brave twenty years ago in one set of circumstances, therefore he cannot
be cruel now in another set of circumstances."

Mr. Lacy colored a little, but he took a pinch of snuff, and then coolly
drew out of his pocket a long paper sealed.

"Have you any idea what this is?"

Mr. Eden caught sight of the direction; it was to himself.

"Probably my dismissal from my post?"

"It is."

Hawes quivered with exultation.

"And I have authority to present you with it if you do not justify the
charges you have made against a brother officer."

"Good!" said Mr. Eden. "This is intelligent and it is just. The first
gleam of either that has come into this dark hole since I have known it.
I augur well from this."

"This is a character, gentlemen."

"To business, sir?" inquired Mr. Eden, undoing his portfolio.

"Sir," put in Mr. Hawes, "I object to an ex-parte statement from a
personal enemy. You are here to conduct a candid inquiry, not to see
the chaplain conduct a hostile one. I feel that justice is safe in your
hands but not in his."

"Stop a bit," said Mr. Eden; "I am to be dismissed unless I prove
certain facts. See! the Secretary of State has put me on my defense. I
will intrust that defense to no man but myself."

"You are keen, sir, but--you are in the right; and you, Mr. Hawes, will
be here to correct his errors and to make your own statement after he
has done in half an hour."

"Ah! well," thought Hawes, "he can't do me much harm in half an hour."

"Begin, sir!" and he looked at his watch.

"Mr. Hawes, I want your book; the log-book of the prison."

"Get it, Mr. Hawes, if you please."

Mr. Hawes went out.

"Mr. Williams, are these the Prison Rules by Act of Parliament?" and he
showed him the paper.

"They are, sir."

"Examine them closely, Mr. Lacy; they contain the whole discipline of
this prison as by law established. Keep them before you. It is with
these you will have to compare the jailer's acts. And now, how many
times is the jailer empowered to punish any given prisoner?"

"Once--on a second offense the prisoner, I see, is referred for
punishment to the visiting justices."

"If, therefore, this jailer has taken upon himself to punish the same
prisoner twice he has broken the law."

"At all events he has gone beyond the letter of this particular set of
rules."

"But these rules were drawn up by lawyers, and are based on the law of
the land. A jailer, in the eye of the law, is merely a head turnkey set
to guard the prisoners. For hundreds of years he had no lawful right
to punish a prisoner at all; that right was first bestowed on him with
clear limitations by an act passed in George the Fourth's reign, which
I must show you, because that act is a jailer's sole authority for
punishing a prisoner at all. Here is the passage, sir; will you be kind
enough to read it out?"

"Hum! 'The keeper of every prison shall have power to hear all
complaints touching any of the following offenses: Disobedience of the
prison rules, assaults by one prisoner on another where no dangerous
wound is given, profane cursing or swearing, any indecent behavior at
chapel, idleness or negligence in work. The said keeper may punish
all such offenses by ordering any offender to close confinement in the
refractory or solitary cells, and by keeping such offenders upon bread
and water only for any term not exceeding three days.'"

"Observe," put in Mr. Eden, "he can only punish once, and then not
select the punishment according to his own fancy; he is restricted to
separate confinement, and bread and water, and three days."

Mr. Lacy continued: "'In case any criminal prisoner shall be guilty of
any repeated offense against the rules of the prison, or of any greater
offense than the jailer is by this act empowered to punish, the said
jailer shall forthwith report the same to the visiting justices, who
can punish for one month, or felons or those sentenced to hard labor by
personal correction.'"

"Such, sir," said Mr. Eden, "is the law of England, and the men who laid
down our prison rules were not so ignorant or unscrupulous as to run
their head against the statute law of the land. Nowhere in our prison
rules will you find any power given to our jailer to punish any but
minor offenses, or to punish any prisoner more than once, or to inflict
any variety of punishments. Such are this jailer's powers--now for his
acts and their consequences--follow me."

"Evans, open this cell. Jenkyns, what are you in prison for?"

"For running away from sarvice, your reverence."

"How often have you been punished since you came?"

"A good many times, your reverence."

"By the visiting justices?"

"No, sir! I was never punished by them, only by the governor."

"What have been your offenses?"

"I don't know, sir. I never meant to offend at all, but I am not very
strong, and the governor he puts me on a heavy crank and then I can't
always do the work, and I suppose he thinks it is for want of the will,
and so he gives it me."

"How has he punished you?"

"Oh! sometimes it is clamming; nothing but a twopenny roll all day, and
kept to hard work all the same; sometimes my bed taken away, you know,
sir, but mostly the punishment jacket."

Mr. Lacy. "The punishment jacket; what is that?"

Mr. Eden. "Look in the prison rules and see if you can find a
punishment jacket; meantime come with me. Two gross violations of the
law--repetition of punishment and variety of punishments. Evans, open
this cell. What are you in for?"

Prisoner (taking off his cap politely). "Burglary, gentlemen."

"Have you been often refractory since you came here?"

"Once or twice, sir. But--"

"But what?"

"These gentlemen are the visiting justices?"

"Yes!"

"They would be offended if I told the truth."

Mr. Lacy. "I am here from the Secretary of State, and I bid you tell the
truth."

Prisoner. "Oh! are you, sir; well, then, the truth is, I never was
refractory but once."

Mr. Lacy. "Oh! you were refractory once?"

Prisoner. "Yes, sir!"

Mr. Lacy. "How came that?"

Prisoner. "Well, sir! it was the first week. I had never been in a
separate cell before, and it drove me mad; no one came near me or spoke
a word to me, and I turned savage; I didn't know myself, and I broke
everything in the cell."

Mr. Eden. "And the other times?"

Prisoner. "The other times, sir, I was called refractory but I was not."

Mr. Eden. "What punishments have been inflicted on you by the governor?"

Prisoner. "Well, sir! the black-cell, bread and water, and none of that;
took away my gas once or twice, but generally it was the punishment
jacket."

Mr. Lacy. "Hum! the punishment jacket."

Mr. Eden. "How long since you had the punishment jacket?"

Prisoner. "No longer than yesterday."

Mr. Eden. "Strip, my man, and let us look at your back."

The prisoner stripped and showed his back, striped livid and red by the
cutting straps.

Mr. Lacy gave a start, but the next moment he resumed his official
composure, and at this juncture Mr. Hawes bustled into the cell and
fixed his eye on the prisoner.

"What are you doing?" said he, eying the man.

"The gentleman made me strip, sir," said the prisoner with an ill-used
air.

"Have you any complaint to make against me?"

"No, sir!"

"Then what have you been humbugging us for all this time," cried Mr.
Williams contemptuously.

"For instance," cried Mr. Eden in the same tone, glancing slyly at Mr.
Lacy, "how dare you show us frightful wales upon your back when you know
they only exist in your imagination--and mine."

Mr. Lacy laughed. "That is true, he can't retract his wales, and I shall
be glad to know how they came there." Here he made a note.

"I will show you by and by," said Mr. Eden.

The next two cells they went to, the prisoners assured Mr. Lacy that
they were treated like Mr. Hawes's children.

"Well, sir!" said Lacy, with evident satisfaction, "what do you say to
that?"

"I say--use your eyes." And he wheeled the last prisoner to the light.
"Look at this hollow eye and faded cheek; look at this trembling frame
and feel this halting pulse. Here is a poor wretch crushed and quelled
by cruelty till scarce a vestige of man is left. Look at him! here is an
object to pretend to you that he has been kindly used. Poor wretch, his
face gives the lie to his tongue, and my life on it his body confirms
his face. Strip, my lad."

Mr. Hawes interposed, and said it was cruel to make a prisoner strip
to gratify curiosity. Mr. Eden laughed. "Come, strip," said he; "the
gentleman is waiting." The prisoner reluctantly took off his coat,
waistcoat and shirt, and displayed an emaciated person and several large
livid stripes on his back. Mr. Lacy looked grave.

"Now, Mr. Lacy, you see the real reason why this humane gentleman did
not like the prisoner to strip. Come to another. Before we go in to this
one let me ask you one question: Do you think they will ever tell you
the truth while Mr. Hawes's eye is on them?"

"Hum! they certainly seem to stand in awe of Mr. Hawes."

Hawes. "But, sir! you see how bitter the chaplain is against me. Where
he is I ought to be if I am to have fair play."

"Certainly, Mr. Hawes, certainly! that is but fair."

Mr. Eden. "What are you in for?"

Prisoner. "Taking a gentleman's wipe, gentlemen."

Mr. Eden. "Have you been often punished?"

Prisoner. "Yes, your reverence! Why you know I have; now didn't you save
my life when they were starving me to death two months ago?"

Mr. Lacy. "How did he save your life?"

Prisoner. "Made 'em put me on the sick list, and put something into my
poor belly."

Mr. Lacy. "What state was the man in, Mr. Eden?"

Mr. Eden. "He was like a skeleton, and so weak that he could only speak
two or three words at a time, and then had to stop a long while and
recover strength to say two or three more. I did not think a human
creature could be so near death and not die."

Mr. Lacy. "And did you know the cause?"

Mr. Eden. "Frankly, I did not. I had not at that time fathomed all the
horrors of this place."

Mr. Lacy. "Did you tell the chaplain at the time you were starving?"

Prisoner. "No!"

Mr. Eden. "And why not?"

Mr. Hawes. "Simply because he never was starving."

Prisoner. "Well! I'll tell you, gentlemen. His reverence said to me,
'My poor fellow, you are very ill--I must have you on the sick list
directly,' and then he went for the doctor. Now I knew if I got on the
sick list they would fill my belly; so I said to myself, best let well
alone. If I had told him it was only starvation he would not interfere,
I thought."

Mr. Lacy opened his eyes. Mr. Eden sighed.

Mr. Lacy. "You seem to have a poor opinion of her majesty's officers."

Prisoner. "Didn't know him, you see--didn't know his character; the
humbug that was here before him would have let a poor fellow be kicked
into his grave before his eyes, and not hold out a hand to save him."

Mr. Lacy. "Let me understand you--were you kept without food?"

Prisoner. "I was a day and a half without any food at all."

Mr. Lacy. "By whose orders?"

Prisoner. "By the governor's there, and I was a week on a twopenny
loaf once a day, and kept at hard work on that till I dropped. Ah, your
reverence, I shall never forget your face. I should be under the sod now
if it was not for you!"

Williams. "You rascal, the last time I was here you told me you never
were so happy and comfortable."

Prisoner. "Ha! ha! ha! ha! he! he! haw! haw! ho! I ask your pardon for
laughing, sir; but you are so precious green. Why, if I had told you the
truth then I shouldn't be alive to talk to you now."

"What, I should have murdered you, should I!" said Mr. Hawes, with a
lofty sneer.

"Why you know you would, sir," replied the prisoner firmly and
respectfully, looking him full in the face before them all.

Mr. Lacy. "You don't think so, or you would not take these liberties
with him now."

The prisoner cast a look of pity on Mr. Lacy.

"Well, you _are_ green--what, can't you see that I am going out to-day?
Do you think I'd be such a cully as to tell a pack of greenhorns like
you the truth before a sharp hand like our governor, if I was in his
power; no, my term of imprisonment expired at twelve o'clock to-day."

"Then why are you here?"

"I'll tell you, sir. Our governor always detains a prisoner for hours
after the law sets him free. So then the poor fellow has not time to
get back to his friends, so then he sleeps in the town, ten to one at a
public-house; gets a glass, gets into bad company, and in a month or two
comes back here. That is the move, sir. Bless you, they are so fond of
us they don't like to part with us for good and all."

Mr. Lacy. "I do not for a moment believe, Mr. Hawes, that you have
foreseen these consequences, but the detention of this man after twelve
o'clock is clearly illegal, and you must liberate him on the instant."

Mr. Hawes. "That I will, and I wish this had been pointed out to me
before, but it was a custom of the prison before my time."

Mr. Eden. "Evans, come this way, come in. How long have you been a
turnkey here?"

Evans. "Four years, sir."

Mr. Eden. "Do you happen to remember the practice of the late governor
with respect to prisoners whose sentence had expired?"

Evans. "Yes, sir! They were kept in their cells all the morning; then
at eleven their own clothes were brought in clean and dry, and they had
half an hour given them to take off the prison dress and put on their
own. Then a little before twelve they were taken into the governor's
own room for a word of friendly advice on leaving, or a good book, or a
tract, or what not. Then at sharp twelve the gate was opened for them,
and--"

Prisoner. "Good-by!--till we see you again."

Evans (sternly). "Come, my man, it is not for you to speak till you are
spoken to."

Mr. Eden. "You must not take that tone with the gentleman, Evans--this
is not a queen's prisoner, it is a private guest of Mr. Hawes. But time
flies. If after what we have heard and seen, you still doubt whether
this jailer has broken the law by punishing the same prisoner more than
once and in more ways than one, fresh evidence will meet you at every
step; but I would now direct your principal attention to other points.
Look at Rule 37. By this rule each prisoner must be visited and
conversed with by four officers every day, and they are to stay with him
upon the aggregate half an hour in the day. Now the object of this rule
is to save the prisoners from dying under the natural and inevitable
operation of solitude and enforced silence, two things that are fatal to
life and reason."

"But solitary confinement is legal."

Mr. Eden sighed heavily. "No it is not. Separate confinement, i.e.,
separation of prisoner from prisoner, is legal, but separation of
a prisoner from the human race is as illegal as any other mode of
homicide. It never was legal in England; it was legal for a short time
in the United States, and do you know why it has been made illegal
there?"

"No, I do not."

"Because they found that life and reason went out under it like the
snuff of a candle. Men went mad and died, as men have gone mad and died
here through the habitual breach of Rule 37, a rule the aim of which
is to guard separate confinement from being shuffled into solitary
confinement or homicide. Take twenty cells at random, and ask the
prisoners how many officers come and say good words to them as bound
by law; ask them whether they get their half hour per diem of improving
conversation. There is a row of shambles, go into them by yourself, take
neither the head butcher nor me."

Mr. Lacy bit his lip, bowed stiffly, and beckoned Evans to accompany
him into the cells. Mr. Hawes went in search of Fry, to concert what was
best to be done. Mr. Eden paced the corridor. As for Mr. Lacy, he took
the cells at random, skipping here and there. At last he returned and
sent for Mr. Hawes.

"I am sorry to say that the 37th Rule has been habitually violated; the
prisoners are unanimous; they tell me that so far from half an hour's
conversation, they never have three minutes, except with the chaplain.
And during his late illness they were often in perfect solitude. They
tell me, too, that when you do look in it is only to terrify them with
angry words and threats. Solitude broken only by harsh language is a
very sad condition for a human creature to lie in--the law, it seems,
does not sanction it--and our own imperfections should plead against
such terrible severity applied indiscriminately to great and small
offenders."

"Oh, that is well said, that is nobly said," cried Mr. Eden with
enthusiasm.

"Sir! I was put in here to carry out the discipline which had been
relaxed by the late governor, and I have but obeyed orders as it was my
duty."

"Nonsense," retorted Mr. Eden. "The discipline of this jail is comprised
in these rules, of which eight out of ten are habitually broken by you."

"He is right there so far, Mr. Hawes. You are here to maintain, not an
imaginary discipline, but an existing discipline strictly defined by
printed rules, and it seems clear you have committed (through ignorance)
serious breaches of these rules. But let us hope, Mr. Eden, that no
irreparable consequences have followed this unlucky breach of Rule 37."

"Irreparable? No!" replied Mr. Eden bitterly. "The Home Office can
call men back from the grave, can't it? Here is a list of five men all
extinguished in this prison by breach of Rule 37. You start. Understand
me, this is but a small portion of those who have been done to death
here in various ways; but these five dropped silently like autumn leaves
by breach of Rule 37. Rule 37 is one of the safety valves which the law,
more humane than the blockheads who execute it, has attached to that
terrible engine separate confinement."

"I cannot accept this without evidence."

"I have a book here that contains ample evidence; you shall see it.
Meantime I will just ask that turnkey about Hatchett, the first name on
your list of victims. Evans, what did you find in Hatchett's cell when
he was first discovered to be dying?"

"Eighteen loaves of bread, sir, on the floor in one corner."

"Eighteen loaves; I really don't understand."

"Don't you?--how could eighteen loaves have accumulated but by the man
rejecting his food for several days? How could they have accumulated
unobserved if Rule 37 had not been habitually broken? Alas! sir,
Hatchett's story, which I see is still dark to you, is as plain as my
hand to all of us who know the fatal effects of solitary or homicidal
confinement. Thus, sir, it was: Unsustained by rational employment,
uncheered by the sound of a human voice, torn out by the roots from all
healthy contact with the human race, the prisoner Hatchett's heart and
brain gave way together; being now melancholy mad he shunned the food
that was jerked blindly into his cell, like a bone to a wolf, by this
scientific contrivance to make brute fling food to brute, instead of
man handing it with a smile to grateful man; and so his body sunk (his
spirits and reason had succumbed before) and he died. His offense was
refusing to share his wages with a woman from whom he would have been
divorced, but that he was too poor to buy justice at so dear a shop as
the House of Lords. The law condemned him to a short imprisonment. The
jailer, on his own authority, substituted capital punishment."

"Is it your pleasure, sir, that I should be vilified and insulted thus
to my very face, and by my inferior officer?" asked Hawes, changing
color.

"You have nothing to apprehend except from facts," was the somewhat cold
reply. "You are aware I do not share this gentleman's prejudices."

"Would you like to see a man in the act of perishing through the
habitual breach of Rule 37 in ---- Jail?"

"Can you show me such a case?"

"Come with me."

They entered Strutt's cell. They found the old man in a state bordering
on stupor. When the door was opened he gave a start, but speedily
relapsed into stupor.

"Now, Mr. Lacy, here is a lesson for you. Would to God I could show this
sight to all the pedants of science who spend their useless lives in
studying the limbs of the crustaceonidunculae, and are content to know
so little about man's glorious body; and to all the State dunces who
give sordid blockheads the power to wreck the brains and bodies of
wicked men in these the clandestine shambles of the nation. Would I
could show these and all other numskulls in the land this dying man,
that they might write this one great truth in blood on their cold hearts
and muddy understandings. Alas! all great truths have to be written in
blood ere man will receive them."

"But what is your great truth?" asked Mr. Lacy impatiently.

"This, sir," replied Mr. Eden, putting his finger on the stupefied
prisoner's shoulder and keeping it there; "that the human body, besides
its grosser wants of food and covering, has its more delicate needs,
robbed of which it perishes more slowly and subtly but as surely as when
frozen or starved. One of these subtle but absolute conditions of health
is light. Without light the body of a blind man pines as pines a tree
without light. Tell that to the impostor physical science deep in the
crustaceonidunculae and ignorant of the A B C of man. Without light
man's body perishes, with insufficient light it droops; and here in all
these separate shambles is insufficient light, a defect in our system
which co-operates with this individual jailer's abuse of it. Another of
the body's absolute needs is work. Another is conversation with human
beings. If by isolating a vulgar mind that has collected no healthy food
to feed on in time of dearth you starve it to a stand-still, the body
runs down like a watch that has not been wound up. Against this law of
Nature it is not only impious but idiotic to struggle. Almighty God
has made man so, and so he will remain while the world lasts. A little
destructive blockhead like this can knock God's work to pieces--ecce
signum--but he can no more alter it while it stands than he can mend it
when he has let it down and smashed it. Feel this man's pulse and look
at his eye. Life is ebbing from him by a law of Nature as uniform as
that which governs the tides."

"His pulse is certainly very low, and when I first felt it he was
trembling all over."

"Oh, that was the agitation of his nerves--we opened the door suddenly."

"And did that make a man tremble?"

"Certainly; that is a well-known symptom of solitary confinement; it is
by shattering a man's nerves all to pieces that it prepares the way for
his death, which death comes sometimes in raging lunacy, of which eight
men have died under Mr. Hawes's reign. Here is the list of deaths by
lunacy from breach of Rule 37, eight. You will have the particulars by
and by."

"I really don't see my way through this," said Mr. Lacy. "Let us come to
something tangible. What is this punishment jacket that leaves marks of
personal violence on so many prisoners?"

Now Hawes had been looking for this machine to hide it, but to his
surprise neither he nor Fry could find it.

"Evans, fetch the infernal machine."

"Yes, your reverence." Evans brought the jacket, straps and collar from
a cell where he had hidden them by Mr. Eden's orders. "You play the game
pretty close, parson," said Mr. Hawes, with an attempt at a sneer.

"I play to win. I am playing for human lives. This, sir, is the torture,
marks of which you have seen on the prisoners; but your inexperience
will not detect at a glance all the diabolical ingenuity and cruelty
that lurks in this piece of linen and these straps of leather. However,
it works thus: The man being in the jacket its back straps are drawn so
tight that the sufferer's breath is impeded, and his heart, lungs and
liver are forced into unnatural contact. You stare. I must inform you
that Nature is a wonderfully close packer. Did you ever unpack a human
trunk of its stomach, liver, lungs and heart, and then try to replace
them? I have; and, believe me, as no gentleman can pack like a shopman,
so no shopman can pack like Nature. The victim's body and organs being
crushed these two long straps fasten him so tight to the wall that he
cannot move to ease the frightful cramps that soon attack him. Then
steps in by way of climax this collar, three inches and a half high.
See, it is as stiff as iron, and the miscreants have left the edges
unbound that it may do the work of a man-saw as well as a garotte. In
this iron three-handed gripe the victim writhes and sobs and moans with
anguish, and, worse than all, loses his belief in God."

"This is a stern picture," said Mr. Lacy, hanging his head.

"Until what with the freezing of the blood in a body jammed together
and flattened against a wall--what with the crushed respiration and
the cowed heart a deadly faintness creeps over the victim and he swoons
away!"

"Oh!"

"It is a lie--a base, malignant lie!" shouted Hawes.

"I am glad to hear it, Mr. Hawes."

Here the justices with great beat joined in and told Mr. Lacy he
would be much to blame if he accepted any statement made against so
respectable a man as Mr. Hawes. Then they all turned indignantly on Mr.
Eden. That gentleman's eyes sparkled with triumph.

"I have been trying a long time to make him speak, but he was too
cunning. It is a lie, is it?"

"Yes, it is a lie."

"What is a lie?"

"The whole thing."

"Give me your book, Mr. Hawes. What do you mean by 'the
punishment-jacket,' an entry that appears so constantly here in your
handwriting?"

"I never denied the jacket."

"Then what is the lie of which you have accused me? Show me--that I may
ask your pardon and His I serve for so great a sin as a lie."

"It is a lie to say that the jacket tortures the prisoners and makes
them faint away; it only confines them. You want to make me out a
villain, but it is your own bad heart that makes you think so or say so
without thinking it."

"Now, Mr. Lacy, I think we have caught our eel. This, then, is the
ground you take; if it were true that this engine, instead of merely
confining men, tortured them to fainting, then you say you would be a
villain. You hesitate, sir; can't you afford to admit that, after all?"

"Yes, I can."

"But on the other hand you say it is untrue that this engine tortures?"

"I do."

"Prove that by going into it for one hour. I have seen you put a man in
it for six."

"Now, do you really think I am going to make myself a laughing-stock to
the whole prison?"

"Well, but consider what a triumph you are denying yourself to prove
me a liar and yourself a true man. It would be the greatest feat
of dialects the world ever saw; and you need not stand on your
dignity--better men than you have been in it, and there goes one
of them. Here, Evans, come this way. We want you to go into the
punishment-jacket." The man recoiled with a ludicrous face of disgust
and dismay. Mr. Lacy smiled.

"Now, your reverence, don't think of it. I don't want to earn no more
guineas that way."

"What does he mean?" asked Mr. Lacy.

"I gave him a guinea to go into it for half an hour, and he calls it a
hard bargain."

"Oh, you have been in it, then? Tell me, is it torture or is it only
confinement?"

"Con-finement! con-found such confinement, I say. Yes, it is torture and
the worst of torture. Ask his reverence, he has been in the oven as well
as me."

Mr. Lacy opened his eyes wide.

"What!" said he, with a half grin, "have you been in it?"

"That he has, sir," said Evans, grinning out in return. "Bless you, his
reverence is not the one to ask a poor man to stand any pain he daren't
face himself."

"There, there, we don't want to hear about his reverence," said his
reverence very sharply. "Mr. Hawes says it is not torture, and therefore
he won't face it. 'It is too laughable and painless for me,' says
slippery Mr. Hawes. 'It _is_ torture, and therefore I won't face it,'
says the more logical Mr. Evans. But we can cut this knot for you,
Mr. Lacy. There are in this dungeon a large body of men so steeped in
misery, so used to torture for their daily food, that they will not be
so nice as Messrs. Hawes and Evans. 'Fiat experimentum in corpore vili.'
Follow me, sir; and as we go pray cast your eyes over the prison rules,
and see whether you can find 'a punishment-jacket.' No, sir, you will
not find even a Spanish collar, or a pillory, or a cross, far less a
punishment-jacket which combines those several horrors."

Mr. Hawes hung back and begged a word with the justices. "Gentlemen,
you have always been good friends to me--give me a word of advice, or
at least let me know your pleasure. Shall I resign--shall I fling my
commission in this man's face who comes here to usurp your office and
authority?"

"Resign! Nonsense!" said Mr. Williams. "Stand firm. We will stand by
you, and who can hurt you then?"

"You are very good, sirs. Without you I couldn't put up with any more of
this--to be baited and badgered in my own prison, after serving my queen
so many years by sea and land."

"Poor fellow!" said Mr. Woodcock.

"And how can I make head against such a man as Eden--a lawyer in a
parson's skin, an orator too that has a hundred words to say to my one?"

"Let him talk till he is hoarse, we will not let him hurt you."

"Thank you, gentlemen, thank you. Your wishes have always been my law.
You bid me endure all this insolence; honored by your good opinion, and
supported by your promise to stand by me, I will endure it." And Mr.
Hawes was seen to throw off the uneasiness he had put on to bind the
magistrates to his defense.

"They are coming back again."

"Who is this with them?"

Mr. Hawes muttered an oath. "It is a refractory prisoner I had sent to
the dark cell. I suppose they will examine him next, and take his word
against mine."

(Chorus of Visiting Justices.) "Shame!"



CHAPTER XXV.

MR. EDEN had taken Mr. Lacy to the dark cells. Evans, who had no key of
them, was sent to fetch Fry to open them. "We will kill two birds with
one stone--disinter a patient for our leathern gallows, and a fresh
incident of the ---- Inquisition. Open this door, Mr. Fry."

The door was opened. A feeble voice uttered a quavering cry of joy that
sounded like wailing, and a figure emerged so suddenly and distinctly
from the blackness that Mr. Lacy started. It was Thomas Robinson, who
crept out white and shaking, with a wild, haggard look. He ran to Mr.
Eden like a great girl. "Don't let me go back--don't let me go back,
sir!" And the cowed one could hardly help whimpering.

"Come, courage, my lad," rang out Mr. Eden, "your troubles are nearly
over. Feel this man's hand, sir."

"How he trembles! Why, he must be chicken-hearted."

"No! only he is one of your men of action, not of passive fortitude.
He is imaginative, too, and suffers remorse for his crimes without the
soothing comfort of penitence. Twenty-four hours of that black hole
would deprive him or any such nature of the light of reason."

"Is this a mere opinion or do you propose to offer me proof?"

"Six men driven by this means alone to the lunatic asylum, of whom two
died there soon after."

"Hum! of what nature is your proof? I cannot receive assertion."

"Entries made at the time by a man of unimpeachable honesty."

"Indeed!"

"Who hates me and adores Mr. Hawes."

"Very well, Mr. Eden," replied the other keenly, "whatever you support
by such evidence as that I will accept as fact and act upon it."

"Done!"

"Done!" and Mr. Lacy smiled good-humoredly, but, it must be owned,
incredulously. "Is that proof at hand?" he added.

"It is. But one thing at a time--the leathern gallows is the iniquity we
are unearthing at present. Ah! here are Mr. Hawes and his subordinates."

"Subordinates?"

"You will see why I call them so."

Mr. Williams. "I trust you will not accept the evidence of a refractory
prisoner against an honest, well-tried officer, whose conduct for two
years past we have watched and approved."

Mr. Lacy replied with dignity: "Your good opinion of Mr. Hawes shall
weigh in his favor at every part of the evidence, but you must not
dictate to me the means by which I am to arrive at the truth."

Mr. Williams bit his lip and was red and silent.

"But, your reverence," cried Robinson, "don't let me be called a
refractory prisoner when you know I am not."

"Then what were you in the black-hole for?"

"For obeying orders."

"Nonsense! hum! Explain."

"His reverence said to me, 'You are a good writer; write your own life
down. See how you like it when you look at it with reason's eye instead
of passion's, all spread out before you in its true colors. Tell the
real facts--no false coin, nor don't put any sentiments down you don't
feel to please me--I shall only despise you,' said his reverence.
Well, sir, I am not a fool, and so of course I could see how wise his
reverence was, and how much good might come to my poor sinful soul by
doing his bidding; and I said a little prayer he had taught me against
a self-deceiving heart--his reverence is always letting fly at
self-deception--and then I sat down and I said, 'Now I won't tell a
single lie or make myself a pin better or worse than I really am. Well,
gentlemen, I hadn't written two pages when Mr. Fry found me out and told
the governor, and the governor had me shoved into the black-hole where
you found me."

"This is Mr. Fry, I think?"

"My name is Fry"

"Was this prisoner sent to the black-hole merely for writing his life by
the chaplain's orders?"

"You must ask the governor, sir. My business is to report offenses and
to execute orders; I don't give 'em."

"Mr. Hawes, was he sent to the black-hole for doing what the chaplain
had set him to do by way of a moral lesson?"

"He was sent for scribbling a pack of lies without my leave."

"What! when he had the permission of your superior officer."

"Of my superior officer?"

"Your superior in the department of instruction, I mean. Can you doubt
that he is so with these rules before you? Let me read you one of them:
'Rule 18. All prisoners, including those sentenced to hard labor, are
to have such time allowed them for instruction as the chaplain may think
proper, whether such instruction withdraw them from their labor for a
time or not.' And again, by 'Rule 80. Each prisoner is to have every
means of moral and religious instruction the chaplain shall select for
each as suitable.' So that you have passed out of your own department
into a higher department, which was a breach of discipline, and you have
affronted the head of that department and strained your authority to
undermine his, and this in the face of Rule 18, which establishes this
principle: that should the severities of the prison claim a prisoner
by your mouth, and religious or moral instruction claim him by the
chaplain's, your department must give way to the higher department."

"This is very new to me, sir; but if it is the law--"

"Why, you see it is the law, printed for your guidance. I undo your act,
Mr. Hawes; the prisoner Robinson will obey the chaplain in all things
that relate to religious or moral instruction, and he will write his
life as ordered, and he is not to be put to hard labor for twenty-four
hours. By this means he will recover his spirits and the time and
moral improvement you have made him lose. You hear, sir?" added he very
sharply.

"I hear," said Hawes sulkily.

"Go on with your evidence, Mr. Eden."

"Robinson, my man, you see that machine?"

"Ugh! yes, I see it."

"For two months I have been trying to convince Mr. Hawes that engine is
illegal. I failed; but I have been more fortunate with this gentleman
who comes from the Home Office. He has not taken as many minutes to see
it is unlawful."

"Stop a bit, Mr. Eden. It is clearly illegal, but the torture is not
proved."

"Nor ever will be," put in Mr. Hawes.

"So then, Robinson, no man on earth has the right to put you into that
machine."

"Hurrah!"

"It is therefore as a favor that I ask you to go into it to show its
operation."

"A favor, your reverence, to you? I am ready in a minute." Robinson was
jammed, throttled, and nailed in the man-press. Mr. Lacy stood in front
of him and eyed him keenly and gravely. "They seem very fond of you,
these fellows."

"Can you give your eyes to that sight and your ears to me?" asked Mr.
Eden.

"I can."

"Then I introduce to you a new character--Mr. Fry. Mr. Fry is a real
character, unlike those of romance and melodrama, which are apt to be
either a streak of black paint or else a streak of white paint. Mr. Fry
is variegated. He is a moral magpie; he is, if possible, as devoid of
humanity as his chief; but to balance this defect, he possesses, all to
himself, a quality, a very high quality, called Honesty."

"Well, that is a high quality and none too common."

"He is one of those men to whom veracity is natural. He would hardly
know how to tell a falsehood. They fly about him in this place like
hailstones, but I never saw one come from him."

"Stay! does he side with you or with Mr. Hawes in this unfortunate
difference?"

"With me!" cried Mr. Hawes eagerly. Mr. Eden bowed assent. "Hum!"

"This honest Nero is zealous according to his light; he has kept a
strict record of the acts and events of the jail for four years past;
i.e., rather more than two years of Captain O'Connor's jailership, and
somewhat less than two years of the present jailer. Such a journal,
rigorously kept out of pure love of truth by such a man is invaluable.
There no facts are likely to be suppressed or colored, since the record
was never intended for any eye but his own. I am sure Mr. Fry will
gratify you with a sight of this journal. Oblige me, Mr. Fry!"

"Certainly, sir! certainly!" replied Fry, swelling with importance and
gratified surprise.

"Bring it me at once, if you please." Fry went with alacrity for his
journal.

"Mr. Lacy," said Mr. Eden, with a slight touch of reproach, "you can
read not faces only but complexions. You read in my yellow face and
sunken eye--prejudice; what do you read here?" and he wheeled like
lightning and pointed to Mr. Hawes, whose face and very lips were
then seen to be the color of ashes. The poor wretch tried to recover
composure, and retort defiance; but the effort came too late. His face
had been seen, and once seen that look of terror, anguish and hatred was
never to be forgotten.

"What is the matter, Mr. Hawes?"

"W--W--When I think of my long services, and the satisfaction I have
given to my superiors--and now my turnkey's journal to be taken and
believed against mine."

(Chorus of Justices.) "It is a shame!"

Mr. Eden (very sharply). "Against yours? what makes him think it will be
against his? The man is his admirer, and an honest man. What injustice
has he to dread from such a source?"

Mr. Lacy. "I really cannot understand your objection to a man's evidence
whose bias lies your way; and I must say, it speaks well for Mr. Eden
that he has proposed this man in evidence."

At this juncture the magistrates, after a short consultation, informed
Mr. Lacy that they had business of more importance to transact, and
could give no more time to what appeared to them an idle and useless
inquiry.

"At all events, gentlemen," replied Mr. Lacy, "I trust you will not
leave the jail. I am not here to judge Mr. Hawes, but to see whether Mr.
Eden's demand for a formal inquiry into his acts ought to be granted or
refused. Now unless the evidence takes some new turn I incline to think
I must favor the inquiry; that is to say, should the chaplain persist in
demanding it."

"Which I shall."

"Should a royal commission be appointed to sit here, I should naturally
wish to consult you as to the component members of the commission; and
it is my wish to pay you the compliment usual in such cases of selecting
one of the three commissioners from your body. But one question,
gentlemen, before you go. Have you complied with No. 1 of these your
rules? Have you visited every prisoner in his or her cell once a month?"

"Certainly not!"

"I am sorry to hear it. Of course, at each visit, you have closely
examined this the jailer's book, a record of his acts and the events of
the jail?"

"Portions of it are read to us; this is a form which I believe is never
omitted--is it, Mr. Hawes?"

"Never, gentlemen!"

"'Portions!' and 'a form!' what, then, are your acts of supervision? Do
you examine the turnkeys, and compare their opinions with the jailer's?"

"We would not be guilty of such ungentlemanly behavior!" replied Mr.
Williams, who had been longing for some time to give Mr. Lacy a slap.

"Do you examine the prisoners apart, so that there can be no
intimidation of them?"

"We always take Mr. Hawes into the cells with us."

"Why do you do that, pray?"

"We conceive that nothing would be gained by encouraging the refuse of
mankind to make frivolous complaints against their best friend." Here
the speaker and his mates wore a marked air of self-satisfaction.

"Well, sir! has the present examination in no degree shaken your
confidence in Mr. Hawes's discretion?"

"Not in the least."

"Nor in your own mode of scrutinizing his acts?"

"Not in the least."

"That is enough! Gentlemen, I need detain you no longer from the
business you have described as more important than this!"

Mr. Lacy shrugged his shoulders. Mr. Eden smiled to him, and said
quietly:

"As they were in the days of Shakespeare so they were in the days of
Fielding; as they were in the days of Fielding so they are in the days
of light; and as they are now so will they remain until they are swept
away from the face of the soil. (Keep your eye on Mr. Hawes, edging away
there so adroitly.) It is not their fault, it is their nature; their
constitution is rotten; in building them the State ignored Nature, as
Hawes ignores her in his self-invented discipline."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"That no _body_ of men ever gave for nothing anything worth anything,
nor ever will. Now knowledge of law is worth something; zeal,
independent judgment, honesty, humanity, diligence are worth something
(are you watching Mr. Hawes, sir?); yet the State, greedy goose, hopes
to get them out of a body of men for nothing!"

"Hum! Why has Mr. Hawes retired?"

"You know as well as I do."

"Oh! do I?"

"Yes, sir! the man's terror when Fry's journal was proposed in evidence,
and his manner of edging away obliquely to the direction Fry took, were
not lost on a man of your intelligence."

"If you think that, why did you not stop him till Fry came back with the
book?"

"I had my reasons; meantime we are not at a stand-still. Here is an
attested copy of the journal in question; and here is Mr. Hawes's
log-book. Fry's book intended for no mortal eye but his own; Hawes's
concocted for inspection."

"I see a number of projecting marks pasted into Fry's journal!"

"Yes, sir; on some of these marks are written the names of remarkable
victims, recurring at intervals; on others are inscribed the heads
of villainy--'the black-hole,' 'starvation,' 'thirst,' 'privation
of exercise,' 'of bed,' 'of gas,' 'of chapel,' 'of human
converse,' 'inhuman threats,' and the infernal torture called the
'punishment-jacket.' Somewhat on the plan of 'Watt's Bibliotheca
Britannica.' So that you can at will trace any one of Mr. Hawes's
illegal punishments, and see it running like a river of blood through
many hapless names; or you can, if you like it better, track a
fellow-creature dripping blood from punishment to punishment, from one
dark page to another, till release, lunacy, or death closes the list of
his recorded sufferings."

Aided by Mr. Eden, who whirled over the leaves of Mr. Hawes's log-book
for him, Mr. Lacy compared several pages of the two books. The following
is merely a selected specimen of the entries that met his eye:

       MR. FRY.                                MR. HAWES.

  Joram.Writing on his can--bread and    Joram.Refractory--bread and
  water.                                 water.

  Joram.Bread and water.

  Joram.Bread and water.                 Joram.Refractory--crank; bread
                                         and water.

  Joram.Crank not performed--bread
  and water.

  Joram.Punishment-jacket.

  Joram.Refractory--crank--bread and     Joram. Refractory--bread and
  water.                                 water.

  Joram.Attempted suicide;               Joram. Feigned suicide; cause
  insensible when found. Had             religious despondency--put on
  cut off pieces of his hair to          sick-list.
  send to his friends--sick-list.

  Josephs. Crank not performed; says     Josephs. Refractory; said
  he could not turn the crank No. 9;     he would not work on crank 9;
  punishment-jacket.                     punishment-jacket.

  Tomson. Communicating in chapel--      Tomson.Communicating--dark cells.
  dark cell 12 hours.

  Tomson. Bread and water.

  Tomson. Crank not performed;           Tomson. Refractory--jacket.
  punishment-jacket.


  Tomson. Dark cells.

  Tomson. No chapel.

  Tomson. Dark cells.

  Tomson. Melancholy.                    Tomson. Afflicted with remorse
                                         for past crimes--surgeon.

  Tomson. Very strange.

  Tomson. Removed to lunatic asylum.     Tomson. Removed to asylum.

  Tanner (nine years old). Caught        Tanner. Caught up at window;
  up at window; asked what he did        answered insolently--jacket.
  there; said he wanted to feel the
  light--jacket, and bread and water
  three days.

  Tanner. For repining--chapel           Tanner. Refractory language--
  and gas stopped until content.         forbidden chapel until
                                         reformation.


"Can I see such a thing as a prisoner who has attempted suicide?"
inquired he, with lingering incredulity.

"Yes! there are three on this landing. Come first to Joram, of whom
Mr. Hawes writes that he made a sham attempt on his life in a fit of
religious despondency--Mr. Fry, that having been jacketed and put on
bread and water for several days, he became depressed in spirits and
made a real attempt on his life. Ah! here is Mr. Fry, he is coming
this way to tell you his first falsehood. Hawes has been all this while
persuading him to it."

"Where is your journal, Mr. Fry?"

"Well, sir," replied Fry, hanging his head, "I can't show it you. I lent
it to a friend, now I remember, and he has taken it out of the jail;
but," added he with a sense of relief, "you can ask me any questions you
like and I'll answer them all one as my book."

"Well, then, was Joram's attempt at suicide a real or a feigned one?"

"Well, I should say it was a real one. I found him insensible and he did
not come to for best part of a quarter of an hour."

"Open his cell."

"Joram, I am here from the Secretary of State to ask you some questions.
Answer them truly and without fear. Some months ago you made an attempt
on your life."

The prisoner shuddered and hung his head.

"Don't be discouraged, Joram," put in Mr. Eden kindly, "this gentleman
is not a harsh judge, he will make allowances."

"Thank you, gentlemen."

"What made you attempt your life?" persisted Mr. Lacy. "Was it from
religious despondency?"

"That it was not. What did I know about religion before his reverence
here came to the jail? No, sir, I was clammed to death."

"Clammed?"

"Yes, sir, clammed and no mistake."

"North-country word for starved," explained Mr. Eden.

"No, sir, I was starved as well. It was very cold weather, and they gave
me nothing but a roll of bread no bigger than my fist once a day for the
best part of a week. So being starved with cold and clammed with hunger
I knew I couldn't live many hours more, and then the pain in my vitals
was so dreadful, sir, I was obliged to cut it short. Ay! ay! your
reverence, I know it was very wicked--but what was I to do? If I hadn't
attempted my life I shouldn't be alive now. A poor fellow doesn't know
what to do in such a place as this."

"Well," said Mr. Lacy, "I promise you your food shall never be tampered
with again."

"Thank you, sir. Oh! I have nothing to complain of now, sir; they have
never clammed me since I attempted my life."

Mr. Eden. "Suicide is at a premium here."

"What was your first offense?" asked Mr. Lacy.

"Writing on my can."

"What did you write on the can?"

"I wrote, 'I want to speak to the governor.'"

"Couldn't you ring and ask to see him?"

"Ring and ask? I had rung half a dozen times and asked to see him and
could not get to see him. My hand was blistered, and I wanted to ask
him to put me on a different sort of work till such time as it could get
leave to heal."

"Now, sir," said Mr. Eden, "observe the sequence of iniquity. A
refractory jailer defies the discipline of the prison. He breaks Rule
37 and other rules by which he is ordered to be always accessible to a
prisoner. The prisoner being in a strait, through which the jailer
alone can guide him, begs for an interview; unable to obtain this in his
despair he writes one innocent line on his can imploring the jailer to
see him. None of the beasts say, 'What has he written?' they say only,
'Here be scratches,' and they put him on bread and water for an illegal
period; and Mr. Hawes's new and illegal interpretation of 'bread and
water' is aimed at his life. I mean that instead of receiving three
times per diem a weight of bread equal to the weight of his ordinary
diets (which is clearly the intention of the bread and water statute),
he has once a day four ounces of bread. So because a refractory jailer
breaks the discipline, a prisoner with whom no breach of the discipline
_originated_ is feloniously put to death unless he cuts it short by
that which in every spot of the earth but ---- Jail is a deadly crime in
Heaven's eyes--self-murder."

"What an eye your reverence ha' got for things! Well now it doesn't
sound quite fair, does it? but stealing is a dog's trick, and if a man
behaves like a dog he must look to be treated like one; and he will be,
too."

"That is right, Joram; you look at it from that point of view, and we
will look at it from another."

"Open Naylor's cell. Naylor, what drove you to attempt suicide?"

"Oh! you know, sir."

"But this gentleman does not."

"Well, gents, they had been at me a pretty while one way and another;
they put me in the jacket till I fainted away."

"Stop a minute; is the jacket very painful?"

"There is nothing in the world like it, sir."

"What is its effect? What sort of pain?"

"Why, all sorts! it crushes your very heart. Then it makes you ache from
your hair to your heel, till you would thank and bless any man to knock
you on the head. Then it takes you by the throat and pinches you and
rasps you all at one time. However, I don't think but what I could have
stood up against that, if I had had food enough; but how can a chap face
trouble and pain and hard labor on a crumb a day? However, what finally
screwed up my stocking altogether, gents, was their taking away my gas.
It was the dark winter nights, and there was me set with an empty belly
and the cell like a grave. So then I turned a little queer in the head
by all accounts, and I saw things that--hem!--didn't suit my complaint
at all, you know."

"What things?"

"Well, gents, it is all over now, but it makes me shiver still, so I
don't care to be reminded; let us drop it if it is all the same to you."

"But, Naylor, for the sake of other poor fellows and to oblige me."

"Oh! your reverence, if I can oblige you that alters the case entirely.
Well, then, sir, if you must know, I saw 'Child of Hell' wrote in great
letters of fire all over that side of the cell. Always every evening
this was all my society, as the saying is; 'Child of Hell' wrote ten
times brighter than gas.

"Couldn't you shut your eyes and go to sleep?" said Mr. Lacy.

"How could I sleep? and I did shut my eyes, and then the letters
they came through my eyelids. So when this fell on the head of all my
troubles I turned wild, and I said to myself one afternoon, 'Now here is
my belly empty and nothing coming to it, and there is the sun a-setting,
and by-and-by my cell will be brimful of hell-fire--let me end my
troubles and get one night's rest if I never see another.' So I hung
myself up to the bar by my hammock-strap, and that is all I remember
except finding myself on my back, with Mr. Fry and a lot round me, some
coaxing and some cursing; and when I saw where I was I fell a-crying and
blubbering, to think that I had so nearly broke prison and there they
had got me still. I dare say Mr. Fry remembers how I took on."

"Ay, my man, I remember we got no thanks for bringing you to."

"I was a poor unconverted sinner then," replied Mr. Naylor demurely,
"and didn't know my fault and the consequences; but I thank you now with
all my heart, Mr. Fry, sir."

"I am to understand then that you accuse the jailer of driving you to
suicide by unlawful severities?"

"No, sir, I don't. I only tell you how it happened, and you should not
have asked me if you didn't care to know; and as for blaming folk, the
man I blame the most is John Naylor. His reverence there has taught me
to look at home. If I hadn't robbed honest folk I shouldn't have robbed
myself of character and liberty and health, and Mr. Hawes wouldn't have
robbed me of food and light and life wellnigh. Certainly there _is_ a
deal of ignorance and stupidity in this here jail. The governor has no
head-piece; can't understand that a prisoner is made out of the same
stuff as he is--skin and belly, heart, soul, bones an' all. I should
say he wasn't fit to be trusted with the lives of a litter of pigs, let
alone a couple of hundred men and women. But all is one for that; if he
was born without any gumption, as the saying is, I wasn't, and I didn't
ought to be in a fool's power; that is my fault entirely, not the
fool's; ain't it now? If I hadn't come to the mill the miller would
never have grinded me! I sticks to that!"

"Well said, Naylor. Come, sir, One higher than the State takes
precedence here. We must on no account shake a Christian frame of mind
or rekindle a sufferer's wrongs. Yes, Naylor, forgive and you shall
be forgiven. I am pleased with you, greatly pleased with you, my poor
fellow. There is my hand!" Naylor took his reverence's hand and his very
forehead reddened with pride and pleasure at so warm a word of praise
from the revered mouth. They went out of the cell. Being now in the
corridor, Mr. Eden addressed the Government official thus:

"My proofs draw to a close. I could multiply instances ad infinitum--but
what is the use? If these do not convince you you would not believe
though one rose from the dead. What do I say? Have not Naylor and Joram
and many others come back from the dead to tell you by what roads they
were driven there? One example remains to be shown. To a philosophical
mind it is no stronger than the rest; but there are many men who can
receive no very strong impression except through their senses. You may
be one of these; and it is my duty to give your judgment every aid.
Where is Mr. Fry? He has left us."

"I am coming to attend you, sir," cried Evans from above. "Mr. Fry is
gone to the governor."

"Where are we going?" asked Mr. Lacy.

"To examine a prisoner whom the jailer tortured with the jacket, and
starved, and ended by robbing him of his gas and his bed contrary to
law. Evans, since you are here, relate all that happened to Edward
Josephs on the fourth of this month--and mind you don't exaggerate."

"Well, sir, they had been at him for near a month, overtasking him and
then giving him the jacket, and starving him and overtasking him again
on his empty stomach till the poor lad was a living skeleton. On the
fourth the governor put him in the jacket, and there he was kept till he
swooned."

"Ah!"

"Then they flung two buckets of water over him and that brought him to.
Then they sent him to his cell and there he was in his wet clothes. Then
him being there shaking with cold, the governor ordered his gas to be
taken away--his hands were shaking over it for a little warmth when they
robbed him of that bit o' comfort."

"Hum!"

"Contrary to law!" put in Mr. Eden.

"Well, sir, he was a quiet lad not given to murmur, but at losing his
gas he began to cry out so loud you might hear him all over the prison."

"What did he cry?"

"Sir, he cried MURDER!"

"Go on."

"Then I came to him and found him shivering and dripping, and crying fit
to break his poor heart."

"And did you do nothing for him?"

"I did what I could, sir. I took him and twisted his bedclothes so tight
round him the air could not get in, and before I left him his sobs went
down and he looked like warm and sleeping after all his troubles.
Well, sir, they can tell you better that did the job, but it seems the
governor sent another turnkey called Hodges to take away his bed from
under him."

"Oh!"

"Well, sir! oh dear me! I hope, your reverence, I shall never have to
tell this story again, for it chokes me every time." And the man was
unable to go on for a while. "Well, sir, the poor thing it seems didn't
cry out as he had about the gas, he took it quite quiet--that might have
let them know, but some folk can see nothing till it is too late--and
he gave Hodges his hand to show he bore him no malice. Eh dear! eh dear!
Would to Heaven I had never seen this wicked place!"

"Wicked place, indeed!" said Mr. Lacy solemnly. "You make me almost
dread to ask the result."

"You shall see the result. Evans!"

Evans opened cell 15, and he and Mr. Eden stood sorrowful aside while
Mr. Lacy entered the cell. The first thing he saw was a rude coffin
standing upright by the window, the next a dead body lying stark upon a
mattress on the floor. The official uttered a cry like the scream of a
woman! "What is this? How dare you bring me to such a place as this?"

"This is that Edward Josephs whose sufferings you have heard and
pitied."

"Poor wretch! Heaven forgive us! What, did he--did he--?"

"He took one step to meet inevitable death--he hanged himself that same
night by his handkerchief to this bar. Turn his poor body, Evans. See,
sir, here is Mr. Hawes's mark upon his back. These livid stripes are
from the infernal jacket and helped to lash him into his grave. You are
ill. Here! some wine from my flask! You will faint else!"

"Thank you! Yes, I was rather faint. It is passed. Mr. Eden, I find my
life has been spent among words--things of such terrible significance
are new to me. God forgive us! how came this to pass in England in the
nineteenth century? The ---- scoundrel!"

"Kick him out of the jail, but do not swear; it is a sin. By removing
him from this his great temptation we may save even his blood-stained
soul. But the souls of his victims? Oh, sir, when a good man is hurried
to his grave our lamentations are natural but unwise; but think what he
commits who hurries thieves and burglars and homicides unprepared
before their eternal Judge. In this poor boy lay the materials of a
saint--mild, docile, grateful, believing. I was winning him to all that
is good when I fell sick. The sufferings I saw and could not stop--they
made me sick. You did not know that when you let my discolored cheeks
prejudice you against my truth. Oh! I forgive you, dear sir! Yes, Heaven
is inscrutable; for had I not fallen ill--yes, I was leading you up
to Heaven, was I not? Oh, my lost sheep! my poor lost sheep!" And the
faithful shepherd, at the bottom of whose wit and learning lay a heart
simpler than beats in any dunce, forgot Hawes and everything else and
began to mourn by the dead body of his wandering sheep.

Then in that gloomy abode of blood and tears Heaven wrought a miracle.
One who for twenty years past had been an official became a man for full
five minutes. Light burst on him--Nature rushed back upon her truant son
and seized her long-forgotten empire. The frost and reserve of office
melted like snow in summer before the sun of religion and humanity.
How unreal and idle appeared now the twenty years gone in tape and
circumlocution! Away went his life of shadows--his career of watery
polysyllables meandering through the great desert into the Dead Sea.
He awoke from his desk and saw the corpse of an Englishman murdered by
routine, and the tears of a man of God dripping upon it.

Then his soul burst its desk and his heart broke its polysyllables and
its tapen bonds, and the man of office came quickly to the man of God
and seized his hand with both his which shook very much, and pressed it
again and again, and his eyes glistened and his voice faltered. "This
shall never be again. How these tears honor you! but they cut me to
the heart. There! there! I believe every word you have told me now. Be
comforted! you are not to blame! there were always villains in the world
and fools like us that could not understand or believe in an apostle
like you. We are all in fault, but not you! Be comforted! Law and order
shall be restored this very day and none of these poor creatures shall
suffer violence again or wrong of any sort--by God!"

So these two grasped hands and pledged faith and for a while at least
joined hearts. Mr. Eden thanked him with a grace and dignity all his
own. Then he said with a winning sweetness, "Go now, my dear sir, and do
your duty. Act for once upon an impulse. At this moment you see things
as you will see them when you come to die. A light from Heaven shines on
your path at this moment. Walk by it ere the world dims it. Go and leave
me to repent the many unchristian tempers I have shown you in one short
hour--my heat and bitterness and arrogance--in this solemn place."

"His unchristian temper! poor soul! There, take me to the justices, Mr.
Evans, and you follow me as soon as you like. Yes, my worthy friend, I
will act upon an impulse for once--Ugh!"

Wheeling rapidly out of the cell, as unlike his past self as a pin-wheel
in a shop-drawer and ditto ignited, he met at the very door Mr. Hawes!

"You have been witnessing a sad sight, sir, and one that nobody, I
assure you, deplores more than I do," said Mr. Hawes, in a gentle and
feeling tone.

Mr. Lacy answered Mr. Hawes by looking him all over from head to foot
and back, then looking sternly into his eyes he turned his back on him
sharp and left him standing there without a word.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THE jailer had been outwitted by the priest. Hawes had sneaked after
Fry to beg him for Heaven's sake--that was the phrase he used--not to
produce his journal. Fry thought this very hard, and it took Hawes ten
minutes to coax him over. Mr. Eden had calculated on this, and worked
with the attested copy, while Hawes was wasting his time suppressing the
original. Hawes was too cunning to accompany Fry back to Mr. Lacy. He
allowed five minutes more to elapse--all which time his antagonist was
pumping truth into the judge a gallon a stroke. At last up came Mr.
Hawes to protect himself and baffle the parson. He came, he met Mr. Lacy
at the dead prisoner's door, and read his defeat.

Mr. Lacy joined the justices in their room. "I have one question to ask
you, gentlemen, before I go: How many attempts at suicide were made in
this jail under Captain O'Connor while sole jailer?"

"I don't remember," replied Mr. Williams.

"It would be odd if you did, for no one such attempt took place under
him. Are you aware how many attempts at suicide took place during the
two years that this Hawes governed a part of the jail, being kept
in some little check by O'Connor, but not much, as unfortunately you
encouraged the inferior officer to defy his superior? Five attempts at
suicide during this period, gentlemen. And now do you know how many such
attempts have occurred since Mr. Hawes has been sole jailer?"

"I really don't know. Prisoners are always shamming," replied Mr.
Woodcock.

"I do not allude to feigned attempts, of which there have been several,
but to desperate attempts; some of which have left the prisoner
insensible, some have resulted in his death--how many of these?"

"Four or five, I believe."

"Ah, you have not thought it worth while to inquire!! Hum!--well,
fourteen, at least. Come in, Mr. Eden. Gentlemen, you have neglected
your duty. Making every allowance for your inexperience, it still is
clear that you have undertaken the supervision of a jail and yet have
exercised no actual supervision; even now the life or death of the
prisoners seems to you a matter of indifference. If you are reckless on
such a point as this, what chance have the minor circumstances of their
welfare of being watched by you? and frankly I am puzzled to conceive
what you proposed to yourselves when you undertook an office so
important and requiring so great vigilance. I say this, gentlemen,
merely to explain why I cannot have the pleasure I did promise myself of
putting one of your names into the royal commission which will sit upon
this prison in compliance with the chaplain's petition."

Mr. Eden bowed gratefully, and his point being formally gained, he
hurried away to make up for lost time and visit his longing prisoners.
While he passed like sunshine from cell to cell, Mr. Lacy took a note
or two in solemn silence, and the injustices conferred. Mr. Palmer
whispered, "We had better have taken Mr. Eden's advice." The other
two snorted ill-assured defiance. Mr. Lacy looked up. "You will hold
yourselves in readiness to be examined before the commission." At this
moment Mr. Hawes walked into the room without his mask, and in his own
brutal voice--the voice he spoke to prisoners with--addressed himself,
with great insolence of manner, to Mr. Lacy. "Don't trouble yourself to
hold commissions over me. I think myself worth a great deal more to the
government than they have ever been to me. What they give me is little
enough for what I have given them, and when insults are added to a man
of honor and an old servant of the queen, he flings his commission in
your face;" and the unveiled ruffian raised his voice, to a roar, and
with his hand flung an imaginary commission into Mr. Lacy's face, who
drew back astounded; then resuming his honeyed manner Hawes turned
to the justices. "I return into your hands, gentlemen, the office I
received from you. I thank you for the support you have afforded me
in my endeavors to substitute discipline for the miserable laxity and
slovenliness and dirt we found here; and your good opinion will always
console me for the insults I have received from a crack-brained parson
and his tools in the jail and out of it."

"Your resignation is accepted," said Mr. Lacy coldly, "and as your
connection with ---- Jail is now ended, in virtue of my powers from
the Secretary of State, which I here produce, I give you the use of the
jailer's house for a week, that you may have time to move your effects;
but for many reasons it is advisable that you should not remain in the
_jail_ a single hour. Be so good, therefore, as to quit the jail as soon
as you conveniently can. One of the turnkeys shall assist you to convey
to your house whatever you have in this building."

"I have nothing to take out of the jail, man," replied Hawes rudely,
"except"--and here he did a bit of pathos and dignity--"my zeal for her
majesty's service and my integrity."

"Ah," replied Mr. Lacy quietly, "you won't want any help to carry them."

Mr. Hawes left the room, bowing to the justices and ostentatiously
ignoring the government official. Mr. Williams shouted after him. "He
carries our respect wherever he goes," said this magistrate with a
fidelity worthy a better cause. The other two hung their heads and did
not echo their chief. The tide was turned against Jailer Hawes, and
these two were not the articles to swim against a stream even though
that stream was truth.

Mr. Hawes took his time. He shook hands with Fry, who bade him farewell
with regret. Who is there that somebody does not contrive to like?
And rejecting even this mastiff's company he made a gloomy, solitary
progress through the prison for the last time. "How clean and beautiful
it all is; it wasn't like that when I came to it, and it never will
again." Some gleams of remorse began to flit about that thick skull and
self-deceiving heart, for punishment suggests remorse to sordid natures.
But his strong and abiding feeling was a sincere and profound sense of
ill usage--long service--couldn't overlook a single error--ungrateful
government, etc. "Prison go to the devil now--and serve them right." At
last he drew near the outer court, and there he met a sight that raised
all the fiend within him. There was Mr. Eden ushering Strutt into the
garden, and telling Evans the old man was to pass his whole days there
till he was better. "So that is the way you keep the rules now you have
undermined me! No cell at all. I thought what you would come to. You
haven't been long getting there."

"Mr. Hawes," replied the other with perfect good temper, "Rule 34
of this prison enjoins that every prisoner shall take daily as much
exercise in the open air as is necessary for his health. You have
violated this rule so long that now Strutt's health requires him to pass
many more hours in the air than he otherwise would; he is dying for air
and amusement, and he shall have both sooner than die for the want of
them, or of anything I can give him."

"And what is it to _him?"_ retorted Evans with rude triumph; "he is no
longer an officer of this jail; he has got the sack and orders to quit
into the bargain."

Fear is entertained that Mr. Evans had listened more or less at the door
of the justices' room.

"Is this so, sir?" asked Mr. Eden gravely, politely, and without a
shadow of visible exultation.

"You know it is, you sneaking, undermining villain; you have weathered
on me, you have out-maneuvered me. When was an honest soldier a match
for a parson?"

"Ah!" cried Mr. Eden. "Then run to the gate, Evans, and let the men into
the jail with the printing-press and the looms. They have been waiting
four hours for this."

Hawes turned black with rage. "Oh, I know you made sure of winning; a
blackguard that loads the dice can always do that. Your triumph won't be
long. I was in this jail honored and respected for four years till you
came. You won't be four months before you are kicked out, and no one to
say a good word for you. A pretty Christian! to suborn my own servants
and rob me of my place and make me a beggar in my old age, a man you are
not worthy to serve under, a man that served his country by sea and land
before you were whelped, ye black hypocrite. You a Christian! you? If
I thought that I'd turn Atheist or anything, you poor, backbiting,
tale-telling, sneaking, undermining, false witness bearing--"

"Unhappy man," cried Mr. Eden; "turn those perverse eyes from the faults
of others to your own danger. The temptations under which you fell end
here; then let their veil fall from your eyes, and you may yet bless
those who came between your soul and its everlasting ruin. Your
victims are dead; their eternal fate is fixed by you. Heaven is more
merciful--it has not struck you dead by your victim's side; it gives
you, the greatest sinner of all, a chance to escape. Seize that chance.
Waste no time in passion and petulance--think only of your forfeited
soul. Madman, to your knees! What! dare you die as you have lived these
three years past? dare you die abhorred of Heaven? Fool! see yourself as
every eye on earth and in heaven sees you. The land contains no criminal
so black as you. Other homicides have struck hastily on provocation or
stung by injury, or thrust or drawn by some great passion--but you have
deliberately gnawed away men's lives. Others have seen their one victim
die, but you have looked on your many victims dying yet not spared them.
Other homicides' hands are stained, but yours are steeped in blood.
To your knees, MAN-slayer! I dare not promise you that a life given to
penitence and charity will save so foul a soul, but it may, for Heaven's
mercy is infinite. Seize on that small chance. Seize it like one who
feels Satan clutching him and dragging him down to eternal flames. Life
is short, eternity is close, judgment is sure. A few short years and you
must meet Edward Josephs again before the eternal Judge. What a tribunal
to face, your victims opposite you! There the long-standing prejudices
that save you from a felon's death here will avail you nothing. There
the quibbles that pass current on earth will be blasted with the lips
that dare to utter and the hearts that coin them. Before Him, who has
neither body nor parts, yet created all the forms of matter, vainly will
you pretend that you did not slay, because forsooth the weapons with
which you struck at life were invisible and not to be comprehended by a
vulgar, shallow, sensual, earthly judge. There, too, the imperfection of
human language will yield no leaf of shelter.

"Hope not to shift the weight of guilt upon poor Josephs there. On earth
muddle-heads will call his death and the self-murderer's by one name
of 'suicide,' and so dream the two acts were one; but you cannot gull
Omniscience with a word--the wise man's counter and the money of a fool.
Be not deceived! As Rosamond took poison in her hand, and drank it with
her own lips, and died by her own act, yet died assassinated by her
rival--so died Josephs. As men taken by pirates at sea, and pricked
with cold steel till in despair and pain they fling themselves into the
sea--so died Josephs and his fellows murdered by you. Be not deceived!
I, a minister of the gospel of mercy--I, whose character leans toward
charity, tell you that if you die impenitent, so surely as the sun
shines and the Bible is true, the murder of Edward Josephs and his
brothers will damn your soul to the flames of hell forever--and
forever--and forever!

"Begone, then, poor miserable creature! Do not look behind you. Fly from
this scene where crime and its delusions still cling round your brain
and your self-deceiving heart. Waste no more time with me. A minute lost
may be a soul lost. The avenger of blood is behind you. Run quickly to
your own home--go up to your secret chamber--and there fall down upon
your knees before your God and cry loud and long to him for pardon.
Cry mightily for help--cry humbly and groaning for the power to repent.
Away! away! Wash those red hands and that black soul in years and years
of charity, in tears and tears of penitence, and in our Redeemer's
blood. Begone, and darken and trouble us here no more."

The cowed jailer shrank and cowered before the thunder and lightning of
the priest, who, mild by nature, was awful when he rebuked an impenitent
sinner out of holy writ. He slunk away, his knees trembling under him,
and the first fiery seeds of remorse sown in his dry heart. He met the
printing-press coming in, and the loom following it (naturally); he
scowled at them and groaned. Evans held the door open for him with
a look of joy that stirred all his bile again. He turned on the very
threshold and spat a volley of oaths upon Evans. Evans at this put down
his head like a bull, and running fiercely with the huge door, slammed
it close on his heel with such ferocity that the report rang like a
thunder-clap through the entire building, and the ex-jailer was in the
street.

Five minutes more, the printing-press and loom were reinstalled, and the
punishment-jacket packed up and sent to London to the Home Office. Ten
minutes more, the cranks were examined by the artists in iron Mr. Eden
had sent for, and all condemned, it being proved that the value of their
resistance stated on their lying faces was scarce one-third of their
actual resistance. So much for unerring* science!

     * The effect of this little bit of science may be thus
     stated--Men for two years had been punished as refractory
     for not making all day two thousand revolutions per hour of
     a 15 lb. crank, when all the while it was a _45 lb. crank_
     they had been vainly struggling against all day. The
     proportions of this gory lie never varied. Each crank tasked
     the Sisyphus three times what it professed to do. It was
     calculated that four prisoners, on an average crank marked
     10 lb., had to exert an aggregate of force equal to one
     horse; and this exertion was prolonged, day after day, far
     beyond a horse's power of endurance, and in many cases on a
     modicum of food so scanty that no horse ever foaled, so fed,
     could have drawn an armchair a mile.

Five minutes more Mr. Eden had placed in Mr. Lacy's hands a list of
prisoners to whom a free pardon ought now to be extended, some having
suffered a somewhat shorter period but a greater weight of misery than
the judges had contemplated in their several sentences; and others being
so shaken and depressed by separate confinement pushed to excess that
their life and reason now stood in peril for want of open air, abundant
light, and free intercourse with their species. At the head of these
was poor Strutt, an old man crushed to clay by separate confinement
recklessly applied. So alarming was this man's torpor to Mr. Eden
that after trying in vain to interest him in the garden, that observer
ventured on a very strong measure. He had learned from Strutt that he
could play the fiddle; what does he do but runs and fetches his own
violin into the garden, tunes it, and plays some most inspiriting,
rollicking old English tunes to him! A spark came into the fishy eye
of Strutt. At the third tune the old fellow's fingers began to work
impatiently. Mr. Eden broke off directly, put fiddle and bow into
Strutt's hand, and ran off to the prison again to arrest melancholy,
despair, lunacy, stagnation, mortification, putrefaction, by every art
that philosophy and mother-wit could suggest to Christianity.

This determined man had collected his teaching mechanics again, and he
had them all into the prison the moment Hawes was out. He could not get
the cranks condemned as monsters--the day was not yet come for that; so
he got them condemned as liars, and in their place tasks of rational and
productive labor were set to most of the prisoners, and London written
to for six more trades and arts.

A copy of the prison-rules was cut into eight portions and eight female
prisoners set to compose each her portion. Copies to be printed on the
morrow and put up in every cell, according to the wise provision of Rule
10, defied by the late jailer for an obvious reason. Thus in an hour
after the body of Hawes had passed through that gate a firm and adroit
hand was wiping his gloomy soul out of the cells as we wipe a blotch of
ink off a written page.

Care, too, was taken every prisoner should know the late jailer was gone
forever. This was done to give the wretches a happy night. Ejaculations
of thanksgiving burst from the cells every now and then; by some
mysterious means the immured seemed to share the joyful tidings with
their fellows, and one pulse of hope and triumph to beat and thrill
through all the life that wasted and withered there encased in stone;
and until sunset the faint notes of a fiddle struggled from the garden
into the temple of silence and gloom, and astounded every ear.

The merry tunes as Strutt played them sounded like dirges, but they
enlivened him as they sighed forth. They stirred his senses, and
through his senses his mind, and through his mind his body, and so the
anthropologist made a fiddle help save a life, which fact no mortal
man will believe whose habit it is to chatter blindfold about man and
investigate the "crustaceonidunculae."

The cranks being condemned, rational industry restored, and the law
reseated on the throne a manslaughtering dunce had usurped, the champion
of human nature went home to drink his tea and write the plot of his
sermon.

He had won a great battle and felt his victory. He showed it, too, in
his own way. On the evening of this great day his voice was remarkably
gentle and winning, and a celestial light seemed to dwell in his eyes;
no word of exultation, nor even of self-congratulation; and he made no
direct mention of the prison all the evening. His talk was about Susan's
affairs, and he paid his warm thanks to her and her aunt for all they
had done for him. "You have been true friends, true allies," said he;
"what do I not owe you! you have supported me in a bitter struggle, and
now that the day is won I can find no words to thank you as I ought."

Both these honest women colored and glistened with pleasure, but they
were too modest to be ready with praise or to bandy compliments.

"As for you, Susan, it was a masterstroke your venturing into my den."

"Oh! we turn bold when a body is ill, don't we, aunt?"

"I am not shy for one at the best of times," remarked the latter.

"Under Heaven you saved my life, at least I think so, Susan, for the
medicinal power of soothing influences is immense, I am sure it is apt
to be underrated; and then it was you who flew to Malvern and dragged
Gulson to me at the crisis of my fate; dear little true-hearted friend,
I am sorry to think I can never repay you."

"You forget, Mr. Eden," said Susan, almost in a whisper, "I was paid
beforehand."

I wish I could convey the native grace and gentle dignity of gratitude
with which the farmer's daughter murmured these four words, like a
duchess acknowledging a kindness.

"Eh?" inquired Mr. Eden, "oh! ah! I forgot," said he naively. "No! that
is nonsense, Susan. You have still an immense Cr. against my name; but
I know a way--Mrs. Davies, for as simple as I sit here you see in me
the ecclesiastic that shall unite this young lady to an honest man,
who, report says, loves her very dearly; so I mean to square our little
account."

"That is fair, Susan; what do you say?"

"La, aunt! why I shouldn't look upon it as a marriage at all if any
clergyman but Mr. Eden said the words."

"That is right," laughed Mr. Eden, "always set some little man above
some great thing, and then you will always be--a woman. I must write the
plot of my sermon, ladies, but you can talk to me all the same."

He wrote and purred every now and then to the women, who purred to each
other and now and then to him. Neither Hawes nor any other irritation
rankled in his heart, or even stuck fast in his memory. He had two
sermons to prepare for Sunday next, and he threw his mind into them as
he had into the battle he had just won. "Hoc agebat."



CHAPTER XXVII.

His reverence in the late battle showed himself a strategist, and won
without bringing up his reserves; if he had failed with Mr. Lacy he had
another arrow behind in his quiver. He had been twice to the mayor and
claimed a coroner's jury to sit on a suicide. The mayor had consented
and the preliminary steps had been taken.

The morning after the jailer's dismissal the inquest was held. Mr. Eden,
Evans, Fry and others were examined, and the case came out as clear as
the day and black as the night.

When twelve honest Englishmen, men of plain sense, not men of system,
men taken from the public not from public offices, sat in a circle with
the corpse of a countryman at their knees, fiebat lux; 'twas as though
twelve suns had burst into a dust-hole.

"Manslaughter!" cried they, and they sent their spokesman to the mayor
and said yet more light must be let into this dusthole, and the mayor
said, "Ay and it shall, too. I will write to London and demand more
light." And the men of the public went to their own homes and told their
wives and children and neighbors what cruelties and villainies they had
unearthed, and their hearers, being men and women of that people, which
is a god in intellect and in heart compared with the criticasters that
try to misguide it with their shallow guesses and cant and with the
clerks that execute it in other men's names, cried out, "See now! What
is the use our building courts of law or prisons unless they are to be
open unto us. Shut us out--keep walls and closed gate between us and our
servants--and what comes of our courts of law and our prisons? Why they
turn nests of villainy in less than no time."

The twelve honest Englishmen had hardly left the jail an hour, crying
"manslaughter!" and crying "shame!" when all in a moment "TOMB!" fell
a single heavy stroke of the great prison bell. The heart of the prison
leaped, and then grew cold--a long chill pause, then "TOMB!" again. The
jurymen had told most of his fellow-sufferers how Josephs was driven
into his grave--and now--

"TOMB!" the remorseless iron tongue crashed out one by one the last sad,
stern monosyllables of this sorrowfulest of human tales.

They put him in his coffin ("TOMB!") a boy of sixteen, who would be
alive now but that caitiffs, whom God confound on earth, made life an
_impossibility_ to him ("TOMB!"), and that Shallows and Woodcocks, whom
God confound on earth, and unconscientious non-inspecting inspectors,
flunkeys, humbugs, hirelings, whom God confound on earth ("TOMB!"), left
these scoundrels month after month and year after year unwatched, though
largely paid by the queen and the people to watch them ("TOMB!"). Look
on your work, hirelings, and listen to that bell, which would not be
tolling now if you had been men of brains and scruples instead of sordid
hirelings. The priest was on his knees, praying for help from heaven
to go through the last sad office with composure, for he feared his own
heart when he should come to say "ashes to ashes" and "dust to dust"
over this hapless boy, that ought to be in life still. And still the
great bell tolled, and many of the prisoners were invited kindly in a
whisper to come into the chapel; but Fry could not be spared and Hodges
fiercely refused. And now the bell stopped, and as it stopped, the voice
of the priest arose, "I am the resurrection and the life."

A deep and sad gloom was upon all as the last sad offices were done for
this poor young creature cut short by foul play in the midst of them.
And for all he could do the priest's voice trembled often, and a heavy
sigh mingled more than once with the holy words.

What is that? "THIS OUR BROTHER!"--a thief our brother?--ay! the
priest made no mistake, those were the words; pause on them. Two great
characters contradicted each other to the face over dead Josephs. Unholy
State said, "Here is the carcass of a thief whom I and society honestly
believe to be of no more importance than a dog--so it has unfortunately
got killed between us, no matter how; take this carcass and bury
it," said unholy State. Holy Church took the poor abused remains with
reverence, prayed over them as she prays over the just, and laid them
in the earth, calling them "this our brother." Judge now which is all in
the wrong, unholy State or holy Church--for both cannot be right.

Now while the grave is being filled in, judge, women of England and
America, between these two--unholy State and holy Church. The earth
contains no better judges of this doubt than you. Judge and I will bow
to your verdict with a reverence I know male cliques too well to feel
for them in a case where the great capacious heart alone can enlighten
the clever, little, narrow, shallow brain.

Thus in the nineteenth century--in a kind-hearted nation--under the most
humane sovereign the world has ever witnessed on an earthly throne--holy
Church in vain denouncing the miserable sinners that slay the thief
their brother--Edward Josephs has been done to death in the queen's
name--in the name of England--and in the name of the law.

But each of these great insulted names has its sworn defenders, its
honored and paid defenders. It is not for us to suppose that men so high
in honor will lay aside themselves and turn curs.

Ere I close this long story, let us hope I shall be able to relate
with what zeal and honor statesmen disowned and punished wholesale
manslaughter done in the name of the State; and with what zeal and
horror judges disowned and punished wholesale manslaughter done in their
name; and so, in all good men's eyes, washed off the blood with which
a hireling had bespattered the state ermine and the snow-white robe of
law.

For the present, the account between Josephs and the law stands
thus:--Josephs has committed the smallest theft imaginable. He has
stolen food. For this the law, professing to punish him with certain
months' imprisonment, has inflicted capital punishment; has overtasked,
crucified, starved--overtasked, starved, crucified--robbed him of light,
of sleep, of hope, of life; has destroyed his body, and perhaps his
soul. Sum total--1st page of account--

Josephs a larcenist and a corpse. The law a liar and a felon.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

JOSEPHS has dropped out of our story. Mr. Hawes has got himself kicked
out of our story. The other prisoners, of whom casual mention has been
made, were never in our story, any more than the boy Xury in "Robinson
Crusoe." There remains to us in the prison Mr. Eden and Robinson, a
saint and a thief.

My readers have seen how the saint has saved the thief's life. They
shall guess awhile how on earth Susan Merton can be affected by that
circumstance. They have seen a set of bipeds acting on the notion that
all prisoners are incurable: they have seen a thief, thus despaired of,
driven toward despair, and almost made incurable through being thought
so. Then they have seen this supposed incurable fall into the hands of
a Christian that held "it is never too late to mend;" and generally I
think that, feebly as my pen has drawn so great a character, they can
calculate, by what Mr. Eden has already done, what he will do while I am
with Susan and George; what love, what eloquence, what ingenuity he will
move to save this wandering sheep, to turn this thief honest and teach
him how to be honest yet not starve.

I will ask my reader to bear in mind, that the good and wise priest has
no longer his hands tied by a jailer in the interest of the foul fiend.
But then, against all this, is to be set the slippery heart of a thief,
a thief almost from his cradle. Here are great antagonist forces and
they will be in daily almost hourly collision for months to come. In
life nothing stands still; all this will work goodward or badward. I
must leave it to work.



CHAPTER XXIX.

MR. EDEN'S health improved so visibly that Susan Merton announced her
immediate return to her father. It was a fixed idea in this young lady's
mind that she and Mrs. Davies had no business in the house of a saint
upon earth, as she called Mr. Eden, except as nurses.

The parting of attached friends has always a touch of sadness needless
to dwell on at this time. Enough that these two parted as brother and
young sister, and a spiritual adviser and advised, with warm expressions
of Christian amity, and an agreement on Susan's part to write for advice
and sympathy whenever needed.

On her arrival at Grassmere Farm there was Mr. Meadows to greet her.
"Well, that is attentive!" cried Susan. There was also a stranger to
her, a Mr. Clinton.

As nothing remarkable occurred this evening, we may as well explain
this Mr. Clinton. He was a speculator, and above all a setter on foot of
rotten speculations, and a keeper on foot a little while of lame ones.
No man exceeded him in the art of rose-tinting bad paper or parchment.
He was sanguine and fluent. His mind had two eyes, an eagle's and a
bat's; with the first he looked at the "pros," and with the second at
the "cons" of a spec.

He was an old acquaintance of Meadows, and had come thirty miles out
of the way to show him how to make 100 per cent without the shadow of a
risk. Meadows declined to violate the laws of Nature, but, said he, "If
you like to stay a day or two I will introduce you to one or two who
have money to fling away." And he introduced him to Mr. Merton. Now that
worthy had a fair stock of latent cupidity, and Mr. Clinton was the man
to tempt it.

In a very few conversations he convinced the farmer that there were a
hundred ways of making money, all of them quicker than the slow
process of farming and the unpleasant process of denying one's self
superfluities and growing saved pennies into pounds.

"What do you think, John," said Merton one day to Meadows, "I have got a
few hundreds loose. I'm half minded to try and turn them into thousands
for my girl's sake. Mr. Clinton makes it clear, don't you think?"

"Well, I don't know," was the reply. "I have no experience in that sort
of thing, but it certainly looks well the way he puts it."

In short, Meadows did not discourage his friend from co-operating with
Mr. Clinton; for his own part he spoke him fair, and expressed openly
a favorable opinion of his talent and his various projects, and always
found some excuse or other for not risking a halfpenny with him.



CHAPTER XXX.

ONE day Mr. Meadows walked into the post-office of Farnborough and
said to Jefferies, the postmaster, "A word with you in private, Mr.
Jefferies."

"Certainly, Mr. Meadows--come to my back parlor, sir; a fine day, Mr.
Meadows, but I think we shall have a shower or two."

"Shouldn't wonder. Do you know this five-pound note?"

"Can't say I do."

"Why it has passed through your hands?"

"Has it? well a good many of them pass through my hands in the course of
the year. I wish a few of 'em would stop on the road."

"This one did. It stuck to your fingers, as the phrase goes."

"I don't know what you mean, sir," said Jefferies haughtily.

"You stole it," explained Meadows quietly.

"Take care," cried Jefferies in a loud quaver--"Take care what you say!
I'll have my action of defamation against you double quick if you dare
to say such a thing of me."

"So be it. You will want witnesses. Defamation is no defamation you know
till the scandal is published. Call in your lodger."

"Ugh!"

"And call your wife!" cried Meadows, raising his voice in turn.

"Heaven forbid! Don't speak so loud, for goodness' sake!"

"Hold your tongue then and don't waste my time with your gammon," said
Meadows sternly. Then resuming his former manner he went on in the tone
of calm explanation. "One or two in this neighborhood lost money coming
through the post. I said to myself, 'Jefferies is a man that often talks
of his conscience--he will be the thief'--so I baited six traps for you,
and you took five. This note came over from Ireland; you remember it
now?"

"I am ruined! I am ruined!"

"You changed it at Evans' the grocer's; you had four sovereigns and
silver for it. The other baits were a note and two sovereigns and two
half sovereigns. You spared one sovereign, the rest you nailed. They
were all marked by Lawyer Crawley. They have been traced from your hand,
and lie locked up ready for next assizes. Good-morning, Mr. Jefferies."

Jefferies turned a cold jelly where he sat--and Meadows walked out,
primed Crawley, and sent him to stroll in sight of the post-office.

Soon a quavering voice called Crawley into the post-office. "Come into
my back parlor, sir. Oh! Mr. Crawley, can nothing be done? No one knows
my misfortune but you and Mr. Meadows. It is not for my own sake, sir,
but my wife's. If she knew I had been tempted so far astray, she would
never hold up her head again. Sir, if you and Mr. Meadows will let me
off this once, I will take an oath on my bended knees never to offend
again."

"What good will that do me?" asked Crawley contemptuously.

"Ah!" cried Jefferies, a light breaking in, "will money make it right?
I'll sell the coat off my back."

"Humph! If it was only me--but Mr. Meadows has such a sense of public
duty, and yet--hum!--I know a way to influence him just now."

"Oh, sir! do pray use your influence with him."

"What will you do for me if I succeed?"

"Do for you?--cut myself in pieces to serve you."

"Well, Jefferies, I'm undertaking a difficult task--to turn such a man
as Meadows, but I will try it and I think I shall succeed; but I must
have terms. Every letter that comes here from Australia you must bring
to me with your own hands directly."

"I will, sir, I will."

"I shall keep it an hour or two perhaps, not more; and I shall take no
money out of it."

"I will do it, sir, and with pleasure. It is the least I can do for
you."

"And you must find me 10 pounds." The little rogue must do a bit on his
own account.

"I must pinch to get it," said Jefferies ruefully.

"Pinch then," replied Crawley coolly; "and let me have it directly."

"You shall--you shall--before the day is out."

"And you must never let Meadows know I took this money of you."

"No, sir, I won't! is that all?"

"That is all."

"Then I am very grateful, sir, and I won't fail, you may depend."

Thus the two battledores played with this poor little undetected one,
whom his respectability no less than his roguery placed at their mercy.



CHAPTER XXXI.

WHENEVER Mr. Meadows could do Mr. Levi an ill turn he did; and vice
versa. They hated one another like men who differ about baptism. Susan
sprinkled dewdrops of charity on each in turn.

Levi listened to her with infinite pleasure. "Your voice," said he, "is
low and melodious like the voice of my own people in the East." And then
she secretly quoted the New Testament to him, having first ascertained
that he had never read it; and he wondered where on earth this simple
girl had picked up so deep a wisdom and so lofty and self-denying a
morality.

Meadows listened to her with respect from another cause; but the
ill offices that kept passing between the two men counteracted her
transitory influence and fed fat the ancient grudge.



CHAPTER XXXII.

"WILL FIELDING is in the town; I'm to arrest him as agreed last night?"

"Hum! no!"

"Why I have got the judgment in my pocket and the constable at the
public hard by."

"Never mind! he was saucy to me in the market yesterday--I was angry
and--but anger is a snare. What shall I gain by locking him up just now?
let him go."

"Well, sir, your will is law," said Crawley obsequiously but sadly.

"Now to business of more importance."

"At your service, sir."

But the business of more importance was interrupted by a sudden knock at
the outside door of Mr. Meadows' study.

"Well!"

A young lady to see you.

"A young lady?" inquired Meadows with no very amiable air, "I am
engaged--do you know who it is?"

"It is Farmer Merton's daughter, David says."

"Miss Merton!" cried Meadows, with a marvelous change of manner. "Show
her up directly. Crawley, run into the passage, quick, man--and wait for
signals." He bundled Crawley out, shut the secret door, threw open both
the others, and welcomed Susan warmly at the threshold. "Well, this is
good of you, Miss Merton, to come and shine in upon me in my own house."

"I have brought your book back!" replied Susan, coloring a little; "that
was my errand, that is," said she, "that was partly my errand." She
hesitated a moment--"I am going to Mr. Levi." Meadows' countenance fell.
"And I wouldn't go to him without coming to you; because what I have to
say to him I must say to you as well. Mr. Meadows, do let me persuade
you out of this bitter feeling against the poor old man. Oh! I know you
will say he is worse than you are; so he is, a little; but then consider
he has more excuse than you; he has never been taught how wicked it is
not to forgive. You know it--but don't practice it."

Meadows looked at the simple-minded enthusiast, and his cold eye
deepened in color as it dwelt on her, and his voice dropped into the
low and modulated tone which no other human creature but this ever heard
from him. "Human nature is very revengeful. Few of us are like you. It
is my misfortune that I have not oftener a lesson from you; perhaps you
might charm away this unchristian spirit that makes me unworthy to be
your--your friend."

"Oh no! no!" cried Susan, "if I thought so should I be here?"

"Your voice and your face do make me at peace with all the world,
Susan--I beg your pardon--Miss Merton."

"And why not Susan?" said the young lady kindly.

"Well! Susan is a very inviting name."

"La! Mr. Meadows," cried Susan, arching her brows, "why, it is a
frightful name--it is so old-fashioned; nobody is christened Susan
nowadays."

"It is a name for everything that is good and gentle and lovely--" A
moment more and passion would have melted all the icy barriers prudence
and craft had reared round this deep heart. His voice was trembling,
his cheek flushing; but he was saved by--an enemy. "Susan!" cried a
threatening voice at the door, and there stood William Fielding with a
look to match.

Rage burned in Meadows' heart. He said bruskly, "Come in," and seizing a
slip of paper he wrote five words on it, and taking out a book flung it
into the passage to Crawley. He then turned toward W. Fielding, who by
this time had walked up to Susan. Was on the other side of the screen.

"Was told you had gone in here," said William quietly, "so I came after
you."

"Now that was very attentive of you," replied Susan ironically. "It is
so nice to have a sensible young man like you following forever at one's
heels--like a dog."

A world of quiet scorn embellished this little remark.

William's reply was happier than usual. "The sheep find the dog often in
their way, but they are all the safer for him."

"Well, I'm sure," cried Susan, her scorn giving way to anger.

Mr. Meadows put in: "I must trouble you to treat Miss Merton with proper
respect when you speak to her in my house."

"Who respects her more than I?" retorted William; "but you see, Mr.
Meadows, sheep are no match for wolves when the dog is away--so the dog
is here."

"I see the dog is here and by his own invitation; all I say is that if
the dog is to stay here he must behave like a man."

William gasped at this hit; he didn't trust himself to answer Meadows;
in fact, a blow of his fist seemed to him the only sufficient answer--he
turned to Susan. "Susan, do you remember poor George's last words to me?
with a tear in his eye and his hand in mine. Well, I keep my promise
to him--I keep my eye upon such as I think capable of undermining my
brother. This man is a schemer, Susan, and you are too simple to fathom
him."

The look of surprise crafty Meadows put on here, and William Fielding's
implied compliment to his own superior sagacity struck Susan as
infinitely ludicrous, and she looked at Meadows and laughed like a peal
of bells. Of course he looked at her and laughed with her. At this all
young Fielding's self-restraint went to the winds, and he went on--"But
sooner than that, I'll twist as good a man's neck as ever schemed in
Jack Meadows' shoes!"

At this defiance Meadows wheeled round on William Fielding and
confronted him with his stalwart person and eyes glowing with gloomy
wrath. Susan screamed with terror at William's insulting words and
at the attitude of the two men, and she made a step to throw herself
between them if necessary; but before words could end in blows a tap
at the study door caused a diversion, and a cringing sort of voice said
"May I come in?"

"Of course you may," shouted Meadows; "the place is public. Anybody
walks into my room to-day, friend or foe. Don't ask my leave--come in,
man, whoever you are--Mr. Crawley; well, I didn't expect a call from you
any more than from this one."

"Now don't you be angry, sir. I had a good reason for intruding on
you this once. Jackson!" Jackson stepped forward and touched William
Fielding on the shoulder.

"You must come along with me," said he.

"What for?" inquired Fielding.

"You are arrested on this judgment," explained Crawley, letting the
document peep a moment from his waistcoat pocket. William threw himself
into an attitude of defense. His first impulse was to knock the officer
down and run into another county, but the next moment he saw the folly
and injustice of this and another sentiment overpowered the honest
simple fellow--shame. He covered his face with both his hands and
groaned aloud with the sense of humiliation.

"Oh! my poor William!" cried Susan. "Oh! Mr. Meadows, can nothing be
done?"

"Why, Miss Merton," said Meadows, looking down, "you can't expect me to
do anything for him. If it was his brother now, Lawyer Crawley shouldn't
ever take him out of my house."

Susan flushed all over. "That I am sure you would, Mr. Meadows," cried
she (for feeling obscured grammar). "Now see, dear William, how your
temper and unworthy suspicions alienate our friends; but father shan't
let you lie in prison. Mr. Meadows, will you lend me a sheet of paper?"

She sat down, pen in hand, in generous excitement. While she wrote Mr.
Meadows addressed Crawley. "And now a word with you, Mr. Crawley. You
and I meet on business now and then, but we are not on visiting terms
that I know of. How come you to walk into my house with a constable at
your back?"

"Well, sir, I did it for the best," said Crawley apologetically. "Our
man came in here, and the street door was open, and I said, 'He is a
friend of Mr. Meadows, perhaps it would be more delicate to all parties
to take him indoors than in the open street.'"

"Oh, yes!" cried William, "it is bitter enough as it is, but that would
have been worse--thank you for arresting me here--and now take me away
and let me hide from all the world."

"Fools!" said a firm voice behind the screen.

"Fools!" At this word and a new voice Susan started up from the table
and William turned his face from the wall. Meadows did more. "Another!"
cried he in utter amazement; "why my house is an inn. Ah!"

While speaking he had run round the screen and come plump upon Isaac
Levi seated in a chair and looking up in his face with stern composure.
His exclamation brought the others round after him and a group of
excited faces encircled this old man seated sternly composed.

"Fools!" repeated he, "these tricks were stale before England was a
nation. Which of you two has the judgment?"

"I, sir," said Crawley, at a look from Meadows.

"The amount?"

"A hundred and six thirteen four."

"Here is the money. Give me the document."

"Here, sir." Levi read it. "This action was taken on a bill of exchange.
I must have that too."

"Here it is, sir. Would you like an acknowledgment, Mr. Levi," said
Crawley obsequiously.

"No! foolish man. Are not these sufficient vouchers? You are free, sir,"
said Crawley to William with an air of cheerful congratulation.

"Am I? Then I advise you to get out of my way, for my fingers do itch to
fling you headforemost down the stairs."

On this hint out wriggled Mr. Crawley with a semicircle of bows to the
company. Constable touched his frontlock and went straight away as if he
was going through the opposite wall of the house. Meadows pointed after
him with his finger and said to Levi, "You see the road--get out of my
house."

The old man never moved from his chair, to which he had returned after
paying William's debts. "It is not your house," said he coolly.

The other stared. "No matter," replied Meadows sharply, "it is mine till
my mortgage is paid off."

"I am here to pay it."

"Ah!"

"Principal and interest calculated up to twelve o'clock this eleventh
day of March. It wants five minutes to twelve. I offer you principal
and interest--eight hundred and twenty-two pounds fourteen shillings and
fivepence three farthings before these witnesses--and demand the title
deeds."

Meadows hung his head, but he was not a man to waste words in mere
scolding. He took the blow with forced calmness as who should say, "This
is your turn--the next is mine."

"Miss Merton," said he, almost in a whisper, "I never had the honor to
receive you here before and I never shall again. How long do you give me
to move my things?"

"Can you not guess?" inquired the other with a shade of curiosity.

"Why, of course you will put me to all the inconvenience you can. Come,
now, am I to move all my furniture and effects out of this great house
in twenty-four hours?"

"I give you more than that."

"How kind! What, you give me a week perhaps?" asked Meadows
incredulously.

"More than that, you fool! Don't you see that it is on next Lady-day
you will be turned into the street. Aha! woman-worshiper, on Lady-day!
A tooth for a tooth!" And the old man ground his teeth, which were white
as ivory, and his fist clinched itself, while his eye glittered, and he
swelled out from the chair, and literally bristled with hate--"A tooth
for a tooth!"

"Oh, Mr. Levi," said Susan sorrowfully, "how soon you have forgotten my
last lesson!"

Meadows for a moment felt a chill of fear at the punctiliousness of
revenge in this Oriental whom he had made his enemy. To this succeeded
the old hate multiplied by ten; but he made a monstrous effort and drove
it from his face down into the recesses of his heart. "Well," said he,
"may you enjoy this house as I have done this last twelvemonth!"

"That does you credit, good Mr. Meadows," cried simple Susan, missing
his meaning. Meadows continued in the same tone, "And I must make shift
with the one you vacate on Lady-day."

"Solomon teach me to outwit this dog."

"Come, Mr. Levi, I have visited Mr. Meadows and now I am going to your
house."

"You shall be welcome, kindly welcome," said the old man with large and
flowing courtesy.

"And will you show me," said Susan very tenderly, "where Leah used to
sit?"

"Ah!"

"And where Rachel and Sarah loved to play?"

"Ah me! Ah me! Ah me! Yes! I could not show another these holy places,
but I will show you."

"And will you forget awhile this unhappy quarrel and listen to my
words?"

"Surely I shall listen to you; for even now your voice is to my ear like
the wind sighing among the cedars of Lebanon, and the wave that plays at
night upon the sands of Galilee."

"'Tis but the frail voice of a foolish woman, who loves and respects
you, and yet," said Susan, her color mantling with enthusiasm, "with it
I can speak you words more beautiful than Lebanon's cedars or Galilee's
shore. Ay, old man, words that make the stars brighter and the sons
of the morning rejoice. I will not tell you whence I had them, but you
shall say surely they never came from earth, selfish, cruel, revengeful
earth, these words that drop on our hot passions like the dew, and speak
of trespasses forgiven, and peace and goodwill among men."

Oh! magic of a lovely voice speaking the truths of Heaven! How still the
room was as these goodly words rang in it from a pure heart. Three men
there had all been raging with anger and hate; now a calming music fell
like oil upon these human waves, and stilled them.

The men drooped their heads, and held their breath to make sure the
balmy sounds had ceased. Then Levi answered in a tone gentle, firm, and
low (very different from his last), "Susanna, bitterness fades from my
heart as you speak; but experience remains." He turned to Meadows, "When
I wander forth at Lady-day she shall still be watched over though I be
far away. My eye shall be here, and my hand shall still be so over you
all," and raising his thin hand, he held it high up, the nails pointing
downward. It looked just like a hawk hovering over its prey. "I will
say no bitterer word than that to-day;" and in fact he delivered this
without apparent heat or malice.

"Come, then, with me, Susanna--a goodly name, it comes to you from the
despised people. Come like peace to my dwelling, Susanna--you know not
this world's wiles as I do, but you can teach me the higher wisdom that
controls the folly of passion and purifies the soul."

The pair were gone, and William and Meadows were left alone. The latter
looked sadly and gloomily at the door by which Susan had gone out. He
was in a sort of torpor. He was not conscious of William's presence.

Now the said William had a misgiving; in the country a man's roof is
sacred; he had affronted Meadows under his own roof, and then Mr. Levi
had come and affronted him there, too. William began to doubt whether
this was not a little hard, moreover he thought he had seen Meadows
brush his eye hastily with the back of his hand as Susan retired. He
came toward Meadows with his old sulky, honest, hang-the-head manner,
and said, "Mr. Meadows, seems to me we have been a little hard upon you
in your own house, and I am not quite easy about my share on't." Meadows
shrugged his shoulders imperceptibly.

"Well, sir--I am not the Almighty to read folk's hearts--least of all
such a one as yours--but if I have done you wrong I ask your pardon.
Come, sir, if you don't mean to undermine my brother with the girl you
can give me your hand, and I can give you mine--and there 'tis."

Meadows wished this young man away, and seeing that the best way to
get rid of him was to give him his hand, he turned round, and, scarcely
looking toward him, gave him his hand. William shook it and went away
with something that sounded like a sigh. Meadows saw him out, and locked
the door impatiently; then he flung himself into a chair and laid his
beating temples on the cold table; then he started up and walked wildly
to and fro the room. The man was torn this way and that with rage, love
and remorse.

"What shall I do?" thus ran his thoughts. "That angel is my only refuge,
and yet to win her I shall have to walk through dirt and shame and every
sin that is. I see crimes ahead; such a heap of crimes, my flesh creeps
at the number of them. Why not be like her, why not be the greatest
saint that ever lived, instead of one more villain added to so many?
Let me tear this terrible love out of my heart and die. Oh! if some one
would but take me by the scurf of the neck and drag me to some other
country a million miles away, where I might never see my tempter again
till this madness is out of me. Susan, you are an angel, but you will
plunge me to hell."

Now it happened while he was thus raving and suffering the preliminary
pangs of wrong-doing that his old servant knocked at the outside of the
door and thrust a letter through the trap; the letter was from a country
gentleman, one Mr. Chester, for whom he had done business. Mr. Chester
wrote from Lancashire. He informed Meadows he had succeeded to a very
large property in that county--it had been shockingly mismanaged by
his predecessor; he wanted a capable man's advice, and moreover all the
estates thereabouts were compelled to be surveyed and valued this year,
which he deplored, but since so it was he would be surveyed and valued
by none but John Meadows.

"Come by return of post," added this hasty squire, "and I'll introduce
you to half the landed proprietors in this county."

Meadows read this and seizing a pen wrote thus:


"DEAR SIR--Yours received this day at 1 p.m., and will start for your
house at 6 P.M."


He threw himself on his horse and rode to his mother's house. "Mother, I
am turned out of my house."

"Why, John, you don't say so?"

"I must go into the new house I have built outside the town."

"What, the one you thought to let to Mr. James?"

"The same. I have got only a fortnight to move all my things. Will you
do me a kindness now, will you see them put into the new house?"

"Me, John! why I should be afraid something would go wrong."

"Well, it isn't fair of me to put this trouble on you at your age; but
read this letter--there is fifteen hundred pounds waiting for me in the
North."

The old woman put on her spectacles and read the letter slowly. "Go,
John! go by all means! I will see all your things moved into the new
house--don't let them be a hindrance; you go. Your old mother will take
care your things are not hurt moving, nor you wronged in the way of
expense."

"Thank you, mother! thank you! they say there is no friend like a
mother, and I dare say they are not far wrong."

"No such friend but God--none such but God!" said the old woman with
great emphasis and looking Meadows in the face with a searching eye.

"Well, then, here are the keys of the new house, and here are my keys. I
am off tonight, so good-by, mother. God bless you!"

He had just turned to go, when by an unusual impulse he turned, took
the old woman in his hands, almost lifted her off the ground, for she
weighed light, and gave her a hasty kiss on the cheek; then he set her
down and strode out of the house about his business.

When curious Hannah ran in the next moment she found the old lady in
silent agitation. "Oh, dear! What is the matter, Dame Meadows?"

"Nothing at all, silly girl."

"Nothing! And look at you all of a tremble."

"He took me up all in a moment and kissed me. I dare say it is
five-and-twenty years since he kissed me last. He was a curly-headed lad
then."

So this had set the poor old thing trembling. She soon recovered her
firmness and that very evening Hannah and she slept in John's house, and
the next day set to and began to move his furniture and prepare his new
house for him.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

PETER CRAWLEY received a regular allowance during his chief's absence
and remained in constant communication with him, and was as heretofore
his money-bag, his tool, his invisible hand. But if anybody had had
a microscope and lots of time they might have discovered a gloomy hue
spreading itself over Crawley's soul. A pleasant illusion had been
rudely shaken.

All men have something they admire.

Crawley admired cunning. It is not a sublime quality, but Crawley
thought it was, and revered it with pious, affectionate awe. He had
always thought Mr. Meadows No. 1 in cunning, but now came a doleful
suspicion that he was No. 2.

Losing a portion of his veneration for the chief he had seen
outmaneuvered, he took the liberty of getting drunk contrary to his
severe command, and being drunk and maudlin he unbosomed himself on this
head to a low woman who was his confidante whenever drink loosened his
tongue.

"I'm out spirits, Sal. I'm tebbly out spirits. Where shall we all go to?
I dinn't think there was great a man on earth z Mizza Meadows. But the
worlz wide. Mizza Levi z greada man--a mudge greada man (hic). He was
down upon us like a amma (hic). His Jew's eye went through our lill
sgeme like a gimlet. 'Fools!' says he--that's me and Meadows, 'these
dodges were used up in our family before Lunnun was built. Fools!' Mizza
Levi despises me and Meadows; and I respect him accordingly. I'm tebbly
out spirits (hic)."



CHAPTER XXXIV.

FARMER MERTON received a line from Meadows telling him he had gone into
Lancashire on important business, and did not expect to be back for
three months, except perhaps for a day at a time. Merton handed the
letter to Susan.

"We shall miss him," was her remark.

"That we shall. He is capital company."

"And a worthy man into the bargain," said Susan warmly, "spite of what
little-minded folk say and think. What do you think that Will Fielding
did only yesterday?"

"I don't know."

"Well, he followed me into--there, it is not worth while having an open
quarrel, but I shall hate the sight of his very face. I can't think how
such a fool can be George's brother. No wonder George and he could not
agree. Poor Mr. Meadows--to be affronted in his own house, just for
treating me with respect and civility. So that is a crime now."

"What are you saying, girl? That young pauper affront my friend Meadows,
the warmest man for fifty miles round. If he has, he shall never come on
my premises again. You may take your oath of that."

Susan looked aghast. This was more than she had bargained for. She was
the last in the world to set two people by the ears.

"Now don't you be so peppery, father," said she. "There is nothing to
make a quarrel about."

"Yes there is, though, if that ignorant beggar insulted my friend."

"No! no! no!"

"Why, what did you say?"

"I say--that here is Mr. Clinton coming to the door."

"Let him in, girl, let him in. And you needn't stay. We are going to
talk business."



CHAPTER XXXV.

MRS. MEADOWS, preparing her son's new home and defeating the little
cheating tradesmen and workmen that fasten like leeches on such as carry
their furniture to a new house; Hannah, working round and round her in
a state of glorious excitement; Crawley, smelling of Betts' British
brandy, and slightly regretting he was not No. 1's tool (Levi's) instead
of No. 2's, as he now bitterly called him, and writing obsequious
letters to, and doing the dirty work of, the said No. 2; old Merton
speculating, sometimes losing, sometimes winning; Meadows gone to
Lancashire with a fixed idea that Susan would be his ruin if he could
not cure himself of his love for her; Susan rather regretting his
absence, and wishing for his return, that she might show him how
little she sympathized with Will Fielding's suspicions, injustice and
brutality.

Leaving all this to work, our story follows an honest fellow to the
other side of the globe.



CHAPTER XXXVI.

GEORGE FIELDING found Farmer Dodd waiting to drive him to the town where
he was to meet Mr. Winchester. The farmer's wife would press a glass of
wine upon George. She was an old playmate of his, and the tear was in
her eye as she shook his hand and bade Heaven bless him, and send him
safe back to "The Grove."

"A taking of his hand and him going across sea!! Can't ye do no better
nor that?" cried the stout farmer; "I'm not a-looking, dame."

So then Mrs. Dodd put her hands on George's shoulders and kissed
him rustic-wise on both cheeks--and he felt a tear on his cheek, and
stammered "Good-by, Jane--you and I were always good neighbors, but now
we shan't be neighbors for a while. Ned, drive me away, please, and let
me shut my eyes and forget that ever I was born."

The farmer made a signal of intelligence to his wife and drove him
hastily away.

They went along in silence for about two miles. Then the farmer suddenly
stopped. George looked up, the other looked down.

"Allen's Corner, George. You know 'The Grove' is in sight from here,
and after this we shan't see it again on account of this here wood, you
know."

"Thank ye, Ned! Yes--one more look--the afternoon sun lies upon it. Oh,
how different it do seem to my eyes now, by what it used when I rode
by from market; but then I was going to it, now I'm going far, far from
it--never heed me, Ned--I shall be better in a moment. Heaven forgive
me for thinking so little of the village folk as I have done." Then he
suddenly threw up his hands. "God bless the place and bless the folk,"
he cried very loud; "God bless them all, from the oldest man in it,
and that is grandfather, down to Isaac King's little girl that was born
yester-night! and may none of them ever come to this corner, and their
faces turned toward the sea."

"Doant ye, George! doant ye! doant ye! doant ye!" cried Edward Dodd in
great agitation.

"Let the mare go on, Ned; she is fretting through her skin."

"I'll fret her," roared the farmer, lifting his whip exactly as if it
was a sword, and a cut to be made at a dragoon's helmet. "I'll cut her
liver out."

"No, ye shan't," said George. "Poor thing, she is thinking of her corn
at the Queen's Head in Newborough. She isn't going across the sea--let
her go, I've taken my last look and said my last word;" and he covered
up his face.

Farmer Dodd drove on in silence, except that every now and then he gave
an audible snivel, and whenever this occurred he always accommodated the
mare with a smart cut--reasonable!

At Newborough they found Mr. Winchester. He drove George to the rail,
and that night they slept on board the _Phoenix_ emigrant ship. Here
they found three hundred men and women in a ship where there was room
for two hundred and fifty, accommodation for eighty.

Next morning, "Farmer," said Mr. Winchester gayly, "we have four hours
before we sail--some of these poor people will suffer great hardships
between this and Sydney; suppose you and I go and buy a lot of blankets,
brawn, needles, canvas, greatcoats, felt, American beef, solidified
milk, Macintoshes, high-lows and thimbles. That will rouse us up a
little."

"Thank you, sir, kindly."

Out they went into the Ratcliffe Highway, and chaffered with some of the
greatest rascals in trade. The difference between what they asked and
what they took made George stare. Their little cabin was crowded with
goods, only just room left for the aristocrat, the farmer and Carlo. And
now the hour came. Poor George was roused from his lethargy by the noise
and bustle; and oh, the creaking of cables sickened his heart. Then the
steamer came up and took them in tow, and these our countrymen and women
were pulled away from their native land too little and too full to hold
us all. It was a sad sight, saddest to those whose own flesh and blood
was on the shore and saw the steamer pull them away; bitterest to those
who had no friend to watch them go.

How they clung to England! they stretched out their hands to her, and
when they could hold to her no other way they waved their hats and their
handkerchiefs to their countrymen, who waved to them from shore--and so
they spun out a little longer the slender chain that visibly bound them
to her. And at this moment even the iron-hearted and the reckless were
soft and sad. Our hearts' roots lie in the soil we have grown on.

No wonder then George Fielding leaned over the ship-side benumbed with
sorrow, and counted each foot of water as it glided by, and thought "Now
I am so much farther from Susan."

For a wonder he was not sea-sick, but his appetite was gone from a
nobler cause; he could hardly be persuaded to eat at all for many days.

The steamer cast off at Gravesend, and the captain made sail and beat
down the Channel. Off the Scilly Isles a northeasterly breeze, and the
_Phoenix_ crowded all her canvas; when topsails, royals, skyscrapers and
all were drawing the men rigged out booms alow and aloft, and by means
of them set studding sails out several yards clear of the hull on either
side; so on she plowed, her canvas spread out like an enormous fan or
a huge albatross all wings. A goodly, gallant show; but under all this
vast and swelling plumage an exile's heart.

Of all that smarted, ached and throbbed beneath that swelling plumage
few suffered more than poor George. It was his first great sorrow; and
all so new and strange.

The ship touched at Madeira, and then flew southward with the favoring
gale. Many leagues she sailed, and still George hung over the bulwarks
and sadly watched the waves. This simple-minded, honest fellow was not
a girl. If they had offered to put the ship about and take him back he
would not have consented, but yet to go on almost broke his heart. He
was steel and butter. His friend, the honorable Frank Winchester, was or
seemed all steel. He was one of those sanguine spirits that don't admit
into their minds the notion of ultimate failure. He was supported, too,
by a natural and indomitable gayety. Whatever most men grumble or whine
at he took as practical jokes played by Fortune partly to try his good
humor, but more to amuse him.

The poorer passengers suffered much discomfort, and the blankets, etc.,
stored in Winchester's cabin often warmed these two honest hearts,
as with pitying hands they wrapped them round some shivering
fellow-creature.

Off Cape Verd a heavy gale came on. It lasted thirty-six hours, and the
distress and sufferings of the over-crowded passengers were terrible. An
unpaternal government had allowed a ship to undertake a voyage of twelve
thousand miles, with a short crew, short provisions, and just twice as
many passengers as could be protected from the weather.

Driven from the deck by the piercing wind and the deluges of water that
came on board, and crowded into the narrowest compass, many of these
unfortunates almost died of sickness and polluted air; and when in
despair they rushed back upon deck, horrors and suffering met them in
another shape; in vain they huddled together for a little warmth and
tried to shield themselves with blankets stretched to windward. The
bitter blast cut like a razor through their threadbare defenses, and the
water rushed in torrents along the deck and crept cold as ice up their
bodies as they sat huddled, or lay sick and despairing on the hard and
tossing wood; and whenever a heavier sea than usual struck the ship a
despairing scream burst from the women, and the good ship groaned and
shivered and seemed to share their fears, and the blast yelled into
their souls, "I am mighty as fate--as fate. And pitiless! pitiless!
pitiless! pitiless! pitiless!"

Oh! then, how they longed for a mud cabin, or a hole picked with a
pickax in some ancient city wall, or a cow-house, or a cart-shed in
their native land.

But it is an ill wind that blows nobody good. This storm raised George
Fielding's better part of man. Integer vitae scelerisque purus was not
very much afraid to die. Once when the _Phoenix_ gave a weather roll
that wetted the foresail to the yard-arm, he said, "My poor Susan!" with
a pitying accent, not a quavering one. But most of the time he was busy
crawling on all-fours from one sufferer to another with a drop of brandy
in a phial. The wind emptied a glass of the very moisture let alone
the liquid in a moment. So George would put his bottle to some poor
creature's lips, and if it was a man he would tell him in his simple way
Who was stronger than the wind or the sea, and that the ship could not
go down without His will. To the women he whispered that he had just had
a word with the captain, and he said it was only a gale not a tempest,
as the passengers fancied, and there was no danger, none whatever.

The gale blew itself out, and then for an hour or two the ship rolled
frightfully; but at last the angry sea went down, the decks were mopped,
the _Phoenix_ shook her wet feathers and spread her wings again and
glided on her way.

George felt a little better; the storm shook him and roused him and did
him good. And it was a coincidence in the history of these two lovers
that just as Susan under Mr. Eden's advice was applying the healing
ointment of charitable employment to her wound, George, too, was finding
a little comfort and life from the little bit of good he and his friend
did to the poor population in his wooden hamlet.

After a voyage of four months one evening the captain shortened sail,
though the breeze was fair and the night clear. Upon being asked the
reason of this strange order he said knowingly, "If you get up with the
sun perhaps you will see the reason."

Curiosity being excited, one or two did rise before the sun. Just as
he emerged from the sea a young seaman called Patterson, who was in the
foretop, hailed the deck.

"What is it?" roared the mate.

"Land on the weather bow," sung out the seaman in reply.

Land! In one moment the word ran like electric fire through all the
veins of the _Phoenix_; the upper deck was crowded in a minute, but all
were disappointed. No one saw land but Mr. Patterson, whose elevation
and keen sight gave him an advantage. But a heavenly smell as of a
region of cowslips came and perfumed the air and rejoiced all the
hearts; at six o'clock a something like a narrow cloud broke the watery
horizon on the weather bow. All sail was made and at noon the coast
of Australia glittered like a diamond under their lee. Then the three
hundred prisoners fell into a wild excitement--some became irritable,
others absurdly affectionate to people they did not care a button for.
The captain himself was not free from the intoxication; he walked the
deck in jerks instead of his usual roll, and clapped on sail as if he
would fly on shore.

At half-past one they glided out of the open sea into the Port Jackson
River. They were now in a harbor fifteen miles long, land-locked on both
sides, and not a shoal or a rock in it. This wonderful haven, in which
all the navies that float or ever will float might maneuver all day and
ride at anchor all night without jostling, was the sea avenue by which
they approached a land of wonders.

It was the second of December. The sky was purple and the sun blazed
in its center. The land glittered like a thousand emeralds beneath his
glowing smile, and the waves seemed to drink his glory and melt it into
their tints, so rich were the flakes of burning gold that shone in the
heart of their transparent, lovely blue.

"Oh! what a heavenly land! and after four months' prison at sea."

Our humble hero's heart beat high with hope. Surely in so glorious a
place as this he could make a thousand pounds, and then dart back with
it to Susan. Long before the ship came to an anchor George got a sheet
of paper and by a natural impulse wrote to Susan a letter, telling her
all the misery the _Phoenix_ and her passengers had come through between
London Bridge and Sydney Cove, and as soon as he had written it he tore
it up and threw it into the water. "It would have vexed her to hear what
I have gone through. Time enough to tell her that when I am home again
sitting by the fire with her hand in mine."

So then he tried again and wrote a cheerful letter, and concealed all
his troubles except his sorrow at being obliged to go so far from her
even for a time. "But it is only for a time, Susan dear. And, Susan
dear, I've got a good friend here, and one that can feel for us; for he
is here on the same errand as I am. I am to bide with him six months and
help him the best I can, and so I shall learn how matters are managed
here; and after that I am to set up on my own account; and, Susan dear,
I do think by all I can see there is money to be made here. Heaven knows
my heart was never much set on gain, but it is now because it is the
road to you. Please tell Will Carlo has been a great comfort to me
and is a general favorite. He pointed a rat on board ship--but it was
excusable, and him cooped up so long and had almost forgotten the smell
of a bird, I daresay; and if anybody comes to make believe to threaten
me he is ready to pull them down in a minute. So tell Will this, and
that I do think his master is as much my friend at home as the dog is
out here.

"Susan dear, I do beg of you as a great favor to keep up your heart,
and not give way to grief or desponding feelings. I don't; leastways
I won't. Poor Mr. Winchester is here on the same errand as I am. But I
often think his heart is stouter than mine, which is much to his credit
and little to mine. Susan dear, I have come to the country that is
farther from Grassmere than any other in the globe--that seems hard; and
my very face is turned the opposite way to yours as I walk, but nothing
can ever turn my heart away from my Susan. I desire my respects to Mr.
Merton and that you would tell him I will make the one thousand pounds,
please God. But I hope you will pray for me, Susan, that I may have
that success; you are so good that I do think the Almighty will hear
you sooner than me or any one. So no more at present, dear Susan, but
remain, with sincere respect, your loving servant and faithful lover
till death, GEORGE FIELDING."

They landed. Mr. Winchester purchased the right of feeding cattle over
a large tract a hundred miles distant from Sydney, and after a few days
spent in that capital started with their wagons into the interior. There
for about five months George was Mr. Winchester's factotum, and though
he had himself much to learn, the country and its habits being new to
him, still he saved his friend from fundamental errors, and, from five
in the morning till eight at night, put zeal, honesty and the muscular
strength of two ordinary men at his friend's service.

At the expiration of this period Mr. Winchester said to him one evening,
"George, I can do my work alone now, and the time is come to show my
sense of your services and friendship. I have bought a run for you about
eight miles from here, and now you are to choose five hundred sheep and
thirty beasts; the black pony you ride goes with them."

"Oh no, sir! it is enough to rob you of them at all without me going and
taking the pick of them."

"Well! will you consent to pen the flocks and then lift one hurdle and
take them as they come out, so many from each lot?"

"That I consent to, sir, and remain your debtor for life."

"I can't see it; I set _my life_ a great deal higher than sheepskin."

Mr. Winchester did not stop there, he forced a hundred pounds upon
George. "If you start in any business with an empty pocket you are a
gone coon."

So these two friends parted with mutual esteem, and George set to work
by prudence and vigor to make the thousand pounds.

One thousand pounds! This one is to have the woman he loves for a
thousand pounds. That sounds cheap. Heaven upon earth for a thousand
pounds. What is a thousand pounds? Nothing. There are slippery men that
gain this in a week by time bargains, trading on capital of round 0's;
others who net as much in an evening, and as honorably, by cards. There
are merchants who net twenty times this sum by a single operation.

"An operation?" inquires Belgravia.

This is an operation: You send forth a man not given to drink and
consequently chatter to Amsterdam, another not given to drink and
chatter to New Orleans, another n. g. t. d. and c. to Bordeaux, Cadiz,
Canton, Liverpool, Japan, and where not, all with secret instructions.
Then at an appointed day all the men n. g. t. d. and c. begin gradually,
secretly, cannily, to buy up in all those places all the lac-dye or
something of the kind that you and I thought there was about thirty
pounds of in creation. This done mercator raises the price of lac-dye or
what not throughout Europe. If he is greedy and raises it a halfpenny
a pound, perhaps commerce revolts and invokes nature against so vast an
oppression, and nature comes and crushes our speculator. But if he be
wise and puts on what mankind can bear, say three mites per pound, then
he sells tons and tons at this fractional profit on each pound, and
makes fourteen thousand pounds by lac-dye or the like of which you and I
thought creation held thirty or at most thirty-two pounds.

These men are the warriors of commerce; but its smaller captains,
watching the fluctuations of this or that market, can often turn a
thousand pounds ere we could say J. R. Far more than a thousand pounds
have been made in a year by selling pastry off a table in the Boulevards
of Paris.

In matters practical a single idea is worth thousands.

This nation being always in a hurry paid four thousand pounds to a
man to show them how to separate letter-stamps in a hurry. "Punch the
divisions full of little holes," said he, and he held out his hand for
the four thousand pounds; and now test his invention, tear one head from
another in a hurry, and you will see that money sometimes goes cheaper
than invention.

A single idea is sometimes worth a thousand pounds in a book, though
books are by far the least lucrative channels ideas run in; Mr.
Bradshaw's duodecimo, to wit--profit seven thousand pounds per annum.
A thousand pounds! How many men have toiled for money all their lives,
have met with success, yet never reached a thousand pounds.

Eight thousand servants, fed and half clothed at their master's expense,
have put by for forty years, and yet not even by aid of interest and
compound interest and perquisites and commissions squeezed out of little
tradesmen and other time-honored embezzlements, have reached the rubicon
of four figures. Five thousand little shopkeepers, active, intelligent
and greedy, have bought wholesale and sold retail, yet never mounted so
high as this above rent, housekeeping, bad debts and casualties. Many
a writer of genius has charmed his nation and adorned her language, yet
never held a thousand pounds in his hand even for a day. Many a great
painter has written the world-wide language of form and color, and
attained to European fame, but not to a thousand pounds sterling
English.

Among all these aspirants and a million more George Fielding now made
one, urged and possessed by as keen an incentive as ever spurred a man.

George's materials were five hundred sheep, twenty cows, ten bullocks,
two large sheep-dogs and Carlo. It was a keen clear, frosty day in July
when he drove his herd to his own pasture. His heart beat high that
morning. He left Abner, his shepherd, a white native of the colony, to
drive the slow cattle. He strode out in advance, and scarce felt the
ground beneath his feet. The thermometer was at 28 degrees, yet his
coat was only tied round his neck by the sleeves as he swept along all
health, fire, manhood, love and hope. He marched this day like dear
Smollett's lines, whose thoughts, though he had never heard them, fired
his heart.

             "Thy spirit, Independence, let me share,
              Lord of the lion heart and eagle eye;
              Thy steps I follow with my bosom bare,
              Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky."

He was on the ground long before Abner, and set to work building a
roofless hut on the west side of some thick bushes, and hard by the
only water near at hand. And here he fixed his headquarters, stretched a
blanket across the hut for a roof, and slept his own master.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

AT the end of six months George Fielding's stock had varied thus. Four
hundred lambs, ten calves, fifteen cows, four hundred sheep. He had
lost some sheep in lambing, and one cow in calving, but these casualties
every feeder counts on; he had been lucky on the whole. He had sold
about eighty sheep, and eaten a few but not many, and of his hundred
pounds only five pounds were gone; against which and the decline in cows
were to be placed the calves and lambs.

George considered himself eighty pounds richer in substance than six
months ago. It so happened that on every side of George but one were
nomads, shepherd-kings--fellows with a thousand head of horned cattle,
and sheep like white pebbles by the sea; but on his right hand was
another small bucolical, a Scotchman, who had started with less means
than himself, and was slowly working his way, making a halfpenny and
saving a penny after the manner of his nation. These two were mighty
dissimilar, but they were on a level as to means and near neighbors,
and that drew them together. In particular, they used to pay each other
friendly visits on Sunday evenings, and McLaughlan would read a good
book to George, for he was strict in his observances; but after that the
pair would argue points of husbandry.

But one Sunday that George, admiring his stock, inadvertently proposed
to him an exchange of certain animals, he rebuked the young man with
awful gravity.

"Is this a day for warldly dealings?" said he. "Hoo div ye think to
thrive gien y'offer your mairchandeeze o' the Sabba day!" George colored
up to the eyes. "Ye'll may be no hae read the paurable o' the money
changers i' the temple, no forgettin' a wheen warldly-minded chields
that sell't doos, when they had mair need to be on their knees--or
hearkening a religious discourse---or a bit psaum--or the like. Aweel,
ye need na hong your heed yon gate neether. Ye had na the privileege of
being born in Scoetland, ye ken--or nae doot ye'd hae kenned better, for
ye are a decent lad--deed are ye. Aweel, stap ben led, and I'se let
ye see a drap whisky. The like does na aften gang doon an Englishman's
thrapple."

"Whisky? Well, but it seems to me if we didn't ought to deal we didn't
ought to drink."

"Hout! tout! it is no forbedden to taste--thaat's nae sen that ever I
heerd't--C-way."



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

GEORGE heard of a farmer who was selling off his sheep about fifty miles
off near the coast. George put money in his purse, rose at three, and
walked the fifty miles with Carlo that day. The next he chaffered with
the farmer, but they did not quite agree. George was vexed, but he knew
it would not do to show it, so he strolled away carelessly toward the
water. In this place the sea comes several miles inland, not in one
sheet, but in a series of salt-water lakes very pretty.

George stood and admired the water and the native blacks paddling along
in boats of bark no bigger than a cocked hat. These strips of bark are
good for carriage and bad for carriage; I mean they are very easily
carried on a man's back ashore, but they won't carry a man on the water
so well, and sitting in them is like balancing on a straw. These absurd
vehicles have come down to these blockheads from their fathers, so they
won't burn them and build according to reason. They commonly paddle in
companies of three; so then whenever one is purled the other two come on
each side of him, each takes a hand and with amazing skill and delicacy
they reseat him in his cocked hat, which never sinks--only purls.
Several of these triads passed in the middle of the lake, looking to
George like inverted capital "T's." They went a tremendous pace--with
occasional stoppages when a purl occurred.

Presently a single savage appeared nearer the land and George could see
his lithe, sinewy form and the grace and rapidity with which he urged
his gossamer bark along. It was like a hawk--half a dozen rapid strokes
of his wings and then a smooth glide for ever so far.

"Our savages would sit on the blade of a knife, I do think," was
George's observation.

Now as George looked and admired blackee, it unfortunately happened that
a mosquito flew into blackee's nostrils, which were much larger and more
inviting--to a gnat--than ours. The aboriginal sneezed, and over went
the ancestral boat.

The next moment he was seen swimming and pushing his boat before him. He
was scarce a hundred yards from the shore when all of a sudden down he
went. George was frightened and took off his coat, and was unlacing his
boots--when the black came up again. "Oh, he was only larking," thought
George. "But he has left his boat--and why, there he goes down again!"
The savage made a dive and came up ten yards nearer the shore, but he
kept his face parallel to it, and he was scarce a moment in sight before
he dived again. Then a horrible suspicion flashed across George--"There
is something after him!"

This soon became a fearful certainty. Just before he dived next time,
a dark object was plainly visible on the water close behind him. George
was wild with fear for poor blackee. He shouted at the monster, he
shouted and beckoned to the swimmer; and last, snatching up a stone, he
darted up a little bed of rock elevated about a yard above the shore.
The next dive the black came up within thirty yards of this very place,
but the shark came at him the next moment. He dived again, but before
the fish followed him George threw a stone with great precision and
force at him. It struck the water close by him as he turned to follow
his prey; George jumped down and got several more stones, and held one
foot advanced and his arm high in air. Up came the savage panting for
breath. The fish made a dart, George threw a stone; it struck him with
such fury on the shoulders that it span off into the air and fell into
the sea forty yards off. Down went the man, and the fish after him.
The next time they came up, to George's dismay, the sea-tiger showed no
signs of being hurt and the man was greatly distressed. The moment he
was above water George heard him sob, and saw the whites of his eyes,
as he rolled them despairingly; and he could not dive again for want of
breath. Seeing this, the shark turned on his back, and came at him with
his white belly visible and his treble row of teeth glistening in a
mouth like a red grave.

Rage as well as fear seized George Fielding, the muscles started on his
brawny arm as he held it aloft with a heavy stone in it. The black was
so hard pressed the last time, and so dead beat, that he could make but
a short duck under the fish's back and come out at his tail. The shark
did not follow him this time, but cunning as well as ferocious slipped
a yard or two inshore, and waited to grab him; not seeing him, he gave
a slap with his tail-fin, and reared his huge head out of water a moment
to look forth. Then George Fielding, grinding his teeth with fury, flung
his heavy stone with tremendous force at the creature's cruel eye. The
heavy stone missed the eye by an inch or two, but it struck the fish on
the nose and teeth with a force that would have felled a bullock.

"Creesh!" went the sea-tiger's flesh and teeth, and the blood squirted
in a circle. Down went the shark like a lump of lead, literally felled
by the crashing stroke.

"I've hit him! I've hit him!" roared George, seizing another stone.
"Come here, quick! quick! before he gets the better of it."

The black swam like a mad thing to George. George splashed into the
water up to his knee, and taking blackee under the arm-pits, tore him
out of the water and set him down high and dry.

"Give us your hand over it, old fellow," cried George, panting and
trembling. "Oh dear, my heart is in my mouth, it is!"

The black's eye seemed to kindle a little at George's fire, but all the
rest of him was as cool as a cucumber. He let George shake his hand and
said quietly, "Thank you, sar! Jacky thank you a good deal!" he added in
the same breath; "suppose you lend me a knife, then we eat a good deal."

George lent him his knife, and to his surprise the savage slipped into
the water again. His object was soon revealed; the shark had come up
to the surface and was floating motionless. It was with no small
trepidation George saw this cool hand swim gently behind him and
suddenly disappear; in a moment, however, the water was red all round,
and the shark turned round on his belly. Jacky swam behind, and pushed
him ashore. It proved to be a young fish about six feet long; but it
was as much as the men could do to lift it. The creature's nose was
battered, and Jacky showed this to George, and let him know that a blow
on that part was deadly to them. "You make him dead for a little while,"
said he, "so then I make him dead enough to eat;" and he showed where he
had driven the knife into him in three places.

Jacky's next proceeding was to get some dry sticks and wood, and prepare
a fire, which to George's astonishment he lighted thus. He got a block
of wood, in the middle of which he made a little hole; then he cut and
pointed a long stick, and inserting the point into the block, worked
it round between his palms for some time and with increasing rapidity.
Presently there came a smell of burning wood, and soon after it burst
into a flame at the point of contact. Jacky cut slices of shark and
toasted them. "Black fellow stupid fellow--eat 'em raw; but I eat 'em
burn't, like white man."

He then told George he had often been at Sydney, and could "speak the
white man's language a good deal," and must on no account be confounded
with common black fellows. He illustrated his civilization by eating the
shark as it cooked; that is to say, as soon as the surface was brown he
gnawed it off, and put the rest down to brown again, and so ate a series
of laminae instead of a steak; that it would be cooked to the center if
he let it alone was a fact this gentleman had never discovered; probably
had never had the patience to discover.

George, finding the shark's flesh detestable, declined it, and watched
the other. Presently he vented his reflections. "Well you are a cool
one! half an hour ago I didn't expect to see you eating him--quite the
contrary." Jacky grinned good-humoredly in reply.

When George returned to the farmer, the latter, who had begun to fear
the loss of a customer, came at once to terms with him. The next day
he started for home with three hundred sheep. Jacky announced that he
should accompany him, and help him a good deal. George's consent was not
given, simply because it was not asked. However, having saved the man's
life, he was not sorry to see a little more of him.

It is usual in works of this kind to give minute descriptions of
people's dress. I fear I have often violated this rule. However I will
not in this case.

Jacky's dress consisted of, in front, a sort of purse made of rat-skin;
behind, a bran new tomahawk and two spears.

George fancied this costume might be improved upon; he therefore bought
from the farmer a second-hand coat and trousers and his new friend
donned them with grinning satisfaction. The farmer's wife pitied George
living by himself out there, and she gave him several little luxuries; a
bacon-ham, some tea, and some orange-marmalade, and a little lump-sugar
and some potatoes.

He gave the potatoes to Jacky to carry. They weighed but a few pounds.
George himself carried about a quarter of a hundredweight. For all that
the potatoes worried Jacky more than George's burden him. At last he
loitered behind so long that George sat down and lighted his pipe.
Presently up comes Niger with the sleeves of his coat hanging on
each side of his neck and the potatoes in them. My lord had taken his
tomahawk and chopped off the sleeves at the arm-pit; then he had sewed
up their bottoms and made bags of them, uniting them at the other end by
a string which rested on the back of his neck like a milkmaid's balance.
Being asked what he had done with the rest of the coat, he told George
he had thrown it away because it was a good deal hot.

"But it won't be hot at night, and then you will wish you hadn't been
such a fool," said George, irate.

No, he couldn't make Jacky see this; being hot at the time Jacky could
not feel the cold to come. Jacky became a hanger-on of George, and if he
did little he cost little; and if a beast strayed he was invaluable, he
could follow the creature for miles by a chain of physical evidence no
single link of which a civilized man would have seen.

A quantity of rain having fallen and filled all the pools, George
thought he would close with an offer that had been made him and swap
one hundred and fifty sheep for cows and bullocks. He mentioned this
intention to McLaughlan one Sunday evening. McLaughlan warmly approved
his intention. George then went on to name the customer who was disposed
to make the exchange in question. At this the worthy McLaughlan showed
some little uneasiness and told George he might do better than deal with
that person.

George said he should be glad to do better, but did not see how.

"Humph!" said McLaughlan, and fidgeted.

McLaughlan then invited George to a glass of grog, and while they were
sipping he gave an order to his man.

McLaughlan inquired when the proposed negotiation was likely to take
place. "To-morrow morning," said George. "He asked me to go over about
it this afternoon, but I remembered the lesson you gave me about making
bargains on this day, and I said 'To-morrow, farmer.'"

"Y're a guid lad," said the Scot demurely; "y're just as decent a body
as ever I forgathered wi'--and I'm thinking it's a sin to let ye gang
twa miles for mairchandeeze whan ye can hae it a hantle cheaper at your
ain door."

"Can I? I don't know what you mean."

"Ye dinna ken what I mean? Maybe no."

Mr. McLaughlan fell into thought a while, and the grog being finished he
proposed a stroll. He took George out into the yard, and there the first
thing they saw was a score and a half of bullocks that had just been
driven into a circle and were maintained there by two men and two dogs.

George's eye brightened at the sight and his host watched it. "Aweel,"
said he, "has Tamson a bonnier lot than yon to gie ye?"

"I don't know," said George dryly. "I have not seen his."

"But I hae--and he hasna a lot to even wi' them."

"I shall know to-morrow," said George. But he eyed McLaughlan's cattle
with an expression there was no mistaking.

"Aweel," said the worthy Scot, "ye're a neebor and a decent lad ye are,
sae I'll just speer ye ane question. Noo, mon," continued he in a most
mellifluous tone and pausing at every word, "gien it were Monday--as it
is the Sabba day--hoo mony sheep wud ye gie for yon bonnie beasties?"

George, finding his friend in this mind, pretended to hang back and to
consider himself bound to treat with Thomson first. The result of all
which was that McLaughlan came over to him at daybreak and George made a
very profitable exchange with him.

At the end of six months more George found himself twice as rich in
substance as at first starting; but instead of one hundred pounds cash
he had but eighty. Still if sold up he would have fetched five hundred
pounds. But more than a year was gone since he began on his own account.
"Well," said George, "I must be patient and still keep doubling on,
and if I do as well next year as last I shall be worth eight hundred
pounds."

A month's dry hot weather came and George had arduous work to take
water to his bullocks and to drive them in from long distances to his
homestead, where, by digging enormous tanks, he had secured a constant
supply. No man ever worked for a master as this rustic Hercules worked
for Susan Merton. Prudent George sold twenty bullocks and cows to the
first bidder. "I can buy again at a better time," argued he.

He had now one hundred and twenty-five pounds in hand. The drought
continued and he wished he had sold more.

One morning Abner came hastily in and told him that nearly all the
beasts and cows were missing. George flung himself on his horse and
galloped to the end of his run. No signs of them--returning disconsolate
he took Jacky on his crupper and went over the ground with him. Jacky's
eyes were playing and sparkling all the time in search of signs. Nothing
clear was discovered. Then at Jacky's request they rode off George's
feeding-ground altogether and made for a little wood about two miles
distant. "Suppose you stop here, I go in the bush," said Jacky.

George sat down and waited. In about two hours Jacky came back. "I've
found 'em," said Jacky coolly.

George rose in great excitement and followed Jacky through the stiff
bush, often scratching his hands and face. At last Jacky stopped and
pointed to the ground, "There!"

"There? ye foolish creature," cried George; "that's ashes where somebody
has lighted a fire; that and a bone or two is all I see."

"Beef bone," replied Jacky coolly. George started with horror. "Black
fellow burn beef here and eat him. Black fellow a great thief. Black
fellow take all your beef. Now we catch black fellow and shoot him
suppose he not tell us where the other beef gone."

"But how am I to catch him? How am I even to find him?"

"You wait till the sun so; then black fellow burn more beef. Then I
see the smoke; then I catch him. You go fetch the make-thunder with two
mouths. When he see him that make him honest a good deal."

Off galloped George and returned with his double-barreled gun in about
an hour and a half. He found Jacky where he had left him at the foot of
a gumtree tall and smooth as an admiral's main-mast.

Jacky, who was coiled up in happy repose like a dog in warm weather,
rose and with a slight yawn said, "Now I go up and look."

He made two sharp cuts on the tree with his tomahawk, and putting his
great toe in the nick, rose on it, made another nick higher up, and
holding the smooth stem put his other great toe in it, and so on till in
an incredibly short time he had reached the top and left a staircase of
his own making behind him. He had hardly reached the top when he slid
down to the bottom again and announced that he had discovered what they
were in search of.

George haltered the pony to the tree and followed Jacky, who struck
farther into the wood. After a most disagreeable scramble at the other
side of the wood Jacky stopped and put his finger to his lips. They both
went cautiously out of the wood, and mounting a bank that lay under its
shelter they came plump upon a little party of blacks, four male and
three female. The women were seated round a fire burning beef and
gnawing the outside laminae, then putting it down to the fire again. The
men, who always serve themselves first, were lying gorged--but at sight
of George and Jacky they were on their feet in a moment and their spears
poised in their hands.

Jacky walked down the bank and poured a volley of abuse into them.
Between two of his native sentences he uttered a quiet aside to George,
"Suppose black fellow lift spear you shoot him dead," and then abused
them like pickpockets again and pointed to the make-thunder with two
mouths in George's hand.

After a severe cackle on both sides the voices began to calm down like
water going off the boil, and presently soft low gutturals passed in
pleasant modulation. Then the eldest male savage made a courteous signal
to Jacky that he should sit down and gnaw. Jacky on this administered
three kicks among the gins and sent them flying, then down he sat and
had a gnaw at their beef--George's beef, I mean. The rage of hunger
appeased, he rose, and with the male savages took the open country. On
the way he let George know that these black fellows were of his
tribe, that they had driven off the cattle and that he had insisted on
restitution--which was about to be made; and sure enough, before they
had gone a mile they saw some beasts grazing in a narrow valley. George
gave a shout of joy, but counting them he found fifteen short. When
Jacky inquired after the others the blacks shrugged their shoulders.
They knew nothing more than this, that wanting a dinner they had driven
off forty bullocks; but finding they could only eat one that day they
had killed one and left the others, of whom some were in the place they
had left them; the rest were somewhere, they didn't know where--far less
care. They had dined, that was enough for them.

When this characteristic answer reached George he clinched his teeth and
for a moment felt an impulse to make a little thunder on their slippery
black carcasses, but he groaned instead and said, "They were never
taught any better."

Then Jacky and he set to work to drive the cattle together. With
infinite difficulty they got them all home by about eleven o'clock at
night. The next day up with the sun to find the rest. Two o'clock--and
only one had they fallen in with, and the sun broiled so that lazy Jacky
gave in and crept in under the beast for shade, and George was fain to
sit on his shady side with moody brow and sorrowful heart.

Presently Jacky got up. "I find one," said he.

"Where? where?" cried George, looking all round. Jacky pointed to a
rising ground at least six miles off.

George groaned, "Are you making a fool of me? I can see nothing but a
barren hill with a few great bushes here and there. You are never taking
those bushes for beasts?"

Jacky smiled with utter scorn. "White fellow stupid fellow; he see
nothing."

"Well and what does black fellow see?" snapped George.

"Black fellow see a crow coming from the sun, and when he came over
there he turned and went down and not get up again a good while. Then
black fellow say, 'I tink.' Presently come flying one more crow from
that other side where the sun is not. Black fellow watch him, and when
he come over there he turn round and go down, too, and not get up a good
while. Then black fellow say, 'I know.'"

"Oh, come along!" cried George.

They hurried on; but when they came to the rising ground and bushes
Jacky put his finger to his lips. "Suppose we catch the black fellows
that have got wings; you make thunder for them?"

He read the answer in George's eye. Then he took George round the back
of the hill and they mounted the crest from the reverse side. They came
over it and there at their very feet lay one of George's best bullocks,
with tongue protruded, breathing his last gasp. A crow of the country
was perched on his ribs, digging his thick beak into a hole he had made
in his ribs, and another was picking out one of his eyes. The birds rose
heavily, clogged and swelling with gore. George's eyes flashed, his gun
went up to his shoulder, and Jacky saw the brown barrel rise slowly for
a moment as it followed the nearest bird wobbling off with broad back
invitingly displayed to the marksman. Bang! the whole charge shivered
the ill-omened glutton, who instantly dropped riddled with shot like a
sieve, while a cloud of dusky feathers rose from him into the air. The
other, hearing the earthly thunder and Jacky's exulting whoop, gave a
sudden whirl with his long wing and shot up into the air at an angle and
made off with great velocity; but the second barrel followed him as he
turned and followed him as he flew down the wind. Bang! out flew two
handfuls of dusky feathers, and glutton No. 2 died in the air, and its
carcass and expanded wings went whirling like a sheet of paper and fell
on the top of a bush at the foot of the hill.

All this delighted the devil-may-care Jacky, but it may be supposed it
was small consolation to George. He went up to the poor beast, who died
even as he looked down on him.

"Drought, Jacky! drought!" said he--"it is Moses, the best of the herd.
Oh, Moses, why couldn't you stay beside me? I'm sure I never let you
want for water, and never would--you left me to find worse friends!"
and so the poor simple fellow moaned over the unfortunate creature,
and gently reproached him for his want of confidence in him that it was
pitiful. Then suddenly turning on Jacky he said gravely, "Moses won't be
the only one, I doubt."

The words were hardly out of his mouth before a loud moo proclaimed the
vicinity of cattle. They ran toward the sound, and in a rocky hollow
they found nine bullocks; and alas! at some little distance another lay
dead. Those that were alive were panting with lolling tongues in the
broiling sun. How to save them; how to get them home a distance of eight
miles. "Oh! for a drop of water." The poor fools had strayed into the
most arid region for miles round.

Instinct makes blunders as well as reason.--Bestiale est errare.

"We must drive them from this, Jacky, though half of them die by the
way."

The languid brutes made no active resistance. Being goaded and beaten
they got on their legs and moved feebly away.

Three miles the men drove them, and then one who had been already
staggering more than the rest gave in and lay down, and no power could
get him up again. Jacky advised to leave him. George made a few steps
onward with the other cattle, but then he stopped and came back to the
sufferer and sat down beside him disconsolate.

"I can't bear to desert a poor dumb creature. He can't speak, Jacky, but
look at his poor frightened eye; it seems to say have you got the heart
to go on and leave me to die for the want of a drop of water. Oh! Jacky,
you that is so clever in reading the signs of Nature, have pity on the
poor thing and do pray try and find us a drop of water. I'd run five
miles and fetch it in my hat if you would but find it. Do help us,
Jacky." And the white man looked helplessly up to the black savage, who
had learned to read the small type of Nature's book and he had not.

Jacky hung his head. "White fellow's eyes always shut; black fellow's
always open. We pass here before and Jacky look for water--look for
everything. No water here. But," said he languidly, "Jacky will go up
high tree and look a good deal." Selecting the highest tree near he
chopped a staircase and went up it almost as quickly as a bricklayer
mounts a ladder with a hod. At the top he crossed his thighs over the
stem, and there he sat full half an hour; his glittering eye reading the
confused page, and his subtle mind picking out the minutest syllables
of meaning. Several times he shook his head. At last all of a sudden he
gave a little start, and then a chuckle, and the next moment he was on
the ground.

"What is it?"

"Black fellow stupid fellow--look too far off," and he laughed again for
all the world like a jackdaw.

"What is it?"

"A little water; not much."

"Where is it? Where is it? Why don't you tell me where it is?"

"Come," was the answer.

Not forty yards from where they stood Jacky stopped and thrusting his
hand into a tuft of long grass pulled out a short blue flower with a
very thick stem. "Saw him spark from the top of the tree," said Jacky
with a grin. "This fellow stand with him head in the air but him foot
in the water. Suppose no water he die a good deal quick." Then taking
George's hand he made him press the grass hard, and George felt moisture
ooze through the herb.

"Yes, my hand is wet, but, Jacky, this drop won't save a beast's life
without it is a frog's."

Jacky smiled and rose. "Where that wet came from more stay behind."

He pointed to other patches of grass close by, and following them showed
George that they got larger and larger in a certain direction. At last
he came to a hidden nook, where was a great patch of grass quite a
different color, green as an emerald. "Water," cried Jacky, "a good deal
of water." He took a jump and came down flat on his back on the grass,
and sure enough, though not a drop of surface water was visible, the
cool liquid squirted up in a shower round Jacky.

Nature is extremely fond of producing the same things in very different
sizes. Here was a miniature copy of those large Australian lakes which
show nothing to the eye but rank grass. You ride upon them a little
way, merely wetting your horse's feet, but after a while the sponge
gets fuller and fuller, and the grass shows symptoms of giving way, and
letting you down to "bottomless perdition."

They squeezed out of this grass sponge a calabash full of water, and
George ran with it to the panting beast. Oh! how he sucked it up, and
his wild eye calmed, and the liquid life ran through all his frame!

It was hardly in his stomach before he got up of his own accord, and
gave a most sonorous moo, intended no doubt to express the sentiment of
"never say die."

George drove them all to the grassy sponge, and kept them there till
sunset. He was three hours squeezing out water and giving it them before
they were satisfied. Then in the cool of the evening he drove them safe
home.

The next day one more of his strayed cattle found his way home. The
rest he never saw again. This was his first dead loss of any importance;
unfortunately, it was not the last.

The brutes were demoralized by their excursion, and being active as deer
they would jump over anything and stray.

Sometimes the vagrant was recovered--often he was found dead; and
sometimes he went twenty miles and mingled with the huge herds of
some Croesus, and was absorbed like a drop of water and lost to George
Fielding. This was a bitter blow. This was not the way to make the
thousand pounds.

"Better sell them all to the first comer, and then I shall see the end
of my loss. I am not one of your lucky ones. I must not venture."

A settler passed George's way driving a large herd of sheep and ten
cows. George gave him a dinner and looked over his stock. "You have but
few beasts for so many sheep," said he.

The other assented.

"I could part with a few of mine to you if you were so minded."

The other said he should be very glad, but he had no money to spare.
Would George take sheep in exchange?

"Well," drawled George, "I would rather it had been cash, but such as
you and I must not make the road hard to one another. Sheep I'll take,
but full value."

The other was delighted, and nearly all George's bullocks became his for
one hundred and fifty sheep.

George was proud of his bargain, and said, "That is a good thing for you
and me, Susan, please God."

Now the next morning Abner came in and said to George, "I don't like
some of your new lot--the last that are marked with a red V."

"Why, what is wrong about them?"

"Come and see."

He found more than one of the new sheep rubbing themselves angrily
against the pen, and sometimes among one another.

"Oh dear!" said George, "I have prayed against this on my knees every
night of my life, and it is come upon me at last. Sharpen your knife,
Abner."

"What! must they all--"

"All the new lot. Call Jacky, he will help you; he likes to see blood. I
can't abide it. One hundred and fifty sheep; eighteen-pennorth of wool,
and eighteen-pennorth of fat when we fling 'em into the pot--that is all
that is left to me of yesterday's deal."

Jacky was called.

"Now, Jacky," said George, "these sheep have got the scab of the
country; if they get to my flock and taint it I am a beggar from that
moment. These sheep are sure to die, so Abner and you are to kill them.
He will show you how. I can't look on and see their blood and my means
spilled like water. Susan, this is a black day for us!"

He went away and sat down upon a stone a good way off, and turned his
back upon his house and his little homestead. This was not the way to
make the thousand pounds.

The next day the dead sheep were skinned and their bodies chopped up and
flung into the copper. The grease was skimmed as it rose, and set aside,
and when cool was put into rough barrels with some salt and kept up
until such time as a merchant should pass that way and buy it.

"Well!" said George, with a sigh, "I know my loss. But if the red
scab had got into the large herd, there would have been no end to the
mischief."

Soon after this a small feeder at some distance offered to change with
McLaughlan. That worthy liked his own ground best, but willing to do his
friend George a good turn he turned the man over to him. George examined
the new place, found that it was smaller but richer and better watered,
and very wisely closed with the proposal.

When he told Jacky that worthy's eyes sparkled.

"Black fellow likes another place. Not every day the same."

And in fact he let out that if this change had not occurred his
intention had been to go a-hunting for a month or two, so weary had he
become of always the same place.

The new ground was excellent, and George's hopes, lately clouded,
brightened again. He set to work and made huge tanks to catch the next
rain, and as heretofore did the work of two.

It was a sad thing to have to write to Susan and tell her that after
twenty months' hard work he was just where he had been at first
starting. One day, as George was eating his homely dinner on his knee
by the side of his principal flock, he suddenly heard a tremendous
scrimmage mixed with loud, abusive epithets from Abner. He started up,
and there was Carlo pitching into a sheep who was trying to jam herself
into the crowd to escape him. Up runs one of the sheep-dogs growling,
but instead of seizing Carlo, as George thought he would, what does he
do but fall upon another sheep, and spite of all their evasions the two
dogs drove the two sheep out of the flock and sent them pelting down the
hill. In one moment George was alongside Abner.

"Abner," said he, "how came you to let strange sheep in among mine?"

"Never saw them till the dog pinned them."

"You never saw them," said George reproachfully. "No, nor your dog
either till my Carlo opened your eyes. A pretty thing for a shepherd
and his dog to be taught by a pointer. Well," said George, "you had eyes
enough to see whose sheep they were. Tell me that, if you please?"

Abner looked down.

"Why, Abner?"

"I'd as lieve bite off my tongue as tell you."

George looked uneasy and his face fell.

"A 'V.' Don't ye take on," said Abner. "They couldn't have been ten
minutes among ours, and there were but two. And don't you blow me up,
for such a thing might happen to the carefulest shepherd that ever was."

"I won't blow ye up, Will Abner," said George. "It is my luck not yours
that has done this. It was always so. From a game of cricket upward I
never had my neighbor's luck. If the flock are not tainted I'll give you
five pounds, and my purse is not so deep as some. If they are, take your
knife and drive it into my heart. I'll forgive you that as I do this.
Carlo! let me look at you. See here, he is all over some stinking
ointment. It is off those sheep. I knew it. 'Twasn't likely a pointer
dog would be down on strange sheep like a shepherd's dog by the sight.
'Twas this stuff offended him. Heaven's will be done."

"Let us hope the best, and not meet trouble half way."

"Yes" said George feebly. "Let us hope the best."

"Don't I hear that Thompson has an ointment that cures the red scab?"

"So they say."

George whistled to his pony. The pony came to him. George did not treat
him as we are apt to treat a horse--like a riding machine. He used to
speak to him and caress him when he fed him and when he made his bed,
and the horse followed him about like a dog.

In half an hour's sharp riding they were at Thompson's, an invaluable
man that sold and bought animals, doctored animals, and kept a huge
boiler in which bullocks were reduced to a few pounds of grease in a
very few hours.

"You have an ointment that is good for the scab, sir?"

"That I have, farmer. Sold some to a neighbor of yours day before
yesterday."

"Who was that?"

"A newcomer. Vesey is his name."

George groaned. "How do you use it, if you please?"

"Shear 'em close, rub the ointment well in, wash 'em every two days, and
rub in again."

"Give me a stone of it."

"A stone of my ointment! Well! you are the wisest man I have come across
this year or two. You shall have it, sir."

George rode home with his purchase.

Abner turned up his nose at it, and was inclined to laugh at George's
fears. But George said to himself, "I have Susan to think of as well as
myself. Besides," said he a little bitterly, "I haven't a grain of
luck. If I am to do any good I must be twice as prudent and thrice as
industrious as my neighbors or I shall fall behind them. Now, Abner,
we'll shear them close."

"Shear them! Why it is not two months since they were all sheared."

"And then we will rub a little of this ointment into them."

"What! before we see any sign of the scab among them? I wouldn't do that
if they were mine."

"No more would I if they were yours," replied George almost fiercely.
"But they are not yours, Will Abner. They are unlucky George's."

During the next three days four hundred sheep were clipped and anointed.
Jacky helped clip, but he would not wear gloves, and George would not
let him handle the ointment without them, suspecting mercury.

At last George yielded to Abner's remonstrances, and left off shearing
and anointing.

Abner altered his opinion when one day he found a sheep rubbing like mad
against a tree, and before noon half a dozen at the same game. Those two
wretched sheep had tainted the flock.

Abner hung his head when he came to George with this ill-omened news. He
expected a storm of reproaches. But George was too deeply distressed for
any petulances of anger. "It is my fault," said he, "I was the master,
and I let my servant direct me. My own heart told me what to do, yet I
must listen to a fool and a hireling that cared not for the sheep. How
should he? they weren't his, they were mine to lose and mine to save. I
had my choice, I took it, I lost them. Call Jacky and let's to work and
save here and there one, if so be God shall be kinder to them than I
have been."

From that hour there was but little rest morning, noon or night. It was
nothing but an endless routine of anointing and washing, washing and
anointing sheep. To the credit of Mr. Thompson it must be told that of
the four hundred who had been taken in time no single sheep died; but
of the others a good many. There are incompetent shepherds as well as
incompetent statesmen and doctors, though not so many. Abner was one
of these. An acute Australian shepherd would have seen the more subtle
signs of this terrible disease a day or two before the patient sheep
began to rub themselves with fury against the trees and against each
other; but Abner did not; and George did not profess to have a minute
knowledge of the animal, or why pay a shepherd? When this Herculean
labor and battle had gone on for about a week, Abner came to George, and
with a hang-dog look begged him to look out for another shepherd.

"Why, Will! surely you won't think to leave me in this strait? Why three
of us are hardly able for the work, and how can I make head against this
plague with only the poor sav--with only Jacky, that is first-rate at
light work till he gets to find it dull--but can't lift a sheep and
fling her into the water, as the like of us can?"

"Well, ye see," said Abner, doggedly, "I have got the offer of a place
with Mr. Meredith, and he won't wait for me more than a week."

"He is a rich man, Will, and I am a poor one," said George in a faint,
expostulating tone. Abner said nothing, but his face showed he had
already considered this fact from his own point of view.

"He could spare you better than I can; but you are right to leave a
falling house that you have helped to pull down."

"I don't want to go all in a moment. I can stay a week till you get
another."

"A week! how can I get a shepherd in this wilderness at a week's notice?
You talk like a fool."

"Well, I can't stay any longer. You know there is no agreement at all
between us, but I'll stay a week to oblige you."

"You'll oblige me, will you?" said George, with a burst of indignation;
"then oblige me by packing up your traps and taking your ugly face out
of my sight before dinner-time this day. Stay, my man, here are your
wages up to twelve o'clock to-day, take 'em and out of my sight, you
dirty rascal. Let me meet misfortune with none but friends by my side.
Away with you, or I shall forget myself and dirty my hands with your
mean carcass."

The hireling slunk off, and as he slunk George stormed and thundered
after him, "And wherever you may go, may sorrow and sickness--no!"

George turned to Jacky, who sat coolly by, his eyes sparkling at the
prospect of a row. "Jacky!" said he, and then he seemed to choke, and
could not say another word.

"Suppose I get the make-thunder, then you shoot him."

"Shoot him! what for?"

"Too much bungality,* shoot him dead. He let the sheep come that have my
two fingers so on their backs;" here Jacky made a V with his middle
and forefinger, "so he kill the other sheep--yet still you not shoot
him--that so stupid I call."

     * Stupidity.

"Oh Jacky, hush! don't you know me better than to think I would kill
a man for killing my sheep. Oh fie! oh fie! No, Jacky, Heaven forbid I
should do the man any harm; but when I think of what he has brought on
my head, and then to skulk and leave me in my sore strait and trouble,
me that never gave him ill language as most masters would; and then,
Jacky, do you remember when he was sick how kind you and I were to
him--and now to leave us. There, I must go into the house, and you come
and call me out when that man is off the premises--not before."

At twelve o'clock selfish Abner started to walk thirty miles to Mr.
Meredith's. Smarting under the sense of his contemptibleness and of
the injury he was doing his kind, poor master, he shook his fist at the
house and told Jacky he hoped the scab would rot the flock, and that
done fall upon the bipeds, on his own black hide in particular. Jacky
only answered with his eye. When the man was gone he called George.

George's anger had soon died. Jacky found him reading a little book in
search of comfort, and when they were out in the air Jacky saw that his
eyes were rather red.

"Why you cry?" said Jacky. "I very angry because you cry."

"It is very foolish of me," said George, apologetically, "but three is a
small company, and we in such trouble; I thought I had made a friend of
him. Often I saw he was not worth his wages, but out of pity I wouldn't
part with him when I could better have spared him than he me, and
now--there--no more about it. Work is best for a sore heart, and mine is
sore and heavy, too, this day."

Jacky put his finger to his head, and looked wise. "First you listen
me--this one time I speak a good many words. Dat stupid fellow know
nothing, and so because you not shoot him a good way* behind--you very
stupid. One," counted Jacky, touching his thumb, "he know nothing with
these (pointing to his eyes). Jacky know possum,** Jacky know kangaroo,
know turkey, know snake, know a good many, some with legs like dis (four
fingers), some with legs like dis (two flngers)--dat stupid fellow
know nothing but sheep, and not know sheep, let him die too much. Know
nothing with 'um eyes. One more (touching his forefinger). Know nothing
with dis (touching his tongue). Jacky speak him good words, he speak
Jacky bad words. Dat so stupid--he know nothing with dis.

     * Long ago.

     ** Opossum.

"One more. You do him good things--he do you bad things; he know nothing
with these (indicating his arms and legs as the seat of moral action),
so den because you not shoot him long ago now you cry; den because you
cry Jacky angry. Yes, Jacky very good. Jacky a little good before he
live with you. Since den very good--but when dat fellow know nothing,
and now you cry at the bottom* part Jacky a little angry, and Jacky go
hunting a little not much direckly."

     * At last.

With these words the savage caught up his tomahawk and two spears, and
was going across country without another word, but George cried out in
dismay, "Oh, stop a moment! What! to-day, Jacky? Jacky, Jacky, now don't
ye go to-day. I know it is very dull for the likes of you, and you will
soon leave me, but don't ye go to-day; don't set me against flesh and
blood altogether."

"I come back when the sun there," pointing to the east, "but must hunt a
little, not much. Jacky uncomfortable," continued he, jumping at a word
which from its size he thought must be of weight in any argument, "a
good deal uncomfortable suppose I not hunt a little dis day."

"I say no more, I have no right--goodby, take my hand, I shall never see
you any more.

"I shall come back when the sun there."

"Ah! well I daresay you think you will. Good-by, Jacky; don't you stay
to please me."

Jacky glided away across country. He looked back once and saw George
watching him. George was sitting sorrowful upon a stone, and as this
last bit of humanity fell away from him and melted away in the distance
his heart died within him. "He thinks he will come back to me, but
when he gets in the open and finds the track of animals to hunt he will
follow them wherever they go, and his poor shallow head won't remember
this place nor me; I shall never see poor Jacky any more!"

The black continued his course for about four miles until a deep hollow
hid him from George. Arrived here he instantly took a line nearly
opposite to his first, and when he had gone about three miles on this
tack he began to examine the ground attentively and to run about like
a hound. After near half an hour of this he fell upon some tracks and
followed them at an easy trot across the country for miles and miles,
his eye keenly bent upon the ground.



CHAPTER XXXIX.

OUR story has to follow a little way an infinitesimal personage.

Abner, the ungratefulish one, with a bundle tied up in a handkerchief,
strode stoutly away toward Mr. Meredith's grazing ground. "I am well out
of that place," was his reflection. As he had been only once over the
ground before, he did not venture to relax his pace lest night should
overtake him in a strange part. He stepped out so well that just
before the sun set he reached the head of a broad valley that was all
Meredith's. About three miles off glittered a white mansion set in a sea
of pasture, studded with cattle instead of sails. "Ay! ay!" thought the
ungratefulish one, no fear of the scab breaking up this master--"I'm
all right now." As he chuckled over his prospects a dusky figure
stole noiselessly from a little thicket--an arm was raised behind
him--crosssh! a hard weapon came down on his skull, and he lay on his
face with the blood trickling from his mouth and ears.



CHAPTER XL.

HE who a few months ago was so lighthearted and bright with hope now
rose at daybreak for a work of Herculean toil as usual, but no longer
with the spirit that makes labor light. The same strength, the same
dogged perseverance were there, but the sense of lost money, lost
time, and invincible ill-luck oppressed him; then, too, he was
alone--everything had deserted him but misfortune.

"I have left my Susan and I have lost her--left the only friend I had or
ever shall have in this hard world." This was his constant thought,
as doggedly but hopelessly he struggled against the pestilence.
Single-handed and leaden-hearted he had to catch a sheep, to fling
her down, to hold her down, to rub the ointment into her, and to catch
another that had been rubbed yesterday and take her to the pool and
fling her in and keep her in till every part of her skin was soaked.

Four hours of this drudgery had George gone through single-handed and
leaden-hearted, when as he knelt over a kicking, struggling sheep, he
became conscious of something gliding between him and the sun; he looked
up and there was Jacky grinning.

George uttered an exclamation: "What, come back! Well, now that is very
good of you I call. How do you do?" and he gave him a great shake of the
hand.

"Jacky very well, Jacky not at all uncomfortable after him hunt a
little."

"Then I am very glad you have had a day's sport, leastways a night's, I
call it, since it has made you comfortable, Jacky."

"Oh! yes, very comfortable now," and his white teeth and bright eye
proclaimed the relief and satisfaction his little trip had afforded his
nature.

"There, Jacky, if the ointment is worth the trouble it gives me rubbing
of it in, that sheep won't ever catch the scab, I do think. Well,
Jacky, seems to me I ought to ask your pardon--I did you wrong. I never
expected you would leave the kangaroos and opossums for me once you were
off. But I suppose fact is you haven't quite forgotten Twofold Bay."

"Two fool bay!" inquired Jacky, puzzled.

"Where I first fell in with you. You made one in a hunt that day, only
instead of hunting you was hunted and pretty close, too, and if I hadn't
been a good cricketer and learned to fling true--Why, I do declare I
think he has forgotten the whole thing, shark and all!"

At the word shark a gleam of intelligence came to the black's eye; it
was succeeded by a look of wonder. "Shark come to eat me--you throw
stone--so we eat him. I see him now a little--a very little--dat a long
way off--a very long way off. Jacky can hardly see him when he try a
good deal. White fellow see a long way off behind him back--dat is very
curious."

George colored. "You are right, lad--it was a long while ago, and I am
vexed for mentioning it. Well, any way you are come back and you are
welcome. Now you shall do a little of the light work, but I'll do all
the heavy work because I'm used to it;" and indeed poor George did work
and slave like Hercules; forty times that day he carried a full-sized
sheep in his hands a distance of twenty yards and flung her into the
water and splashed in and rubbed her back in the water.

The fourth day after Jacky's return George asked him to go all over
the ground and tell him how many sheep he saw give signs of the fatal
disorder.

About four o'clock in the afternoon Jacky returned driving before
him with his spear a single sheep. The agility of both the biped and
quadruped were droll; the latter every now and then making a rapid bolt
to get back to the pasture and Jacky bounding like a buck and pricking
her with a spear.

For the first time he found George doing nothing. "Dis one scratch um
back--only dis one."

"Then we have driven out the murrain and the rest will live. A hard
fight! Jacky, a hard fight! but we have won it at last. We will rub this
one well; help me put her down, for my head aches."

After rubbing her a little George said, "Jacky, I wish you would do it
for me, for my head do ache so I can't abide to hold it down and work,
too."

After dinner they sat and looked at the sheep feeding. "No more dis,"
said Jacky gayly, imitating a sheep rubbing against a tree.

"No! I have won the day; but I haven't won it cheap. Jacky, that fellow,
Abner, was a bad man--an ungrateful man."

These words George spoke with a very singular tone of gravity.

"Never you mind you about him."

"No! I must try to forgive him; we are all great sinners; is it cold
to-day?"

"No! it is a good deal hot

"I thought it must, for the wind is in a kindly quarter. Well, Jacky, I
am as cool as ice."

"Dat very curious."

"And my head do ache so I can hardly bear myself."

"You ill a little--soon be well."

"I doubt I shall be worse before I am better."

"Never you mind you. I go and bring something I know. We make it hot
with water, den you drink it; and after dat you a good deal better."

"Do, Jacky. I won't take doctor's stuff; it is dug out of the ground and
never was intended for man's inside. But you get me something that grows
in sight and I'll take that; and don't be long, Jacky--for I am not
well."

Jacky returned toward evening with a bundle of simples. He found George
shivering over a fire. He got the pot and began to prepare an infusion.
"Now you soon better," said he.

"I hope so, Jacky," said George very gravely, "thank you, all the same.
Jacky, I haven't been not to say dry for the last ten days with me
washing the sheep, and I have caught a terrible chill--a chill like
death; and, Jacky, I have tried too much--I have abused my strength. I
am a very strong man as men go, and so was my father; but he abused his
strength--and he was took just as I am took now, and in a week he was
dead. I have worked hard ever since I came here, but since Abner left
me at the pinch it hasn't been man's work, Jacky; it has been a
wrestling-match from dawn to dark. No man could go on so and not break
down; but I wanted so to save the poor sheep. Well, the sheep are saved;
but--"

When Jacky's infusion was ready he made George take it and then lie
down. Unfortunately the attack was too violent to yield to this simple
remedy. Fever was upon George Fielding--fever in his giant shape; not
as he creeps over the weak, but as he rushes on the strong. George had
never a headache in his life before. Fever found him full of blood and
turned it all to fire. He tossed--he raged--and forty-eight hours after
his first seizure the strong man lay weak as a child, except during
those paroxysms of delirium which robbed him of his reason while they
lasted, and of his strength when they retired.

On the fourth day---after a raging paroxysm--he became suddenly calm,
and looking up saw Jacky seated at some little distance, his bright eye
fixed upon him.

"You better now?" inquired he, with even more than his usual gentleness
of tone. "You not talk stupid things any more?"

"What, Jacky, are you watching me?" said the sick man. "Now I call that
very kind of you. Jacky, I am not the man I was--we are cut down in a
day like the ripe grass. How long is it since I was took ill?"

"One, one, one, and one more day."

"Ay! Ay! My father lasted till the fifth day, and then--Jacky!"

"Here Jacky! what you want?"

"Go out on the hill and see whether any of the sheep are rubbing
themselves."

Jacky went out and soon returned.

"Not see one rub himself."

A faint gleam lighted George's sunken eye. "That is a comfort. I hope I
shall be accepted not to have been a bad shepherd, for I may say 'I have
given my life for my sheep.' Poor things."

George dozed. Toward evening he awoke, and there was Jacky just where he
had seen him last. "I didn't think you had cared so much for me, Jacky,
my boy."

"Yes, care very much for you. See, um make beef-water for you a good
deal."

And sure enough he had boiled down about forty pounds of beef and filled
a huge calabash with the extract, which he set by George's side.

"And why are you so fond of me, Jacky? It isn't on account of my saving
your life, for you had forgotten that. What makes you such a friend to
me?"

"I tell you. Often I go to tell you before, but many words dat a good
deal trouble. One--when you make thunder the bird always die. One--you
take a sheep so and hold him up high. Um never see one more white fellow
able do dat. One--you make a stone go and hit thing; other white fellow
never hit. One--little horse come to you; other white fellow go to
horse--horse run away. Little horse run to you, dat because you so good.
One--Carlo fond of you. All day now he come in and go out, and say so
(imitating a dog's whimper). He so uncomfortable because you lie down
so. One--when you speak to Jacky you not speak big like white fellow,
you speak small and like a fiddle--dat please Jacky's ear.

"One--when you look at Jacky always your face make like a hot day when
dere no rain--dat please Jacky's eye; and so when Jacky see you stand up
one day a good deal high and now lie down--dat makes him uncomfortable;
and when he see you red one day and white dis day--dat make him
uncomfortable a good deal; and when he see you so beautiful one day and
dis day so ugly--dat make him so uncomfortable, he afraid you go away
and speak no more good words to Jacky--and dat make Jacky feel a thing
inside here (touching his breast), no more can breathe--and want to do
like the gin, but don't know how. Oh, dear! don't know how!"

"Poor Jacky! I do wish I had been kinder to you than I have. Oh, I am
very short of wind, and my back is very bad!"

"When black fellow bad in um back he always die," said Jacky very
gravely.

"Ay," said George quietly. "Jacky, will you do one or two little things
for me now?"

"Yes, do um all."

"Give me that little book that I may read it. Thank you. Jacky, this
is the book of my religion; and it was given to me by one I love better
than all the world. I have disobeyed her--I have thought too little of
what is in this book and too much of this world's gain. God forgive me!
and I think He will, because it was for Susan's sake I was so greedy of
gain."

Jacky looked on awestruck as George read the book of his religion. "Open
the door, Jacky."

Jacky opened the door; then coming to George's side, he said with an
anxious, inquiring look and trembling voice, "Are you going to leave me,
George?"

"Yes, Jacky, my boy," said George, "I doubt I am going to leave you. So
now thank you and bless you for all kindness. Put your face close down
to mine-there--I don't care for your black skin--He who made mine made
yours; and I feel we are brothers, and you have been one to me. Good-by,
dear, and don't stay here. You can do nothing more for your poor friend
George."

Jacky gave a little moan. "Yes, um can do a little more before he go and
hide him face where there are a good deal of trees."

Then Jacky went almost on tiptoe, and fetched another calabash full
of water and placed it by George's head. Then he went very softly and
fetched the heavy iron which he had seen George use in penning sheep,
and laid it by George's side; next he went softly and brought George's
gun, and laid it gently by George's side down on the ground.

This done he turned to take his last look of the sick man now feebly
dozing, the little book in his drooping hand. But as he gazed nature
rushed over the poor savage's heart and took it quite by surprise. Even
while bending over his white brother to look his last farewell, with a
sudden start he turned his back on him, and sinking on his hams he burst
out crying and sobbing with a wild and terrible violence.



CHAPTER XLI.

FOR near an hour Jacky sat upon the ground, his face averted from his
sick friend, and cried; then suddenly he rose, and without looking at
him went out at the door, and turning his face toward the great forests
that lay forty miles distant eastward, he ran all the night, and long
before dawn was hid in the pathless woods.

A white man feels that grief, when not selfish, is honorable, and
unconsciously he nurses such grief more or less; but to simple-minded
Jacky grief was merely a subtle pain, and to be got rid of as quickly as
possible, like any other pain.

He ran to the vast and distant woods, hoping to leave George's death a
long way behind him, and so not see what caused his pain so plain as
he saw it just now. It is to be observed that he looked upon George as
dead. The taking into his hand of the book of his religion, the kind
embrace, the request that the door might be opened, doubtless for the
disembodied spirit to pass out, all these rites were understood by Jacky
to imply that the last scene was at hand. Why witness it? it would make
him still more uncomfortable. Therefore he ran, and never once looked
back, and plunged into the impenetrable gloom of the eastern forests.

The white man had left Fielding to get a richer master. The
half-reasoning savage left him to cure his own grief at losing him.
There he lay abandoned in trouble and sickness by all his kind. But one
friend never stirred; a single-hearted, single-minded, non-reasoning
friend.

Who was this pure-minded friend? A dog.

Carlo loved George. They had lived together, they had sported together,
they had slept together side by side on the cold, hard deck of the
_Phoenix_, and often they had kept each other warm, sitting crouched
together behind a little bank or a fallen tree, with the wind whistling
and the rain shooting by their ears.

When day after day George came not out of the house, Carlo was very
uneasy. He used to patter in and out all day, and whimper pitifully,
and often he sat in the room where George lay and looked toward him and
whined. But now when his master was left quite alone his distress and
anxiety redoubled; he never went ten yards away from George. He ran in
and out moaning and whining, and at last he sat outside the door and
lifted up his voice and howled day and night continually. His meaner
instincts lay neglected; he ate nothing; his heart was bigger than his
belly; he would not leave his friend even to feed himself. And still day
and night without cease his passionate cry went up to heaven.

What passed in that single heart none can tell for certain but his
Creator; nor what was uttered in that deplorable cry; love, sorrow,
perplexity, dismay--all these perhaps, and something of prayer--for
still he lifted his sorrowful face toward heaven as he cried out in
sore perplexity, distress, and fear for his poor master--oh! o-o-o-h!
o-o-o-o-h! o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-h!

So we must leave awhile poor, honest, unlucky George, sick of a fever,
ten miles from the nearest hut.

Leather-heart has gone from him to be a rich man's hireling.

Shallow-heart has fled to the forest, and is hunting kangaroos with all
the inches of his soul.

Single-heart sits fasting from all but grief before the door, and utters
heartrending, lamentable cries to earth and heaven.



CHAPTER XLII.

---- JAIL is still a grim and castellated mountain of masonry, but a
human heart beats and a human brain throbs inside it now.

Enter without fear of seeing children kill themselves, and bearded men
faint like women, or weep like children--horrible sights.

The prisoners no longer crouch and cower past the officers, nor the
officers look at them and speak to them as if they were dogs, as they do
in most of these places, and used to here.

Open this cell. A woman rises with a smile! why a smile? Because for
months an open door has generally let in what is always a great boon
to a separate prisoner--a human creature with a civil word. We remember
when an open door meant "way for a ruffian and a fool to trample upon
the solitary and sorrowful!"

What is this smiling personage doing? as I live she is watchmaking! A
woman watchmaking, with neat and taper fingers, and a glass at her eye
sometimes, but not always, for in vision as well as in sense of touch
and patience nature has been bounteous to her. She is one of four.
Eight, besides these four, were tried and found incapable of excellence
in this difficult craft. They were put to other things; for permanent
failures are not permitted in ---- Jail. The theory is that every home
can turn some sort of labor to profit.

Difficulties occur often. Impossibilities will bar the way now and then;
but there are so few real impossibilities. When a difficulty arises,
the three hundred industrious arts and crafts are freely ransacked for
a prisoner; ay!--ransacked as few rich men would be bothered to sift the
seven or eight liberal professions in order to fit a beloved son.

Here, as in the world, the average of talent is low. The majority can
only learn easy things, and vulgar things, and some can do higher
things and a few can do beautiful things, and one or two have developed
first-rate gifts and powers.

There are 25 shoemakers (male); 12 tailors, of whom 6 female; 24
weavers, of whom 10 female; 4 watchmakers, all female; 6 printers and
composers, 5 female; 4 engrainers of wood, 2 female. (In this art we
have the first artist in Britain, our old acquaintance, Thomas Robinson.
He has passed all his competitors by a simple process. Beautiful
specimens of all the woods have been placed and kept before him, and for
a month he has been forced to imitate nature with his eye never off
her. His competitors in the world imitate nature from memory, from
convention, or from tradition. By such processes truth and beauty are
lost at each step down the ladder of routine. Mr. Eden gave clever Tom
at first starting the right end of the stick, instead of letting him
take the wrong.) Nine joiners and carpenters, 3 female; 3 who color
prints downright well, 1 female; 2 painters, 1 female; 3 pupils
shorthand writing, 1 female.

[Fancy these attending the Old Bailey and taking it all down solemn as
judges.]

Workers in gutta-percha, modelers in clay, washers and getters-up of
linen, hoe-makers, spade-makers, rake-makers, woodcarvers, stonecutters,
bakers, etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum. Come to the hard-labor yard.
Do you see those fifteen stables? there lurk in vain the rusty cranks;
condemned first as liars they fell soon after into disrepute as weapons
of half-science to degrade minds and bodies. They lurk there grim as
the used-up giants in "Pilgrim's Progress," and like them can't catch a
soul.

Hark to the music of the shuttle and the useful loom. We weave linen,
cotton, woolen, linsey-woolsey, and, not to be behind the rogues
outside, cottonsey-woolsey and cottonsey-silksey; damask we weave, and a
little silk and poplin, and Mary Baker velvet itself for a treat now and
then. We of the loom relieve the county of all expense in keeping us,
and enrich a fund for taking care of discharged industrious prisoners
until such time as they can soften prejudices and obtain lucrative
employment. The old plan was to kick a prisoner out and say:

"There, dog! go without a rap among those who will look on you as a dog
and make you starve or steal. We have taught you no labor but crank, and
as there are no cranks in the outside world, the world not being such
an idiot as we are, you must fill your belly by means of the only other
thing you have ever been taught--theft."

Now the officers take leave of a discharged prisoner in English.
Farewell; good-by!--a contraction for God be wi' ye--etc. It used to be
in French, Sans adieu! au revoir! and the like.

Having passed the merry, useful looms open this cell. A she-thief looks
up with an eye six times as mellow as when we were here last. She is
busy gilding. See with what an adroit and delicate touch the jade slips
the long square knife under the gossamer gold-leaf which she has blown
gently out of the book--and turns it over; and now she breathes gently
and vertically on the exact center of it, and the fragile yet rebellious
leaf that has rolled itself up like a hedgehog is flattened by that
human zephyr on the little leathern easel. Now she cuts it in three with
vertical blade; now she takes her long flat brush and applies it to her
own hair once or twice; strange to say the camel-hair takes from this
contact a soupcon of some very slight and delicate animal oil, which
enables the brush to take up the gold-leaf, and the artist lays a square
of gold in its place on the plaster bull she is gilding. Said bull was
cast in the prison by another female prisoner who at this moment is
preparing a green artificial meadow for the animal to stand in. These
two girls had failed at the watchmaking. They had sight and the fine
sensation of touch required, but they lacked the caution, patience
and judgment so severe an art demanded; so their talents were directed
elsewhere. This one is a first-rate gilder, she mistressed it entirely
in three days.

The last thing they did in this way was an elephant. Cost of casting
him, reckoning labor and the percentage he ought to pay to the mold, was
1s. 4d. Plaster, chrome, water-size and oil-size, 3d.; goldleaf, 3s.;
1 foot of German velvet, 4d.; thread, needles and wear of tools, 1d.;
total, 5s.

Said gold elephant standing on a purple cushion was subjected to a
severe test of his value. He was sent to a low auction room in London.
There he fell to the trade at 18s. This was a "knock-out" transaction;
twelve buyers had agreed not to bid against one another in the auction
room, a conspiracy illegal but customary. The same afternoon these
twelve held one of their little private unlawful auctions over him; here
the bidding was like drops of blood oozing from flints, but at least
it was bona-fide, and he rose to 25s. The seven shillings premium was
divided among the eleven sharpers. Sharper No. 12 carried him home and
sold him the very next day for 37s. to a lady who lived in Belgravia,
but shopped in filthy alleys, misled perhaps by the phrase "dirt cheap."

Mr. Eden conceived him, two detected ones made him at a cost of 5s.,
twelve undetected ones caught him first for 18s., and now he stands in
Belgravia, and the fair ejaculate over him, "What a duck!"

The aggregate of labor to make and gild this elephant was not quite one
woman's work (12 hours). Taking 18s. as the true value of the work, for
in this world the workman has commonly to sell his production under
the above disadvantages, forced sale and the conspiracies of the
unimprisoned--we have still 13s. for a day's work by a woman.

From the bull greater things are expected. The cast is from the bull of
the Vatican, a bull true to Nature, and Nature adorned the very meadows
when she produced the bull. What a magnificent animal is a bull! what
a dewlap! what a front! what clean pasterns! what fearless eyes! what a
deep diapason is his voice! of which beholding this his true and massive
effigy in ---- Jail we are reminded. When he stands muscular, majestic,
sonorous, gold, in his meadow pied with daisies, it shall not be "sweet"
and "love" and "duck"--words of beauty but no earthly signification; it
shall be, "There, I forgive Europa."

And need I say there were more aimed at in all this than pecuniary
profit. Mr. Eden held that the love of production is the natural
specific antidote to the love of stealing. He kindled in his prisoners
the love of producing, of what some by an abuse of language call
"creating." And the producers rose in the scale of human beings. Their
faces showed it--the untamed look melted away--the white of the eye
showed less, and the pupil and iris more, and better quality.

Gold-leaf when first laid on adheres in visible squares with uncouth
edges, a ragged affair; then the gilder takes a camelhair brush and
under its light and rapid touch the work changes as under a diviner's
rod, so rapidly and majestically come beauty and finish over it. Perhaps
no other art has so delicious a one minute as this is to the gilder. The
first work our prisoner gilded she screamed with delight several times
at this crisis. She begged to have the work left in her cell one day at
least. "It lights up the cell and lights up my heart."

"Of course it does," said Mr. Eden. "Aha! what, there are greater
pleasures in the world than sinning, are there?"

"That there are. I never was so pleased in my life. May I have it a few
minutes?"

"My child, you shall have it till its place is taken by others like
it. Keep it before your eyes, feed on it, and ask yourself which is
the best, to work and add something useful or beautiful to the world's
material wealth, or to steal; to be a little benefactor to your kind and
yourself, or a little vermin preying on the industrious. Which is best?"

"I'll never take while I can make."

This is, of course, but a single specimen out of scores. To follow Mr.
Eden from cell to cell, from mind to mind, from sex to sex, would take
volumes and volumes. I only profess to reveal fragments of such a man.
He never hoped from the mere separate cell the wonders that dreamers
hope. It was essential to the reform of prisoners that moral contagion
should be checkmated, and the cell was the mode adopted, because it is
the laziest, cheapest, selfishest and cruelest way of doing this. That
no discretion was allowed him to let the converted or the well-disposed
mix and sympathize, and compare notes, and confirm each other in good
under a watchful officer's eye; this he thought a frightful blunder of
the system.

Generally he held the good effect of separate confinement to be merely
negative; he laughed to scorn the chimera that solitude is an active
agent, capable of converting a rogue. Shut a rogue from rogues and let
honest men in upon him--the honest men get a good chance to convert
him, but if they do succeed it was not solitude that converted him but
healing contact. The moments that most good comes to him are the moments
his solitude is broken.

He used to say solitude will cow a rogue and suspend his overt acts
of theft by force, and so make him to a non-reflector seem no longer
a thief; but the notion of the cell effecting permanent cures might
honestly be worded thus: "I am a lazy self-deceiver, and want to do by
machinery and without personal fatigue what St. Paul could only do by
working with all his heart, with all his time, with all his wit, with
all his soul, with all his strength and with all himself." Or thus:
"Confine the leopards in separate cages, Jock; _the cages_ will take
their spots out while ye're sleeping."

Generally this was Mr. Eden's theory of the cell--a check to further
contamination, but no more. He even saw in the cell much positive ill
which he set himself to qualify.

"Separate confinement breeds monstrous egotism," said he, "and egotism
hardens the heart. You can't make any man good if you never let him say
a kind word or do an unselfish action to a fellow-creature. Man is an
acting animal. His real moral character all lies in his actions, and
none of it in his dreams or cogitations. Moral stagnation or cessation
of all bad acts and of all good acts is a state on the borders of every
vice and a million miles from virtue."

His reverence attacked the petrifaction and egotism of the separate
cell as far as the shallow system of this prison let him. First, he
encouraged prisoners to write their lives for the use of the prison;
these were weeded, if necessary (the editor was strong-minded and did
not weed out the re-poppies); printed and circulated in the jail. The
writer's number was printed at the foot if he pleased, but never his
name. Biography begot a world of sympathy in the prison. Second, he
talked to one prisoner acquainted with another prisoner's character,
talked about No. 80 to No. 60, and would sometimes say: "Now could you
give No. 60 any good advice on this point?"

Then if 80's advice was good he would carry it to 60, and 60 would think
all the more of it that it came from one of his fellows.

Then in matters of art he would carry the difficulties of a beginner
or a bungler to a proficient, and the latter would help the former. The
pleasure of being kind on one side, a touch of gratitude on the other,
seeds of interest and sympathy in both. Then such as had produced pretty
things were encouraged to lend them to other cells to adorn them and
stimulate the occupants.

For instance, No. 140, who gilded the bull, was reminded that No. 120,
who had cast him, had never had the pleasure of setting him on her table
in her gloomy cell and so raising its look from dungeon to workshop.
Then No. 140 said, "Poor No. 120! that is not fair; she shall have him
half the day or more if you like, sir."

Thus a grain of self-denial, justice and charity was often drawn into
the heart of a cell through the very keyhole.

No. 19, Robinson, did many a little friendly office for other figures,
received their thanks, and, above all, obliging these figures warmed and
softened his own heart.

You might hear such dialogues as this:

No. 24. "And how is poor old No. 50 to-day (Strutt)?"

Mr. Eden. "Much the same."

No. 24. "Do you think you will bring him round, sir?"

Mr. Eden. "I have great hopes; he is much improved since he had the
garden and the violin."

No. 24. "Will you give him my compliments, sir? No. 24's compliments and
tell him I bid him 'never say die'?"

Mr. Eden. "Well, ----, how are you this morning?"

"I am a little better, sir. This room (the infirmary) is so sweet and
airy, and they give me precious nice things to eat and drink."

"Are the nurses kind to you?"

"That, they are, sir, kinder than I deserve."

"I have a message for you from No. -- on your corridor."

"No! have you, sir?"

"He sends his best wishes for your recovery."

"Now that is very good of him."

"And he would be very glad to hear from yourself how you feel."

"Well, sir, you tell him I am a trifle better, and God bless him for
troubling his head about me."

In short, his reverence reversed the Hawes system. Under that a prisoner
was divested of humanity and became a number and when he fell sick the
sentiment created was, "The figure written on the floor of that cell
looks faint." When he died or was murdered, "There is such and such a
figure rubbed off our slate."

Mr. Eden made these figures signify flesh and blood, even to those who
never saw their human faces. When he had softened a prisoner's heart
then he laid the deeper truths of Christianity to that heart. They would
not adhere to ice or stone or brass. He knew that till he had taught a
man to love his brother whom he had seen he could never make him love
God whom he has not seen. To vary the metaphor, his plan was, first warm
and soften your wax then begin to shape it after Heaven's pattern.
The old-fashioned way is freeze, petrify and mold your wax by a single
process. Not that he was mawkish. No man rebuked sin more terribly than
he often rebuked it in many of these cells; and when he did so see what
he gained by the personal kindness that preceded these terrible rebukes!
The rogue said: "What! is it so bad that his reverence, who I know has
a regard for me, rebukes me for it like this?--why, it must be bad
indeed!"

A loving friend's rebuke is a rebuke--sinks into the heart and
convinces the judgment; an enemy's or stranger's rebuke is invective and
irritates--not converts. The great vice of the new prisons is general
self-deception varied by downright calculating hypocrisy. A shallow
zealot like Mr. Lepel is sure to drive the prisoners into one or other
of these. It was Mr. Eden's struggle to keep them out of it. He froze
cant in the bud. Puritanical burglars tried Scriptural phrases on him as
a matter of course, but they soon found it was the very worse lay they
could get upon in ---- Jail. The notion that a man can jump from
the depths of vice up to the climax of righteous habits,
spiritual-mindedness, at one leap, shocked his sense and terrified him
for the daring dogs that profess these saltatory powers and the geese
that believe it. He said to such: "Let me see you crawl heavenward
first, then walk heavenward; it will be time enough to soar when you
have lived soberly, honestly, piously a year or two--not here, where
you are tied hands, feet and tongue, but free among the world's
temptations." He had no blind confidence in learned-by-heart texts.
"Many a scoundrel has a good memory," said he.

Here he was quite opposed to his friend Lepel. This gentleman attributed
a sort of physical virtue to Holy Writ poured anyhow into a human
vessel. His plan of making a thief honest will appear incredible to a
more enlightened age; yet it is widely accepted now and its advocates
call Mr. Eden a dreamer. It was this: He came into a cell cold and stern
and set the rogues a lot of texts. Those that learned a great many he
called good prisoners, and those that learned few--black sheep; and the
prisoners soon found out that their life, bitter as it was, would be
bitterer if they did not look sharp and learn a good many texts. So they
learned lots--and the slyest scoundrels learned the most. "Why not?"
said they, "in these cursed holes we have nothing better to do; and it
is the only way to get the parson's good word, and that is always worth
having in jail."

One rogue on getting out explained his knowledge of five hundred texts
thus: "What did it hurt me learning texts? I'd just as lieve be learning
texts as turning a crank, and as soon be d--d as either."

This fellow had been one of Mr. Lepel's sucking saints--a show prisoner.
The Bible and brute force--how odd they sound together! Yet such was
the Lepel system, humbug apart. Put a thief in a press between an Old
Testament and a New Testament. Turn the screw, crush the texts in, and
the rogue's vices out! Conversion made easy! What a wonder he opposes
cunning cloaked with religion to brutality cloaked under religion.
Ay, brutality, and laziness, and selfishness, all these are the true
foundation of that system. Selfishness--for such a man won't do anything
he does not like. No! "Why should I make myself 'all things to all men'
to save a soul? I will save them this one way or none--this is my way
and they shall all come to it," says the reverend Procrustes, forgetting
that if the heart is not won in vain is the will crushed; or perhaps not
caring so that he gets his own way.

To work on Mr. Eden's plan is a herculean effort day by day repeated;
but to set texts is easy, easier even than to learn them--and how easy
that is appears from the multitude of incurable felons who have
swapped texts for tickets-of-leave. Messieurs Lepel, who teach solitary
depressed sinners the Bible with screw and lifted lash and no love
nor pity, a word in your ear. Begin a step higher. Go first to some
charitable priest and at his feet learn that Bible yourselves!

Forgive my heat, dear reader. I am not an Eden, and these fellows rile
me when I think of the good they might do, and they do nothing but force
hypocrisy upon men who were bad enough without that. I allow a certain
latitude; don't want to swim in hot water by quarreling with every
madman or every dunce, but I do doubt any man's right to combine
contradictory vices. Now these worthies are stupid yet wild,
thick-headed yet delirious--tortoises and March hares.

My sketch of Mr. Eden and his ways is feeble and unworthy. But I
conclude it with one master-stroke of eulogy--He was the opposite of
these men.



CHAPTER XLIII.

WE left Thomas Robinson writing his life. He has written it. It has been
printed by prisoners and circulated among prisoners. One copy lay in
Robinson's cell till he left the prison, and to this copy were appended
Mr. Eden's remarks in MS.

This autobiography is a self-drawn portrait of a true Bohemian and his
mind from boyhood up to the date when he fell into my hands.

Unfortunately we cannot afford so late in our story to make any
retrograde step. The "Autobiography of a Thief" must therefore be thrust
into my Appendix or printed elsewhere.

The reader has seen Robinson turned into a fiend by cruelty and turned
back to a man by humanity.

On this followed many sacred, softening, improving lessons, and as he
loved Mr. Eden his heart was open to them.

Most prisoners are very sensible of genuine kindness, and docile as wax
in the hands of those who show it. They are the easiest class in the
world to impress. The difficulty is to make the impression permanent.
But the people who pretend to you that kindness does not greatly affect,
persuade and help convince them HAVE NEVER TRIED ANYTHING BUT BRUTALITY,
and never will; for nothing greater, wiser or better is in them.

I will now indicate the other phases through which his mind passed in
---- Jail.

Being shown that his crimes were virtually the cause of Mary's hapless
life and untimely death, and hard pressed by his father confessor, he
fell into religious despondency; believed his case desperate, and his
sins too many for Heaven's mercy.

Of all states of mind this was the one Mr. Eden most dreaded. He had
observed that the notion that they cannot be reconciled to God and man
is the cause of prisoners' recklessness, and one great means by which
jail officers and society, England A.D. 185--, confirm them in ill.

He soothed and cheered the poor fellow with many a hopeful message from
the gospel of mercy and soon drew him out of the Slough of Despond; but
he drew him out with so eager an arm that up went this impressionable
personage from despond to the fifth heaven. He was penitent, forgiven,
justified, sanctified, all in three weeks. Moreover, he now fell into
a certain foul habit. Of course Scripture formed a portion of his daily
reading and discourse with the chaplain. Robinson had a memory that
seized and kept everything like a vise, so now a text occurred to
him for every occasion, and he interwove them with all his talk. Your
shallow observers would have said, "What a hypocrite!"

Not a hypocrite, oh Criticaster, but a chameleon! who had been months
out of the atmosphere of vice and in an atmosphere of religion.

His reverence broke him of this nasty habit of chattering Bible, and
generally cooled him down. Finally he became sober, penitent for his
past life, and firmly resolved to lead a better. With this began to
mingle ambition to rise very high in the world, and a violent impatience
to begin.

Through all these phases ran one excellent and saving thing, a
genuine attachment to his good friend the chaplain. The attachment was
reciprocal, and there was something touching in the friendship of two
men so different in mind and worldly station. But they had suffered
together. And indeed a much more depraved prisoner than Robinson would
have loved such a benefactor and brother as Eden; and many a scoundrel
in this place did love him as well as he could love anything; and as to
the other, the clew to him is simple. While the vulgar self-deceiving
moralist loathes the detected criminal, and never (whatever he may
think) really rises to abhorrence of crime, the saint makes two steps
upward toward the mind of Heaven itself, abhors crime, and loves,
pities, and will not despair of the criminal.

But besides this Robinson was an engaging fellow, full of thought and
full of facts, and the Rev. Francis Tender-Conscience often spent an
extra five minutes in his cell and then reproached himself for letting
the more interesting personage rob other depressed and thirsty souls of
those drops of dew.

One day Mr. Eden, who had just entered the cell, said to Robinson, "Give
me your hand. It is as I feared, your nerves are going."

"Are they?" said Robinson ruefully.

"Do you not observe that you are becoming tremulous?"

"I notice that when my door is opened suddenly it makes me shake a
little and twitches come in my thigh."

"I feared as much. It is not every man that can bear separate
confinement for twelve months. You cannot."

"I shall have to, whether I can or not."

"Will you?"

Three days after this Mr. Eden came into his cell and said with a sad
smile, "I have good news for you; you are going to leave me.

"Oh, your reverence! is that good news?"

"Those who have the disposal of you are beginning to see that all
punishment (except hanging) is for the welfare of the culprit, and must
never be allowed to injure him. Strutt left the prison for my house a
fortnight ago, and you are to cross the water next week."

"Oh, your reverence! Heaven forgive me for feeling glad."

"For being human, eh, my poor fellow?"

In the course of this conversation Mr. Eden frankly regretted that
Robinson was going so soon. "Four months more prison would have made
you safer, and I would have kept you here till the last minute of your
sentence for the good of your soul," said he grimly; "but your body and
nerves might have suffered," added he tenderly; "we must do all for the
best."

A light burst on Robinson. "Why, your reverence," cried he, "is it for
fear? Why you don't ever think that I shall turn rogue again after I get
out of prison?"

"You are going among a thousand temptations."

"What! do you really think all your kindness has been wasted on me? Why,
sir, if a thousand pounds lay there I would not stretch out my hand to
take one that did not belong to me. How ungrateful you must think me,
and what a fool into the bargain after all my experience!"

"Ungrateful you are not, but you are naturally a fool--a weak, flexible
fool. A man with a tenth of your gifts would lead you by the nose into
temptation. But I warn you if you fall now conscience will prick you
as it never yet has; you will be miserable, and yet though miserable
perhaps will never rise again, for remorse is not penitence."

Robinson was so hurt at this want of confidence that he said nothing
in reply, and then Mr. Eden felt sorry he had said so much, "for, after
all," thought he, "these are mere misgivings; by uttering them I only
pain him. I can't make him share them. Let me think what I can do."

That very day he wrote to Susan Merton. The letter contained the
following: "Thomas Robinson goes to Australia next week. He will get a
ticket-of-leave almost immediately on landing. I am in great anxiety; he
is full of good resolves, but his nature is unstable, yet I should not
fear to trust him anywhere if I could but choose his associates. In
this difficulty I have thought of George Fielding. You know I can read
characters, and though you never summed George up to me, his sayings and
doings reveal him to me. He is a man in whom honesty is engrained. Poor
Robinson with such a companion would be as honest as the day, and a
useful friend, for he is full of resources. Then, dear friend, will you
do a Christian act and come to our aid. I want you to write a note to
Mr. Fielding and let this poor fellow take it to him. Armed with this
my convert will not be shy of approaching the honest man, and the exile
will not hate me for this trick--will he? I send you inclosed the poor
clever fool's life written by himself and printed by my girls. Read it
and tell me are we wrong in making every effort to save such a man?"
etc.

By return of post came a reply from Susan Merton, full of pity for
Robinson and affectionate zeal to co-operate in any way with her friend.
Inclosed was a letter addressed to George Fielding, the envelope not
closed. Mr. Eden slipped in a banknote and a very small envelope and
closed it, placed it in a larger envelope, sealed that and copied the
first address on its cover.

He now gave Robinson more of his time than ever and seemed to cling to
him with almost a motherly apprehension. Robinson noticed it and felt
it very, very much, and his joy at getting out of prison oozed away more
and more as the day drew near.

That day came at last. Robinson was taken by Evans to the chaplain's
room to bid him farewell. He found him walking about the room in deep
thought. "Robinson, when you are thousands of miles from me bear this in
mind, that if you fall again you will break my heart."

"I know it, sir; I know it; for you would say, 'If I could not save him
who can I hope to?'"

"You would not like to break my heart--to discourage your friend and
brother in the good work, the difficult work?"

"I would rather die; if it is to be so I pray Heaven to strike me dead
in this room while I am fit to die!"

"Don't say that; live to repair your crimes and to make me prouder of
you than a mother of her first-born." He paused and walked the room in
silence. Presently he stopped in front of Robinson. "You have often said
you owed me something."

"My life and my soul's salvation," was the instant reply.

"I ask a return; square the account with me."

"That I can never do."

"You can! I will take two favors in return for all you say I have done
for you. No idle words--but yes or no upon your honor. Will you grant
them or won't you?"

"I will, upon my honor."

"One is that you will pray very often, not only morning and evening, but
at sunset, at that dangerous hour to you when evil association begins;
at that hour honest men retire out of sight and rogues come abroad like
vermin and wild beasts; but most of all at any hour of the day or night
a temptation comes near you, at that moment pray! Don't wait to see how
strong the temptation is, and whether you can't conquer it without help
from above. At the sight of an enemy put on heavenly armor--pray! No
need to kneel or to go apart. Two words secretly cast heavenward, 'Lord,
help me,' are prayer. Will you so pray?"

"Yes!"

"Then give me your hand; here is a plain gold ring to recall this sacred
promise; put it on, wear it, and look at it, and never lose it or forget
your promise."

"Them that take it must cut my hand off with it."

"Enough, it is a promise. My second request is that the moment you are
free you will go and stay with an honest man."

"I ask no better, sir, if he will have me."

"George Fielding; he has a farm near Bathurst."

"George Fielding, sir? He affronted me when I was in trouble. It was no
more than I deserved. I forgive him; but you don't know the lad, sir. He
would not speak to me; he would not look at me. He would turn his back
on me if we ran against one another in a wilderness."

"Here is a talisman that will insure you a welcome from him--a letter
from the woman he loves. Come, yes or no?"

"I will, sir, for your sake, not for theirs. Sir, do pray give me
something harder to do for you than these two things!"

"No, I won't overweight you--nor encumber your memory with
pledges--these two and no more. And here we part. See what it is to sin
against society. I, whom your conversation has so interested, to whom
your company is so agreeable--in one word, I, who love you, can find no
kinder word to say to you to-day than this--let me never see your face
again--let me never hear your name in this world!"

His voice trembled as he said these words--and he wrung Robinson's hand,
and Robinson groaned and turned away.

"So now I can do no more for you--I must leave the rest to God." And
with these words, for the second time in their acquaintance, the good
soul kneeled down and prayed aloud for this man. And this time he prayed
at length with ardor and tenderness unspeakable. He prayed as for a
brother on the brink of a precipice. He wrestled with Heaven; and ere he
concluded he heard a subdued sound near him, and it was poor Robinson,
who, touched and penetrated by such angelic love, and awestruck to hear
a good man pour out his very soul at the mercy-seat of Heaven, had
crept timidly to his side and knelt there, bearing his mute part in this
fervent supplication.

As Mr. Eden rose from his knees Evans knocked gently at the door. He
had been waiting some minutes, but had heard the voice of prayer and
reverently forbore to interrupt it. At his knock the priest and the
thief started. The priest suddenly held out both his hands; the thief
bowed his head and kissed them many times, and on this they parted
hastily with swelling hearts and not another word--except the thousands
that their moist eyes exchanged in one single look--the last.



CHAPTER XLIV

THE ship was to sail in a week, and meantime Robinson was in the hulks
at Portsmouth. Now the hulks are a disgrace to Europe, and a most
incongruous appendage to a system that professes to cure by separate
confinement. One or two of the worst convicts made the usual overtures
of evil companionship to Robinson. These were coldly declined; and it
was a good sign that Robinson, being permitted by the regulations to
write one letter, did not write to any of his old pals in London or
elsewhere, but to Mr. Eden. He told him that he regretted his quiet cell
where his ears were never invaded with blasphemy and indecency, things
he never took pleasure in even at his worst--and missed his reverence's
talk sadly. He concluded by asking for some good books by way of
antidote.

He received no answer while at Portsmouth, but the vessel having sailed
and lying two days off Plymouth, his name was called just before she
weighed again and a thick letter handed to him. He opened it eagerly and
two things fell on deck--a sovereign and a tract. The sovereign rolled
off and made for the sea. Robinson darted after it and saved it from the
deep and the surrounding rogues. Then he read a letter which was also in
the inclosure. It was short. In it Mr. Eden told him he had sent him the
last tract printed in the prison. "It is called 'The Wages of Sin are
Death.' It is not the same one you made into cards; that being out of
print and the author dead I have been tempted by that good, true title
to write another. I think you will value it none the less for being
written by me and printed by our brothers and sisters in this place. I
inclose one pound that you may not be tempted for want of a shilling."

Robinson looked round for the tract; it was not to be seen; nobody had
seen it. N. B. It had been through a dozen light-fingered hands already
and was now being laughed at and blasphemed over by two filthy ruffians
behind a barrel on the lower deck. Robinson was first in a fury and
then, when he found it was really stolen from him, he was very much cut
up. "I wish I had lifted it and let the money roll." However, thought
he, "if I keep quiet I shall hear of it."

He did hear of it, but he never saw it; for one of these hardened
creatures that had got hold of it had a spite against Robinson for
refusing his proffered amity, and the malicious dog, after keeping it
several hours, hearing Robinson threaten to inform against whoever had
taken it, made himself safe and gratified his spite by flinging it into
the Channel.

This, too, came in due course to Robinson's ears. He moralized on it. "I
made the first into the devil's books," said he, "and now a child of the
devil has robbed me of the second. I shan't get a third chance. I would
give my sovereign and more to see what his reverence says about 'The
wages of sin are death.' The very title is a sermon. I pray Heaven the
dirty hand that robbed me of it may rot off at the--no! I forgot. Bless
and curse not!"

And now Robinson was confined for five months in a wooden prison with
the scum of our jails. No cell to take refuge in from evil society. And
in that wretched five months this perpetual contact with criminals, many
of them all but incurable, took the gloss off him. His good resolutions
were unshaken, but his repugnance to evil associates became gradually
worn away.

At last they landed at Sydney. They were employed for about a fortnight
in some government works, a mile from the town; and at the end of that
time he was picked out by a gentleman who wanted a servant.

Robinson's work was to call him not too early, to clean his boots, go on
errands into the town, and be always in the way till five o'clock. From
that hour until about two in the morning Mr. Miles devoted to amusement,
returning with his latch key, and often rousing the night owl and his
servant with a bacchanalian or Anacreontic melody. In short, Mr. Miles
was a loose fish; a bachelor who had recently inherited the fortune of
an old screw his uncle, and was spending thrift in all the traditional
modes. Horses, dogs, women, cards, etc.

He was a good-natured creature, and one morning as he brought him up
his hot water and his soda-water Robinson ventured on a friendly
remonstrance.

Mr. Miles flung canting rogue and half a dozen oaths and one boot at his
head, and was preparing to add a tumbler, when his mentor whipped into
the lobby. Robinson could not have fallen to a worse master than this,
whose irregularities were so regular that his servant had always seven
hours to spend in the town as he pleased. There he was often solicited
to join in depredations on property. For he found half his old
acquaintances were collected by the magic of the law on this spot of
earth.

Robinson took a particular pride in telling these gentlemen that he had
no objection to taking a friendly glass with them and talking over old
times, but that as for taking what did not belong to him all that was
over forever. In short, he improved on Mr. Eden's instructions. Instead
of flying from temptation, like a coward conscious of weakness, he nobly
faced it and walked cool, collected and safe on the edge of danger.

One good result of this was that he spent his wages every month faster
than he got them, and spent the clothes his master gave him, and these
were worth more than his wages, for Mr. Miles was going the pace--wore
nothing after the gloss was off it. But Robinson had never lived out of
prison at less than five hundred per annum, and the evening is a good
time in the day for spending money in a town, and his evenings were all
his own.

One evening a young tradeswoman with whom he was flirting in the
character of a merchant's clerk, tremendously busy, who could only get
out in the evening; this young woman, whom he had often solicited to go
to the theater, consented.

"I could go with you to-morrow, my sister and I," said she.

Robinson expressed his delight, but consulting his pockets found he
had not the means of paying for their seats, and he could not pawn
any clothes, for he had but two sets. One (yellowish) that government
compelled him to wear by daylight, and one a present from his master
(black). That, together with a mustache, admitted him into the bosom
of society at night. What was to be done? Propose to the ladies to
pay, that was quite without precedent. Ask his master for an advance,
impossible. His master was gone kangaroo hunting for three days. Borrow
some of his master's clothes and pawn them, that was too like theft. He
would pawn his ring, it would only be for a day or two, and he would not
spend a farthing more till he had got it back.

He pawned Mr. Eden's ring; it just paid for their places at the theater,
where they saw the living puppets of the colony mop and mow and rant
under the title of acting. This was so interesting that Robinson was
thinking of his ring the whole time, and how to get it back. The girls
agreed between themselves they had never enjoyed so dull a cavalier.

The next day a line from Mr. Miles to say that he should not be back for
a week. No hope of funds from him. So Robinson pawned his black coat and
got back his ring; and as the trousers and waistcoat were no use now, he
pawned them for pocket-money, which soon dissolved.

Mr. Robinson now was out of spirits.

"Service is not the thing for me. I am of an active turn--I want to go
into business that will occupy me all day long--business that
requires some head. Even his reverence, the first man in the country,
acknowledged my talents--and what is the vent for them here? The
blacking-bottle."



CHAPTER XLV.

IN a low public outside the town--in a back room--with their arms on
the table and their low foreheads nearly touching, sat whispering
two men--types. One had the deep-sunk, colorless eyes, the protruding
cheek-bones, the shapeless mouth, and the broad chin good in itself but
bad in the above connection; the other had the vulpine chin, and the
fiendish eyebrows descending on the very nose in two sharp arches. Both
had the restless eye, both the short-cropped hair, society's comment,
congruous and auxiliary, though in itself faint by the side of habit's
seal and Nature's.

A small north window dimly lighted the gloomy, uncouth cabin, and
revealed the sole furniture--four chairs, too heavy to lift, too thick
to break, and a table discolored with the stains of a thousand filthy
debauches and dotted here and there with the fresh ashes of pipes and
cigars.

In this appropriate frame behold two felons putting their heads
together. By each felon's side smoked in a glass hot with heat and
hotter with alcohol, the enemy of man. It would be difficult to give
their dialogue, for they spoke in thieves' Latin. The substance was
this: They had scent of a booty in a house that stood by itself three
miles out of the town. But the servants were incorruptible, and they
could not get access to inspect the premises, which were intricate. Now
your professional burglar will no more venture upon unexplored premises
than a good seaman will run into an unknown channel without pilot,
soundings or chart. It appeared from the dialogue that the two men were
acquainted with a party who knew these premises, having been more than
once inside them with his master.

The more rugged one objected to this party. "He is no use, he has
turned soft. I have heard him refuse a dozen good plants the last month.
Besides, I don't want a canting son of a gun for my pal--ten to one if
he don't turn tail and perhaps split."

N. B.--All this not in English, but in thieve's cant, with an oath or a
nasty expression at every third word. The sentences measled with them.

"You don't know how to take him," replied he of the Mephistopheles
eye-brow. "He won't refuse me."

"Why not?"

"He is an old pal of mine, and I never found the thing I could not
persuade him to. He does not know how to say me nay--you may bully him
and queer him till all is blue, and he won't budge, and that is the lay
you have been upon with him. Now I shall pull a long face--make up a
story--take him by his soft bit--tell him I can't get on without him,
and patter old lang syne to him. Then we'll get a fiddle and lots of
whisky; and when we have had a reel and he has shaken his foot on the
floor and drank a gill or two, you will see him thaw, and then you leave
him to me and don't put in your jaw to spoil it. If we get him it will
be all right--he is No. 1; his little finger has seen more than both our
carcasses put together."



CHAPTER XLVI.

FOUR days after this, mephistopheles with a small m and brutus with
a little b sat again in the filthy little cabin where men hatch
burglaries--but this time the conference wore an air of expectant
triumph.

"Didn't I tell you?"

"You didn't do it easy."

"No, I had almost to go on my knees to him."

"He isn't worth so much trouble."

"He is worth it ten times over. Look at this," and the speaker produced
a plan of the premises they were plotting against. "Could you have done
this?"

"I don't say I could."

"Could any man you know have done it? See here is every room and every
door and window and passage put down, and what sort of keys and bolts
and fastenings to each."

"How came he to know so much; he never was in the house but twice."

"A top-sawyer like him looks at everything with an eye to business. If
he was in a church he'd twig the candlesticks and the fastenings, while
the rest were mooning into the parson's face--he can't help it."

"Well, he may be a top-sawyer, but I don't like him. See how loth he
was, and, when he did agree, how he turned to and drank as if he would
drown his pluck before it could come to anything."

"Wait till you see him work. He will shake all that nonsense to blazes
when he finds himself out under the moon with the swag on one side and
the gallows on the other."

To go back a little. Mr. Miles did not return at the appointed day; and
Robinson, who had no work to do, and could not amuse himself without
money, pawned Mr. Eden's ring. He felt ashamed and sorrowful, but not so
much so as the first time.

This evening, as he was strolling moodily through the suburbs, a voice
hailed him in tones of the utmost cordiality. He looked up and there was
an old pal, with whom he had been associated in many a merry bout and
pleasant felony; he had not seen the man for two years; a friendly glass
was offered and accepted. Two girls were of the party, to oblige whom
Robinson's old acquaintance sent for Blind Bill, the fiddler, and soon
Robinson was dancing and shouting with the girls like mad--"High cut,"
"side cut," "heel and toe," "sailor's fling," and the double shuffle.

He did not leave till three in the morning, and after a promise to meet
the same little party again next evening--to dance and drink and drive
away dull care.



CHAPTER XLVII.

ON a certain evening some days later, the two men whose faces
were definitions sat on a bench outside that little public in the
suburbs--one at the end of a clay-pipe, the other behind a pewter mug.
It was dusk.

"He ought to be here soon," said the one into whose forehead holes
seemed dug and little bits of some vitreous substance left at the
bottom. "Well, mate," cried he harshly, "what do you want that you stick
to us so tight?" This was addressed to a peddler who had been standing
opposite showing the contents of his box with a silent eloquence. Now
this very asperity made the portable shopman say to himself, "wants
me out of the way--perhaps buy me out." So he stuck where he was, and
exhibited his wares.

"We don't want your gim-cracks," said mephistopheles quietly.

The man eyed his customers and did not despair. "But, gents," said he,
"I have got other things besides gim-cracks; something that will suit
you if you can read."

"Of course we can read," replied sunken-eyes haughtily; and in fact they
had been too often in jail to escape this accomplishment.

The peddler looked furtively in every direction; and after this
precaution pressed a spring and brought a small drawer out from the
bottom of his pack. The two rogues winked at one another. Out of the
drawer the peddler whipped a sealed packet.

"What is it?" asked mephistopheles, beginning to take an interest.

"Just imported from England," said the peddler, a certain pomp mingling
with his furtive and mysterious manner.

"---- England," was the other's patriotic reply.

"And translated from the French."

"That is better! but what is it?"

"Them that buy it--they will see!"

"Something flash?"

"Rather, I should say."

"Is there plenty about the women in it?"

The trader answered obliquely.

"What are we obliged to keep it dark for?"--the other put in, "Why of
course there is."

"Well!" said sunken-eyes affecting carelessness. "What do you want for
it? Got sixpence, Bill?"

"I sold the last to a gentleman for three-and-sixpence. But as this is
the last I've got--say half a crown."

Sunken-eyes swore at the peddler.

"What! half a crown for a book no thicker than a quire of paper?"

"Only half a crown for a thing I could be put in prison for selling. Is
not my risk to be paid as well as my leaves?"

This logic went home, and after a little higgling two shillings was
offered and accepted, but in the very act of commerce the trader seemed
to have a misgiving.

"I daren't do it unless you promise faithfully never to tell you had
it of me. I have got a character to lose, and I would not have
it known--not for the world, that James Walker had sold such
loose--licentious--"

"Oh! what it is very spicy, is it? Come, hand it over. There's the two
bob."

"My poverty and not my will consents," sighed the trader.

"There, you be off, or we shall have all the brats coming round us."

The peddler complied and moved off, and so willing was he to oblige his
customers that on turning the corner he shouldered his pack and ran with
great agility down the street, till he gained a network of small alleys
in which he wriggled and left no trace.

Meantime sunken-eyes had put his tongue to the envelope and drawn out
the contents. "I'll go into the light and see what it is all about."

mephistopheles left alone had hardly given his pipe two sucks ere brutus
returned black with rage and spouting oaths like a whale.

"Why, what is the matter?"

"Matter! Didn't he sell this to me for a flash story?"

"Why he didn't say so. But certainly he dropped a word about loose
books."

"Of course he did."

"Well! and ain't they?"

"Ain't they!" cried the other with fury. "Here, you young shaver, bring
the candle out here. Ain't they? No they ain't----and----and----the ----
----. Look here!"

mephisto. "'Mend your Ways,' a tract."

brutus. "I'll break his head instead."

mephisto. "'Narrative of Mr. James the Missionary.'"

brutus. "The cheating, undermining rip."

mephisto. "And here is another to the same tune."

brutus. "Didn't I tell you so. The hypocritical, humbugging rascal--"

mephisto. "Stop a bit. Here is a little one: 'Memoirs of a Gentleman's
Housekeeper.'"

brutus. "Oh! is there? I did not see that."

mephisto. "You are so hasty. The case mayn't be so black as it looks.
The others might be thrown in to make up the parcel. Hold the candle
nearer.

brutus. "Ay! let us see about the housekeeper."

The two men read "The Housekeeper" eagerly, but as they read the
momentary excitement of hope died out of their faces. Not a sparkle of
the ore they sought; all was dross. "The Housekeeper" was one of those
who make pickles, not eat them--and in a linen apron a yard wide save
their master's money from the fangs of cook and footman, not help him
scatter it in a satin gown.

There was not even a stray hint or an indelicate expression for the poor
fellow's two shillings. The fraud, was complete. It was not like the
ground coffee, pepper and mustard in a London shop--in which there is
as often as not a pinch of real coffee, mustard and pepper to a pound of
chicory and bullock's blood, of red lead, dirt, flour and turmeric. Here
the do was pure.

Then brutus relieved his swelling heart by a string of observations
partly rhetorical, partly zoological. He devoted to horrible plagues
every square inch of the peddler, enumerating more particularly those
interior organs that subserve vitality, and concluded by vowing solemnly
to put a knife into him the first fair opportunity. "I'll teach the
rogue to--" Sell you medicine for poison, eh?

mephistopheles, either because he was a more philosophic spirit or was
not the one out of pocket, took the blow more coolly. "It is a bite
and no mistake. But what of it? Our money," said he, with a touch of
sadness, "goes as it comes. This is only two bob flung in the dirt. We
should not have invested them in the Three per Cents; and to-night's
swag will make it up."

He then got a fresh wafer and sealed the pamphlets up again. "There,"
said he, you keep dark and sell the first flat you come across the same
way the varmint sold you.

brutus, sickened at heart by the peddler's iniquity, revived at the
prospect of selling some fellow-creature as he had been sold. He put the
paper-trap in his pocket; and, cheated of obscenity, consoled himself
with brandy such as Bacchus would not own, but Beelzebub would brew for
man if permitted to keep an earthly distillery.

Presently they were joined by the third man, and for two hours the three
heads might all have been covered by one bushel-basket, and peddler
Walker's heartless fraud was forgotten in business of a higher order.

At last mephistopheles gave brutus a signal, and they rose to interrupt
the potations of the newcomer, who was pouring down fire and hot water
in rather a reckless way.

"We won't all go together," said mephistopheles. "You two meet me at
Jonathan's ken in an hour."

As brutus and the newcomer walked along an idea came to brutus. "Here
is a fellow that passes for a sharp. What if I sell him my pamphlets and
get a laugh at his expense. Mate," said he, "here is a flash book all
sealed up. What will you give me for it?"

"Well! I don't much care for that sort of reading, old fellow."

"But this is cheap. I got it a bargain. Come--a shilling won't hurt you
for it. See there is more than one under the cover."

Now the other had been drinking till he was in that state in which a
good-natured fellow's mind if decomposed would be found to be all "Yes,"
and "Dine with me to-morrow," so he fell into the trap.

"I'll give it you, my boy," said he. "Let us see it? There are more than
one inside it. You're an honest fellow. Owe you a shilling." And the
sealed parcel went into his pocket. Then, seeing brutus look rather
rueful at this way of doing business, he hiccoughed out, "Stop your bob
out of the swag"--and chuckled.



CHAPTER XLVIII.

A SNOW-WHITE suburban villa standing alone with its satellites that
occupied five times as much space as itself; coach-house, stable,
offices, greenhouse clinging to it like dew to a lily, and hot-house
farther in the rear. A wall of considerable height inclosed the whole.
It booked as secure and peaceful as innocent in the fleeting light the
young moon cast on it every time the passing clouds left her clear a
moment. Yet at this calm thoughtful hour crime was waiting to invade
this pretty little place.

Under the scullery-window lurked brutus and mephistopheles--faces
blackened, tools in hand--ready to whip out a pane of said window and so
penetrate the kitchen, and from the kitchen the pantry, where they made
sure of a few spoons, and up the back stairs to the plate-chest. They
would be in the house even now but a circumstance delayed them--a light
was burning on the second floor. Now it was contrary to their creed to
enter a house where a light was burning, above all, if there was the
least chance of that light being in a sitting-room. Now they had been
some hours watching the house and that light had been there all the
time, therefore, argued mephistopheles, "It is not a farthing glim in
a bedroom or we should have seen it lighted. It is some one up. We must
wait till they roost."

They waited and waited and waited. Still the light burned. They cursed
the light. No wonder. Light seems the natural enemy of evil deeds.

They began to get bitter, and their bodies cold. Even burglary becomes a
bore when you have to wait too long idle out in the cold.

At last, at about half past two, the light went out. Then, keenly
listening, the two sons of darkness heard a movement in the house,
and more than one door open and shut, and then the sound of feet going
rapidly down the road toward Sydney.

"Why! it is a party only just broke up. Lucky I would not work till the
glim was out."

"But I say, Bill--he is at that corner--the nobs must have passed close
to him--suppose they saw him."

"He is not so green as let them see him."

The next question was how long they should wait to let the inmates close
their peepers. All had been still and dark more than half an hour when
the pair began to work, mephisto took out a large piece of putty and
dabbed it on the middle of the pane; this putty he worked in the center
up to a pyramid; this he held with his left hand, while with his right
be took out his glazier's diamond and cut the pane all round the edges.
By the hold the putty gave him, he prevented the pane from falling
inside the house and making a noise, and finally whipped it out clean
and handed it to brutus. A moment more the two men were in the scullery,
thence into the kitchen through a door which they found open; in the
kitchen were two doors--trying one they found it open into a larder.
Here casting the light of his dark lantern round, brutus discovered
some cold fowl and a ham; they took these into the kitchen, and somewhat
coolly took out their knives and ate a hasty but hearty supper. Their
way of hacking the ham was as lawless as all the rest. They then took
off their shoes and dropped them outside the scullery window, and now
the serious part of the game began. Creeping like cats, they reached the
pantry, and sure enough found more than a dozen silver spoons and forks
of different sizes that had been recently used. These they put into a
small bag, and mephisto went back through the scullery into the
back garden and hid these spoons in a bush. "Then, if we should be
interrupted, we can come back for them."

And now the game became more serious and more nervous--the pair drew
their clasp knives and placed them in their bosoms ready in case of
extremity; then creeping like cats, one foot at a time and then a pause,
ascended the back stairs, at the top of which was a door. But this door
was not fastened, and in another moment they passed through it and were
on the first landing. The plan, correct in every particular, indicated
the plate closet to their right. A gleam from the lantern showed it; the
key-hole was old-fashioned as also described, and in a moment brutus had
it open. Then mephisto whipped out a green baize bag with compartments,
and in a minute these adroit hands had stowed away cups, tureens,
baskets, soup-spoons, etc., to the value of three hundred pounds, and
scarce a chink heard during the whole operation. It was done; a look
passed as much as to say this is enough, and they crept back silent and
cat-like as they had come, brutus leading with the bag. Now just as
he had his hand on the door through which they had come up--snick!
click!--a door was locked somewhere down below.

brutus looked round and put the bag gently down. "Where?" he whispered.

"Near the kitchen," was the reply scarce audible. "Sounded to me to come
from the hall," whispered the other.

Both men changed color, but retained their presence of mind and their
cunning. brutus stepped back to the plate-closet, put the bag in it, and
closed it, but without locking it. "Stay there," whispered he, "and if
I whistle--run out the back way empty-handed. If I mew--out with the
bag and come out by the front door; nothing but inside bolts to it, plan
says."

They listened a moment, there was no fresh sound. Then brutus slipped
down the front stairs in no time; he found the front door not bolted; he
did not quite understand that, and drawing a short bludgeon, he opened
it very cautiously; the caution was not superfluous. Two gentlemen made
a dash at him from the outside the moment the door was open; one of
their heads cracked like a broken bottle under the blow the ready
ruffian struck him with his bludgeon, and he dropped like a shot; but
another was coming flying across the lawn with a drawn cutlass, and
brutus, finding himself overmatched, gave one loud whistle and flew
across the hall, making for the kitchen. Flew he never so fast mephisto
was there an instant before him. As for the gentleman at the door he
was encumbered with his hurt companion, who fell across his knees as
he rushed at the burglar. brutus got a start of some seconds and dashed
furiously into the kitchen and flew to the only door between them and
the scullery-window.

THE DOOR WAS LOCKED.

The burglar's eyes gleamed in their deep caverns, "Back, Will--and cut
through them," he cried--and out flashed his long bright knife.



CHAPTER XLIX.

WHILE the two burglars were near the scullery-window watching the light
in the upper story a third man stood sentinel on the opposite side of
the house; he was but a few yards from the public road, yet hundreds
would have passed and no man seen him; for he had placed himself in
a thick shadow flat against the garden-wall. His office was to signal
danger from his side should any come. Now the light that kept his
comrades inactive was not on his side of the house; he waited therefore
expecting every moment their signal that the job was done. On this the
cue was to slip quietly off and all make by different paths for the low
public-house described above and there divide the swag.

The man waited and waited and waited for this signal; it never came;
we know why. Then he became impatient--miserable; he was out of
his element--wanted to be doing something. At last all this was an
intolerable bore. Not feeling warm toward the job, he had given the
active business to his comrades, which he now regretted for two reasons.
First, he was kept here stagnant and bored; and second, they must be a
pair of bunglers; he'd have robbed a parish in less time. He would light
a cigar. Tobacco blunts all ills, even ennui. Putting his hand in his
pocket for a cigar, it ran against a hard, square substance. What is
this?--oh! the book mephisto had sold him. No, he would not smoke, he
would see what the book was all about; he knelt down and took off his
hat, and put his dark-lantern inside it before he ventured to move the
slide; then undid the paper, and putting it into the hat, threw the
concentrated rays on the contents and peered in to examine them. Now the
various little pamphlets had been displaced by mephisto, and the first
words that met the thief's eye in large letters on the back of a tract
were these, "THE WAGES OF SIN ARE DEATH."

Thomas Robinson looked at these words with a stupid gaze. At first he
did not realize all that lay in them. He did not open the tract; he
gazed benumbed at the words, and they glared at him like the eyes of
green fire when we come in the dark on some tiger-cat crouching in his
lair.

Oh that I were a painter and could make you see what cannot be
described--the features of this strange incident that sounds so small
and was so great! The black night, the hat, the renegade peering
under it in the wall's deep shadows to read something trashy, and the
half-open lantern shooting its little strip of intense fire, and the
grim words springing out in a moment from the dark face of night and
dazzling the renegade's eyes and chilling his heart:

                  "THE WAGES OF SIN ARE DEATH."

To his stupor now succeeded surprise and awe. "How comes this?" he
whispered aloud, "was this a trick of ----'s? No! he doesn't know--This
is the devil's own doing--no! it is not--more likely it is--The third
time!--I'll read it. My hands shake so I can hardly hold it. It is by
him--yes--signed F. E. Heaven, have mercy on me!--This is more than
natural."

He read it, shaking all over as he read.

The tract was simply written. It began with a story of instances, some
of them drawn from the histories of prisoners, and it ended with an
earnest exhortation and a terrible warning. When the renegade came
to this part, his heart beat violently; for along with the earnest,
straightforward, unmincing words of sacred fire there seemed to rise
from the paper the eloquent voice, the eye rich with love, the face
of inexhaustible intelligence and sympathy that had so often shone on
Robinson, while just words such as these issued from those golden lips.

He read on, but not to the end; for as he read he came to one paragraph
that made him fancy that Mr. Eden was by his very side. "You, into whose
hands these words of truth shall fall, and find you intending to do some
foolish or wicked thing to-morrow, or the next day, or to-day, or this
very hour--stop!--do not that sin! on your soul do it not!--fall on
your knees and repent the sin you have meditated; better repent the base
design than suffer for the sin, as suffer you shall so surely as the sky
is pure, so surely as God is holy and sin's wages are death."

At these words, as if the priest's hand had been stretched across the
earth and sea and laid on the thief's head, he fell down upon his knees
with his back toward the scene of burglary and his face toward England,
crying out, "I will, your reverence. I am!--Lord, help me!" cried he,
then first remembering how he had been told to pray in temptation's
hour. The next moment he started to his feet, he dashed his lantern to
the ground, and leaped over a gate that stood in his way, and fled down
the road to Sydney.

He ran full half a mile before he stopped; his mind was in a whirl.
Another reflection stopped him. He was a sentinel, and had betrayed his
post; suppose his pals were to get into trouble through reckoning on
him; was it fair to desert them without warning? What if he were to
go back and give the whistle of alarm, pretend he had seen some one
watching, and so prevent the meditated crime, as well as be guiltless
of it himself; but then, thought he, "and suppose I do go back what will
become of me?"

While he hesitated, the question was decided for him. As he looked back
irresolute, his keen eye noticed a shadow moving along the hedge-side to
his left.

"Why, they are coming away," was his first thought. But looking keenly
down the other edge which was darker still he saw another noiseless
moving shadow. "Why are they on different sides of the road and both
keeping in the shadow?" thought this shrewd spirit, and he liked it so
ill that he turned at once and ran off toward Sydney.

At this out came the two figures with a bound into the middle of the
road, and, with a loud view-halloo, raced after him like the wind.

Robinson, as he started and before he knew the speed of his pursuers,
ventured to run sidewise a moment to see who or what they were. He
caught a glimpse of white waistcoats and glittering studs, and guessed
the rest.

He had a start of not more than twenty yards, but he was a good runner,
and it was in his favor that his pursuers had come up at a certain
speed, while he started fresh after a rest. He squared his shoulders,
opened his mouth wide for a long race, and ran as men run for their
lives.

In the silent night Robinson's highlows might have been heard half a
mile off clattering along the hard road. Pit pit pit pat! came two pair
of dress-boots after him. Robinson heard the sound with a thrill of
fear: "They in their pumps and I in boots," thought he, and his pursuers
heard the hunted one groan, and redoubled their efforts as dogs when the
stag begins to sob.

He had scarce run a hundred yards with his ears laid back like a hare's,
when he could not help thinking the horrible pit pit pit got nearer; he
listened with agonized keenness as he ran, and so fine did his danger
make his ear that he could tell the exact position of his pursuers. A
cold sweat crept over him as he felt they had both gained ten yards out
of the twenty on him; then he distinctly felt one pursuer gain upon the
other, and this one's pit pit pit crept nearer and nearer, an inch every
three or four yards; the other held his own--no more--no less.

At last so near crept No. 1 that Robinson felt his hot breath at his
ear. He clinched his teeth and gave a desperate spurt, and put four or
five yards between them; he could have measured the ground gained by the
pit pit pat. But the pursuer put on a spurt, and reduced the distance by
half.

"I may as well give in," thought the hunted one--but at that moment came
a gleam of hope; this pursuer began suddenly to pant very loud. He had
clinched his teeth to gain the twenty yards; he had gained them but had
lost his wind. Robinson heard this, and feared him no longer, and in
fact after one or two more puffs came one despairing snort, and No. 1
pulled up dead short, thoroughly blown.

As No. 2 passed him, he just panted out

"Won't catch him."

"Won't I!" ejaculated No 2, expelling the words rather than uttering
them.

Klopetee klop, klopetee klop, klopetee, klopetee, klopetee klop.

Pit pat, pit pat, pit pat pat, pit pit pat. Ten yards apart, no more no
less.

          Nor nearer might the dog attain,
          Nor farther might the quarry strain.

"They have done me between them," thought poor Robinson. "I could have
run from either singly, but one blows me, and then the other runs me
down. I can get out of it by fighting perhaps, but then there will be
another crime."

Robinson now began to pant audibly, and finding he could not shake the
hunter off, he with some reluctance prepared another game.

He began to exaggerate his symptoms of distress, and imperceptibly
to relax his pace. On this the pursuer came up hand over head. He was
scarce four yards behind when Robinson suddenly turned and threw himself
on one knee, with both hands out like a cat's claws. The man ran on full
tilt; in fact, he could not have stopped. Robinson caught his nearest
ankle with both hands and rose with him and lifted him, aided by his own
impulse, high into the air and sent his heels up perpendicular. The man
described a parabola in the air, and came down on the very top of his
head with frightful force; and as he lay, his head buried in his hat and
his heels kicking, Robinson without a moment lost jumped over his body,
and klopetee klop rang fainter and fainter down the road alone.

The plucky pursuer wrenched his head with infinite difficulty out of his
hat, which sat on his shoulders with his nose pointing through a
chasm from crown to brim, shook himself, and ran wildly a few yards in
pursuit--but finding he had in his confusion run away from Robinson as
well as Robinson from him, and hopeless of recovering the ground now
lost, he gave a rueful sort of laugh, made the best of it, put his hands
in his pockets and strolled back to meet No. 1.

Meantime, Robinson, fearful of being pursued on horseback, relaxed his
speed but little and ran the three miles out into Sydney. He came home
with his flank heating and a glutinous moisture on his lip, and a hunted
look in his eye. He crept into bed, but spent the night thinking, ay,
and praying, too, not sleeping.



CHAPTER L.

THOMAS ROBINSON rose from his sleepless bed an altered man; altered
above all in this that his self-confidence was clean gone. "How little
I knew myself," said he, "and how well his reverence knew me! I am the
weakest fool on earth--he saw that and told me what to do. He provided
help for me--and I, like an ungrateful idiot, never once thought of
obeying him; but from this hour I see myself as I am and as he used to
call me--a clever fool. I can't walk straight without some honest man
to hold by. Well, I'll have one, though I give up everything else in the
world for it."

Then he went to his little box and took out the letter to George
Fielding. He looked at it and reproached himself for forgetting it so
long. "A letter from the poor fellow's sweetheart, too. I ought to have
sent it by the post if I did not take it. But I will take it. I'll ask
Mr. Miles's leave the moment he comes home, and start that very day."
Then he sat down and read the tract again, and as he read it was filled
with shame and contrition.

By one of those freaks of mind which it is so hard to account for, every
good feeling rushed upon him with far greater power than when he was in
---- Prison, and, strange to say, he now loved his reverence more and
took his words deeper to heart than he had done when they were together.
His flesh crept with horror at the thought that he had been a criminal
again, at least in intention, and that but for Heaven's mercy he would
have been taken and punished with frightful severity, and above all
would have wounded his reverence to the heart in return for more than
mortal kindness, goodness and love. And, to do Robinson justice, this
last thought made his heart sicken and his flesh creep more than all the
rest. He was like a man who had fallen asleep on the brink of an unseen
precipice--awoke--and looked down.

The penitent man said his prayers this morning and vowed on his knees
humility and a new life. Henceforth he would know himself; he would
not attempt to guide himself; he would just obey his reverence. And to
begin, whenever a temptation came in sight he would pray against it then
and there and fly from it, and the moment his master returned he
would leave the town and get away to honest George Fielding with his
passport--Susan's letter.

With these prayers and these resolutions a calm complacency stole over
him; he put his reverence's tract and George's letter in his bosom and
came down into the kitchen.

The first person he met was the housemaid, Jenny.

"Oh, here is my lord!" cried she. "Where were you last night?"

Robinson stammered out, "Nowhere in particular. Why?"

"Oh, because the master was asking for you, and you weren't to be found
high or low."

"What, is he come home?"

"Came home last night."

"I'll go and take him his hot water."

"Why, he is not in the house, stupid. He dressed the moment he came home
and went out to a party. He swore properly at your not being in the way
to help him dress."

"What did he say?" asked Robinson, a little uneasy.

The girl's eyes twinkled. "He said, 'How ever am I to lace myself now
that scamp is not in the way?'"

"Come, none of your chaff, Jenny."

"Why you know you do lace him, and pretty tight, too."

"I do nothing of the kind."

"Oh, of course you won't tell on one another. Tell me our head scamp
does not wear stays! A man would not be as broadshouldered as that and
have a waist like a wasp and his back like a board without a little
lacing, and a good deal, too."

"Well, have it your own way, Jenny. Won't you give me a morsel of
breakfast?"

"Well, Tom, I can give you some just for form's sake; but bless you, you
won't able to eat it."

"Why not?"

"Gents that are out all night bring a headache home in the morning in
place of an appetite."

"But I was not out all night. I was at home soon after twelve."

"Really?"

"Really!"

"Tom?"

"Well, Jane!"

"Those that ain't clever enough to hide secrets should trust them to
those that are."

"I don't know what you mean, my lass."

"Oh, nothing; only I sat up till halfpast one in the kitchen, and I
listened till three in my room.

"You took a deal of trouble on my account."

"Oh, it was more curiosity than regard," was the keen reply.

"So I should say."

The girl colored and seemed nettled by this answer. She set demurely
about the work of small vengeance. "Now," said she with great
cordiality, "you tell me what you were doing all night and why you broke
into the house like a--a--hem! instead of coming into it like a man, and
then you'll save me the trouble of finding it out whether you like or
not."

These words chilled Robinson. What! had a spy been watching him--perhaps
for days--and above all a female spy--a thing with a velvet paw, a
noiseless step, an inscrutable countenance, and a microscopic eye.

He hung his head over his cup in silence. Jenny's eye was scanning
him. He felt that without seeing it. He was uneasy under it, but his
self-reproach was greater than his uneasiness.

At this juncture the street door was opened with a latch-key. "Here
comes the head scamp,' said Jenny, with her eye on Robinson. The next
moment a bell was rung sharply. Robinson rose.

"Finish your breakfast," said Jenny, "I'll answer the bell," and out she
went. She returned in about ten minutes with a dressing-gown over her
arm and a pair of curling-irons in her hand. "There," said she, "you
are to go in the parlor, and get up the young buck; curl his nob and
whiskers. I wish it was me, I'd curl his ear the first thing I'd curl."

"What, Jane, did you take the trouble to bring them down for me?"

"They look like it," replied the other tartly, as if she repented the
good office.

Robinson went in to his master. He expected a rebuke for being out of
the way; but no! he found the young gentleman in excellent humor and
high spirits. "Help me off with this coat, Tom."

"Yes, sir."

"Oh! not so rough, confound you. Ah! Ugh!"

"Coat's a little too tight, sir."

"No it isn't--it fits me like a glove but I am stiff and sore. There,
now, get me a shirt."

Robinson came back with the shirt, and aired it close to the fire; and
this being a favorable position for saying what he felt awkward about,
he began:

"Mr. Miles, sir."

"Hallo!"

"I am going to ask you a favor."

"Out with it!"

"You have been a kind master to me."

"I should think I have, too. By Jove, you won't find such another in a
hurry."

"No, sir, I am sure I should not, but there is an opening for me of a
different sort altogether. I have a friend, a squatter, near Bathurst,
and I am to join him if you will be so kind as to let me go."

"What an infernal nuisance!" cried the young gentleman, who was like
most boys, good-natured and selfish. "The moment I get a servant I like
he wants to go to the devil."

"Only to Bathurst, sir," said Robinson deprecatingly, to put him in a
good humor.

"And what am I to do for another?"

At this moment in came Jenny with all the paraphernalia of breakfast.
"Here, Jenny," cried he, "here's Robinson wants to leave us. Stupid
ass!"

Jenny stood transfixed with the tray in her hand. "Since when?" asked
she of her master, but looking at Robinson.

"This moment. The faithful creature greeted my return with that
proposal."

"Well, sir, a servant isn't a slave and suppose he has a reason?"

"Oh! they have always got a reason, such as it is. Wants to go and squat
at Bathurst. Well, Tom, you are a fool for leaving us, but of course we
shan't pay you the compliment of keeping you against your will, shall
we?" looking at Jane.

"What have I to do with it?" replied she, opening her gray eyes. "What
is it to me whether he goes or stays?"

"Come, I like that. Why you are the housemaid and he is the footman,
and those two we know are always"--and the young gentleman eked out his
meaning by whistling a tune.

"Mr. Miles," said Jenny, very gravely, like an elder rebuking a younger,
"you must excuse me, sir, but I advise you not to make so free with
your servants. Servants are encroaching, and they will be sure to take
liberties with you in turn; and," turning suddenly red and angry, "if
you talk like that to me I shall leave the room."

"Well, if you must! you must! but bring the tea-kettle back with you.
That is a duck!"

Jenny could not help laughing, and went for the tea-kettle. On her
return Robinson made signals to her over the master's head, which he had
begun to frizz. At first she looked puzzled, but following the direction
of his eye she saw that her master's right hand was terribly cut and
swollen. "Oh!" cried the girl. "Oh, dear! Oh, dear!"

"Eh?" cried Mr. Miles, "what is the row?"

"Look at your poor hand, sir!"

"Oh, ay! isn't it hideous. Met with an accident. Soon get well."

"No, it won't, not of itself; but I have got a capital lotion for
bruises, and I shall bathe it for you."

Jenny brought in a large basin of warm water and began to foment it
first, touching it so tenderly. "And his hand that was as white as a
lady's," said Jenny pitifully, "po-o-r bo-y!" This kind expression had
no sooner escaped her than she colored and bent her head down over her
work, hoping it might escape notice.

"Young woman," said Mr. Miles with paternal gravity, "servants are
advised not to make too free with their masters; or the beggars will
forget their place and take liberties with you. He! He! He!"

Jenny put his hand quietly down into the water and got up and ran across
the room for the door. Her course was arrested by a howl from the jocose
youth.

"Murder! Take him off, Jenny; kick him; the beggar is curling and
laughing at the same time. Confound you, can't you lay the irons down
when I say a good thing. Ha! Ha! Ha!"

This strange trio chuckled a space. Miles the loudest. "Tom, pour out
my tea; and you, Jenny, if you will come to the scratch again, ha!
ha!--I'll tell you how I came by this."

This promise brought the inquisitive Jenny to the basin directly.

"You know Hazeltine?"

"Yes, sir, a tall gentleman that comes here now and then. That is the
one you are to run a race with on the public course," put in Jenny,
looking up with a scandalized air.

"That is the boy; but how the deuce did you know?"

"Gentlemen to run with all the dirty boys looking on like horses,"
remonstrated the grammatical one, "it is a disgrace."

"So it is--for the one that is beat. Well, I was to meet Hazeltine to
supper out of town. By-the-by, you don't know Tom Yates?"

"Oh," said Jenny, "I have heard of him, too."

"I doubt that; there are a good many of his name."

"The rake, I mean; lives a mile or two out of Sydney.

"So do half a dozen more of them."

"This one is about the biggest gambler and sharper unhung."

"All right! that is my friend! Well, he gave us a thundering
supper--lots of lush."

"What is lush?"

"Tea and coffee and barley-water, my dear. Oh! can't you put the
thundering irons down when I say a good thing? Well, I mustn't be witty
any more, the penalty is too severe."

I need hardly say it was not Mr. Miles's jokes that agitated Robinson
now; on the contrary, in the midst of his curiosity and rising agitation
these jokes seemed ghastly impossibilities.

"Well, at ten o'clock we went upstairs to a snug little room, and all
four sat down to a nice little green table."

"To gamble?"

"No! to whist; but now comes the fun. We had been playing about four
hours, and the room was hot, and Yates was gone for a fresh pack, and
old Hazeltine was gone into the drawing-room to cool himself. Presently
he comes back and he says in a whisper, "Come here, old fellows." We
went with him to the drawing-room, and at first sight we saw nothing,
but presently flash came a light right in our eyes; it seemed to come
from something glittering in the field. And these flashes kept coming
and going. At last we got the governor, and he puzzled over it a little
while. 'I know what it is,' cried he, 'it is my cucumber glass.'"

Jenny looked up. "Glass might glitter," said she, "but I don't see how
it could flash."

"No more did we, and we laughed in the governor's face; for all that
we were wrong. 'There is somebody under that wall with a dark lantern,'
said Tom Yates, 'and every now and then the glass catches the glare and
reflects it this way.' 'Solomon!' cried the rest of us. The fact is,
Jenny, when Tom Yates gets half drunk he develops sagacity more than
human. (Robinson gave a little groan.) Aha," cried Miles, "the beggar
has burned his finger. I'm glad of it. Why should I be the only sufferer
by his thundering irons? 'Here is a lark,' said I, 'we'll nab this
dark lantern--won't we, Hazy?' 'Rather,' said Hazy. 'Wait till I get my
pistols, and I'll give you a cutlass, George,' says Tom Yates. I forget
who George was; but he said he was of noble blood, and I think myself he
was some relation to the King-of-trumps, the whole family came about him
so--mind my hair now. 'Oh, bother your artillery,' said I. 'Thrice is he
armed that hath his quarrel just.' When I'm a little cut you may know
it by my quoting Shakespeare. When I'm sober I don't remember a word of
him--and don't want to."

"No, the _Sporting Magazine_, that is your Bible, sir," suggested Jenny.

"Yes, and let me read it without your commentary--mind my hair now.
Where was I? Oh. Hazeltine and I opened the door softly and whipped out,
but the beggar was too sharp for us. No doubt he heard the door. Anyway,
before we could get through the shrubbery he was off, and we heard him
clattering down the road ever so far off. However we followed quietly on
the grass by the road-side at a fair traveling pace, and by and by what
do you think? Our man had pulled up in the middle of the road and stood
stock still. 'That is a green trick,' thought I. However, before we
could get up to him he saw us or heard us, and off down the road no end
of a pace. 'Tally ho!' cried I. Out came Hazy from the other hedge, and
away we went--'Pug' ahead, 'Growler' and 'Gay-lad' scarce twenty yards
from his brush, and the devil take the hindmost. Well, of course, we
made sure of catching him in about a hundred yards--two such runners as
Hazy and me--"

"And did not you?"

"I'll tell you. At first we certainly gained on him a few yards, but
after that I could not near him. But Hazy put on a tremendous spurt,
and left me behind for all I could do. 'Here is a go,' thought I, 'and I
have backed myself for a hundred pounds in a half-mile race against this
beggar.' Well, I was behind, but Hazy and the fox seemed to me to be
joined together running, when all of a sudden--pouff! Hazy's wind and
his pluck blew out together. He tailed off. Wasn't I pleased! 'Good-by,
Hazy,' says I, as I shot by him and took up the running. Well, I tried
all I knew; but this confounded fellow ran me within half a mile of
Sydney (N. B., within two miles of it). My throat and all my inside was
like an oven, and I was thinking of tailing off, too, when I heard the
beggar puff and blow, so then I knew I must come up with him before
long."

"And did you, sir?" asked Jenny in great excitement.

"Yes," said the other, "I passed him even."

"But did you catch him?"

"Well! why--yes--I caught him--as the Chinese caught the Tartar. This
was one of your downy coves that are up to every move. When he found he
hadn't legs to run from me he slips back to meet me. Down he goes under
my leg--I go blundering over him twenty miles an hour. He lifts me clear
over his head and I come flying down from the clouds heel over tip. I'd
give twenty pounds to know how it was done, and fifty to see it done--to
a friend, All I know is that I should have knocked my own brains out
if it had not been for my hat and my hand--they bore the brunt between
them, as you see."

"And what became of the poor man?" asked Jane.

"Well, when the poor man had flung me over his head he ran on faster
than ever, and by the time I had shaken my knowledge-box and found out
north from south, I heard the poor man's nailed shoes clattering down
the road. To start again a hundred yards behind a poor man who could run
like that would have been making a toil of a trouble, so I trotted back
to meet Hazy.

"Well, I am glad he got off clear--ain't you, Tom?"

"Yes--no. A scoundrel that hashed the master like this--why, Jane, you
must be mad!"

"Spare your virtuous indignation," said the other coolly. "Remember I
had been hunting him like a wild beast till his heart was nearly broke,
and, when I was down, he could easily have revenged himself by giving
me a kick with his heavy shoes on the head or the loins that would have
spoiled my running for a month of Sundays. What do you say to that?"

Robinson colored. "I say you are very good to make excuses for an
unfortunate man--for a rascal--that is to say, a burglar; a--"

"And how do you know he was all that?" asked Jenny very sharply.

"Why did he run if he was not guilty?" inquired Robinson cunningly.

"Guilty--what of?" asked Jenny.

"That is more than I can tell you," replied Robinson.

"I dare say," said Jenny, "it was some peaceable man that took fright at
seeing two wild young gentlemen come out like mad bulls after him."

"When I have told you my story you will be better able to judge."

"What, isn't the story ended?"

"Ended? The cream of it is coming."

"Oh, sir," cried Jenny, "please don't go on till I come back. I am going
for the cold lotion now; I have fomented it enough."

"Well, look sharp, then--here is the other all in a twitter with
excitement."

"Me, sir? No--yes. I am naturally interested."

"Well, you haven't been long. I don't think I want any lotion, the hot
water has done it a good deal of good."

"This will do it more."

"But do you know it is rather a bore to have only one hand to cut bread
and butter with?"

"I'll cut it, sir," said Robinson, laying down his irons for a moment.

"How long shall you be, Jenny?" asked Mr. Miles.

"I shall have done by when your story is done," replied she coolly.

Mr. Miles laughed. "Well, Jenny," said he, "I hadn't walked far before I
met Hazeltine. 'Have you got him?' says he. 'Do I look like it?' said I
rather crustily. Fancy a fool asking me whether I had got him! So I
told him all about it, and we walked back together. By-and-by we met
the other two just outside the gate. Well, just as we were going in Tom
Yates said, 'I say, suppose we look round the premises before we go to
bed.' We went softly round the house and what did we find but a window
with the glass taken out; we poked about and we found a pair of shoes.
'Why, there's some one in the house,' says Tom Yates, 'as I'm a sinner.'
So we held a council of war. Tom was to go into the kitchen, lock the
door leading out, and ambush in the larder with his pistols; and we
three were to go in by the front door and search the house. Well,
Hazeltine and I had got within a yard or two of it and the knave of
trumps in the rear with a sword or something, when, by George! sir, the
door began to open, and out slips a fellow quietly. Long Hazy and I went
at him, Hazy first. Crack he caught Hazy on the head with a bludgeon,
down went daddy-long-legs, and I got entangled in him, and the robber
cut like the wind for the kitchen. 'Come on,' shouted I to the honorable
thingunibob, bother his name--there--the knave of trumps, and I pulled
up Hazy but couldn't wait for him, and after the beggar like mad. Well,
as I came near the kitchen-door I heard a small scrimmage, and back
comes my man flying bludgeon in one hand and knife in the other, both
whirling over his head like a windmill. I kept cool, doubled my right,
and put in a heavy one from the armpit; you know, Tom; caught him just
under the chin, you might have heard his jaw crack a mile off; down goes
my man on his back flat on the bricks, and his bludgeon rattled one way
and his knife the other--such a lark. Oh! oh! oh! what are you doing,
Robinson, you hurt me most confoundedly--I won't tell you any more. So
now he was down, in popped the knave of swords and fell on him, and Hazy
came staggering in after and insulted him a bit and we bagged him."

"And the other, sir," asked Tom, affecting an indifferent tone, "he
didn't get off, I hope?"

"What other?" inquired Jenny.

"The other unfor--the other rascal--the burglar."

"Why he never said there were two."

"Y--yes!--he said they found their shoes."

"No, he said he found a pair of shoes."

"For all that you are wrong, Jenny, and he is right--there were two;
and, what is more, Tom Yates had got the other, threatening to blow out
his brains if he moved, so down he sat on the dresser and took it quite
easy and whistled a tune while we trussed the other beggar with his own
bludgeon and our chokers. Tom Yates says the cool one tumbled down from
upstairs just as we drove our one in. Tom let them try the door before
he bounced out; then my one flung a chair at Tom's head and cut back,
Tom nailed the other and I floored mine. Hurrah!"

Through this whole narrative Robinson had coolly and delicately to
curl live hair with a beating heart, and to curl the very man who was
relating all the time how he had hunted him and caught his comrades.
Meantime a shrewd woman there listening with all her ears, a woman, too,
who had certain vague suspicions about him, and had taken him up rather
sharper than natural, he thought, when, being off his guard for a moment
he anticipated the narrator, and assumed there were two burglars in the
house.

Tom, therefore, though curious and anxious, shut his face and got on his
guard, and it was with an admirable imitation of mere sociable curiosity
that he inquired, "And what did the rascals say for themselves?"

"What could they say?" said Jenny, "they were caught in the fact."

"To do them justice they did not speak of themselves, but they said
three or four words too--very much to the point."

"How interesting it is!" cried Jenny--"what about?"

"Well! it was about your friend."

"My friend?"

"The peaceable gentleman the two young ruffians had chased down the
road."

"Oh! he was one of them," said Jane, "that is plain enough now in
course. What did they say about him?"

"'Sold!' says my one to Tom's. 'And no mistake,' says Tom's. Oh! they
spoke out, took no more notice of us four than if we had no ears. Then
says mine: 'What do you think of _your_ pal now?' and what do you think
Tom's answered, Jenny?--it was rather a curious answer--multum in parvo
as we say at school, and one that makes me fear there is a storm brewing
for our mutual friend, the peaceable gentleman, Jenny--alias the downy
runner."

"Why, what did he say?"

"He said, 'I think--he won't be alive this day week! '"

"The wretches!"

"No! you don't see--they thought he had betrayed them."

"But, of course, you undeceived them," said Robinson.

"No! I didn't. Why, you precious greenhorn, was that our game?"

"Well, sir," cried Robinson cheerfully, "any way it was a good night's
work. The only thing vexes me," added he, with an intense air of
mortification, "is that the worst scoundrel of the lot got clear off;
that is a pity--a downright pity."

"Make your mind easy," replied Mr. Miles calmly, "he won't escape; we
shall have him before the day is out."

"Will you, sir? that is right--but how?"

"The honorable thingumbob, Tom Yates's friend, put us up to it. We sent
the pair down to Sydney in the break and we put Yates's groom (he is
a ticket-of-leave) in with them, and a bottle of brandy, and he is to
condole with them and have a guinea if they let out the third man's
name, and they will--for they are bitter against him."

Robinson sighed. "What is the matter?" said his master, trying to twist
his head round.

"Nothing! only I am afraid they--they won't split; fellows of that sort
don't split on a comrade where they can get no good by it."

"Well, if they don't, still we shall have him. One of us saw his face."

"Ah!"

"It was the honorable--the knave of trumps. While Yates was getting the
arms, Trumps slipped out by the garden gate and caught a glimpse of our
friend; he saw him take the lantern up and fling it down and run. The
light fell full on his face and he could swear to it out of a thousand.
So the net is round our friend and we shall have him before the day is
out."

"Dring-a-dong-dring" (a ring at the bell).

"Have you done, Tom?"

"Just one more turn, sir."

"Then, Jenny, you see who that is?"

Jenny went and returned with an embossed card, "It is a young
gentleman--mustache and lavender gloves; oh, such a buck!"

"Who can it be? the 'Honorable George Lascelles?' why that is the very
man. I remember he said he would do himself the honor to call on me.
That is the knave of trumps; go down directly, Robinson, and tell him
I'm at home and bring him up."

"Yes, sir!"

"Yes, sir! Well, then, why don't you go!"

"Um! perhaps Jenny will go while I clear these things away;" and without
waiting for an answer Robinson hastened to encumber himself with the
tea-tray, and flung the loaf and curling-irons into it, and bustled
about and showed a sudden zeal lest this bachelor's room should appear
in disorder; and as Jenny mounted the front stairs followed by the sprig
of nobility, he plunged heavily laden down the back stairs into the
kitchen and off with his coat and cleaned knives like a mad thing.

"Oh! if I had but a pound in my pocket," thought he, "I would not stay
another hour in Sydney. I'd get my ring and run for Bathurst and never
look behind me. How comfortable and happy I was until I fell back into
the old courses, and now see what a life mine has been ever since! What
a twelve hours! hunted like a wild beast, suspected and watched by my
fellow-servant and forced to hide my thoughts from this one and my face
from that one; but I deserve it and I wish it was ten times as bad. Oh!
you fool--you idiot--you brute--it is not the half of what you deserve.
I ask but one thing of Heaven--that his reverence may never know; don't
let me break that good man's heart; I'd much rather die before the day
is out!"

At this moment Jenny came in. Robinson cleaned the poor knives harder
still and did not speak; his cue was to find out what was passing in the
girl's mind. But she washed her cup and saucer and plates in silence.
Presently the bell rang.

"Tom!" said Jenny quietly.

"Would you mind going, Jenny?"

"Me! it is not my business."

"No, Jenny! but once in a way if you will be so kind."

"Once! why I have been twice to the door for you to-day. You to your
place and I to mine. Shan't go!"

"Look at me with my coat off and covered with brickdust."

"Put your coat on and shake the dust off."

"Oh, Jenny! that is not like you to refuse me such a trifle. I would not
disoblige you so."

"I didn't refuse," said Jenny, making for the door; "I only said 'no'
once or twice--_we_ don't call that refusing;" but as she went out of
the door she turned sharp as if to catch Robinson's face off its guard;
and her gray eye dwelt on him with one of those demure, inexplicable
looks her sex can give all _ab extra_--seeing all, revealing nothing.

She returned with her face on fire. "That is what I get for taking your
place!"

"What is the matter?"

"That impudent young villain wanted to kiss me."

"Oh! is that all?"

"No! it is not all; he said I was the prettiest girl in Sydney" (with an
appearance of rising indignation).

"Well! but, Jenny, that is no news, I could have told him that."

"Then why did you never tell me?"

"I thought by your manner--you knew it."

Having tried to propitiate the foe thus, Robinson lost no more time, but
went upstairs and asked Mr. Miles for the trifle due to him as wages.
Mr. Miles was very sorry, but he had been cleaned out at his friend
Yates's--had not a shilling left and no hopes of any for a fortnight to
come.

"Then, sir," said Robinson doggedly, "I hope you will allow me to go
into the town and try and make a little for myself, just enough to pay
my traveling expenses.

"By all means," was the reply; "tell me if you succeed--and I'll borrow
a sovereign of you."

Out went Robinson into the town of Sydney. He got into a respectable
street, and knocked at a good house with a green door. He introduced
himself to the owner as a first-rate painter and engrainer, and offered
to turn this door into a mahogany, walnut, oak or what-not door. "The
house is beautiful, all but the door," said sly Tom; "it is blistered."

"I am quite content with it as it is," was the reply in a rude,
supercilious tone.

Robinson went away discomfited; he went doggedly down the street begging
them all to have their doors beautified, and wincing at every refusal.
At last he found a shopkeeper who had no objection, but doubted
Robinson's capacity. "Show me what you can do," said he slyly, "and then
I'll talk to you."

"Send for the materials," replied the artist, "and give me a board and
I'll put half a dozen woods on the face of it."

"And pray," said the man, "why should I lay out my money in advertising
you? No! you bring me a specimen, and if it is all right I'll give you
the job."

"That is a bargain," replied Robinson, and went off. "How hard they make
honesty to a poor fellow," muttered he bitterly, "but I'll beat them,"
and he clinched his teeth.

He went to a pawnbroker and pawned the hat off his head--it was a new
one; then for a halfpenny he bought a sheet of brown paper and twisted
it into a workman's cap; he bought the brushes and a little paint and
a little varnish, and then he was without a penny again. He went to a
wheelwright's and begged the loan of a small valueless worm-eaten
board he saw kicking about, telling him what it was for. The wealthy
wheelwright eyed him with scorn. "Should I ever see it again?" asked he
ironically.

"Keep it for your coffin," said Robinson fiercely, and passed on. "How
hard they make honesty to a poor fellow! I was a fool for asking for
it when I might have taken it. What was there to hinder me? Honesty, my
lass, you are bitter."

Presently he came to the suburbs and there was a small wooden cottage.
The owner, a common laborer, was repairing it as well as he could.
Robinson asked him very timidly if he could spare a couple of square
feet off a board he was sawing. "What for?" Robinson showed his paintpot
and brushes, and told him how he was at a stand-still for want of a
board. "It is only a loan of it I ask," said he.

The man measured the plank carefully, and after some hesitation cut off
a good piece. "I can spare that much," said he; "poor folk should feel
for one another."

"I'll bring it back, you may depend," said Robinson.

"You needn't trouble," replied the laboring man with a droll wink, as
much as to say, "Gammon!"

When Robinson returned to the skeptical shopkeeper with a board on which
oak, satin-wood, walnut, etc., were imitated to the life in squares,
that worthy gave a start and betrayed his admiration, and Robinson
asked him five shillings more than he would if the other had been more
considerate. In short, before evening the door was painted a splendid
imitation of walnut-wood, the shopkeeper was enchanted, and Robinson had
fifteen shillings handed over to him. He ran and got Mr. Eden's ring
out of pawn, and kissed it and put it on; next he liberated his hat. He
slept better this night than the last. "One more such day and I shall
have enough to pay my expenses to Bathurst."

He turned, out early and went into the town. He went into the street
where he had worked last evening, and when he came near this door there
was a knot of persons round it. Robinson joined them. Presently one of
the shop-boys cried out, "Why, here he is; this is the painter!"

Instantly three or four hands were laid on Robinson. "Come and paint my
door."

"No, come and paint mine!"

"No, mine!"

Tom had never been in such request since he was an itinerant quack. His
sly eye twinkled, and this artist put himself up to auction then and
there. He was knocked down to a tradesman in the same street--twenty-one
shillings the price of this door (mock mahogany). While he was working
commissions poured in and Robinson's price rose, the demand for
him being greater than the supply. The mahogany door was really a
chef-d'oeuvre. He came home triumphant with thirty shillings in his
pocket, he spread them out on the kitchen table and looked at them with
a pride and a thrill of joy money never gave him before. He had often
closed the shutters and furtively spread out twice as many sovereigns,
but they were only his, these shillings were his own. And they were not
only his own but his own by labor. Each sacred shilling represented so
much virtue; for industry is a virtue. He looked at them with a father's
pride.

     How sweet the butter our own hands have churned!--T. T.

He blessed his reverend friend for having taught him an art in
a dunghole where idiots and savages teach crank. He blessed his
reverence's four bones, his favorite imprecation of the benevolent kind.
I conclude the four bones meant the arms and legs. If so it would have
been more to the point had he blessed the fifth--the skull.

Jenny came in and found him gloating over his virtuous shillings. She
stared. He told her what he had been about these two days past, his
difficulties, his success, the admiration his work excited throughout
the capital (he must exaggerate a little or it would not be Tom
Robinson), and the wealth he was amassing.

Jenny was glad to hear this, very glad, but she scolded him well for
pawning his hat. "Why didn't you ask me?" said she; "I would have lent
you a pound or even two, or given them you for any _honest purpose_."
And Jenny pouted and got up a little quarrel.

The next day a gentleman caught Robinson and made him paint two doors
in his fancy villa. Satin-wood this time; and he received three pounds
three shillings, a good dinner, and what Bohemians all adore--Praise.
Now as he returned in the evening a sudden misgiving came to him. "I
have not thought once of Bathurst to-day. I see--all this money-making
is a contrivance to keep me in Sydney. It is absurd my coining paint at
this rate. I see your game, my lad; either I am to fall into bad company
again, or to be split upon and nabbed for that last job. To-morrow I
will be on the road to Bathurst. I can paint there just as well as here;
besides I have got my orders from his reverence to go, and I'll go."

He told Jane his resolution. She made no answer. While these two were
sitting cozily by the fireside--for since Robinson took to working
hard all day he began to relish the hearth at night--suddenly cheerful,
boisterous voices, and Mr. Miles and two friends burst in and would have
an extempore supper, and nothing else would serve these libertines but
mutton-chops off the gridiron. So they invaded the kitchen. Out ran
Jenny to avoid them--or put on a smarter cap; and Robinson was to cut
the chops and lay a cloth on the dresser and help cook. While his master
went off to the cellar the two rakes who remained chattered and laughed
both pretty loud. They had dined together and the bottle had not stood
still.

"I have heard that voice before," thought Robinson. "It is a very
peculiar voice. Whose voice is that?"

He looked the gentleman full in the face and could hardly suppress a
movement of surprise.

The gentleman by the instinct of the eye caught his, and his attention
was suddenly attracted to Robinson, and from that moment his eye was
never off Robinson, following him everywhere. Robinson affected not to
notice this; the chops were grilling, Jenny came in and bustled about
and pretended not to hear the side-compliments of the libertines.
Presently the young gentleman with the peculiar voice took out his
pocketbook and said, "I have a bet to propose. I'll bet you fifty pounds
I find the man you two hunted down the road on Monday night."

"No takers," replied Mr. Hazeltine with his mouth full.

"Stop a bit. I don't care if I make a time bet," said Miles. "How soon
will you bet you catch him?"

"In half an hour," was the cool reply. And the Honorable George while
making it managed at the same time in a sauntering sort of way to put
himself between Robinson and the door that led out into the garden.
Robinson eyed him in silence and never moved.

"In half a hour. That is a fair bet," said Mr. Miles. "Shall I take
him?"

"Better not; he is a knowing one. He has seen him to earth somewhere or
he would not offer you such a bet."

"Well, I'll bet you five to three," proposed the Honorable George.

"Done!"

"Done!"

Robinson put in a hasty word: "And what is to become of Thimble-rig
Jem, sir?" These words, addressed to Mr. Lascelles, produced a singular
effect. That gentleman gave an immediate shiver, as if a bullet had
passed clean through him and out again, then opened his eyes and looked
first at one door then at the other as if hesitating which he should
go by. Robinson continued, addressing him with marked respect, "What I
mean, sir, is that there is a government reward of two hundred pounds
for Thimble-rig Jem, and the police wouldn't like to be drawn away from
two hundred pounds after a poor fellow like him you saw on Monday night,
one that is only suspected and no reward offered. Now Jem is a notorious
culprit."

"Who is this Jem, my man? What is he?" asked Mr. Lascelles with a
composure that contrasted remarkably with his late emotion.

"A convict escaped from Norfolk Island, sir; an old offender. I fell in
with him once. He has forgotten me I dare say, but I never forget a man.
They say he has grown a mustache and whiskers and passes himself off for
a nob; but I could swear to him."

"How? By what?" cried Mr. Miles.

"If he should ever be fool enough to get in my way--"

"Hang Thimble-rig Jem," cried Hazeltine. "Is it a bet, Lascelles?"

"What?"

"That you nab our one in half an hour?" Mr. Lascelles affected an
aristocratic drawl. "No, I was joking. I couldn't afford to leave the
fire for thirty pounds. Why should I run after the poor dayvil? Find him
yourselves. He never annoyed me. Got a cigar, Miles?"

After their chops, etc., the rakes went off to finish the night
elsewhere.

"There, they are gone at last! Why, Jenny, how pale you look!" said
Robinson, not seeing the color of his own cheek. "What is wrong?" Jenny
answered by sitting down and bursting out crying. Tom sat opposite her
with his eyes on the ground.

"Oh, what I have gone through this day!" cried Jenny. "Oh! oh! oh! oh!"
sobbing convulsively.

What could Tom do but console her? And she found it so agreeable to be
consoled that she prolonged her distress. An impressionable Bohemian on
one side a fireplace, and a sweet, pretty girl crying on the other, what
wonder that two o'clock in the morning found this pair sitting on the
same side of the fire aforesaid--her hand in his?

The next morning at six o'clock Jenny was down to make his breakfast for
him before starting. If she had said, "Don't go," it is to be feared
the temptation would have been too strong, but she did not; she said
sorrowfully, "You are right to leave this town." She never explained.
Tom never heard from her own lips how far her suspicions went. He was
a coward, and seeing how shrewd she was, was afraid to ask her; and
she was one of your natural ladies who can leave a thing unsaid out of
delicacy.

Tom Robinson was what Jenny called "capital company." He had won her
admiration by his conversation, his stories of life, and now and then a
song, and by his good looks and good nature. She disguised her affection
admirably until he was in danger and about to leave her--and then she
betrayed herself. If she was fire he was tow. At last it came to this:
"Don't you cry so, dear girl. I have got a question to put to you--IF I
COME BACK A BETTER MAN THAN I GO, WILL YOU BE MRS. ROBINSON?"

"Yes."



CHAPTER LI.

ROBINSON started for Bathurst. Just before he got clear of the town he
passed the poor man's cottage who had lent him the board. "Bless me, how
came I to forget him?" said he. At that moment the man came out to go
to work. "Here I am," said Robinson, meeting him full, "and here is your
board;" showing it to him painted in squares. "Can't afford to give it
you back--it is my advertisement. But here is half-a-crown for it and
for your trusting me."

"Well, to be sure," cried the man. "Now who'd have thought this? Why, if
the world is not turning honest. But half-a-crown is too much; 'tain't
worth the half of it."

"It was worth five pounds to me. I got employment through it. Look
here," and he showed him several pounds in silver; "all this came from
your board; so take your half-crown and my thanks on the head of it."

The half-crown lay in the man's palm; he looked in Robinson's face.
"Well," cried he with astonishment, "you are the honestest man ever I
fell in with."

"I am the honestest man! You will go to heaven for saying those words
to me," cried Robinson warmly and with agitation. "Good-by, my good,
charitable soul; you deserve ten times what you have got," and Robinson
made off.

The other, as soon as he recovered the shock, shouted after him,
"Good-by, honest man, and good luck wherever you go."

And Robinson heard him scuttle about and hastily convene small boys and
dispatch them down the road to look at an honest man. But the young
wood did not kindle at his enthusiasm. Had the rarity been a bear with a
monkey on him, well and good.

"I'm pretty well paid for a little honesty," thought Robinson. He
stepped gallantly out in high spirits, and thought of Jenny, and fell
in love with her, and saw in her affection yet another inducement to be
honest and industrious. Nothing of note happened on his way to Bathurst,
except that one day as he was tramping along very hot and thirsty a
luscious prickly pear hung over a wall, and many a respectable man would
have taken it without scruple; but Tom was so afraid of beginning again
he turned his back on it and ran on instead of walking to make sure.

When he reached Bathurst his purse was very low, and he had a good many
more miles to go, and not feeling quite sure of his welcome he did
not care to be penniless, so he went round the town with his
advertising-board and very soon was painting doors in Bathurst. He
found the natives stingier here than in Sydney, and they had a notion
a traveler like him ought to work much cheaper than an established man;
but still he put by something every day.

He had been three days in the town when a man stepped up to him as he
finished a job and asked him to go home with him. The man took him to a
small but rather neat shop, plumber's, glazier's and painter's.

"Why, you don't want me," said Robinson; "we are in the same line of
business."

"Step in," said the man. In a few words he let Robinson know that he had
a great bargain to offer him. "I am going to sell the shop," said he.
"It is a business I never much fancied, and I had rather sell it to a
stranger than to a Bathurst man, for the trade have offended me. There
is not a man in the colony can work like you, and you may make a little
fortune here."

Robinson's eyes sparkled a moment, then he replied, "I am too poor to
buy a business. What do you want for it?"

"Only sixty pounds for the articles in the shop and the good will and
all."

"Well, I dare say it is moderate, but how am I to find sixty pounds?"

"I'll make it as light as a feather. Five pounds down. Five pounds in a
month; after that--ten pounds a month till we are clear. Take possession
and sell the goods and work the good-will on payment of the first five."

"That is very liberal," said Robinson. "Well, give me till next Thursday
and I'll bring you the first five."

"Oh, I can't do that; I give you the first offer, but into the market it
goes this evening, and no later."

"I'll call this evening and see if I can do it." Robinson tried to make
up the money, but it was not to be done. Then fell a terrible temptation
upon him. Handling George Fielding's letter with his delicate fingers,
he had satisfied himself there was a bank-note in it. Why not borrow
this bank-note? The shop would soon repay it. The idea rushed over him
like a flood. At the same moment he took fright at it. "Lord, help me!"
he ejaculated.

He rushed to a shop, bought two or three sheets of brown paper and a
lot of wafers. With nimble fingers he put the letter in one parcel, that
parcel in another, that in another, and so on till there were a dozen
envelopes between him and the irregular loan. This done he confided the
grand parcel to his landlord.

"Give it me when I start."

He went no more near the little shop till he had made seven pounds; then
he went. The shop and business had been sold just twenty-four hours.
Robinson groaned. "If I had not been so very honest! Never mind. I must
take the bitter with the sweet."

For all that the town became distasteful to him. He bought a cheap
revolver--for there was a talk of bushrangers in the neighborhood--and
started to walk to George Fielding's farm. He reached it in the evening.

"There is no George Fielding here," was the news. "He left this more
than six months ago."

"Do you know where he is?"

"Not I."

Robinson had to ask everybody he met where George Fielding was gone to.
At last, by good luck, he fell in with George's friend, McLaughlan, who
told him it was twenty-five miles off.

"Twenty-five miles? that must be for to-morrow, then."

McLaughlan told him he knew George Fielding very well. "He is a fine
lad." Then he asked Robinson what was his business. Robinson took down a
very thin light board with ornamented words painted on it.

"That is my business," said he.

At the sight of a real business the worthy Scot offered to take care of
him for the night, and put him on the road to Fielding's next morning.
Next morning Robinson painted his front door as a return for bed and
breakfast. McLaughlan gave him somewhat intricate instructions for
to-morrow's route. Robinson followed them and soon lost his way. He was
set right again, but lost it again; and after a tremendous day's walk
made up his mind he should have to camp in the open air and without his
supper--when he heard a dog baying in the distance. "There is a house
of some kind anyway," thought Robinson, "but where?--I see none--better
make for the dog."

He made straight for the sound, but still he could not see any house. At
last, however, coming over a hill he found a house beneath him, and on
the other side of this house the dog was howling incessantly. Robinson
came down the hill, walked round the house, and there sat the dog on the
steps.

"Well, it is you for howling anyway," said Robinson.

"Anybody at home?" he shouted. No one answered, and the dog howled on.

"Why, the place is deserted, I think. Haven't I seen that dog before?
Why, it is Carlo! Here, Carlo, poor fellow, Carlo, what is the matter?"

The dog gave a little whimper as Robinson stooped and patted him, but no
sign of positive recognition, but he pattered into the house. Robinson
followed him, and there he found the man he had come to see--stretched
on his bed--pale and hollow-eyed and grisly--and looking like a corpse
in the fading light.

Robinson was awestruck. "Oh! what is this?" said he. "Have I come all
this way to bury him?"

He leaned over and felt his heart; it beat feebly but equably, and
he muttered something unintelligible when Robinson touched him. Then
Robinson struck a light, and right glad he was to find a cauldron full
of gelatinized beef soup. He warmed some and ate a great supper, and
Carlo sat and whimpered, and then wagged his tail and plucked up more
and more spirit, and finally recognized Tom all in a moment somehow
and announced the fact by one great disconnected bark and a saltatory
motion. This done he turned to and also ate a voracious supper. Robinson
rolled himself up in George's great-coat and slept like a top on the
floor. Next morning he was waked by a tapping, and there was Carlo
seated bolt upright with his tail beating the floor because George was
sitting up in the bed looking about him in a puzzled way.

"Jacky," said he, "is that you?"

Robinson got up, rubbed his eyes, and came toward the bed. George stared
in his face and rubbed his eyes, too, for he thought he must be under an
ocular delusion. "Who are you?"

"A friend."

"Well! I didn't think to see you under a roof of mine again."

"Just the welcome I expected," thought Robinson bitterly. He answered
coldly: "Well, as soon as you are well you can turn me out of your
house, but I should say you are not strong enough to do it just now."

"No, I am weak enough, but I am better--I could eat something."

"Oh, you could do that! what! even if I cooked it? Here goes, then."

Tom lit the fire and warmed some beef soup. George ate some, but very
little; however he drank a great jugful of water--then dozed and fell
into a fine perspiration. It was a favorable crisis, and from that
moment youth and a sound constitution began to pull him through;
moreover no assassin had been there with his lancet.

Behold the thief turned nurse! The next day as he pottered about
clearing the room, opening or shutting the windows, cooking and serving,
he noticed George's eye following him everywhere with a placid wonder
which at last broke into words:

"You take a deal of trouble about me."

"I do," was the dry answer.

"It is very good of you, but--"

"You would as lieve it was anybody else; but your other friends have
left you to die like a dog," said Robinson sarcastically. "Well, they
left you when you were sick--I'll leave you when you are well."

"What for? Seems to me that you have earned a right to stay as long as
you are minded. The man that stands by me in trouble I won't bid him go
when the sun shines again."

And at this precise point in his sentence, without the least warning,
Mr. Fielding ignited himself--and inquired with fury whether it came
within Robinson's individual experience that George Fielding was of an
ungrateful turn, or whether such was the general voice of fame. "Now,
don't you get in a rage and burst your boiler," said Robinson. "Well,
George--without joking, though--I have been kind to you. Not for nursing
you--what Christian would not do that for his countryman and his old
landlord sick in a desert?--but what would you think of me if I told you
I had come a hundred and sixty miles to bring you a letter? I wouldn't
show it you before, for they say exciting them is bad for fever, but I
think I may venture now; here it is." And Robinson tore off one by one
the twelve envelopes, to George's astonishment and curiosity. "There."

"I don't know the hand," said George. But opening the inclosure he
caught a glance of a hand he did know, and let everything else drop on
the bed, while he held this and gazed at it, and the color flushed into
his white cheek. "Oh!" cried he, and worshipped it in silence again;
then opened it and devoured it. First came some precious words of
affection and encouragement. He kissed the letter. "You are a good
fellow to bring me such a treasure; and I'll never forget it as long as
I live!"

Then he went back to the letter. "There is something about you, Tom!"

"About me?"

"She tells me you never had a father, not to say a father--"

"She says true."

"Susan says that is a great disadvantage to any man, and so it
is--and--poor fellow--"

"What?"

"She says they came between your sweetheart and you--Oh! poor Tom!"

"What?"

"You lost your sweetheart; no wonder you went astray after that. What
would become of me if I lost my Susan? And--ay, you were always better
than me, Susan. She says she and I have never been sore tempted like
you."

"Bless her little heart for making excuses for a poor fellow; but she
was always a charitable, kind-hearted young lady."

"Wasn't she, Tom?"

"And what sweet eyes!"

"Ain't they, Tom? brimful of heaven I call them."

"And when she used to smile on you, Master George, oh! the ivories."

"Now you take my hand this minute. How foolish I am. I can't see--now
you shall read it on to me because you brought it."

"'And you, George, that are as honest a man as ever lived, do keep him
by you a while, and keep him in the right way. He is well-disposed but
weak--do it to oblige me.'"

"Will you stay with me, Tom?" inquired George, cheerful and
business-like. "I am not a lucky man, but while I have a shilling
there's sixpence for the man that brought me this--dew in the desert
I call it. And to think you have seen her since I have; how was she
looking; had she her beautiful color; what did she say to you with her
own mouth?"

Then Robinson had to recall every word Susan had said to him; this done,
George took the inclosure. "Stop, here is something for you: 'George
Fielding is requested to give this to Robinson for the use of Thomas
Sinclair.' There you are, Tom--well!--what is the matter?"

"Nothing. It is a name I have not heard a while. I did not know any
creature but me knew it; is it glamour, or what?"

"Why, Tom! what is the matter? don't look like that. Open it, and let us
see what there is inside."

Robinson opened it, and there was the five-pound note for him, with this
line: "If you have regained the name of Sinclair, keep it."

Robinson ran out of the house, and walked to and fro in a state of
exaltation. "I'm well paid for my journey; I'm well paid for not
fingering that note! Who would not be honest if they knew the sweets?
How could he know my name? is he really more than man? Keep it? Will I
not!"



CHAPTER LII.

THE old attachment was revived. Robinson had always a great regard for
George, and after nursing and bringing him through a dangerous illness
this feeling doubled. And as for George, the man who had brought him a
letter from Susan one hundred and sixty miles became such a benefactor
in his eyes that he thought nothing good enough for him.

In a very few days George was about again and on his pony, and he and
Robinson and Carlo went a shepherding. One or two bullocks had gone to
Jericho while George lay ill, and the poor fellow's heart was sore when
he looked at his diminished substance and lost time. Robinson threw
himself heart and soul into the business, and was of great service to
George; but after a bit he found it a dull life.

George saw this, and said to him: "You would do better in a town. I
should be sorry to lose you, but if you take my advice you will turn
your back on unlucky George, and try the paint-brush in Bathurst."

For Robinson had told him all about it--and painted his front door.
"Can't afford to part from Honesty," was the firm reply.

George breathed again. Robinson was a great comfort to the weak,
solitary, and now desponding man. One day for a change they had a
thirty-mile walk, to see a farmer that had some beasts to sell a great
bargain; he was going to boil them down if he could not find a customer.
They found them all just sold. "Just my luck," said George.

They came home another way. Returning home, George was silent and
depressed.

Robinson was silent, but appeared to be swelling with some grand idea.
Every now and then he shot ahead under its influence. When they got home
and were seated at supper, he suddenly put this question to George, "Did
you ever hear of any gold being found in these parts?"

"No! never!"

"What, not in any part of the country?"

"No! never!"

"Well, that is odd!"

"I am afraid it is a very bad country for that."

"Ay to make it in, but not to find it in."

"What do you mean?"

"George," said the other, lowering his voice mysteriously, "in our walk
to-day we passed places that brought my heart into my mouth; for if this
was only California those places would be pockets of gold."

"But you see it is not California, but Australia, where all the world
knows there is nothing of what your mind is running on."

"Don't say 'knows,' say 'thinks.' Has it ever been searched for gold?"

"I'll be bound it has; or, if not, with so many eyes constantly looking
on every foot of soil a speck or two would have come to light."

"One would think so; but it is astonishing how blind folks are, till
they are taught how to look, and where to look. 'Tis the mind that sees
things, George, not the eye."

"Ah!" said George with a sigh, "this chat puts me in mind of 'The
Grove.' Do you mind how you used to pester everybody to go out to
California?"

"Yes! and I wish we were there now."

"And all your talk used to be gold--gold--gold."

"As well say it as think it."

"That is true. Well, we shall be very busy all day to-morrow, but in the
afternoon dig for gold an hour or two--then you will be satisfied."

"But it is no use digging here; it was full five-and-twenty miles from
here the likely-looking place."

"Then why didn't you stop me at the place?"

"Why?" replied Robinson, sourly, "because his reverence did so snub me
whenever I got upon that favorite topic, that I really had got out of
the habit. I was ashamed to say, 'George, let us stop on the road and
try for gold with our finger-nails.' I knew I should only get laughed
at."

"Well," said George sarcastically, "since the gold mine is twenty-five
miles off, and our work is round about the door, suppose we pen sheep
to-morrow--and dig for gold when there is nothing better to be done."

Robinson sighed. Unbucolical to the last degree was the spirit in which
our Bohemian tended the flocks next morning.

His thoughts were deeper than the soil. And every evening up came the
old topic. Oh! how sick George got of it. At last one night he said:
"My lad, I should like to tell you a story--but I suppose I shall make a
bungle of it; shan't cut the furrow clean I am doubtful."

"Never mind; try!"

"Well, then. Once upon a time there was an old chap that had heard or
read about treasures being found in odd places, a pot full of guineas
or something; and it took root in his heart till nothing would serve him
but he must find a pot of guineas, too; he used to poke about all the
old ruins, grubbing away, and would have taken up the floor of the
church, but the churchwardens would not have it. One morning he comes
down and says to his wife, 'It is all right, old woman, I've found the
treasure.'

"'No! have you, though?' says she.

"'Yes!' says he; 'leastways, it is as good as found; it is only waiting
till I've had my breakfast, and then I'll go out and fetch it in.'

"'La, John, but how did you find it?'

"'It was revealed to me in a dream,' says he, as grave as a judge.

"'And where is it?' asks the old woman.

"'Under a tree in our own orchard--no farther,' says he.

"'Oh, John! how long you are at breakfast to-day!' Up they both got and
into the orchard. 'Now, which tree is it under?'

"John, he scratches his head, 'Blest if I know.'

"'Why, you old ninny,' says the mistress, 'didn't you take the trouble
to notice?'

"'That I did,' said he; 'I saw plain enough which tree it was in my
dream, but now they muddle it all, there are so many of 'em.'

"'Drat your stupid old head,' says she, 'why didn't you put a nick on
the right one at the time?'"

Robinson burst out laughing. George chuckled. "Oh!" said he, "there were
a pair of them for wisdom, you may take your oath of that. 'Well,' says
he, 'I must dig till I find the right one.' The wife she loses heart
at this; for there was eighty apple-trees, and a score of cherry-trees.
'Mind you don't cut the roots,' says she, and she heaves a sigh. John he
gives them bad language, root and branch. 'What signifies cut or no cut;
the old faggots--they don't bear me a bushel of fruit the whole lot.
They used to bear two sacks apiece in father's time. Drat 'em.'

"'Well, John,' says the old woman, smoothing him down; 'father used to
give them a deal of attention.'--' 'Tain't that! 'tain't that!' says he
quick and spiteful-like; 'they have got old like ourselves, and good for
fire-wood.' Out pickax and spade and digs three foot deep round one,
and finding nothing but mould goes at another, makes a little mound all
round him, too--no guinea-pot. Well, the village let him dig three or
four quiet enough; but after that curiosity was awakened, and while
John was digging, and that was all day, there was mostly seven or eight
watching through the fence and passing jests. After a bit a fashion came
up of flinging a stone or two at John; then John he brought out his gun
loaded with dust-shot along with his pick and spade, and the first stone
came he fired sharp in that direction and then loaded again. So
they took that hint, and John dug on in peace--till about the fourth
Sunday--and then the parson had a slap at him in church. 'Folks were not
to heap up to themselves treasures on earth,' was all his discourse."

"Well, but," said Robinson, "this one was only heaping up mould."

"So it seemed when he had dug the five-score holes, for no pot of gold
didn't come to light. Then the neighbors called the orchard 'Jacobs'
Folly;' his name was Jacobs--John Jacobs. 'Now then, wife,' says he,
'suppose you and I look out for another village to live in, for their
gibes are more than I can bear.' Old woman begins to cry. 'Been here so
long--brought me home here, John--when we were first married, John--and
I was a comely lass, and you the smartest young man I ever saw, to my
fancy any way; couldn't sleep or eat my victuals in any house but this.'

"'Oh! couldn't ye? Well, then, we must stay; perhaps it will blow
over.'--'Like everything else, John; but, dear John, do ye fill in those
holes; the young folk come far and wide on Sundays to see them.'

"'Wife, I haven't the heart,' says he. 'You see, when I was digging for
the treasure I was always a-going to find, it kept my heart up; but take
out shovel and fill them in--I'd as lieve dine off white of egg on a
Sunday.' So for six blessed months the heaps were out in the heat and
frost till the end of February, and then when the weather broke the old
man takes heart and fills them in, and the village soon forgot 'Jacobs'
Folly' because it was out of sight. Comes April, and out burst the
trees. 'Wife,' says he, 'our bloom is richer than I have known it this
many a year, it is richer than our neighbors'.' Bloom dies, and then out
come about a million little green things quite hard."

"Ay! ay!" said Robinson; "I see."

"Michaelmas-day the old trees were staggering and the branches down
to the ground with the crop; thirty shillings on every tree one with
another; and so on for the next year, and the next; sometimes more,
sometimes less, according to the year. Trees were old and wanted a
change. His letting in the air to them, and turning the subsoil up to
the frost and sun, had renewed their youth. So by that he learned that
tillage is the way to get treasure from the earth. Men are ungrateful
at times, but the soil is never ungrateful, it always makes a return for
the pains we give it."

"Well, George," said Robinson, "thank you for your story; it is a very
good one, and after it I'll never dig for gold in a garden. But now
suppose a bare rock or an old river's bed, or a mass of shingles or
pipe-clay, would you dig or manure them for crops?"

"Why, of course not."

"Well, those are the sort of places in which nature has planted a
yellower crop and a richer crop than tillage ever produced. And I
believe there are plums of gold not thirty miles from here in such spots
waiting only to be dug out."

"Well, Tom, I have wasted a parable, that is all. Good-night; I hope to
sleep and be ready for a good day's work to-morrow. You shall dream of
digging up gold here--if you like."

"I'll never speak of it again," said Robinson doggedly.

If you want to make a man a bad companion, interdict altogether the
topic that happens to interest him. Robinson ceased to vent his chimera.
So it swelled and swelled in his heart, and he became silent, absorbed,
absent and out of spirits. "Ah!" thought George, "poor fellow, he is
very dull. He won't stay beside me much longer."

This conviction was so strong that he hesitated to close with an
advantageous offer that came to him from his friend, Mr. Winchester.
That gentleman had taken a lease of a fine run some thirty miles from
George. He had written George that he was to go and look at it, and if
he liked it better than his own he was to take it. Mr. Winchester could
make no considerable use of either for some time to come.

George hesitated. He felt himself so weak-handed with only Robinson, who
might leave him, and a shepherd lad he had just hired. However his hands
were unexpectedly strengthened.

One day as the two friends were washing a sheep an armed savage suddenly
stood before them. Robinson dropped the sheep and stood on his defense,
but George cried out, "No! no! it is Jacky! Why, Jacky, where on earth
have you been?" And he came warmly toward him. Jacky fled to a small
eminence and made warlike preparations. "You stop you a good while and I
speak. Who you?"

"Who am I? stupid. Why, who should I be but George Fielding?"

"I see you one George Fielding, but I not know you dis George Fielding.
George die. I see him die. You alive. You please you call dog Carlo!
Carlo wise dog."

"Well, I never! Hie, Carlo! Carlo!"

Up came Carlo full pelt. George patted him, and Carlo wagged his tail
and pranced about in the shape of a reaping-hook. Jacky came instantly
down, showed his ivories, and admitted his friend's existence on the
word of the dog. "Jacky a good deal glad because you not dead now. When
black fellow die he never live any more. Black fellow stupid fellow.
I tink I like white fellow a good deal bigger than black fellow. Now I
stay with you a good while."

George's hands thus strengthened he wrote and told Mr. Winchester he
would go to the new ground, which, as far as he could remember, was very
good, and would inspect it, and probably make the exchange with thanks.
It was arranged that in two days' time the three friends should go
together, inspect the new ground and build a temporary hut there.

Meantime Robinson and Jacky make great friends. Robinson showed him one
or two sleight-of-hand tricks that stamped him at once a superior being
in Jacky's eyes, and Jacky showed Robinson a thing or two He threw his
boomerang and made it travel a couple of hundred yards, and return and
hover over his head like a bird and settle at his feet; but he was shy
of throwing his spear. "Keep spear for when um angry, not throw him
straight now.

"Don't you believe that, Tom," said George. "Fact is the little varmint
can't hit anything with 'em. Now look at that piece of bark leaning
against that tree. You don't hit it. Come, try, Jacky." Jacky yawned and
threw a spear carelessly. It went close by but did not hit it.

"Didn't I tell you so?" said George. "I'd stand before him and his
spears all day with nothing but a cricket-stump in my hand, and never be
hit, and never brag, neither." Jacky showed his ivories. "When I down
at Sydney white man put up a little wood and a bit of white money for
Jacky. Then Jacky throw straight a good deal."

"Now hark to that! black skin or white skin 'tis all the same; we can't
do our best till we are paid for it. Don't you encourage him, Tom, I
won't have it."

The two started early one fine morning for the new ground, distant full
thirty miles. At first starting Robinson was in high glee; his nature
delighted in change; but George was sad and silent. Three times he had
changed his ground and always for the better. But to what end. These
starts in early morning for fresh places used once to make him buoyant,
but not now. All that was over. He persisted doggedly, and did his best
like a man, but in his secret heart not one grain of hope was left.
Indeed it was but the other day he had written to Susan and told her it
was not possible he could make a thousand pounds. The difficulties were
too many, and then his losses had been too great. And he told her he
felt it was scarcely fair to keep her to her promise. "You would waste
all your youth, Susan, dear, waiting for me." And he told her how he
loved her and never should love another; but left her free.

To add to his troubles he was scarcely well of the fever when he caught
a touch of rheumatism; and the stalwart young fellow limped along by
Robinson's side, and instead of his distancing Jacky as he used in
better days, Jacky rattled on ahead and having got on the trail of an
opossum announced his intention of hunting it down and then
following the human trail. "Me catch you before the sun go, and bring
opossum--then we eat a good deal." And off glided Jacky after his
opossum.

The pair plodded and limped on in gloomy silence, for at a part of the
road where they emerged from green meadows on rocks and broken ground
Robinson's tongue had suddenly ceased.

They plodded on, one sad and stiff, the other thoughtful. Any one
meeting the pair would have pitied them. Ill-success was stamped on
them. Their features were so good, their fortunes so unkind. Their
clothes were sadly worn, their beards neglected, their looks thoughtful
and sad. The convert to honesty stole more than one look at the noble
figure that limped beside him and the handsome face in which gentle,
uncomplaining sorrow seemed to be a tenant for life; and to the credit
of our nature be it said that his eyes filled and his heart yearned.
"Oh, Honesty!" said he, "you are ill-paid here. I have been well paid
for my little bit of you, but here is a life of honesty and a life of
ill-luck and bitter disappointment. Poor George! poor, dear George!
Leave you? never while I have hands to work and a brain to devise!"

They now began slowly to mount a gentle slope that ended in a long black
snakelike hill. "When we get to that hill we shall see my new pasture,"
said George. "New or old, I doubt 'twill be all the same."

And he sighed and relapsed into silence. Meantime Jacky had killed his
opossum and was now following their trail at an easy trot.

Leaving the two sad ones with worn clothes and heavy hearts plodding
slowly and stiffly up the long rough slope, our story runs on before and
gains the rocky platform they are making for and looks both ways--back
toward the sad ones and forward over a grand, long, sweeping valley.
This pasture is rich in proportion as it recedes from this huge backbone
of rock that comes from the stony mountains and pierces and divides the
meadows as a cape the sea. In the foreground the grass suffers from
its stern neighbor, is cut up here and there by the channels of defunct
torrents, and dotted with fragments of rock, some of which seem to have
pierced the bosom of the soil from below, others have been detached at
different epochs from the parent rock and rolled into the valley. But
these wounds are only discovered on inspection; at a general glance from
the rocky road into the dale the prospect is large, rich and laughing;
fairer pastures are to be found in that favored land, but this sparkles
at you like an emerald roughly set, and where the backbone of rock gives
a sudden twist bursts out all at once broad smiling in your face--a
land flowing with milk and every bush a thousand nosegays. At the angle
above-mentioned, which commanded a double view, a man was standing
watching some object or objects not visible to his three companions;
they were working some yards lower down by the side of a rivulet that
brawled and bounded down the hill. Every now and then an inquiry was
shouted up to that individual, who was evidently a sort of scout or
sentinel. At last one of the men in the ravine came up and bade the
scout go down.

"I'll soon tell you whether we shall have to knock off work." And he
turned the corner and disappeared.

He shaded both his eyes with his hands, for the sun was glaring. About
a mile off he saw two men coming slowly up by a zig-zag path toward the
very point where he stood. Presently the men stopped and examined the
prospect, each in his own way. The taller one took a wide survey of the
low ground, and calling his companion to him appeared to point out to
him some beauty or peculiarity of the region. Our scout stepped back and
called down to his companions, "Shepherds!"

He then strolled back to his post with no particular anxiety. Arrived
there his uneasiness seemed to revive. The shorter of the two strangers
had lagged behind his comrade, and the watcher observed, that he was
carrying on a close and earnest inspection of the ground in detail.

He peered into the hollows and loitered in every ravine. This gave
singular offense to the keen eye that was now upon him. Presently he was
seen to stop and call his taller companion to him, and point with great
earnestness first to something at their feet, then to the backbone of
rocks; and it so happened by mere accident that his finger took nearly
the direction of the very spot where the observer of all his movements
stood. The man started back out of sight and called in a low voice to
his comrades,

"Come here."

They came straggling up with troubled and lowering faces. "Lie down and
watch them," said the leader. The men stooped and crawled forward to
some stunted bushes, behind which they lay down and watched in silence
the unconscious pair who were now about two furlongs distant. The
shorter of the two still loitered behind his companion, and inspected
the ground with particular interest. The leader of the band, who went by
the name of Black Will, muttered a curse upon his inquisitiveness. The
others assented all but one, a huge fellow whom the others addressed
as Jem. "Nonsense," said Jem, "dozens pass this way and are none the
wiser."

"Ay," replied Black Will, "with their noses in the air. But that is a
notice-taking fellow. Look at him with his eyes forever on the rocks, or
in the gullies, or--there if he is not picking up a stone and breaking
it!"

"Ha! ha!" laughed Jem incredulously, "how many thousand have picked up
stones and broke them and all, and never known what we know."

"He has been in the same oven as we," retorted the other.

Here one of the others put in his word. "That is not likely, captain;
but if it is so there are no two ways. A secret is no secret if all the
world is to know it."

"You remember our oath, Jem," said the leader sternly.

"Why should I forget it more than another?" replied the other angrily.

"Have you all your knives?" asked the captain gloomily. The men nodded
assent.

"Cross them with me as we did when we took our oath first."

The men stretched out each a brawny arm, and a long sharp knife, so that
all the points came together in a focus; and this action suited well
with their fierce and animal features, their long neglected beards,
their matted hair and their gleaming eyes. It looked the prologue to
some deed of blood. This done, at another word from their ruffianly
leader they turned away from the angle in the rock and plunged hastily
down the ravine; but they had scarcely taken thirty steps when they
suddenly disappeared.

In the neighborhood of the small stream I have mentioned was a cavern
of irregular shape that served these men for a habitation and place
of concealment. Nature had not done all. The stone was soft, and the
natural cavity had been enlarged and made a comfortable retreat enough
for the hardy men whose home it was. A few feet from the mouth of the
cave on one side grew a stout bush that added to the shelter and the
concealment, and on the other the men themselves had placed two or
three huge stones, which, from the attitude the rogues had given them,
appeared, like many others, to have rolled thither years ago from the
rock above.

In this retreat the whole band were now silently couched, two of them
in the mouth of the cave, Black Will and another lying flat on their
stomachs watching the angle of the road for the two men who must pass
that way, and listening for every sound. Black Will was carefully and
quietly sharpening his knife on one of the stones and casting back every
now and then a meaning glance to his companions. The pertinacity with
which he held to his idea began to tell on them, and they sat in an
attitude of sullen and terrible suspicion. But Jem wore a look of
contemptuous incredulity. However small a society may be, if it is a
human one jealousy shall creep in. Jem grudged Black Will his captaincy.
Jem was intellectually a bit of a brute. He was a stronger man than
Will, and therefore thought it hard that merely because Will was a
keener spirit, Will should be over him. Half an hour passed thus, and
the two travelers did not make their appearance.

"Not even coming this way at all," said Jem.

"Hush!" replied Will sternly, "hold your tongue. They must come this
way, and they can't be far off. Jem, you can crawl out and see where
they are, if you are clever enough to keep that great body out of
sight."

Jem resented this doubt cast upon his adroitness, and crawled out among
the bushes. He had scarcely got twenty yards when he halted and made a
signal that the men were in sight. Soon afterward he came back with less
precaution. "They are sitting eating their dinner close by, just on the
sunny side of the rock--shepherds, as I told you--got a dog. Go yourself
if you don't believe me."

The leader went to the spot, and soon after returned and said quietly,
"Pals, I dare say he is right. Lie still till they have had their
dinner; they are going farther, no doubt."

Soon after this he gave a hasty signal of silence, for George and
Robinson at that moment came round the corner of the rock and stood
on the road not fifty yards above them. Here they paused as the valley
burst on their view, and George pointed out its qualities to his
comrade. "It is not first-rate, Tom, but there is good grass in patches,
and plenty of water."

Robinson, instead of replying or giving his mind to the prospect said to
George, "Why, where is he?"

"Who?"

"The man that I saw standing at this corner a while ago. He came round
this way I'll be sworn."

"He is gone away, I suppose. I never saw any one, for my part."

"I did, though. Gone away? How could he go away? The road is in sight
for miles, and not a creature on it. He is vanished."

"I don't see him anyway, Tom."

"Of course you don't, he is vanished into the bowels of the earth. I
don't like gentlemen that vanish into the bowels of the earth."

"How suspicious you are! Bushrangers again, I suppose. They are always
running in your mind--them and gold."

"You know the country, George. Here, take my stick." And he handed
George a long stick with a heavy iron ferule. "If a man is safe here he
owes it to himself, not to his neighbor."

"Then why do you give me your weapon?" said George with a smile.

"I haven't," was the reply. "I carry my sting out of sight, like a
humble bee." And Mr. Robinson winked mysteriously, and the process
seemed to relieve his mind and soothe his suspicions. He then fell to
inspecting the rocks; and when George pointed out to him the broad and
distant pasture he said, in an absent way, "Yes;" and turning round
George found him with his eyes glued to the ground at his feet, and
his mind in a deep reverie. George was vexed, and said somewhat warmly,
"Why, Tom, the place is worth looking at now we are come to it, surely."

Robinson made no direct reply. "George," said he thoughtfully, "how far
have you got toward your thousand pounds?"

"Oh, Tom! don't ask me, don't remind me! How can I ever make it? No
market within a thousand miles of any place in this confounded country!
Forced to boil down sheep into tallow and sell them for the price of a
wild duck! I have left my Susan, and I have lost her. Oh, why did you
remind me?"

"So much for the farming lay. Don't you be down-hearted, there's better
cards in the pack than the five of spades; and the farther I go and the
more I see of this country the surer I am. There is a good day coming
for you and me. Listen, George. When I shut my eyes for a moment now
where I stand, and then open them--I'm in California."

"Dreaming?"

"No, wide awake--wider than you are now. George, look at these hills;
you could not tell them from the golden range of California.. But that
is not all; when you look into them you find they are made of the same
stuff, too--granite, mica and quartz. Now don't you be cross."

"No! no! why should I? Show me," said George, trying out of
kindheartedness to take an interest in this subject, which had so often
wearied him.

"Well, here are two of them. That great dark bit out there is mica, and
all this that runs in a vein like is quartz. Quartz and mica are the
natural home of gold; and some gold is to be found at home still, but
the main of it has been washed out and scattered like seed all over the
neighboring clays. You see, George, the world is a thousand times older
than most folks think, and water has been working upon gold thousands
and thousands of years before ever a man stood upon the earth, ay or a
dog either, Carlo, for as wise as you look squatting out there thinking
of nothing and pretending to be thinking of everything."

"Well, drop gold," said George, "and tell me what this is," and he
handed Robinson a small fossil.

Robinson eyed it with wonder and interest. "Where on earth did you find
this?"

"Hard by; what is it?"

"Plenty of these in California. What is it? Why, I'll tell you; it is a
pale old Joey."

"You don't say so; looks like a shell."

"Sit down a moment, George, and let us look at it. He bids me drop
gold--and then goes and shows me a proof of gold that never deceived us
out there."

"You are mad. How can this be a sign of gold? I tell you it is a shell."

"And I tell you that where these things are found among mica, quartz and
granite, there gold is to be found if men have the wit, the patience and
the skill to look for it. I can't tell you why; the laws of gold puzzle
deeper heads than mine, but so it is. I seem to smell gold all round me
here." And Robinson flushed all over, so powerfully did the great idea
of gold seated here on his native throne grapple and agitate his mind.

"Tom," said the other doggedly, "if there is as much gold on the ground
of New South Wales as will make me a wedding-ring--I am a Dutchman;" and
he got up calmly and jerked the pale old Joey a tremendous way into the
valley.

This action put Robinson's blood up. "George," cried he, springing up
like fire and bringing his foot down sharp upon the rocky floor, "IF I
DON'T STAND UPON GOLD--I'M D----D!"

And a wild but true inspiration seemed to be upon the man; a stranger
could hardly have helped believing him, but George had heard a good deal
of this, though the mania had never gone quite so far. He said quickly,
"Come, let us go down into the pasture."

"Not I," replied Robinson. "Come, George, prejudice is for babies,
experience for men. Here is an unknown country with all the signs of
gold thicker than ever. I have got a calabash--stay and try for gold in
this gully; it looks to me just like the mouth of a purse."

"Not I."

"I will, then."

"Why not? I don't think you will find anything in it, but anyway you
will have a better chance when I am not by to spoil you. Luck is all
against me. If I want rain, comes drought; if I want sun, look for a
deluge, if there is money to be made by a thing I'm out of it; to be
lost, I'm in it; if I loved a vixen she'd drop into my arms like a
medlar; I love an angel and that is why I shall never have her, never.
From a game of marbles to the game of life I never had a grain of luck
like other people. Leave me, Tom, and try if you can find gold; you will
have a chance, my poor fellow, if unlucky George is not aside you."

"Leave you, George! not if I know it."

"You are to blame if you don't. Turn your back on me as I did on you in
England."

"Never! I'd rather not find gold than part with honesty. There, I'm
coming--let us go--quick--come, let us leave here." And the two men left
the road and turned their faces and their steps across the ravine.

During all this dialogue the men in the cave had strained both eyes and
ears to comprehend the speakers. The distance was too great for them to
catch all the words, but this much was clear from the first, that one of
the men wished to stay on the spot for some purpose, and the other to
go on; but presently, as the speakers warmed, a word traveled down the
breeze that made the four ruffians start and turn red with surprise, and
the next moment darken with anger and apprehension. The word came again
and again; they all heard it--its open vowel gave it a sonorous ring;
it seemed to fly farther than any other word the speaker uttered, or
perhaps when he came to it he spoke it louder than smaller words, or the
hearers' ears were watching for it.

The men interchanged terrible looks, and then they grasped their knives
and watched their leader's eye for some deadly signal. Again and again
the word "g-o-l-d" came like an Aeolian note into the secret cave, and
each time eye sought eye and read the unlucky speaker's death-warrant
there. But when George prevailed and the two men started for the valley,
the men in the cave cast uncertain looks on one another, and he we have
called Jem drew a long breath and said brutally, yet with something of
satisfaction, "You have saved your bacon this time." The voices now drew
near and the men crouched close, for George and Robinson passed within
fifteen yards of them. They were talking now about matters connected
with George's business, for Robinson made a violent effort and dropped
his favorite theme to oblige his comrade. They passed near the cave, and
presently their backs were turned to it.

"Good-by, my lads," whispered Jem. "And curse you for making us lose a
good half hour," muttered another of the gang. The words were scarce out
of his mouth before a sudden rustle was heard and there was Carlo. He
had pulled up in mid career and stood transfixed with astonishment,
literally pointing the gang; it was but for a moment--he did not like
the looks of the men at all; he gave a sharp bark that made George and
Robinson turn quickly round, and then he went on hunting.

"A kangaroo!" shouted Robinson, "it must have got up near that bush;
come and look--if it is we will hunt it down."

George turned back with him, but on reflection he said, "No! Tom, we
have a long road to go, let us keep on, if you please;" and they once
more turned their backs to the cave, whistled Carlo, and stepped briskly
out toward the valley. A few yards before them was the brook I have
already noticed--it was about three yards broad at this spot. However,
Robinson, who was determined not to make George lose any more time,
took the lead and giving himself the benefit of a run, cleared it like
a buck. But as he was in the air his eye caught some object on this side
the brook, and making a little circle on the other side, he came back
with ludicrous precipitancy, and jumping short, landed with one foot on
shore and one in the stream. George burst out laughing.

"Do you see this?" cried Robinson.

"Yes; somebody has been digging a hole here," said George very coolly.

"Come higher up," cried Robinson, all in a flutter--"do you see this?"

"Yes; it is another hole."

"'It is. Do you see this wet, too?"

"I see there has been some water spilled by the brook side."

"What kind of work has been done here? have they been digging potatoes,
farmer?"

"Don't be foolish, Tom."

"Is it any kind of work you know? Here is another trench dug."

"No! it is nothing in my way, that is the truth."

"But it is work the signs of which I know as well as you know a plowed
field from a turnpike-road."

"Why, what is it then?"

"It is gold washing."

"You don't say so, Tom."

"This is gold washing as beginners practice it in California and Mexico
and Peru, and wherever gold-dust is found. They have been working with
a pan, they haven't got such a thing as a cradle in this country. Come
lower down; this was yesterday's work, let us find to-day's."

The two men now ran down the stream busy as dogs hunting an otter. A
little lower down they found both banks of the stream pitted with holes
about two feet deep and the sides drenched with water from it.

"Well, if it is so, you need not look so pale; why, dear me, how pale
you are, Tom!"

"You would be pale," gasped Tom, "if you could see what a day this
is for you and me, ay! and for all the world, old England especially.
George, in a month there will be five thousand men working round this
little spot. Ay! come," cried he, shouting wildly at the top of his
voice, "there is plenty for all. GOLD! GOLD! GOLD! I have found it. I,
Tom Robinson, I've found it, and I grudge it to no man. I, a thief that
was, make a present of it to its rightful owner, and that is all the
world. Here GOLD! GOLD! GOLD!"

Though George hardly understood his companion's words, he was carried
away by the torrent of his enthusiasm, and even as Robinson spoke his
cheeks in turn flushed and his eyes flashed, and he grasped his friend's
hands warmly, and cried, "GOLD! GOLD! blessings on it if it takes me to
Susan; GOLD! GOLD!"

The poor fellows' triumph and friendly exultation lasted but a moment;
the words were scarce out of Robinson's mouth when to his surprise
George started from him, turned very pale, but at the same time
lifted his iron-shod stick high in the air and clinched his teeth with
desperate resolution. Four men with shaggy beards and wild faces and
murderous eyes were literally upon them, each with a long glittering
knife raised in the air.

At that fearful moment George learned the value of a friend that had
seen adventure and crime; rapid and fierce and unexpected as the attack
was, Robinson was not caught off his guard. His hand went like lightning
into his bosom, and the assailants, in the very act of striking, were
met in the face by the long glistening barrels of a rifle revolver,
while the cool, wicked eye behind it showed them nothing was to be hoped
in that quarter from flurry, or haste, or indecision.

The two men nearest the revolver started back, the other two neither
recoiled nor advanced, but merely hung fire. George made a movement to
throw himself upon them; but Robinson seized him fiercely by the arm--he
said steadily but sternly, "Keep cool, young man--no running among their
knives while they are four. Strike across me and I shall guard you till
we have thinned."

"Will you?" said Black Will, "here, pals!" The four assailants came
together like a fan for a moment and took a whisper from their leader.
They then spread out like a fan and began to encircle their antagonists,
so as to attack on both sides at once.

"Back to the water, George," cried Robinson quickly, "to the broad part
here." Robinson calculated that the stream would protect his rear, and
that safe he was content to wait and profit by the slightest error
of his numerous assailants; this, however, was to a certain degree a
miscalculation, for the huge ruffian we have called Jem sprang boldly
across the stream higher up and prepared to attack the men behind, the
moment they should be engaged with his comrades. The others no sooner
saw him in position than they rushed desperately upon George and
Robinson in the form of a crescent, and as they came on Jem came flying
knife in hand to plunge it into Robinson's back. As the front assailants
neared them, true to his promise, Robinson fired across George, and the
outside man received a bullet in his shoulder-blade, and turning round
like a top fell upon his knees. Unluckily George wasted a blow at this
man which sung idly over him, he dropping his head and losing his knife
and his powers at the very moment. By this means Robinson, the moment
he had fired his pistol, had no less than three assailants; one of these
George struck behind the neck so furiously with a back-handed stroke
of his iron-shod stick that he fell senseless at Robinson's feet. The
other, met in front by the revolver, recoiled, but kept Robinson at
bay while Jem sprang on him from the rear. This attack was the most
dangerous of all; in fact, neither Robinson nor George had time to
defend themselves against him even if they had seen him, which they did
not. Now as Jem was in the very act of making his spring from the other
side of the brook, a spear glanced like a streak of light past the
principal combatants and pierced Jem through and through the fleshy part
of the thigh, and there stood Jacky at forty yards' distance, with the
hand still raised from which the spear had flown, and his emu-like eye
glittering with the light of battle.

Jem, instead of bounding clear over the stream, fell heavily into the
middle of it and lay writhing and floundering at George's mercy, who
turning in alarm at the sound stood over him with his long deadly staff
whirling and swinging round his head in the air, while Robinson placed
one foot firmly on the stunned man's right arm and threatened the leader
Black Will with his pistol, and at the same moment with a wild and
piercing yell Jacky came down in leaps like a kangaroo, his tomahawk
flourished over his head, his features entirely changed, and the thirst
of blood written upon every inch of him. Black Will was preparing to run
away and leave his wounded companions, but at sight of the fleet savage
he stood still and roared out for mercy. "Quarter! quarter!" cried Black
Will.

"Down on your knees!" cried Robinson in a terrible voice.

The man fell on his knees, and in that posture Jacky would certainly
have knocked out his brains but that Robinson pointed the pistol at his
head and forbade him; and Carlo, who had arrived hastily at the sound of
battle, in great excitement but not with clear ideas, seeing Jacky, whom
he always looked on as a wild animal, opposed in some way to Robinson,
seized him directly by the leg from behind and held him howling in a
vise. "Hold your cursed noise, all of you," roared Robinson. "D'ye ask
quarter?"

"Quarter!" cried Black Will.

"Quarter!" gurgled Jem.

"Quarter!" echoed more faintly the wounded man. The other was
insensible.

"Then throw me your knives."

The men hesitated.

"Throw me them this instant, or--"

They threw down their knives.

"George, take them and tie them up in your wipe." George took the knives
and tied them up.

"Now pull that big brute out of the water or he'll drown himself."
George and Jacky pulled Jem out of the water with the spear sticking in
him; the water was discolored with his blood.

"Pull the spear out of him!" George pulled and Jem roared with pain, but
the spear-head would not come back through the wound; then Jacky came up
and broke the light shaft off close to the skin, and grasping the head
drew the remainder through the wound forward, and grinned with a sense
of superior wisdom.

By this time the man whom George had felled sat up on his beam ends
winking and blinking and confused, like a great owl at sunrise.

Then Robinson, who had never lost his presence of mind, and had now
recovered his sang-froid, made all four captives sit around together on
the ground in one little lot, "While I show you the error of your ways,"
said he. "I could forgive a rascal but I hate a fool. You thought to
keep such a secret as this all to yourselves--you dunces--the very birds
in the air would carry it; it never was kept secret in any land and
never will. And you would spill blood sooner than your betters should
know it--ye ninny-cumpoops! What the worse are you for our knowing it?
If a thousand knew it to-day would that lower the price of gold a penny
an ounce? No! All the harm they could do you would be this, that some of
them would show you where it lies thickest, and then you'd profit by it.
You had better tie that leg of yours up; you have lost blood enough
I should say by the look of you; haven't you got a wipe? here, take
mine--you deserve it, don't you? No man's luck hurts his neighbor at
this work; how clever you were, you have just pitched on the unlikeliest
place in the whole gulley, and you wanted to kill the man that would
have taught you which are the likelier ones. I shall find ten times as
much gold before the sun sets as you will find in a week by the side of
that stream; why, it hasn't been running above a thousand years or
two, I should say, by the look of it; you have got plenty to learn,
you bloody-minded greenhorns! Now I'll tell you what it is," continued
Robinson, getting angry about it, "since you are for keeping dark what
little you know, I'll keep you dark; and in ten minutes my pal here and
the very nigger shall know more about gold-finding than you know, so be
off, for I'm going to work. Come, march!"

"Where are we to go, mate?" said the leader sullenly.

"Do you see that ridge about three miles west? well, if we catch you on
this side of it we will hang you like wild cats. On the other side of
it do what you like, and try all you know; but this gully belongs to
us now; you wanted to take something from us that did not belong to
you--our blood--so now we take something from you that didn't belong to
us a minute or two ago. Come, mizzle, and no more words, or--" and he
pointed the tail of his discourse with his revolver.

The men rose, and with sullen, rueful, downcast looks moved off in the
direction of the boundary; but one remained behind, the man was Jem.

"Well!"

"Captain, I wish you would let me join in with you!"

"What for?"

"Well, captain, you've lent me your wipe, and I think a deal of it, for
it's what I did not deserve; but that is not all. You are the best man,
and I like to be under the best man if I must be under anybody."

Robinson hesitated a moment. "Come here," said he. The man came and
fronted him. "Look me in the face! now give me your hand--quick, no
thinking about how." The man gave him his hand readily. Robinson looked
into his eyes. "What is your name?"

"Jem."

"Jem, we take you on trial."

Jem's late companions, who perfectly comprehended what was passing,
turned and hooted the deserter; Jem, whose ideas of repartee were
primitive, turned and hooted them in reply.

While the men were retreating Robinson walked thoughtfully with his
hands behind him, backward and forward, like a great admiral on his
quarter deck--enemy to leeward. Every eye was upon him and watched him
in respectful, inquiring silence. "Knowledge is power;" this was the man
now, the rest children.

"What tools have you?"

"There is a spade and trowel in that bush, captain."

"Fetch them, George. Hadn't you a pan?"

"No, captain; we used a calabash. He will find it lower down."

George, after a little search, found all these objects, and brought them
back. "Now," cried Robinson, "these greenhorns have been washing in a
stream that runs now, but perhaps in the days of Noah was not a river at
all; but you look at the old bed of a stream down out there. That was
a much stronger stream than this in its day, and it ran for more than a
hundred thousand years before it dried up."

"How can you tell that?" said George, resuming some of his incredulity.

"Look at those monstrous stones in it here, there and everywhere. It has
been a powerful stream to carry such masses with it as that, and it has
been running many thousand years, for see how deep it has eaten into its
rocky sides here and there. That was a river, my lads, and washed gold
down for hundreds of thousands of years before ever Adam stood on the
earth."

The men gave a hurrah, and George and Jacky prepared to run and find the
treasure. "Stop," cried Robinson, "you are not at the gold yet. Can you
tell in what parts of the channel it lies thick and where there isn't
enough to pay the labor of washing it? Well, I can--look at that bend
where the round pebbles are collected so; there was a strong eddy there.
Well, under the ridge of that eddy is ten times as much gold lying as in
the level parts. Stop a bit again. Do you know how deep or how shallow
it lies--do you think you can find it by the eye? Do you know what clays
it sinks through, as if they were a sieve, and what stops it like an
iron door? Your quickest way is to take Captain Robinson's time--and
that is now."

He snatched the spade, and giving full vent to the ardor he had so long
suppressed with difficulty, plunged down a little declivity that led to
the ancient stream, and drove his spade into its shingle, the debris of
centuries of centuries. George sprang after him, his eyes gleaming with
hope and agitation; the black followed in wonder and excitement, and the
wounded Jem limped last, and, unable through weakness to work, seated
himself with glowing eyes upon that ancient river's bank.

"Away with all this gravel and shingle--these are all newcomers--the
real bed of the stream is below all this, and we must go down to that."

Trowel and spade and tomahawk went furiously to work, and soon cleared
away the gravel from a surface of three or four feet.

Beneath this they found a bed of gray clay.

"Let us wash that, captain," said Jem eagerly.

"No! Jem," was the reply; "that is the way novices waste their time.
This gray clay is porous, too porous to hold gold--we must go deeper."

Tomahawk, spade and trowel went furiously to work again.

"Give me the spade," said George, and he dug and shoveled out with
herculean strength and amazing ardor; his rheumatism was gone and nerves
came back from that very hour. "Here is a white clay."

"Let me see it. Pipe-clay! go no deeper, George; if you were to dig a
hundred feet you would not find an ounce of gold below that."

George rested on his spade. "What are we to do, then? try somewhere
else?"

"Not till we have tried here first."

"But you say there is nothing below this pipe-clay."

"No more there is."

"Well, then."

"But I don't say there is nothing above it!!!"

"Well, but there is nothing much above it except the gray, without 'tis
this small streak of brownish clay; but that is not an inch thick."

"George! in that inch lies all the gold we are likely to find; if it is
not there we have only to go elsewhere. Now while I get water you stick
your spade in and cut the brown clay away from the white it lies on.
Don't leave a spot of the brown sticking to the white--the lower part of
the brown clay is the likeliest."

A shower having fallen the day before, Robinson found water in a hole
not far distant. He filled his calabash and returned; meantime George
and Jacky had got together nearly a barrowful of the brown or rather
chocolate-colored clay, mixed slightly with the upper and lower strata,
the gray and white.

"I want yon calabash and George's as well." Robinson filled George's
calabash two-thirds full of the stuff, and pouring some water upon it,
said good-naturedly to Jem, "There--you may do the first washing, if you
like."

"Thank you, captain," said Jem, who proceeded instantly to stir and
dissolve the clay and pour it carefully away as it dissolved. Jacky was
sent for more water, and this, when used as described, had left the clay
reduced to about one-sixth of its original bulk.

"Now, captain," cried Jem in great excitement.

"No, it's not now, captain, yet," said Robinson; "is that the way you do
pan-washing?"

He then took the calabash from Jem, and gave him Jacky's calabash
two-thirds full of clay to treat like the other, and this being done he
emptied the dry remains of one calabash into the other, and gave Jem a
third lot to treat likewise. This done, you will observe he had in one
calabash the results of three first washings. But now he trusted Jem no
longer. He took the calabash and said, "You look faint, you are not fit
to work; besides you have not got the right twist of the hand yet, my
lad. Pour for me, George." Robinson stirred and began to dissolve the
three remainders, and every now and then with an artful turn of the hand
he sent a portion of the muddy liquid out of the vessel. At the end of
this washing there remained scarce more than a good handful of clay at
the bottom. More water was poured on this. "Now," said Robinson, "we
shall know this time, and if you see but one spot of yellow among it, we
are all gentlemen and men of fortune."

He dissolved the clay, and twisted and turned the vessel with great
dexterity, and presently the whole of the clay was liquefied.

"Now," said Robinson, "all your eyes upon it, and if I spill anything I
ought to keep--you tell me." He said this conceitedly but with evident
agitation. He was now pouring away the dirty water with the utmost care,
so that anything, however small, that might be heavier than clay should
remain behind. Presently he paused and drew a long breath. He feared to
decide so great a question. It was but for a moment; he began again
to pour the dirty water away very slowly and carefully. Every eye was
diving into the vessel. There was a dead silence!

Robinson poured with great care. There was now little more than a
wine-glassful left.

DEAD SILENCE!

Suddenly a tremendous cry broke from all these silent figures at the
same instant. A cry! it was a yell. I don't know what to compare it to.
But imagine that a score of wolves had hunted a horse for two centuries
up and down, round and round, sometimes losing a yard, sometimes gaining
one on him, and at last, after a thousand disappointments and fierce
alternations of hope and despair, the horse had suddenly stumbled and
the wild gluttons had pounced on him at last. Such a fierce yell of
triumph burst from four human bosoms now.

"Hurrah! we are the greatest men above ground. If a hundred emperors and
kings died to-day, their places could be filled to-morrow; but the
world could not do without us and our find. We are gentlemen--we are
noblemen--we are whatever we like to be. Hurrah!" cried Robinson.

"Hurrah!" cried George, "I see my Susan's eyes in you, you beauty."

"Hurrah!" whined Jem feebly, "let me see how much there is," and
clutching the calabash he fainted at that moment from loss of blood and
fell forward insensible, his face in the vessel that held the gold,
and his hands grasping it so tight that great force had to be used to
separate them.

They lifted Jem and set him up again, and sprinkled water in his face.
The man's thick lip was cut by the side of the vessel, and more than
one drop of blood had trickled down its sides and mingled with the
gold-dust.

No comment was made on this at the time. They were so busy.

"There, he's coming to, and we've no time to waste in nursing the sick.
Work!" and they sprang up on to the work again.

It was not what you have seen pass for work in Europe, it was men
working themselves for once as they make horses work forever. Work? It
was battle; it was humanity fighting and struggling with Nature for
her prime treasure--(so esteemed). How they dug and scraped, and fought
tooth, and spade, and nail, and trowel, and tomahawk for gold! Their
shirts were wet through with sweat, yet they felt no fatigue. Their
trousers were sheets of clay, yet they suffered no sense of dirt. The
wounded man recovered a portion of his strength, and, thirsting for
gold, brought feeble hands but indomitable ardor to the great cause.
They dug, they scraped, they bowed their backs, and wrought with fury
and inspiration unparalleled; and when the sun began to decline behind
the hills these four human mutes felt injured. They lifted their eyes a
moment from the ground, and cast a fretful look at the great, tranquil
luminary.

"Are you really going to set this afternoon the same as usual, when we
need your services so?"

Would you know why that wolfish yell of triumph? Would you see what
sight so electrified those gloating eyes and panting bosoms? Would you
realize that discovery, which in six months peopled that barren spot
with thousands of men from all the civilized tribes upon earth, and in
a few years must and will make despised Australia a queen among the
nations--nations who must and will come with the best thing they have,
wealth, talent, cunning, song, pencil, pen, tongue, arm, and lay them
all at her feet for this one thing?

Would you behold this great discovery the same in appearance and
magnitude as it met the eyes of the first discoverers, picked with a
knife from the bottom of a calabash, separated at last by human art and
gravity's great law from the meaner dust it had lurked in for a million
years--Then turn your eyes hither, for here it is:

[Knife handle drawing]



CHAPTER LIII.

MR. MEADOWS dispatched his work in Shropshire twice as fast as he had
calculated, and returned home with two forces battling inside him--love
and prudence. The battle was decided for him.

William Fielding's honest but awkward interference had raised in Susan
Merton a desire to separate her sentiments from his by showing Mr.
Meadows a marked respect. She heard of his arrival and instantly sent
her father to welcome him home. Old Merton embraced the commission, for
he happened to need Meadows's advice and assistance. The speculations
into which he had been led by Mr. Clinton, after some fluctuations, wore
a gloomy look, "which could only be temporary," said that gentleman.
Still a great loss would be incurred by selling out of them at a period
of depression, and Mr. Clinton advised him to borrow a thousand pounds
and hold on till things brightened.

Mr. Meadows smiled grimly as the fly came and buzzed all this in his
web: "Dear! dear! what a pity my money is locked up! Go to Lawyer
Crawley. Use my name. He won't refuse my friend, for I could do him an
ill turn if I chose."

"I will. You are a true friend. You will look in and see us, of course,
market-day?"

"Why not?"

Meadows did not resume his visits at Grassmere without some twinges of
conscience and a prudent resolve not to anchor his happiness upon Susan
Merton. "That man might come here any day with his thousand pounds and
take her from me," said he. "He seems by his letters to be doing well,
and they say any fool can make money in the colonies. Well, if he comes
home respectable and well to do--I'll go out. If I am not to have the
only woman I ever loved or cared for, let thousands and thousands of
miles of sea lie between me and that pair." But still he wheeled about
the flame.

Ere long matters took a very different turn. The tone of George's
letters began to change. His repeated losses of bullocks and sheep were
all recorded in his letters to Susan, and these letters were all read
with eager anxiety by Meadows a day before they reached Grassmere.

The respectable man did not commit this action without some iron passing
through his own soul--_Nemo repente turpissimus._ The first letter
he opened it was like picking a lock. He writhed and blushed, and his
uncertain fingers fumbled with another's property as if it had been
red-hot. The next cost him some shame, too, but the next less, and soon
these little spasms of conscience began to be lost in the pleasure the
letters gave him. "It is clear he will never make a thousand pounds out
there, and if he doesn't the old farmer won't give him Susan. Won't? He
shan't! He shall be too deep in my debt to venture on it even if he
was minded." Meadows exulted over the letters; and as he exulted they
stabbed him, for by the side of the records of his ill fortune the exile
never failed to pour out his love and confidence in his Susan and to
acknowledge the receipt of some dear letter from her, which Meadows
could see by George's must have assured him of undiminished or even
increased affection.

Thus did sin lead to sin. By breaking a seal which was not his and
reading letters which were not his, Meadows filled himself with the
warmest hopes of possessing Susan one day, and got to hate George for
the stabs the young man innocently gave him. At last he actually looked
on George as a sort of dog in the manger, who could not make Susan
happy, yet would come between her heart and one who could. All weapons
seemed lawful against such a mere pest as this--a dog in the manger.

Meadows started with nothing better nor worse than a commonplace
conscience. A vicious habit is an iron that soon sears that sort of
article. When he had opened and read about four letters, his moral
nature turned stone-blind of one eye. And now he was happier (on the
surface) than he had been ever since he fell in love with Susan.

Sure now that one day or another she must be his, he waited patiently,
enjoyed her society twice a week, got everybody into his power, and
bided his time. And one frightful thing in all this was that his love
for Susan was not only a strong but in itself a good love. I mean it was
a love founded on esteem; it was a passionate love, and yet a
profound and tender affection. It was the love which, under different
circumstances, has often weaned men, ay, and women, too, from a
frivolous, selfish, and sometimes from a vicious life. This love Meadows
thought and hoped would hallow the unlawful means by which he must crown
it. In fact, he was mixing vice and virtue. The snow was to whiten the
pitch, not the pitch blacken the snow. Thousands had tried this before
him and will try it after him. Oh, that I could persuade them to mix
fire and gunpowder instead! Men would bless me for this when all else I
have written has been long, long forgotten.

He felt good all over when he sat with Susan and thought how his means
would enable that angel to satisfy her charitable nature, and win the
prayers of the poor as well as the admiration of the wealthy. "If ever
a woman was cherished she shall be! If ever a woman was happy she shall
be!" And as for him, if he had done wrong to win her, he would more
than compensate it afterward. In short, he had been for more than twenty
years selling, buying, swapping, driving every conceivable earthly
bargain--so now he was proposing one to Heaven.

At last came a letter in which George told Susan of the fatal murrain
among his sheep, of his fever that had followed immediately, of the
further losses while he lay ill, and concluded by saying that he had no
right to tie her to his misfortunes, and that he felt it would be more
manly to set her free.

When he read this, Meadows' exultation broke all bounds. "Ah ha!" cried
he, "is it come to that at last? Well, he is a fine fellow after all,
and looks at it the sensible way, and if I can do him a good turn in
business I always will."

The next day he called at Grassmere. Susan met him all smiles and was
more cheerful than usual. The watchful man was delighted. "Come, she
does not take it to heart." He did not guess that Susan had cried for
hours and hours over the letter, and then had sat quietly down and
written a letter and begged George to come home and not add separation
to their other misfortunes; and that it was this decision, and having
acted upon it, that had made her cheerful. Meadows argued in his own
favor, and now made sure to win. The next week he called three times at
Grassmere instead of twice, and asked himself how much longer he
must wait before he should speak out. Prudence said, "A little more
patience;" and so he still hid in his bosom the flame that burned him
the deeper for this unnatural smothering. But he drank deep, silent
draughts of love, and reveled in the bright future of his passion.
It was no longer hope, it was certainty. Susan liked him; her eye
brightened at his coming; her father was in his power. There was nothing
between them but the distant shadow of a rival; sooner or later she must
be his. So passed three calm, delicious weeks away.



CHAPTER LIV.

MEADOWS sat one day in his study receiving Crawley's report.

"Old Mr. Merton came yesterday. I made difficulties as instructed. Is to
come to-morrow."

"He shall have the eight hundred."

"That makes two thousand four hundred; why, his whole stock won't cover
it."

"No!"

"Don't understand it, it is too deep for me. What is the old gentleman
doing?"

"Hunting Will-o'-the-wisp. Throwing it away in speculations that are
colored bright for him by a man that wants to ruin him."

"Aha!" cackled Crawley.

"And do him no harm."

"Augh! How far is it to the bottom of the sea, sir, if you please? I'm
sure you know? Mr. Levi and you."

"Crawley," said Meadows, suddenly turning the conversation, "the world
calls me close-fisted, have you found me so?"

"Liberal as running water, sir. I sometimes say how long will this last
before such a great man breaks Peter Crawley and flings him away and
takes another?" and Crawley sighed.

"Then your game is to make yourself necessary to me."

"I wish I could," said Peter, with mock candor. "Sir," he crept on,
"if the most ardent zeal, if punctuality, secrecy, and unscrupulous
fidelity--"

"Hold your gammon! Are we writing a book together! Answer me this in
English. How far dare you go along with me?"

"As far as your purse extends: only--"

"Only what? Only your thermometer is going down already, I suppose."

"No, sir; but what I mean is, I shouldn't like to do anything too bad."

"What d'ye mean by too bad?"

"Punishable by law."

"It is not your conscience you fear, then?" asked the other gloomily.

"Oh, dear, no, sir, only the law."

"I envy you. There is but one crime punishable by law, and that I shall
never counsel you to."

"Only one--too deep, sir, too deep. Which is that?"

"The crime of getting found out."

"What a great man! how far would I go with you? To the end of the earth.
I have but one regret, sir."

"And what is that?"

"That I am not thought worthy of your confidence. That after so many
years I am still only a too--I mean an honored instrument, and not a
humble friend."

"Crawley," said Meadows, solemnly, "let well alone. Don't ask my
confidence, for I am often tempted to give it you, and that would be all
one as if I put the blade of a razor in your naked hand."

"I don't care, sir! You are up to some game as deep as a coal-pit; and
I go on working and working all in the dark. I'd give anything to be in
your confidence."

"Anything is nothing; put it in figures," sneered Meadows,
incredulously.

"I'll give twenty per cent off all you give me if you will let me see
the bottom."

"The bottom?"

"The reason, sir--the motive!--the why!--the wherefore--the what it is
all to end in. The bottom!"

"Why not say you would like to read John Meadows' heart?"

"Don't be angry, sir; it is presumption, but I can't help it. Deduct
twenty per cent for so great a honor."

"Why, the fool is in earnest."

"He is; we have all got our little vanity, and like to be thought worthy
of confidence."

"Humph!"

"And then I can't sleep for puzzling. Why should you stop every letter
that comes here from Australia. Oh, bless me, how neglectful I am; here
is a letter from there, just come. To think of me bringing it, and then
forgetting."

"Give it me, directly."

"There it is. And then, why on earth are we ruining old Mr. Merton
without benefiting you? and you seem so friendly with him; and indeed,
you say he is not to be harmed--only ruined; it makes my head ache.
Why, what is the matter, Mr. Meadows, sir? What is wrong? No ill news, I
hope. I wish I'd never brought the letter."

"That will do, Crawley," said Meadows, faintly, "you may go."

Crawley rose with a puzzled air.

"Come here to-morrow evening at nine o'clock, and you shall have your
wish. All the worse for you," added he, moodily. "All the worse for me.
Now go, without one word."

Crawley retired dumfounded. He saw the iron man had received some
strange, unexpected and terrible blow; but for a moment awe suppressed
curiosity, and he went off on tiptoe, saying almost in a whisper,
"To-morrow night at nine, sir."

Meadows spread George's letter on the table and leaned on his two hands
over it.

The letter was written some weeks after the last desponding one. It was
full of modest, but warm and buoyant exultation. Heaven had been very
good to Susan and him. Robinson had discovered gold; gold in such
abundance and quality as beat even California. The thousand pounds, so
late despaired of, was now a certainty. Six months' work, with average
good fortune, would do it. Robinson said five thousand apiece was the
least they ought to bring home; but how could he (George) wait so long
as that would take! "And, Susan, dear, if anything could make this
wonderful luck sweeter, it is to think that I owe it to you and to your
goodness. It was you that gave Tom the letter, and bade me be kind to
him, and keep him by me for his good; he has repaid me by making us two
man and wife, please God. See what a web life is! Tom and I often talk
of this. But Tom says it is Parson Eden I have to thank for it, and the
lessons he learned in the prison; but I tell him if he goes so far back
as that, he should go farther, and thank Farmer Meadows, for he it
was that sent Tom to the prison, where he was converted, and became as
honest a fellow as any in the world, and a friend to your George as true
as steel."

The letter concluded as it began, with thanks to Heaven, and bidding
Susan expect his happy return in six months after this letter. In short,
the letter was one "Hurrah!" tempered with simple piety and love.

Meadows turned cold as death in reading it. At the part where Farmer
Meadows was referred to as the first link in the golden chain, he dashed
it to the ground and raised his foot to trample on it, but forbore lest
he should dirty a thing that must go to Susan.

Then he walked the room in great agitation.

"Too late, George Fielding," he cried aloud--"too late; I can't shift my
heart like a weathercock to suit the changes in your luck. You have been
feeding me with hopes till I can't live without them. I never longed
for a thing yet but what I got it, and I'll have this though I trample a
hundred George Fieldings dead on my way to it. Now let me think."

He pondered deeply, his great brows knitted and lowered. For full half
an hour invention and resource poured scheme after scheme through that
teeming brain, and prudence and knowledge of the world sat in severe and
cool judgment on each in turn, and dismissed the visionary ones. At last
the deep brow began to relax, and the eye to kindle; and when he rose
to ring the bell his face was a sign-post with Eureka written on it in
Nature's vivid handwriting. In that hour he had hatched a plot worthy of
Machiavel---a plot complex yet clear. A servant-girl answered the bell.

"Tell David to saddle Rachel directly."

And in five minutes Mr. Meadows, with a shirt, a razor, a comb, and a
map of Australia, was galloping by cross lanes to the nearest railway
station. There he telegraphed Mr. Clinton to meet him at Peel's
Coffee-House at two o'clock. The message flashed up to town like
lightning. The man followed it slowly like the wind.



CHAPTER LV.

MEADOWS found Mr. Clinton at Peel's. "Mr. Clinton, I want a man of
intelligence to be at my service for twenty-four hours. I give you the
first offer."

Mr. Clinton replied that really he had so many irons in the fire that
twenty-four hours--

Meadows put a fifty-pound note on the table.

"Will all your irons iron you out fifty pounds as flat as that?"

"Why, hem?"

"No, nor five. Come, sir, sharp is the word. Can you be my servant for
twenty-four hours for fifty pounds? yes or no!"

"Why, this is dramatic--yes!"

"It is half-past two. Between this and four o'clock I must buy a few
hundred acres in Australia, a fair bargain."

"Humph! Well, that can be done. I know an old fellow that has land in
every part of the globe."

"Take me to him."

In ten minutes they were in one of those dingy, narrow alleys in the
city of London, that look the abode of decent poverty, and they could
afford to buy Grosvenor Square for their stables; and Mr. Clinton
introduced his friend to a blear-eyed merchant in a large room papered
with maps; the windows were incrusted; mustard and cress might have been
grown from them. Beauty in clean linen collar and wristbands would have
shown here with intolerable luster; but the blear-eyed merchant did not
come out bright by contrast; he had taken the local color. You could
see him and that was all. He was like a partridge in a furrow. A
snuff-colored man; coat rusty all but the collar, and that greasy; poor
as its color was, his linen had thought it worth emulating; blackish
nails, cotton wipe, little bald place on head, but didn't shine for the
same reason the windows didn't. Mr. Clinton approached this "dhirrrty
money," this rusty coin, in the spirit of flunkyish.

"Sir," said he, in a low reverential tone, "this party is disposed to
purchase a few hundred acres in the colonies."

Mr. Rich looked up from his desk and pointed with a sweep of his pen to
the walls.

"There are the maps; the red crosses are my land. They are numbered.
Refer to the margin of map, and you will find the acres and the latitude
and longitude calculated to a fraction. When you have settled in what
part of the world you buy, come to me again; time is gold."

And the blear-eyed merchant wrote and sealed and filed and took no
notice of his customers. They found red crosses in several of the United
States, in Canada, in Borneo, in nearly all the colonies, and as
luck would have it they found one small cross within thirty miles of
Bathurst, and the margin described it as five hundred acres. Mr. Meadows
stepped toward the desk.

"I have found a small property near Bathurst."

"Bathurst? where is that?"

"In Australia."

"Suit?"

"If the price suits. What is the price, sir?"

"The books must tell us that."

Mr. Rich stretched out his arm and seized a ledger, and gave it Meadows.

"I have but one price for land, and that is five per cent profit on my
outlay. Book will tell you what it stands me in, you can add five per
cent to that, and take the land away or leave it."

With this curt explanation, Mr. Rich resumed his work.

"It seems you gave five shillings an acre, sir," said Mr. Clinton.
"Five times five hundred shillings, one hundred and twenty-five pounds.
Interest at five per cent, six pounds five."

"When did I buy it?" asked Mr. Rich.

"Oh, when did you buy it, sir?"

Mr. Rich snatched the book a little pettishly, and gave it to Meadows.

"You make the calculation," said he; "the figures are all there. Come to
me when you have made it."

The land had been bought twenty-seven years and some months ago. Mr.
Meadows made the calculation in a turn of the hand and announced it.
Rich rang a hand bell. Another snuffy figure with a stoop and a bald
head and a pen came through a curtain.

"Jones, verify that calculation."

"Penny, halfpenny, twopence, penny, halfpenny, twopence. Mum, mum!
Halfpenny wrong, sir."

"There is a halfpenny wrong!" cried Mr. Rich to Meadows, with a most
injured air.

"There is, sir," said Meadows, "but it is on the right side for you. I
thought I would make it even money against myself."

"There are only two ways, wrong and right," was the reply. "Jones,
make it right. There, that is the price for the next half hour; after
business hours to-day add a day's interest; and, Jones--if he does not
buy, write your calculation into the book with date--save time, next
customer comes for it."

"You need not trouble, Mr. Jones," said Meadows. "I take the land.
Here is two hundred and fifty pounds--that is rather more than half the
purchase-money.

"Jones--count."

"When can I have the deeds?"

"Ten, to-morrow."

"Receipt for two hundred and fifty pounds," said Meadows, falling into
the other's key.

"Jones, write receipt--two five naught."

"Write me an agreement to sell," proposed Meadows.

"No, you write it; I'll sign it. Jones, enter transaction in the books.
Have you anything to do, young gentleman?" addressing Clinton.

"No, sir."

"Then draw this pen through the two crosses on the map and margin. Good
morning, gentlemen."

And the money-making machine rose and dismissed them, as he had received
them, with a short, sharp business _conge'._

Ye fair, who turn a shop head over heels, maul sixty yards of ribbon and
buy six, which being sent home insatiable becomes your desire to change
it for other six which you had fairly, closely, and with all the powers
of your mind compared with it during the seventy minutes the purchase
occupied, let me respectfully inform you that the above business
took just eight minutes, and that "when it was done, 'twas done."
(Shakespeare.)

"You have given too much, my friend," said Mr. Clinton.

"Come to my inn," was all the reply. "This is the easy part, the game is
behind."

After dinner. "Now," said Meadows, "business. Do you know any
respectable firm disposed toward speculation in mines?"

"Plenty."

"Any that are looking toward gold?"

"Why, no. Gold is a metal that ranks very low in speculation. Stop! yes,
I know one tip-top house that has gone a little way in it, but they have
burned their fingers, so they will go no farther."

"You are wrong; they will be eager to go on--first to recover the loss
on that article of account, and next to show their enemies, and in
particular such of them as are their friends, that they didn't blunder.
You will go to them to-morrow and ask if they can allow you a commission
for bringing them an Australian settler on whose land gold has been
found."

"Now, my good sir," began Mr. Clinton, a little superciliously, "that is
not the way to gain the ear of such a firm as that. The better way will
be for you to show me your whole design and leave me to devise the best
means for carrying it into effect."

Up to this moment Meadows had treated Mr. Clinton with a marked
deference, as from yeoman to gentleman. The latter, therefore, was not a
little surprised when the other turned sharp on him thus:

"This won't do; we must understand one another. You think you are the
man of talent and I am the clodhopper. Think so to-morrow night; but for
the next twenty-four hours you must keep that notion out of your head
or you will bitch my schemes and lose your fifty pounds. Look here, sir.
You began life with ten thousand pounds; you have been all your life
trying all you know to double it--and where is it? The pounds are pence
and the pence on the road to farthings. I started with a whip and a
smock-frock, and this," touching his head, "and I have fifty thousand
pounds in government securities. Which is the able man of these two--the
bankrupt that talks like an angel and loses the game, or the wise man
that quietly wins it and pockets what all the earth are grappling with
him for? So much for that. And now which is master, the one who pays or
the one who is paid? I am not a liberal man, sir; I am a man that looks
at every penny. I don't give fifty pounds. I sell it. That fifty pounds
is the price of your vanity for twenty-four hours. I take a day's loan
of it. You are paid fifty pounds per diem to see that there is more
brains in my little finger than in all your carcass. See it for
twenty-four hours or I won't fork out, or don't see it but obey me as if
you did see it. You shan't utter a syllable or move an inch that I
have not set down for you. Is this too hard? then accept ten pounds for
to-day's work, and let us part before you bungle your master's game as
you have done your own."

Mr. Clinton was red with mortified vanity, but forty pounds! He threw
himself back in his chair.

"This is amusing," said he. "Well, sir, I will act as if you
were Solomon and I nobody. Of course under these circumstances no
responsibility rests with me."

"You are wasting my time with your silly prattle," said Meadows, very
sternly. "Man alive! you never made fifty pounds cash since you were
calved. It comes to your hand to-day, and even then you must chatter and
jaw instead of saying yes and closing your fingers on it like a vise."

"Yes!" shouted Clinton; "there."

"Take that quire," said Meadows, sharply. "Now I'll dictate the very
words you are to say; learn them off by heart and don't add a syllable
or subtract one or--no fifty pounds."

Meadows being a general by nature (not Horse-Guards) gave Clinton
instructions down to the minutest matters of detail, and he whose
life had been spent in proving he would succeed--and failing--began
to suspect the man who had always succeeded might perhaps have had
something to do with his success.

Next morning, well primed by Meadows, Mr. Clinton presented himself
to Messrs. Brathwaite & Stevens and requested a private audience. He
inquired whether they were disposed to allow him a commission if he
would introduce them to an Australian settler on whose land gold had
been discovered.

The two members of the firm looked at one another. After a pause one of
them said:

"Commission really must depend on how such a thing turned out. They had
little confidence in such statements, but would see the settler and put
some questions to him."

Clinton went out and introduced Meadows. This happened just as Meadows
had told him it would. Outside the door Mr. Meadows suddenly put on a
rustic carriage and so came in and imitated natural shyness with great
skill; he had to be twice asked to sit down.

The firm cross-examined him. He told them gold had been discovered
within a stone's throw of his land, thirty miles from Bathurst; that his
friends out there had said go home to England and they will give you a
heavy price for your land now; that he did hope to get a heavy price,
and so be able to live at home--didn't want to go out there again; that
the land was worth money--for there was no more to be sold in that part;
government land all round and they wouldn't sell, for he had tried them
(his sharp eye had seen this fact marked on Mr. Rich's map).

"Well," said the senior partner, "we have information that gold has been
discovered in that district; the report came here two days ago by the
_Anne Amelia._ But the account is not distinct as yet. We do not hear
on whose land it is found if at all. I presume you have not seen gold
found."

"Could I afford to leave my business out there and come home--on a
speculation?"

The eyes of the firm began to glitter.

"Have you got any gold to show us?"

"Nothing to speak of, sir; only what they chucked me for giving them
a good dinner. But they are shoveling it about like grains of wheat, I
assure you."

The firm became impatient.

"Show us what they gave you as the price of a dinner?"

Meadows dug into a deep pocket, and chased into a corner, and caught,
and produced a little nugget of quartz and gold worth about four pounds,
also another of somewhat less value.

"They don't look handsome, gents," said he, "but you may see the stuff
glitter here and there; and here is some of the dust. I had to buy
this; gave them fifty shillings an ounce for it. I wish I had bought a
hundred-weight, for they tell me it is worth three pound ten here."

"May we inspect these specimens?"

"Why not, sir? I'll trust it with you. I wouldn't with everybody,
though."

The partners retired with the gold, tested it with muriatic acid,
weighed it, and after a short, excited interview one of them brought it
back and asked with great nonchalance the price of the land.

Meadows hung his head.

"Twenty thousand pounds."

"Twenty thousand pounds!" and the partner laughed in his face.

"I don't wonder you are surprised, sir. I wonder at myself asking so
much. Why, before this, if you had offered me five thousand, I would
have jumped into your arms, as the saying is; but they all say I ought
to have twenty thousand, and they have talked to me till they make me
greedy."

The partner retired and consulted, and the firm ended by offering ten
thousand.

"I am right down ashamed to say no," was the answer, "but I suppose I
must not take it."

The firm undertook to prove it was a magnificent offer. Meadows offered
no resistance, he thought so too; but he must not take it, everybody
told him it was worth more. At last, when his hand was on the door, they
offered him twelve thousand five hundred.

He begged to consider it.

No! they were peremptory. If he was off, they were off.

He looked this way and that way with a frightened air.

"What shall I do, sir?" said he, helplessly, to Clinton, and nudged him
secretly.

"Take it, and think yourself very lucky," said that gentleman,
exchanging a glance with the firm.

"Well, then, if you say so, I will. You shall have it, gentlemen, five
hundred acres in two lots--400 and 100."

Clinton, acting on his secret instructions, now sought a private
interview with the firm.

"I am to have a commission, gentlemen?"

"Yes! fifty pounds; but, really, we can hardly afford it."

"Well, then, as you give me an interest in it, I say--pin him."

"Why?"

"Don't you see he is one of those soft fellows who listen to everybody.
If he goes away, and they laugh at him for not getting more for it, I
really could hardly answer for his ever coming back here."

The firm came in cheerfully.

"Well, Mr. ---- Mr."

"Not Mr., sir. Crawley--plain John Crawley."

"We will terminate this affair with you. We will have a contract of sale
drawn up and make you an advance. When can you give us the title deeds?"

"In a couple of hours, if the lawyer is at home."

"By the by, you will not object to draw upon us at three months for one
half of the money?"

"No, sir. I should say by the look of you you were as good as the bank."

"The other half by check in two hours." The parties signed the contract
respectively.

Then Meadows and Clinton went off to the Five-per-Center, completed
with him, got the title deeds, brought them, received check and
accepted draft. Clinton, by Meadows' advice, went in and dunned for his
commission then and there, and got it, and the confederates went off and
took a hasty dinner together. After dinner they settled.

"As you showed me how to get this commission out of them, it belongs to
you," said Clinton, sorrowfully.

"It does, sir. Give it to me. I return it to you, sir; do me the favor
to accept it."

"You are very generous, Mr. Meadows."

"And here is the other fifty you have earned."

"Thank you, my good sir. Are you satisfied with the day's work?"

"Amply, sir. Your skill and ingenuity brought us through triumphant,"
said Meadows, resuming the deferential, since he risked nothing by it
now.

"Well, I think I managed it pretty well. By the by, that gold you showed
them, was it really gold?"

"Certainly."

"Oh! because I thought--"

"No, sir, you did not. A man of your ability knows I would not risk ten
thousand pounds for want of a purchase I could not lose ten shillings
by ----. Ore is not a fancy article."

"Oh! ah! yes, very true; no, of course not. One question more. Where did
the gold come from?"

"California."

"But, I mean, how did you get it?"

"I bought it out of a shop window those two knowing ones pass twice
every day of their lives."

"Ha! ha! ha!"

"You pass it oftener than that, sir. Excuse me, sir; I must catch the
train. But one word before I go. My name must never be mentioned in this
business."

"Very well; it never shall transpire, upon my honor."

Meadows felt pretty safe. As he put on his greatcoat he thought to
himself: "When the story is blown and laughed over, this man's vanity
will keep my name out of it. He won't miss a chance of telling the world
how clever he is. My game is to pass for honest, not for clever, no,
thank you."

"Good-by, sir," was his last word. "It is you for hoodwinking them."

"Ha! ha! ha! Good-by, farmer." (In a patronizing tone.)

Soon after this, Meadows was in a corner of a railway-carriage, twelve
thousand four hundred and fifty pounds in his pocket, and the second
part of his great complex scheme boiling and bubbling in his massive
head. There he sat silent as the grave, his hat drawn over his powerful
brows that were knitted all the journey by one who never knitted them in
vain.

He reached home at eight and sat down to his desk and wrote for more
than half an hour. Then he sealed up the paper, and when Crawley came he
found him walking up and down the room. At a silent gesture Crawley
took a chair and sat quivering with curiosity. Meadows walked in deep
thought.

"You demanded my confidence. It is a dangerous secret, for once you know
it you must serve me with red-hot zeal, or be my enemy and be crushed
out of life like a blind-worm, or an adder, Peter Crawley."

"I know that, dear sir," assented Peter, ruefully.

"First, how far have you guessed?"

"I guess Mr. Levi is somehow against us."

"He is," replied Meadows, carelessly.

"Then that is a bad job. He will beat us. He is as cunning as a fox."

Meadows looked up contemptuously; but as he could not afford to let
such a sneak as Crawley think him anything short of invincible, he said
coolly, "He is, and I have measured cunning with a fox."

"You have? That must have been a tight match."

"A fox used to take my chickens one hard winter; an old fox cautious and
sly as the Jew you rate so high. The men sat up with guns for him--no;
a keeper set traps in a triangle for him--no. He had the eye of a hawk,
the ear of a hare, and his own nose. He would have the chickens, and he
would not get himself into trouble. The women complained to me of the
fox. I turned a ferret loose into the rabbit-hutch, and in half a minute
there was as nice a young rabbit dead as ever you saw."

"Lookee there now," cried Crawley.

"I choked the ferret off, but never touched the rabbit. I took the
rabbit with a pair of tongs; the others had handled their baits and pug
crept round 'em and nosed the trick. I poured twenty drops of croton oil
into the little hole ferret had made in bunny's head, and I dropped him
in the grass near pug's track. Next morning rabbit had been drawn about
twenty yards and the hole in his head was three times as big. Pug went
the nearest way to blood; went in at ferret's hole. I knew he would."

"Yes, sir! yes! yes! yes! and there lay the fox."

"No signs of him. Then I said: 'Go to the nearest water. Croton oil
makes 'em dry.' They went along the brook--and on the very bank there
lay an old dog-fox blown up like bladder, as big as a wolf and as dead
as a herring. Now for the Jew. Look at that;" and he threw him a paper.

"Why, this is the judgment on which I arrested Will Fielding, and here
is the acceptance."

"Levi bought them to take the man out of my power. He left them with
old Cohen. I have got them again, you see, and got young Fielding in my
power spite of his foxy friend."

"Capital, sir, capital!" cried the admiring Crawley. He then looked
at the reconquered documents. "Ah!" said he, spitefully, "how I wish I
could alter one of these names, only one!"

"What d'ye mean?"

"I mean that I'd give fifty pound (if I had it) if it was but that brute
George Fielding that was in our power instead of this fool William."

Meadows opened his eyes: "Why?"

"Because he put an affront upon me," was the somewhat sulky reply.

"What was that?"

"Oh, no matter, sir!"

"But it is matter. Tell me. I am that man's enemy."

"Then I am in luck. You are just the enemy I wish him."

"What was the affront?"

"He called me a pettifogger."

"Oh, is that all?"

"No. He discharged me from visiting his premises."

"That was not very polite."

"And threatened to horsewhip me next time I came there."

"Oh, is that where the shoe pinches?"

"No, it is not!" cried Crawley, almost in a shriek; "but he altered his
mind, and did horsewhip me then and there. Curse him!"

Meadows smiled grimly. He saw his advantage. "Crawley," said he,
quickly, "he shall rue the day he lifted his hand over you. You want to
see to the bottom of me."

"Oh, Mr. Meadows, that is too far for the naked eye to see," was the
despondent reply.

"Not when it suits my book. I am going to keep my promise and show you
my heart."

"Ah!"

"Listen and hear the secret of my life. Are you listening?"

"What do you think, sir?" was the tremulous answer.

"I--love--Miss--Merton;" and for once his eyes sank before Crawley's.

"Sir! you--love--a--woman?"

"Not as libertines love, nor as boys flirt and pass on. Heaven have
mercy on me, I love her with all my heart and soul and brain! I love her
with more force than such as you can hate!"

"The deuce you do!"

"I love the sweetheart--of the man--who lashed you--like a dog."

Crawley winced and rubbed his hands.

"And your fortune is made if you help me to win her."

Crawley rubbed his hands.

"Old Merton has promised the woman I love to this George Fielding if he
comes back with a thousand pounds."

"Don't you be frightened, sir; that he will never do."

"Will he not? Read this letter."

"Ah! the letter that put you out so. Let me see--Mum! mum! Found gold.
Pheugh! Pheugh! Pheeeugh!!"

"Crawley, most men reading that letter would have given in then and
there, and not fought against such luck as this. I only said to myself,
'Then it will cost me ten thousand pounds to win the day.' Well, between
yesterday eleven forenoon and this hour I made the ten thousand pounds."

He told him briefly how.

"Beautiful, sir! What, did you make the ten thousand out of your own
rival's letter?"

"Yes, I taxed the enemy for the expenses of the war."

"Oh, Mr. Meadows, what a fool, what a villain I was to think Mr. Levi
was as great a man as you! I must have been under a hallucination."

"Crawley, the day that John and Susan Meadows walk out of church man
and wife I put a thousand pounds into your hand and set you up in
any business you like; in any honest business, for from that day our
underhand dealings must end. The husband of that angel must never grind
the poor or wrong a living creature. If Heaven consents to my
being happy in this way, the least I can do is to walk straight and
straightforward the rest of my days, and I will, s'help me God."

"That is fair. I knew you were a great man, but I had no idea you were
such a good one."

"Crawley," said the other, with a sudden gloomy misgiving, "I am trying
to cheat the devil. I fear no man can do that;" and he hung his head.

"No ordinary man, sir," replied the parasite, "but your