Chapter 198379508

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter TitleTHE TRIAL OF QAUTRAN.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article198379508
Full Date1883-07-25
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count2751
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEvening Journal (Adelaide, SA : 1869 - 1912)
Trove TitleThe House of White Shadows
article text

THE HOUSE OF WHITE SHADOWS,

Hv a L. fabjeon, Author of "lilade-o'-Orass," "Joshua Mattq1, m " BrenJ rail C'hetwe ood Kissos," "Grii," "Lon« don's liu&rt/' Ac.

CHAPTER VHL TUB TILIAL OF GACT&AN.

The triurl of Gautraa was proceeding, and the Court-house was thronged by an excited auditorv, upon whom not a point in the tragic drama was thrown away. Impressed by the great powers of the Advocate who had undertaken to appear for the accused, the most effective measures were adopted to (irove Oautran's guilt and obtain a conviction. It was a legal battle, foogbt with all the subtle weapons at the disposal of the law. Gautranj prosecutors fought with faces unmasked and with their hands displayed ; the Advocate, on the contrary, in the courec be pursued appeared not only to deeply impressed as ^those^ arrayed s]>ectatorB looked at each other in doubt and wonder, and long before the case for the prosecution was at an end the Jury were ready to deliver their verdict; bat, oalm and unmoved, the Advocate, with amazing patience, followed out his secret theory, the revelation of which was awaited by those who knew him best and feared him most with intense and gainful curiosity. Not one of these observers doubted that the Advocate had an engine hidden which at the proper time ho would launch with fatal effect against the prosecution. What was the nature of his argnmcat was at present an impenetrable mystery. It was understood that not more than two witnesses would be called for the defence, but no one knew the names of the witnesses nor the evidence they would be asked to supply in favour of the prisoner. It was not to be disputed that tne prosecution had taken every possible precaution in their conduct of the ease, and if by some inexplicable chance a crevice had been left open in which the Advocate could fix a deadly arrow, it was visible only to himself. Every disreputable circumstance In Gautr&n's life was raked up to display the odiouenees of his character; his infamous career was tracked from hie childhood to tho hour of his arrest, and every detail of his connection with the murdered girl wliicli bore relation to the tragic deed was brought forward to prevent a miscarriage of justice. A creature more degraded, with features more hideous, it would have been difficult to tind in the worst hfliuita of crime and shame; and his physical presentment was the visible embodiment of his moral nature. Simple pleasures, a virtuous thought, a sweet and innocent impulse, had never found a home in his heart. Degraded he was boni, degraded lie had lived, degraded he now etuoi before his Judges. His perilous position evcited no feeling of compassion ; were his conviction to have carried with it the most barbarous tortures uo pity would h:ivc been exhibited for him. It was ahorror to gaze upon his face, and as lie stood in the dock, convulsively clutching the rails, with beads of ;>ci"S[>i ration on his features, every person who beheld him wu ready to proclaim him guiltv, ami as ready to assist in tearing him to pieocs for his terrible crime. For eight daye had he so stood, execrated and condemned by all. For eight days hid he endured the anguish of a thousand deaths, of a myiiad agonizing tears. Hy day and by night his soul had been harrowed by the mostawful visions-visions of which noone but himself had :iny conception. In his cell, with his gaolers watching his every movement, in the Court with the glare of daylight upon him, in the dusty corridors he traversed morning and evening, he «aw the phantom of the girl with whose murder he was charged, ana by her side the phantom of himself standing on the threshnold cf a future in whicli there was no mercy or pity. No communication passed between him and the Advocate who was tinhtiii.f for him ; not once did the Advocate tiirn to tho prisoner or address single word to him ; it was aa though he WITC battling for a victory iu wtuch (J&utrau was in no wi*w ci'iiLi-nieti. Not a »junstion he asked the \\ itueescp. not an observation he made to the .1 w ;is lout upon (Jautran, and gradually then stule into tho heart of the prisoner a dc .-icily h.itred ;unl auimosity against him. Kor every word lie uttered strengthened and deepened the blackness of tiautran's diameter ; nothing wan elicited iu the man's fuvmii', A witness who knew t-iautran intimately, nnd well aciiuaiued with Madeline, \v;ia crod examined somewhat in this fashion :- " Yon and tlie prisoner were comrades for a time ' " We were." ' Was tho association a pleasant one? ' It * i not.' You did not get along well \yith him - ?" "1 did not." " Were there special reasons for disagreement between you?" •'There were."' " Kelate them.'' "1 am a hard-working man, he is au indidcnt ouo. When we worked together on a task, the protits of which were to be shared between us. he shirked his work, and left me to perforin it." " Why did you not break with him?" " I was afraid. I was in terror of my life." " L>id YOU never make an effort to separate yourself from him " 1 did, ;md he threatened me. He did more ; he marked me for life." " In what way ?" " He gave mo this scar on my forehead." "Did he use a weapon against you ?" Yes, a knife." 4 • He is a man of violent passions, then 4 4 He is." 4 4 And of great strength?" 4 1 He is very powerful." 4 ' Possessed with an idea which he was determined to carrv out, would it be likely that anything could soften him ?" 4 1 Nothiug could soften him." M Opposition would infuriate him J" " It would. I have seen him, when crossed, behave as if he were a wild beast.'' 4 4 You have uever observed anything gentle in his manner?" " Nc/er." 4 4 His passion was uncontrollable?" 41 Yes." " You knew him when he was a lad ?" "1 did." " Was his disposition cruel then "It was." M Did he tako & delight in inflicting physical pain ou those weaker than himself? 4 1 He did." 4 4 And in prolonging that pain ?*' 44 Yes." 4 4 In his paroxysms of fury would not an appeal to his humanity have an eilect upou lum ?" " He has no humanity." " And his actions at those times would be characterized by great violence " Yes." " You were acquainted with Madcliuc, the flower girl 7" 4 1 You have already deposed that she was very gen do in her manner?" 1 4 Sue was so." •' Do yoj moan that sho was incapable of being aroused 4 4 ldo not understand vou." "1 will explain myself. Madeline was a human being ?" 4 4 Why, of course." 4 4 Ana although of a gentle nature, had tho Ordinary feelings of a human being ?' \Vhy, of course." '* Therefore was capable of being aroused ?" 4 1 1 suppose so." 4 4 She had many admirers ?" , 4 I have heard so." 4 4 Do you not know so V 4 4 Yes." " You yourself admired her ?" 4 4 1 did." •* And would have married her ?" •' Yes." 4 4 You mfcde love to her I suppose I did," " It is, or is not, a fact, Y'ou made love to her ?" 4 1 Yes." Did she encourage you?" 4 1 1 cannot say she did." 4 4 She repulsed your attentions?' " Yes." 4 4 In words ?" 4 4 Y'es." '• And in her actions ?' 4 1 1 do not know that." 4 4 You must know it, if it were so. Did you ever attempt to embrace her?" The witness did not reply to this question, and upon its being repeated, still preserved silence. Admonished by the Judges, and instructed to reply without hesitation, he said, "yes, I have attempted to embrace her. '• On more than one occasion r Yes." '• Did she permit it?" 4 4 No." 4 1 She resisted you?" 4 k In her actions, then ? •' She repulsed your attentions in word and Qction ? 1 " Did she strike you ? 4 4 She scratched my face." " She resisted you successfully?" " Despite her gentleness of manner Bhc possessed strength ?" "Oh, yes; more strength than one would have supposeJ."

" Strength which she wonld exert to defend herseljf from insult f' "Yes." u And which ahe would" exert to protect herself from physical injury T", 4 4 Of course she woula, like any other "Her face generally wore a smiling expression r "It did." " And you have often heard her singing to herself r "Often." 4 4 Do you think she was fond of life ?" " Why, yes; who is not f • " Do you suppose that she would have welcomed a violent and sudden death ?" " Certainly not." " She would have resisted ?" "Yes." 1 4 With all her strength ?" "That wonld be naturaL" This was the line adopted by the Advocate in his examination of tne witnesses brought forward by the prosecution. His aim appeared to oe to fix upon the minds of the Jury, beyond the possibility of doubt, not only the lawlessness of Gaotran's character, but bis irredeemable ferocity and brutality. He succeeded in his purpose, and never did lawyer so completely establish the blackness of the character of a man charged with an awful crime as did the Advocate of tho man he was defending. How he was to turn this to the advantage of the accused was a mystery which the subtlest legal mind of those arrayed against him could not fathom, and Gautran appeared to have good reason to curse the cnance whioh had given him each a defender. At length the case for the prosecution was concluded, with an expression of regret on the part of the prosecuting counsel at the abscnce of Pauline, who might have been able to afford additional evidence, if any were needed, of the guilt of the prisoner. "Every effort hafl been made," said the leader of the prosecution, " to trace and produce this woman, but when rhe parted from the murdered girl no person knew .whither she was directing her steps. The victim of this foul and horrible crime could most likely have told us, but her lips are closed by the murderer's hand. We may accept it as a certainty that up to this moment she is ignorant of the fate of Madeline; for otherwise, so devoted was her love, and so strong the attachment which existed between them, it is difficult to imagine the cause that woula preveDt her from appeaniv iu this Court and adding her evidence to rridcnce already sufficiently overwhelming to secure the ends of justice. Let me warn you not to be diverted by sophistry or specious reasoning from the duty which you are here to perform, which God and man demand of you. A most vile and horrible crime has been committed—the life of an innocent and amiable girl—of a girl almost a child, who was gifted with graces winch might have adorned a higher sphere—has been cruelly, remorselessly sacrificed; hor blood calls for justice upon her murderer ; aud upon you rests the solemn responsibility of not permitting the cscaDe of a wretch whose guilt has been established by evidence bo convincing as to lc&7c no room to doubt in the mind of any human being of calm and reasonable judgment. It is not in my power to make you acquainted with tho nature of the defence which will be set up on behalf of the prisoner—it will be laid before you in due time by the able Advocate who defends him ; but 1 cannot refrain from impressing upon jou the stern necessity of allowing no other considerations than those supplied by a clear judgment to guide you in the delivery of your verdict. I should be wanting in my duty if I did not warn you that there have been cases in which the guilty have cscaped by the raising of side issues which have not the remotest bearing upon the crimes niton which they have been accused. It is not by specious logic that a guilty man can be proved to be innocent ; guilt and innoccnce can only be established uy facts, end the facts we have laid before you are fatal in the conclusion to l>e deduced from them. Bear these facts in mind, aud do not allow your reason to he clouded even by ibe highest efforts of masterly elo>iucuce. I know of no greater reproach from which men of sensibility can suH'cr thau that they have been turned from the performance of a solemn duty by arguments opposed to common sense, by arguments which cannot bland the test of calm examination, You may have no cause for such a reproach ! May you have no eausu to lament that your judgment has been warped by passionate and fevered oratory ! I do npt appeal to your humanity ; 1 appeal to your sense of justice. Let that, and that alone, be your guide. .Justice we all desire, nothing more and nothing less, and you arc hore to dispense it. The law deniauds it of you ; society demands it of you. The safety of your fellow citizens, the honour of young girls, your sisters, your daughters, and others dear to you, are in your keeping ; I may even say that they depend upon your verdict. For if wretches like the prisoner arc permitted to walk in our midHt, to pursue their evil courses uupunished, to live their evil lives unchecked, life and honour are in fatal peril. The duty you have to perform is a sacred duty, see that jou perform it righteously and conacieatimis'iy. The eyes of the Lterual are upon you !" This appeal, delivered with passionate earuottness, made a profound impression. In the (aces of the Jury was written the fate of (j&utran. Under these circumstances, when the result of the trial ap]>cared to be a foregone conclusion, it might have been erpected that the rising of the Advocate would have been received with but mild interest. It was not 60. At that moment the excitement rose to a jiainfnl pitch, and every person in the Court-house leant forward with eager and absorbed attention. KrnsimiTon and Norwood Town Hall.—It Is announced elaowbero that tiie new iiall in the above municipality vill be opened by His Excellency the Governor on Monday next. Chamubh ok Commence.—The quarterly meeting will be held thia afternoon. T& It Saved My Like.—The value of human life ts so supremely Important that anything which tends to its prolongation is entitled to the highest constdoitttloD. 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