|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Vicissitudes of an Orphan|
Vicissitudes of an Orphan.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "ALICE VERNON."
WHEN Dora found herself alone in the cell she looked round on the bare walls and rude furniture, and, listening to the retreating foot-
steps of the turnkey as they died away down
the corridor, felt as if she had never before known what it was to be friendless and desolate. At length she sank unconsciously to her knees. As unconsciously, too, she prayed, repeating the words of the Litany, that most wonderful of all human compositions, which, in its comprehen- sive and perfect applicability to every woe of mankind, seems as if the work of inspiration. "That it may please Thee!" she exclaimed, in an agony of petition, raising her clasped hands to Heaven, "to show Thy pity upon all prisoners and captives; to defend and provide for the fatherless children and all that are deso- late and oppressed!" Soothed, finally, to comparative calm by these holy words, Dora insensibly sank into slumber; and on the following morning she awoke re- freshed and cheered. The consciousness of in- nocence—let what might happen—was, she now felt, an all-sufficient support. The world might say of her as it pleased; Providence was at least her friend. At the earliest hour consistent with the prison regulations Mrs. Harper made her appearance. "I have been to see a lawyer," she said; "I went last night. He tells me that you will be committed for the murder, of course; but that, if we can find Mr. Butler before the trial comes on, you will not even be arraigned. He asked me whether I thought James would come for- ward and acknowledge the deed, supposing he committed it, which, from what we both know, is almost certain. I told him I believed that Mr. Butler, if he knew of your arrest, would travel night and day to rescue you." Dora had inclined to believe this herself, and it had been her chief consolation; but many doubts had arisen nevertheless. To find Mrs. Harper, who knew Butler so much better than herself, express entire confidence on the subject, cheered her indescribably. "Bless you for those words," said Dora. "I occasionally had doubts, I must acknowledge, as to his return. This being arraigned for murder is such a terrible thing." And she shuddered; adding, almost immediately, "But we are not certain Mr. Butler killed Mr. Thomaston; and if he did not, he can do nothing for us." She spoke tremulously, and looked at Mrs. Harper. "I am as certain James killed the young man as that I live," replied the landlady. "If I wanted any other proof, his manner, when he parted from me, would convince me. I am satisfied, however, that the death of Mr. Thomaston was not intended, but has been in some way, the result of accident. James, aware of how facts might be tortured against him, has gone off at once; but he little imagined that you, or any one would fall under suspicion, otherwise he would never have taken to flight. Oh! I know him well. A more honest or braver spirit never was. The horror of the accident must have deprived him, moreover, of a portion of his presence of mind, or he would have stayed and confronted danger, telling the simple truth, and leaving the rest to Providence." "But what—what if I am convicted?" asked Dora. She spoke the words with difficulty, and her face was ashy pale. Mrs. Harper looked at her with a wild, sudden look of terror. "You don't suppose it can come to that," she cried; for, in her reverence for Dora's superior intellect, she was morbidly sen- sitive to her darling's opinion of the dangers of the accusation. "You can't really think, if we advertise, that James will fail to hear of the trial?" "He may hear too late," said Dora. "Heaven will not suffer such injustice," said Mrs. Harper, hastily. "Don't believe it, dearest —James will come—he must come." "It is right to be prepared for the worst, however," said Dora, firmly. "You see me comparatively cheerful; but this cheerfulness is less the result of my belief in acquittal, than of an entire confidence in Heaven, happen what will. Nay, do not weep," she said, for Mrs. Harper began to sob wildly. "Perhaps this confidence is, without my being aware of it, given me by Him who foresees all things, be- cause He knows that I shall escape this terrible pitfall. But, in the event of my conviction—I speak now only for yourself—in the event of my conviction," and it was noble to see how heroic- ally she dwelt on this, "what will become of you, stripped of every penny—old, deserted, without strength for severe labor—" Mrs. Harper could endure no more. Sobbing more wildly than ever, she flung herself into Dora's arms, interrupting the speaker, and ex- claiming in broken sentences, "I will go to the poor-house—if they kill you I sha'n't stay long behind— and it won't matter then whether my coffin is of elm or mahogany—whether I am placed decently in a hearse, or carried to a pauper's grave." Dora wept too, straining the landlady to her bosom. "Dear Mrs. Harper," she sobbed, "dear, kind, generous friend, I cannot let you do this. Keep your little hoard and forget me. He who fed the ravens will take care of the poor prisoner." "Let what will come, dearest," said Mrs. Harper, "the Lord will not suffer us to endure more than we can bear; for He will either lighten the load, or remove us to a better world." When Dora was summoned to attend her final examination, Mrs. Harper accompanied her to the court. The room was even more densely crowded than on the evening before, for the newspapers had given long accounts of the homicide, and stated when the next examination was to take place, thus collecting a vast concourse of the curious. Even the pavement outside was filled; so that, in conducting Dora into the court, it became necessary for the officers to make a way through the mass. All this was inexpressibly painful to Dora. She drew down her veil and clung closer to Mrs. Harper's side, trembling with terror and outraged modesty. When she reached the chair placed for her in the office, she sank into it gratefully. Her tottering limbs would not have supported her for another moment. The first countenance that met her eye, when she ventured to glance around, was that of the elder Thomaston scowling upon her. By his side stood three of the most eminent lawyers of the city. It needed no second glance at his face to convince Dora that she had nothing to hope from him but the most vindictive cruelty. He
had evidently prejudged her case. Regarding her as guilty of his son's death, he was deter- mined, to use his own coarse words, "to hunt her to the gallows;" and so he had told the lawyers, whom he had sent early that morning to retain. "She has taken his life," he said, "and I will have hers in return. I shall leave my dead son in my home, in order to attend her examination; for duty first, and then tears. There shall be no expense spared on my part, gentlemen, and I look to you to make the thing sure. We will see whether the sentimental cry, that the offender is a woman, will serve in this case. For once the court shall give justice, if money can procure it." Dora did not know of the cruel conversation, but she was aware, from the character of the man, that a powerful combination would be ar- rayed against her. She saw, in every line of his excited face, the relentless determination of an avenging parent. The examination was soon commenced. The principal evidence of the preceding evening was recapitulated. Several additional witnesses testified, however, to having seen Dora enter the wood with a gentleman. It was during the cross-examination of one of these, that an inci- dent occurred, which, for a moment, flung a gleam of hope across the darkness of her case. "You say," interrogated her counsel, "that you saw the prisoner enter the wood with a gentleman, who you think was the deceased. Pray, what were you doing there?" "It is quite a public place, that wood, open on all sides around it," replied the witness, " and hundreds of people on pleasant afternoons may be seen walking in the meadows about. I sup- pose there were twenty or thirty people in sight when I noticed the prisoner." "How came you, among so many, to have your attention called to her?" inquired the counsel. The man gave a vulgar laugh, as he replied, "The young woman—begging her pardon—is rather good-looking; and that, you see, was what drew my attention to her. Then, after that, I noticed how loving-like she and the gentleman were—they were talking all the time —and when I heard of the murder, I said, says I, 'that's the pretty girl I saw.' And it turned out so. To be sure, indeed, nobody but a woman would kill a man in that wood, for the place is too public for men, who have their wits gene- rally about them, to do such a deed." "Stop," said Dora's lawyer, sternly. "We asked you for facts, not opinions." "Oh! your honor," answered one of Mr. Thomaston's attorneys, addressing the magis- trate, obedient to a vehement remark of his em- ployer, "this is being too particular. The wit- ness is only giving his impressions, such as every man has a right to give." "No, your honor," replied Dora's counsel, springing to his feet, "he has no right to give impressions—to prejudge the case. It is for a jury, if the matter ever gets that far, to decide whether a man would or would not be likely to commit a murder in that wood; at present it is irregular, nay, scandalous for the witness to speak on that point." The magistrate, who had been impatient through this little verbal war, now interposed. "The witness," he said, "must confine himself to facts. Go on." Dora's lawyer now turned to the witness. "How do you know it was Mr. Thomaston who was in company with the prisoner?" "I said I thought it was him, but I won't be positively certain. I was looking, in fact, at the young woman more than at the gentleman. But I have often seen Mr. Thomaston; and her companion, as I saw him from behind, looked about his size and general appearance, I think." At this point, Mrs. Harper touched the attor- ney's arm. "Stay," she said, "I think I saw that man once call at my house and inquire after Mr. Butler. If I am right, and his attention is called to the fact, he will recollect perhaps that it was Mr. Butler, and not Mr. Thomaston, he saw with Dora. Ask him." The attorney eagerly caught at the idea. "Now, sir, attend," said he. "The prisoner asserts that she entered that wood in company with a fellow boarder, a young house-painter, James Butler. Did you ever see such a man?" "I did, sir. He lived, I recollect now, with that lady," and he pointed to Mrs. Harper. The landlady was now all attention. She believed that, at last, there was hope for Dora. Eagerly she leaned forward, her breath sus- pended, her eyes fixed on the face of the witness. Mr. Thomaston was equally excited; but in a different way. The frown deepened on his face, which turned almost to purple; and he whispered hurriedly with his lawyers. "Now," said the attorney aloud, "can you swear that the man you saw with the prisoner was not Mr. Butler?" The witness hesitated a moment, and was evi- dently recalling the scene. At last he said, "I can." He doubtless spoke sincerely. The lawyer glanced hurriedly at Mrs. Harper, who became as white as marble, and gave a stifled scream. It was answered by a short, quick, mocking laugh from Mr. Thomaston. The baffled attorney waved for the witness to go down, but suddenly recollecting, he said, "Another word before you go. Did you see a gun in the hands of the prisoner's companion?" Again Mrs. Harper leaned forward in breath- less interest; and again Mr. Thomaston looked anxiously at the witness. "I can't say I did," said the man. "But, as I said before, I was looking so much at the prisoner, that he might have had a dozen guns for all I could tell." At last, after some bustle, and Mr. Thomas- ton frequently going backward and forward to a side door, a policeman was introduced, who, on being sworn, proceeded to testify that he had seen, several months ago, the prisoner and the deceased in company in the street. At this everybody leaned forward. It was about dusk, the witness continued, and he had just begun his beat. The prisoner appeared much excited, and at last, as he distinctly recollected, raised her hand and struck the deceased. "I thought then," said the man, "that some ill would come of it yet. The deceased was well known to me, for he was what you call a gay young man, and I knew at once that the young lady, that's the prisoner that is now, considered herself wronged by him, as young ladies in such cases will—" At these words Dora felt as if she could have sunk through the floor—and yet indignation was shared with shame. But her counsel, by an angry wave of the hand, checked the witness, and, rising to his feet, exclaimed, "Can your honor allow this? Must my client be insulted by these unwarrantable surmises? I claim for her the protection of the court." Mr. Thomaston started forward, with flushed and angry face, and would have spoken, perhaps, if one of his attorneys had not held him back. Another of the three lawyers, however, spoke.
"This testimony is all regular," he said, ad- dressing the magistrate. "We are searching for a motive to this crime, and here it is. The witness saw the prisoner, on a former occasion, strike the deceased—a proof that malice existed in her against him." "Proceed," said the magistrate addressing the witness, and signing to Dora's counsel to remain quiet; "but don't give inferences, for we can make them ourselves." Here another titter ran through the court. "You saw the prisoner strike the deceased. Anything more?" "Not then," said the man, "for they parted; but I had often seen the deceased, before that, following her. Sometimes she was alone, some times with another young woman; and the lat- ter I've seen subsequently walking arm-in-arm with the gentlemen." This was the last witness that was examined. When he sat down, the magistrate turned to Dora's counsel, and said, "Have you any evi- dence to offer? because, if you have not, I shall commit without further inquiry." "I have none," was the reply. "The pri- soner as I have already told you, avers that she entered the wood with Mr. Butler—that they passed nearly through it—that afterwards he left her and returned—that, some moments after, hearing the report of a gun, she retraced her steps also—that there she found the dead body of Mr. Thomaston—and that almost imme- diately, two of the witnesses arrested her for murder." The magistrate shook his head impatiently, "All that, of course, you can prove on the trial," he said; "but you don't offer to prove it now, do you?" The council for Dora replied in the negative. "Then I shall commit the prisoner," said the magistrate. The commitment was forthwith made out, and Dora conveyed to prison, bail being perempto- rily refused. For this terrible decision, how- ever, she had prepared herself; and it was, therefore, with comparative calmness that she heard it pronounced. At that moment, too, she felt as if any place, even the darkest and lowest cell of the worst prison, would be a refuge; for there she should at least escape the curious eyes, the ribald jests, and the foul suspicions on her good name, with which she had been assailed. We pass hastily over the month that followed. The occasional visits of Mrs. Harper, who came as often as she could obtain permission, was all that Dora had to console her, except that living faith in Providence which now burned brighter than ever, and was her only solace in her lonely hours. Meantime, however, no effort was spared to discover Butler. The counsel employed by Mrs. Harper, after an interview with Dora, became so convinced of her innocence, and so interested in her fate, that he labored indefatigably to obtain some clue to the missing man. But all trace of Butler was lost the morning after the murder. He had reached the city of——, and break- fasted there, but from that point his movements were uncertain. Advertisements had been inserted in both city and country papers, but in vain. Week passed after week, with no intelligence from Butler, and the attorney began to be nervous and dis- couraged. Dora thus saw hope after hope fade away; yet she alone, of the three most interested, maintained her composure the best. Her coun- sel could not conceal his anxiety. Mrs. Harper went about her house in tears, and was only calm, and then by a great effort, when she visi- ted Dora. During this period of suspense, however, Dora made a firm friend in the person of the matron of the prison, who declared she had never seen such sweetness, purity, and lofty principle in any human being, and who loudly maintained the utter impossibility of her pro- tegée being guilty. But others only smiled at the good matron, remarking that she had al- ways been enthusiastic, and reminding her that prisoners frequently affected piety to deceive gaolers and juries. "But, for all that," she would reply, when any of the turnkeys thus reasoned with her, "Miss Atherton is not more guilty than I am." "She will be condemned nevertheless," they said, with an incredulous shrug, rattling their keys and turning away. Thus two months elapsed, and the day of trial came. Yet still there was no intelligence of Butler.
CHAPTER XII. Paul Sidney had returned. He returned improved by observation, by study, and by silent thought; in the period during which he had been absent, he had, as it were, lived years. And sorrow had strengthened his character even more than travel. For what had he thus returned? Strange to say, he could not have told, even if he had been asked. After his departure from Henley Abbey he contemplated a visit to the far East, and had actually made every preparation for this pur- pose, when, one night, as he sat lonely and de- pressed in his rooms at an hotel, a sudden pre- sentiment of evil, if he carried out his design, came over him. He could not account for the feeling, or get rid of it; all through the night it clung to him, it remained with him the next day, it followed him to his rooms again at even- ing, and it haunted him through the night. An overpowering conviction possessed him that he ought to return, instead of sailing for Egypt, and he finally yielded to it, and altered his plans. Who has not felt such presentiments? Who has not had cause to thank Heaven for having yielded to them, or to regret unceasingly a re- fusal to obey their warnings? Those who are of "the earth, earthy," gross, animal grovelling existences, may sneer at such premonitions as the result of a disordered fancy; but others, who believe in the interposition of spiritual beings, watching over and advising mankind, know well that these warnings come from Hea- ven, and are given perhaps by departed friends, who see what we cannot see, the true angels of the ancient theology. During the voyage Paul reflected on many things, but principally on the duties devolving on him as a man of wealth. His life, hereto- fore, had been one of preparation, but now he felt that the time for action was approaching. He could not live idle; and he dared not, if he could; for he knew that even riches gave him no right to do this. As a member of society he had duties to perform, which were all the more stringent because of his wealth. He felt he must work for the amelioration of his fellow- men, who were less happily situated than him- self; but in what particular way he should labor for this great end he had not yet deter- mined. Sometimes he thought of the pulpit, sometimes of journalism, sometimes of author- ship, and sometimes of devoting himself to some grand scheme of social or religious philan- thropy.
In this unsettled frame of mind he now sat in his apartments, resolving for the hundredth time his future life. He was, however, roused from his reverie by a summons to tea. He rose and descended to the dining-room, partook of a cup of the beverage, and then sauntered into the reading-room to look at the papers. By what he felt to be a fatality, the first per- son his eye rested on was the stranger he had seen at the quay. Something in the easy negli- gence of Butler's attire, combined with its eco- nomy, revealed to the familiar eye of Paul that he was an artist. Butler was engaged in read ing a newspaper, and did not see Paul; so the latter sat down, and, taking up an evening jour- nal began to read. Suddenly, however, a cry that was like the last despairing exclamation of a breaking heart arrested Paul's attention. He looked up, and Butler, his face white with agony, gazing with a wild stare of horror and incredulity, on a news- paper, which rattled in his shaking hands. "Tried for murder!" burst from Butler's lips, "to-morrow, too—and I—I did it," as with straining eyes he appeared to read again, "and lt is too late—too late to save her!" Paul rose on seeing this strange demeanour, for he was alone in the room with Butler, and he feared that the latter would fall, for his whole frame shook as if with the palsy; but delicacy kept Paul aloof till the last moment. Suddenly, however, a word from Butler brought the former almost frantically to his side. "Oh, Miss Atherton!" exclaimed Butler, dropping the newspaper on the floor, and bury- ing his face in his hands, "would I could die for you—would I could reach you in time!" Paul did not hear the conclusion of this sen- tence. At the mention of that name a terrible suspicion struck him that it was Dora. Dora— accused of murder, and wrongfully too, as the broken exclamations of Butler would seem to imply! Could it be possible? Was she whom he had thought dead, or lost to him for ever, to be restored to him under these circumstances? And was it, indeed, too late to save her?" All these reflections rushed through his mind during the instant that Butler continued speak- ing. Then, springing forward, all control of himself for a moment lost, Paul seized Butler's hands, dragged them from his face, and, looking at him almost fiercely, exclaimed, "Is it of Dora you speak? Tell me, I demand it." His powerful chest heaved with emotion as he thus spoke, and his eye gleamed with a look that made even Butler quail. The latter, at being thus rudely seized, frowned angrily at first; but recognising the traveller, whom he had seen land from the packet, the expression of his countenance changed to extreme surprise. "Answer me," hoarsely continued Paul, for the moment beside himself, "is it of Dora you speak?" Butler was, as yet, too bewildered by horror and surprise to ask himself what this stranger knew of Dora; and he answered mechanically, "It is Dora." "Dora Atherton?" "Yes!" "An orphan?" "Yes!" "Good Heaven!" cried Paul, dropping But- ler's hands, and staggering back. It was now Butler's turn to speak. His faculties were beginning to return to him. He saw that some powerful link united this stranger to Dora, and whatever it was, it justified him in appealing for aid and counsel in that quarter. For already, even in that moment of flashing thought, Butler had resolved to return to his native city and confess the homicide, if not too late. "You know Miss Atherton?" said Butler in a whisper, approaching Paul, for the room was now filling with people lounging in from tea, and more than one curious eye had been arres- ted by the latter part of the scene we have been describing. "If so, come to my room." Paul looked up, arrested by these words. In his exclamation the speaker had accused himself of being the real murderer; he knew that Paul had heard these words; and might it not be that he now wished a private interview, in hopes to quit for ever any possible revelations that Paul might make? But the suspicion was dis- missed as soon as it came. "Did he not accuse himself reproachfully?" said Paul, to himself; "and were he ten times more robust, shall I fear for my life, when I have a chance of rescuing Dora?" In all this, it will be seen, Paul thought only of saving Dora. He did not even stop to think whether Dora, thus accused, could be entirely innocent; could yet, even if innocent of this crime, be worthy of him. He knew her to be in danger, and that was sufficient for him. "I will follow you," said Paul, mastering his emotions, for he also perceived the curious eyes bent on them; and, as he spoke, with ready presence of mind he picked up the newspaper which Butler had dropped. As they left the room, Butler, turned to Paul. "My room is on the third floor," he said; "have you one nearer?" Had a suspicion remained in Paul's mind, this question would have banished it. He made no reply, but advanced to the door of his apart- ment, which stood on the same floor. Once within the room, and the door locked to prevent interruption, Paul said, "And she is to be tried to-morrow?" "She is," replied Butler. "And you are the real criminal?" said Paul. "I slew the young man," replied Butler; "but I am not even criminal, except in flying after the accident; but I never thought another, much less Miss Atherton, would suffer for the homicide." And, as he spoke, he wiped from his forehead large drops of perspiration, occa- sioned there by his mental agony. Paul, with astonishing self-command, for every faculty was now subservient to the speedy unravelling of this mystery, opened the news- paper he had picked up. Butler, who devined his purpose, pointed silently to the paragraph. It was an account of the opening of the Oyer and Terminer, in Butler's native city; and among the cases mentioned as set down for trial was that of Dora Atherton, charged with the murder of Henry Thomaston, junior. This was all. Paul read it through. Hitherto the con sciousness of Dora's peril had only vaguely pre- sented itself to him; it seemed incredible that she should be charged with murder; but now, when he saw the accusation in print, the whole terrible scene of the trial came up before him. He beheld in fancy, the curious crowd, the jeer- ing attorneys, the hostile witnesses, the preju- diced jury. The picture of Dora, exposed to shame and danger, inflamed him with sudden madness against Butler, who had confessed to being the instrument of her arrest. His eyes gleamed with anger, his face worked convul- sively, and, with a spring, he grasped the artist by the throat. "You have murdered her," he said, "coward—assassin!" And he shook
fiercely the unresisting Butler. But the hurri- cane of revengeful feeling passed as quickly as it came. Paul suddenly let free his captive, turned away as if mistrusting himself, and be- gan to walk the room with hurried strides. "Friendless, orphaned, deserted even by me," he exclaimed, in broken accents, "and now about to be sacrificed, in her innocence, to an unjust verdict!" But, gradually, frenzy at her danger yielded to schemes for her release. Could nothing be done to save her? We write of a time before railroads traversed that part of the country; yet still, the journey between the city where Paul now was, and that in which Dora was to be tried, could be performed in rather less than sixty hours. On the third day from this, he re- flected, he might reach her side. But of what use could he be unless Butler accompanied him? And would the latter consent to go? Paul, in his first astonishment, did not hear all the ex- clamations of Butler, or he would have had no doubt on this point. But he resolved that, even if compulsion had to be employed, Butler should go. The trial would probably be protracted for three days. If so, their arrival, before a ver- dict, would yet save Dora. "Sir, you must go with me," said Paul, turn- ing to Butler, "and to-night. You say you are innocent of intentional murder, that the homi- cide was accidental. Even if we are too late to preserve Miss Atherton from a shameful con- demnation, we may yet perhaps save her life." "I am ready to go," replied Butler; "it is what I intended to propose, when I asked you to come to my room. Heaven knows, sir, I am willing to die on the scaffold, if that will expiate my involuntary crime of flight." Paul looked up, and, after gazing sternly at his face a moment, said, extending his hand "I believe you. Your face is not that of a murderer or a coward. Forgive my hasty words." Butler was deeply affected. Such generosity from one whom he had injured moved him almost to tears; but he kept back his hand. "No, I cannot take your hand," he said, sadly; "I will never take any fellow-creature's hand until I have rescued Miss Atherton, and never if too late for that." Here his voice entirely failed him, and he sobbed aloud. Paul, who continued to master the outward show of his emotion, gazed pityingly on Butler for a moment, and then rang the bell. A ser- vant soon appeared at the door. After a few low words the man departed, and Paul turned to Butler, who was now more composed. "I have given orders to set out," said Paul. "I have found that we are too late, by an hour, for the ordinary stage; but we will take a coach and intercept another at W—, which can be done. You can be ready in fifteen minutes, I suppose?" Not only his words, but his tones and looks showed the energy of his character, when aroused to action. Though impatient to learn the entire story of this strange accusation against Dora, he forbore questioning Butler fur- ther, until arrangements were completed for their departure. He would not lose a moment unnecessarily. "I can be ready in less time," replied Butler; "will you accompany me to my room?" Again Paul looked fixedly at him. He divined the reason of this offer, and saw, in the frank face of the artist, that it was tendered sincerely; and that was enough to remove suspicion, even if it had arisen. "No," he said, "I will await you here." As Butler had promised, he returned in less than the appointed time. Paul was already prepared. He had thrown a change of cloth- ing into a small valise, given orders to his servant to follow him on the following day with his lug- gage, and now stood prepared to depart. The carriage soon rattled to the door of the hotel, and the young men took opposite seats in it. Silence was maintained until the wheels had left the noisy pavements, and were rolling along, without a sound, over the dusty high- way. Then Paul turned to his companion. "Your name?" he said. "James Butler." "How long have you known Miss Atherton?" "Nearly a year." "Where?" "In—. She boarded where I did." "With a relative?" "No. Mrs. Harper was only a friend." "How did Miss Atherton live?" "She was a seamstress." "So poor!" murmured Paul. Then he asked, "Was she happy?" "She made the best of her situation, sir," re- plied Butler, "though she had seen better days, and that made it harder; but she is an angel. And, save for some secret sorrow, the cause of which I never knew, I should say she was happy." Paul was silent a while from emotion. But again he resumed. "How is it," he said, "that you have only to-day discovered that another person has been arrested for this homicide?" "When I left—," said Butler, "after the affray, I strove to fly from myself; and, on reaching the neighboring city, embarked for a southern port. For months I travelled from one place to another, and in the wildest districts, without seeing a newspaper; indeed, without caring to inquire for one. I never wished, in fact, to hear from my native city again. Though guiltless of intentional homicide, the blood of a fellow-creature was nevertheless on my hands; this I strove to forget; and hence the mention of the place where he and I had lived became distasteful, for it kept recollection alive; but I found that, though I could fly from the scene of my error, I could not fly from my conscience. A voice within was continually tell- ing me that I had done wrong in leaving, and that I ought to return and face the accusation; but I little imagined that another had been ar- rested for my crime; and even yet I cannot fully comprehend it. It was only this morning that I arrived here, with the half-formed deter- mination of returning to ——, as soon as I ob- tained the means, for my ursed was exhausted by the voyage. I so little comprehend how Miss Atherton can have become implicated in the matter, that I begin to persuade myself she must be acquitted." "Not unless we reach —— in time," replied Paul. "Do you know the circumstances of the charge, that you speak so hopelessly?" said Butler. "I sent to the reading-room for the file of papers from ——," said Paul, "but nearly all had been destroyed. Four only remained, ex- cept the stray one, which you, I believe, picked up from the table, and which contained the ter- rible announcement. There was not time to send to the newspaper offices, or we might have learned something there. However, in looking over the journal, while you were preparing, I read an article, in another column, which de- tailed the evidence; and it was frightful. Mer-
ciful Heaven!" he continued, with emotion, his studied calmness again giving way; "how is it that thou canst suffer innocence thus to wear the guise of guilt!" Butler was too awed to address his companion for some time. When at last he spoke, it was to inquire, in a faltering voice, what was the nature of the evidence. Paul had now regained, once more, the control of himself; and accordingly he proceeded to narrate the chain of testimony against Dora, such as has been already laid before the reader. "It is horrible," said Paul; "for every inci- dent fits into some other one, and the whole charge is, as it were, dovetailed into one com- pact proof of guilt. Yet I know her to be too pure," and Butler, even through the gloom, saw the ghastly look which even the bare idea of her guilt called up into his face, and shuddered to behold it, " know her to be too pure, for me to credit half of what has been testified to. She eager for the attentions of this young profligate! She walking with him out in the country! It is impossible!" "It is," interrupted Butler, eagerly, for he saw he could explain many of these things. "It was with me she was walking on that fatal after- noon. I see it all now. She must have heard the shot, run back, and been found with the body. The persecutions she had before suffered have been distorted; and she has been thought to have killed him in revenge. But you shall hear the whole story, which I would have told you before, if there had been opportunity; and then you will see how she has been wronged." As the carriage whirled along through the in- creasing darkness Butler took up the history of Dora, from the moment he became acquainted with her, narrating it down to the very day of his flight. Paul listened to the tale with varying emo- tions. Much that Butler could not explain, his own heart could supply; and though he was still ignorant of all Dora's sufferings, he conjec- tured that there had been many, especially men- tal ones, of which Butler knew nothing. When the speaker told of her cheerfulness in poverty, of her efforts to save Susan, and of the pleasure he had always experienced whilst listening to her when morality and religion formed the sub- ject of their discourse, Paul secretly blessed Heaven that the priceless treasure of such a heart had once been his, even if since lost to him; but when Butler described the insults to which she had been subjected, and his own in- tervention on one of those occasions, his hearer's eyes flashed with indignation, and his hands clenched involuntarily. And again, when the narrator rehearsed her destitution, before she came to Mrs. Harper, as he had heard it from the landlady, Paul reproached himself at every sentence with having gone abroad, when he might perhaps have rescued her. Alas! he forgot that these sufferings had all been experienced during that terrible winter, when he was em- ploying every possible means to discover her re- treat. At last he remembered this, and then he felt that fate had been mightier than he; or rather that He who works not as men work had overruled events, for what end Paul could not yet see. Nay, he shuddered when that probable end suggested itself to him. "Perhaps," he thought, with a sigh, "Dora is the sacrifice by which I am to be brought to do some great labor which Heaven designs lay- ing upon me." And broken in spirit, he con- tinued, with an inward ejaculation, "the will of Heaven be done! But oh! if not too late, may the suffering, as well as the labor be mine, and she be saved!" Terrible was the suspense of that night to both travellers. The sky gradually loured into a storm, and, as the carriage rattled on, the rain descended in torrents. The profound darkness rendered the way perilous in the extreme, while the sudden swelling of the streams endangered tbe bridges, and made the successful prosecution of the journey hourly more problematical. Con- tinually, as the rapid wheels jolted over a stone, or crashed into a deep rut, the young men thought their vehicle was upsetting; but still it kept bravely on as if conscious of the impor- tant interests with which it was charged. At last in, descending a mountain ravine, to- wards midnight, a sudden flash of lightning startled the horses, who sprang wildly aside; and in a moment the occupants of the carriage felt it descending headlong, as if over a preci- pice. Both Paul and Butler sprang to their feet, each with his hand on an opposite door; but before they could turn the handle there came a loud crash, the coach was crashed into a shape- less mass, and its inmates sank senseless among the fragments. [WILL BE CONCLUDED IN OUR NEXT.]
ORIGIN OF "HURRAH."—A long discussion has lately taken place in some of the German papers in regard to the origin of the cry "Hurrah!" The cry "Hurrah!" was proved by a German writer to have been received by the Germans from the people coming from the East at the time of the " Vollerwanderburg." It was then "Harra!" subsequently changed in the wars with the Sclaves, Huns, and Avars, to "Wara!" A writer in the Vossian Zeitung, who has lived several years in India, gives still further explanation of the origin of these cries. He says:—"The word "Harra!' really 'Harri,' was got by the old Germans in the first place from the people who wandered into Europe from Central Asia. The word 'Harra' (Harri) is used to this day among the Hindoos of East- ern India as a designation of God, being one of the names for the god Vishnu. When the Hindoos have anything difficult to accomplish they cry 'Harri! Harri!' This cry is very fre- quently used by the Hindoo boatmen, when their boat happens to get stuck on a sandbank in the Ganges; putting all their strength to- gether, they call out 'Harri! Harri!'—exerting their utmost powers until they bring it afloat. When the boatmen are towing the boat up the stream, and come to a strong current, where they wish to go quickly and securely over diffi- cult and dangerous parts, the same cry is used. It is probable that the Hindoo soldiers use the cry 'Harri' in war. In short the word 'Harri' is used by the Hindoo whenever he is conscious of his own weakness, and feels the necessity of divine help. The word 'Harri,' which our fore- fathers got from the people emigrating from Asia to Europe, and from which the cry 'Hurrah' is derived, signifies 'God help us!' and in the mouth of a Christian soldier as the beautiful signification, 'God help us, and stand by, since we have a difficult mission to accomplish, to conquer the enemy, and are in danger of losing our lives.' " The discussion has at least thrown some interesting light upon the origin of this cry, which is now used among us with a totally different significance. We learn from the German organ of the Freemasons, the Bauhütte, that the collections of the English lodges for the families of German soldiers in the field have reached £70,000. The Shepton Mallet Journal states that the Rev. C. Woodcock, vicar of Chardstock, near Chard, preaching lately at Marshwood, a few minutes after he had named his text, stopped all at once and said, "I see five of the congre- gation asleep. It is no use my preaching when the people are asleep. I can count one, two, three, four, five, sound asleep, and shall not preach any more now, but will come another Sunday and finish my sermon." He then at once dismissed the congregation. Whose fault was it they were asleep?