|Newspaper Title||The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. : 1866 - 1939)|
|Trove Title||Vicissitudes of an Orphan|
Vicissitudes of an Orphan.
BY THE AUTHOR OF "ALICE VERNON."
IT is not our intention to describe all the for- malities of a judicial trial, for abler pens than ours have rendered the scene familiar to the general reader.
The court house, on the morning of Dora's arraignment, presented an unusually animated spectacle. Even an ordinary case of murder is sure to attract a crowd, but her's had so many features of interest in it that, long before the hour of opening the court, a dense mass of people pressed against the doorway and blocked up the huge hall leading to it from the street. When the entrance was thrown open, the rush was tumultuous. Some persons were taken off their feet by the torrent; others were knocked down; and innumerable were the hats that were crushed out of shape. In less than five minutes every bench was occupied, and every inch of standing ground taken up; and it required the most vigorous efforts on the part of the officers to keep the crowd from encroaching on the space set apart for the lawyers—a small square, railed off directly in front of the seats of the judges. One side of the court house had been already filled with ladies, admitted at a private door be- fore the principal entrance was thrown open; for the romantic interest attached to the case having embarked many of her own sex in Dora's favor, had led them to solicit the unusual privi- lege of having seats reserved for them at the trial. Others, though merely attracted by curi- osity, had availed themselves of the opportunity to see a fellow-creature tried for her life. Among these, as among the remainder of the audience, the time between their own entrance and that of the judges was spent in speculations as to the prisoner's guilt. Perhaps the crowd was about equally divided on this question. The majority of her own sex believed in Dora's inno- cence, while the bulk of the other regarded her as the murderer. The latter looked only at the evidence, which they pronounced irresistible; the former took into consideration Dora's cha- racter, and were moved also by pity. While this speculation was going on, the space reserved for the lawyers was slowly filling up. First came a number of well-dressed, but ex- ceedingly young men, most of them mere lads in fact, who, singly or in pairs, entered by a side door, seeming to be known to the officers. These were the law students, who, having the entrée of the bar, came early in order to secure a good seat. They were soon followed by the attorneys, who dropped in, one after another, with their blue bags, some remaining a minute to look at the array of pretty faces, and then hastening away to other courts where they had cases on for trial; others taking a seat, intend- ing to remain, and always selecting one facing the ladies, until that side of the bar was entirely filled. At last entered the counsel for the prisoner, who were two in number. One we have already introduced to the reader. The other was dressed with excessive neatness, and even considerable effort at display, wearing silk fittings, and sporting a costly diamond ring. His first act was to place on the table his blue bag; then, taking out a valuable gold snuffbox, he handed it round to his various brother attorneys, smiling blandly, and exhibiting an excellent set of white teeth in so doing. After this, taking a pinch himself, he looked about him with something of an important air, which did not appear to be entirely uncalled-for, since the crowd generally gazed at him with great awe and admiration, for he was, in fact, the leading a criminal lawyer at the bar, and had only escaped being retained by Mr. Thomaston, in conse- quence of having been out of town. Immediately after, by the same side-door at which the students and attorneys had entered, appeared the judges, who came unostentatiously, one by one. At this there was a general hush. Taking their seats, one of the judges nodded to the crier, a shock-headed, sleepy fellow, sitting on one side, in front of their own elevated plat- form. He rose immediately, and in a nasal, monotonous tone, read a form of proclamation, of which the burden seemed to be to summon suitors and witnesses to appear. Then he sat down, and as there was some shuffling of feet, looked up again testily, and cried, "Silence." The noise not immediately ceasing, a tipstaff at the side of the bar repeated, "Silence," and, like echoes from each corner of the court, other tipstaffs gruffly exclaimed, "Silence." It was, however, less these pompous cries than a consciousness of what came next, that pro- duced in a moment the most profound quiet. Not a breath was now heard. Every eye was turned towards the side entrance. The cause of all this was that a carriage had been heard to drive up, and it was known that the prisoner was about to be introduced. The door swung open, when, preceded and followed by officers, and attended by Mrs. Harper, Dora entered. She walked with a quick step to the seat prepared for her, her eyes bent on the ground, and a veil drawn closely over her face to conceal her features. Few of the spectators had ever seen her be- fore. All, however, had formed some idea of her, but generally one distant from the truth. Her graceful figure was so much more lady-like, if we may be allowed the expression, than they had expected from her position in life, that they were taken by surprise, especially the female portion; and a low murmur of admiration went round the court. Dora did not look up for some time, thus baffling every plan to catch a glimpse of her face. Not that she thought of thus defeating curiosity; but, notwithstanding every consola- tion of religion, notwithstanding also the pro- tecting presence of Mrs. Harper, she felt so utterly abased, to find herself arraigned on this terrible charge, that she could not look up. She therefore took shelter behind her veil, praying continually for strength, and often pressing Mrs. Harper's hand, which lay within her own. The audience, rude as it was in many respects, appeared to divine something of her feelings, and gazed at her motionless figure in silent re- spect, without indulging in the rude remarks common on similar occasions. The formalities now began. The indictment was read, and the prisoner regularly arraigned. When her counsel, approaching her, whispered that it was necessary she should plead, Dora put aside her veil, and looked up for the first time. Those who witnessed the glance of her sweet, half-frightened face, were immediately pre-dis- posed in her favor. After she had, in a low but distinct voice, pleaded "Not guilty," she glanced for a moment round the court. Those who saw that look never forgot it. They could read, as plainly as if they beheld it written on her heart, the feelings of shame, repugnance, hopelessness,
and desolation which came over her as she wit- nessed those tiers on tiers of human faces, ris- ing high on every side from the floor almost to the ceiling, amongst whom she did not recognise a solitary friend. Among others who were produced to prove character, as it is technically termed—that is, to show that Dora could not possibly have com- mitted so foul a crime as murder—were the inn- keeper, where she had lived a while after her father's death, and the venerable pastor—both of whom had arrived to befriend her on this oc- casion. The manner in which the gray-haired minister spoke of her purity of heart, the indig- nation with which he repelled the foul charge, and the equally foul insinuations of the counsel for the prosecution, made Dora's eyes irresis- tibly overflow. It was only on this occasion, during the whole, that her fortitude gave way. She fairly sobbed aloud. When this meagre testimony had been con- cluded—for evidence as to character in trials for murder is meagre indeed, since few persons are believed capable of this henious crime until they have actually committed it—a general look of disappointment passed round the court. Even those who believed in Dora's guilt, had sup- posed that some testimony favorable to her, they hardly knew what, would be produced; while those who hoped in her innocence had persuaded themselves that the participation of Butler in the homicide would yet be established. The complete failure to rebut any material part of the charge chilled the hearts of the latter with ominous forebodings. It was in this state of mind that the audience left the court at the close of the second day's proceedings; for the arraignment of Dora, the empannelling of the jury, and the examination of witnesses had occupied this period. On the following day, which was expected to be the last of the trial, the court was even more densely crowded than before. The feeling was now almost universal that Dora would be con- victed. This belief exhibited itself in whispered conversations, until the court was opened and the business of the day formally resumed. The counsel for the prosecution now ad- dressed the jury, and was followed by the counsel for Dora, after which the former con- cluded the case, answering the various argu- ments in her favor. The idea that Butler had committed the murder, which Dora's counsel had dwelt on with great stress, he ridiculed as the lame invention of guilt. "For where is this convenient Mr. Butler," who is accused of having perpetrated the crime? Could not the prisoner, during the time that has elapsed since her arrest, have discovered his abode? Why is he not here? Gentlemen, if the defence be- lieved this tale of theirs, they would have searched the country over, but that they would have had Mr. Butler present. They would have confronted him with the accused, and thus awed him into a confession. But they have not done this, and we must conclude that they could not." The judge next proceeded to sum up the evi- dence and charge the jury. From the first it was apparent that he believed in the guilt of Dora, and that he considered it his duty to bring the jury over to the same opinion. He warned them, with a meaning glance at the prisoner's senior counsel, to be aware of the illusions of eloquence. Their path, he said, was plain. They had to do with the facts, as proved in evidence, and with nothing else. "You have heard much, gentlemen," he said, "about a Mr. Butler, who is asserted to have committed this murder; but," here he raised his voice, looking meaningly at Dora's counsel, "not a tittle of this is in evidence. I ought perhaps to have checked the prisoner's counsel, when he intro- duced this tale into his remarks; but I was willing, considering the peculiar circumstances of the case, to allow him unusual license; and I knew, besides, that I could, at the proper time, guard you against the story. I now tell you that you must decide the guilt or innocence of the accused, without the slightest reference to this tale, which, I again warn you, is not proved. You will remember that you are sworn to give a true verdict according to the evidence; and you must not allow yourselves to be biassed by the assertions of counsel." The judge then recapitulated what was in evidence, both for the prosecution and also for the defence. He summed up in these decisive words—"The existence of malice on the part of the prisoner towards the deceased, prior to the murder, is not, I think, positively proved; but this is a question for you to decide. The point however is of little importance, Since the law pre-supposes malice, in all cases of homicide where the death is not by an accidental blow, in self-defence, or in a sudden fray. The death, in this case, could not have arisen in either of these ways, unless in a sudden fray; but even this is not likely, where one antagonist was a strong man, and the other a comparatively weak girl. It is far more probable that the prisoner, when the deceased was off his guard, suddenly snatched the gun and shot him, thinking that the loneliness of the wood would prevent the discovery of the body until after her escape. However, this is a point for you to decide. As to the dog, I must remind you that the instinct of this species of animal is proverbial; and his conduct is therefore exceedingly significant, at least in my opinion. But this also is a question for the jury. The case, you see, turns on several facts, no one conclusive in itself, but all, when united, of great weight. Indeed, proof of this description is more apt to be correct than direct testimony; for, while one witness, swear- ing he sees a murder, may be a perjurer, half-a- dozen, swearing to different facts which together establish a murder, cannot rationally be sus- pected of false oaths. And now I leave the case with you; and Heaven send you a righteous judgment." As the judge concluded, Dora's counsel looked at the jurymen, for his practised eye was accus- tomed to reading thus, in advance, the fate of his clients. He saw, as he had expected, that there was no hope. With the composure of long habit, he turned to his colleague, and whispered, "It is all over; that charge killed us." "Yet I believe in her innocence, as I believe in Heaven," replied the other. "So do I," answered the advocate. "What now?" This question was addressed to a tip- staff, who had touched him on the shoulder. The officer bent down and whispered something, to which the counsel listened impassively. Those, however, who had noticed this incident, soon had their attention withdrawn by the counsel on the other side rising and addressing the court. "May it please your honor," he said, "there is one point in the case I overlooked; it is in reference to the powder mark, on the hand of the prisoner, at the time of her discovery with the corpse. This is an important fact, which I desire to put in evidence, as showing that the accused had handled the gun, and therefore, of course, fired it."
In an instant, however, the junior counsel for Dora sprang to his feet; for his colleague, being still engaged with the officer, did not appear to notice the request. "This is out of all rule, your honor," he hastily cried, addressing the court. "The case is now closed." "Yet a verdict may depend in it," interposed the prosecuting counsel. At this point the senior counsel appeared for the first time to become conscious of the col- loquy. He waived to the officer to leave him, and raised his head inquiringly. His colleague eagerly leaned over the table, explaining the demand of the opposing counsel, and vocifera- ting against its irregularity, injustice, and cruelty. " 'Tis horrible," he said, "to deprive her of her only chance; and when the oversight was his own." The senior counsel nodded his head once or twice, and slowly rose to his feet, tapping his snuff box. It was astonishing to observe how long habit had schooled his demeanor; for, while his younger colleague was flushed with excitement, he was cool and smiling as if no- thing out of place was transacting. "Does my honorable brother," he said, looking at the counsel for the prosecution, "wish to introduce new evidence?" "I do," he replied. "And you object, of course," interposed the judge, rising, as if impatient. Turning to the opposing counsel, he said, "You should have thought of this before. It is too late now, out of all rule, you know. Gentlemen of the jury, you can retire." He waived his hand to the jury, who, during this rapid colloquy, had been standing, hats in hand, turning in perplexity from judge to lawyers. A shuffling of feet was heard, as they began to move; but it was stopped by a rapid gesture of the senior counsel's arm. "But I don't object, your honor," he said, "let the counsel for the prosecution prove all he can." "That alters the case," said the judge, re- suming his seat. The junior counsel seemed, for a moment, stupified by this concession of his colleague; but in an instant he recovered himself, and, leaning agitatedly over the table, exclaimed, "Are you mad ?—you are ruining us! Revoke your concession!" The only answer of the senior counsel was an impatient waive of the hand, which might mean that the case was hopeless before, or that he did not wish to be disturbed while the witness was being examined, for the man was already in the witness-box. Meantime every ear was listening, every head leaned forward. The crowd of attorneys, one and all, looked puzzled, for they could see no- thing but a foolish generosity in this conces- sion; the spectators generally wore an expres- sion of inquiry on their faces, mixed with re- newed interest; the jury appeared confused; and the judge mended a pen. Dora, almost for the first time since the trial began, was entirely overlooked, every gaze being centred on the witness, the counsel for the prosecution, and the senior counsel. She herself caught the intense interest of the rest; but a terrible fear was added to it, for she had overheard her junior counsel's remonstrance. With her veil thrown back, and her head advanced, she watched, with a pale cheek and parted lips, the termination of the scene. The testimony of the witness was soon given. When it was finished, the counsel for the pro- secution looked at the junior counsel, and said, "Do you wish to cross-examine?" "I have nothing to ask," said the latter. Both counsel and judge turned simultaneously to the jury, not noticing that the senior counsel was rising, in his usual deliberate manner, snuff box in hand. His voice, however, soon caused both to look towards him. "One moment, your honor," he said, "I intend to offer re- butting evidence." The counsel for the prosecution looked up in- quiringly at the judge. "Oh! 'tis all regular," significantly interposed the senior counsel, "as your honor can inform my learned friend. He introduces new testi- mony, and I offer rebutting evidence." "But it must be strictly rebutting evidence,'' said the counsel for the prosecution, addressing the judge. "He can't intend to prove, by an- other witness," he continued, with an incredu- lous smile, "that the prisoner's hand was not soiled, for there is no other witness." "That is my business," replied the senior counsel. "The court will see that I shall not travel out of the record. The counsel for the prosecution proves that the prisoner shot the deceased, by showing that powder marks were on her hands when she was arrested; and I have the right to show the contrary. That's rebutting, is it not? Your honor looks yes. Well, your honor knows I always speak by the card." "Call your witness," said the judge. The senior counsel turned, and beckoned to the tipstaff, who a few minutes before had ad- dressed him. The latter stepped up to the side of the clerk, every eye following him, for the curiosity had now grown intense beyond con- ception, no one imagining what was to follow, though, from the triumphant air of the senior counsel, and the popular opinion of his inex- haustible resources, all expected something startling. Every eye therefore, as we have said, was on the crier, as the tipstaff whispered to him. The crier, it was noticed, started, and looked doubtingly at his brother officer; but the latter nodded significantly. Then the crier raised his voice, and called the witness, in the same sonorous tone in which he had called the preceding ones—"James But- ler." Had the trumpet of an archangel sounded, the effect could scarcely have been more unex- pected or startling. The counsel for the prose- cution turned his head quickly towards the door, with an amazed air; and his example was imitated by judge, jurymen, and spectators. Only the senior counsel remained unmoved. It was worth all the annoyance of a day's sitting in that crowded, ill-ventilated court, to see the triumphant manner with which, throwing him- self back in his chair, he beheld the astonish- ment he had created. But of the persons there, the one most affected was Dora. At the sound of that name she started to her feet, her whole face irradiated with joy. This, however, lasted but for a se- cond, and was succeeded by an air of bewilder- ment, then by one of despair, as she gazed round the court, evidently looking for some one whom she did not recognise. Mrs. Harper, who had remained by her the whole day, was scarcely less agitated; and seemed to share en- tirely in these fluctuations of hope and the re- verse. The blood which at first mantled over the countenance of Dora, and dyed even her fingers' ends to a rosy hue, had now left her whiter than marble. She trembled visibly. Suddenly,
however, the crimson current rushed again to the very temples, while a glad cry sprang to her lips, as she pointed towards the side-entrance; and Mrs. Harper, following the direction of her extended arm, saw, emerging from the crowd that blocked up the door, a form which she recognised at once. Yes! there stood Butler himself, wan indeed and travel-soiled, with one arm in a sling, but still himself—alive, and voluntarily present, to judge by the alacrity with which he came for- ward. For an instant Dora, with parted lips and di- lated eyes, gazed at him as if still doubtful; but the reality of his presence forcing itself upon her, she finally sank fainting into the arms of Mrs. Harper. All was confusion. The attention which had been directed to Butler, was at this partly di- verted to Dora. Exclamations of pity, admira- tion, and astonishment burst, by turns, from the crowd; and the most sceptical now regarded the prisoner as persecuted. A dozen vinaigrette bottles were tendered from ladies present; glasses of water were handed over from bench and bar; and the crowd round the windows even vacated their places, in order to give the prisoner fresh air. She soon, by these means, revived. It had been necessary to remove her bonnet, and her countenance being thus, for the first time, fully exposed, its beauty, rendered more spiritual by her languor, struck every beholder with awe. At last, when order had been somewhat restored, the witness was sworn. In a clear straightforward manner, which carried convic- tion of the truth to every heart, Butler detailed his accidental encounter with the deceased—the angry conversation that followed—the threat of the latter to shoot—the scuffle—and the death of the profligate. The cross-examination by the opposing coun- sel was long and searching, but it failed entirely to shake the credibility of the witness. The only apparent advantage of the counsel was when, with an incredulous air, he asked why, if the witness had fled at first, he had now come back? But this advantage was shortlived, the reply of Butler destroying the momentary triumph. "I fled," he answered, "because I was un- nerved, and scarcely knew what I did. It is an awful thing, sir, to feel that you have killed a fellow-being, even by accident. I remained away, thinking that no good could come of my return, and trusting, in new scenes, to recover my tone of mind; but it would not do. And at last I resolved to come back, reveal my secret, and take whatever consequences might ensue, rather than carry it in my bosom forever, eating out my heart. But for the overturning of a coach I should have been here this morning. Thank heaven! I am not even yet too late." This was decisive. Already the spectators began to murmur, and bend frowns on the coun- sel for his incredulity, which all considered needless. He seemed to have come to a similar conclusion himself; for, after a few more ques- tions, he threw down his papers and signified that he gave up the case. "The judge now turned to the jury. "Gentlemen," he said "I think the question is clear; but you can retire if you wish." "No, your honor, we will give our verdict from the box," replied the foreman, "we have had some conversation about it, and all agree in pronouncing the prisoner NOT GUILTY." Scarcely had the words left his mouth, when the sympathy for Dora, which had been in- creasing in intensity ever since Butler's an- nouncement, could no longer restrain itself, but found vent in tumultuous huzzas, which shook the old court-house to its foundations, and dy- ing away from momentary exhaustion, were re- newed and renewed again. In vain the judge frowned; in vain the crier called for silence; in vain the tipstaffs looked round to arrest offenders, for all were such. Even the ladies waved their handkerchiefs and wept; and more than one of the younger attorneys, forgetting time and place, clapped their hands and shouted with the rest. Meantime the crowd outside caught up the news and huzzaed far and near. Quiet was restored at last, when the verdict was formally received and formally entered, though with great danger of the excitement breaking out afresh. In the midst of this tumult Dora, assisted by Mrs. Harper and her counsel, left the court, the crowd enthusiastically making way for her.
CHAPTER XIV, AND LAST. THE opportune arrival of Butler has already been partly explained; but a few words more will be necessary to render everything clear. Stunned by the shock when the carriage up- set, Paul and Butler lay for some time insensible under the fragments; but the driver, who had escaped unhurt, having proceeded to remove them, they were soon extricated, and, with their release, recovered consciousness. Butler's arm, however, had been broken by the crash, and as the nearest village was two miles distant, many hours were lost before it could be set. In this way the railway train to —— was missed, and nearly a whole day lost. We now return to Dora. The carriage which bore her off drove immediately to Mrs. Harper's. Scarcely believing that the events of the day were not a dream, she entered the little parlor, where a still further surprise awaited her—for there stood Paul. Unobserved, he had watched her in the court-house, and when the verdict was given he hurried to Mrs. Harper's, for there Butler said she would be sure to go. Eagerly advancing, he smiled, and exclaimed, "Dora!" For a moment pride and suspicion ruled in Dora's bosom; but that frank smile, the tone of voice, the expression of the eye— these, she re- flected, could not belong to a traitor; there must, as she had often hoped, have been some mistake, now about to be explained; and so, instead of turning away, as was her first im- pulse, she stood hesitating. But in a few hurried words Butler had al- ready acquainted Mrs. Harper with Paul's agency in Dora's acquittal; and she now spoke. "Go to him, darling," she said; "to him we owe it, under Providence, that Butler has ap- peared. He loves you as truly as ever." And, as she spoke, she gently led Dora towards Paul, and retired, closing the door. Over that interview of the lovers let us sacredly draw a veil. No eye saw it but that of heaven—no ears but those of Dora and Paul heard the mutual explanations. As their sepa- ration had alone been the result of circum- stances, a few words, we may suppose, were sufficient to remove all doubts on either side. Having arrived at this happy re-union, why should we unnecessarily delay? Dora and Paul were married, though not immediately. They waited until the trial of Butler, who had sur- rended himself to justice, was over. As had
been expected, he was acquitted—the verdict being "justifiable homicide." A large and beautiful country seat, which had long been in Paul's family, was the place where he wished to reside after marriage, but he re- solved to wait until Dora had seen the spot, be- fore he positively decided. Her first exclama- tion, however, on visiting Sidney Forest, for such the estate was called, was a rapturous ad- miration of it as a place of residence. "Let us live here, dear Paul," she said, "rather than in that cold, great house in town." And there they did live. And soon Sidney Forest became celebrated, far and near, not less for the refined social circles that congregated there, than for the liberal charity which ema- nated from it over all the surrounding country. It was indeed, as Mrs. Harper said in her Scriptural language, "like a city set upon a hill;" for Paul and Dora, chastened by their many trials, lived, not for this world only, but for one to come—not as mere butterflies of fashion, but as responsible and intelligent beings. Their house was adorned with pictures, statues, and everything which could gratify or foster a taste for the beautiful. "We have the wealth that justifies us in these costly decora- tions," said Paul, to one who took him to task for indulging in them, "and, unless such as we patronise art, how is it to be supported? And, without art, where is civilisation? To cultivate a love for the beautiful, is a duty as well as a pleasure. Heaven, we are told, is all beauty. Let us therefore begin here to acquire those qualities which will be a part of our nature there. When Christian civilisation becomes more perfected, as it gradually will, the enjoy- ment of these treasures of art will not be con- fined to the rich; but the poor will share in them, through the medium of public galleries free to all, if indeed any poor shall be left in that day." The elegant utility which distinguished their house ran, like a silver thread, through their whole life. Their large income was spent chiefly in doing good, but they were not content with charity in money alone. "A kind word or appropriate advice is often," said Paul, "more acceptable than gold. The truest bene- ficence is that which treats the poverty-stricken, the suffering, and even the vicious, as brothers of one blood with ourselves. We, who are rich, are but stewards for those who are not; and we are in no respect better than they, but only held to a stricter account. They are tempted by want and suffering; we by Mammon. Life is a probation to us both. Everything earthly is fleeting; our hopes are not here; it is for another world that we are all preparing. And as the glory and loveliness of this world is but a type of that of heaven, so the best human deeds are but faint shadows of the moral excel- lence of Paradise." One stormy afternoon in winter, as Paul and his wife sat before a blazing fire, a ring was heard at the door and a letter was brought in. It was written on soiled paper, clumsily folded, and sealed with a red wafer impressed with a thimble. "How did this come?" said Dora, as she took the note from the salver. "It was left at the park gate, by the stage driver," replied the servant. Dora opened it, and had read but a few words, when she dropped it with a slight scream. Paul looked up from his book inquiringly. "It is from that poor misguided girl, Susan, of whom I have often told you," said Dora; "I have searched for her in vain for years. She writes incoherently, evidently in sore dis- tress, perhaps dying." And, as she spoke, she handed the letter to Paul. He read it through, and then said, "She wishes to see you to-night; did you notice that?" "No," replied Dora, rising and approaching him, where, looking over his shoulder, she read the passage he alluded to. "I had not got that far down the page." "It is a terrible day, and will be a worse night," said Paul; "yet, if you think you ought, to go, I will accompany you." "Oh! I must go," replied Dora. "Don't you think so?" "I do," responded her husband. "Then we will order the carriage to be ready as soon as dinner is over," said Dora. "She fixes 7 o'clock as the hour. We will not wait for the dessert to-day, lest we should be too late." "And I will make James drive," said Paul. "Old John is too much in years to be out on such a night; it would be cruel to expose him to the storm." Accordingly a little after 5 o'clock the carriage was at the door, and Dora, muffled in furs, and escorted by her husband, stepped in, when the carriage rolled away over the deep snow, vanish- ing into the tempest like a shadow or a dream. Dora felt chilled, even under her warm cloak, when the last ruddy glimpse of the drawing- room windows faded away, and nothing was left visible but the fast-falling snow-flakes all around. Involuntarily she nestled closer to her husband's side. "Alas!" he said, divining her thoughts; "alas! for those who have no shelter, on an evening like this." And the passage in "Lear" immediately occurring to him, he repeated it— Poor naked wretches, whereso'er you are, That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm, How shall your houseless heads, and unfed sides, Your loop'd and window'd raggedness, defend you From seasons such as these? The direction, in the letter, led them to one of the poorest quarters of the city. Rows of decayed houses appeared on either hand, some with tottering window-shutters, others with broken panes of glass in which rags were stuffed. At the corners were seen miserable shops, lit by coarse tallow candles, where groceries, coals, and other necessaries were retailed at enormous prices. But these places were now deserted; the streets too were empty. Silence reigned everywhere, except when the wind whistled in sudden gusts, or some loose shutter banged to and fro. At last the carriage turned down a narrow street, just wide enough for it to pass, and finally halted before a low two-storey house, apparently ready to tumble down from age. Dora and her husband seemed to have been ex- pected, for the door was opened before they could knock. Paul carried Dora in his arms from the carriage to the house, and then, de- siring the coachman to wait, followed her up the rickety and crooked staircase. The room into which they were ushered was a narrow apartment, repulsive to the last de- gree. The plaster had fallen in many places from the walls; the floor had sunk at one side away; and several of the window panes were broken. A solitary deal table, two chairs of the commonest description, and a truckle bed, covered with a woman's cloak, shabby beyond imagination, constituted the furniture. A single tallow candle, burning in a rusty iron candle-
stick, and emitting a rancid, fatty smell, threw a dull glare around the chamber. By this faint light Dora perceived a ghastly face, illumined by two eyes of unusual size and brightness, looking out from under the stained and tattered cloak. Wan and wasted as that countenance was, she recognised it instantly as that of Susan. The invalid strove to sit up, as Dora ap- proached, while the old woman who had opened the door hastened to place a chair. Dora took the chair, but motioned to Susan to lie still. "Why have you never sent for me before?" she said, affectionately, sitting down and taking the invalid's hand, which the latter feebly ex- tended from under the bedclothes. "Oh! Susan, was this kind of you?" The only answer of the invalid was a burst of tears. She had long hesitated to send for Dora, fearing that the latter, notwithstanding her goodness of heart, would turn from one so vile. She could not, for a while, speak; she could only press Dora's hand. "I am so fallen," she said, at last, brokenly, "yet you visit me, you pity me. Oh! had I been half as good as you—" She would have continued, but a violent fit of coughing inter- rupted her. Dora gazed at her with painful emotion. Susan was evidently in the last stage of con- sumption, and seemed to suffer at times intensely. But it was less the physical pain than her mental condition which affected her visitor. Perhaps Susan read her old companion's thoughts, for, seeing Dora's eyes fixed on her, she said, when her coughing ceased, "You see I shall not trouble any one long. I am not twenty-five, yet am dying." "What minister has visited you?" said Dora. The invalid half raised herself in bed, leaning on her elbow, and fixing her eyes on the in- quirer, she answered, in a shrill voice, "Do you think ministers would come here? Oh! no, not they. It's only the rich that they seek out. They'd never run the risk of infection, or soil their delicate gloves by coming into these miser- able streets, where fever and filth fight, by turns, for the mastery. There was a Catholic priest here, a while ago; and once a Methodist preacher called; but I didn't expect to die then." She had been speaking with a passion and energy unusual to her; and now she stopped suddenly, grasped Dora's arm, and, eagerly scanning her face, said, after a pause, "Do you think I shall die?" Dora could not answer her. Susan's dread of death was so apparent, yet her state of mind was so unfit for the awful change, that her visitor hesitated between pity and duty. At last Dora said, "You had better let us send for a minister, Susan. You do injustice to them in thinking they will not come to you. Mr. Sidney knows more than one, who, even on such a night as this, will visit you." And, turning to Paul, who had stood a silent spectator of this scene, she gave him a look, at which he im- mediately left the room. The moment after the muffled sound of the carriage was heard rolling away from the door. "Susan," said Dora, "why did you not tell us you were ill? You want many comforts, I fear, which we would cheerfully have given you. You are too ill now to be moved, but every- thing that can be done for you, shall be." "And you would have come to see me," said Susan, eagerly, not noticing these last words, "you would have come even before I was dy- ing? You, rich, loved, and happy —you —you would have come? You would not have turned away from me, as from something too vile even to look at?" She caught Dora's hand in hers, and was holding it tightly, eagerly looking into her visitor's face, as if to read her soul. "No, I would not have shunned you," soothingly replied Dora. "We are all erring; none can afford to pass by on the other side. I should have come to you, dear Susan, and reasoned with you, as in former days, when we lived at Mrs. Harper's." "Ah, those were happy days," said Susan "Would I had never known others!" And she clasped her hands over her face, as if to shut out some hateful vision. All at once, however, she let fall her hands, and with that wild, eager look, gazed at Dora. She seemed to be making an effort to speak. "You once told me," she said, at last, firmly, "that 'the wages of sin is death;' and here I am, an example of the truth of the warning. Oh! I have been wicked, but I have suffered too. I thought, when I listened to Mr. Thomaston, that I should have an easy life of it; and, in truth, I was never happier than for a while; I had beautiful dresses, an elegant room, and nothing to do. I went to the theatre, I rode out in the afternoons. I thought of you all with pity. I looked at my fingers, no longer pricked with the needle, and remembering how we used often to sew late at night, I laughed at my own folly and yours. I compared the luxurious dishes on which I fed with the plain, and often coarse fare at Mrs. Harper's. But this did not last long. Mr. Thomaston began to be cross with me; often left me without money; and finally hinted that he had grown tired of me. As I never loved him, and as my vanity alone led to my fall, I should not have cared for his neglect, if he had given me plenty of money. Things were in this state when he was killed. That made me penniless—" Here another fit of coughing, brought on by the violence of her emotion, supervened; and it was some time before she could resume. When she began again, the perspiration stood in huge drops on her forehead, and she spoke with evi- dently shortened breath. "I can't go on," she said, "at least I can't tell you all." She no longer looked at Dora; but, with eyes fixed immoveably on the bed, proceeded. "I soon found for what I had sacrificed virtue, peace, and a good name. To sew for a living is hard, but to sin for it is harder. It is better to starve, to slave day and night, even to die of hunger and exhaustion, than to seek a livelihood in the way I was seek- ing it. Often I was without a home, and even without food for days. Then would come times when I lived well again and had fine dresses; but soon things changed once more. Thus I went on, but gradually fared worse, until finally, for night after night, I walked the streets almost starving, and purchased, with a few pence left me, a place to sleep in, at a miserable lodging- house. Many a time a dram was my only sup- per; for we can't live that life without our drams; otherwise it would drive us crazy. And thus, step by step, I have come to this. Oh!" she cried, turning to Dora, and clasping her hands, "if I had listened to Mrs. Harper, if I had only imitated you, I might now have been well, I might have lived for years, I might have got something to do, through your aid, better than sewing for the shops; but now I must die. You don't know how terrible it is to die," she cried, wildly. "Can't you save me?
won't you?" she cried, clutching Dora round the neck; "I can't die, I can't, I can't—" She could speak no more, for a fit of cough- ing, brought on by her agitation, racked her exhausted frame, for a third time, until Dora began to fear that life would part in the struggle. The thought was dreadful. The condition of Susan's mind shocked and horrified her visitor. "Oh! if she should die," the latter reflected, as she supported Susan, "in this awful state of terror and impenitence! Father in Heaven," she murmured, raising her eyes above, "spare her, spare her, till she can learn submission and faith." That tearful petition was not unheeded. Susan survived the crisis, and even seemed more composed, both physically and mentally. Dora seized the opportunity to speak to her sooth- ingly, by directing her attention to those pas- sages of Scripture in which mercy is the pre- vailing theme. She spoke of the Magdalene, whom, while others reviled her, the Saviour told "to go and sin no more." She reminded her of the thief on the cross. "It is not the righteous, but sinners," she said, "whom the Saviour came to call to repentance; remember that, dear Susan." While thus occupied, her hearer's frame of mind gradually becoming more peaceful, the carriage was heard again moving, almost noise- lessly, along the snow-covered street, and im- mediately after an eminent divine, accompanied by Paul, entered the room. The Rev. Dr. —— was well in years, and beginning to be feeble; but, at the summons of his visitor, he did not hesitate to leave his warm fire, and brave the tempest, in order to bear his Master's mission to this perishing soul. Many hours he remained in that miserable chamber, as did also Dora and her husband; morning indeed was dawning when they left. The storm was over, and the temperature milder; but these things they scarcely knew, for, as they gazed together on the face of the dead, deeper and more engrossing thoughts were in their hearts. The minister at last broke the silence. "Her countenance is composed and sweet," he said. "We know that her last moments were full of hope, and we will trust that she was not de- ceived. God is merciful above all things. The world dealt hardly with her in life, so that in death she has perhaps found acceptance. Oh! if her sex had less injustice at the hands of man, we should see but few of these agonising death-beds. In the Great Day of account, it will not be the poor Magdalene, who was starved into sin by social wrong, that will receive the heaviest penalty, but the Mammon worshipper who drove her to despair, and the profligate who hunted her to her ruin." As he spoke these words he reverently drew the sheet over the face of the dead, and silently led the way from the room. No pauper hearse bore Susan to her last home, no pauper's grave received her remains. Would that all, who "sin and suffer," might find friends like her! Dora and Paul still live, and are happy, though not without trials. Mrs. Harper re- sides with them as housekeeper, having refused all Dora's offers of a home, until she could feel independent, by having some fixed employment. "I never begged my bread yet," she said, "and while I can work I won't live on charity, even at your hands, my darling." Butler has made for himself a name, as a painter of grand conception and original style. He imitates nature, not the schools; and in this he adheres to the determination of his earlier days. A few years ago Paul and Dora met the Lady Alicia. She had sunk into an old maid, princi- pally known for backbiting her acquaintance, and practising the formalities of religion, re- gardless of its spirit. And now, reader, farewell! Our story has not been written without a purpose. If it suc- ceeds in directing attention towards the wrongs of woman, if it enables even one orphan to bear up against life's trials, we shall be amply re- paid. It is not by yielding to temptation that we conquer; it is by struggling with it to THE END.
Thb Saturdag Review asks how the slavish jargon of the Court Circular can go on when a daughter of tbe Queen is married to one who is (like herself) a commoner. Up to this time the Marquis of Lome has been " honored" every time he came in contact with his future wife, her mother, her brother or her sisters. He may have been allowed to "attend," he could in no case " aocompany." Shall we now hear that a man "has the honor of dining" with his own wife, or that he " attends," but may not " accompany," his wife, or, for aught we know, his children too ? Many other such . Bubtle questions preßs upon us. We have no precedent later than Edward Ill's days, and in Edward Ill's days there was no Court Circular. The " young people," as our teacher lovingly calls them, are probably not thinking about such things, but "the ladies and gentlemen of the Court" must be driven to their wit's end to know what to do in such a state of things. Captain Cook and the Island Kings.— In the western wing of the Australian Museum, in this city, bangs a small gl jzed frame, wherein will be found a well-authenticated historical relic, carrying us back to the days of the great circumnavigator Cook—whose memory is now publicly perpetuated amongst us by the hand some but unfinished monument in Hyde Park, i not many yards distant from the above-named institution. This particular " token of the dead" we are alluding to, is a convex-shaped glass star, having sixteen pointß, and about two inches and a half in diameter—the gift of Captain Cook to the King of Aitutaki (one of the " Hervey group"), and a long time regarded as an heirloom, or Crown jewel, of the native princes of that island. Its history is attested by a curious memorandum in the hand writing of tbe late venerable Lancelot Edward Threlkeld, into whose possesion it passed as long ago as 1821. The star appears to have been one of those objects which were thought fully supplied by the British Government to Captain Cook, to give away to the savage or [ semi-barbarous inhabitants of any of the I countries which he might discover. It is stitched to the card-board on which tbe descriptivo memorandum appear* in Mr. Threlkeld's well-known hand-writing. The " memorandum" is as follows:—" This , Glass Star was given by Captain Cook, I some time about 1776* (when on a voyage to the South Seas) to the King of the Island of j Aitutaki, who, at his death, gave it to his son, j who reigned many years in idolatrous heathen ism, but through the instrumentality of two native teachers—sent by us from the Church I of Chr'st at Raiataia, Soc ety Islands—at length embraced the Gospel of God our Saviour. Shortly afterwards he came up to Baiataia, in 1822, on a visit to the King Tamatoa, to whom he gavo it. On my depnrture for Eng land, by way of New South Wales, from that island (Raiataiu) in 1821, Tamatoa, the king, gave this star to mo as a keepsake. It was always regarded as being the token of sove reignty of tho island of Aitutaki, descending from father to son, similar to our crown and sceptre.—Sydney, New South Wales, February 22, 185 i. Lancelot
(Signed keld, Minister."