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Chapter NumberIX
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Full Date1868-02-13
Page Number4
Word Count2999
Last Corrected2020-04-15
Newspaper TitlePortland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (Vic. : 1842 - 1876)
Trove TitleHarry Linton's Downfall: A Story of Old Sydney
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HARRY LINTON'S DOWNFALL. A STORY OF OLD SYDNEY. By R. A. ATKINS. CHAPTER IX. THE PRISONER AT THE BAR. Plus que vous ne pensez ce moment est terrible, La Harpe, Le Comte de Warwick,. La haine dans ces heux n'a qu'un glaive assassin. Elle marche dans l'ombre. La Harpe, Jeanne de Naples, Equal to either fortune, Speech of Eugene Aram, The preliminary inquiries were over, and Harry was committed for trial. No case since the establishment of the colony, had created so much excitement as this ; and the trial, which was specially arranged to take place before Mr. Justice Field, the judge of the then newly established Supreme Court ; on the tenth of December was looked forward to with great interest by all classes. On the 25th of November, the day after Harry's arrest, Dora had returned home, only to learn the sad news which made her heart stand still, and paralysed her every thought. She would not beliere in the youth's guilt, neither would Colonel Winter, nor Mr. Camp. The latter emphatically declared his client's innocence. " I firmly believe that what the young man says is true !" he exclaimed. " but how shall we prevail upon a jury to believe it in the face of the evidence which will be brought against him ? " On the afternoon of the day on which Dora returned, Mr. Cash called on the Colonel, fully intending to take the first step towards gaining the hand of Harry's affianced. To his intense astonishment and annoyance, the old soldier at once paid him his demand, and, ringing the bell, requested old Peggy to show tthe visitor to the door. All this was done with so much chilling hauteur, that Mr. Cash was thoroughly nonplussed ; and walked away with the humbling conviction that his plotting had resulted in ignominious failure. " Well, one coomfort is," quoted Dog-in-the- manger Cash, " that if I don't marry her young Linton won't ! " and so he chuckled as he walked home. That evening he had a long interview with Wilkins. They sat in a snug room overlooking the harbour; and, although we cannot hear what they say, we can see them sitting at the table, drinking rum, and conversing earnestly. Wilkins appears to be threatening his master, who listens to him with a pale face and half-frightened look. Presently he seems to attempt to gain the upper hand in the dispute, but the other never allows him to do so, he has by far the best of it. At length they seem to have come to some arrangement, and Cash leaves the room, presently returning with some money (bank notes) in his band. He has been absent only a mtinute or two, but now on his return, he is ghastly pale, and there is a dangerous look of determination in his eyes, and the firm setting of his thick jaw. Hls companion does not seem to notice this, but feasts his eyes greedily on the roll of notes which Cash carelessly throws him across the table. It is nearly dark by this time, and Wilkins goes to the window to count over the money. Whilst he is thus engaged, with his back to the table, Cash quietly draws from his pocket a vial containing a dark coloured fluid, a small quantity of which he pours into Wilkins's glass. The latter having apparently satisfied himself that the money is all right, returns to the table and winking gravely at his master takes a deep draught from the glass before him, Cash looking on the meanwhile with anxiety and fear, depicted in his place. Another minute and Wilkins is fast asleep, a heavy unnatural sleep, with his head fallen on his breast, Cash watches him anxiously for some time, and then walks across to where he sits, and shakes him roughly by the arm. As this produces no effect, he pours out a glassful of water and dashes it in the sleeping man's face. On this Wilkins partially raises his head, but still does not awaken, and his eyes are fast closed. Cash then locks the door of the room, and opens one of the French windows. Through this he drags the sleeplng man, down the smooth lawn to the water's edge, where a boat lies moored, and throwing hIs still insensible burden into the boat, he springs in himsell and taking the oars pulls out towards the middle of the harbour. In about twenty minutes the boat returns,

and Cash springs ashore, and makes her fast ; he is alone. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * ** The morning ol the trial at length arrived, and the courthouse was crowded to excess. It is not my Intention to inflict on my readers a detailed account of the proceedings, so I shall merely give such portions of the evidence as are necessary to give a fair idea of the case. The prisoner was calm and collected, though very pale, and as he glanced fearlessly around him, few in that court believed him guilty of the grave crimes whereof he was charged. Mr. Camp appeared for the defence, and seemed to have his whole attention concentrated on the matter, before him. The Colonel and officers of the garrison were present, and anxiously awaited the result of the trial. There were two counts to the indictment, the first charging the prisoner with forging a cheque in the name of Wm. H. Cash for the sum of fifteen hundred pounids, and the second with having the said cheque cashed, knowing it to be a forgery. The Crown prosecutor opened the case, and brought forward his evidence. The first witnesses examined were the two constables, who deposed to arresting the prisoner on the 24th November. He had made no statement, but appeared quite "dazed like." The bank notes (produced) amounting in value to five hundred pounds were found on the prisoner at the time of his arrest. William Hard Cash, of Sydney, gentleman, swore that the signature to the cheque produced - " Wm. H. Cash "- was not in his handwriting. He had never given a cheque, to the prisoner, nor ever exchanged a word with him, to his knowledge, in his life. He was absent from Sydney on the twenty-third of November, and did not return until the morning of the twenty-fourth. He had left town early on the morning of the nineteenth, and had not been near Sydney from that time until the day of Mr. Linton's arrest. He had been on a visit to a friend of his, who had a small farm twenty-five miles from town, on the " Stone Quarry" road. On his return to town on the twenty-fourth, he had gone down to the bank on business. The cashlier said to him, " Mr. Cash, we cashed a very heavy cheque of yours yesterday to Lieutenant Linton." Witness replied, " I don't know Mr Linton, and never gave him a cheque of mine." The cashier then produced the cheque, which witness at once saw was a forgery. The handwriting was a very good imitation of his signature. Mr. Camp rose to cross-examine the witness. " You say you were absent from Sydney from the nineteenth until the twenty-fourth of November ? " " Yes." " How far is your friend's place from Sydney ?" " About twenty-five miles." " How did you employ your time. during your stay there ?" " I was amusing myself in riding or walking over the farm. I went over there for the purpose of enjoying myself." " Did you ever ride in the direction of Sydney ?" " Yes." " What was the furthest distance you ever rode in this direction ?" " The farthest I ever rode in this direction was five miles - that was on the 21st of November." " Where were you on the twenty-third of November ?" " I was taking a walk in a southerly direction, looking at some land I thought of purchasing." The prisoner's counsel tried all he could to shake Mr. Cash's testimony in this respect, but in vain - he firmly denied having been near Sydney on the twenty-third of November. The examination proceeded :- " You have an assigned servant, named Wilkins ?" " I had such a man, but he has disappeared since the twenty-fourth of November - the officers of justice are now searching for him." " You have no idea where he is ?" " None ! I wish he could be found - he stole a large sum of money from me before he ran away." Mr. Camp regarded the witness steadily, but the latter did not show the least signs of embarrassment. The Cashier from the bank proved the cashing of the cheque by Harry, and added, " Mr. Linton gave me to understand that he had won the money from Mr. Cash on the races. I forget his exact words, but that is what I inferred from what he said." Witness had taken the numbers of the notes when he paid Mr. Linton the money. The notes produced, found on prisoner) were a portion of the fifteen hundred pounds which witness had paid him. Mr. Cash, recalled, stated he had never had any betting transactions with Mr. Linton. Colonel Winter, who was subpoened, gave evidence as to Harry having promised him four hundred pounds on the twenty fourth. He was also obliged to tell all about the conditions he had made in respect to Dora's wedding, - all that made him appear mean and mercenary was divulged before that crowded court. The conversation which took place on the 18th November, between witness and Harry, together with the latter's reiterated promise relative to the four hundred pounds - all came out. Henry Thorpe, a farmer living near Stone Quarry, stated that Mr. Cash had been on a visit at his house, from the 19th to the 24th of November. He arrived at midday and left at daybreak. Did not believe it possible that his guest could have been near Sydney on the 23rd. Cash left his house on foot after breakfast that morning, and was back again about three o'clock in the afternoon. He breakfasted shortly after daybreak. He thought nothing of his absence, as he sometimes did not return until nightfall. Cash's horse was grazing near the house during his absence on that day. It was a bay horse. This closed the case for the prosecution, and Mr. Camp rose to address the court on the evidence which had been brought forward. He said the case was the most extraordinary which he had ever met with in the course of his long experience. The clharge had been brought against his client with devilish cunning, but he hoped to be enabled to clear away the dark cloud that at present obscured the hitherto spotless fame of the prisoner at the bar. He would read a statement written by Mr. Linton of what occurred on the 23rd of November, which was as follows : "At the request of several of my friends, I now write this true statemenat of occurrences which took place on the 23rd day of November

last. Early on the morning of that day. I went for a walk, as was customary with me, on the Botany-road. At about nine o'clock in the morning, whilst I was sitting down to rest under the shade of a tree, I saw a man coming from the direction of Botany, and as he came nearer discovered that it was Mr. Cash. He was the very man I wanted to see. I was hard pressed for money, and I had been told that Mr. Cash was a money lender, yet I was at a loss how to address him - a total stranger to me - on such a subject. However, as chance would have it, when Mr. Cash was some twenty yards distant, I saw him draw from the tail pocket of his coat a silk handkerchief. In returning it to his pocket, it slipped out of his hand and fell on the ground, apparently without him noticing it. I rose, and when he came up, said : " Pardon me, sir, but you've dropped your handkerchief." " He thanked me, and went and picked it up. " I really am much obliged to you, Mr. Linton," he said. " If you'll permit me, I'll sit down in this delightful shadow and rest." We then entered into conversation, and ! at length asked could he lend me four hundred pounds on that day. I remember his answer well. 'Can I lend it you ?' he said, slowly, as if considering. 'I am rather pressed for ready money myself at this particular time. When do you want it ?" " I must have it before tomorrow, the twenty-fourth, without fail," I replied. " Before tomorrow - that's unfortunate," said Mr. Cash. " I only returned into late last light, and I leave town again today. I shall probably not be back until late tomorrow night. I'll tell you what I can do, however," he continued, after a moment's hesitation, " but I must request you to do me a slight favour !" " What is it ?" I enquired. " I am, as I said, going to leave town today,' he answered. ' Now, from private reasons of my own, I do not want to call personally at the bank - there is some one there who is in difficulties, and to whom I have half promised to lend money - in fact, I don't want to see him at present. I want you to cash me a cheque for fifteen hundred, and pay me one thousand out of it, as I want the money particularly. I have the cheque here drawn out, and was considering, when I met you, who I should get to cash it for me. I can manage to make a thousand do for me, and let you have the remainder at five per cent, in consideration of your so far doing me a favor.' " Five per cent.," exclaimed I - " That is indeed reasonable !" " Under the circumstances I can do it, and the obligation will be mutual. " I don't like to refuse that young fellow at the bank," said Mr. Cash, " but you know, Mr. Linton, that, as a man of business, I cannot lend a large sum to a person who has positively no security to give me ; and yet I was foolishly weak enough to raise the poor boy's hopes. Well, well ! a money leader should not be troubled with a tender heart ! " and Mr. Cash appeared much affected. " It is now half-past nine o'clock," he continued consulting his watch, "and my horse is to be ready to meet me outside the town at twelve. It you would kindly cash the cheque and meet me on the Southern Road, with your receipt for four or five hundred, whichever you require, I will walk slowly across the bush, and you can pay me over the balance. I want to pay several separate sums, amongst others, eight hundred to a settler who won it off me on the races. You think me wonderfully obliging Mr. Linton, but I am not doing all this without a motive, and that is to win the friendship of gentlemen in a certain 'set,' into which, with all my wealth, I cannot gain admittance. The one study of my life is to try and disabuse the minds of free settlers, of the idea that all emancipists must necessarily be vile and wicked. That is why I am anxious to get into the good graces of gentlemen of your class, to try and prove to you that even an emancipist may be a man of Christian feeling and honour." He then walked away into the bush leaving me standing, very much astonished, with the cheque for fifteen hundred pounds in my hand. I was certainly struck at the time with Mr. Cash's kindness in so readily acceding to my request, and the explanation he had given of his motives was to m quite satisactory. I went to the barracks and from there to the bank, where I cashed the cheque, and wrote a receipt for five hundred pounds. I then went on the Southern Road to meet Mr. Cash. I found him waiting in the road with his horse. He was alone and appeared anxious to be off. " Ha ! Mr. Linton," he said as I handed him the notes, which he counted, " so you are here at last. How much will you take ?" " Five hundred," I replied, "and here is my promissory note at six months." Mr. Cash counted out the required sum, which he handled to me, and carefully put the rest of the notes into his pocket. " Now Mr. Linton, you may trust to me never to breathe a word to anyone of this transaction, for I know you would rather it were kept quiet. Of course if you choose to talk about it, that is your business. Good morning !" He then rode away and I returned to town. On the followhig morning before I was arrested, I met a man dressed in the garb of a labourer who warned me of danger, and advised me to leave Sydney at once. He ran away on seeing a man approaching on horseback, who turned out to be Mr Cash, so I had no opportunity of questioning him as to his meaning. On the same afternoon I was arrested at Colonel Winter's door, on a chargo of forgery. That this is a true statement of facts as they occurred, I pledge my sacred honour as an Engliah gentleman and a soldier. Harry Linton. N.B. - I may add that I cannot recall to mind how Mr. Cash was dressed. At this stage of the proceedings, the court adjourned until the following day,