Chapter 65790847

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Chapter NumberV.- (Continued.)
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65790847
Full Date1888-02-18
Page Number23
Corrections0
Word Count1292
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleFiddle-John's Family
article text

(Cluldrcu's (Column,

FIDDLE-JOHN^ FAMILY. [Br FTf m.MAW HjOCTH BgYTKEE.J (From St. yicholas. ) Chapter V.— {Coidiuucd.) A dreary hour passed — dreary beyond ex pression. Tbe two buys tried each to per suade the other that he was, on tbe whole, not at all afraid, but really quite cheeifuL The only one whose arguments were really went peacefully to sleep on TruU'e shoulder, and did not wake until tbe policeman came and summoned them all into Court. They made quite a sensation when they entered ; and people rose and craned their neoka to cateh a glimpse uf the enrious group. It was probably the first time that a bear had marched on its hind legs into a Police Court and taken its place behind the bar as a pri soner. The Judge smiled when be saw it, and leaned over toward the policeman, who ** 1 he officer charges you with roaming about with an unlicensed bear ' he ft* id severely, fixing a stern glance upon Alf. ' What have you to say to the charge f Alf gazed helplessly, and shook his head. ' Why don't you answer?' repeated the Judge, impatiently. ' Why didn't you take out a licence for your bear ?' The policeman again stepped forward and explained that the prisoners were Dutch, or some other kind of foreigners, and that they did not understand a word of English. ' H'm,' observed His Honor, rather ^rnmb liogly, adding ' why didn't you tell me tti«^ before ? 1 he Court interpreter is absent. Is there an; one in this Court-room,' be vent on, raiding his voice, '* who understands foreign languages, and would be willing to help the Court out of a difficulty ?' He looked expectantly about the large room, bnt no one volunteered to act as inter * * foreign languages.' *' Thegintlenum over there,' the policeman remarked, pointing out a well-dressed man in the audience, 'looks as if be understood farrin langturre». ' Tbe gentleman in q utstion disclaimed all knowledge of tbe languages referred to, and the Court visited him with a look of serious displeasure. It was very annoying, and there Eeeuied positively no way of disposing of the case, except to recommit the prisoners until an interpreter could be found. The Judge was about to resort to that expedient, when a new prisoner was led into the Court, and tbe boys gave a simultaneous exclamation of tiou agent. Mr. Skoug had evidently come into cullision with a noli Oman's club, or feomt) otiiar unyielding substance, for his left eye was much blackened, and lie hard a great bump on his forehead, tie hid \jeeu uiru&ted the pitiviuud night lor di^urliiu- the peace. 'That lelloM-, it uppeais. is acquainted w.th these i-utch children, ' the Court re charge of Mr. Skoag ; bring him up.' ' Do you nqJerstaud foreign languages V the Justice went on, ad 'ironing the emigra tion a^ent in his severest judicial tones. *'' Well'.' continued the Court, ''canyon tiud out ativtliini; about thia hoy au-! jrirl ? ? why tl»-y did uj lu.-uce their bcir T Who provides for tli.m 1 vYber.- do thev live*'1 Jens, ij turning his back toward 'the Court, gave Alf and Kaieu and the bear a fierce glance, as if to say that he would make them smart if they dared in any wav to compromise them earnestly for several minutes. Ji Your Honor,1' he resumed, rising and facing the JuJge, ' these clii.drcu are utterly destitute, ami have no money wherewith to buy a licence for their he±r. in other words, they are vagrants ; and if i iimv be permitted to make a suggestion, I think the Reform School or the workhouse wonld be the right place for them.' ' You nuy Bpare your suggestions.' the Justice interrupted, curtly, ^though they

happen to fit in exactly with what I bail de termined to do with tbe children. Tr.eir bear will have to be killed or sold, and they are hereby recommitted, and will be sent to the Island for thirty days.' Mr. Skoag again etooped down and ex plained to tbe two cnlprits ; but he had no sooner mentioned the word 'kill,' than Alf gave * shoot, half of anger, half of dread, polled bis Norse table-knife* from its sheath, and with one swift stroke slit the bear's skin from the neck downward. The policeman fashed forward, tbe acdience jumped apoo the benches, the Judge himself started at the Saab of the knife, and was on the point of leaping over his desk. What was his amaze* ment when, instead of & bear, he saw a little trembling boy in a very scanty attire ! A roar of laughter and a deafening salvo of applause burst forth from all parts of the room, and it was in vain that the Judge ham mered with all his might on his desk, and in thunderous tones demanded order. Tbe Irish policeman, to whose taste for practical jokes the whole scene was due, laughed as if he were going to split his Bides. He would not have ventured to confess that he had planned gome such dramatic incident, although, as he admitted to himself, it had turned out even more startling thaii be had dared to hope. When order was finally restored the Court commanded that the prisoners be removed ; but Tnils, who now comprehended the situa tion, and was determined not to submit to farther imposition, marched boldly up to the Judge, and put Mr. Tenner's card before him on tie desk. 'This gentleman/1 he eaid, confidently, ' told roe to Bend foe him if I should ever need a friend. Now I need him, and if you would feindiy send someone to fetch him I ihould be greatly obliged.' The Judge somehow understood the purport of this speech, though the words were un intelligible to him. Mr. Tenney's name was well known to him, aa that of & citizen of wealth and influence, and his prisoners im mediately rose in his estimation when he found that they enjoyed the protection of ?o prominent a man. He therefore beckoned to a policeman, wrote a hasty note, and told him to have it instantly despatched. The boyi and their mater in the meanwhile were permitted to sit down in the Courtroom, ftwaitug Mr. Tenney's arrival. Mr. Skoug, who betrayed a great anxiety to be off, pleading a variety of business engagements, was then examined, and fined ten dollars. He had jnst managed to disappear through a side room wben Mr. Tenney's tall and portly figure was seen at tbe entrance. He gave the boys a. friendly nod us he walked rapidly up to the Judge, with whom he cou versed amicably for several minutes. There was something brisk, energetic, and businesslike in all bb movements. He langned very heartily wben the recent incident* with the bear was related to him, and the Jndge joined in tbe laugh, and asserted that it was one of the most amusing episodes that ever had occurred in all bis long experience on the bench. Then Mr. Tenney apologized for having taken «o much of the Court's valuable time, and the Court expressed itself delighted to have mode Mr. Tenney's acquaintance and to have been in any way able to serve him ; whereupon Mr. Tenney had the three children conveyed to bia carriage, and they drove away through the glorious .May sunshine, up one street and down another, until they reached a large and stately house on Madison Avenue. Here they stepped out of tbe carriage, and a liveried servant: flung the doors open before them as they entered the house. (To be continued.)