|Chapter Title||SENTENCE OF THE COURT.|
|Newspaper Title||The Maitland Mercury and Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW : 1843 - 1893)|
|Trove Title||A Mystery|
(From English, American, and Other Periodicals.)
SENTENCE OF THE COURT.
The deep, sonorous, voice of the foreman of the jury sounded out upon the solemn stillness of the crowded court-room like the knell of doom.
And doom it was, and to one who never, con- sciously, committed a mean act in all his life.
The effect which that one word produced was
There was a rustle of excitement and disapproval among the crowd, while deep-drawn sighs and ex- pressions of sorrow showed that sympathy was strong for the prisoner at the bar, who, for the last hour, while the jury was absent to decide upon the verdict, had sat with bent head and listless attitude, as if wearied out with the bitter trial to which he had been subjected.
Now, however, as he had been commanded "to look upon the jury," his head was proudly lifted, revealing an exceedingly intelligent and handsome face, and a pair of fine dark eyes met those of the foreman unflinching; while the least smile of scorn and bitterness disturbed the firm, strong mouth showing that he had believed he had not much to hope for from him.
As the word was spoken which sealed his fate a gray pallor settled over his face and be dropped into his former attitude ; otherwise he betrayed no sign of emotion.
Then something occurred which very seldom occurs in a crowded court-room.
A low cry of pain not far from the prisoner made every eye turn that way, and made him shiver as
with a sudden chill.
A tender, sorrowful gleam crept into his dark eyes, the proud lips unbent and trembled slightly, and a heavy sigh heaved his broad chest.
The next moment a slender, girlish form started up from her seat, and a fair, flushed face was turned with eloquent pleading toward the grave judge, sitting like a statue in his chair of state, while an earnest, quivering voice rang out :
" Oh, sir, he is not guilty - I know that Earle Wayne never was guilty of such a deed."
A touching picture, and very sweet and attractive withal, Editha Dalton made, standing there so unconscious of herself, or that she was guilty of any breach of decorum ; her fair hair floating like gleams of sunlight upon her graceful shoulders ; her sweet face flushed and full of pain ; her deep blue eyes filled with tears, and raised beseechingly to the judge ; her delicate hands clasped imploringly, and half-outstretched toward him, as if seeking for merey in the sentence he was about to pronounce.
[?]-'s face lost its habitual sternness and his own eyes softened almost to caught the sweet tones, and turned upon her, so beautiful in her appealing
It was not often that a culprit found one so earnest and beautiful to plead his cause. The able lawyer who had had charge of the case for the young man, with all his eloquence, had not moved him as did this fair maiden, with her flushed, pained face, her pleading eyes, her out-stretched hands.
A murmur of sympathy sounded again through- out the room, and a wave of regret swept over the judge's heart, as he turned from the girl to the prisoner, feeling himself more than half convinced of the truth of her words, as he marked again the noble face and the honest expression of the clear, unflinching eyes.
But some one pulled Editha Dalton hastily back into the chair from which she had arisen, and a stern voice uttered in her ear :
"Edie! Edie! sit down, child! What are you thinking of, when your own evidence did more toward convicting him than that of ony one else ?"
"Oh ! I know it ! I know it! but he is not guilty all the same. It is only the cruel force of circum- stances that makes him appear so!" she sobbed wildly, burying her face, with a gesture of despair,
in her handkerchief.
The judge's keen ears caught the words, and his sharp eyes wandered again from her to the prisoner, a shade of uneasiness in their glance. He marked the pallor that had overspread his face, making him almost ghastly ; the yearning, troubled look in the eyes now fixed so sadly upon the weeping girl; the firmly compressed lips and clenched hands, which told of a mighty effort at self-control ; and some- thing whispered within him that the jury were at fault - that the evidence, though so clear and con- clusive, was at fault ; and, since there could be no reprieve, to make the sentence as light as possible.
"Prisoner at the bar, stand up," he said, and Earle Wayne instantly arose.
Tall, manly, and with conscious dignity, he con- fronted the judge to receive his sentence, his eye never faltering, his face calm and proud, though still exceedingly pale.
" You have heard the verdict of the jury - have you anything to say ?"
'Nothing, save what I have already said, your honor. I am not guilty of the crime with which I am charged, and if I live I will yet prove it !"
That was all ; but the firm, unfaltering words seemed to carry conviction with them, and even the jury began to look grave and troubled, as if they, too, feared they had convicted an innocent
But the fiat had gone forth, and the judge, anxious to have the uncomfortable matter disposed of, pro- nounced the lightest sentence possible - " three years' hard labor in the State prison at ----.
A mighty sigh burst from the multitude, as if it had come from a single breast, as he ceased, and then a hush like death pervaded the room. It was the best the judge could do, and the very least they could expect ; but it was sad to see a promising young man of twenty condemned to penal servitude for a term of years, be it ever so few.
The prisoner received it with the same calmness that had characterized him throughout the trial, only a slight quivering of the eyelids showing that he had
heeded the words at all.
A moment of utter silence pervaded the room after the sentence was pronounced, the court was dismissed, and then the curious but sympathetic rabble went its way.
But, with winged feet, a slight form darted for- ward from the crowd, and, almost before he was aware of her presence, Editha Dalton was beside the prisoner, her pained, quivering face upraised to his.
She seized his hand in both of hers, she laid her hot, flushed cheek upon it, and sobbed :
"Oh, Earle, forgive me! forgive me! but I had to tell the truth, and it has ruined you."
" Hush, Edie-Miss Dalton. You have done per- fectly right, and I have nothing to forgive."
The young man spoke kindly, soothingly, but a sudden flush mounted to his brow, and the hot cheek against his hand thrilled him with a bitter pain.
"But it was my evidence that told most against you. I tried not to tell it all; but, oh! they made me, with their cruel questions. If I had not had to say that I saw you, and that the bracelet was mine, perhaps, oh ! perhaps that dreadful jury would not have said you were ---"
She stopped suddenly and shuddered, sobbing bitterly.
She could not speak the obnoxious word.
" Their saying that I am guilty does not make me so, even though I must pay the penalty as if I were. But I have the consciousness within that I am innocent of the crime, and I shall live to prove it yet to you, Editha, and to all the world," he answered, in clear, confident tones, with a proud uplifting of
" You do not need to prove it to me, Earle ; I know it already. I would take your word in the face of the whole world and a thousand juries," Editha asserted, with unshaken confidence.
A glad light leaped into the young man's eyes, and illuminated his whole face for a moment, at these words,
" Thank you," he replied, in low, thrilling tones, and bending toword her, " it will be very pleasant to remember what you have said while I am ---"
He stopped short -- he could not finish the miser-
His sudden pause reminded the young girl anew
of what was to come.
" Earle ! Earle !" she cried, passionately, her face growing white and agonized, " I cannot have it so! Three years, three long, long, wretched years ! Oh, if I could only do something, if I could only find those wretches who did the deed for which you must suffer; if -- oh, it is too, too cruel !"
" Hush, my little friend," he said, bending nearer, and speaking with deep tenderness, "your sympathy is very sweet and comforting to me; but it will unman me if I see you suffer so on my account.".
" Then I will be calm. I am thoughtless to wound you, when you have so much to bear already," she interrupted, choking back the sobs that heaved her breast, and making an effort to be calm.
His lips trembled slightly as her blue eyes met his, so full of sympathy and sorrow.
"God knows that this is a fearful trial to me," he went on, drawing a deep, deep breath, to free him- self of the choking sensation in his throat; but, trying to speak more hopefully, " I am young, and three years will soon pass. I shall spend them to some purpose, too ; and, Editha, with the know- ledge of your trust and faith in me, I shall be able to bear them patiently, and I shall come forth from the strange discipline better prepared, I have no doubt, to battle with life than I am at this moment. Every hour that is my own I shall spend in study, and if you will continue to have faith in me I pro- mise you shall never have cause to blush to own me as a friend in the future."
"Earle," Editha Dolton replied, quietly, yet earnestly, now entirely self-possessed, "you are just as brave and noble as you can be, and I am proud of you as my friend today - now - this moment! I shall think of you every day. I shall pray for you every day : and, if they will let me, I will come once in a while to see you."
" No, no ; please do not, Edie. I could not bear that you should see me there," he cried, sharply, his face almost convulsed with pain at the thought.
"Ah, no - I did not think; but you would not like it : but I want to do something to comfort you and let you know that I do not forget you," she said, sadly, a troubled look on her fair face.
" Will they let me send you things ?" she asked after thinking a moment.
" Yes, that is allowed, I believe."
" Then I shall send you something as often as I can ; and you will be comforted a little, will you not, Earle, if you know you are remembered ?" she asked, anxiously,
"Indeed I shall," he said, deeply touched; "if I receive a flower, a book, a paper, even, I shall be greatly cheered."
" You shall have them. Every week I will send you something, and you will know that there is one friend who has faith in you," she said, eagerly.
"God bless you, Miss Dalton. You are a little comforter, and my heart is lighter already, I have another friend -- your uncle; he has been very kind and has fought hard for me."
" Dear Uncle Richard; I believe he is one of the best men that ever lived," Edith said, as her eyes sought a noble-looking man who was talking in an earnest and somewhat excited manner to a group gathered about him, and who had been Earle's lawyer.
I shall ever have cause to remember him grate- fully. He did not give me much encouragement regarding the issue of the case -- the evidence was so strong against me -- and as we could get no clue to the real culprit, he feared the worst. But he promised to help me in my studies, should the case go against me, so that I may be ready for the bar when the term expires. So you see that things are not quite so dark as they might be," Earle said, trying to speak hopefully.
The future looked dark enough, at the best, she thought.
" If we could but have had more time -- if you might only have another trial. ' Could you not hove appealed, Earle?" she asked.
He shook his head sadly.
" It could have done no good. The really guilty ones have covered their tracks, and hidden their booty so effectually, that we could get no clue. But do not grieve for me, my little friend. Other innocent men have suffered for the guilty, and it can be no harder for me than it was for them. And,' lowering his voice, and speaking reverently, " I do not forget that there was once a man who suffered for the sins of a whole world. For thirty-four years He meekly bore His cross, praying at the end that His enemies might be forgiven ; and since He sees fit to send this one upon me, I must not murmur, though I own 'tis hard."
Editba was weeping quietly now. The tears would come in spite of her, though she marveled at
" Come, Editha, I have an engagement at four, and it lacks only fifteen minutes of that hour now."
The words were spoken in cold, measured tones at
The fair girl started, flushed, and glanced around at the speaker in surprise, as if unaccustomed to be- ing addressed in that manner.
" Yes, papa, I will come, but I wanted to say good by to Earle."
" Ah, yes-ahem ! I'm truly sorry for poor Earle,'' Mr. Dalton said, addressing him with a good deal of coldness and a very poor show of sympathy, while he glanced impatiently at his daughter. " Very un- fortunate complication of circumstances," he went on, his gold repeater in his band, and his eyes watch- ing attentively the minute hand as it crept toward the hour of his engagement, "The evidence was strangely conclusive, and I wish for your sake it could have been refuted ; but really, Editba, we must not delay longer."
Earle Wayne bowed coldly to the would-be com- forter, and stepped back as if to end the interview.
He knew Mr. Dalton was no friend to him, and his words, which contained no sincerity, were intoler-
able to him.
" Good-by, Miss Dalton," he said, holding out his hand to Editha, and which she had dropped upon hearing Mr. Dalton's stern tones.
That gentleman frowned darkly at the act.
What right had a criminal to offer his hand to his daughter ?
"Good-by, Earle," she answered, clasping it warmly, while a big tear trickled down her cheek and dropped hot burning upon it.
Then she turned quickly away, drew her veil over her tear-stained face, while Mr. Dalton led her from the room, himself bestowing only an indifferent nod upon the offending culprit.
About three months previous to the events re- lated in the preceding chapter, on a dark and stormy
!night, two men might have been seen prowling
around a stately mansion in an aristocratic portion of the city of New York. After carefully reconnoi- tering the premises, to see that no one was stirring within, one of them cautiously proceeded to cut out a pane of glass in one of the basement windows, while the other kept watch upon the sidewalk.
The glass was removed without the slightest noise, whereupon the burglar unfastened the window and lifted the sash. Then making a little sound like the twittering of a sparrow, he was immediately joined by his companion, and both disappeared within
A few minutes later a third man, coming along the street, saw the sudden glimmer of a light in one of
the lower rooms of the mansion.
Something about it instantly attracted his atten-
It was a quick, sharp flare, and then seemed to go suddenly out.
He waited a minute or two, and the same thing was repeated.
" Aha ! a burglary !" he muttered to himself. " I think I'll have to look into this thing,"
He stopped, and his first impulse was to turn and go in search of a policeman.
Ah ! if he had done so how much of future misery
would have been saved him.
But upon second thought he concluded not to do so, and quietly slipped within the shadow of the great porch over the front entrance.
It seemed a long time that he stood waiting there, and he regretted that he had not gone for an
He did not know how long the burglars had been there, and he had feared they would escape before he could return. But finally he heard cautious steps approaching from the rear toward the corner where be was stationed, and now he caught the sound of exultant whispers, that they had been so successful as to get out undiscovered with their rich booty. The next instant the two men emerged into view, bearing their plunder in a bag between them.
With a bound the newcomer darted forward, and felled one man to the ground, with a blow that soun- ded like the descent of a sledge hammer, and then grappled with the other.
The burglar who had been felled had been only momentarily stunned, and almost instantly recover- ing himself, he had quietly picked up the bag, which
had also fallen to the ground in the melee, and made off with it, leaving his companion to shirk for him- self as best he could.
The combatants fought bravely and well, but the assailant being lighter than the burglar, and less ex- perienced in pugilistic practlce, gradually lost ground, and, finally, a well-directed blow from his antagonist laid him flat at his feet, when this burglar also beat a hasty retreat, having first dropped something
upon the ground beside his victim.
Steps were now heard approaching upon the pave- ment -- the noise of the scuffle had reached the ears of one of the protectors of the peace, and he was hastening to the rescue.
A light at the same time appeared at a window in one of the lower rooms of the mansion so lately robbed, while above a sash was thrown hastily up and a slight, white-robed figure leaned forth into the night.
The light in the window below streamed directly out upon the fallen hero -- alas ! a hero no longer -- who now began to gather himself and his scattered senses together once more. As he arose to his feet a cry from above rang out on the stillness of the
" Oh, Earle ! Earle ! how came you here, and what
is the matter ?"
The voice was that of Edith Dalton, and spring- ing forward under the window the young man re- plied, reassuringly :
"Do not be alarmed, Miss Editha, I have had a fall but am all right now. I'll come and tell you to-mor- row how I happened to be here to-night."
" So, so, my fine young gentleman, you'll come and tell the lady to-morrow, will you ? I'm think ing mayhaps you will have a chance to tell some one else by that time, you disturber of the peace," and before Earle Wayne could scarcely realize what had happened a pair of steel bracelets were slipped about his wrists, and he was a prisoner.
"You have made a mistake, sir," he said, civilly, to his captor, yet beginning to feel very uncomfor- able in the position he had found himself. " I was trying to stop a couple of thieves who had just robbod this bouse, when one of them knocked me
down and cleared."
" Yes, yes; I find I always get hold of the wrong rogue -- some one else does the deed, and the one I catch is always so ' innocent,' " laughed the police- man, with good-natured sarcasm.
" Aha! what have we here ?" he cried again, as his foot came in contact with some glittering object, and sent it spinning on before him.
He stooped to pick it up, and as the light fell upon it he saw that it was a costly bracelet, set with a solitaire diamond, surrounded with emeralds.
"That looks 'innocent,' don't it now?" he said, holding it up to the light with a chuckle.
" That is Miss Dalton's bracelet ; I've seen her wear it," the young man thoughtlessly and injudici-
" Oh, yes, no doubt ; and you thought mayhap that them glittering stones might bring a pretty little turn. I came just in time to stop this little game. Come, I think I can accommodate you with lodgings to-night, my hearty."
At this moment a man came out of the house upon
the balcony in great excitement.
" Help ! help !" he cried, " I've been robbed ! Stop
thief! stop --"
" Ay, I have stopped him, and just in the nick of time, sir," responded the policeman, leading Earle
"Earle Wayne!" exclaimed Mr. Dalton, in great- est astonishment, as his glance fell upon him.
" Yes, sir, it is ; but I am no thief, as you very well
" No, this does not look like it !" interrupted the policeman, flourishing the bracelet conspicuously.
" I have committed no robbery," reasserted Earle, with quiet dignity, " and I did not see that bracelet until you picked it up and showed it to me. It must have been dropped by one of the robbers who fled after I was knocked down," and he went on to ex- plain how he happened to be there, and what he had
seen and heard.
" It's a likely story, now, isn't it, sir ?" sneered his captor, wbo was all too eager for the eclat of having captured the perpetrator of so daring a theft, "when I've found him with his booty right here on the spot ?"
" Mr. Dalton," Earle appealed, fearing he had got himself into a bad predicament, "you know well enough that I would not do such a thing, particu- larly in this house of all others," and he glanced in a troubled way up at that white-robed figure in the
" No, certainly not. Papa, we know Earle would not be guilty of anything of the kind, and I believe every word he has said about the encounter with those men," Miss Dalton asserted, confidently.
" Did you see or hear ony one else, Editha ?" asked
"No ; I heard a heavy fall, and after listening a minute I came to the window, where I saw the [?] just getting up from the ground ; and see [?] been light shines upon him he looks as if he [?] having an encounter with some one," [?] d soiled pointed at the young man's disarranged
But Mr. Dalton shook his head, while the police- man sneered.
It looked bad, and the presence of the bracelet seemed to them indisputable proof that he was in some way criminally connected wit the affair.
Further investigation proved that a quantity of silver, and all Mrs. Dalton's diamonds together with
quite a large sum of money, had been stolen.
Young Wayne was closely questioned as to who his accomplices were, for the policeman insisted that he must have had one or more [?]
" Make a clean breast of it, young one, and being your first attempt, perhaps the [?judge] will let you of easy,"
But Earle indignantly refused to answer any more questions, and was at last [?] away to the station house, and locked up until the case could be offici- ally investigated.
The morning papers were full of the robbery, and the young man's name featured largely in their columns, while much was said about the "culpable hardihood and stubbornness of one so young years, but apparently [?] in crime."
A day or two after the case was investigated, and
no further light gained on the affair, he was committed to [? stand trial.]
Richard Forre[st?], a lawyer of note, and a brother of Mrs. Dalton in whose employ the young man had been for three years, immediately gave bonds for him in the amount of ten thousand dol- lars; and for the next three months devoted himself assiduously in working up the complicated case.
The day of Earle Wayne's trial came, and only the following [?] came to light.
His [?], up to the night in question, as far as any [?], was unimpeachable.
He had been in Mr. Forrester's employ for three years and during that time had gained that gentle-
man's entire confidence and kind regard, and he
m[ay have?] contemplated making him a partner in
[?] as soon as he had completed his course of studyy, and been admitted to the bar.
He spoke at some length, and in glowing terms,
of his honesty and industry, and said he had
deemed [?] him, if anything, too rigid and morbidly conscientious upon what seemed to him points of
All this spoke well for the prisoner, but it did not touch upon the matter under evidence.
could not therefore be accepted as of the robbery [?].
It seems that on the forenoon [?] of the robbery, Earle had asked for permission to go out of town on business for himself. He had not stated what that
business was, neither had Mr Forrester inquired.
Now, however, the question came up, but Earle refused to state it, and this itself turned the tide
strong against him.
He had obtained leave to [?] the city on a train that left at two in the afternoon [?] had gone to the
village of --, only eights miles out.
He transacted his businesd, which concerned only his private interests, he said, and this much he could also say, "was connected with the event of his early
life," and returned to the city by the late train,
which arrived about midnight.
On his way from station to his lodgings, he was obliged to pass the Dalton's house, where he
saw, as already described, the light within one of
the lower rooms.
He stated that his first impulse was to go for a police officer, but fearing the man -- he had not thought there was more than one -- would be off with his booty before he could return, he resolved to remain, encounter the villain single-handed, and
bring him to justice.
He then went on to describe his tussle with the
But he had only his own word with which to battle all the evidence against him. His story did not sound reasonable, the jury thought -- particularly as he so persistently refused to state the nature of his business to the village of ----; and besides, the fact of the bracelet having been found in his possession,
or what amounted to the same thing, was almost
sufficient of itself to convict him.
" Earle, if you could only tell this business of yours perhaps we might be able to do something for you; otherwise we see no chance," Mr. Forrester [?]; the opposing council had made
such a point of his refusal to do so.
"I cannot, sir. [?} is connected with great wrong committed years ago, and involves the name of my mother. I cannot unveil the past before the curious rabble gathered here -- no not even if I have to serve out a ten-years' sentence for keeping silent,"
Earle said, firmly, but with deep emotion.
Editha's evidence -- since she was the first to see and recognize [?] on the night of the robbery -- went further than almost anything else toward con- demning him; even thought it was given wtih such reluctance, together with her off-asserted belief that
he was innocent.
The tender-hearted, loyal girl would rather have had her tongue paralysed than to have been obliged
to speak the words which told so against him.
Earle was cross-questioned and re-cross-ques- tioned, but he told the same story every time, never
swerving in a single particular from his first state-
Every possible way was tried to make him confess who his accomplices were - the opposing councel maintaining that he must have had one or more. But
he always replied:
" I had no accomplice, fr I have neither planned
nor executed any robbery."
"But you assert that two men came out of the
" I encountered two men at the corner of Mr Dal- ton's house -- one I surprised and felled to the ground and then grappled with the other. During the scuffle, the first got up and ran off with the bag which contained their booty. I then received a blow which stunned and felled me, and when I came to myself
again, both were gone. I know nothing of either
them or their plunder, and I am innocent of any com-
plicity in the matter."
But all was of no avail against the positive evi- dence which opposed him, and the fatal verdict was
spoken [?] the fearful sentence pronounced.
Popular sympathy inclined strongly toward the unfortunate young man, whom many knew and respected for his hitherto stainless character, while his appearance, so noble and manly prepossessed every one in his favour.
[?] before stated, he had come to Richard Forrester
when a youth of seventeen, asking for work, and the [?] lawyer had employed him as office boy, and it was not long before he came to feel a deep interest in the intelligent lad. He saw that he bid what lawyers term a ' long head,' and could grasp all the details of a case almost as readily as he himself could, and he resolved that he would educate him for the profession.
Mr. Forrester was a bachelor of great wealth, and exceedingly fond of his beautiful and vivacious niece, Editha Dalton, who, report said, was to be his
She was a slight, sprightly girl of fourteen, when Earle Wayne came into her uncle's employ, and a mutual admiration sprang up between them at once, and steadily increased, until, on the part of the young man, it grew into a deep and abiding love, al- though he had d never presumed to betray it by so
much as a look or tone.
Editha, at seventeen, had not as yet analyzed her own feelings towards her uncle's protege ; and thus we find her at the time of the trial pouring out her impulsive regrets and grief in the most unreserved manner, while her tender heart was filled with keenest anguish at the fate of her beau ideal of all
As for Mr. Dalton, he did not share the faith of either his doughter or his brother-in-law ; and not- withstanding he was vastly astonished upon discov- ering Earle Wayne in the hands of the policeman at his own door on the night of the robbery, yet be was a man who could easily believe almost anything of
one whom be disliked.
He did dislike Earle, eimply because Editha showed him so much favour; and he was rather glad than otherwise now, if the truth were known, that this very fascinating young hero was to be removed from her path, even though he was to become a prisoner. He began to fear that she had already grown to ad- mire him more than was either wise or proper, con- sidering the vast difference in their relative social positions; and it would never do for the aristocratic Miss Dalton, heiress-expectant, to fall in love with an
And so Earl Wayne went to prison.
But he went with a stout heart and a manly cour- age that very few possess, who are doomed to drag out a weary term of years behind bolts and bars and
A FRIEND IN NEED.
"I did not do it. I have not that on my conscience to weigh me down. I am to suffer for another's crime, and though it is a bitter trial, yet it is better so, than that I was really guilty and could go free; I had rather be in my place, dreadful as it is, than in that of the real thief, and I will make my misfor- tune serve me a good turn in spite of all. I will fit myself for the very highest position in life, and then, when my three years are ended, I will go out and occupy it, I will not be crushed. I will rise above the disgrace. I will live it down, and men shall yet be proud to call me friend."
So mused our hero, as for the first day in --- prison, he was doomed, according to the rules of that
institution, to solitary confinement.
Earle Wayne's was no weak nature, to yield him- self up to useless repining and vain regrets.
The die was cast, and for the next three years he was to be like any other criminal, and dead to all the world, except that portion of it contained within those four dreary walls, and the one or two outside, who should continue faithful to him. Nothing could help it now, unless the real thieves should confess their crime, which they were not at all likely to do, and he bravely resolved to make the best of his
situation, hard though it was.
He went cheerfully to his work, he uttered no complaint, he sought no sympathy, and improved every hour that he could call his own to the utmost.
Richard Forrester proved himself "a friend in need" at this dark time. Obtaining permission of the authorities, he stocked a bookcase for Earle with everything needful to complete a thorough course of study, and drafted a plan for him to follow.
Once in three months he visited him, and between each visit he received from him a synopsis of what knowledge he had acquired during that time, which he criticised and returned with many useful hints, and then when he came talked it all over with him.
He was surprised during his visits to see how thorough and clear he was upon all points which he
had been over.
" Earle, my boy," he said, at one time, " you will make a better lawyer than I, and I do not see where you find time for all that you have learned."
"I have nothing to distract my mind here, you know, and I will not brood over my fate," he replied With a sad smile, " so it is easy to concentrate my thoughts, and I learn rapidly."
" How much better it would be for all these poor fellows here if they could do the same, and be pre- pared for a better life when their time is out," said Mr. Forrester, reflectively.
" Most of them, instead, are only laying plans for more desperate deeds than they have ever yet been guilty of, and I begin to think that these severe
measures of the law, instead of reforming men, only tend to arouse their antagonism and make them worse," Earle answered.
" But what would you do with them ? They have violated the laws and must be made to suffer for it
in some way."
" That is true ; if they do mischief they must be put where they will be restrained ; but in order to reform them, and create a desire within them for higher and better things, I think that only such men
as are actuated by the highest principles, men who
are honest, brave, and true, should be allowed as officers within the walls of a prison. No man can accomplish any real good where he is not respected, and there is no one in the world so quick and keen to detect a fraud as these criminals. There are a few men here who are just in the right place, men who would not be guilty of a mean or dislhonorable act, and who, while they treat every one with kind- ness, and even courtesy, yet demand exact and un- hesitating obedience. It is astonishing, [?] some-
times amusing, to observe how differently they are
respected and treated from the others."
" You believe, then, that these men might be re- formed by kindness and judicious treatment ?"
"I do," Earle replied gravely, "of course there are exceptions, but I really would like to see the power of true, disinterested kindness tried upon some of these reckless fellows."
In after years he did see it tried, and of the re-
sult we have yet to tell.
Upon leaving the court-room with her father,
after bidding Earle goodbye, Editha appeared very much disturbed and kept shooting indignant glances from beneath her veil at her unconscious
At last, when they were seated in their carriage
[?]g smoothly toward home, her wrath broke
"Papa, I think it was real shabby of you not to shake hands with Earle, and express a little genuine
sympathy for him."
"I do not know as I particularly want to shake hands with or that I experience any great amount of
'genuine' sympathy for the man who is supposed to have robbed me," returned Mr. Dalton, with ex-
f"Papa Dalton! you know Earle Wayne did not
rob you, as well as I do," Editha said, her eyes spark- ling angrily. For the sweet little maiden could show
anger upon occasion.
"And as for myself," she continued spiritedly, " I am proud of him . I was proud to shake hands with him before the multitude, and I shall be proud to greet him as my friend when his term expires, and
he comes among us again."
"Very likely," Mr. Dalton answered, sarcastically, his thin lips curling with scorn, " after the very
marked exhibition to-day, I should be prepared to know of your being 'proud' of him in almost any capacity. But pray, Editha, do not gush any more
about it: it's all very well for a young lady to ex- press her sympathy and proper feeling, in a proper way, and at a proper time, but it was exceedingly
mortifying to me, today, to see you carry quite so
much sail. "
Miss Editha tossed her pretty head somewhat de-
fiantly and impatiently at this curtain lecture, but a vivid scarlet burned upon her cheeks, showing that
she felt its stinging force, notwithstanding.
Mr, Dalton continued, with increasing sarcasm :
"You and the young culprit formed the centre of
attraction during your tender little episode, and, I doubt not, almost everybody thought you were tak- ing a heart-broken leave of your lover, instead of a poor protege -- a mere nobody -- whom your philanthro- phic uncle had picked up."
Editha started violently as Mr. Dalton spoke of Earle, as "her lover," and the burning blood rushed in a flood to her brow, over her neck, arms, and hands, and tingled to the very tips of her toes.
Could it be possible that she hsd behaved in so un- maidenly a manner, and given the gaping multitude
such an impression.
Earle Wayne her lover !
She had never had such a thought before ; but a
strange thrill shot through her heart now, bowing
hte defiant, sunny-haired head, and making the
sweet blue eyes droop guiltily.
But she quickly rallied, and tossing back the wave
of her hair from her flushed face, she bravely re-
turned to the combat.
"Well, and if he were -- if -- he -- were -- what you have said of him, papa, I should still be proud of him, and -- I'd be true to him too. I'd marry him -- yes I would -- just as soon as ever he got through with those hateful three years," and she enforced her words with on emphatic tap of her small boot.
Mr. Dalton leaned back in the corriage and laughed heartily at this spirited outburst.
On the whole, he rather enjoyed seeing his charm-
ing daughter in a passion.
It was not often that he had the opportunity, for she was generally the happiest and gayest of maid-
ens, and being an only child, no cloud had ever been
allowed to overshadow her.
But Mr. Dalton had been extremely annoyed at the scene in the court-room, deeming it vulgar in the extreme to be made so conspicuous before the rabble, and he had uttered words sharper than had
ever been addressed to the petted child before dur-
ing all her life.
But Editha was true end loyal to the core, and I when once she had made a friend, no adversity could turn her from that friend ; and her whole nature had arisen to arms against the cruel injustice and wretched fate which had condemned one so noble and good as Earle to durance vile.
Her father's laugh capped the climax ; the excite- ment, the pain in her heart, and above all, his last insinuation, had been almost more than she could bear; but when his hearty laugh rang out so full of mocking amusement, she could endure no more and, girl fashion, she burst into tears, believing her- self the most deeply injured and abused maiden in
" Come, come, pet, don't take it so much to heart; but in the future try and be a little less demonstra- tive," Mr. Dalton said, somewhat moved by her
But Editha was deeply wounded, her tears must have their way now, and not another word was spoken during their drive.
Once at home she darted into the house and up to her own room, where, after she had wept her weep out alone, and something of the burden from her heart, she sat down to think.
Her cheeks burned hotly every time she recalled her father's light words.
" Earl Wayne my lover !" she murmured, with tremulous lips, and burying her face in her hands, with a feeling of shame that she should dare to think of it, when Earle, doubtless, had never dreamed of such a thing himself.
Nevertheless, the words possessed a strange fas-
cination for her.
When she knelt in prayer and spoke his name, claiming Heaven's tenderest care for the smitten one, the burning flush returned to her cheek, the thrill to
" Earle Wayne my lover I" she repeated, softly, as she laid her head upon her pillow, and her dreams were full of a manly face, with deep, dark eyes, in which shone a light tender and true, with lips that wore a smile as sweet and gentle as a woman's, but such as no woman's ever wore for her.
She still seemed to feel the clasp of his hand, the charm of his low-spoken words, and the music of his voice ; and when at length she awoke with the break of day she was gay, careless Editha Dalton no longer.
A graver, quieter light looked out of her sunny eyes as she arose and dressed; lines of firmness and decision had settled about the smiling, happy mouth, and all the world had a deeper meaning for her than
It was as if she were
" Standing, with reluctant feet,
Where the brook and river meet,
Womanhood and childhood fleet."
It was as if she had suddenly turned a new page within her heart, and read thereon something which was to make her life in the future more beautiful and sacred, and yet which brought with the know- ledge something of regret for the bright and careless days now gone forever.
She remembered that this was Earle's first day in prison -- the first of those long, long three years, and the tears sprang to her eyes, a sob trembled on her lips.
It was only a few hours since she had seen him, but it seemed as if weeks had passed ; and if they had been so long to her, what must they have been
to him ?
Could he ever endure it ? Could she ever wait with patience so long ?
She could not go to him -- he had said he could not bear to have her see him there, and so she had nothing to do but wait.
" But I will not forget him," she murmured, " let papa say what he may, I have promised to be a friend to him and I shall keep my promise. He has no one in all the world, or seems to have no one, save Uncle Richard and me. Every week I will send him something, just to let him know that there is one, at least, who cares a little and is sorry for
(To be continued.)