Mrs. Henry Wood
Part 12 out of 13
of him by it."
"I dare say not," laconically spoke Lawyer Ball. "Well, Miss Afy, I
believe that is all for the present. I want Ebenezer James in again,"
he whispered to an officer of the justice-room, as the witness
Ebenezer James reappeared and took Afy's place.
"You informed their worships, just now, that you had met Thorn in
London, some eighteen months subsequent to the murder," began Lawyer
Ball, launching another of his shafts. "This must have been during the
period of Afy Hallijohn's sojourn with him. Did you also see /her/?"
Mr. Ebenezer opened his eyes. He knew nothing of the evidence just
given by Afy, and wondered how on earth it had come out--that she had
been with Thorn at all. He had never betrayed it.
"Afy?" stammered he.
"Yes, Afy," sharply returned the lawyer. "Their worships know that
when she took that trip of hers from West Lynne it was to join Thorn
not Richard Hare--though the latter has borne the credit of it. I ask
you, did you see her? for she was then still connected with him."
"Well--yes, I did," replied Mr. Ebenezer, his own scruples removed,
but wondering still how it had been discovered, unless Afy had--as he
had prophesied she would--let out in her "tantrums." "In fact, it was
Afy whom I first saw."
"State the circumstances."
"I was up Paddington way one afternoon, and saw a lady going into a
house. It was Afy Hallijohn. She lived there, I found--had the
drawing-room apartments. She invited me to stay to tea with her, and I
"Did you see Captain Levison there?"
"I saw Thorn--as I thought him to be. Afy told me I must be away by
eight o'clock, for she was expecting a friend who sometimes came to
sit with her for an hour's chat. But, in talking over old times--not
that I could tell her much about West Lynne, for I had left it almost
as long as she had--the time slipped on past the hour. When Afy found
that out she hurried me off, and I had barely got outside the gate
when a cab drove up, and Thorn alighted from it, and let himself in
with a latch-key. That is all I know."
"When you knew that the scandal of Afy's absence rested on Richard
Hare, why could you not have said this, and cleared him, on your
return to West Lynne?"
"It was no affair of mine, that I should make it public. Afy asked me
not to say I had seen her, and I promised her I would not. As to
Richard Hare, a little extra scandal on his back was nothing, while
there remained on it the worse scandal of murder."
"Stop a bit," interposed Mr. Rubiny, as the witness was about to
retire. "You speak of the time being eight o'clock in the evening,
sir. Was it dark?"
"Then how can you be certain it was Thorn who got out of the cab and
"I am quite certain. There was a gas-lamp right at the spot, and I saw
him as well as I should have seen him in daylight. I knew his voice,
too; could have sworn to it anywhere; and I would almost have sworn to
him by his splendid diamond ring. It flashed in the lamplight."
"His voice! Did he speak to you?"
"No. But he spoke to the cabman. There was a half dispute between
them. The man said Thorn had not paid him enough, that he had not
allowed for having been kept waiting twenty minutes on the road. Thorn
swore at him a bit, and then flung him an extra shilling."
The next witness was a man who had been groom to the late Sir Peter
Levison. He testified that the prisoner, Francis Levison had been on a
visit to his master late in the summer and part of the autumn, the
year that Hallijohn was killed. That he frequently rode out in the
direction of West Lynne, especially toward evening; would be away
three or four hours, and come home with the horse in a foam. Also that
he picked up two letters at different times, which Mr. Levison had
carelessly let fall from his pocket, and returned them to him. Both
the notes were addressed "Captain Thorn." But they had not been
through the post, for there was no further superscription on them; and
the writing looked like a lady's. He remembered quite well hearing of
the murder of Hallijohn, the witness added, in answer to a question;
it made a great stir through out the country. It was just at that same
time that Mr. Levison concluded his visit, and returned to London.
"A /wonderful/ memory!" Mr. Rubiny sarcastically remarked.
The witness, a quiet, respectable man, replied that he /had/ a good
memory; but that circumstances had impressed upon it particularly the
fact that Mr. Levison's departure followed close upon the murder of
"One day, when Sir Peter was round at the stables, gentlemen, he was
urging his nephew to prolong his visit, and asked what sudden freak
was taking him off. Mr. Levison replied that unexpected business
called him to London. While they were talking, the coachman came up,
all in a heat, telling that Hallijohn, of West Lynne, had been
murdered by young Mr. Hare. I remember Sir Peter said he could not
believe it; and that it must have been an accident, not murder."
"Is that all?"
"There was more said. Mr. Levison, in a shameful sort of manner, asked
his uncle, would he let him have five or ten pounds? Sir Peter seemed
angry, and asked, what had he done with the fifty-pound note he had
made him a present of only the previous morning? Mr. Levison replied
that he had sent that away to a brother officer, to whom he was in
debt. Sir Peter refused to believe it, and said he had more likely
squandered it upon some disgraceful folly. Mr. Levison denied that he
had; but he looked confused, indeed, his matter altogether was
confused that morning."
"Did he get the five or ten pounds?"
"I don't know, gentlemen. I dare say he did, for my master was as
persuadable as a woman, though he'd fly out a bit sometimes at first.
Mr. Levison departed for London that same night."
The last witness called was Mr. Dill. On the previous Tuesday evening,
he had been returning home from spending an hour at Mr. Beauchamp's,
when, in a field opposite to Mr. Justice Hare's, he suddenly heard a
commotion. It arose from the meeting of Sir Francis Levison and Otway
Bethel. The former appeared to have been enjoying a solitary moonlight
ramble, and the latter to have encountered him unexpectedly. Words
ensued. Bethel accused Sir Francis of "shirking" him. Sir Francis
answered angrily that he knew nothing of him, and nothing he wanted to
" 'You were glad enough to know something of me the night of
Hallijohn's murder,' retorted Bethel to this. 'Do you remember that I
could hang you. One little word from me, and you'd stand in Dick
" 'You fool!' passionately cried Sir Francis. 'You couldn't hang me
without putting your own head in a noose. Did you not have your hush
money? Are you wanting to do me out of more?'
" 'A cursed paltry note of fifty pounds!' foamed Otway Bethel, 'which,
many a time since, I have wished my fingers were blown off before they
touched. I never should have touched it, but that I was altogether
overwhelmed with the moment's confusion. I have not been able to look
Mrs. Hare in the face since, knowing that I held the secret that would
save her son from the hangman.'
" 'And put yourself in his place,' sneered Sir Francis.
" 'No. Put you.'
" 'That's as it might be. But, if I went to the hangman, you would go
with me. There would be no excuse or escape for you. You know it.' "
The warfare continued longer, but this was the cream of it. Mr. Dill
heard the whole, and repeated it now to the magistrate. Mr. Rubiny
protested that it was "inadmissible;" "hearsay evidence;" "contrary to
law;" but the bench oracularly put Mr. Rubiny down, and told him they
did not want any stranger to come there and teach them their business.
Colonel Bethel had leaned forward at the conclusion of Mr. Dill's
evidence, dismay on his face, agitation in his voice. "Are you sure
that you made no mistake--that the other in this interview was Otway
Mr. Dill sadly shook his head. "Am I one to swear to a wrong man,
colonel? I wish I had not heard it--save that it may be the means of
clearing Richard Hare."
Sir Francis Levison had braved out the proceedings with a haughty,
cavalier air, his delicate hands and his diamond ring remarkably
conspicuous. Was that stone the real thing, or a false one,
substituted for the real? Hard up as he had long been for money, the
suspicion might arise. A derisive smile crossed his features at parts
of the evidence, as much as to say, "You may convict me as to
Mademoiselle Afy, but you can't as to the murder." When, however, Mr.
Dill's testimony was given, what a change was there! His mood tamed
down to what looked like abject fear, and he shook in his shoes as he
"Of course your worships will take bail for Sir Francis?" said Mr.
Rubiny, at the close of the proceedings.
Bail! The bench looked at one another.
"Your worships will not refuse it--a gentleman in Sir Francis
The bench thought they never had so insolent an application made to
them. Bail for him!--on this charge! No; not if the lord chancellor
himself came down to offer it.
Mr. Otway Bethel, conscious, probably, that nobody would offer bail
for him, not even the colonel, did not ask the bench to take it. So
the two were fully committed to take their trial for the "Wilful
murder, otherwise the killing and slaying of George Hallijohn;" and
before night would be on their road to the county prison at
And that vain, ill-starred Afy! What of her? Well, Afy had retreated
to the witness-room again, after giving evidence, and there she
remained to the close, agreeably occupied in a mental debate. What
would they make out from her admission regarding her sojourn in London
and the morning calls? How would that precious West Lynne construe it?
She did not much care; she would brave it out, and assail them with
towering indignation, did any dare to cast a stone at her.
Such was her final decision, arrived at just as the proceedings
terminated. Afy was right glad to remain where she was, till some of
the bustle had gone.
"How was it ended?" asked she of Mr. Ball, who, being a bachelor, was
ever regarded with much graciousness by Afy, for she kept her eyes
open to contingencies; although Mr. Joe Jiffin was held in reserve.
"They are both committed for wilful murder--off to Lynneborough within
Afy's color rose. "What a shame! To commit two innocent men upon such
"I can tell you what, Miss Afy, the sooner you disabuse your mind of
that prejudice, the better. Levison has been as good as proved guilty
to-day; but if proof were wanting, he and Bethel have criminated each
other. 'When rogues fall out, honest men get their own.' Not that I
can quite fathom Bethel's share in the exploit, though I can pretty
well guess at it. And, in proving themselves guilty they have proved
the innocence of Richard Hare."
Afy's face was changing to whiteness; her confident air to one of
dread; her vanity to humiliation.
"It--can't--be--true!" she gasped.
"It's true enough. The part you have hitherto ascribed to Thorn, was
enacted by Richard Hare. He heard the shot from his place in the wood,
and saw Thorn run, ghastly, trembling, horrified, from his wicked
work. Believe me, it was Thorn who killed your father."
Afy grew cold as she listened. That one awful moment, when conviction
that his words were true, forced itself upon her, was enough to sober
her for a whole lifetime. /Thorn!/ Her sight failed; her head reeled;
her very heart turned to sickness. One struggling cry of pain; and,
for the second time that day, Afy Hallijohn fell forward in a fainting
Shouts, hisses, execrations, yells! The prisoners were being brought
forth, to be conveyed to Lynneborough. A whole posse of constables was
necessary to protect them against the outbreak of the mob, which
outbreak was not directed against Otway Bethel, but against Sir
Francis Levison. Cowering like the guilty culprit that he was,
shivered he, hiding his white face--wondering whether it would be a
repetition of Justice Hare's green pond, or tearing him asunder
piecemeal--and cursing the earth because it did not open and let him
Miss Lucy was /en penitence/. She had been guilty of some childish
fault that day at Aunt Cornelia's, which, coming to the knowledge of
Mrs. Carlyle, after their return home the young lady was ordered to
the nursery for the rest of the day, and to be regaled upon bread and
Barbara was in her pleasant dressing-room. There was to be a dinner
party at East Lynne that evening, and she had just finished dressing.
Very lovely looked she in her dinner dress, with purple and scarlet
flowers in her bosom. She glanced at her watch somewhat anxiously, for
the gentlemen had not made their appearance. Half-past six! And they
were to dine at seven.
Madame Vine tapped at the door. Her errand was to beg grace for Lucy.
She had been promised half an hour in the drawing-room, when the
ladies entered it from the dessert-table, and was now in agony of
grief at the disappointment. Would Mrs. Carlyle pardon her, and allow
her to be dressed?
"You are too lenient to the child, madame," spoke Barbara. "I don't
think you ever would punish her at all. But when she commits faults,
they must be corrected."
"She is very sorry for her fault; she promises not to be rude again.
She is crying as if she would cry her heart out."
"Not for her ill-behavior, but because she's afraid of missing the
drawing-room to-night," cried Barbara.
"Do, pray, restore her to favor," pleaded madame.
"I shall see. Just look, Madame Vine! I broke this, a minute or two
ago. Is it not a pity?"
Barbara held in her hand a beautiful toilette ornament, set in pure
gold. One of the petals had come off.
Madame Vine examined it. "I have some cement upstairs that would join
it," she exclaimed. "I could do it in two minutes. I bought it in
"Oh, I wish you would," was Barbara's delighted response. "Do bring it
here and join it now. Shall I bribe you?" she added, laughing. "You
make this all right, and then you shall bear back grace to Lucy--for I
perceive that is what your heart is set upon."
Madame Vine went, and returned with her cement. Barbara watched her,
as she took the pieces in her hand, to see how the one must fit on to
"This has been broken once, as Joyce tells me," Barbara said. "But it
must have been imperceptibly joined, for I have looked in vain for the
damage. Mr. Carlyle bought it for his first wife, when they were in
London, after their marriage. She broke it subsequently here, at East
Lynne. You will never do it, Madame Vine, if your hand shakes like
that. What is the matter?"
A great deal was the matter. First, the ominous words had been upon
her tongue. "It was here where the stem joins the flower;" but she
recollected herself in time. Next came up the past vision of the place
and hour when the accident occurred. Her hanging sleeve had swept it
off the table. Mr. Carlyle was in the room, and he had soothed her
sorrow--her almost childish sorrow with kisses sweet. Ah me! poor
thing! I think our hands would have shaken as hers did. The ornament
and the kisses were Barbara's now.
"I ran quickly up the stairs and back again," was the explanation she
offered to Mrs. Carlyle for her shaking hands.
At that moment Mr. Carlyle and their guests were heard to return, and
ascend to their respective apartments, Lord Vane's gleeful voice
echoing through the house. Mr. Carlyle came into his wife's dressing-
room, and Madame Vine would have made a precipitate retreat.
"No, no," said Barbara, "finish it, now you have begun. Mr. Carlyle
will be going to his room. Look at the misfortune I have had.
Archibald, I have broken this."
Mr. Carlyle glanced carelessly at the trinket, and at Madame Vine's
white fingers. He crossed to the door of his dressing-room and opened
it, then held out his hand in silence for Barbara to approach and drew
her in with him. Madame Vine went on with her work.
Presently Barbara returned, and approached the table where stood
Madame Vine, while she drew on her gloves. Her eyelashes were wet.
"I could not help shedding a few tears of joy," exclaimed Barbara,
with a pretty blush, perceiving that madame observed the signs. "Mr.
Carlyle has been telling me that my brother's innocence is now all but
patent to the world. It came out upon the examination of those two
men, Sir Francis and Otway Bethel. Lord Mount Severn was present at
the proceedings, and says they have in some way incriminated each
other. Papa sat in his place as chairman; I wonder that he liked to do
Lower bent the head of Madame Vine over her employment. "Has anything
been proved against them?" she asked, in her usual soft tone, almost a
"There is not the least doubt of the guilt of Levison, but Otway
Bethel's share in the affair is a puzzle yet," replied Mrs. Carlyle.
"Both are committed for trial. Oh, that man! that man! how his sins
come out!" she continued in excitement.
Madame Vine glanced up through her spectacles.
"Would you believe," continued Barbara, dropping her voice, "that
while West Lynne, and I fear ourselves also, gave that miserable Afy
credit for having gone away with Richard, she was all the time with
Levison? Ball, the lawyer got her to confess to-day. I am unacquainted
with the details; Mr. Carlyle would not give them to me. He said the
bare fact was quite enough, and considering the associations it
involved, would not do to talk of."
Mr. Carlyle was right.
"Out it seems to come, little by little, one wickedness after
another!" resumed Barbara. "I do not like Mr. Carlyle to hear it. No,
I don't. Of course there is no help for it; but he must feel it
terribly, as must also Lord Mount Severn. She /was/ his wife, you
know, and the children are hers; and to think that she--I mean he--
must feel it /for her/," went on Barbara after her sudden pause, and
there was some hauteur in her tone lest she should be misunderstood.
"Mr. Carlyle is one of the very few men, so entirely noble, whom the
sort of disgrace reflected from Lady Isabel's conduct cannot touch."
The carriage of the first guest. Barbara ran across the room, and
rattled at Mr. Carlyle's door. "Archibald do you hear?"
Back came the laughing answer. "I shan't keep them long. But they may
surely accord a few minutes' grace to a man who has just been
converted into an M. P."
Barbara descended to the drawing-room, leaving her, that unhappy lady,
to the cement and the broken pieces, and to battle as best she could
with her bitter heart. Nothing but stabs; nothing but stabs! Was her
punishment ever to end? No. The step she had taken in coming back to
East Lynne had precluded that.
The guests arrived; all save Mr. and Mrs. Hare. Barbara received a
note from her instead. The justice did not feel well enough to join
I should think he did not.
A pleasant party it was at East Lynne, and twelve o'clock struck
before the carriage of the last guest drove away. It may have been
from one to two hours after that, and the house was steeped in
moonlight and quietness, everybody being abed and asleep when a loud
summons at the hall bell echoed through the stillness.
The first to put her head out the window was Wilson. "Is it fire?"
shrieked she, in the most excessive state of terror conceivable.
Wilson had a natural dread of fire--some people do possess this dread
more than others--and had oftentime aroused the house to a commotion
by declaring she smelt it. "Is it fire?" shrieked Wilson.
"Yes!" was shouted at the top of a man's voice, who stepped from
between the entrance pillars to answer.
Wilson waited for no more. Clutching at the baby with one hand--a fine
young gentleman now of near twelve months old, promising fair to be as
great a source of trouble to Wilson and the nursery as was his brother
Archibald, whom he greatly resembled--and at Archie with the other,
out she flew to the corridor screeching "Fire! fire! fire!" never
ceasing, down tore Wilson with the four children, and burst
unceremoniously into the sleeping apartment of Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle.
By this time the children, terrified out of their senses, not at
Wilson's cry of alarm, but at the summary propelling downstairs, set
up a shrieking, too. Madame Vine, believing that half the house as
least was in flames, was the next to appear, throwing on a shawl she
had caught up, and then came Joyce.
"Fire! fire! fire!" shouted Wilson; "we are all being burnt up
Poor Mrs. Carlyle, thus wildly aroused from sleep, sprang out of bed
and into the corridor in her night-dress. Everybody else was in a
night-dress--when folks are flying for dear life, they don't stop to
look for their dress-coats and best blonde caps. Out came Mr. Carlyle,
who has hastily assumed his pantaloons.
He cast a rapid glance down to the hall, and saw that the stairs were
perfectly free for escape; therefore to hurry was not so violent.
Every soul around him was shrieking in concert, making the confusion
and din terrific. The bright moonlight streamed in at the corridor
windows, but there was no other light; shadowy and indistinct enough
looked the white figures.
"Where is the fire?" he exclaimed. "I don't smell any. Who gave the
The bell answered him. The hall-bell, which rang out ten times louder
and longer than before. He opened one of the windows and leaned from
it. "Who's there?" Madame Vine caught up Archie.
"It's me, sir," responded a voice, which he at once recognized to be
that of one of Mr. Hare's men-servants. "Master has been took in a
fit, sir, and mistress sent me for you and Miss Barbara. You must
please make haste, sir, if you want to see him alive."
Miss Barbara! It was more familiar to Jasper, in a moment of
excitement, than the new name.
"You, Jasper! Is the house on fire--this house?"
"Well, I don't know, sir. I can hear a dreadful deal of screeching in
Mr. Carlyle closed the window. He began to suspect that the danger lay
in fear alone. "Who told you there was fire?" he demanded of Wilson.
"That man ringing at the door," sobbed Wilson. "Thank goodness I have
saved the children!"
Mr. Carlyle felt somewhat exasperated at the mistake. His wife was
trembling from head to foot, her face of a deadly whiteness, and he
knew that she was not in a condition to be alarmed, necessarily or
unnecessarily. She clung to him in terror, asking if they /could/
"My darling, be calm! There's no fire; it's a stupid mistake. You may
all go back to bed and sleep in peace," he added to the rest, "and the
next time that you alarm the house in the night, Wilson, have the
goodness to make yourself sure, first of all, that there's cause for
Barbara, frightened still, bewildered and uncertain, escaped to the
window and threw it open. But Mr. Carlyle was nearly as quick as she;
he caught her to him with one hand, and drew the window down with the
other. To have these tidings told to her abruptly would be worse than
all. By this time some of the servants had descended the other
staircase with a light, being in various stages of costume, and
hastened to open the hall-door. Jasper entered. The man had probably
waited to help to put out the "fire." Barbara caught sight of him ere
Mr. Carlyle could prevent it, and grew sick with fear, believing some
ill had happened to her mother.
Drawing her inside their chamber, he broke the news to her soothingly
and tenderly, making light of it.
She burst into tears. "You are not deceiving me, Archibald? Papa is
"Dead!" cheerfully echoed Mr. Carlyle, in the same tone he might have
used had Barbara wondered whether the justice was taking a night
airing for pleasure in a balloon. "Wilson has indeed frightened you,
love. Dress yourself, and we will go and see him."
At that moment Barbara recollected William. Strange that she should
have been the first to do so--before Lady Isabel--before Mr. Carlyle.
She ran out again to the corridors, where the boy stood shivering. "He
may have caught his death!" she uttered, snatching him up in her arms.
"Oh, Wilson! What have you done? His night-gown is damp and cold."
Unfit as she was for the burden, she bore him to her own bed. Wilson
was not at leisure to attend to reproaches just then. She was engaged
in a wordy war with Jasper, leaning over the balustrades to carry it
"I never told you there was a fire!" indignantly denied Jasper.
"You did. I opened the nursery window and called out 'Is it fire?' and
you answered 'Yes.' "
"You called out 'Is it Jasper?' What else should I say but 'Yes,' to
that? Fire? Where was the fire likely to be--in the park?"
"Wilson take the children back to bed," authoritatively spoke Mr.
Carlyle, as he advanced to look down into the hall. "John, are you
there? The close carriage, instantly--look sharp. Madame Vine, pray
don't continue to hold that heavy boy; Joyce can't you relieve
In crossing back to his room, Mr. Carlyle had brushed past madame, and
noticed that she appeared to be shaking, as with the weight of
Archibald. In reality she was still alarmed, not understanding yet the
cause of the commotion. Joyce, who comprehended it as little, and had
stood with her arms round Lucy, advanced to take Archibald, and Mr.
Carlyle disappeared. Barbara had taken off her own warm night-gown
then, and put it upon William in place of his cold one--had struck a
light and was busily dressing herself.
"Just feel his night-gown Archibald! Wilson--"
A shrill cry of awful terror interrupted the words, and Mr. Carlyle
made one bound out again. Barbara followed; the least she thought was
that Wilson had dropped the baby in the hall.
That was not the catastrophe. Wilson, with the baby and Lucy, had
already disappeared up the staircase, and Madame Vine was
disappearing. Archibald lay on the soft carpet of the corridor, where
madame had stood; for Joyce, in the act of taking him, had let him
slip to the ground--let him fall from sheer terror. She held on to the
balustrades, her face ghastly, her mouth open, her eyes fixed in
horror--altogether an object to look upon. Archie gathered himself on
his sturdy legs, and stood staring.
"Why, Joyce! What is the matter with /you/?" cried Mr. Carlyle. "You
look as if you had seen a spectre."
"Oh, master!" she wailed, "I have seen one."
"Are you all going deranged together?" retorted he, wondering what had
come to the house. "Seen a spectre, Joyce?"
Joyce fell on her knees, as if unable to support herself, and crossed
her shaking hands upon her chest. Had she seen ten spectres she could
not have betrayed more dire distress. She was a sensible and faithful
servant, one not given to flights of fancy, and Mr. Carlyle gazed at
her in very amazement.
"Joyce, what is this?" he asked, bending down and speaking kindly.
"Oh, my dear master! Heaven have mercy upon us all!" was the
"Joyce I ask you what is this?"
She made no reply. She rose up shaking; and, taking Archie's hand,
slowly proceeded toward the upper stairs, low moans breaking from her,
and the boy's naked feet pattering on the carpet.
"What can ail her?" whispered Barbara, following Joyce with her eyes.
"What did she mean about a spectre?"
"She must have been reading a ghost-book," said Carlyle. "Wilson's
folly has turned the house topsy-turvy. Make your haste, Barbara."
Spring waned. Summer came, and would soon be waning, too, for the hot
days of July were now in. What had the months brought forth, since the
election of Mr. Carlyle in April? Be you very sure they had not been
without their events.
Mr. Justice Hare's illness had turned out to be a stroke of paralysis.
People cannot act with unnatural harshness toward a child, and then
discover they have been in the wrong, with impunity. Thus it proved
with Mr. Justice Hare. He was recovering, but would never again be the
man he had been. The fright, when Jasper had gone to tell of his
illness at East Lynne, and was mistaken for fire, had done nobody any
damage, save William and Joyce. William had caught a cold, which
brought increased malady to the lungs; and Joyce seemed to have caught
/fear/. She went about, more like one in a dream than awake, would be
buried in a reverie for an hour at a time, and if suddenly spoken to,
would start and shiver.
Mr. Carlyle and his wife departed for London immediately that Mr. Hare
was pronounced out of danger; which was in about a week from the time
of his seizure. William accompanied them, partly for the benefit of
London advice, partly that Mr. Carlyle would not be parted from him.
Joyce went, in attendance with some of the servants.
They found London ringing with the news of Sir Francis Levison's
arrest. London could not understand it; and the most wild and
improbable tales were in circulation. The season was at its height;
the excitement in proportion; it was more than a nine days' wonder. On
the very evening of their arrival a lady, young and beautiful, was
shown in to the presence of Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle. She had declined to
give her name, but there arose to Mr. Carlyle's memory, when he looked
upon her, one whom he had seen in earlier days as the friend of his
first wife--Blanche Challoner. It was not Blanche, however.
The stranger looked keenly at Mr. Carlyle. He was standing with his
hat in his hand, on the point of going out. "Will you pardon this
intrusion?" she asked. "I have come to you as one human being in need
comes to crave help of another. I am Lady Levison."
Barbara's face flushed. Mr. Carlyle courteously invited the stranger
to a chair, remaining standing himself. She sat for a moment, and then
rose, evidently in an excess of agitation.
"Yes, I am Lady Levison, forced to call that man husband. That he has
been a wicked man, I have long known; but now I hear he is a criminal.
I hear it, I say, but I can get the truth from none. I went to Lord
Mount Severn; he declined to give me particulars. I heard that Mr.
Carlyle would be in town to-day, and I resolved to come and ask them
She delivered the sentences in a jerking, abrupt tone, betraying her
inward emotion. Mr. Carlyle, looking somewhat unapproachable, made no
"You and I have both been deeply wronged by him, Mr. Carlyle, but I
brought my wrong upon myself, you did not. My sister, Blanche, whom he
had cruelly treated--and if I speak of it, I only speak of what is
known to the world--warned me against him. Mrs. Levison, his
grandmother, that ancient lady who must now be bordering upon ninety,
she warned me. The night before my wedding day, she came on purpose to
tell me that if I married Francis Levison I should rue it for life.
There was yet time to retract she said. Yes; there would have been
time; but there was no /will/. I would not listen to either. I was led
away by vanity, by folly, by something worse--the triumphing over my
own sister. Poor Blanche! But which has the best of the bargain now,
she or I? And I have a child," she continued, dropping her voice, "a
boy who inherits his father's name. Mr. Carlyle, will they /condemn/
"Nothing, as yet, is positively proved against him," replied Mr.
Carlyle, compassionating the unhappy lady.
"If I could but get a divorce!" she passionately uttered, apparently
losing all self-control. "I might have got one, over and over again,
since we married, but there would have been the /expose/ and the
scandal. If I could but change my child's name! Tell me--does any
chance of redress remain for me?"
There was none, and Mr. Carlyle did not attempt to speak of any. He
offered a few kind words of sympathy, very generally expressed, and
then prepared to go out. She moved, and stood in his way.
"You will not leave until you have given me the particulars! I pray
you, do not! I came trustingly to you, hoping to know them."
"I am waited for, to keep an important engagement," he answered. "And
were my time at liberty, I should decline to tell them to you, on my
own account, as well as on yours. Lay not discourtesy to my charge,
Lady Levison. Were I to speak of the man, even to you, his name would
blister my lips."
"In every word of hate spoken by you I would sympathize; every
contemptuous expression of scorn, cast upon him from your heart, I
would join in, tenfold."
Barbara was shocked. "He is your husband, after all," she took leave
"My husband!" broke forth Lady Levison, in agitation, seemingly. "Yes!
there's the wrong. Why did he, knowing what he was, delude me into
becoming his wife? You ought to feel for me, Mrs. Carlyle; and you do
feel for me, for you are a wife and mother. How dare these base men
marry--take to themselves an innocent, inexperienced girl, vowing,
before God, to love and honor and cherish her? Were not his other sins
impediment enough but he must have crime, also, and woo me! He has
done me deep and irredeemable wrong, and has entailed upon his child
an inheritance of shame. What had he or I done to deserve it, I ask?"
Barbara felt half frightened at her vehemence; and Barbara might be
thankful not to understand it. All her native gentleness, all her
reticence of feeling, as a wife and a gentlewoman, had been goaded out
of her. The process had been going on for some time, but this last
revelation was the crowning point; and Alice, Lady Levison, turned
round upon the world in her helpless resentment, as any poor wife,
working in a garret, might have done. There are certain wrongs which
bring out human nature in the high-born, as well as in the low. "Still
he is your husband," was all Barbara could, with deprecation, again
"He made himself my husband by deceit, and I will throw him off in the
face of day," returned Lady Levison. "There is no moral obligation why
I should not. He has worked ill and ruin--ill and ruin upon me and my
child, and the world shall never be allowed to think I have borne my
share in it. How was it you kept your hands off him, when he
reappeared, to brave you, in West Lynne?" she added, in a changed
tone, turning to Mr. Carlyle.
"I cannot tell. I was a marvel oftentimes to myself."
He quitted the room as he spoke, adding a few civil words about her
with Mrs. Carlyle. Barbara, not possessing the scruples of her
husband, yielded to Lady Levison's request, and gave her the outline
of the dark tale. Its outline only; and generously suppressing Afy's
name beyond the evening of the fatal event. Lady Levison listened
"Do you and Mr. Carlyle believe him to have been guilty?"
"Yes; but Mr. Carlyle will not express his opinion to the world. He
does not repay wrong with revenge. I have heard him say that if the
lifting of his finger would send the man to his punishment, he would
tie down his hand rather than lift it."
"Was his first wife, Isabel Vane, mad?" she presently asked.
"Mad!" echoed Barbara, in surprise.
"When she quitted him for the other. It could have been nothing else
than madness. I could understand a woman's flying from /him/ for love
of Mr. Carlyle; but now that I have seen your husband, I cannot
understand the reverse side of the picture. I thank you for your
courtesy, Mrs. Carlyle."
And, without another word, Alice Levison quitted the room as abruptly
as she had entered it.
Well, the London visit came to an end. It was of little more than
three weeks' duration, for Barbara must be safe at home again. Mr.
Carlyle remained for the rest of the season alone, but he varied it
with journeys to East Lynne. He had returned home for good now, July,
although the session had not quite terminated. There was another baby
at East Lynne, a lovely little baby, pretty as Barbara herself had
been at a month old. William was fading rapidly. The London physicians
had but confirmed the opinion of Dr. Martin, and it was evident to all
that the close would not be long protracted.
Somebody else was fading--Lady Isabel. The cross had been too heavy,
and she was sinking under its weight. Can you wonder at it?
An intensely hot day it was under the July sun. Afy Hallijohn was
sailing up the street in its beams, finer and vainer than ever. She
encountered Mr. Carlyle.
"So, Afy, you are really going to be married at last?"
"Jiffin fancies so, sir. I am not sure yet but what I shall change my
mind. Jiffin thinks there's nobody like me. If I could eat gold and
silver, he'd provide it; and he's as fond as fond can be. But then you
know, sir, he's half soft."
"Soft as to you, perhaps," laughed Mr. Carlyle. "I consider him a very
civil, respectable man, Afy."
"And then, I never did think to marry a shopkeeper," grumbled Afy; "I
looked a little higher than that. Only fancy, sir, having a husband
who wears a white apron tied round him!"
"Terrible!" responded Mr. Carlyle, with a grave face.
"Not but what it will be a tolerable settlement," rejoined Afy,
veering round a point. "He's having his house done up in style, and I
shall keep two good servants, and do nothing myself but dress and
subscribe to the library. He makes plenty of money."
"A very tolerable settlement, I should say," returned Mr. Carlyle; and
Afy's face fell before the glance of his eye, merry though it was.
"Take care you don't spend all his money for him, Afy."
"I'll take care of that," nodded Afy, significantly. "Sir," she
somewhat abruptly added, "what is it that's the matter with Joyce?"
"I do not know," said Mr. Carlyle, becoming serious. "There does
appear to be something the matter with her, for she is much changed."
"I never saw anybody so changed in my life," exclaimed Afy. "I told
her the other day that she was just like one who had got some dreadful
secret upon their mind."
"It is really more like that than anything else," observed Mr.
"But she is one of the close ones, is Joyce," continued Afy. "No fear
that she'll give out a clue, if it does not suit her to do so. She
told me, in answer, to mind my own business, and not to take absurd
fancies in my head. How is the baby, sir, and Mrs. Carlyle?"
"All well. Good day, Afy."
Spacious courts were the assize courts of Lynneborough; and it was
well they were so, otherwise more people had been disappointed, and
numbers were, of hearing the noted trial of Sir Francis Levison for
the murder of George Hallijohn.
The circumstances attending the case caused it to bear for the public
an unparalleled interest. The rank of the accused, and his
antecedents, more especially that particular local antecedent touching
the Lady Isabel Carlyle; the verdict still out against Richard Hare;
the length of time which had elapsed since; the part played in it by
Afy; the intense curiosity as to the part taken in it by Otway Bethel;
the speculation as to what had been the exact details, and the doubt
of a conviction--all contributed to fan the curiosity of the public.
People came from far and near to be present--friends of Mr. Carlyle,
friends of the Hares, friends of the Challoner family, friends of the
prisoner, besides the general public. Colonel Bethel and Mr. Justice
Hare had conspicuous seats.
At a few minutes past nine the judge took his place on the bench, but
not before a rumor had gone through the court--a rumor that seemed to
shake it to its centre, and which people stretched out their necks to
hear--Otway Bethel had turned Queen's evidence, and was to be admitted
as a witness for the crown.
Thin, haggard, pale, looked Francis Levison as he was placed in the
dock. His incarceration had not in any way contributed to his personal
advantages, and there was an ever-recurring expression of dread upon
his countenance not pleasant to look upon. He was dressed in black,
old Mrs. Levison having died, and his diamond ring shone conspicuous
still on his white hand, now whiter than ever. The most eminent
counsel were engaged on both sides.
The testimony of the witnesses already given need not be
recapitulated. The identification of the prisoner with the man Thorn
was fully established--Ebenezer James proved that. Afy proved it, and
also that he, Thorn, was at the cottage that night. Sir Peter
Levison's groom was likewise re-examined. But still there wanted other
testimony. Afy was made to re-assert that Thorn had to go to the
cottage for his hat after leaving her, but that proved nothing, and
the conversation, or quarrel overheard by Mr. Dill was now again, put
forward. If this was all the evidence, people opined that the case for
the prosecution would break down.
"Call Richard Hare" said the counsel for the prosecution.
Those present who knew Mr. Justice Hare, looked up at him, wondering
why he did not stir in answer to his name--wondering at the pallid hue
which overspread his face. Not he, but another came forward--a fair,
placid, gentlemanly young man, with blue eyes, fair hair, and a
pleasant countenance. It was Richard Hare the younger. He had assumed
his original position in life, so far as attire went, and in that, at
least, was a gentleman again. In speech also--with his working dress
Richard had thrown off his working manners.
A strange hubbub arose in court. Richard Hare, the exile--the reported
dead--the man whose life was in jeopardy! The spectators rose with one
accord to get a better view; they stood on tiptoe; they pushed forth
their necks; they strained their eyesight: and, amidst all the noisy
hum, the groan bursting from the lips of Justice Hare was unnoticed.
Whilst order was being called for, and the judge threatened to clear
the court, two officers moved themselves quietly up and stood behind
the witness. Richard Hare was in custody, though he might know it not.
The witness was sworn.
"What is your name?"
"Son of Mr. Justice Hare, I believe, of the Grove, West Lynne?"
"His only son."
"The same against whom a verdict of wilful murder is out?" interposed
"The same, my lord," replied Richard Hare, who appeared, strange as it
may seem, to have cast away all his old fearfulness.
"Then, witness, let me warn you that you are not obliged to answer any
question that may tend to criminate yourself."
"My lord," answered Richard Hare, with some emotion, "I wish to answer
any and every question put to me. I have but one hope, that the full
truth of all pertaining to that fatal evening may be made manifest
"Look round at the prisoner," said the examining counsel. "Do you know
"I know him now as Sir Francis Levison. Up to April last I believed
his name to be Thorn."
"State what occurred on the evening of the murder, as far as your
"I had an appointment that evening with Afy Hallijohn, and went down
to their cottage to keep it--"
"A moment," interrupted the counsel. "Was your visit that evening made
"Partially so. My father and mother were displeased, naturally, at my
intimacy with Afy Hallijohn; therefore I did not care that they should
be cognizant of my visits there. I am ashamed to confess that I told
my father a lie over it that very evening. He saw me leave the dinner-
table to go out with my gun, and inquired where I was off to. I
answered that I was going out with young Beauchamp."
"When, in point of fact, you were not?"
"No. I took my gun, for I had promised to lend it to Hallijohn while
his own was being repaired. When I reached the cottage Afy refused to
admit me; she was busy, and could not, she said. I felt sure she had
got Thorn with her. She had, more than once before, refused to admit
me when I had gone there by her own appointment, and I always found
that Thorn's presence in the cottage was the obstacle."
"I suppose you and Thorn were jealous of each other?"
"I was jealous of him; I freely admit it. I don't know whether he was
"May I inquire what was the nature of your friendship for Miss Afy
"I loved her with an honorable love, as I might have done by any young
lady in my own station of life. I would not have married her in
opposition to my father and mother; but I told Afy that if she was
content to wait for me until I was my own master I would then make her
"You had no views toward her of a different nature?"
"None; I cared for her too much for that; and I respected her father.
Afy's mother had been a lady, too, although she had married Hallijohn,
who was but clerk to Mr. Carlyle. No; I never had a thought of wrong
toward Afy--I never could have had."
"Now relate the occurrences of the evening?"
"Afy would not admit me, and we had a few words over it; but at length
I went away, first giving her the gun, and telling her it was loaded.
She lodged it against the wall, just inside the door, and I went into
the wood and waited, determined to see whether or not Thorn was with
her, for she had denied that he was. Locksley saw me there, and asked
why I was hiding. I did not answer; but I went further off, quite out
of view of the cottage. Some time afterward, less than half an hour, I
heard a shot in the direction of the cottage. Somebody was having a
late pop at the partridge, I thought. Just then I saw Otway Bethel
emerge from the trees, not far from me, and run toward the cottage. My
lord," added Richard Hare, looking at the judge, "that was the shot
that killed Hallijohn!"
"Could the shot," asked the counsel, "have been fired by Otway
"It could not. It was much further off. Bethel disappeared, and in
another minute there came some one flying down the path leading from
the cottage. It was Thorn, and evidently in a state of intense terror.
His face was livid, his eyes staring, and he panted and shook like one
in the ague. Past me he tore, on down the path, and I afterwards heard
the sound of his horse galloping away; it had been tied in the wood."
"Did you follow him?"
"No. I wondered what had happened to put him in that state; but I made
haste to the cottage, intending to reproach Afy with her duplicity. I
leaped up the two steps, and fell over the prostrate body of
Hallijohn. He was lying dead within the door. My gun, just discharged,
was flung on the floor, its contents in Hallijohn's side."
You might have heard a pin drop in court, so intense was the interest.
"There appeared to be no one in the cottage, upstairs or down. I
called to Afy, but she did not answer. I caught up the gun, and was
running from the cottage when Locksley came out of the wood and looked
at me. I grew confused, fearful, and I threw the gun back again and
"What were your motives for acting in that way?"
"A panic had come over me, and in that moment I must have lost the use
of my reason, otherwise I never should have acted as I did. Thoughts,
especially of fear, pass through our minds with astonishing swiftness,
and I feared lest the crime should be fastened upon me. It was fear
made me snatch up my gun, lest it should be found near the body; it
was fear made me throw it back again when Locksley appeared in view--a
fear you understand, from which all judgment, all reason, had
departed. But for my own conduct, the charge never would have been
laid to me."
"In my flight I came upon Bethel. I knew that if he had gone toward
the cottage after the shot was fired, he must have encountered Thorn
flying from it. He denied that he had; he said he had only gone along
the path for a few paces, and had then plunged into the wood again. I
believed him and departed."
"Departed from West Lynne?"
"That night I did. It was a foolish, fatal step, the result of
cowardice. I found the charge was laid to me, and I thought I would
absent myself for a day or two, to see how things turned out. Next
came the inquest and the verdict against me, and I then left for
"This is the truth, so far as you are cognizant of it?"
"I swear that it is truth, and the whole truth, so far as I am
cognizant of it," replied Richard Hare, with emotion. "I could not
assert it more solemnly were I before God."
He was subjected to a rigid cross-examination, but his testimony was
not shaken in the least. Perhaps not one present but was impressed
with its truth.
Afy Hallijohn was recalled, and questioned as to Richard's presence at
her father's house that night. It tallied with the account given by
Richard; but it had to be drawn from her.
"Why did you decline to receive Richard Hare into the cottage, after
appointing him to come?"
"Because I chose," returned Afy.
"Tell the jury why you chose."
"Well, I had got a friend with me--it was Captain Thorn," she added,
feeling that she should only be questioned on this point, so might as
well acknowledge it. "I did not admit Richard Hare, for I fancied they
might get up a quarrel if they were together."
"For what purpose did Richard Hare bring down his gun--do you know?"
"It was to lend to my father. My father's gun had something the matter
with it, and was at the smith's. I had heard him, the previous day,
ask Mr. Richard to lend him one of his, and Mr. Richard said he would
bring one, as he did."
"You lodged the gun against the wall--safely?"
"Was it touched by you, after placing it there, or by the prisoner?"
"I did not touch it; neither did he, that I saw. It was that same gun
which was afterward found near my father, and had been discharged."
The next witness called was Otway Bethel. He also held share in the
curiosity of the public, but not in equal degree with Afy, still less
with Richard Hare. The substance of his testimony was as follows:--
"On the evening that Hallijohn was killed, I was in the Abbey Wood,
and I saw Richard Hare come down the path with a gun, as if he had
come down from his own home."
"Did Richard Hare see you?"
"No; he could not see me; I was right in the thicket. He went to the
cottage door, and was about to enter, when Afy Hallijohn came hastily
out of it, pulling the door to behind her, and holding it in her hand,
as if afraid he would go in. Some colloquy ensued, but I was too far
off to hear it; and then she took the gun from him and went indoors.
Some time after that I saw Richard Hare amid the trees at a distance,
farther off the cottage, then, than I was, and apparently watching the
path. I was wondering what he was up to, hiding there, when I head a
shot fired, close, as it seemed, to the cottage, and--"
"Stop a bit, witness. Could that shot have been fired by Richard
"It could not. He was a quarter of a mile, nearly, away from it. I was
much nearer the cottage than he."
"I could not imagine what that shot meant, or who could have fired it
--not that I suspected mischief--and I knew that poachers did not
congregate so near Hallijohn's cottage. I set off to reconnoiter, and
as I turned the corner, which brought the house within my view, I saw
Captain Thorn, as he was called, come leaping out of it. His face was
white with terror, his breath was gone--in short, I never saw any
living man betray so much agitation. I caught his arm as he would have
passed me. 'What have you been about?' I asked. 'Was it you that
"Stay. Why did you suspect him?"
"From his state of excitement--from the terror he was in--that some
ill had happened, I felt sure; and so would you, had you seen him as I
did. My arresting him increased his agitation; he tried to throw me
off, but I am a strong man, and I suppose he thought it best to
temporize. 'Keep dark upon it, Bethel,' he said, 'I will make it worth
your while. The thing was not premeditated; it was done in the heat of
passion. What business had the fellow to abuse me? I have done no harm
to the girl.' As he thus spoke, he took out a pocket book with the
hand that was at liberty; I held the other--"
"As the prisoner thus spoke, you mean?"
"The prisoner. He took a bank-note from his pocket book, and thrust it
into my hands. It was a note for fifty pounds. 'What's done can't be
undone, Bethel,' he said, 'and your saying that you saw me here can
serve no good turn. Shall it be silence?' I took the note and answered
that it should be silence. I had not the least idea that anybody was
"What did you suppose had happened, then?"
"I could not suppose; I could not think; it all passed in the haste
and confusion of a moment, and no definite idea occurred to me. Thorn
flew on down the path, and I stood looking after him. The next was I
heard footsteps, and I slipped within the trees. They were those of
Richard Hare, who took the path to the cottage. Presently he returned,
little less agitated than Thorn had been. I had gone into an open
space, then, and he accosted me, asking if I had seen 'that hound' fly
from the cottage? 'What hound?' I asked of him. 'That fine fellow,
that Thorn, who comes after Afy,' he answered, but I stoutly denied
that I had seen any one. Richard Hare continued his way, and I
afterward found that Hallijohn was killed."
"And so you took a bribe to conceal one of the foulest crimes that man
ever committed, Mr. Otway Bethel!"
"I took the money, and I am ashamed to confess it. But it was done
without reflection. I swear that had I known what crime it was
intended to hush up, I never would have touched it. I was hard up for
funds, and the amount tempted me. When I discovered what had really
happened, and that Richard Hare was accused, I was thunderstruck at my
own deed; many a hundred times since have I cursed the money; and the
fate of Richard has been as a heavy weight upon my conscience."
"You might have lifted the weight by confessing."
"To what end? It was too late. Thorn had disappeared. I never heard of
him, or saw him, until he came to West Lynne this last spring, as Sir
Francis Levison, to oppose Mr. Carlyle. Richard Hare had also
disappeared--had never been seen or heard of, and most people supposed
he was dead. To what end then should I confess? Perhaps only to be
suspected myself. Besides, I had taken the money upon a certain
understanding, and it was only fair that I should keep to it."
If Richard Hare was subjected to a severe cross-examination, a far
more severe one was awaiting Otway Bethel. The judge spoke to him only
once, his tone ringing with reproach.
"It appears then, witness, that you have retained within you, all
these years, the proofs of Richard Hare's innocence?"
"I can only acknowledge it with contrition, my lord."
"What did you know of Thorn in those days?" asked the counsel.
"Nothing, save that he frequented the Abbey Wood, his object being Afy
Hallijohn. I had never exchanged a word with him until that night; but
I knew his name, Thorn--at least, the one he went by, and by his
addressing me as Bethel, it appeared that he knew mine."
The case for the prosecution closed. An able and ingenious speech was
made for the defence, the learned counsel who offered it contending
that there was still no proof of Sir Francis having been the guilty
man. Neither was there any proof that the catastrophe was not the
result of pure accident. A loaded gun, standing against a wall in a
small room, was not a safe weapon, and he called upon the jury not
rashly to convict in the uncertainty, but to give the prisoner the
benefit of the doubt. He should call no witnesses, he observed, not
even to character. Character! for Sir Francis Levison! The court burst
into a grin; the only sober face in it being that of the judge.
The judge summed up. Certainly not in the prisoner's favor; but, to
use the expression of some amidst the audience, dead against him.
Otway Bethel came in for a side shaft or two from his lordship;
Richard Hare for sympathy. The jury retired about four o'clock, and
the judge quitted the bench.
A very short time they were absent. Scarcely a quarter of an hour. His
lordship returned into court, and the prisoner was again placed in the
dock. He was the hue of marble, and, in his nervous agitation, kept
incessantly throwing back his hair from his forehead--the action
already spoken of. Silence was proclaimed.
"How say you, gentlemen of the jury? Guilty, or not guilty?"
It was a silence to be felt; and the prisoner gasped once or twice
"But," said the foreman, "we wish to recommend him to mercy."
"On what grounds?" inquired the judge.
"Because, my lord, we believe it was not a crime planned by the
prisoner beforehand, but arose out of the bad passions of the moment,
and was so committed."
The judge paused, and drew something black from the receptacle of his
pocket, buried deep in his robes.
"Prisoner at the bar! Have you anything to urge why sentence of death
should not be passed upon you?"
The prisoner clutched the front of the dock. He threw up his head, as
if shaking off the dread fear which had oppressed him, and the marble
of his face changed to scarlet.
"Only this, my lord. The jury, in giving their reason for recommending
me to your lordship's mercy, have adopted the right view of the case
as it actually occurred. The man Hallijohn's life was taken by me, it
will be useless for me to deny, in the face of the evidence given this
day, but it was not taken in malice. When I quitted the girl, Afy, and
went to the cottage for my hat, I no more contemplated injuring mortal
man than I contemplate it at this moment. He was there, the father,
and in the dispute that ensued the catastrophe occurred. My lord, it
was not wilful murder."
The prisoner ceased, and the judge, the black cap on his head, crossed
his hands one upon the other.
"Prisoner at the bar. You have been convicted by clear and undoubted
evidence of the crime of wilful murder. The jury have pronounced you
guilty; and in their verdict I entirely coincide. That you took the
life of that ill-fated and unoffending man, there is no doubt; you
have, yourself, confessed it. It was a foul, a barbarous, a wicked
act. I care not for what may have been the particular circumstances
attending it; he may have provoked you by words; but no provocation of
that nature could justify your drawing the gun upon him. Your counsel
urged that you were a gentleman, a member of the British aristocracy,
and therefore deserved consideration. I confess that I was much
surprised to hear such a doctrine fall from his lips. In my opinion,
you being what you are, your position in life makes your crime the
worse, and I have always maintained that when a man possessed of
advantages falls into sin, he deserves less consideration than does
one who is poor, simple, and uneducated. Certain portions of the
evidence given to-day (and I do not now allude to the actual crime)
tell very greatly against you, and I am sure not one in the court but
must have turned from them with abhorrence. You were pursuing the
daughter of this man with no honorable purpose--and in this point your
conduct contrasts badly with the avowal of Richard Hare, equally a
gentleman with yourself. In this pursuit you killed her father; and
not content with that, you still pursued the girl--and pursued her to
ruin, basely deceiving her as to the actual facts, and laying the
crime upon another. I cannot trust myself to speak further upon this
point, nor is it necessary that I should; it is not to answer for
that, that you stand before me. Uncalled, unprepared, and by you
unpitied, you hurried that unfortunate man into eternity, and you must
now expiate the crime with your own life. The jury have recommended
you to mercy, and the recommendation will be forwarded in due course
to the proper quarter, but you must be aware how frequently this
clause is appended to a verdict, and how very rarely it is attended
to, just cause being wanting. I can but enjoin you, and I do so most
earnestly, to pass the little time that probably remains to you on
earth in seeking repentance and forgiveness. You are best aware,
yourself, what your past life has been; the world knows somewhat of
it; but there is pardon above for the most guilty, when it is
earnestly sought. It now only remains for me to pass the sentence of
the law. It is, that you, Francis Levison, be taken back to the place
from whence you came, and thence to the place of execution, and that
you be there hanged by the neck until you are dead. And may the Lord
God Almighty have mercy on your soul!"
The court was cleared. The day's excitement was over, and the next
case was inquired for. Not quite over, however, yet, the excitement,
and the audience crowded in again. For the next case proved to be the
arraignment of Richard Hare the younger. A formal proceeding merely,
in pursuance of the verdict of the coroner's inquest. No evidence was
offered against him, and the judge ordered him to be discharged.
Richard, poor, ill-used, baited Richard was a free man again.
Then ensued the scene of all scenes. Half, at least, of those present,
were residents of, or from near West Lynne. They had known Richard
Hare from infancy--they had admired the boy in his pretty childhood--
they had liked him in his unoffending boyhood, but they had been none
the less ready to cast their harsh stones at him, and to thunder down
their denunciations when the time came. In proportion to their
fierceness then, was their contrition now; Richard had been innocent
all the while; they had been more guilty than he.
An English mob, gentle or simple, never gets up its excitement by
halves. Whether its demonstration be of a laudatory or a condemnatory
nature, the steam is sure to be put on to bursting point. With one
universal shout, with one bound, they rallied round Richard; they
congratulated him; they overwhelmed him with good wishes; they
expressed with shame their repentance; they said the future would
atone for the past. Had he possessed a hundred hands, they would have
been shaken off. And when Richard extracted himself, and turned, in
his pleasant, forgiving, loving nature, to his father, the stern old
justice, forgetting his pride and pomposity, burst into tears and
sobbed like a child, as he murmured something about his also needing
"Dear father," cried Richard, his own eyes wet, "it is forgiven and
forgotten already. Think how happy we shall be again together, you,
and I, and my mother."
The justice's hands, which had been wound around his son, relaxed
their hold. They were twitching curiously; the body also began to
twitch, and he fell upon the shoulder of Colonel Bethel in a second
stroke of paralysis.
THE DEATH CHAMBER.
By the side of William Carlyle's dying bed knelt the Lady Isabel. The
time was at hand, and the boy was quite reconciled to his fate.
Merciful, indeed, is God to dying children! It is astonishing how very
readily, when the right means are taken, they may be brought to look
with pleasure, rather than fear, upon their unknown journey.
The brilliant hectic, type of the disease, had gone from his cheeks,
his features were white and wasted, and his eyes large and bright. His
silky brown hair was pushed off his temples, and his little hot hands
were thrown outside the bed.
"It won't be very long to wait, you know, will it, Madame Vine?"
"For what, darling?"
"Before they all come. Papa and mamma, and Lucy, and all of them."
A jealous feeling shot across her wearied heart. Was /she/ nothing to
him? "Do you not care that I should come to you, William?"
"Yes, I hope you will. But do you think we shall know /everybody/ in
Heaven? Or will it be only our own relations?"
"Oh, child! I think there will be no relations, as you call it, up
there. We can trust all that to God, however it may be."
William lay looking upward at the sky, apparently in thought, a dark
blue, serene sky, from which shone the hot July sun. His bed had been
moved toward the window, for he liked to sit in it, and look at the
landscape. The window was open now, and the butterflies and bees
sported in the summer air.
"I wonder how it will be?" pondered he, aloud. "There will be the
beautiful city, its gates of pearl, and its shining precious stones,
and its streets of gold; and there will be the clear river, and the
trees with their fruits and their healing leaves, and the lovely
flowers; and there will be the harps, and music, and singing. And what
else will there be?"
"Everything that is desirable and beautiful, William; but, what we may
not anticipate here."
Another pause. "Madame Vine, will Jesus come for me, do you think, or
will He send an angel?"
"Jesus has /promised/ to come for His own redeemed--for those who love
Him and wait for Him."
"Yes, yes, and then I shall be happy forever. It will be so pleasant
to be there, never to be tired or ill again."
"Pleasant? Ay! Oh, William! Would that the time were come!"
She was thinking of herself--of her freedom--though the boy knew it
not. She buried her face in her hands and continued speaking; William
had to bend his ear to catch the faint whisper.
" 'And there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying:
neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things are passed
"Madame Vine, do you think mamma will be there?" he presently asked.
"I mean mamma that was."
"Ay, ere long."
"But how shall I know her? You see, I have nearly forgotten what she
She leaned over him, laying her forehead upon his wasted arm, and
burst into a flood of impassioned tears. "You will know her, never
fear, William; she has not forgotten you."
"But how can we be sure that she will be there?" debated William,
after a pause of thought. "You know"--sinking his voice, and speaking
with hesitation--"she was not quite good; she was not good enough to
papa or to us. Sometimes I think, suppose she did not grow good, and
did not ask God to forgive her!"
"Oh, William!" sobbed the unhappy lady, "her whole life, after she
left you, was one long scene of repentance, of seeking forgiveness.
Her repentance, her sorrow, was greater than she could bear, and----"
"And what?" asked William, for there was a pause.
"Her heart broke in it--yearning after you and your father."
"What makes you think it?"
"Child, I /know/ it!"
William considered. Then, had he been strong enough, he would have
started up with energy. "Madame Vine, you could only know that by
mamma's telling you! Did you ever see her? Did you know her abroad?"
Lady Isabel's thoughts were far away--up in the clouds perhaps. She
reflected not on the possible consequences of her answer, or she had
never given it.
"Yes, I knew her abroad."
"Oh!" said the boy. "Why did you never tell us? What did she say? What
was she like?"
"She said"--sobbing wildly--"that she was parted from her children
here; but she should meet them in Heaven, and be with them forever.
William, darling! all the awful pain, and sadness, and guilt of this
world will be washed out, and God will wipe your tears away."
"What was her face like?" he questioned softly.
"Like yours. Very much like Lucy's."
"Was she pretty?"
A momentary pause. "Yes."
"Oh, dear, I am ill. Hold me!" cried out William, as his head sank to
one side, and great drops, as large as peas, broke forth upon his
clammy face. It appeared to be one of the temporary faint attacks that
overpowered him at times lately, and Lady Isabel rang the bell
Wilson came in, in answer. Joyce was the usual attendant upon the sick
room; but Mrs. Carlyle, with her infant, was passing the day at the
Grove; unconscious of the critical state of William, and she had taken
Joyce with her. It was the day following the trial. Mr. Justice Hare
had been brought to West Lynne in his second attack, and Barbara had
gone to see him, to console her mother, and to welcome Richard to his
home again. If one carriage drove, that day, to the Grove, with cards
and inquiries, fifty did, not to speak of the foot callers. "It is all
meant by way of attention to you, Richard," said gentle Mrs. Hare,
smiling through her loving tears at her restored son. Lucy and Archie
were dining at Miss Carlyle's, and Sarah attended little Arthur,
leaving Wilson free. She came in, in answer to Madame Vine's ring.
"Is he off in another faint?" unceremoniously cried she, hastening to
"I think so. Help to raise him."
William did not faint. No; the attack was quite different from those
he was subject to. Instead of losing consciousness and power, as was
customary, he shook as if he had the ague, and laid hold both of
Madame Vine and Wilson, grasping them convulsively.
"Don't let me fall! Don't let me fall!" he gasped.
"My dear, you cannot fall," responded Madame Vine. "You forget that
you are on the bed."
He clasped them yet, and trembled still, as from fear. "Don't let me
fall! Don't let me fall" the incessant burden of his cry.
The paroxysm passed. They wiped his brow, and stood looking at him;
Wilson with a pursed up mouth, and a peculiar expression of face. She
put a spoonful of restorative jelly between his lips, and he swallowed
it, but shook his head when she would have given him another. Turning
his face to the pillow, in a few minutes he was in a doze.
"What could it have been?" exclaimed Lady Isabel, in an undertone, to
"/I/ know," was the oracular answer. "I saw this same sort of an
attack once before, madame."
"And what caused it?"
"Twasn't in a child though," went on Wilson--"'twas in a grown person.
But that's nothing, it comes for the same thing in all. I think he was
taken for death."
"Who?" uttered Lady Isabel, startled.
Wilson made no reply in words, but she pointed with her finger to the
"Oh, Wilson, he is not so ill as that. Mr. Wainwright said this
morning, that he might last a week or two."
Wilson composedly sat herself down in the easiest chair. She was not
wont to put herself out of the way for the governess; and that
governess was too much afraid of her, in one sense, to let her know
her place. "As to Wainwright, he's nobody," quoth she. "And if he saw
the child's breath going out before his face, and knew that the next
moment would be his last, he'd vow to us all that he was good for
twelve hours to come. You don't know Wainwright as I do, madame. He
was our doctor at mother's; and he has attended in all the places I
have lived in since I went out to service. Five years I was maid at
Mrs. Hare's. I came here when Miss Lucy was a baby, and in all my
places has he attended, like one's shadow. My Lady Isabel thought
great guns of old Wainwright, I remember. It was more than I did."
My Lady Isabel made no response to this. She took a seat and watched
William through her glasses. His breathing was more labored than
"That idiot, Sarah, says to me to-day, says she, 'Which of his two
grandpapas will they bury him by, old Mr. Carlyle or Lord Mount
Severn?' 'Don't be a calf!' I answered her. 'D'ye think they'll stick
him out in the corner with my lord?--he'll be put into the Carlyle
vault, of course,' It would have been different, you see, Madame Vine,
if my lady had died at home, all proper--Mr. Carlyle's wife. They'd
have buried her, no doubt, by her father, and the boy would have been
laid with her. But she did not."
No reply was made by Madame Vine, and a silence ensued; nothing to be
heard but that fleeting breath.
"I wonder how that beauty feels?" suddenly broke forth Wilson again,
her tone one of scornful irony.
Lady Isabel, her eyes and her thoughts absorbed by William, positively
thought Wilson's words must relate to him. She turned to her in
"That bright gem in the prison at Lynneborough," exclaimed Wilson. "I
hope he may have found himself pretty well since yesterday! I wonder
how many trainfuls from West Lynne will go to his hanging?"
Isabel's face turned crimson, her heart sick. She had not dared to
inquire how the trial terminated. The subject altogether was too
dreadful, and nobody had happened to mention it in her hearing.
"Is he condemned?" she breathed, in a low tone.
"He is condemned, and good luck to him! And Mr. Otway Bethel's let
loose again, and good luck to /him/. A nice pair they are! Nobody went
from this house to hear the trial--it might not have been pleasant,
you know, to Mr. Carlyle; but people came in last night and told us
all about it. Young Richard Hare chiefly convicted him. He is back
again, and so nice-looking, they say--ten times more so than he was
when quite a young man. You should have heard, they say, the cheering
and shouts that greeted Mr. Richard when his innocence came out; it
pretty near rose off the roof of the court, and the judge didn't stop
Wilson paused, but there was no answering comment. On she went again.
"When Mr. Carlyle brought the news home last evening, and broke it to
his wife, telling her how Mr. Richard had been received with
acclamations, she nearly fainted, for she's not strong yet. Mr.
Carlyle called out to me to bring some water--I was in the next room
with the baby--and there she was, the tears raining from her eyes, and
he holding her to him. I always said there was a whole world of love
between those two; though he did go and marry another. Mr. Carlyle
ordered me to put the water down, and sent me away again. But I don't
fancy he told her of old Hare's attack until this morning."
Lady Isabel lifted her aching forehead. "What attack?"
"Why, madame, don't you know. I declare you box yourself up in the
house, keeping from everybody, and you hear nothing. You might as well
be living at the bottom of a coal-pit. Old Hare had another stroke in
the court at Lynneborough, and that's why my mistress is gone to the
"Who says Richard Hare's come home, Wilson?"
The question--the weak, scarcely audible question--had come from the
dying boy. Wilson threw up her hands, and made a bound to the bed.
"The like of that!" she uttered, aside to Mrs. Vine. "One never knows
when to take these sick ones. Master William, you hold your tongue and
drop to sleep again. Your papa will be home soon from Lynneborough;
and if you talk and get tired, he'll say it's my fault. Come shut your
eyes. Will you have a bit more jelly?"
William, making no reply to the offer of jelly, buried his face again
on the pillow. But he was grievously restless; the nearly worn-out
spirit was ebbing and flowing.
Mr. Carlyle was at Lynneborough. He always had much business there at
assize time and the /Nisi Prius/ Court; but the previous day he had
not gone himself, Mr. Dill had been dispatched to represent him.
Between seven and eight he returned home, and came into William's
chamber. The boy brightened up at the well-known presence.
Mr. Carlyle sat down on the bed and kissed him. The passing beams of
the sun, slanting from the horizon, shone into the room, and Mr.
Carlyle could view well the dying face. The gray hue of death was
certainly on it.
"Is he worse?" he exclaimed hastily, to Madame Vine, who was jacketed,
and capped, and spectacled, and tied up round the throat, and
otherwise disguised, in her universal fashion.
"He appears worse this evening, sir--more weak."
"Papa," panted William, "is the trial over?"
"What trial, my boy?"
"Sir Francis Levison's."
"It was over yesterday. Never trouble your head about him, my brave
boy, he is not worth it."
"But I want to know. Will they hang him?"
"He is sentenced to it."
"Did he kill Hallijohn?"
"Yes. Who has been talking to him upon the subject?" Mr. Carlyle
continued to Madame Vine, with marked displeasure in his tone.
"Wilson mentioned it, sir," was the low answer.
"Oh, papa! What will he do? Will Jesus forgive /him/?"
"We must hope it."
"Do you hope it, papa?"
"Yes. I wish that all the world may be forgiven, William, whatever may
have been their sins. My child, how restless you seem!"
"I can't keep in one place; the bed gets wrong. Pull me up on the
pillow, will you Madame Vine?"
Mr. Carlyle gently lifted the boy himself.
"Madame Vine is an untiring nurse to you, William," he observed,
gratefully casting a glance toward her in the distance, where she had
retreated, and was shaded by the window curtain.
William made no reply; he seemed to be trying to recall something. "I
forget! I forget!"
"Forget what?" asked Mr. Carlyle.
"It was something I wanted to ask you, or to tell you. Isn't Lucy come
"I suppose not."
"Papa, I want Joyce."
"I will send her home to you. I am going for your mamma after dinner."
"For mamma?--oh, I remember now. Papa, how shall I know mamma in
Heaven? Not this mamma."
Mr. Carlyle did not immediately reply. The question may have puzzled
him. William continued hastily; possibly mistaking the motive of the
"She /will/ be in Heaven, you know."
"Yes, yes, child," speaking hurriedly.
"Madame Vine knows she will. She saw her abroad; and mamma told her
that--what was it, madame?"
Madame Vine grew sick with alarm. Mr. Carlyle turned his eyes upon her
scarlet face--as much as he could get to see of it. She would have
escaped from the room if she could.
"Mamma was more sorry than she could bear," went on William, finding
he was not helped. "She wanted you, papa, and she wanted us, and her
heart broke, and she died."
A flush rose to Mr. Carlyle's brow. He turned inquiringly to Madame
"Oh, I beg your pardon, sir," she murmured, with desperate energy. "I
ought not to have spoken; I ought not to have interfered in your
family affairs. I spoke only as I thought it must be, sir. The boy
seemed troubled about his mother."
Mr. Carlyle was at sea. "Did you meet his mother abroad? I scarcely
She lifted her hand and covered her glowing face. "No, sir." Surely
the recording angel blotted out the words! If ever a prayer for
forgiveness went up from an aching heart, it must have gone up then,
for the equivocation over her child's death-bed!
Mr. Carlyle went toward her. "Do you perceive the change in his
countenance?" he whispered.
"Yes, sir. He has looked like this since a strange fit of trembling
that came on in the afternoon. Wilson thought he might be taken for
death. I fear that some four and twenty hours will end it."
Mr. Carlyle rested his elbow on the window frame, and his hand upon
his brow, his drooping eyelids falling over his eyes. "It is hard to
"Oh, sir, he will be better off!" she wailed, choking down the sobs
and the emotion that arose threateningly. "We /can/ bear death; it is
not the worst parting that the earth knows. He will be quit of this
cruel world, sheltered in Heaven. I wish we were all there!"
A servant came to say that Mr. Carlyle's dinner was served, and he
proceeded to it with what appetite he had. When he returned to the
sick room the daylight had faded, and a solitary candle was placed
where its rays could not fall upon the child's face. Mr. Carlyle took
the light in his hand to scan that face again. He was lying sideways
on the pillow, his hollow breath echoing through the room. The light
caused him to open his eyes.
"Don't, papa, please. I like it dark."
"Only for a moment, my precious boy." And not for more than a moment
did Mr. Carlyle hold it. The blue, pinched, ghastly look was there
yet. Death was certainly coming on quick.
At that moment Lucy and Archibald came in, on their return from their
visit to Miss Carlyle. The dying boy looked up eagerly.
"Good-bye, Lucy," he said, putting out his cold, damp hand.
"I am not going out," replied Lucy. "We have but just come home."
"Good-bye, Lucy," repeated he.
She laid hold of the little hand then, leaned over, and kissed him.
"Good-bye, William; but indeed I am not going out anywhere."
"I am," said he. "I am going to Heaven. Where's Archie?"
Mr. Carlyle lifted Archie on to the bed. Lucy looked frightened,
"Archie, good-bye; good-bye, dear, I am going to Heaven; to that
bright, blue sky, you know. I shall see mamma there, and I'll tell her
that you and Lucy are coming soon."
Lucy, a sensitive child, broke into a loud storm of sobs, enough to
disturb the equanimity of any sober sick room. Wilson hastened in at
the sound, and Mr. Carlyle sent the two children away, with soothing
promises that they should see William in the morning, if he continued
Down on her knees, her face buried in the counterpane, a corner of it
stuffed into her mouth that it might help to stifle her agony, knelt
Lady Isabel. The moment's excitement was well nigh beyond her strength
of endurance. Her own child--his child--they alone around its death-
bed, and she might not ask or receive a word of comfort, of
Mr. Carlyle glanced at her as he caught her choking sobs just as he
would have glanced at any other attentive governess--feeling her
sympathy, doubtless, but nothing more; she was not heart and part with
him and his departing boy. Lower and lower bent he over that boy; for
his eyes were wet. "Don't cry, papa," whispered William, raising his
feeble hand caressingly to his father's cheek, "I am not afraid to go.
Jesus is coming for me."
"Afraid to go! Indeed I hope not, my gentle boy. You are going to God
--to happiness. A few years--we know not how few--and we shall all
come to you."
"Yes, you will be sure to come; I know that. I shall tell mamma so. I
dare say she is looking out for me now. Perhaps she's standing on the
banks of the river, watching the boats."
He had evidently got that picture of Martin's in his mind, "The Plains
of Heaven." Mr. Carlyle turned to the table. He saw some strawberry
juice, pressed from the fresh fruit, and moistened with it the boy's
"Papa, I can't think how Jesus can be in all the boats! Perhaps they
don't go quite at the same time. He must be, you know, because He
comes to fetch us."
"He will be yours, darling," was the whispered, fervent answer.
"Oh, yes. He will take me all the way up to God, and say, 'Here's a
poor little boy come, you must please to forgive him and let him go
into Heaven, because I died for him!' Papa did you know that mamma's
"William, I think it likely that your poor mamma's heart did break,
ere death came. But let us talk of you, not of her. Are you in pain?"
"I can't breathe; I can't swallow. I wish Joyce was here."
"She will not be long now."
The boy nestled himself in his father's arms, and in a few minutes
appeared to be asleep. Mr. Carlyle, after a while, gently laid him on
his pillow, and watched him, and then turned to depart.
"Oh, papa! Papa!" he cried out, in a tone of painful entreaty, opening
wide his yearning eyes, "say good-bye to me!"
Mr. Carlyle's tears fell upon the little upturned face, as he once
more caught it to his breast.
"My darling, your papa will soon be back. He is going to bring mamma
to see you."
"And pretty little baby Anna?"
"And baby Anna, if you would like her to come in. I will not leave my
darling boy for long; he need not fear. I shall not leave you again
to-night, William, when once I am back."
"Then put me down, and go, papa."
A lingering embrace--a fond, lingering, tearful embrace--Mr. Carlyle
holding him to his beating heart, then he laid him comfortably on his
pillow, gave him a teaspoonful of strawberry juice, and hastened away.
"Good-bye, papa!" came forth the little feeble cry.
It was not heard. Mr. Carlyle was gone, gone from his living child--
forever. Up rose Lady Isabel, and flung her arms aloft in a storm of
"Oh, William, darling! in this dying moment let me be to you as your
Again he unclosed his wearied eyelids. It is probable that he only
"Papa's gone for her."
"Not /her/! I--I----" Lady Isabel checked herself, and fell sobbing on
the bed. No; not even at the last hour when the world was closing on
him, dared she say, I am your mother.
Wilson re-entered. "He looks as if he were dropping off to sleep,"
"Yes," said Lady Isabel. "You need not wait, Wilson. I will ring if he
Wilson though withal not a bad-hearted woman, was not one to remain
for pleasure in a sick-room, if told she might leave it. She, Lady
Isabel, remained alone. She fell on her knees again, this time in
prayer for the departing spirit, on its wing, and that God would
mercifully vouchsafe herself a resting-place with it in heaven.
A review of the past then rose up before her, from the time of her
first entering that house, the bride of Mr. Carlyle, to her present
sojourn in it. The old scenes passed through her mind like the
changing picture in a phantasmagoria.
Why should they have come, there and then? She knew not.
William slept on silently; /she/ thought of the past. The dreadful
reflection, "If I had not done as I did, how different would it have
been now!" had been sounding its knell in her heart so often that she
had almost ceased to shudder at it. The very nails of her hands had,
before now, entered the palms, with the sharp pain it brought.
Stealing over her more especially this night, there, as she knelt, her
head lying on the counterpane, came the recollection of that first
illness of hers. How she had lain, and, in that unfounded jealousy,
imagined Barbara the house's mistress. She dead! Barbara exalted to
her place. Mr. Carlyle's wife, her child's stepmother! She recalled
the day when, her mind excited by a certain gossip of Wilson's--it was
previously in a state of fever bordering on delirium--she had prayed
her husband, in terror and anguish, not to marry Barbara. "How could
he marry her?" he had replied, in his soothing pity. "She, Isabel, was
his wife. Who was Barbara? Nothing to them?" But it had all come to
pass. /She/ had brought it forth. Not Mr. Carlyle; not Barbara; she
alone. Oh, the dreadful misery of the retrospect!
Lost in thought, in anguish past and present, in self-condemning
repentance, the time passed on. Nearly an hour must have elapsed since
Mr. Carlyle's departure, and William had not disturbed her. But who
was this, coming into the room? Joyce.
She hastily rose up, as Joyce, advancing with a quiet step drew aside
the clothes to look at William. "Master says he has been wanting me,"
she observed. "Why--oh!"
It was a sharp, momentary cry, subdued as soon as uttered. Madame Vine
sprang forward to Joyce's side, looking also. The pale young face lay
calm in its utter stillness; the busy little heart had ceased to beat.
Jesus Christ had indeed come and taken the fleeting spirit.
Then she lost all self-control. She believed that she had reconciled
herself to the child's death, that she could part with him without too
great emotion. But she had not anticipated it would be quite so soon;
she had deemed that some hours more would at least be given him, and
now the storm overwhelmed her. Crying, sobbing, calling, she flung
herself upon him; she clasped him to her; she dashed off her
disguising glasses; she laid her face upon his, beseeching him to come
back to her, that she might say farewell--to her, his mother; her
darling child, her lost William!
Joyce was terrified--terrified for consequences. With her full
strength she pulled her from the boy, praying her to consider--to be
still. "Do not, do not, for the love of Heaven! /My lady! My lady!/"
It was the old familiar title that struck upon her fears and induced
calmness. She stared at Joyce, and retreated backward, after the
manner of one receding from some hideous vision. Then, as recollection
came to her, she snatched her glasses up and hurried them on.
"My lady, let me take you into your room. Mr. Carlyle is come; he is
just bringing up his wife. Only think if you should give way before
him! Pray come away!"
"How did you know me?" she asked in a hollow voice.
"My lady, it was that night when there was an alarm of fire. I went
close up to you to take Master Archibald from your arms; and, as sure
as I am now standing here, I believe that for the moment my senses
left me. I thought I saw a spectre--the spectre of my dead lady. I
forgot the present; I forgot that all were standing round me; that
you, Madame Vine, were alive before me. Your face was not disguised
then; the moonlight shone full upon it, and I knew it, after the first
few moments of terror, to be, in dreadful truth, the /living/ one of
Lady Isabel. My lady, come away! We shall have Mr. Carlyle here."
Poor thing! She sank upon her knees, in her humility, her dread. "Oh,
Joyce, have pity upon me! don't betray me! I will leave the house;
indeed I will. Don't betray me while I am in it!"
"My lady, you have nothing to fear from me. I have kept the secret
buried within my breast since then. Last April! It has nearly been too
much for me. By night and by day I have had no peace, dreading what
might come out. Think of the awful confusion, the consequences, should
it come to the knowledge of Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle. Indeed, my lady, you
never ought to have come."
"Joyce," she said, hollowly, lifting her haggard face, "I could not
keep away from my unhappy children. Is it no punishment to /me/, think
you, the being here?" she added, vehemently. "To see him--my husband--
the husband of another! It is killing me."
"Oh, my lady, come away! I hear him; I hear him!"
Partly coaxing, partly dragging her, Joyce took her into her own room,
and left her there. Mr. Carlyle was at that moment at the door of the
sick one. Joyce sprang forward. Her face, in her emotion and fear, was
of one livid whiteness, and she shook as William had shaken, poor
child, in the afternoon. It was only too apparent in the well-lighted
"Joyce," he exclaimed, in amazement, "what ails you?"
"Sir! master!" she panted; "be prepared. Master William--Master
"Joyce! Not /dead/!"
"Alas, yes, sir!"
Mr. Carlyle strode into the chamber. But ere he was well across it, he
turned back to slip the bolt of the door. On the pillow lay the white,
thin face, at rest now.
"My boy! my boy! Oh, my God!" he murmured, in bowed reverence, "mayest
Thou have received this child to rest in Jesus, even as, I trust, Thou
hadst already received his unhappy mother!"
LORD VANE DATING FORWARD.
To the burial of William Carlyle came Lord Mount Severn and his son.
Wilson had been right in her surmises as to the resting-place. The
Carlyle vault was opened for him, and an order went forth to the
sculptor for an inscription to be added to their marble tablet in the
church: "William Vane Carlyle, eldest son of Archibald Carlyle, of
East Lynne." Amongst those who attended the funeral as mourners went
one more notable in the eyes of the gazers than the rest--Richard Hare
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