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THE scene changes to the best inn's best room in an assize town, occupied by two persons, the judge and his clerk; the former a somewhat stately looking man, beyond the middle age, scrupulously dressed, with a pale countenance, indicative of anxiety and ill-health, and the fidgetty manner and restless eye that betoken a sensitive temperament; the latter, an old man in black, with narrow pinched features, and an extremely deferential manner in addressing his superior.
Kirby," said the former, "I am extremely glad that this is the last assize town of my circuit, for my health is failing me, and I feel every session a greater disinclination to the performance of my judicial duties, and a stronger temptation to retire from the bench. Alas! what am I that I should sit in judgment upon my fellow creatures? How often have I recalled the warning of St. Matthew Judge not that ye be not judged." "Dear me, sir, you are surely the last person to have any such misgivings, for every body says that you are the most righteous, the most moral, the most pious of the whole bench."
"I have striven hard to deserve this character, it has been the great object of my life."
"And I'm sure, sir, you have succeeded, and that's every thing, you know."
"Not quite, not quite, I wish I could more firmly feel that I deserve it.'
"I can answer for it that every body else does, but you're always lowspirited when the wind's easterly."
A pause ensued, until the judge inquired,
Kirby, when is the commission to be opened ?"
"The day after to-morrow, sir."
"And is it a heavy calendar?"
"A good many civil cases, I believe, but not many on the criminal side. I was just going to read over the calendar."
"Have you got it there? let me see it."
The handsome, but melancholy, face of the judge was bent upon the document, when suddenly his pale features were suffused all over with a deep red, and he exclaimed in a voice of deep agitation,—
"Gracious heaven! what do I see, who is this-Philip Pemberton, alias Augustus Davis, charged with forgery! who is it, Kirby? why don't you speak-why don't
you answer me
"Dear me, sir, how can I tell? I had not read the calendar; but you need not be so agitated. The name's not so uncommon, it can hardly be our Philip Pemberton."
"Why not, when did you see him last?"
"Not long since, when I gave him the fifty pound note, and a world of good advice, which he can never have forgotten so soon. However, I will go to the jail to-morrow morning and have an interview with the prisoner, when we shall know all about it."
"To-morrow! I shall go mad before that time if I am left in doubt. I tell you, Kirby, if this should indeed prove to be my unfortunate son, I will not hold the assizes; indeed, I could not, dare not, I should feel that I was the real criminal, for it was my desertion of my poor boy that brought
him to shame. How shall I strike with the sword, by which I myself deserve to be stricken? shall I not shout out from the bench when I behold before me the armed statue of justice, ‘Adsum qui feci, in me convertite ferrum?"
"But, after all, sir, Mr. Philip is only your natural son, you know." "Is that any reason why I should be an unnatural father? What! because I did not place a ring upon his mother's finger-(how thankful am I that she died in his infancy!)—because a formulary of words was not muttered over me by a man in a surplice, am I to hold myself absolved from the primary, the paramount, the most solemn duty of a human being?-from a duty which is never violated, even by the birds of the air and the beasts of the field."
"Yes, sir, yes, it's all very well for them because they're irrational and don't know any better; you have acted in this matter according to the
practice of gentlemen."
"But not according to the law of God. Go, go-why do you stand talking here when I am in a perfect agony of suspense ?"
"Yes, sir, yes; I won't lose a minute. dinner?"
Shall I give any orders about
"Man, man! I can neither eat, drink, nor sleep, till I know my fate. Begone!"
"I foresee it all, I foresee it all," soliloquised the judge, as he walked up and down the room in great perturbation of spirit. "Every thing will transpire, I shall be deemed a Pharisee and a hypocrite, there will be sneers on the bench, lampoons in the court, innuendos in the papers, and the fair fame which I have been so many years in building, will be whispered away in a week. I shall never be able to bear it-never."
In a state of deep mental perturbation, and constantly increasing impatience, he walked hastily up and down the room, until at last Kirby hurried into the apartment, exclaiming,
Well, sir, I never would have believed it, after all the good advice I gave him—never, but sure enough the criminal is your unfortunate sonI mean your natural son, which is in fact no relation at all."
"I feared it, I feared it; my heart told me it must be so. God help me! what will become of me? Order my horses; quick, quick, I will fly instantly."
"Dear me, sir, you won't hear me out, and I have news to tell you as welcome as it is extraordinary. Mr. Philip has been discharged from prison, a nolle prosequi has been entered, the witnesses have been withdrawn, the whole debt, with the reward-money and the amount of the recognisances, has been paid, and all this has been done by a girl to whom he paid his addresses under his assumed name of Augustus Davis."
"Kirby, Kirby" cried the judge, clutching the hand of his clerk. "Do not trifle with my feelings-is all this true-are you sure it is true?"
"To be sure I am. I saw the young woman's attorney, and I received the account from Mr. Philip's own mouth as he walked away from the prison.
"Thank God-thank God! This is, indeed, an interposition of mercy that I have not deserved; it has rolled a crushing weight from off my heart, and I already feel myself a different man. Who is this girl? She is a
noble-hearted, a magnanimous creature, and she shall not be a sufferer by my unnatural neglect of my poor boy. No, not to the extent of a single shilling. Go, instantly, Kirby, and learn the exact amount of what she has defrayed. I am well known to the bankers here, and I will not leave this town, so help me God! till I have refunded every farthing. When this is accomplished, you must look closely after him to keep him out of fresh mischief till I can provide for him in a foreign country. It has just occurred to me, that I might settle upon him the farm in Upper Canada, left me by my brother Dudley. Go, go, let me get out of debt at all events."
"I AM delighted that I have been the means of saving you from so frightful a fate," said Susan, when Philip flew to Eccleshall, to throw himself at her feet and pour forth his gratitude; "but I don't want thanks, I want actions. In the first place, you must return the clothes and the contents of the pockets, exactly as you found them, to the real Augustus Davis, with an apology, if you can devise one, for their temporary abstraction. I have a letter from that gentleman, stating that he has been detained in London by illness, but that he purposes an immediate visit to Eccleshall, with a view to our union; in answer to which, I have desired him to spare himself that trouble, as I have no intention of marrying at present.-Hush! no exclamations! Do not draw inferences that may prove fallacious, but listen to me attentively, and answer me sincerely. After what has happened, I presume you would hardly wish to return to London."
"I should be utterly ashamed to show my face in it."
"Good! and although it has already been rumoured here that yours was a case of mistaken identity, I think you would not be sorry to turn your back upon Eccleshall."
Any where to hide my shame, any where to be unknown."
Well, here is a letter from my uncle Zachary, who carries on the silk-mills near Worcester, that belonged to his brother, Matthew Ruggles, asking me whether I can recommend him a steady young man as clerk, and at the same time inviting my father and myself to pay him a long visit. What say you? Will you accept the situation, and will you promise to do honour to my recommendation, if I promise to remain with my uncle for three or four months to sustain your good resolutions ?"
What a delighted, what a grateful acquiescence was given to this proposal it is unnecessary to state.
Behold our party, then, transferred to the neighbourhood of Worcester, where Philip entered on the performance of his new duties, with a grateful zeal that derived an additional zest from his frequent intercourse with Susan. She never alluded to the past, never preached at him nor to him, but exerting herself to make him taste the delights of respectability and good conduct, introduced him to the best society of her own class, and made her own home as agreeable to him as possible, so as to inspire him with a love of domestic life. Never was success more striking; never was a man so thoroughly altered and reformed as Philip Pemberton. His love of Susan received daily increase from his more enlarged knowledge of her character, yet was it hallowed with so pro
found a reverence, and so deep an apprehension of losing his present happy existence, should he venture to renew his suit, that he dared not give utterance to his wishes, otherwise than by that homage of the heart which tells its tale without the assistance of words.
Thus fleetly sped four happy months, at the end of which term Kirby again appeared upon the scene, to announce to Philip that a small farm in Upper Canada, the lease of which had just fallen in, awaited his acceptance, provided he would pledge himself to reside upon it, and never return to Europe. At any other time an offer so exactly suited to him would have filled him with transport, but the thought of being separated from his beloved Susan was not to be endured, and the tears ran down his cheeks as he communicated the proposal to her, adding, that he had determined to reject it, as he did not feel that he could enjoy a day's happiness in a lonely home.
"You are quite right," said Susan, smiling; "but why should your home be lonely? I told you that I would never marry you, because I thought you were a deceiver and a scapegrace. I have now given you a fair trial; I find you a completely changed character; and I do not consider it any violation of my vow when I declare that if you think I can contribute to your happiness, and aid you in recovering and maintaining an honourable position in society, I am now ready to marry you, and accompany you to any part of the habitable globe."
An ardent embrace from Philip and an impassioned kiss ratified the
They have now been settled upwards of two years on the banks of the Ottowa, and a happier couple or a better conducted man than Philip the whole province does not contain. The poor old father does his best to make himself useful in the farm, seldom missing an opportunity of turning the pigs into the flower-garden, where they upset the beehives and get miserably mauled for their pains; of driving the horses into the corn, and milking the cows into pails half full of hogswash, when he invariably exclaims, "Well, to be sure! only to think! la! how funny!" Latterly, however, he has been placed under the care of Unicorn, who watches his movements with a vigilant solicitude, and will not allow him to make a fool of himself. That faithful and sagacious animal is, if possible, a greater favourite than ever. On catching sight of his master when he returns from the fields, he runs for his slippers; he is a parlour dog, a watch dog, a shepherd's dog, and when we last heard of him he was sitting on his haunches, silently rocking a cradle, in which reposed a baby of two months old!
One word, in conclusion, as to Peter Crawley, whose treacherous conduct having transpired, he was dismissed from the office; every respectable solicitor refused to employ him, and he became a slave to the law-stationers, toiling for weeks to raise a few pounds, which he invariably risked at a low gambling-house, sometimes increasing it for a time, but always destined in the end to see it roll away from him like the stone of Sisyphus. In this degrading round of toil and poverty he is rapidly sinking into rags, wretchedness, and a premature old age.
"WHERE are you going to, Achille ?”
"To the Pyrenees. Whip away, driver," answered the most witty of archæologists, M. Achille Jubinal, as he started to exchange the canicular heats and political tempests of Paris for the secluded vales and refreshing snow-clad summits of the Franco-Iberian mountains.
So great was his speed and so anxious did M. Jubinal feel to place the greatest amount of space between his own worthy person, and the menacing aspect of his fellow Parisians, that the tower of Montlhery, with its reminiscences of Louis IX. and of Louis XI.; the Aurelianum of the ancients; the Château d'Amboise, which tradition traces back to the times of Hugh Capet; Bordeaux, the most beautiful of French towns; Toulouse, the city of the capitouls-nor even Auch, with its cathedral and window of 1513,-could stop him on his way; M. Jubinal only took breath when he found himself safely deposited at Tarbes, in the house of a relative who, he informs us, received him with open arms and heart.
Tarbes we know by personal experience to be one of the best points at which to approach the Pyrenees. The great chain which extends from sea to sea, appears from thence to rise out of a boundless level cultivated plain, like a great wall that stretches up from the earth to the heavens. Out of that giant chain the observer can at once distinguish, by its sharp outline the Pic du Midi, the Emperor of the Pyrenees, the still loftier Vignemale-the father of storms-to the left, and whose diadem of snow has never yet been trod by human foot; and still further off the culminating point of the whole chain, Mont Perdu, rival even to Mont Blanc, and lying like a bear's cub amidst perpetual glaciers, contemporaneous with chaos itself.
Anxious as every one feels on contemplating a vision of so much grandeur, to enter at once into its mysterious recesses, and to explore the country of eagles; M. Jubinal, like a true poet, first did homage to the Adour. The flowery banks of this river, so often the theme of the troubadour's song, are almost as apocryphal as "the bowers of roses by Bendemeer's stream;" the water itself is rather deficient in quantity (nay at Vieux Boucau, the old mouth of the river is altogether wanting), but still M. Jubinal found heart to prostrate himself before it, as he says he would have done before the Xanthus or the Jordan. This also from the old bridge upon which St. Grin was decapitated; not a very apt illustration of the lessons that came from the sunny banks of the river to which the giver of all peace went forth from Galilee to be baptised.
As the traveller approaches Pau, he rapidly nears the mountains, heath and brake announce rocky lands, and hills and stony acclivities alternate with open lands and pastures covered with flocks and herds. On such a journey, the traveller may, if he likes, amuse himself with the ever changing scenery of the road, or if he prefers it, he may, like M. Jubinal, meditate upon the great epochs in the history of the mountain chain before him. The geological origin of that granite axis which bears upon its crest a diadem of fossil shells and madreporites, tilted up and not deposited there, as M. Jubinal would have us believe; the times of Hannibal and of his Carthaginians, of Kar-le-magne (the modern orthography for