Part 11 out of 13
"And what can I do?" wailed poor Dick. "If your hands are tied, I'm
sure my whole body is, speaking in comparison; hands, and legs, and
/neck/. It's in jeopardy, that is, every hour."
"Your acting in this affair need not put it any the more in jeopardy.
You must stay in the neighborhood for a few days--"
"I dare not," interposed Richard, in a fright. "Stay in the
neighborhood for a few days! No; that I never may."
"Listen, Richard. You must put away these timorous fears, or else you
must make up your mind to remain under the ban for good; and,
remember, your mother's happiness is at stake equally with yours--I
could almost say her life. Do you suppose I would advise you for
danger? You used to say there was some place, a mile or two from this,
where you could sojourn in safety."
"So there is. But I always feel safer when I get away from it."
"There your quarters must be, for two or three days at any rate. I
have turned matters over in my own mind, and will tell you what I
think should be done, so far as the preliminary step goes, though I do
not interfere myself."
"Only the preliminary step! There must be a pretty many to follow it,
sir, if it's to come to anything. Well, what is it?"
"Apply to Ball & Treadman, and get them to take it."
They were now slowly pacing the covered walk, Barbara on her husband's
arm, Richard by the side of Mr. Carlyle. Dick stopped when he heard
the last words.
"I don't understand you, Mr. Carlyle. You might as well advise me to
go before the bench of magistrates at once. Ball & Treadman would walk
me off there as soon as I showed myself."
"Nothing of the sort, Richard. I do not tell you to go openly to their
office, as another client would. What I would advise is this--make a
friend of Mr. Ball; he can be a good man and true, if he chooses; tell
the whole story to him in a private place and interview, and ask him
whether he will carry it through. If he is fully impressed with the
conviction that you are innocent, as the facts appear to warrant, he
will undertake it. Treadman need know nothing of the affair at first;
and when Ball puts things in motion, he need not know that you are
here, or where you are to be found."
"I don't dislike Ball," mused Richard, "and if he would only give his
word to be true, I know he would be. The difficulty will be, who is to
get the promise from him?"
"I will," said Mr. Carlyle. "I will so far pave the way for you. That
done, my interference is over."
"How will he go about it, think you, if he does take it up?"
"That is his affair. I know how I should."
"You cannot expect me to say, Richard. I might as well act for you."
"I know. You'd go at it slap-dash, and arrest Levison offhand on the
A smile parted Mr. Carlyle's lips, for Dick had just guessed it. But
his countenance gave no clue by which anything could be gathered.
A thought flashed across Richard's mind; a thought which rose up on
end even his false hair. "Mr. Carlyle," he uttered, in an accent of
horror, "if Ball should take it up in that way against Levison, he
must apply to the bench for a warrant."
"Well?" quietly returned Mr. Carlyle.
"And they'd send and clap me into prison. You know the warrant is
always out against me."
"You'd never make a conjurer, Richard. I don't pretend to say, or
guess at, what Ball's proceedings may be. But, in applying to the
bench for a warrant against Levison--should that form part of them--is
there any necessity for him to bring you in--to say: 'Gentlemen,
Richard Hare is within reach, ready to be taken?' Your fears run away
with your common sense, Richard."
"Ah, well, if you had lived with the cord around your neck this many a
year, not knowing any one hour but it might get tied the next, you'd
lose your common sense, too, at times," humbly sighed poor Richard.
"What's to be my first move, sir?"
"Your first move, Richard, must be to go to this place of concealment,
which you know of, and remain quiet there until Monday. On Monday, at
dusk, be here again. Meanwhile, I will see Ball. By the way, though,
before speaking to Ball, I must hear from yourself that Thorn and
Levison are one."
"I will go down to the Raven at once," eagerly cried Richard. "I'll
come back here, to this walk, as soon as I have obtained sight of
him." With the last words he turned, and was speeding off, when
Barbara caught him.
"You will be so tired, Richard."
"Tired!" echoed Richard Hare. "A hundred miles on foot would not tire
me if Thorn was at the end of them, waiting to be identified. I may
not be back for two or three hours, but I will come, and wait here
till you come out to me."
"You must be hungry and thirsty," returned Barbara, the tears in her
eyes. "How I wish we dare have you in, and shelter you. But I can
manage to bring some refreshments out here."
"I don't require it, Barbara. I left the train at the station next
before West Lynne, and dropped into a roadside public house as I
walked, and got a good supper. Let me go, dear, I am all in a fever."
Richard departed, reached the part of West Lynne where the Raven was
situated, and was so far favored by fortune that he had not long to
wait. Scarcely had he taken up his lounge outside, when two gentlemen
came forth from it, arm-in-arm. Being the headquarters of one of the
candidates, the idlers of the place thought they could not do better
than make it their headquarters also, and the road and pavement were
never free from loitering starers and gossipers. Richard Hare, his hat
well over his eyes, and his black ringlets made the most of, only
added one to the rest.
Two gentlemen came forth, arm-in-arm. The loiterers raised a feeble
shout of "Levison forever!" Richard did not join in the shout, but his
pulses were beating, and his heart leaped up within him. The one was
Thorn; the other the gentleman he had seen with Thorn in London,
pointed out to him--as he had believed--as Sir Francis Levison.
"Which of those two is Levison?" he inquired of a man near whom he
"Don't you know him? Him with the hat off, bowing his thanks to us, is
No need to inquire further. It was the Thorn of Richard's memory. His
ungloved hand, raised to his hat, was as white as ever; more sparkling
than ever, as it flashed in the street gaslight, was the diamond ring.
By the hand and ring alone Richard would have sworn to the man, had it
"Who is the other one?" he continued.
"Some gent as came down from London with him. His name's Drake. Be you
yellow, sailor, or be you scarlet-and-purple?"
"I am neither. I am only a stranger, passing through the town."
"On the tramp?"
"Tramp? No." And Richard moved away, to make the best of his progress
to East Lynne and report to Mr. Carlyle.
Now it happened, on that windy night, that Lady Isabel, her mind
disordered, her brow fevered with its weight of care, stole out into
the grounds, after the children had left her for the night, courting
any discomfort she might meet. As if they could, even for a moment,
cool the fire within! To the solitude of this very covered walk bent
she her steps; and, not long had she paced it, when she descried some
man advancing, in the garb of a sailor. Not caring to be seen, she
turned short off amidst the trees, intending to emerge again when he
had passed. She wondered who he was, and what brought him there.
But he did not pass. He lingered in the walk, keeping her a prisoner.
A minute more and she saw him joined by Mrs. Carlyle. They met with a
Embrace a strange man? Mrs. Carlyle? All the blood in Lady Isabel's
body rushed to her brain. Was she, his second wife, false to him--more
shamelessly false than even herself had been, inasmuch as she had had
the grace to quit him and East Lynne before--as the servant girls say,
when they change their sweethearts--"taking up" with another? The
positive conviction that such was the case seized firm hold upon her
fancy; her thoughts were in a tumult, her mind was a chaos. Was there
any small corner of rejoicing in her heart that it was so? And yet,
what was it to her? It could not alter by one iota her own position--
it could not restore to her the love she had forfeited.
Coupled lovingly together, they were now sauntering up the walk, the
sailor's arm thrown round the waist of Mrs. Carlyle. "Oh! The
shameless woman!" Ay; she could be bitter enough upon graceless doings
when enacted by another.
But, what was her astonishment when she saw Mr. Carlyle advance, and
that his appearance caused not the slightest change in their
gracelessness, for the sailor's arm was not withdrawn. Two or three
minutes they stood--the three--talking together in a group. Then the
good-nights were exchanged, the sailor left them, and Mr. Carlyle, his
own arm lovingly pressed where the other's had been, withdrew with his
wife. The truth--that it was Barbara's brother--dashed to the mind of
"Was I mad?" she cried, with a hollow laugh. "/She/ false to him? No,
no; that fate was reserved for me alone!"
She followed them to the house--she glanced in at the windows of the
drawing-room. Lights and fire were in the room, but the curtains and
windows were not closed for the night, for it was through those
windows that Mr. Carlyle and his wife had passed in and out on their
visits to the covered walk. There they were, alone in their happiness,
and she stopped to glance in upon it. Lord Mount Severn had departed
for London, to be down again early in the week. The tea was on the
table, but Barbara had not begun to make it. She sat on the sofa, by
the fire, her face, with its ever loving gaze upon it, turned up to
her husband's. He stood near, was talking with apparent earnestness,
and looking down at Barbara. Another moment, and a smile crossed his
lips, the same sweet smile so often bent upon her in the bygone days.
Yes, they were together in their unclouded happiness, and she--she
turned away toward her own lonely sitting-room, sick and faint at
Ball & Treadman, as the brass plate on their office door intimated,
were conveyancers and attorneys at law. Mr. Treadman, who attended
chiefly to the conveyancing, lived at the office, with his family. Mr.
Ball, a bachelor, lived away; Lawyer Ball, West Lynne styled him. Not
a young bachelor; midway, he may have been between forty and fifty. A
short stout man, with a keen face and green eyes. He took up any
practice that was brought to him--dirty odds and ends that Mr. Carlyle
would not have touched with his toe--but, as that gentleman had
remarked, he could be honest and true upon occasion, and there was no
doubt that he would be so to Richard Hare. To his house, on Monday
morning, early, so as to catch him before he went out, proceeded Mr.
Carlyle. A high respect for Mr. Carlyle had Lawyer Ball, as he had had
for his father before him. Many a good turn had the Carlyles done him,
if only helping him and his partner to clients whom they were too
fastidious to take up. But the two, Mr. Carlyle and Lawyer Ball did
not rank alike, though their profession was the same; Lawyer Ball knew
that they did not, and was content to feel humble. The one was a
received gentleman; the other was a country attorney.
Lawyer Ball was at breakfast when Mr. Carlyle was shown in.
"Halloo, Carlyle! You are here betimes."
"Sit still; don't disturb yourself. Don't ring; I have breakfasted."
"The most delicious /pate de foie/," urged Lawyer Ball, who was a
regular gourmand. "I get 'em direct from Strasbourg."
Mr. Carlyle resisted the offered dainty with a smile. "I have come on
business," said he, "not to feast. Before I enter upon it, you will
give me your word, Ball, that my communication shall be held sacred,
in the event of your not consenting to pursue it further."
"Certainly I will. What business is it? Some that offends the delicacy
of the Carlyle office?" he added, with a laugh. "A would-be client
whom you turn over to me in your exclusiveness?"
"It is a client for whom I cannot act. But not from the motives you
assume. It concerns that affair of Hallijohn's," Mr. Carlyle
continued, bending forward, and somewhat dropping his voice. "The
Lawyer Ball, who had just taken in a delicious /bonne bouche/ of the
/foie gras/, bolted it whole in his surprise. "Why, that was enacted
ages and ages ago; it is past and done with," he exclaimed.
"Not done with," said Mr. Carlyle. "Circumstances have come to light
which tend to indicate that Richard Hare was innocent--that it was
another who committed the murder."
"In conjunction with him?" interrupted the attorney.
"No: alone. Richard Hare had nothing whatever to do with it. He was
not even present at the time."
"Do you believe that?" asked Lawyer Ball.
"I have believed it for years."
"Then who did do it?"
"Richard accuses one of the name of Thorn. Many years back--ten at
least--I had a meeting with Richard Hare, and he disclosed certain
facts to me, which if correct, could not fail to prove that he was not
guilty. Since that period this impression has been gradually confirmed
by little and by little, trifle upon trifle and I would now stake my
life upon his innocence. I should long ago have moved in this matter,
hit or miss, could I have lighted upon Thorn, but he was not to be
found, neither any clue to him, and we now know that this name, Thorn,
was an assumed one."
"Is he to be found?"
"He is found. He is at West Lynne. Mark you, I don't accuse him--I do
not offer an opinion upon his guilt--I only state my belief in
Richard's innocence; it may have been another who did it, neither
Richard nor Thorn. It was my firm intention to take Richard's case up,
the instant I saw my way clearly in it, and now that that time has
come I am debarred from doing so."
"What debars you?"
"Hence I come to you," continued Mr. Carlyle, disregarding the
question. "I come on the part of Richard Hare. I have seen him lately,
and conversed with him. I gave him my reasons for not personally
acting, advised him to apply to you, and promised to come here and
open the matter. Will you see Richard in good faith, and hear his
story, giving the understanding that he shall depart unmolested, as he
came, although you do not decide to entertain the business?"
"I'll give it with all the pleasure in life," freely returned the
attorney. "I'm sure I don't want to harm poor Dick Hare, and if he can
convince me of his innocence, I'll do my best to establish it."
"Of his own tale you must be the judge. I do not wish to bias you. I
have stated my belief in his innocence, but I repeat that I give no
opinion myself as to who else may be guilty. Hear his account, and
then take up the affair or not, as you may think fit. He would not
come to you without your previous promise to hold him harmless; to be
his friend, in short, for the time being. When I bear this promise to
him for you, my part is done."
"I give it to you in all honor, Carlyle. Tell Dick he has nothing to
fear from me. Quite the contrary; for if I can befriend him, I shall
be glad to do it, and I won't spare trouble. What can possibly be your
objection to act for him?"
"My objection applies not to Richard. I would willingly appear for
him, but I will not take proceedings against the man he accuses. If
that man is to be denounced and brought before justice, I will hold
neither act nor part in it."
The words aroused the curiosity of Lawyer Ball, and he began to turn
over all persons, likely and unlikely, in his mind, never, according
to usage, giving a suspicion to the right one. "I cannot fathom you,
"You will do that better, possibly, when Richard shall have made his
"It's--it's--never his own father that he accuses? Justice Hare?"
"Your wits must be wool-gathering, Ball."
"Well, so they must, to give utterance to so preposterous a notion,"
acquiesced the attorney, pushing back his chair and throwing his
breakfast napkin on the carpet. "But I don't know a soul you could
object to go against except the justice. What's anybody else in West
Lynne to you, in comparison to restoring Dick Hare to his fair fame? I
give it up."
"So do I, for the present," said Mr. Carlyle, as he rose. "And now,
about the ways and means for your meeting this poor fellow. Where can
you see him?"
"Is he at West Lynne?"
"No. But I can get a message conveyed to him, and he could come."
"To-night, if you like."
"Then let him come here to this house. He will be perfectly safe."
"So be it. My part is now over," concluded Mr. Carlyle. And with a few
more preliminary words, he departed. Lawyer Ball looked after him.
"It's a queer business. One would think Dick accuses some old flame of
Carlyle's--some demoiselle or dame he daren't go against."
THE WORLD TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.
On Monday evening the interview between Lawyer Ball and Richard Hare
took place. With some difficulty would the lawyer believe his tale--
not as to its broad details; he saw that he might give credit to them
but as to the accusation against Sir Francis Levison. Richard
persisted, mentioned every minute particular he could think of--his
meeting him the night of the elopement in Bean lane, his meetings with
him again in London, and Sir Francis's evident fear of him, and thence
pursuit, and the previous Saturday night's recognition at the door of
the Raven, not forgetting to tell of the anonymous letter received by
Justice Hare the morning that Richard was in hiding at Mr. Carlyle's.
There was no doubt in the world it had been sent by Francis Levison to
frighten Mr. Hare into dispatching him out of West Lynne, had Richard
taken refuge in his father's home. None had more cause to keep Dick
from falling into the hands of justice than Francis Levison.
"I believe what you say--I believe all you say, Mr. Richard, touching
Thorn," debated the attorney; "but it's next to impossible to take in
so astounding a fact as that he is Sir Francis Levison."
"You can satisfy yourself of the fact from other lips than mine," said
Richard. "Otway Bethel could testify to it if he would, though I doubt
his willingness. But there's Ebenezer James."
"What does he know about it?" asked the attorney, in surprise.
"Ebenezer James is in our office at present."
"He saw Thorn often enough in those days, and has, I hear, recognized
him as Levison. You had better inquire of him. Should you object to
take cause against Levison?"
"Not a bit of it. Let me be assured that I am upon safe grounds as to
the identity of the man, and I'll proceed in it forthwith. Levison is
an out-and-out scoundrel, /as/ Levison, and deserves hanging. I will
send for James at once, and hear what he says," he concluded, after a
pause of consideration.
Richard Hare started wildly up. "Not while I am here; he must not see
me. For Heaven's sake, consider the peril to me, Mr. Ball!"
"Pooh, pooh!" laughed the attorney. "Do you suppose I have but this
one reception-room? We don't let cats into cages where canary birds
Ebenezer James returned with the messenger dispatched after him.
"You'll be sure to find him at the singing saloon," Mr. Ball had said;
and there the gentleman was found.
"Is it any copying, sir, wanted to be done in a hurry?" cried James,
when he came in.
"No," replied the attorney. "I wish a question or two answered, that's
all. Did you ever know Sir Francis Levison to go by any name but his
"Yes, sir. He has gone by the name of Thorn."
A pause. "When was this?"
"It was the autumn when Hallijohn was killed. Thorn used to be
prowling about there in an evening--in the wood and at the cottage, I
"What did he prowl for?"
Ebenezer James laughed. "For the same reason that several more did--I,
for one. He was sweet upon Afy Hallijohn."
"Where was he living at the time? I never remember him in West Lynne."
"He was not at West Lynne, sir. On the contrary, he seemed to take
precious good care that West Lynne and he kept separate. A splendid
horse he rode, a thoroughbred; and he used to come galloping into the
wood at dusk, get over his chat with Miss Afy, mount, and gallop away
"Where to? Where did he come from?"
"From somewhere toward Swainson; a ten mile's ride, Afy used to say he
had. Now that he has appeared here in his own plumage, of course I can
put two and two together, and not be at much fault for the exact
"And where's that?" asked the lawyer.
"Levison Park," said Mr. Ebenezer. "There's little doubt he was
stopping at his uncle's, and you know that is close to Swainson."
Lawyer Ball thought things were becoming clearer--or darker, whatever
you may please to call it. He paused again, and then put a question
"James, have you any doubt whatever, or shadow of doubt, that Sir
Francis Levison is the same man you know as Thorn?"
"Sir, have I any doubt that you are Mr. Ball, or that I am Eb. James?"
retorted Mr. Ebenezer. "I am as certain of that man's identity as I am
"Are you ready to swear to that fact in a court of justice?"
"Ready and willing, in any court in the world. To-morrow, if I am
"Very well. You may go back to your singing club now. Keep a silent
tongue in your head."
"All close, sir," answered Mr. Ebenezer James.
Far into the middle of the night sat Lawyer Ball and Richard Hare, the
former chiefly occupied in taking notes of Richard's statement.
"It's half a crochet, this objection of Carlyle's to interfere with
Levison," suddenly uttered Richard, in the midst of some desultory
conversation. "Don't you think so, Mr. Ball?"
The lawyer pursed up his lips. "Um! A delicate point. Carlyle was
always fastidiously honorable. /I/ should go at him, thunder and fury,
in his place; but I and Carlyle are different."
The following day, Tuesday, Mr. Ball was much occupied, putting, to
use nearly Ebenezer James' words, that and that together. Later in the
day he took a journey to Levison Park, ferreted out some information,
and came home again. On that same day, at evening, Richard departed
for Liverpool--he was done with for the present--Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle
being, as before, alone cognizant of his address.
Wednesday morning witnessed the arrival again of the Earl of Mount
Severn. Lord Vane, too. The latter ought to have gone back to Eton,
but he had teased and prayed to be allowed to "see the fun out,"
meaning the election. "And that devil's discomfiture when he finds
himself beaten," he surreptitiously added, behind his father's back,
who was a great stickler for the boy's always being "gentlemanly." So
the earl had yielded. They arrived, as before, about breakfast-time,
having traveled all night. Subsequently, they and Mr. Carlyle walked
into West Lynne together.
West Lynne was alive and astir. The election was to come off that
week, and people made it their business to be in a bustle over it,
collectively and individually. Mr. Carlyle's committee sat at the
Buck's Head, and the traffic in and out was enough to wear the stones
away. The bench of justices were remarkably warm over it, neglecting
the judicial business, and showing themselves at the Buck's Head
windows in purple and scarlet streamers.
"I will be with you in ten minutes," said Mr. Carlyle, withdrawing his
arm from Lord Mount Severn's, as they approached his office, "but I
must go in and read my letters."
So the earl went on to the Buck's Head, and Lord Vane took a foot
canter down to the Raven, to reconnoiter it outside. He was uncommonly
fond of planting himself where Sir Francis Levison's eyes were sure to
fall upon him--which eyes were immediately dropped, while the young
gentleman's would be fixed in an audacious stare. Being Lord Vane--or
it may be more correct to say, being the Earl of Mount Severn's son,
and under control, he was debarred from dancing and jeering after the
yellow candidate, as the unwashed gentry of his own age indulged in,
but his tongue and his feet itched to do it.
Mr. Carlyle took his seat in his private room, opened his letters,
assorted them, marked on the back of some what was to be the purport
of their answer, and then called in Mr. Dill. Mr. Carlyle put the
letters in his hand, gave some rapid instructions, and rose.
"You are in a hurry, Mr. Archibald?"
"They want me at the Buck's Head. Why?"
"A curious incident occurred to me last evening, sir. I was an ear-
witness to a dispute between Levison and Otway Bethel."
"Indeed!" carelessly replied Mr. Carlyle, who was busy at the time
looking for something in the deep drawer of the desk.
"And what I heard would go far to hang Levison, if not Bethel. As sure
as we are here, Mr. Archibald, they hold the secret of Hallijohn's
murder. It appears that Levison--"
"Stop!" interposed Mr. Carlyle. "I would prefer not to hear this.
Levison may have murdered him, but it is no affair of mine, neither
shall I make it such."
Old Dill felt checkmated. "Meanwhile Richard Hare suffers, Mr.
Archibald," he observed, in a remonstrating tone.
"I am aware he does."
"Is it right that the innocent should suffer for the guilty?"
"No; very wrong. But the case is all too common."
"If some one would take up Richard Hare's cause now, he might be
proved innocent," added the old man, with a wistful look at Mr.
"It is being taken up, Dill."
A pause and a glad look. "That's the best news I have had for many a
day, sir. But my evidence will be necessary to your case. Levison--"
"I'm not taking up the case. You must carry your news elsewhere. It is
no affair of mine, I say."
"Then who is taking it up?" echoed Mr. Dill, in astonishment.
"Ball. He has had a meeting with Richard, and is now acting for him
under the rose."
Mr. Dill's eyes sparkled. "Is he going to prosecute, Mr. Archibald?"
"I tell you I know nothing--I will know nothing. When the affair comes
out to the public--if it ever does come out--I shall share in the
information, Dill, and that is all."
"Ah, well, I can understand. But I shall go on to their office at
once, Mr. Archibald, and inform them of what I overheard," spoke old
Dill, in vehement decision.
"That is not my affair either," laughed Mr. Carlyle, "it is yours. But
remember, if you do go, it is Ball, not Treadman."
Waiting only to give certain orders to the head clerk, Mr. Dill
proceeded to the office of Ball & Treadman. A full hour was he
closeted there with the senior partner.
Not until three o'clock that afternoon did the justices take their
seats on the bench. Scarcely were they seated when Lawyer Ball bustled
in and craved a secret hearing. His application was of the last
importance, he promised, but, that the ends of justice might not be
defeated it was necessary their worships should entertain it in
private; he therefore craved the bench to accord it to him.
The bench consulted, looked wise, and, possibly possessing some latent
curiosity themselves upon the point, graciously acceded. They
adjourned to a private room, and it was full half-past four before
they came out of it. Very long faces, scared and grim, were their
worships', as if Lawyer Ball's communication had both perplexed and
"This is the afternoon we are to meet Dr. Martin at papa's office,"
William Carlyle had suddenly exclaimed that day at dinner. "Do we walk
in, Madame Vine?"
"I do not know, William. Mrs. Carlyle is going to take you."
"No, she is not; you are going to take me."
A flush passed over Lady Isabel's face at the bare thought, though she
did not believe it. /She/ go to Mr. Carlyle's office! "Mrs. Carlyle
told me herself that she should take you," was the reply.
"All I know is, mamma told me this morning you would take me to West
Lynne to-day," persisted William.
The discussion was interrupted by the appearance of Mrs. Carlyle--
interrupted and decided also.
"Madame Vine," she said, "you will be ready at three o'clock to go in
Lady Isabel's heart beat. "I understood you to say that you should go
with him yourself, madame."
"I know I did. I intended to do so, but I heard this morning that some
friends from a distance are coming this afternoon to call upon me,
therefore I shall not go out."
How she, Lady Isabel, wished that she dare say, also, "I shall not go
out either." But that might not be. Well, she must go through with it
as she had to go through with the rest.
William rode his pony into West Lynne, the groom attending to take it
back again. He was to walk home with Madame Vine, who walked both
Mr. Carlyle was not in when they arrived at the office. The boy went
boldly on to the private room, leaving Madame Vine to follow him.
Presently Mr. Carlyle appeared. He was talking to Mr. Dill, who
"Oh, you are here, Madame Vine! I left word that you were to go into
Miss Carlyle's. Did I not leave word, Dill?"
"Not with me, sir."
"I forgot it, then; I meant to do so. What is the time?" He looked at
his watch: ten minutes to four. "Did the doctor say at what hour he
should call?" Mr. Carlyle added to Madame Vine.
"Not precisely. I gathered that it would be very early in the
"Here he is!" exclaimed Mr. Carlyle with alacrity, as he went into the
hall. She supposed he alluded to the physician--supposed he had seen
him pass the window. Their entrance together woke up William.
"Well," said the doctor, who was a little man with a bald head, "and
how fares it with my young patient? /Bon jour/ madame."
"/Bon jour/, monsieur," responded she. She wished everybody would
address her in French, and take her for French; there seemed less
chance of recognition. She would have to speak in good plain English,
however, if she must carry on conversation with the doctor. Beyond a
familiar phrase or two, he was something like Justice Hare--/Nong
parley Fronsay/ me!
"And how does the cod-liver oil get on?" asked the doctor of William,
as he drew him to the light. "It is nicer now than it used to be, eh?"
"No," said William; "it is nastier than ever."
Dr. Martin looked at the boy; felt his pulse, his skin, listened to
his breathing. "There," said he, presently, "you may sit down and have
your nap out."
"I wish I might have something to drink; I am very thirsty. May I ring
for some water, papa?"
"Go and find your aunt's maid, and ask her for some," said Mr.
"Ask her for milk," called out Dr. Martin. "Not water."
Away went William. Mr. Carlyle was leaning against the side of the
window; Dr. Martin folded his arms before it: Lady Isabel stood near
the latter. The broad, full light was cast upon all, but the thick
veil hid Lady Isabel's face. It was not often she could be caught
without that veil, for she seemed to wear her bonnet at all sorts of
seasonable and unseasonable times.
"What is your opinion, doctor?" asked Mr. Carlyle.
"Well," began the doctor, in a /very/ professional tone, "the boy is
certainly delicate. But--"
"Stay, Dr. Martin," was the interruption, spoken in a low, impressive
voice, "you will deal candidly with me. I must know the truth, without
disguise. Tell it me freely."
Dr. Martin paused. "The truth is not always palatable, Mr. Carlyle."
"True. But for that very reason, all the more necessary. Let me hear
the worst. And the child has no mother, you know, to be shocked with
"I fear that it will be the worst."
"Ay. The seeds of consumption must have been inherent in him. They are
showing out too palpably."
"Is there /no/ hope for the child?"
Dr. Martin looked at him. "You bade me give you the truth."
"Nothing else; nothing but the truth," returned Mr. Carlyle, his tone
one of mingled pain and command.
"Then, there is none; no hope whatever. The lungs are extensively
"And how long--"
"That I cannot say," interrupted the doctor, divining what the next
question was to be. "He may linger on for months; for a year, it may
even be; or a very short period may see the termination. Don't worry
him with any more lessons and stuff of learning; he'll never want it."
The doctor cast his eyes on the governess as he spoke; the injunction
concerned her as much as it did Mr. Carlyle. And the doctor started,
for he thought she was fainting; her face had become so ghastly white;
he could see it through her veil.
"You are ill, madame! You are ill? /Trouve malade/, don't you?"
She opened her lips to speak; her trembling lips, that would not obey
her. Dr. Martin, in his concern, pulled off the blue spectacles. She
caught them from him with one hand, sat down on the nearest chair, and
hid her face with the other.
Mr. Carlyle, scarcely understanding the scuffle, came forward. "Are
you ill, Madame Vine?"
She was putting her spectacles under her veil, her face whiter than
ever. "Pray do not interrupt your conversation to pay attention to me!
I thank you; I thank you both. I am subject to--slight spasms, and
they do make me look ill for the moment. It has passed now."
The doctor turned from her; Mr. Carlyle resumed his place by the
window. "What should be the treatment?" asked the latter.
"Almost anything you please--that the boy himself likes. Let him play
or rest, ride or walk, eat and drink, or let it alone; it cannot make
"Doctor! You yield it, as a last hope, very lightly."
Dr. Martin shook his head. "I speak as I /know/. You insisted on
having my true opinion."
"A warmer climate?" suggested Mr. Carlyle eagerly, the idea crossing
"It might prolong the end for a little while--a few weeks, perhaps--
avert it it could not. And who could take him? You could not go; and
he has no mother. No! I should not advise it."
"I wish you would see Wainwright--with reference to William."
"I have seen him. I met him this afternoon, by chance, and told him my
opinion. How is Mrs. Carlyle?"
"Pretty well. She is not in robust health, you are aware, just now."
Dr. Martin smiled. "These things will happen. Mrs. Carlyle has a
thoroughly good constitution; a far stronger one than--than----"
"Than what?" said Mr. Carlyle, wondering why he hesitated.
"You must grant me pardon. I may as well finish, now I have begun; but
I was not thinking when I spoke. She is stronger than was Lady Isabel.
I must be off to catch the six train."
"You will come over from time to time to East Lynne to see William?"
"If you wish it. It may be a satisfaction, perhaps. /Bon jour/,
Lady Isabel bowed to him as he left the room with Mr. Carlyle. "How
fond that French governess of yours is of the boy!" the doctor
whispered, as they crossed the hall. "I detected it when she brought
him to Lynneborough. And you saw her just now! That emotion was all
because he could not live. Good-bye."
Mr. Carlyle grasped his hand. "Doctor, I /wish/ you could save him!"
he passionately uttered.
"Ah, Carlyle! If we humble mites of human doctors could but keep those
whom it is the Great Physician's pleasure to take, how we should be
run after! There's hidden mercy, remember, in the darkest cloud.
Farewell my friend."
Mr. Carlyle returned to the room. He approached Lady Isabel, looking
down upon her as she sat; not that he could see much of her face.
"These are grievous tidings. But you were more prepared for them, I
fancy, than I was."
She started suddenly up, approached the window, and looked out, as if
she saw somebody passing whom she would gaze at. All of emotion was
stirred up within her--her temples throbbed, her throat beat, her
breath became hysterical. Could she bear thus to hold confidential
converse with him over the state of their child? She pulled off her
gloves for coolness to her burning hands, she wiped the moisture from
her pale forehead, she struggled manfully for calmness. What excuse
could she offer to Mr. Carlyle?
"I had begun to like the boy so very much, sir," she said, half
turning round. "And the doctor's fiat, too plainly pronounced has
given me pain; pain to agitation."
Again Mr. Carlyle approached her, following close up to where she
stood. "You are very kind, thus to feel an interest in my child."
She did not answer.
"Here, papa, papa! I want you," cried William, breaking into the room.
"Let me walk home with you? Are you going to walk?"
How could he find it in his heart to deny anything to the child then?
"Very well," he said. "Stay here till I come for you."
"We are going home with papa," proclaimed William to Madame Vine.
Madame Vine did not relish the news. But there was no help for it. In
a very short time Mr. Carlyle appeared, and they set off; he holding
William's hand; madame walking on the other side of the child.
"Where's William Vane, papa?" asked the boy.
"He has gone on with Lord Mount Severn."
Scarcely had the words been spoken, when some one came bolting out of
the post-office, and met them face to face; almost ran against them in
fact, creating some hindrance. The man looked confused, and slunk off
into the gutter. And you will not wonder that he did, when you hear
that it was Francis Levison. William, child like, turned his head to
gaze at the intruder.
"I would not be an ugly bad man like him for the world," quoth he, as
he turned his back again. "Would you, papa?"
Mr. Carlyle did not answer, and Isabel cast an involuntary glance upon
him from her white face. His was impassive, save that a cast of
ineffable scorn marred the delicate beauty of his lips. If humiliation
for the past had never wrung Lady Isabel's heart before, it would have
wrung it then.
At Mr. Justice Hare's gate they encountered that gentleman, who
appeared to be standing there to give himself an airing. William
caught sight of Mrs. Hare seated on the garden bench, outside the
window, and ran to kiss her. All the children loved Mrs. Hare. The
justice was looking--not pale; that would not be a term half strong
enough: but yellow. The curls of his best wig were limp, and all his
pomposity appeared to have gone out of him.
"I say, Carlyle, what on earth's this?" cried he, in a tone that, for
him, was wonderfully subdued and meek. "I was not on the bench this
afternoon, but Pinner has been telling me--of an application that was
made to them in private. It's not true, you know; it can't be; it's
too far-fetched a tale. What do you know about it?"
"Nothing," said Mr. Carlyle. "I do not know what you are talking of. I
have been privy to no application."
"It seems they want to make out now that Dick never murdered
Hallijohn," proceeded the justice, in a half whisper, glancing round
as if to be sure that there were no eaves-droppers amidst the trees.
"Oh," said Mr. Carlyle.
"But that Levison did. /Levison/!"
Mr. Carlyle made no reply, save by a gesture; his face more impassive
than before. Not so another face beside him, a fair face; that turned
white again with emotion as she listened.
"But it can't be, you know. It can't, I say."
"So far as Richard's innocence goes, of that I have long been
convinced," spoke Mr. Carlyle.
"And that Levison's guilty?" returned the justice, opening his eyes in
"I have no opinion upon that point," was the cold rejoinder.
"It's impossible, I say. Dick can't be innocent. You may as well tell
me that the world's turned upside down."
"It is, sometimes, I think. That Richard was not the guilty man will
be proved yet, justice, in the broad face of day."
"If--if--that other did do it, I should think you'd take the warrant
out of the hands of the police and capture him yourself."
"I would not touch him with a pair of tongs," spoke Mr. Carlyle, his
lips curling again. "If the man goes to his punishment, he goes; but I
do not help him on his road thither."
"/Can/ Dick be innocent?" mused the justice, returning to the thought
which so troubled his mind. "Then why has he kept away? Why did he not
come back and say so?"
"That you might deliver him up, justice. You know you took an oath to
The justice looked green, and remarkably humble.
"Oh, but Carlyle," impulsively spoke he, the thought occurring to him,
"what an awful revenge this would have been for you on--somebody--had
she lived. How her false step would have come home to her now!"
"False steps come home to most people," responded Mr. Carlyle, as he
took William by the hand, who then ran up. And, lifting his hat to
Mrs. Hare in the distance, he walked on.
She, Lady Isabel, walked on, too, by the side of the child, as before,
walked on with a shivering frame, and a heart sick unto death. The
justice looked after her, his mind unoccupied. He was in a maze of
bewilderment. Richard innocent! Richard, whom he had striven to pursue
to a shameful end! And that other the guilty one! The world /was/
turning upside down.
MRS. CARLYLE IN FULL DRESS, AFY ALSO.
Merrily rose West Lynne on Thursday morning; merrily rang out the
bells, clashing and chiming. The street was alive with people; the
windows were crowded with heads; something unusual was astir. It was
the day of the nomination of the two candidates, and everybody took
the opportunity to make a holiday.
Ten o'clock was the hour named; but, before that hour struck, West
Lynne was crammed. The country people had come in, thick and
threefold; rich and poor; people of note, and people of none; voters
and non-voters, all eager to mix themselves up with the day's
proceedings. You see the notorious fact of Sir Francis Levison's
having come forward to oppose Mr. Carlyle, caused greater interest in
this election than is usual, even in small country places--and that
need not be. Barbara drove in her carriage, the two children with her,
and the governess. The governess said she preferred to remain at home.
Barbara would not hear of it; almost felt inclined to resent it as a
slight; besides, if she took no interest in Mr. Carlyle, she must go
to take care of Lucy; she, Barbara, would be too much occupied to look
after children. So Madame Vine, perforce, stepped into the barouche
and sat opposite to Mrs. Carlyle, her thick veil shading her features,
and their pallor contrasting with the blue spectacles.
They alighted at the residence of Miss Carlyle. Quite a gathering was
already there. Lady and Miss Dobede, the Herberts, Mrs. Hare, and many
others; for the house was in a good spot for seeing the fun; and all
the people were eager to testify their respect to Mr. Carlyle, in
contradiction to that other one. Miss Carlyle was in full rig; a
brocaded dress, and a scarlet-and-purple bow in front of it, the size
of a pumpkin. It was about the only occasion, in all Miss Carlyle's
life, that she deemed it necessary to attire herself beyond common.
Barbara wore no bow, but she exhibited a splendid bouquet of scarlet-
and-purple flowers. Mr. Carlyle had himself given it to her that
Mr. Carlyle saw them all at the windows of the large upper drawing-
room, and came in; he was then on his way to the town-hall. Shaking
hands, laughter, hearty and hasty good wishes; and he quitted the room
again. Barbara stole after him for a sweeter farewell.
"God bless you and prosper you, Archibald, my dearest!"
The business of the day began. Mr. Carlyle was proposed by Sir John
Dobede, and seconded by Mr. Herbert. Lord Mount Severn, than whom not
a busier man was there, would willingly have been proposer and
seconder too, but he had no local influence in the place. Sir Francis
Levison was proposed also by two gentlemen of standing. The show of
hands was declared to be in favor of Mr. Carlyle. It just was in favor
of him; about twenty to one. Upon which the baronet's friends demanded
Then all was bustle, and scuffle, and confusion, every one tearing
away to the hustings, which had been fixed in a convenient spot, the
town-hall, not affording the accommodation necessary for a poll.
Candidates, and proposers and seconders, and gentlemen, and officers,
and mob, hustling and jostling each other. Mr. Carlyle was linked arm-
in-arm with Sir John Dobede; Sir John's arm was within Lord Mount
Severn's--but, as to order, it was impossible to observe any. To gain
the place they had to pass the house of Miss Carlyle. Young Vane, who
was in the thick of the crowd, of course, cast his eyes up to its
lined windows, took off his hat and waved it. "Carlyle and honor
forever!" shouted he.
The ladies laughed and nodded, and shook their handkerchiefs, and
displayed their scarlet and purple colors. The crowd took up the
shout, till the very air echoed with it. "Carlyle and honor forever!"
Barbara's tears were falling; but she smiled through them at one pair
of loving eyes, which sought out hers.
"A galaxy of beauty!" whispered Mr. Drake in the ear of Sir Francis.
"How the women rally round him! I tell you what, Levison, you and the
government were stupid to go on with the contest, and I said so days
ago. You have no more chance against Carlyle than that bit of straw
has against the wind. You ought to have withdrawn in time."
"Like a coward?" angrily returned Sir Francis. "No, I'll go on with it
to the last, though I do get beaten."
"How lovely his wife is," observed Mr. Drake, his admiring eyes cast
up at Barbara. "I say, Levison, was the first one as charming?"
Sir Francis looked perfectly savage; the allusion did not please him.
But, ere another word could be spoken, some one in the garb of a
policeman, who had wound his way through the crowd, laid his hand upon
"Sir Francis Levison, you are my prisoner."
Nothing worse than /debt/ occurred at that moment to the mind of Sir
Francis. But that was quite enough, and he turned purple with rage.
"Your hands off, vermin! How dare you?"
A quick movement, a slight click, a hustle from the wondering crowd
more immediately around, and the handcuffs were on. Utter amazement
alone prevented Mr. Drake from knocking down the policeman. A dozen
vituperating tongues assailed him.
"I'm sorry to do it in this public place and manner," spoke the
officer, partly to Sir Francis, partly to the gentlemen around, "but I
couldn't come across you last night, do as I would. And the warrant
has been in my hands since five o'clock yesterday afternoon. Sir
Francis Levison, I arrest you for the wilful murder of George
The crowd fell back; the crowd was paralyzed with consternation; the
word was passed from one extreme to the other, and back and across
again, and the excitement grew high. The ladies looking from Miss
Carlyle's windows saw what had happened, though they could not divine
the cause. Some of them turned pale at sight of the handcuffs, and
Mary Pinner, an excitable girl, fell into a screaming fit.
Pale! What was their gentle paleness compared with the frightfully
livid one of Francis Levison? His agitation was pitiable to witness,
his face a terror to look upon; once or twice he gasped, as if in an
agony; and then his eyes happened to fall on Otway Bethel, who stood
near. Shorn of his adornments--which might not be thought adornments
upon paper--the following was the sentence that burst involuntarily
from his lips,--
"You hound! It is you who have done this!"
"No! by--" Whether Mr. Otway Bethel was about to swear by Jupiter or
Juno never was decided, the sentence being cut ignominiously short at
the above two words. Another policeman, in the summary manner
exercised towards Sir Francis, had clapped a pair of handcuffs upon
"Mr. Otway Bethel, I arrest you as an accomplice in the murder of
You may be sure that the whole assembly was arrested, too--
figuratively--and stood with eager gaze and open ears. Colonel Bethel,
quitting the scarlet-and-purple, flashed into those of the yellows. He
knew his nephew was graceless enough; but--to see him with a pair of
"What does all this mean?" he authoritatively demanded of the
"It's no fault of ours, colonel, we have but executed the warrant,"
answered one of them. "The magistrate, issued it yesterday against
these two gentlemen, on suspicion of their being concerned in the
murder of Hallijohn."
"In conjunction with Richard Hare?" cried the astounded colonel,
gazing from one to the other, prisoners and officers, in scared
"It's alleged now that Richard Hare didn't have nothing to do with
it," returned the man. "It's said he is innocent. I'm sure I don't
"I swear that I am innocent," passionately uttered Otway Bethel.
"Well, sir, you have only got to prove it," civilly rejoined the
Miss Carlyle and Lady Isabel leaned from the window, their curiosity
too much excited to remain silent longer. Mrs. Hare was standing by
"What is the matter?" both asked of the upturned faces immediately
"Them two--the fine member as wanted to be, and young Bethel--be
arrested for murder," spoke a man's clear voice in answer. "The tale
runs as they murdered Hallijohn, and then laid it on the shoulders of
young Dick Hare, who didn't do it after all."
A faint wailing cry of startled pain, and Barbara flew to Mrs. Hare,
from whom it proceeded.
"Oh, mamma, my dear mamma, take comfort! Do not suffer this to agitate
you to illness. Richard /is/ innocent, and it will surely be so
proved. Archibald," she added, beckoning to her husband in her alarm,
"come, if you can, and say a word of assurance to mamma!"
It was impossible that Mr. Carlyle could hear the words, but he could
see that his wife was greatly agitated, and wanted him.
"I will be back with you in a few moments," he said to his friends, as
he began to elbow his way through the crowd, which made way when they
saw who the elbower was.
Into another room, away from the gay visitors, they got Mrs. Hare, and
Mr. Carlyle locked the door to keep them out, unconsciously taking out
the key. Only himself and his wife were with her, except Madame Vine,
in her bonnet, who had been dispatched by somebody with a bottle of
smelling salts. Barbara knelt at her mamma's feet; Mr. Carlyle leaned
over her, her hands held sympathizingly in his. Madame Vine would have
escaped, but the key was gone.
"Oh, Archibald, tell me the truth. /You/ will not, deceive me?" she
gasped, in earnest entreaty, the cold dew gathering on her pale,
gentle face. "Is the time come to prove my boy's innocence?"
"Is it possible that it can be that false, bad man who is guilty?"
"From my soul I believe him to be," replied Mr. Carlyle, glancing
round to make sure that none could hear the assertion save those
present. "But what I say to you and Barbara, I would not say to the
world. Whatever be the man's guilt, I am not his Nemesis. Dear Mrs.
Hare, take courage, take comfort--happier days are coming round."
Mrs. Hare was weeping silently. Barbara rose and laid her mamma's head
lovingly upon her bosom.
"Take care of her, my darling," Mr. Carlyle whispered to his wife.
"Don't leave her for a moment, and don't let that chattering crew in
from the next room. I beg your pardon, madame."
His hand had touched Madame Vine's neck in turning round--that is, had
touched the jacket that encased it. He unlocked the door and regained
the street, while Madame Vine sat down with her beating and rebellious
Amidst the shouts, the jeers, and the escort of the mob, Sir Francis
Levison and Otway Bethel were lodged in the station-house, preparatory
to their examination before the magistrates. Never, sure, was so
mortifying an interruption known. So thought Sir Francis's party. And
they deemed it well, after some consultation amongst themselves, to
withdraw his name as a candidate for the membership. That he never had
a shadow of chance from the first, most of them knew.
But there's an incident yet to tell of the election day. You have seen
Miss Carlyle in her glory, her brocaded silk standing on end with
richness, her displayed colors, her pride in her noble brother. But
now could you--or she, which it is more to the purpose--have divined
who and what was right above her head at an upper window, I know not
what the consequence would have been.
No less an eyesore to Miss Carlyle than that "brazen hussy," Afy
Hallijohn! Smuggled in by Miss Carlyle's servants, there she was--in
full dress, too. A green-and-white checked sarcenet, flounced up to
the waist, over a crinoline extending from here to yonder; a fancy
bonnet, worn on the plait of hair behind, with a wreath and a veil;
delicate white gloves, and a swinging handkerchief of lace, redolent
of musk. It was well for Miss Corny's peace of mind ever after that
she remained in ignorance of that daring act. There stood Afy, bold as
a sunflower, exhibiting herself and her splendor to the admiring eyes
of the mob below, gentle and simple.
"He is a handsome man, after all," quoth she to Miss Carlyle's maids,
when Sir Francis Levison arrived opposite the house.
"But such a horrid creature!" was the response. "And to think that he
should come here to oppose Mr. Archibald!"
"What's that?" cried Afy. "What are they stopping for? There are two
policemen there! Oh!" shrieked Afy, "if they haven't put handcuffs on
him! Whatever has he done? What can he have been up to?"
"Where? Who? What?" cried the servants, bewildered with the crowd.
"Put handcuffs on which?"
"Sir Francis Levison. Hush! What is that they say?"
Listening, looking, turning from white to red, from red to white, Afy
stood. But she could make nothing of it; she could not divine the
cause of the commotion. The man's answer to Miss Carlyle and Lady
Dobede, clear though it was, did not quite reach her ears.
"What did he say?" she cried.
"Good Heavens!" cried one of the maids, whose hearing had been quicker
than Afy's. "He says they are arrested for the wilful murder of Hal---
of your father, Miss Afy! Sir Francis Levison and Otway Bethel."
"/What!/" shrieked Afy, her eyes starting.
"Levison was the man who did it, he says," continued the servant,
bending her ear to listen. "And young Richard Hare, he says, has been
innocent all along."
Afy slowly gathered in the sense of the words. She gasped twice, as if
her breath had gone, and then, with a stagger and a shiver, fell
heavily to the ground.
Afy Hallijohn, recovered from her fainting fit, had to be smuggled out
of Miss Carlyle's, as she had been smuggled in. She was of an elastic
nature, and the shock, or the surprise, or the heat, whatever it may
have been, being over, Afy was herself again.
Not very far removed from the residence of Miss Carlyle was a shop in
the cheese and ham and butter and bacon line. A very respectable shop,
too, and kept by a very respectable man--a young man of mild
countenance, who had purchased the good-will of the business through
an advertisement, and come down from London to take possession. His
predecessor had amassed enough to retire, and people foretold that Mr.
Jiffin would do the same. To say that Miss Carlyle dealt at the shop
will be sufficient to proclaim the good quality of the articles kept
When Afy arrived opposite the shop, Mr. Jiffin was sunning himself at
the door; his shopman inside being at some urgent employment over the
contents of a butter-cask. Afy stopped. Mr. Jiffin admired her
uncommonly, and she, always ready for anything in that way, had
already enjoyed several passing flirtations with him.
"Good day, Miss Hallijohn," cried he, warmly, tucking up his white
apron and pushing it round to the back of his waist, in the best
manner he could, as he held out his hand to her. For Afy had once
hinted in terms of disparagement at that very apron.
"Oh--how are you Jiffin?" cried Afy, loftily, pretending not to have
seen him standing there. And she condescended to put the tips of her
white gloves into the offered hand, as she coquetted with her
handkerchief, her veil, and her ringlets. "I thought you would have
shut up your shop to-day, Mr. Jiffin, and taken a holiday."
"Business must be attended to," responded Mr. Jiffin, quite lost in
the contemplation of Afy's numerous attractions, unusually conspicuous
as they were. "Had I known that you were abroad, Miss Hallijohn, and
enjoying a holiday, perhaps I might have done it, too, in the hope of
coming across you somewhere or other."
His words were /bona fide/ as his admiration. Afy saw that, so she
could afford to treat him rather /de haut en bas/. "And he's as simple
as a calf," thought she.
"The greatest pleasure I have in life, Miss Hallijohn, is to see you
go by the shop window," continued Mr. Jiffin. "I'm sure it's like as
if the sun itself passed."
"Dear me!" bridled Afy, with a simper, "I don't know any good /that/
can do you. You might have seen me go by an hour or two ago--if you
had possessed eyes. I was on my way to Miss Carlyle's," she continued,
with the air of one who proclaims the fact of a morning call upon a
"Where /could/ my eyes have been?" exclaimed Mr. Jiffin, in an agony
of regret. "In some of those precious butter-tubs, I shouldn't wonder!
We have had a bad lot in, Miss Hallijohn, and I am going to return
"Oh," said Afy, conspicuously resenting the remark. "I don't know
anything about that sort of thing. Butter-tubs are beneath me."
"Of course, of course, Miss Hallijohn," deprecated poor Jiffin. "They
are very profitable, though, to those who understand the trade."
"What /is/ all that shouting?" cried Afy, alluding to a tremendous
noise in the distance, which had continued for some little time.
"It's the voters cheering Mr. Carlyle. I suppose you know that he's
elected, Miss Hallijohn?"
"No, I didn't."
"The other was withdrawn by his friends, so they made short work of
it, and Mr. Carlyle is our member. God bless him! there's not many
like /him/. But, I say, Miss Hallijohn, whatever is it that the other
one has done? Murder, they say. I can't make top nor tail of it. Of
course we know he was bad enough before."
"Don't ask me," said Afy. "Murder's not a pleasant subject for a lady
to discuss. Are all these customers? Dear me, you'll have enough to do
to attend to them; your man can't do it all; so I won't stay talking
With a gracious flourish of her flounces and wave of the handkerchief
Afy sailed off. And Mr. Jiffin, when he could withdraw his fascinated
eyes from following her, turned into his shop to assist in serving
four or five servant girls, who had entered it.
"It wouldn't be such a bad catch, after all," soliloquized Afy, as she
and her crinoline swayed along. "Of course I'd never put my nose
inside the shop--unless it was to order things like another customer.
The worst is the name. Jiffin, Joe Jiffin. How could I ever bear to be
called Mrs. Joe Jiffin! Not but-- Goodness me! what do you want?"
The interruption to Afy's chickens was caused by Mr. Ebenezer James.
That gentleman, who had been walking with quick steps to overtake her,
gave her flounces a twitch behind, to let her know somebody had come
"How are you, Afy? I was going after you to Mrs. Latimer's, not
knowing but you had returned home. I saw you this morning at Miss
"Now, I don't want any of your sauce, Ebenezer James. Afy-ing me! The
other day, when you were on with your nonsense, I said you should keep
your distance. You took and told Mr. Jiffin that I was an old
sweetheart of yours. I heard of it."
"So you were," laughed Mr. Ebenezer.
"I never was," flashed Afy. "I was the company of your betters in
those days: and if there had been no betters in the case, I should
have scorned /you/. Why! you have been a strolling player!"
"And what have you been?" returned Mr. Ebenezer, a quiet tone of
meaning running through his good-humored laughter.
Afy's cheeks flushed scarlet, and she raised her hand with a quick,
menacing gesture. But that they were in the public street Mr. Ebenezer
might have found his ears boxed. Afy dropped her hand again, and made
a dead standstill.
"If you think any vile, false insinuations that you may concoct will
injure me, you are mistaken, Ebenezer James. I am too much respected
in the place. So don't try it on."
"Why, Afy, what has put you out? I don't want to injure you. Couldn't
do it, if I tried, as you say," he added, with another quiet laugh. "I
have been in too many scrapes myself to let my tongue bring other
folks into one."
"There, that's enough. Just take yourself off. It's not over reputable
to have you at one's side in public."
"Well, I will relieve you of my company, if you'll let me deliver my
commission. Though, as to 'reputable'--however, I won't put you out
further. You are wanted at the justice-room at three o'clock this
afternoon. And don't fail, please."
"Wanted at the justice-room!" retorted Afy. "I! What for?"
"And must not fail, as I say," repeated Mr. Ebenezer. "You saw Levison
taken up--your old flame----"
Afy stamped her foot in indignant interruption. "Take care what you
say, Ebenezer James! Flame! He? I'll have you put up for defamation of
"Don't be a goose, Afy. It's of no use riding the high horse with me.
You know where I saw you--and saw him. People here said you were with
Dick Hare; I could have told them better; but I did not. It was no
affair of mine, that I should proclaim it, neither is it now. Levison
/alias/ Thorn is taken up for your father's murder, and you are wanted
to give evidence. There! that's your subpoena; Ball thought you would
not come without one."
"I will never give evidence against Levison," she uttered, tearing the
subpoena to pieces, and scattering them in the street. "I swear I
won't. There, for you! Will I help to hang an innocent man, when it
was Dick Hare who was the guilty one? No! I'll walk myself off a
hundred miles away first, and stop in hiding till it's over. I shan't
forget this turn that you have chosen to play me, Ebenezer James."
"I chosen! Why, do you suppose I have anything to do with it? Don't
take up that notion, Afy. Mr. Ball put that subpoena in my hand, and
told me to serve it. He might have given it to the other clerk, just
as he gave it to me; it was all chance. If I could do you a good turn
I'd do it--not a bad one."
Afy strode on at railroad speed, waving him off. "Mind you don't fail,
Afy," he said, as he prepared to return.
"Fail," answered she, with flashing eyes. "I shall fail giving
evidence, if you mean that. They don't get me up to their justice-
room, neither by force or stratagem."
Ebenezer James stood and looked after her as she tore along.
"What a spirit that Afy has got, when it's put up!" quoth he. "She'll
be doing as she said--make off--unless she's stopped. She's a great
simpleton! Nothing particular need come out about her and Thorn,
unless she lets it out herself in her tantrums. Here comes Ball, I
declare! I must tell him."
On went Afy, and gained Mrs. Latimer's. That lady, suffering from
indisposition was confined to the house. Afy, divesting herself of
certain little odds and ends of her finery, made her way into Mrs.
"Oh, ma'am, such heartrending news as I have had!" began she. "A
relation of mine is dying, and wants to see me. I ought to be away by
the next train."
"Dear me!" cried Mrs. Latimer, after a pause of dismay. "But how can I
do without you, Afy?"
"It's a dying request, ma'am," pleaded Afy, covering her eyes with her
handkerchief--not the lace one--as if in the depth of woe. "Of course
I wouldn't ask you under any other circumstances, suffering as you
"Where is it to!" asked Mrs. Latimer. "How long shall you be away?"
Afy mentioned the first town that came uppermost, and "hoped" she
might be back to-morrow.
"What relation is it?" continued Mrs. Latimer. "I thought you had no
relatives, except Joyce and your aunt, Mrs. Kane."
"This is another aunt," cried Afy, softly. "I have never mentioned
her, not being friends. Differences divided us. Of course that makes
me all the more anxious to obey her request."
An uncommon good hand at an impromptu tale was Afy. And Mrs. Latimer
consented to her demand. Afy flew upstairs, attired herself once more,
put one or two things in a small leather bag, placed some money in her
purse, and left the house.
Sauntering idly on the pavement on the sunny side of the street was a
policeman. He crossed over to Afy, with whom he had a slight
"Good-day, Miss Hallijohn. A fine day, is it not?"
"Fine enough," returned Afy, provoked at being hindered. "I can't talk
to you now, for I am in a hurry."
The faster she walked, the faster he walked, keeping at her side.
Afy's pace increased to a run. His increased to a run too.
"Whatever are you in such haste over?" asked he.
"Well, it's nothing to you. And I am sure I don't want you to dance
attendance upon me just now. There's a time for all things. I'll have
some chatter with you another day."
"One would think you were hurrying to catch a train."
"So I am--if you must have your curiosity satisfied. I am going on a
little pleasure excursion, Mr. Inquisitive."
"U--m! Home to-morrow, perhaps. Is it true that Mr. Carlyle's
"Oh, yes; don't go up that way, please."
"Not up this way?" repeated Afy. "It's the nearest road to the
station. It cuts off all that corner."
The officer laid his hand upon her, gently. Afy thought he was
venturing upon it in sport--as if he deemed her too charming to be
"What do you mean by your nonsense? I tell you I have not time for it
now. Take your hand off me," she added grimly--for the hand was
clasping her closer.
"I am sorry to hurt a lady's feelings, especially yours, miss, but I
daren't take it off, and I daren't part with you. My instructions are
to take you on at once to the witness-room. Your evidence is wanted
If you ever saw a ghost more livid than ghosts in ordinary, you may
picture to your mind the appearance of Afy Hallijohn just then. She
did not faint as she had done once before that day, but she looked as
if she should die. One sharp cry, instantly suppressed, for Afy did
retain some presence of mind, and remembered that she was in the
public road--one sharp tussle for liberty, over as soon, and she
resigned herself, perforce, to her fate.
"I have no evidence to give," she said, in a calmer tone. "I know
nothing of the facts."
"I'm sure /I/ don't know anything of them," returned the man. "I don't
know why you are wanted. When instructions are given us, miss, we
can't ask what they mean. I was bid to watch that you didn't go off
out of the town, and to bring you on to the witness-room if you
attempted it, and I have tried to do it as politely as possible."
"You don't imagine I am going to walk through West Lynne with your
hand upon me!"
"I'll take it off, Miss Hallijohn, if you'll give a promise not to
bolt. You see, 'twould come to nothing if you did, for I should be up
with you in a couple of yards; besides, it would be drawing folks'
attention on you. You couldn't hope to outrun me, or be a match for me
"I will go quietly," said Afy. "Take it off."
She kept her word. Afy was no simpleton, and knew that she /was/ no
match for him. She had fallen into the hands of the Philistines, was
powerless, and must make the best of it. So they walked through the
street as if they were taking a quiet stroll, he gallantly bearing the
leather bag. Miss Carlyle's shocked eyes happened to fall upon them as
they passed her window. She wondered where could be the eyes of the
The magistrates took their seats on the bench. The bench would not
hold them. All in the commission of the peace flocked in. Any other
day they would not have been at West Lynne. As to the room, the wonder
was how it ever got emptied again, so densely was it packed. Sir
Francis Levison's friends were there in a body. They did not believe a
word of the accusation. "A scandalous affair," cried they, "got up,
probably, by some sneak of the scarlet-and-purple party." Lord Mount
Severn, who chose to be present, had a place assigned him on the
bench. Lord Vane got the best place he could fight for amid the crowd.
Mr. Justice Hare sat as chairman, unusually stern, unbending, and
grim. No favor would he show, but no unfairness. Had it been to save
his son from hanging, he would not adjudge guilt to Francis Levison
against his conscience. Colonel Bethel was likewise on the bench,
In that primitive place--primitive in what related to the justice-room
and the justices--things were not conducted with the regularity of the
law. The law there was often a dead letter. No very grave cases were
decided there; they went to Lynneborough. A month at the treadmill, or
a week's imprisonment, or a bout of juvenile whipping, were pretty
near the harshest sentences pronounced. Thus, in this examination, as
in others, evidence was advanced that was inadmissible--at least, that
would have been inadmissible in a more orthodox court--hearsay
testimony, and irregularities of that nature. Mr. Rubiny watched the
case on behalf of Sir Francis Levison.
Mr. Ball opened the proceedings, giving the account which had been
imparted to him by Richard Hare, but not mentioning Richard as his
informant. He was questioned as to whence he obtained his information,
but replied that it was not convenient at present to disclose the
source. The stumbling block of the magistrates appeared to be the
identifying Levison with Thorn. Ebenezer James came forward to prove
"What do you know of the prisoner, Sir Francis Levison?" questioned
"Not much," responded Mr. Ebenezer. "I used to know him as Captain
"Afy Hallijohn called him captain; but I understood he was but a
"From whom did you understand that?"
"From Afy. She was the only person I heard speak of him."
"And you say you were in the habit of seeing him in the place
mentioned, the Abbey Wood?"
"I saw him there repeatedly; also at Hallijohn's cottage."
"Did you speak with him as Thorn?"
"Two or three times. I addressed him as Thorn, and he answered to the
name. I had no suspicion but that it was his name. Otway Bethel"--
casting his eyes on Mr. Otway, who stood in his shaggy attire--"also
knew him as Thorn, and so I have no doubt, did Locksley, for he was
always in the wood."
"Poor Hallijohn himself knew him as Thorn. He said to Afy one day, in
my presence, that he would not have that confounded dandy, Thorn,
"Were those the words he used?"
"They were; 'that confounded dandy Thorn.' I remember Afy's reply--it
was rather insolent. She said Thorn was as free to come there as
anybody else, and she would not be found fault with, as though she was
not fit to take care of herself."
"That is nothing to the purpose. Were any others acquainted with this
"I should imagine the elder sister, Joyce, was. And the one who knew
him best of all of us was young Richard Hare."
/Old/ Richard Hare, from his place on the bench, frowned menacingly at
an imaginary Richard.
"What took Thorn into the wood so often?"
"He was courting Afy."
"With an intention of marrying her?"
"Well--no," cried Mr. Ebenezer, with a twist of the mouth; "I should
not suppose he entertained any intention of the sort. He used to come
over from Swainson, or its neighborhood, riding a splendid horse."
"Whom did you suppose him to be?"
"I supposed him to be moving in the upper ranks of life. There was no
doubt of it. His dress, his manners, his tone, all proclaimed it. He
appeared to wish to shun observation, and evidently did not care to be
seen by any of us. He rarely arrived until twilight."
"Did you see him there on the night of Hallijohn's murder?"
"No. I was not there myself that evening, so could not have seen him."
"Did a suspicion cross your mind at any time that he may have been
guilty of the murder?"
"Never. Richard Hare was accused of it by universal belief, and it
never occurred to me to suppose he had not done it."
"Pray, how many years is this ago?" sharply interrupted Mr. Rubiny,
perceiving that the witness was done with.
"Let's see!" responded Mr. Ebenezer. "I can't be sure as to a year
without reckoning up. A dozen, if not more."
"And you mean to say that you can swear to Sir Francis Levison being
that man, with all these years intervening?"
"I swear that he is the man. I am as positive of his identity as I am
of my own."
"Without having seen him from that time to this?" derisively returned
the lawyer. "Nonsense, witness."
"I did not say that," returned Mr. Ebenezer.
The court pricked up its ears. "Have you seen him between then and
now?" asked one of them.
"Where and when?"
"It was in London, about eighteen months after the period of the
"What communication had you with him?"
"None at all. I only saw him--quite by chance."
"And whom did you suppose him to be then--Thorn or Levison?"
"Thorn, certainly. I never dreamt of his being Levison until he
appeared here, now, to oppose Mr. Carlyle."
A wild, savage curse shot through Sir Francis's heart as he heard the
words. What demon had possessed him to venture his neck into the
lion's den? There had been a strong hidden power holding him back from
it, independent of his dislike to face Mr. Carlyle; how could he be so
mad as to disregard it? How? Could a man go from his doom? Can any?
"You may have been mistaken, witness, as to the identity of the man
you saw in London. It may not have been the Thorn you had known here."
Mr. Ebenezer James smiled a peculiar smile. "I was not mistaken," he
said, his tone sounding remarkably significant. "I am upon my oath."
"Call Aphrodite Hallijohn."
The lady appeared, supported by her friend, the policeman. And Mr.
Ebenezer James was desired by Mr. Ball to leave the court while she
gave her evidence. Doubtless he had his reasons.
"What is your name?"
"Afy," replied she, looking daggers at everybody, and sedulously
keeping her back turned upon Francis Levison and Otway Bethel.
"You name in full, if you please. You were not christened 'Afy'?"
"Aphrodite Hallijohn. You all know my name as well as I do. Where's
the use of asking useless questions?"
"Swear the witness," spoke up Mr. Justice Hare. The first word he had
"I won't be sworn," said Afy.
"You must be sworn," said Mr. Justice Herbert.
"But I say I won't," repeated Afy.
"Then we must commit you to prison for contempt of court."
There was no mercy in his tone, and Afy turned white. Sir John Dobede
"Young woman, had /you/ a hand in the murder of your father?"
"I?" returned Afy, struggling with passion, temper, and excitement.
"How dare you ask me such an unnatural question, sir? He was the
kindest father," she added, battling with her tears. "I loved him
dearly. I would have saved his life with mine."
"And yet you refuse to give evidence that may assist in bringing his
destroyer to justice."
"No; I don't refuse on that score. I should like his destroyer to be
hanged, and I'd go to see it. But who knows what other questions you
may be asking me, about things that concerned neither you nor anybody
else? That's why I object."
"We have only to deal with what bears upon the murder. The questions
put to you will relate to that."
Afy considered. "Well, you may swear me, then," she said.
Little notion had she of the broad gauge those questions would run
upon. And she was sworn accordingly. Very unwillingly yet; for Afy,
who would have told lies by the bushel /un/sworn, did look upon an
oath as a serious matter, and felt herself compelled to speak the
truth when examined under it.
"How did you become acquainted with a gentleman you often saw in those
"There," uttered the dismayed Afy. "You are beginning already. /He/
had nothing to do with it--he did not do the murder."
"You have sworn to answer the questions put," was the uncompromising
rejoinder. "How did you become acquainted with Captain Thorn?"
"I met him at Swainson," doggedly answered Afy. "I went over there one
day, just for a spree, and I met him at a pastrycook's."
"And he fell in love with your pretty face?" said Lawyer Ball, taking
up the examination.
In the incense to her vanity, Afy nearly forgot her scruples. "Yes, he
did," she answered, casting a smile of general satisfaction round upon
"And got out of you where you lived, and entered upon his courting,
riding over nearly every evening to see you?"
"Well," acknowledged Afy, "there was no harm in it."
"Oh, certainly not!" acquiesced the lawyer, in a pleasant, free tone,
to put the witness at her ease. "Rather good, I should say: I wish I
had had the like luck. Did you know him at the time by the name of
"No! He said he was Captain Thorn, and I thought he was."
"Did you know where he lived?"
"No! He never said that. I thought he was stopping temporarily at
"And--dear me! what a sweet bonnet that is you have on!"
Afy, whose egregious vanity was her besetting sin--who possessed
enough of it for any ten pretty women going--cast a glance out of the
corners of her eyes at the admired bonnet, and became Mr. Ball's
"And how long was it, after your first meeting with him, before you
discovered his real name?"
"Not for a long time--several months."
"Subsequent to the murder, I presume?"
Mr. Ball's eyes gave a twinkle, and the unconscious Afy
surreptitiously smoothed, with one finger, the glossy parting of her
"Besides Captain Thorn, what gentlemen were in the wood the night of
"Richard Hare was there. Otway Bethel and Locksley also. Those were
all I saw until the crowd came."
"Were Locksley and Mr. Otway Bethel martyrs to your charms, as the
other two were?"
"No, indeed!" was the witness's answer, with an indignant toss of the
head. "A couple of poaching fellows like them! They had better have
tried it on!"
"Which of the two, Hare or Thorn, was inside the cottage with you that
Afy came out of her vanity and hesitated. She was beginning to wonder
where the questions would get to.
"You are upon your oath, witness!" thundered Mr. Justice Hare. "If it
was my--if it was Richard Hare who was with you, say so. But there
must be no equivocation here."
Afy was startled. "It was Thorn," she answered to Mr. Ball.
"And where was Richard Hare?"
"I don't know. He came down, but I sent him away; I would not admit
him. I dare say he lingered in the wood."
"Did he leave a gun with you?"
"Yes. It was one he had promised to lend my father. I put it down just
inside the door. He told me it was loaded."
"How long after this was it, that your father interrupted you?"
"He didn't interrupt us at all," returned Afy. "I never saw my father
until I saw him dead."
"Were you not in the cottage all the time?"
"No; we went out for a stroll at the back. Captain Thorn wished me
good-bye there, and I stayed out."
"Did you hear the gun go off?"
"I heard a shot as I was sitting on the stump of a tree, and was
thinking; but I attached no importance to it, never supposing it was
in the cottage."
"What was it that Captain Thorn had to get from the cottage after he
quitted you? What had he left there?"
Now, this was a random shaft. Lawyer Ball, a keen man, who had well
weighed all points in the tale imparted to him by Richard, as well as
other points, had colored them with his own deductions, and spoke
accordingly. Afy was taken in.
"He had left his hat there--nothing else. It was a warm evening, and
he had gone out without it."
"He told you, I believe, sufficient to convince you of the guilt of
Richard Hare?" Another shaft thrown at random.
"I did not want convincing--I knew it without. Everybody else knew
"To be sure," equably returned Lawyer Ball. "Did Captain Thorn /see/
it done--did he tell you that?"
"He had got his hat, and was away down the wood some little distance,
when he heard voices in dispute in the cottage, and recognized one of
them to be that of my father. The shot followed close upon it, and he
guessed some mischief had been done, though he did not suspect its
"Thorn told you this--when?"
"The same night--much later."
"How came you to see him?"
Afy hesitated; but she was sternly told to answer the question.
"A boy came up to the cottage and called me out, and said a strange
gentleman wanted to see me in the wood, and had given him sixpence to
come for me. I went, and found Captain Thorn. He asked me what the
commotion was about, and I told him Richard Hare had killed my father.
He said, that now I spoke of him, he could recognize Richard Hare's as
having been the other voice in the dispute."
"What boy was that--the one who came for you?"
"It was Mother Whiteman's little son."
"And Captain Thorn then gave you this version of the tragedy?"
"It was the right version," resentfully spoke Afy.
"How do you know that?"
"Oh! because I'm sure it was. Who else would kill him but Richard
Hare? It is a scandalous shame, your wanting to put it upon Thorn!"
"Look at the prisoner, Sir Francis Levison. Is it he whom you knew as
"Yes; but that does not make him guilty of the murder."
"Of course it does not," complacently assented Lawyer Ball. "How long
did you remain with Captain Thorn in London--upon that little visit,
Afy started like anybody moonstruck.
"When you quitted this place, after the tragedy, it was to join
Captain Thorn in London. How long, I ask, did you remain with him?"
Entirely a random shaft, this. But Richard had totally denied to
Lawyer Ball the popular assumption that Afy had been with him.
"Who says I was with him? Who says I went after him?" flashed Afy,
with scarlet cheeks.
"I do," replied Lawyer Ball, taking notes of her confusion. "Come,
it's over and done with--it's of no use to deny it now. We all go upon
visits to friends sometimes."
"I never heard anything so bold!" cried Afy. "Where will you tell me I
"You are upon your oath, woman!" again interposed Justice Hare, and a
trembling, as of agitation, might be detected in his voice, in spite
of its ringing severity. "Were you with the prisoner Levison, or were
you with Richard Hare?"
"I with Richard Hare!" cried Afy, agitated in her turn, and shaking
like an aspen-leaf, partly with discomfiture, partly with unknown
dread. "How dare that cruel falsehood be brought up again, to my face?
I never saw Richard Hare after the night of the murder. I swear it. I
swear that I never saw him since. Visit /him/! I'd sooner visit
Calcraft, the hangman."
There was truth in the words--in the tone. The chairman let fall the
hand which had been raised to his face, holding on his eye-glasses;
and a sort of self-condemning fear arose, confusing his brain. His
son, proved innocent of one part, /might/ be proved innocent of the
other; and then--how would his own harsh conduct show out! West Lynne,
in its charity, the justice in his, had cast more odium to Richard,
with regard to his after conduct touching this girl, than it had on
the score of the murder.
"Come," said Lawyer Ball, in a coaxing tone, "let us be pleasant. Of
course you were not with Richard Hare--West Lynne is always ill-
natured--you were on a visit to Captain Thorn, as--as any other young
lady might be?"
Afy hung her head, cowed down to abject meekness.
"Answer the question," came forth the chairman's voice again. "/Were/
you with Thorn?"
"Yes," though the answer was feeble enough.
Mr. Ball coughed an insinuating cough.
"Did you remain with him--say two or three years?"
"A little over two, perhaps?"
"There was no harm in it," shrieked Afy, with a catching sob of
temper. "If I chose to live in London, and he chose to make a morning
call upon me, now and then, as an old friend, what's that to anybody?
Where was the harm, I ask?"
"Certainly--where was the harm? /I/ am not insinuating any," returned
Lawyer Ball, with a wink of the eye furthest from the witness and the
bench. "And, during the time that--that he was making these little
morning calls upon you, did you know him to be Levison?"
"Yes. I knew him to be Captain Levison then."
"Did he ever tell you why he had assumed the name of Thorn?"
"Only for a whim, he said. The day he spoke to me in the pastrycook's
shop at Swainson, something came over him, in the spur of the moment,
not to give his right name, so he gave the first that came into his
head. He never thought to retain it, or that other people would hear