not pluck up his courage, and, at any rate, show that he was a
man? 'No,' said he, 'I will not read it.'
'Then I will. Gentlemen of the jury, have the goodness to listen
to me.' Of course there was a contest then between him and the
lawyers on the other side whether the document might or might not
be read; but equally of course the contest ended in the judge's
decision that it should be read. And Mr. Chaffanbrass did read it
in a voice audible to all men. 'All will yet be well, if those
shares be ready to-morrow morning.' We may take it as admitted, I
suppose, that this is in your handwriting, Mr. Scott?'
'It probably may be, though I will not say that it is.'
'Do you not know, sir, with positive certainty that it is your
To this Undy made no direct answer. 'What is your opinion, Mr.
Scott?' said the judge; 'you can probably give an opinion by
which the jury would be much guided.'
'I think it is, my lord,' said Undy.
'He thinks it is, said Mr. Chaffanbrass, addressing the jury.
'Well, for once I agree with you. I think it is also - and how
will you have the goodness to explain it. To whom was it
'I cannot say.'
'When was it written?'
'I do not know.'
'What does it mean?'
'I cannot remember.'
'Was it addressed to Mr. Tudor?'
'I should think not.'
'Now, Mr. Scott, have the goodness to look at the jury, and to
speak a little louder. You are in the habit of addressing a
larger audience than this, and cannot, therefore, be shamefaced.
You mean to tell the jury that you think that that note was not
intended by you for Mr. Tudor?'
'I think not,' said Undy.
'But you can't say who it was intended for?'
'And by the virtue of your oath, you have told us all that you
know about it?' Undy remained silent, but Mr. Chaffanbrass did
not press him for an answer. 'You have a brother, named
Valentine, I think.' Now Captain Val had been summoned also, and
was at this moment in court. Mr. Chaffanbrass requested that he
might be desired to leave it, and, consequently, he was ordered
out in charge of a policeman.
'And now, Mr. Scott - was that note written by you to Mr. Tudor,
with reference to certain shares, which you proposed that Mr.
Tudor should place in your brother's hands? Now, sir, I ask you,
as a member of Parliament, as a member of the Government, as the
son of a peer, to give a true answer to that question.' And then
again Undy was silent; and again Mr. Chaffanbrass leant on the
desk and glared at him. 'And remember, sir, member of Parliament
and nobleman as you are, you shall be indicted for perjury, if
you are guilty of perjury.'
'My lord,' said Undy, writhing in torment, 'am I to submit to
'Mr. Chaffanbrass,' said the judge, 'you should not threaten your
witness. Mr. Scott - surely you can answer the question.'
Mr. Chaffanbrass seemed not to have even heard what the judge
said, so intently were his eyes fixed on poor Undy. 'Well, Mr.
Scott,' he said at last, very softly, 'is it convenient for you
to answer me? Did that note refer to a certain number of bridge
shares, which you required Mr. Tudor to hand over to the
stepfather of this lady?'
Undy had no trust in his brother. He felt all but sure that,
under the fire of Mr. Chaffanbrass, he would confess everything.
It would be terrible to own the truth, but it would be more
terrible to be indicted for perjury. So he sat silent.
'My lord, perhaps you will ask him,' said Mr. Chaffanbrass.
'Mr. Scott, you understand the question - why do you not answer
it?' asked the judge. But Undy still remained silent.
'You may go now,' said Mr. Chaffanbrass. 'Your eloquence is of
the silent sort; but, nevertheless, it is very impressive. You
may go now, and sit on that bench again, if, after what has
passed, the sheriff thinks proper to permit it.'
Undy, however, did not try that officer's complaisance. He
retired from the witness-box, and was not again seen during the
trial in any conspicuous place in the court.
It was then past seven o'clock; but Mr. Chaffanbrass insisted on
going on with the examination of Captain Val. It did not last
long. Captain Val, also, was in that disagreeable position, that
he did not know what Undy had confessed, and what denied. So he,
also, refused to answer the questions of Mr. Chaffanbrass, saying
that he might possibly damage himself should he do so. This was
enough for Mr. Chaffanbrass, and then his work was done.
At eight o'clock the court again adjourned; again Charley posted
off - for the third time that day - to let Gertrude know that, even
as yet, all was not over; and again he and Alaric spent a
melancholy evening at the neighbouring tavern; and then, again,
on the third morning, all were re-assembled at the Old Bailey.
Or rather they were not all re-assembled. But few came now, and
they were those who were obliged to come. The crack piece of the
trial, that portion to which, among the connoisseurs, the
interest was attached, that was all over. Mr. Chaffanbrass had
done his work. Undy Scott, the member of Parliament, had been
gibbeted, and the rest was, in comparison, stale, flat, and
unprofitable. The judge and jury, however, were there, so were
the prosecuting counsel, so were Mr. Chaffanbrass and Mr.
Younglad, and so was poor Alaric. The work of the day was
commenced by the judge's charge, and then Alaric, to his infinite
dismay, found how all the sophistry and laboured arguments of his
very talented advocate were blown to the winds, and shown to be
worthless. 'Gentlemen,' said the judge to the jurors, after he
had gone through all the evidence, and told them what was
admissible, and what was not - 'gentlemen, I must especially
remind you, that in coming to a verdict in the matter, no amount
of guilt on the part of any other person can render guiltless him
whom you are now trying, or palliate his guilt if he be guilty.
An endeavour has been made to affix a deep stigma on one of the
witnesses who has been examined before you; and to induce you to
feel, rather than to think, that Mr. Tudor is, at any rate,
comparatively innocent - innocent as compared with that gentleman.
That is not the issue which you are called on to decide; not
whether Mr. Scott, for purposes of his own, led Mr. Tudor on to
guilt, and then turned against him; but whether Mr. Tudor himself
has, or has not, been guilty under this Act of Parliament that
has been explained to you.
'As regards the evidence of Mr. Scott, I am justified in telling
you, that if the prisoner's guilt depended in any way on that
evidence, it would be your duty to receive it with the most
extreme caution, and to reject it altogether if not corroborated.
That evidence was not trustworthy, and in a great measure
justified the treatment which the witness encountered from the
learned barrister who examined him. But Mr. Scott was a witness
for the defence, not for the prosecution. The case for the
prosecution in no way hangs on his evidence.
'If it be your opinion that Mr. Tudor is guilty, and that he was
unwarily enticed into guilt by Mr. Scott; that the whole
arrangement of this trust was brought about by Mr. Scott or
others, to enable him or them to make a cat's-paw of this new
trustee, and thus use the lady's money for their own purposes,
such an opinion on your part may justify you in recommending the
prisoner to the merciful consideration of the bench; but it
cannot justify you in finding a verdict of not guilty.'
As Alaric heard this, and much more to the same effect, his
hopes, which certainly had been high during the examination of
Undy Scott, again sank to zero, and left him in despair. He had
almost begun to doubt the fact of his own guilt, so wondrously
had his conduct been glossed over by Mr. Chaffanbrass, so
strikingly had any good attempt on his part been brought to the
light, so black had Scott been made to appear. Ideas floated
across his brain that he might go forth, not only free of the
law, but whitewashed also in men's opinions, that he might again
sit on his throne at the Civil Service Board, again cry to
himself 'Excelsior,' and indulge the old dreams of his ambition.
But, alas! the deliberate and well-poised wisdom of the judge
seemed to shower down cold truth upon the jury from his very
eyes. His words were low in their tone, though very clear,
impassive, delivered without gesticulation or artifice, such as
that so powerfully used by Mr. Chaffanbrass; but Alaric himself
felt that it was impossible to doubt the truth of such a man;
impossible to suppose that any juryman should do so. Ah me! why
had he brought himself thus to quail beneath the gaze of an old
man seated on a bench? with what object had he forced himself to
bend his once proud neck? He had been before in courts such as
this, and had mocked within his own spirit the paraphernalia of
the horsehair wigs, the judges' faded finery, and the red cloth;
he had laughed at the musty, stale solemnity by which miscreants
were awed, and policemen enchanted; now, these things told on
himself heavily enough; he felt now their weight and import.
And then the jury retired from the court to consider their
verdict, and Mr. Gitemthruet predicted that they would be hungry
enough before they sat down to their next meal. 'His lordship was
dead against us,' said Mr. Gitemthruet; 'but that was a matter of
course; we must look to the jury, and the city juries are very
fond of Mr. Chaffanbrass; I am not quite sure, however, that Mr.
Chaffanbrass was right: I would not have admitted so much myself;
but then no one knows a city jury so well as Mr. Chaffanbrass.'
Other causes came on, and still the jury did not return to court.
Mr. Chaffanbrass seemed to have forgotten the very existence of
Alaric Tudor, and was deeply engaged in vindicating a city
butcher from an imputation of having vended a dead ass by way of
veal. All his indignation was now forgotten, and he was full of
boisterous fun, filling the court with peals of laughter. One
o'clock came, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and still no
verdict. At the latter hour, when the court was about to be
adjourned, the foreman came in, and assured the judge that there
was no probability that they could agree; eleven of them thought
one way, while the twelfth was opposed to them. 'You must reason
with the gentleman,' said the judge. 'I have, my lord,' said the
foreman, 'but it's all thrown away upon him.' 'Reason with him
again,' said the judge, rising from his bench and preparing to go
to his dinner.
And then one of the great fundamental supports of the British
constitution was brought into play. Reason was thrown away upon
this tough juryman, and, therefore, it was necessary to ascertain
what effect starvation might have upon him. A verdict, that is, a
unanimous decision from these twelve men as to Alaric's guilt,
was necessary; it might be that three would think him innocent,
and nine guilty, or that any other division of opinion might take
place; but such divisions among a jury are opposed to the spirit
of the British constitution. Twelve men must think alike; or, if
they will not, they must be made to do so. 'Reason with him
again,' said the judge, as he went to his own dinner. Had the
judge bade them remind him how hungry he would soon be if he
remained obstinate, his lordship would probably have expressed
the thought which was passing through his mind. 'There is one of
us, my lord,' said the foreman, 'who will I know be very ill
before long; he is already so bad that he can't sit upright.'
There are many ludicrous points in our blessed constitution, but
perhaps nothing so ludicrous as a juryman praying to a judge for
mercy. He has been caught, shut up in a box, perhaps, for five or
six days together, badgered with half a dozen lawyers till he is
nearly deaf with their continual talking, and then he is locked
up until he shall die or find a verdict. Such at least is the
intention of the constitution. The death, however, of three or
four jurymen from starvation would not suit the humanity of the
present age, and therefore, when extremities are nigh at hand,
the dying jurymen, with medical certificates, are allowed to be
carried off. It is devoutly to be wished that one juryman might
be starved to death while thus serving the constitution; the
absurdity then would cure itself, and a verdict of a majority
would be taken.
But in Alaric's case, reason or hunger did prevail at the last
moment, and as the judge was leaving the court, he was called
back to receive the verdict. Alaric, also, was brought back,
still under Mr. Gitemthruet's wing, and with him came Charley. A
few officers of the court were there, a jailer and a policeman or
two, those whose attendance was absolutely necessary, but with
these exceptions the place was empty. Not long since men were
crowding for seats, and the policemen were hardly able to
restrain the pressure of those who pushed forward; but now there
was no pushing; the dingy, dirty benches, a few inches of which
had lately been so desirable, were not at all in request, and
were anything but inviting in appearance; Alaric sat himself down
on the very spot which had lately been sacred to Mr. Chaffanbrass,
and Mr. Gitemthruet, seated above him, might also fancy himself
a barrister. There they sat for five minutes in perfect silence; the
suspense of the moment cowed even the attorney, and Charley,
who sat on the other side of Alaric, was so affected that he could
hardly have spoken had he wished to do so.
And then the judge, who had been obliged to re-array himself
before he returned to the bench, again took his seat, and an
officer of the court inquired of the foreman of the jury, in his
usual official language, what their finding was.
'Guilty on the third count,' said the foreman. 'Not guilty on the
four others. We beg, however, most strongly to recommend the
prisoner to your lordship's merciful consideration, believing
that he has been led into this crime by one who has been much
more guilty than himself.'
'I knew Mr. Chaffanbrass was wrong,' said Mr. Gitemthruet. 'I
knew he was wrong when he acknowledged so much. God bless my
soul! in a court of law one should never acknowledge anything!
what's the use?'
And then came the sentence. He was to be confined at the
Penitentiary at Millbank for six months. 'The offence,' said the
judge, 'of which you have been found guilty, and of which you
most certainly have been guilty, is one most prejudicial to the
interests of the community. That trust which the weaker of
mankind should place in the stronger, that reliance which widows
and orphans should feel in their nearest and dearest friends,
would be destroyed, if such crimes as these were allowed to pass
unpunished. But in your case there are circumstances which do
doubtless palliate the crime of which you have been guilty; the
money which you took will, I believe, be restored; the trust
which you were courted to undertake should not have been imposed
on you; and in the tale of villany which has been laid before
us, you have by no means been the worst offender. I have,
therefore, inflicted on you the slightest penalty which the law
allows me. Mr. Tudor, I know what has been your career, how great
your services to your country, how unexceptionable your conduct
as a public servant; I trust, I do trust, I most earnestly, most
hopefully trust, that your career of utility is not over. Your
abilities are great, and you are blessed with the power of
thinking; I do beseech you to consider, while you undergo that
confinement which you needs must suffer, how little any wealth is
worth an uneasy conscience.'
And so the trial was over. Alaric was taken off in custody; the
policeman in mufti was released from his attendance; and Charley,
with a heavy heart, carried the news to Gertrude and Mrs.
'And as for me,' said Gertrude, when she had so far recovered
from the first shock as to be able to talk to her mother - 'as for
me, I will have lodgings at Millbank.'
A PARTING INTERVIEW
Mrs. Woodward remained with her eldest daughter for two days
after the trial, and then she was forced to return to Hampton.
She had earnestly entreated Gertrude to accompany her, with her
child; but Mrs. Tudor was inflexible. She had, she said, very
much to do; so much, that she could not possibly leave London;
the house and furniture were on her hands, and must be disposed
of; their future plans must be arranged; and then nothing, she
said, should induce her to sleep out of sight of her husband's
prison, or to omit any opportunity of seeing him which the prison
rules would allow her.
Mrs. Woodward would not have left one child in such extremity,
had not the state of another child made her presence at the
Cottage indispensable. Katie's anxiety about the trial had of
course been intense, so intense as to give her a false strength,
and somewhat to deceive Linda as to her real state. Tidings of
course passed daily between London and the Cottage, but for three
days they told nothing. On the morning of the fourth day,
however, Norman brought the heavy news, and Katie sank completely
under it. When she first heard the result of the trial she
swooned away, and remained for some time nearly unconscious. But
returning consciousness brought with it no relief, and she lay
sobbing on her pillow, till she became so weak, that Linda in her
fright wrote up to her mother begging her to return at once.
Then, wretched as it made her to leave Gertrude in her trouble,
Mrs. Woodward did return.
For a fortnight after this there was an unhappy household at
Surbiton Cottage. Linda's marriage was put off till the period of
Alaric's sentence should be over, and till something should be
settled as to his and Gertrude's future career. It was now
August, and they spoke of the event as one which perhaps might
occur in the course of the following spring. At this time, also,
they were deprived for a while of the comfort of Norman's visits
by his enforced absence at Normansgrove. Harry's eldest brother
was again ill, and at last the news of his death was received at
Hampton. Under other circumstances such tidings as those might,
to a certain extent, have brought their own consolation with
them. Harry would now be Mr. Norman of Normansgrove, and Linda
would become Mrs. Norman of Normansgrove; Harry's mother had long
been dead, and his father was an infirm old man, who would be too
glad to give up to his son the full management of the estate, now
that the eldest son was a man to whom that estate could be
trusted. All those circumstances had, of course, been talked over
between Harry and Linda, and it was understood that Harry was now
to resign his situation at the Weights and Measures. But Alaric's
condition, Gertrude's misery, and Katie's illness, threw all such
matters into the background. Katie became no better; but then the
doctors said that she did not become any worse, and gave it as
their opinion that she ought to recover. She had youth, they
said, on her side; and then her lungs were not affected. This was
the great question which they were all asking of each other
continually. The poor girl lived beneath a stethoscope, and bore
all their pokings and tappings with exquisite patience. She
herself believed that she was dying, and so she repeatedly told
her mother. Mrs. Woodward could only say that all was in God's
hands, but that the physicians still encouraged them to hope the
One day Mrs. Woodward was sitting with a book in her usual place
at the side of Katie's bed; she looked every now and again at her
patient, and thought that she was slumbering; and at last she
rose from her chair to creep away, so sure was she that she might
be spared for a moment. But just as she was silently rising, a
thin, slight, pale hand crept out from beneath the clothes, and
laid itself on her arm.
'I thought you were asleep, love,' said she.
'No, mamma, I was not asleep. I was thinking of something. Don't
go away, mamma, just now. I want to ask you something.'
Mrs. Woodward again sat down, and taking her daughter's hand in
her own, caressed it.
'I want to ask a favour of you, mamma,' said Katie.
'A favour, my darling! what is it? you know I will do anything in
my power that you ask me.'
'Ah, mamma, I do not know whether you will do this.'
'What is it, Katie? I will do anything that is for your good. I
am sure you know that, Katie.'
'Mamma, I know I am going to die. Oh, mamma, don't say anything
now, don't cry now - dear, dear mamma; I don't say it to make you
unhappy; but you know when I am so ill I ought to think about it,
ought I not, mamma?'
'But, Katie, the doctor says that he thinks you are not so
dangerously ill; you should not, therefore, despond; it will
increase your illness, and hinder your chance of getting well.
That would be wrong, wouldn't it, love?'
'Mamma, I feel that I shall never again be well, and therefore - '
It was useless telling Mrs. Woodward not to cry; what else could
she do? 'Dear mamma, I am so sorry to make you unhappy, but you
are my own mamma, and therefore I must tell you. I can be happy
still, mamma, if you will let me talk to you about it.'
'You shall talk, dearest; I will hear what you say; but oh,
Katie, I cannot bear to hear you talk of dying. I do not think
you are dying. If I did think so, my child, my trust in your
goodness is so strong that I should tell you.'
'You know, mamma, it might have been much worse; suppose I had
been drowned, when he, when Charley, you know, saved me;' and as
she mentioned his name a tear for the first time ran down each
cheek; 'how much worse that would have been! think, mamma, what
it would be to be drowned without a moment for one's prayers.'
'It is quite right we should prepare ourselves for death. Whether
we live, or whether we die, we shall be better for doing that.'
Katie still held her mother's hand in hers, and lay back against
the pillows which had been placed behind her back. 'And now,
mamma,' she said at last, 'I am going to ask you this favour - I
want to see Charley once more.'
Mrs. Woodward was so much astonished at the request that at first
she knew not what answer to make. 'To see Charley!' she said at
'Yes, mamma; I want to see Charley once more; there need be no
secrets between us now, mamma.'
'There have never been any secrets between us,' said Mrs.
Woodward, embracing her. 'You have never had any secrets from
'Not intentionally, mamma; I have never meant to keep anything
secret from you. And I know you have known what I felt about
'I know that you have behaved like an angel, my child; I know
your want of selfishness, your devotion to others, has been such
as to shame me; I know your conduct has been perfect: oh, my
Katie, I have understood it, and I have so loved you, so admired
Katie smiled through her tears as she returned her mother's
embrace. 'Well, mamma,' she said, 'at any rate you know that I
love him. Oh, mamma, I do love him so dearly. It is not now like
Gertrude's love, or Linda's. I know that I can never be his wife.
I did know before, that for many reasons I ought not to wish to
be so; but now I know I never, never can be.'
Mrs. Woodward was past the power of speaking, and so Katie went
'But I do not love him the less for that reason; I think I love
him the more. I never, never, could have loved anyone else,
mamma; never, never; and that is one reason why I do not so much
mind being ill now.'
Mrs. Woodward bowed forward, and hid her face in the counterpane,
but she still kept hold of her daughter's hand.
'And, mamma,' she continued, 'as I do love him so dearly, I feel
that I should try to do something for him. I ought to do so; and,
mamma, I could not be happy without seeing him. He is not just
like a brother or a brother-in-law, such as Harry and Alaric; we
are not bound to each other as relations are; but yet I feel that
something does bind me to him. I know he doesn't love me as I
love him; but yet I think he loves me dearly; and if I speak to
him now, mamma, now that I am - that I am so ill, perhaps he will
mind me. Mamma, it will be as though one came unto him from the
Mrs. Woodward did not know how to refuse any request that Katie
might now make to her, and felt herself altogether unequal to the
task of refusing this request. For many reasons she would have
done so, had she been able; in the first place she did not think
that all chance of Katie's recovery was gone; and then at the
present moment she felt no inclination to draw closer to her any