neck. My poor Alice ! My poor child ! Thou wilt be the
son of a highwayman and a Tyburn bird. To the third and
fourth generation . . . '
'I know nothing about generations/ Jenny interrupted.
'All I know is that you are going to be saved. Why, man,
consider. Probus knows nothing about me ; these conspira-
tors know nothing about Madame Vallance; none of them
have the least suspicion ; and must not have : that you know
Jenny of the Black Jack. Now I shall try to get a case as to
the conspiracy clear without attacking the loyalty of the gang
to each other. I have thought of such a plan. And I know
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire 1 79
an attorney. You have seen him. He is tolerably honest.
He shall advise us I will send him here. Be of good cheer,
iWill. I go to fetch Alice. Put on a smiling countenance to
greet her. Come, you are a man. Lift the drooping spirit
of the woman who loves you. Keep up her heart if not your
She came back at about five: the day was already over;
the yards and courts of the Prison were already dark. My
cell was lit with a pair of candles when Jenny brought Alice
and her brother Tom to see me.
Alice, poor child ! fell into my arms and so lay for a long
time, unable to speak for the sobs that tore her almost in
pieces, yet unwilling to let me see her weakness.
Tom the good fellow assumed the same air of cheerful-
ness which he had learned to show in the King's Bench. He
sniffed the air approvingly. He looked round with pre-
tended satisfaction. 'Ha !' he said, 'this place hath been mis-
represented. The room is convenient, if small ; the furni-
ture solid : the air is not so close as one might expect. For
a brief residence a temporary residence a man might . . .
might I say ' He cleared his throat; the tears came into
his eyes: he sank into a chair. 'Oh! Will . . . Will,' he
cried, breaking down, and unable to pretend any longer.
Then no one spoke. Indeed all our hearts were full.
'It is not so much on your account, Will/ said Jenny
I observed that she wore a domino, and indeed, she never
came to the prison after the first visit without a domino, a
precaution by no means unusual, because ladies might not
like to be seen in Newgate, and in any case it might arouse
suspicions if Jenny were recognised. 'I say it is not on your
account, so much as for the sake of this dear creature.
Madam Alice I implore you take courage; we have the
proofs of the conspiracy in our hands. It is a black and hell-
ish plot. The only difficulty is as to the best means of using
our knowledge, and here, I confess, for the moment, I am
not certain '
Alice recovered herself and stood up, holding my hand.
'I cannot believe/ she said, 'that such wickedness as this
will be permitted to succeed. It would bring shame and
sorrow on children and grandchildren to the third and fourth
'You all talk about generations/ said Jenny. 'For my part
I think of you that are alive, not those who are to come.
180 The Orange Girl
Well, so far it has not succeeded. For the conspirators are
known to me and I am Will's cousin and this they know
They stayed talking till nine o'clock when visitors had to
leave the Prison. Jenny cheered all our hearts. She would
hear of no difficulties : all was clear : all was easy : she had
the conspirators in her power. To-morrow she would re-
turn with her honest and clever attorney. So Alice went
away with a lighter heart, and I was left for the night alone
in my cell with a gleam of hope. In the morning that gleam
left me, and the day broke upon the place of gloom and
brought with it only misery and despair.
In the forenoon Jenny returned with her attorney. He
was the man who had already acted for me. His name was
Dewberry ; he was possessed of a manner easy and assured,
which inspired confidence: in face and figure he was at-
tractive, and he betrayed no eagerness to possess himself of
his client's money. I observed also, at the outset, that, like
all the rest he was the servant (who would, if he could, be-
come the lover) of Jenny.
'Now, Mr. Halliday,' he said, 'I have heard some part of
your story from Madame Vallance. I want, next, to hear
your own version/ So I told it, while he listened gravely,
'It is certainly,' he said, 'a very strong point that your
death would give Probus the chance of recovering his
money. Your cousin could then pay him off, if he wished,
in full. Whether he would do so is another question. If
bankruptcy arrives and finds you still living, all the creditors
would be considered together. Madame,' he turned to Jenny,
'you who have so fine a head for management, let us hear
'I think of nothing else/ she said. 'Yet I cannot satisfy
myself. I have thought that my sister Doll might warn the
Captain that both he and the Bishop would be exposed in
Court. But what would happen ? They would instantly go
off with the news to Merridew. And then? An informa-
tion against Doll and my mother for receiving stolen goods.
And what would happen then? You know very well, Mr.
Dewberry. They would have to buy their release by for-
bidding the exposure ! Why, they are the most notorious re-
ceivers living. Or, suppose Doll plainly told them that her
sister Jenny knew the whole case they don't know at pres-
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire 1 8 1
en t at least, I think not where I am but they can easily
find out that I knew the whole case and meant to expose
them. What would happen next ? Murder, my masters. I
should be found on my bed with my throat cut, and a letter to
show that it was done by one of my maids/
'Jenny, for Heaven's sake, do not run these risks/
'Not if I can help it, Will. Do you know what I think of
besides? It is a doubt whether Matthew would be more
rejoiced to see the conspiracy succeed and you put out of the
way, or to witness the conviction of Probus for conspiracy/
'Softly softly, Madam/ said the attorney ; 'we are a long
way yet from the trial, even, of Mr. Probus/
'Jenny/ I said, 'your words bring me confidence/
'If you feel all the confidence that there is in Newgate it
will not be enough, Will, for the confidence that you ought to
have. But we must work in silence. If our friends only
knew what we are talking here, why then the Lord help
the landlady of the Black Jack and her two daughters, Jenny
and Doll !'
'You must be aware, Sir/ said Mr. Dewberry, 'that it is
absolutely necessary for us to preserve silence upon every-
thing connected with your defence. You must not com-
municate any details upon the subject to your most intimate
friends and relations/
'He means Alice/ said Jenny.
'We must have secrecy/
'You may trust a man whose life is at stake/
'Yes. Now the principal witnesses are the pretended
Divine and the pretended country gentleman. They rest in
the assurance that none of their friends will betray them.
We must see what can be done. If we prove that your
Irish Divine is a common rogue we make his evidence sus-
pected, but we do not prove the conspiracy. The fellow
might brave it out, and still swear to the attempted robbery.
Then as to the other worthy, we may prove that he is a
notorious rogue. Still he may swear stoutly to his evidence.
We must prove, in addition, that these two rogues are known
to each other '
'That can be proved by any who were in the King's Bench
Prison with them '
. 'And we must connect them with Probus and Merridew/
'I can prove that as well/ said Jenny. 'That is, if '
1 82 The Orange Girl
'If your witnesses will give evidence. Madam, I would
not pour cold water on your confidence but will your wit-
nesses go into the box ?'
Jenny smiled. 'I believe/ she said, 'that I can fill the
Court with witnesses.'
'I want more than belief I want certainty/
'There is another way/ said Jenny. 'If we could let Mr.
Probus understand that the sudden and unexpected appear-
ance of a new set of creditors would force on Bankruptcy
Mr. Dewberry interposed hastily. 'Madam, I implore you.
There is no necessity at all. Sir, this lady would actually
sacrifice her own fortune and her future prospects in your
'For his safety and for his life everything/
'I assure you, dear Madam, there is no need. Your affairs
want only patience, and they will adjust themselves. To
throw them also upon your husband's other liabilities would
not help this gentleman. For this reason. There are a
thousand tricks and subtleties which a man of Mr. Probus's
knowledge may employ for the postponement of bankruptcy
until after the trial of our friend here. You know not the
resources of the law in a trained hand. I mean that, suppos-
ing Mr. Probus to reckon on the success of this conspiracy
in which I grieve to find a brother in the profession in-
volved ; he may cause these delays to extend until his end is
accomplished or defeated. A man of the Law, Madam, has
'Another point is that, unless I am much mistaken, this
conspiracy is intended to intimidate and not to be carried
out. Mr. Probus will offer you, I take it, your! liberty on
condition of your yielding in the matter of that money/
'Never!' I declared. 'I will die first!'
'Then it remains to be seen if he will carry the thing
So they went on arguing on this side and on that side:
which line of action was best : which was dangerous : in the
end, as you shall see, Jenny took the management of the case
into her own hands with results which astonished Mr. Dew-
berry as well as the Court, myself, and the four heroes of the
Five weeks, I learned, would elapse before my case would
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire 183
l>e tried in Court. It was a long and a tedious time to con-
template in advance. Meantime, I was kept in ignorance,
for the most part, of what was being done. Afterwards I
learned that Jenny carried on the work in secrecy, so that not
only the conspirators might not have the least suspicion but
that even Mr. Dewberry did not know what was doing
until she placed the case complete, in his hands a few days
before the trial. Jenny contrived all: Jenny paid for all:
what the case cost her in money I never learned. She spared
nothing, neither labour, nor travel, nor money. Meantime
I lived on now in hope, now in despondency : to go outside
among my fellow prisoners was to increase the wretchedness
of prison. Every morning Alice brought provisions for the
day. Tom brought me my violin and music so that I was
not without some consolations.
'As I remember this gloomy period, I remember with
thankfulness how I was stayed and comforted by two
women, of whom one was a Saint : and the other was well,
Heaven forbid that I should call her a Sinner, in whom I
never found the least blemish : but not, at least, a Christian.
The first offered up prayers for me day and night, wrestling
in prayer like Jacob, for the open manifestation of my inno-
cence. Alice was filled with a sublime faith. The Lord
whom she worshipped was very near to her. He would de-
stroy His enemies; He would preserve the innocent; the
wicked would be cast down and put to perpetual shame.
Never have I witnessed a faith so simple and so strong. Yet
to all seeming ; to the conspirators themselves ; I had not a
single witness whom I could call in my defence : that a man
was poor favoured the chance of his becoming a robber ; that
a brother-in-law, also a prisoner in the Rules, should be
ready to say that I was incapable of such an action could not
help. What could we allege against the clear and strong
evidence that the four perjured villains would offer when
they should stand up, and swear away my life ? 'Have cour-
age/ said Alice, 'Help cometh from the Lord. He will have
rnercy upon the child and oh! Will Will He will have
mercy upon the father of the child/
Mr. Dewberry came often. He had little to tell me. Jenny
had gone away. Jenny had not told him what she was
doing. 'Sir/ he said, 'but for the confidence I have in that
incomparable woman and in her assurances I should feel
anxious. For as yet, and we are within a fortnight of the
1 84 The Orange Girl
trial, I have not a single witness who can prove the real char-
acter of the pretended Divine and the pretended country gen-
tleman. But since Madam assures us ' He produced his
snuff-box and offered it 'Why then, Sir in that case I
believe in the success of your defence/
THE SAME OFFER
THUS I passed that weary and anxious imprisonment. The
way of getting through the day was always the same. Soon
after daylight, I went out and walked in the yards for half
an hour. The early morning, indeed, was the only time of
the day when a man of decent manners could venture
abroad even on the State side. At that time the visitors had
not yet begun to arrive ; the men were still sleeping off their
carouse of the evening before ; only a few wretches to whom
a dismal foreboding of the future, a guilty conscience, an
aching heart, would not allow sleep, crept dolefully about the
empty yards; restlessly sitting or standing: if they spoke
to each other, it was with distracted words showing that they
knew not what they said. Alas! The drunken orgies of
the others caused them at least some relief from the terrible
sufferings of remorse and looking forward. It is not often
that one can find an excuse for drunkenness.
After this melancholy walk I returned to my cell where I
played for an hour or two, afterwards reading or meditating.
But always my thoughts turned to the impending trial. I
represented myself called upon to make my own defence : I
read it aloud: I failed to impress the Jury: the Judge
summed up: the Jury retired: cold beads stood upon my
forehead : I trembled : I shook : the verdict was Guilty : the
Judge assumed the black cap Verily I suffered, every
day, despite the assurance of Jenny and Mr. Dewberry, all
the tortures of one convicted and condemned to death. If
my heart were examined after my death sure I am that a
black cap would be found engraven upon it, to show the
.agonies which I endured/
About pne o'clock Alice arrived, sometimes with Tom/
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire 185
sometimes alone. As for Tom he had quickly rallied and
had now completely accepted the assurance that an acquittal
was certain: his confidence would have been wonderful but
for the consideration that it was not Lis own neck that was
in danger but that of his brother-in-law. The child was not
allowed to be brought into the prison for fear of the fever
which always lurks about the wards and cells and corridors.
In the afternoon, while we were talking, Jenny herself, when
she was not on her mysterious journeys, came wearing a
domino. About four o'clock, Tom departed and, a little after,
Alice. Then I was left alone to sleep and reflection for
This was the daily routine. On Sunday there was service,
in the chapel, made horrid by the condemned prisoners in
their pew sitting round the empty coffin : and by the ribaldry
and blasphemous jests of the prisoners themselves. Not
even in the chapel could they refrain.
One afternoon there was a surprise. We were sitting in
conversation together, Alice and Jenny with my brother-in-
law Tom, and myself, when we received a visit from no less a
person than Mr. Probus himself. That Prince of villains
had the audacity to call in person upon me. He stood in the
doorway, his long, lean body bent, wearing a smile that had
evidently been borrowed for the occasion. I sprang to my
feet with indignation. My arm was gently touched. Jenny
sat beside me, but a little behind.
'Hush !' she whispered. 'Let him say what he has to say.
Sit down. Do not answer by a single word.'
Mr. Probus looked disconcerted to see me resume my
chair and make as if I neither saw nor heard. I
'You did not expect, Mr. Halliday, to see me here ?'
I made no reply.
'I am astonished, I confess, to find myself here, after all
that has passed. Respect for the memory of my late 'em-
ployer and client, Sir Peter Halliday, must be my excuse
my only excuse. Respect, and, if I may be permitted to add,
compassion compassion, Madam' he bowed to Alice.
'Compassion, Sir, is a Christian virtue,' she said, with such
emphasis on the adjective as to imply astonishment at finding
that quality in Mr. Probus.
'Assuredly, Madam assuredly, which is the reason why
I cultivate it sometimes to my own loss my own loss/
'Sir/ Alice went on, 'you cannot but be aware that youc
1 86 The Orange Girl
presence here is distasteful. Will you be so good as to tell
us what you have to say ?'
'Certainly, Madam. I think I have seen you before. You
are Mr. William Halliday's wife. This gentleman I have
not seen before/
'He is my brother/
'Your brother And the lady who prefers to wear a
domino?' For Jenny had made haste to replace that dis-
guise. 'No doubt it is proper in Newgate but is it necess-
ary among friends?'
'This lady is my cousin,' said Alice. 'She will please her-
self as to what she wears/
'Your cousin. We are therefore, as one may say, a family
party. The defendant ; his wife : his brother-in-law : his
cousin. This is very good. This is what I should have
desired above all things had I prayed upon my way hither.
A family party/
'Mr. Probus/ said Alice, 'if this discourse is to continue
beware how you speak of prayers/ Never had I seen her
face so set, so full of righteous wrath, with so much repres-
sion. The man quaked under her eyes.
'I come to business,' he said. 'I fear there is a spirit of
suspicion, even of hostility, abroad. Let that pass. I hope,
indeed, to remove it. Now, if you please, give me your
He was now. the lawyer alert and watchful. 'Your trial,
Mr. Halliday, takes place in a short time a few days. I do
not know what defence you will attempt I hope you may be
successful I have thought upon the subject, and, I confess
well I can only say that I do net know what kind of de-
fence will be possible in a case so clear and so well attested/
'Hush!' Jenny laid her hand again on my arm. 'Hush!'
I restrained myself and still sat in silence.
'Let me point out to you in a moment you will under-
stand why how you stand. You know, of course, yet it
is always well to be clear in one's mind the principal evi-
dence is that given by those two gentlemen from the country,
the young squire of Cumberland or is it Westmoreland?
and the clergyman of the Sister Kingdom. I have naturally
been in frequent communication with those two gentlemen.
I find that they are both kept in London to the detriment of
their, own affairs : that they would willingly get the business
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire 187
despatched quickly so that they would be free to go home
again: that they bear no malice none whatever: one
because he is a clergyman, and therefore practises
forgiveness as a Christian duty: the other because he
is a gentleman who scorns revenge, and, besides, was not the
attacked, but the attacking party. "So far," says the noble-
hearted gentleman, "from desiring to hang the poor wretch,
I would willingly suffer him to go at large." This is a dis-
position of mind which promises a great deal. I have never
found a more happy disposition in any witness before. No
resentment: no revenge: no desire for a fatal termination
to the trial. It is wonderful and rare. So I came over to
tell you what they say and to entreat you to make use of this
friendly temper while it lasts. They might I do not say
they will but they might be induced to withdraw altogether
from the trial, in which case the prosecution would fall to
the ground. For the case depends wholly upon their evi-
dence. For myself, as you know, I arrived by accident upon
the scene, and was too late to see anything. Mr. Merridew
tells me that what he saw might have been a fight rather than
a robbery; I ought not to have revealed this weak point in
the evidence, but I am all for mercy all for mercy. So I
say, that if their evidence is not forthcoming, the prosecution
must fall through, and then, dear Sir, liberty would be once
more your happy lot.' He stopped and folded his arms.
I had not offered him a chair partly because he was Mr.
Probus and I would not suffer him to sit in my presence:
partly because there was no chair to offer him.
These gentlemen, Sir/ said Tom, 'are willing, we under-
stand, to retire from the case/
'I would not say willing. I would rather say, not unwill-
'Do they/ Tom asked, 'demand money as a bribe as a price
'No, Sir. These gentlemen are far above any such con-
sideration. I believe they would be simply contented with
such a sum of money as would meet their personal expenses
and their losses by this prolonged stay/
'And to how much may these losses and expenses, taken
'I hear that his Reverence has lost a valuable Lectureship
which has been given to another in his absence: and that
1 88 The Orange Girl
the Squire has sustained losses among his cattle and his
horses also owing to his absence.'
'And the combined figures, Sir, which would cover these
'I cannot say positively. Probably the clergyman's losses
would be represented by 400 and the Squire's by 600.
There would be my own costs in the case as well but they
are as usual a trifle.'
'And suppose we were to pay this money,' Tom con-
tinued, 'what should we have to prove that they would not
give their evidence?'
'Sir There you touch me on the tenderest point the
"pundonor," as the Spaniards say. You should lodge the
money with any person in whom we could agree as a person
of honour and after the case for the prosecution had broken
down not before he should give me that money. Observe
that on the part of these two simple gentlemen there is trust,
even in an attorney in myself.'
I said nothing, for as the man knew that I could not find
a tenth part of the sum, I knew there was something behind.
What it was I guessed very well. And, in fact, Mr. Pro-
bus immediately showed what it was.
'Mr. Halliday,' he said, 'I believe that I know your cir-
cumstances. I have on one or two occasions had to make
myself acquainted with them. I shall not give offence if I
suppose that you cannot immediately raise the sum of 1,000
even to save your life.
He spoke to me, but he looked at Alice.
'He cannot, certainly,' said Alice, 'either immediately or
in any time proposed.'
'Quite so. Now, this is a case of life or death life or
death, Sir : life or death, Madam : an honourable life a long
life for your husband: or a shameful death a shameful
death : shameful to him : shameful to you : shameful to your
child or children/
'Hush !' whispered Jenny, laying a repressive hand again
upon my shoulder, for again I was boiling over with indig-
nation. What ! The author and contriver of this shameful
death was to come and call attention to the disgrace of
which he was the sole cause ! Had I been left to myself
without Alice or Jenny, I would have brained the old vil-
lain. But I obeyed and sat in silence, answering nothing.
'Consider, Madam' he continued to address Alice 'this
Out of the Frying Pan Into the Fire 189
is not a time for false pride or for obstinacy, or even for
standing out for better terms. Once more I make the same
offer which I made before. Let him sell his chance of a
certain succession of which he knows. Let him do that,
and all his difficulties and troubles will vanish like the smoke
of a bonfire. I tell you plainly, Madam, that I can control
the appearance of this evidence without which the prose-
cution can do nothing. I will control it. If he agrees to
sell, your husband shall walk out, on the day of the trial, a
free man/ He drew out of his pocket a pocket-book and
from that a document which I remembered well the deed of
sale or transfer.
Nobody replied. Alice looked at me anxiously. I re-
mained silent and dogged.
'Two years ago or somewhere about that time I made
the same proposal to him. I offered him 3,000 down for his
share of an estate which might never be his or only after
long years I offered him 3,000 down. It was a large sum
of money. He refused. A day or two afterwards he found
himself in the King's Bench Prison. I would recall that
coincidence to you. Four or five weeks ago I made a similar
offer. This time I proposed 4,000 down. He refused
again, blind to his own interest. A few days afterwards
he found himself within these walls on a capital
charge. A third time, and the last time, I make him an-
other offer. This time I raise the sum to 5,000