Charles James Lever.

Roland Cashel (Volume 2) online

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thus : ' It looks badly ; but I fear you have no other course than to


arrest liim. In fact, it is too late for anything else. Cousulfc
Malone and Meek.' And this can be proved to be in Mr. Lintou'a

Mr. Clare Jones did not speak a word as the note was handed up
to the Bench, and then to the Jury-box ; he even affected to think it
of no importance, and did not deign to examine it for himself.

" Tou may go down, Mr. Goring," said he, after a slight pause, in
which he appeared deliberating what course to follow.

Making his way to the side of the dock, Jones^addressed himself to
Cashel in a low, cautious voice :

" It now remains with you, Mr. Cashel, to decide whether you will
entrust me with the facts on which you ground your innocence, or
prefer to see yourself overwhelmed by adverse testimony."

Cashel made no reply, but leaned his head on his hand in deep

" Have you any witnesses to call?" whispered Jones. " Shall we
try an alihi?''''

Cashel did not answer.

" What is your defence. Sir, in one word ?" asked Jones, shortly.

" I am not guilty," said Cashel, slowly ; " but I do not expect others
to believe me so."

" Is your defence to rest upon that bare assertion ?" asked the
lawyer ; but Eoland did not seem to heed the question, as, folding
his arms, he stood erect in the dock, his attention to all appearance
bestowed upon the ceremonial of the Court.

Jones, at once turning to the Bench, expressed his regret that,
neither being able, from the shortness of the time, to obtain proper
information on the case, nor being honoured by the confidence of the
accused, he must decline the task of commenting on the evidence ;
and would only entreat the Jury to weigh the testimony they had
heard with a merciful disposition, and wherever discrepancies and
doubts occurred, to give the full benefit of such to the prisoner.

'' Tou have no witnesses to call ?" asked the Judge.

" I am told there arc none, my Lord," said Jones, with^an accent
of resignation.

A brief colloquy, in a low voice, ensued between the Crown lawyers
and Clare Jones, when, at length, a well-known barrister rose to
address the Jury for the prosecution. The gentleman 'who now
claimed the attention of the Court was one who, not possessing either
the patient habits of study, or that minute attention to" technical
detail which constitute the legal mind, was a fluent, easy speaker,
with an excellent memory, and a thorough knowledge of the stamp
and temperament of the men that usually fill a Jury-box. He was
eminently popular with that class, on whom he had often bestowed


all the flatteries of his craft ; assuring them that their " order" was
the bone and sinew of the land, and that " our proudest boast as a
nation was in the untitled nobility of commerce."

His whole address on the present occasion tended to show that
the murder of Mr. Kennyfeck was one among the many instances of
the unbridled licence and tyranny assumed by the aristocracy over
the middle ranks.

Mr. Kennyfeck was no bad subject for such eulogium as he de-
sired to bestow. He was the father of a family — a well-known
citizen of Dublin — a grave, white-cravated, pompous man, of respect-
able exterior, always seen at vestries, and usually heading the lists of
public charities. Cashel was the very antithesis to all this : the
reckless squanderer of accidentally acquired wealth — the wayward
and spoiled child of fortune, with the tastes of a Buccaneer, and the
means of a Prince, suddenly thrown into the world of fashion. What
a terrible ordeal to a mind so untrained — to a temper so unbridled !
and how fearfully had it told upon him ! After commenting upon
the evidence, and showing in what a continuous chain each event was
linked with the other — how consistent were all — how easily explicable
every circumstance, he remarked that the whole case had but one
solitary difficulty ; and although that was one which weighed more
in a moral than a legal sense, it required that he should dwell a few
moments upon it.

" The criminal law of our land. Gentlemen of the Jury, is satisfied
with the facts which establish guilt or innocence, without requiring
that the motives of accused parties should be too closely scrutinised.
Crime consists, of course, of the spirit in which a guilty action is
done ; but the law wisely infers that a guilty act is the evidence of a
guilty spirit ; and therefore, although there may be circumstances to
extenuate the criminality of an act, the offence before the law is the
same ; and the fact, the great fact, that a man has killed his fellow-
man, is what constitutes murder.

" I have said that this case has but one difficulty ; and that is, the
possible motive which could have led to the fatal act. 'Now, this
would present itself as a considerable obstacle if the relations between
the parties were such as we happily witness them in every county of
this island, where the proprietor and his agent are persons linked, by
the sacred obligation of duty, and the frequent intercourse of social
life, into the closest friendship.

*' That blood should stain the bonds of such brotherhood would be
scarcely credible — and even when credible, inexplicable ; it would be
repugnant to all our senses to conceive an act so unnatural. But
was the present a similar case ? or rather, was it one exactly the
opposite ? Ton have hoard that repeated differences occurred be-
tween the parties, amounting even to altercations. Mr. Hoare's


evidence has shown you that Mr. Cashel's extravagance had placed
him in difficulties of no common kind ; his demands for money were
incessant, and the utter disregard of the cost of obtaining it is almost
beyond belief. The exigence on one side, the manly resistance on the
other, must have led to constant misunderstanding. But these were
not the only circumstances that contributed to a feeling of estrange-
ment, soon to become something still more perilous. And here I
pause to ask myself how far I am warranted in disclosing facts of a
private nature, although in their bearing they have an important
relation to the case before us ! It is a question of great delicacy ;
and were it not that the eternal interests of Truth and Justice tran-
scend all others, I might shrink from the performance of a task
which, considered in a merely personal point of view, is deeply dis-
tressing. But it is not of one so humble as myself of whom there is
a question here : the issue is, whether a man's blood should be spilled,
and no expiation be made for it ?"

The counsel after this entered into a discursive kind of narrative of
Cashel's intimacy with the Kennyfeck family, with whom he had been
for a time domesticated ; and after a mass of plausible generalities,
wound up by an imputed charge that he had won the affections of the
younger daughter, who, with the consent of her parents, was to be-
come his wife.

" It will not seem strange to you. Gentlemen," said he, " that I
have not called to that table as a witness either the widow or the
orphan to prove these facts, or that I have not subjected their sacred
sorrows to the rude assaults of a cross-examination. Ton will not
think the worse of me for this reserve : nor shall I ask of you to give
my statements the value of sworn evidence : you will hear them, and
decide what value they possess in leading you to a true understanding
of this case.

■'' I have said, that if a regular pledge and promise of marriage did
not bind the parties, something which is considered equivalent among
persons of honour did exist, and that by their mutual acquaintances
they were regarded as contracted to each other. Mr, Cashel made
her splendid and expensive presents, which had never been accepted
save for the relations between them ; he distinguished her on all oc-
casions by exclusive attention, and among his friends he spoke of his
approaching marriage as a matter fixed and determined on. In this
state of things a discovery took place, which at once served to display
the character of the young gentleman, and to rescue the family from
one of the very deepest, because one of the most irremediable, of aU
calamities. Information reached them, accompanied by such circum-
stances as left no doubt of its veracity, that this Mr. Cashel had been
married already, and that his wife, a young vSpauish lady, was still
alive, and residing at the Havannah.



" I leave you to imagine the misery whicli this sad announcement
produced in that circle, where, until he entered it, happiness had
never been disturbed. It is not necessary that I should dwell upon
the distress this cruel treachery produced : with its consequences
alone we have any concern here ; and these were a gradual estrange-
ment — a refusal, calm but firm, to receive Mr. Cashel as before ; an
intimation that they knew of circumstances which, from delicacy to
him, they would never advert to openly, but which must at once bar
all the contemplated relations : and, to this sad, humiliating alterna-
tive he submitted !

" To avoid the slanderous stories which gossip would be certain to
put in circulation, they did not decline the invitation they had before
accepted to visit Tubbermore : they came, however, under the express
stipulation that no close intimacy was ever to be resumed between
Mr. Cashel and themselves; he was not even to use the common
privilege of a host — to visit them in their own apartments. That this
degree of cold distance was maintained between them, on every oc-
casion, all the guests assembled at the house can testify; and he
neither joined their party in carriage nor on horseback. Perhaps, this
interdiction was carried out with too rigid a discipline ; perhaps, the
cold reserve they maintained had assumed a character of insult, to
one whose blood still glowed with the fii'e of southern associations ;
perhaps, some circumstauco with which we are iinaequainted contri-
buted to render this estrangement significant, and consequently pain-
ful to a man who could not brook the semblance of a check. It is
needless to ask how or whence originating, since we can see in the
fact itself cause sufficient for indignant reproof on one side, for a
wounded self-love and tarnished honour on the other.

" Are we at a loss for such motives, then, in the presence of facts
like these ? Ask yourselves. Is a man, bred and trained up in all the
riotous freedom of a service scarcely above the rank of piracy — ac-
customed to the lawless licence of a land where each makes the law
with his own right hand — is such a man one to bear a slight Avith
patient submission, or to submit to an open shame in tame obedience ?
Can you not easily imagine how all the petty diflereuces of opinion
they might have had were merely skirmishes in front of that line
where deeper and graver feeliugs stood in battle array? Can you
suppose that, however ruled over by the ordinary courtesies of life,
this youth nourished his plans of ultimate revenge, not onl}'' upon
those who refused with indignation his traitorous alliance, but who
were the depositary of a secret that must interdict all views of mar-
riage in any other quarter ?"


Equal to either fortune. — Edgene Aram.

As the Crown Counsel sat down, a low murmur ran through the
Court, whose meaning it would be difl&cult to define ; for, if the
greater number present were carried away by the indignant eloquence
of the pleader to believe Cashel a hardened criminal, some few still
seemed to cling to his side, and bent their eyes towards the dock with
looks of sympathy and comfort. And oh ! how little know they,
whose eyes are beaming with the bright spark that warms their gene-
rous hearts, what loadstars are they to him who stands alone, for-
saken, and accused in the criminal dock! What a resting-place does
the weary and tired soul feel that glance of kindly meaning ! How
does it speak to his bruised and wounded spirit of hope and charity !
"What energy will it impart to the fast-failing courage I'what self-
respect and self-reliance to him who, a few moments back, was sink-
ing beneath the abasement of despair !

Such was the effect now produced upon Eoland Cashel. The array
of circumstances, so formidably marshalled by his accuser, had com-
pletely overwhelmed him ; the consciousness of innocence failed to
support him against the feeling which he saw spreading like a mist
around him. Against the accusation — against its fearful penalty —
his own stout heart could sustain him ; but how bear up against the
contempt and the abhorrence of his fellow-men ! Under the crush-
ing Aveight of this shame he was sinking fast, when a stray glance — a
chance expression of interest, like sunlight piercing a dark cloud —
gave promise that all was not lost. He felt tliat there were yet some
who wished to believe him guiltless, and that all sympathy for him
had not yet died out.

" Does the prisoner desire to avail himself of the privilege he pos-
sesses to call witnesses to character ?" asked the Judge.

" No, my Lord," said Cashel, firmly, but respectfully. " Since my
accession to fortune, my life has been passed for the most part in
what is called the 'fashionable world;' and, from what I have seen
of it, tlie society does not seem rich in those persons whose com-
mendations, were they to give them, would weigh heavily with your
Lordship. Besides, they could say little to my praise, which the
learned counsel has not already said to my disparagement — that I had
the command of wealth, and squandered it without taste and without



Few and insignificant as were these words, the easy and fearless
mode of their delivery, the manly energy of him who spoke them,
seemed to produce a most favourable impression throughqtit the
Court, whicli as rapidly reacted upon Cashel ; for now the embers of
hope were fanned, and already glowed into a slight flicker.

" The prisoner having waived his privilege, my Lord," said the At-
torney-General, " I beg to observe that the case is now closed."

" Is it too late, then, my Lord, for me to address a few words to
the Jury ?" asked Eoland, calmly.

"What say you, Mr. Attorney- General?" asked the Judge.

" Tour Lordship knows far better than I, that to address the Court
at this stage of the proceedings, would be to concede the right of re-
ply — and, in fact, of speaking twice ; since the prisoner's not having
availed himself of the fitting occasion to comment on the evidence,
gives him not the slightest pretension to usurp another one."

" Such is the law of the case," said the Judge, solemnly.

" I have nothing to observe against it, my Lord," said Cashel. " If
I have not availed myself of the privilege accorded to men placed as I
am, I must only submit to the penalty my pride has brought upon
me — for it was pride, my Lord. Since that, however, another, and I
hope a higher pride has animated me, to vindicate my character and
my fame ; so tliat, at some future day — a long future it may be —
when the true facts of this dark mystery shall be brought to light, a
more cautious spirit will pervade men's minds as to the guilt of him
assailed by circumstantial evidence. It might be, my Lord, that all
I could adduce in my own behalf would weigh little against the
weight of accusations, which even to myself appear terribly consis-
tent. I know, for I feel, how hard it would be to accept the cold un-
supported narrative of a prisoner, in which many passages might
occur of doubtful probability, some of even less credit, and some
again of an obscurity to winch even he himself could not afford the
clue ; and yet, with all these difficulties, enhanced tenfold by my
little knowledge of the forms of a Court, and my slender capacity, I
regret, my Lord, that I am unable to address the few words I had in-
tended to the Jury — less, believe me, to avert the shipwreck that
awaits myself, than to be a beacon to some other who may be as soli-
tary and mifriended as I am."

These words, delivered with much feeling, but in a spirit of calm
determination, seemed to thrill tlirough the entire assemblage ; and
even the senior Judge stopped to confer for some minutes with his
brother on the bench, in evident hesitation what course to adopt.
At length he said,

" However we may regret the course you have followed in thus
depriving yourself of that legitimate defence the constitution of our
country provides, we see no sufficient reason to deviate from the


commou order of proceeding in like cases. I will now, therefore,
address the Jury, who have already heard your words, and wiU accord
them any consideration they may merit."

"It may be, my Lord," said Cashel, "that evidence so strongly
imbued with probability may induce the gentlemen in that box to
believe me guilty ; in which case, I understand, your Lordship would
address to me the formal question, ' If I had anything to say why
sentence of death should not be passed upon me.' Now, if I am
rightly informed, any observations of a prisoner at such a moment are
regarded rather in the light of petitions for mercy, than as explana-
tions or corrections of falsehood. I have, therefore, only now to say,
that, whatever decision you may come to, the Court shaU not be
troubled further with interference of mine."

The Judge bowed slightly, as if in reply to this, and began his
charge ; but the Foreman of the Jury, leaning forward, said that his
fellow-jurors had desired him to ask, as a favour to themselves, that
the prisoner might be heard. A short conference ensued between
the Bench and the Crown Counsel, which ended by the permission
being accorded ; and now Cashel rose to address the Court.

" I will not," said he, "abuse the time of this Court by any irrele-
vant matter, nor will I advert to a single circumstance foreign to the
substance of the charge against me. I purpose simply to give a nar-
rative of the last day I passed with my poor friend, and to leave on
record this detail as the solemn protestation of innocence of one who
has too little to live for to fear death."

With this brief preface he began a regular history of that eventful
day, from the hour he had started from Tubbermore in company with
]\ir. Kennyfeck.

The reader is already familiar with every step and circumstance of
that period, so that it is not necessary we should weary him by any
recapitulation ; enough if we say that Cashel proceeded, with a mi-
nuteness devoid of all prolixity, to mention each fact as it occurred,
commenting as he went on upon the evidence already given, and
explaining its import without impugning its truth. Juries are ever
disposed to listen favourably to a speaker who brings to his aid no
other allies than candour and frankness, and who, without preten-
sions to legal acuteness, narrates facts with clear and distinctive pre-
cision. Leaving him, therefore, stiU speaking, and by the irresistible
force of truth gradually winning upon his hearers, let us quit the
Court for a brief time, and passing through the crowded space before
the doors, traverse the town, densely thronged by curious and eager
visitors. "We do not mean to linger with them, nor overhear the
comments they passed upon the eventful scene beside them : our
business is about a mile off, at a small public-house at a short dis-
tance from the roadside, usually frequented by cattle-dealers and the


customers at the weekly markets. Here, in a meanly-fumislied room,
where, for it was now evening, a common dip candle shed its lugu-
brious yellow light upon the rude appliances of vulgar life, sat a man,
whose eager expectancy was marked in every line of his figure. Every
now and then he would arise from his chair, and, screening the candle
from the wind, open the window to look out.

The night was dark and gusty: drifting rain beat at intervals
against the glass, and seemed the forerunner of a greater storm. The
individual we have spoken of did not seem to care for, if he even
noticed, the inclemency ; he brushed the wet from his bushy] beard
and moustaches with indifference, and bent his ear to listen to the
sounds upon the road in deepest earnestness. At last the sound of
horses' feet and wheels was heard rapidly approaching, and a car
drove up to the door, from which a man, wrapped up in a loose frieze
coat, descended, and quickly mounted the stairs. As he reached the
landing, the door of the room was thrown wide, and the other man,
in a low, but distinct voice, said, " Well, what news ?"

"All right," said he of the frieze coat, as, throwing off the] wet
garment, he discovered the person of Mr. Clare Jones. '•' Nothing
could possibly go better ; my cross-examination clinched Keane's evi-
dence completely, and no Jury could get over it."

" I almost wish you had let him alone," said the other, gruffly, and
in evident discontent ; " I foresee that the sympathy the scoundrel
affected will be troublesome to us yet."

" I have no fears on that head," replied the other, confidently.
" The facts are there, and Crankle's speech to evidence ripped him up
in a terrific manner."

" Did he allude to the Spanish girl?"

" He did, and with great effect."

" And the Kilgoff affair — did he bring ' My Lady ' up for judg-

" No. The Attorney- General positively forbade all allusion to that

" Oh, indeed !" said the other, with a savage sneer, " ' The Court '
was too sacred for such profanation."

" I think he was right, too," said Jones. " The statement could
never have been brought to bear upon the case before the Court. It
would have been a mere episode outside of the general history, and
just as likely impress the Jury with the opinion that all the charges
were trumped up to gain a conviction in any way."

The other paused, and seemed to reflect for some minutes, when
he said, " "Well, and what are they at now ?"

" When I left, the Court had just refused Cashel's demand to ad-
dress the Jury. The Chief Baron had ruled against him, and, of


course, the charge is now being pronounced. As I knew how this
must run, I took the opportunity of coming over here to see you."

" My name was but once mentioned, you tell me," said the other,
in an abrupt manner.

" It was stated that you were dangerously ill, without hope of re-
coyery," said Jones, faltering, and with evident awkwardness.

"And not alluded to again ?" asked the other, whom there is no
need of calling Mr. Linton.

"Tes, once — passingly," said Jones, still faltering.

" How do you mean, passingly ?" asked Linton, in anger.

" The Crown Lawyers brought forward that note of yours from

Linton dashed his closed fist against the table, and uttered a hor-
rible and blasphemous oath.

" Some bungling of yours, I'll be sworn, brought this about," said
he, savagely ; " some piece of that adroit chicanery that always recoils
upon its projector."

" I'll not endure this language, Sir," said Jones. " I have done
more to serve you than any man would have stooped to in my pro-
fession. Unsay these words."

" I do unsay them — I ask pardon for them, my dear Jones. I
never meant them seriously," said Linton, in that fawning tone he
could so well assume. " You ought to know me better than to think
that /, who have sworn solemnly to make your fortune, could enter-
tain such an opinion of you. Tell me now of this. Did Cashel say
anything as the note was read ?"

" Not a syllable."

"How did he look?"

" He smiled slightly."

"Ah, he smiled!" said Linton, growing pale; "he smiled! He
can do that when he is most determined."

" "What avails all his determination now ? No narrative of his
can shake the testimony which the cross-examination has confirmed.
It was a master-stroke of yours, IVIr. Linton, to think of supplying
him with counsel."

Linton smiled superciliously, as though he was accustomed to
higher flights of treachery than this. " So then," said he, at length,
"you say the case is strong against him ?"

" It could scarcely be stronger ?"

" And the feeling — how is the feeling of the Court ?"

" Variable, I should say ; in the galleries, and among the fashion-
ably-dressed part of the assemblage, inclined somewhat in his favour."

"How? Did not the charge of attempted bigamy tell against
him with his fair allies ?"


" Not so much as I bad hoped."

" What creatures women are !" said Linton, holding up his hands.

Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 25 of 32)