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and costumes with an eager interest, that showed how little Linton's
fate had thrown a shadow over the bright picture of anticipated


He could outrogue a lawyer.


Eevealinq so freely as we do the hidden wiles of our cliaracters
for the reader's pleasure, it would iU become us to affect any reserve
or mystery regarding their actions. We shall not make, therefore,
any secret of Mr. Linton's absence, nor ask of our patient reader to
partake of the mystification that prevailed among the company at

It so chanced, that on the evening preceding his departure he saw
in a newspaper paragraph the arrival of a very distinguished lawyer
at Limerick on his way to Dublin, and the thought at once occurred
to him, that the opportuuity was most favourable for obtaining an
opinion respecting the " Corrigan Pardon," without iucurriug either
suspicion or any leugtliencd absence.

Another object, inferior, but not devoid of interest, also suggested
itself. It was this : profiting by a secret passage whicli led from the
theatre to Casliel's bedroom, it was Linton's custom to visit this


cliamber every day, ransacking the letters and papers wbicli. iu his
careless indolence, Eoland left loose upon the tables, and thus pos-
sessing himself of the minutest knowledge of Cashel's affairs. In his
very last visit to this room, he perceived a cumbrous document, of
■wliich the seal on the envelope was broken, but apparently the con-
tents unlooked at. It was enough that he read the endorsement,
"Deed of Convej^ance of the Cottage and Lands of Tubber-beg."

Feeling how far he himself was interested in the paper, and weU
knowing the forgetful habits of Cashel, who would never detect its
removal, he coolly folded it up and carried it away.

At first, his intention was simply to peruse the paper at his ease,
and, if need were, to show it in confidence to Corrigan, and thus
establish for himself that degree of influence over the old man which
the character of bis landlord might convey. But another and a
bolder expedient soon suggested itself to his mind — nor was he one
to shrink from an enterprise merely on account of its hazard — and
this was no less than to forge Cashel's signature to the deed — for, as
yet, it was wanting in that most essential particular.

That Roland would never remember anything of the matter, and
that he would always incline to believe his own memory defective,
than suppose such a falsification possible, Linton was well convinced.
There was but one difficulty : how should he manage for the wit-
nesses, whose names were to be appended, as actually present at the
moment of signing. Here was a stumbling-block — since he could
scarcely hope to find others as short of memory as was Eoland Cashel.
It was while still canvassing the question iu his mind that he came
upon the intelligence in the newspaper of the lawyer's arrival at
Limerick, and suddenly it struck him that he could easily in that city
find out two persons, who, for a sufficient consideration, would append
their signatures to the deed. A little further reflection devised even
an easier plan, which was to take along with him the Italian sailor
Giovanni, and make him represent Cashel, whose appearance was
quite unknown. By Giovanni's personation of Eoland, Linton escaped
all the hazard of letting others into his confidence, while the sailor
himself, in a few days more, would leave the country — never to return.

It was with the calm assurance of a man who could put a price
upon any action required of him, that Giovanni found himself, an
hour after midnight, summoned to Linton's dressing-room.

" I told you some time back, Giovanni, that we might be service-
able to each other. The hour has come a little earlier than I looked
for ; and now the question is, are you of the same mind as you then
were ?"

" I know nothing of the laws of this country. Signer, but if there
be life on the issue "


" No, no, nothing like that, my worthy fellow. In the present
case, all I ask for is your silence and your secrecy."

" Oh, that is easily had — go on, Siguor."

" "Well, I wish to go over to-morrow by daybreak to Limerick. I
desire, too, that you should accompany me — as my companion, how-
ever, and my equal. We are about the same height and size, so take
that suit there, dress yourself, and wait for me at the cross-roads be-
low the village."

The Italian took the parcel without speaking, and was about to
retire, when Linton said :

" Tou can write, I suppose ?"

The other nodded.

" I shall want you to sign a document in presence of witnesses —
not your own name, but another, which I'll tell you."

The Italian's dark eyes flashed with a keen and subtle meaning, and
leaning forward, he said, in a low, distinct tone,

" His Excellency means that I should forge a name ?"

" It is scarcely deserving so grave a phrase," replied Linton, aiFect-
ing an easy smile ; " but what I ask amounts pretty much to that.
Have you scruples about it ?"

" My scruples are not easily alarmed, Signor ; only let us under-
stand each other. I'll do anything''^ — and he laid a deep emphasis on
the word — " when I see my way clear before me, nothing, when I'm

" A man after my own heart !" cried Linton ; " and now, good
night. Be true to the time and place." And with this they parted.

The grey mist of a winter morning was just clearing away as
Linton, accompanied by Giovanni, drove np to the principal hotel of
Limerick, where Mr. Hammond, the emiuent barrister, was tlien
stoppiug. Having ascertained that he was still in the house, Linton
at once sent up his name, with a request to be admitted to an inter-
view with him. The position he had so long enjoyed among the
officials of the Viceroy had made Linton a person of considerable
importance in a city where the " plated article" so often passes for
silver ; and no sooner had the lawyer read the name, tliau he imme-
diately returned a polite answer, saying that he was perfectly at Islv.
Linton's orders.

The few inquiries which Mr. Linton had meanwliile made at the bar
of the hotel, informed him that Mr. Hammond was making all haste
to England, where he was about to appear in a case before the House
of Lords ; that horses liad been already ordered for him along the
whole line of road, and his presence in London was imperative.
Armed with these facts, Linton entered the room, where, surrounded
with deeds, drafts, and Acts of Parliament, the Learned Counsel was
sitting at his breakfast.


" It was but last niglit late, Mr. Hammoud," said he, advancing
with his very frankest manner, " that we caught sight of your name
as having arrived here, and you see I have lost no time in profiting by
the intelligence. I have come thirty Irish miles this day to catch and
carry you off with me to Mr. Cashel's, at Tubbermore."

"Most kind, indeed — very flattering — I am really' overpowered,"
said the lawj^er, actuallj' reddening with pleasure ; and he said the
exact truth, he was " overpowered" by a compliment so little ex-
pected. For, although high in his profession, and in considerable
repute among his brethren, he had never been admitted into that
peculiar class which calls itself the first society of the metropolis.

" I assure you," resumed Linton, " it was by a vote of the whole
house I undertook my mission. The Kilgoffs, tlie MacParlines, the
Chief Justice, Meek, and — in fact, all your friends are there — and we
only want t/oic to make the party complete."

" I cannot express the regret — the very deep regret — I feel at
being obliged to decline such an honour ; one which, I am free to
confess, actually takes me by surprise. But, my dear Mr. Linton,
you see these weighty papers — that formidable heap yonder "

" Meek said so," said Linton, interrupting, and at the same time
assuming a look of deep despondency. " 'Hammond will refuse,'
said he. ' There's no man at the Irish Bar has the same amount of
business ; he cannot give his friends even one hour from his clients.' "

"I'm sure I scarcely suspected the Eight Honourable Secretary
knew of me," said Hammond, blushing between pleasure and shame.

" Downie not know of you ! — not know Mr. Hammond ! — come,
come — this may do for a bit of quiz in those Irish newspapers that
are always affecting to charge English officials with ignorance of the
distinguished men, here ; but I cannot permit Mr. Hammond himself
to throw out the aspersion, nor, indeed, can I suffer Meek, one of my
oldest friends, to lie under the obloquy. I need not tell one so much
more capable of appreciating these things than myself, how every ad-
ministration comes into ofiice with a host of followers far more eager
for place, and infinitely more confident of high deservings, than the
truly capable men of the party. These 'locusts' eat up the first
harvest, but, happily for humanity, they rarely live for a second."

Linton leaned back in his chair, and appeared to be taking counsel
with himself, and at length, as if having formed his resolve, said,

" Of course frankness with such a man is never a mistaken policy."
And with this muttered soliloquy again became silent



It was not "Flattery" he sold, but " Hope."


"We left Mr. Linton and Mr. Hammond seated opposite eacli otlier,
the former lost in seeming reflection, the latter awaiting -n-itli eager
expectancy for something which might explain the few strange words
he had just listened to.

" May I venture on a bit of confidence, Mr. Hammond," said
Linton, clearing his brow as he spoke; "you'll never betray me?"

" Never — on my honour."

"Never, willingly, I well know j but I mean, will you strictly
keep what I shall tell you — for yourself alone — because, as I am the
only depositary of the fact, it would be inevitable ruin to me if it got

" I give you my solemn pledge — I promise."

" Quite enough — well ' ' Here he leaned on the other's shoulder,

and putting his lips close to his ear, said : " Malone will retire — Eepton
will be Chief — and" — here he prodded the listener with his finger —
" Attorney- General."

" Tou mean me. Sir — do you mean that I am to be Attor "

" Hush !" said Linton, in a long low note ; " do not breathe it,
even in your sleep ! If I know tliese things, it is because I am
trusted in quarters where men of far more influence are hoodwinked.
Were I once to be suspected of even this much, it would be ' up'
with me for ever"

" My dear friend — will you pardon me for calling you so ? — I'd
sufl'er the torture of the rack before I'd divulge one syllable of it. I
own to you, my family, and my friends in general, have not been
patient under what they deemed the Government neglect of me."

" And with too good reason. Sir," said Linton, assuming the look
and air of a moraliser. " And do you know why you have been
passed over, Mr. Hammond ? I'll tell you. Sir ; because your talents
were too brilliant, and your integrity too spotless, for promotion, in
times when inferior capacities and more convenient consciences were
easier tools to handle ! — Because you are not a man who, once jilaced
in a conspicuous position, can be consigned to darkness and neglect
when liis capabilities have been proved to the world ! — Because your
knowledge, Sir, your deep insiglit into the political condition of this
country, would soon have placed you above tlie heads of the very men
who appointed you. But times are changed : capable men, zealous


jiien — ay, Sir, and I will say, great men — are in request now. The
Public ivill have them, and Ministers can no longer either overlook
their claim or ignore their merit. You may rely upon it ; I see
something of what goes on behind the scenes of the great State
drama, and be assured that a new era is about to dawn on the really
able men of this country."

" Tour words have given me a degree of encouragement, Mr. Linton,
that I was very far from ever expecting to receive. I have often de-
plored — not on my own account, I pledge my honour — but I have
grieved for others, whom I have seen here, unnoticed and undis-
tinguished by successive Governments."

"Well, there is an end of the system now, and it was time!" said
Linton, solemnly. " But to come back. Is there no chance of steal-
ing you away, even for a couple of days ?"

" Impossible, my dear Mr. Lintou. The voluminous mass of evi-
dence yonder relates to an appeal case, in which I am to appear
before ' the Lords.' It is a most important suit ; and I am at this
very moment on my way to London, to attend a consultation with
the Solicitor- General."

" How unfortunate ! — for us, I mean — for, indeed, your client cannot
join in the plaint. By the way, your mention of ' the Lords' reminds
me of a very curious circumstance. Tou are aware of the manner in
which my friend Cashel succeeded to this great estate here?"

" Tes. I was consulted on a point of law in it, and was present at
the two trials."

" "Well, a most singular discovery has been made within the last
few days. I suppose you remember that the property had beeu part
of a confiscated estate, belonging to an old Irish family, named Cor-

' I remember perfectly — a very fine old man, that used to be well
known at Daly's Club, long ago."

"The same. Well, this old gentleman has been always under the
impression, that shortly after the accession of George III. the Act of
Confiscation was repealed, and a full pardon granted to his ancestors
for the part they had taken in the events of the time."

" I never knew the descendants of one of those ' confiscated' families
who had not some such hallucination," said Hammond, laughing;
"they cling to the straw, like the drowning man."

" Exactly," said Linton. " I quite agree with you. In the present
case, however, the support is better than a straw; for tliere is an
actual hondjide document extant, purp.orting to be the very pardon
in question, signed by the King, and bearing the royal seal."

" Where is this ? In whose possession?" said Hammond, eagerly.

Linton did not heed the question, but continued :




" By a very siugular coincidence, the discovery is not of so much
moment as* it miglit be ; because, as Caaliel is about to marry the old
man's sranddaufchter — his sole heiress — no change in the destination
of the estate would ensue, even supposing Corrigan's title to be all
that he ever conceived it. However, Cashel is really anxious on the
point : he feels scruples about making settlements and so forth, with
the consciousness that he may be actually disposing of what he has
no real claim to. He is a sensitive fellow ; and yet he dreads, on the
other side, the kind of exposure that would ensue in the event of this
discovery becoming known. The fact is, his own ancestors were
little better than bailiffs on the estate ; and the inference from this
new-found paper would lead one to say, not over-honest stewards

'■ But if this document be authentic, Mr. Linton, Cashel's title is
not worth sixpence."

" That is exactly what I'm coming to," said Linton, who, the reader
may have already perceived, was merely inventing a case regarding a
marriage, tlie better to learn from the counsel the precise position the
estate would stand in towards Mary Leicester's husband. " If this
document be authentic, Cashel's title is invalid. Now, what would
constitute its authenticity ?"

" Several circumstances : the registry of the pai'don in the State
Paper Office — tlie document itself, bearing the unmistakable evi-
dences of its origin — the signature and seal — in fact, it could not
admit of much doubt when submitted to examination."

"I told Cashel so," said Linton. "I said to him, 'My opinion
unquestionably is that tlie pardon is genuine ; but,' said I, ' when we
liave Hammond here, he shall see it, and decide the question.' "

" Ah ! that is impossible "

" So I perceive," broke in Linton ; " we then hoped otherwise."

"Why didn't you bring it over with you?"

" So i did," said Linton ; " here it is." And, opening a carefully-
folded envelope, he placed the important document in the lawyer's

Ilanmiond spread it out upon the table, and sat down to read
it over carefully, while Linton, to afford the more time to the scrutiny,
took the opportunity of descending to his breakfast.

He stopped as lie passed tlie bar to say a few words to the landlord
— one of those easy speeches he knew so well how to make about the
"state of trade," "what travellers were passing," and "how the
prospect looked for the coming season" — and then, when turning
awav, as if suddcnlv recollectine; himself, said:

. " By the way, Swindon, you are a cautious fellow, that a man may
trust with a secret — you know who the gentleman is that came
with me ?"


" "No, Sir ; never saw him before. Indeed, I did not remark liim

" All tlie better, Swindon. He does not fancy anything like scrutiny.
He is Mr. Eoland Cashel."

"OfTubbermore, Sir?"

" The same. Hush, man — be cautious ! He has come up here
about a little law business on which he desired to consult Mr. Ham-
mond, and now we have a document for signature, if you could only
find us another person equally discreet with yourself to be the witness,
for these kind of things, when they get about in the world, are mis-
represented in a thousand ways. Do you happen to have any confi-
dential man here would suit us ?"

"If my head-waiter. Sir, Mr. Nipkin, would do; he writes an
excellent hand, and is a most reserved, cautious young man."

" Perfectly, Swindon ; he'll do perfectly. Will you join us up-
stairs, where my friend is in waiting? Pray, also, give Nipkin a
hint not to bestow any undue attention ou Mr. Cashel, who wants
to be incoff. so far as may be ; as for yourself, Swindon, no hint is

A graceful bow from the landlord acknowledged the compliment,
and he hastened to give the necessary orders, while Linton continued
his way to the apartment where the Italian awaited him.

" Impatient for breakfast, I suppose, Giovanni ?" said Linton, gaily,
as he entered. " Well, sit down, and let us begin. Already I have
done more than half the business which brought me here, and we may
be on our way back within an hour."

Giovanni seated himself at the table without any of that constraint
a sense of inferiority enforces, and began his bi-eakfast in silence.

" Tou understand," said Linton, " that when you have written the
name ' Eoland Cashel,' and are asked if that be your act and deed,
you have simply to say ' Yes ;' a bow— a mere nod, indeed— is suffi-

'• I understand," said he, thoughtfully, as if reflecting over the
matter with himself. " I conclude, then," added he, after a pause,
" that the sooner I leave the country afterwards, the better — I mean
the safer — for me."

"As to any positive danger," said Linton, aflecting an easy care-
lessness, "there is none. The document is merely a copy of one
already signed by Mr. Cashel, but which I have mislaid, and I am so
ashamed of my negligence I cannot bring myself to confess it."

Tliis tame explanation Linton was unable to finish without falter-
ing, for the Italian's keen and piercing dark eyes seemed to pene-
trate into him as he was speaking.

" With this I have nothing to do," said he, abruptly. " It is
quite clear, however, that Giovanni Santini is not Kolaud Cashel ;



nor, if there be a penaltj' on what I have done, am I so certain that
he whose name I shall have forged will undergo it in my place."

"Ton talk of forgery and penalties as if we were about to com-
mit a felony," said Linton, laughing. " Pray give me the cream.
There is really no such peril in the case, and if there were, it would
be all mine."

" I know nothing of your laws here — I desire to know nothing of
them," said the Italian, liaughtily ; " but if it should be my lot to be
arraigned, let it be for something more worthy of manhood. I'll
sign the paper, but I shall leave the country at once."

No words could have been more grateful to Linton's ears than
these. He was, even at that very moment, considering in his own
mind in what way to disembarrass himself of his "friend" when this
service should have been effected.

" As you please, Giovanni," said he, gravely. " I regret to part
company so soon with one whose frankness so well accords with my
own humour."

The Italian's lips parted slightly, and a smile of cold and dubious
meaning flitted across his dark features.

" 'We part here, then," said he, rising from the table. " There is
a vessel leaves this for Bristol at noon to-day. It is already past
eleven o'clock."

" I'll not delay," said Linton, rising and ringing the bell. " Send
Mr. Swindon here," said he to the waiter, while he opened a parch-
ment document upon the table, and after hastily glancing over it,
folded it carefully again, leaving uppermost the margin, ^here cer-
tain pencil marks indicated the places of signature. " This is yours,
Giovanni," said he, placing a weighty purse in the Italian's hand,
who took it with all the easy indifference of one whose feelings of
shame were not too acute. " Eemember what I have "

There was no time to finish, for alread}' a light tap was heard at
the door, and the landlord, followed by the head-waiter, entered.

" We are pressed for time, Swindon," said Linton, as he examined
the pens, which, like all hotel ones, seemed invented for ruling music
paper, " and have sent for you to witness the signature to this docu-
ment. Here, Cashel, you are to sign here," said lie, turning to
Giovanni, who had just liglited a cigar, and was smokiug away with
all imaginable coolness. The Italian took the pen, and with a bold
and steady hand wrote the words " Eoland Cashel."

" Mr. Swindon at this side ; Mr. Nipkiu's name comes under-

" You acknowledge this for your hand and seal. Sir ?" said Swin-
don, turning towards Giovanni.

" I do," said the Italian, in an accent which did not betray the
slightest emotion, nor any trace of foreign pronunciation.


'■'All right; tliank you, Swindon — thanks, Mr. IS'ipkin," said
Linton, as, with an elation of countenance all his efforts could not
suppress, he folded up the parchment ; " and now, will you order my
horses at once ?"

The landlord and the waiter left the room, and Linton found him-
self once more alone with Giovanni; the only consolation he felt
being that it was for the last time. There was a pause, in which
each gazed steadily at the other without a word. At last, with a
long-drawn sigh, Giovanni exclaimed :

" Perdio ! but it is hard to do." And with this he pressed his
liat upon his brows, and waving a careless farewell with his hand,
walked out, leaving Linton in a state of amazement not altogether
unmingled with fear. Tom watched the tall and stalwart figure of
the foreigner as he moved through the crowd that filled the quay,
and it w^as with a sense of relief he could not explain to himself that
he saw him cross the plank that led to the steamer, on whose deck
numerous passengers were already assembled. The bell rang out in
warning of her approaching departure, and Linton kept his eyes in-
tently fixed upon the one figure, which towered above the others
around him. Ah'eady the scene of bustle portended the moment of
starting, and some were hastening on board, as others, with not less
eagerness, were endeavouring to get on shore ; when, just at that
instant, the landlord's voice was heard.

" Mr. Hammond is just going off. Sir ; he wants to say one word
to you before he goes."

Mr. Hammond had just taken his seat in his carriage, and sat with
one hand upon the door, awaiting Linton's coming.

" I am run sharp for time, Mr. Linton," cried he, " and have not
a second to lose. I wish sincerely I could have given a little more
time to that document— not indeed that any feature of difficulty
exists in forming an opinion, only that I believe I could have put
vour friend on the safe road as to his future course."

" Ton regard it theu as authentic — as a good and valid instru-
ment ?" said Linton, in a low but eager voice.

" So much so," said Hammond, lowering his tone to a mere whis-
per, " that if he does not marry the young lady in question, I would
not give him twenty shillings for his title."

" Bv .Jove !" exclaimed Linton, leaning his head on the door of

Online LibraryCharles James LeverRoland Cashel (Volume 2) → online text (page 4 of 32)