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drawer. I did this. Dogwood called
Dogwood called a little before four, and I watched him take the packet out, and fasten the spring again. He took the packet away with him.”
“Damnatioo!” hissed the baronet through his clenched teeth, "I am ruined;" then stretching over to his counsel, he said, with fierce vehemence, Cruss-examine that witness, and shake his testimony."
“ Is it a fabrication, then ?” asked the advocate.
“Never mind, never mind,” rejoined the baronet. «Get him to contradict himself, or I am undone.”
“Excuse me, Sir Edward,” returned the counsel, drawing himself ир. I cannot have my name associated with a fraud of this kind. Had I been informed of it, I should not have taken the case in hand.”
“ Then, sir, I am ruined-dishonoured !” said Sir Edward, furiously.
“My honour is as important as yours," retorted the other, calmly.
“ Is the witness free to go?” asked the Lord-President, looking towards the defender's counsel.
The latter nodded assent, and Ned was allowed to depart; and as he descended from the witness-box, he observed his master eagerly beckoning him to join him.
The proud fellow soon found his way to where they all sat, and was welcomed by them with mute delight.
Witness No. 3 was now called, and an old man appeared, plainly
“ Your name is John Goodman, I believe ?" began the advocate.
* Do you know that paper ?" asked the advocate, handing up the
The old man took it in his hand, and looked at it attentively.
“ Yes, sir,” he replied, in a decided tone; " and this is my name
- Now, tell us if you knew any thing of the parties prievously?"
- About two months before that, sir, the French Packet, in sailing past for Portsmouth, signalled for a boat off Silvertou. One of our fishing cobbles went, and returned with two passengers, a lady
and a gentleman. My wife and I lived at that time at the end of the village, and as we had a spare room, we sometimes, in the summer time, took in a lodger. Some of our neighbours told the gentleman this, and he came and asked if we could let the lady stay with us for a few weeks. We said Yes; and she came, but the gentleman stayed at the Inn. They had brought with them two strange-looking boxes with drawers, and these were also brought to our house. He was up every day, and they walked out, and seemed very fond of each other. He was called Mr Ringald Rockhart, and she Miss Lucy Armitage. In two months, they were married at our church ; and I and my wife went as witnesses. I heard him tell her afterwards, to put the certificate into a private drawer in one of the strange boxes. They stayed two weeks longer, and then went away to Scotland.”
"Were these things, which you call strange-looking boxes, like each other?"
• They were the very same.”
This witness was now dismissed, and his wife called, who corro borated his statements in every point. Not one of the witnesses was cross-examined by the opposite counsel, he having practically given the case up when he became aware of the fraud exposed by Ned. The opinion of the spectators, and even of the jury, seemed manifested and decided, by the looks of contempt which they cast on the baronet and his accomplice. Proud as Sir Edward was, he could not brave such public scorn, but shaded his face with his hand, and sat waiting moodily for the issue.
It being intimated that the evidence for the prosecution was closed, the Lord-President looked his readiness to hear the opening for the defence; and with calm, severe gravity, the counsel rose.
“Gentlemen of the jury," he began, “I do no intend to make any remarks on the evidence which has been led by my learned friend, further than to intimate, that it has been of a nature totally unexpected by me. But what I said before the evidence was produced, I
say now. The great question before you, is, Is this young man, the son of Mr Ringald Rockhart, born in lawful wedlock ? It is from a consideration of the evidence adduced, that you must come to a decision; and if you conclude that he is not, I ask you to give a verdict for the defender."
The Lord-President now delivered his charge, and in a similarly laconic strain. Without absolutely stating his opinion, which no judge is at liberty to do, the tone and language left no doubt as to his Lordship's private decision.
Then followed the laying of heads together in the jury-box, and in less than two minutes the foreman rose, and, in a loud voice, announced a verdict for the prosecutor.
An irrepressible cheer rose from every part of the court-room, and Henry's heart throbbed proudly at the sound. But it gave a deeper, holier bound, when a timid hand sought his, and pressed it with fervent emotion. Diamond was the first to congratulate him, and her expression of joy was more to him than all the rest. Nest followed Andrew, who with honest warmth gave utterance to his satisfaction. Richard's feelings were not less genuine; but a fiercer joy glowed, pay, burned at his heart, and filled his eye with a wild, stern, restless light. As he pressed Henry's band, he whispered vehemently, “The hour is coming-coming—it is nearly come." His flashing orbs sought the place where his enemy had been, but his father-in-law and Dogwood had both vanished..
“Ned," he whispered vehemently to the gamekeeper, " follow me," and in great haste made his way from the Court into the lobby.
" He is gone!” he said, fiercely, when they had gained the passages. * We must not let him escape. He is in my grasp now, and no power on earth shall prevent me from crushing him. Ned, we must track him as the bloodhound does the deer.”
“ Yonder he is, Master Richard-he and Dogwood," whispered Ned, pointing to the door which led from the Parliament House.
Quick, then," returned his master. “We must not lose sight of him again. Ned, the moment of triumph is approaching. Do you not feel with me its joy?”
Never was more satisfied in my life," responded Ned, heartily. “ Then you'll assist me, if I need assistance ?" “I'm your man out-and-out, Master Richard.” “Give me your hand, Ned. I will repay you for this one day."
. They had now issued from the main entrance into the colonnade which runs along the inner sides of the Parliament Square, and perceived Rock hart and Dogwood crossing over by the monument. They proceeded cautiously and quickly, as if anxious to avoid the recognition of the people pouring from the Court-house; but Richard and Ned, mixing with the crowd, followed them into the High Street, and saw them turn down the North Bridge.
Never suffering their eyes to lose sight of them for a moment, they pushed on at distance safe from observation, till they gained the end of the North Bridge, and bent their steps along Princes Street, turning up at the first opening, and going into St Andrew Square, where they finally entered one of the Banks.
“Ha! I see his object,” exclaimed Richard, excitedly. "Tis well we followed. He wishes to gain the means of escape, but I'll alk him yet."
WHILE Henry and his friends, happy to excitement, were talking eagerly together, and shaking hands all round in the Court-room, which was now deserted, save by a few of the more curious spectators, who lingered to have a good look at the youth just made baronet of Rockhart Hall, and the clerks who remained to gather up the papers, an officer appeared, and requested him to go to an adjoining room. Here were assembled Mr Strickland and his counsel, together with the counsel who had appeared for the defender.
“Ha! gentlemen, here comes our friend,” cried the little lawyer, running forward as soon as he perceived him. “Sir Henry Rockhart,” he added, leading Henry towards the advocates.
6 Allow me to introduce Mr Pennyfeather, who has so triumphantly won your cause to-day.”
The laughing advocate shook the young man's hand very warmly. "I am delighted to make your acquaintance, Sir Henry," he said; "but permit me to observe, that all the merit of our success lies with Mr Strickland. The state of the brief was such as could not but cause us to win. But, pray let me introduce you to my learned friend, Mr Inglefield, who did his best to keep you to your old name of Henry Smith. Ha! ha! ha!”
And the good-natured man laughed loudly in his "learned friend's" face.
“Still allow me to say, that I am most happy to be among the first to greet the legitimate baronet of Rockhart Hall,” observed Mr Inglefield, bowing gracefully, and taking Henry's outstretched hand. “Sir Henry will know that, as lawyers, we know neither friend nor foe, and are bound to do our utmost for our client, without having the slightest shadow of ill-feeling towards the opposite party. I must also beg to assure the baronet and all present, that had I been in the smallest degree aware of the true state of my learned friend's case, or got a glance at his brief, I would have withdrawn from the cause.
But I tell you honestly, I was deceived. I kneir nothing of the certificate having been stolen, or imagined to have been stolen, by the valet, and burnt by his master; and my real opinion was, what I stated in the defence, that you, Sir Henry, were indeed the son of Mr Ringald, but the illegitimate son.” “I assure you, Mr Inglefield, that I cherish no dislike towards
you because of your position in this day's trial,” said Henry, frankly. “We all know that gentlemen of the long robe must not be judged by the sentiments they utter at the bar.”
Certainly not, Sir Henry,” exclaimed Pennyfeather, with another roar of laughter. “Sometimes we appear in Court ready to tear one another's eyes out, or throw our wigs in a rage in each other's faces, and yet the next minute we are going arm-in-arm along the Parliament House, laughing heartily at the exhibition we have just made before the bench."
“Your game to-day was a capital one, Mr Pennyfeather," remarked Inglefield. We had no chance before you. admirably done. That witness of yours, heavy as he is, is worth his weight in gold."
“Ah! Ned Oakham. To be sure, it was he who gained the case for us,” said Strickland, rubbing his bands. His assistance and information were invaluable.”
• Ay, and he took them to one who knew how to turn them to the best advantage," remarked Inglefield, with a complimentary bow. “Gad, I never was so taken aback as when the certificate appeared."
- What is to be done with that worthy client of yours ?” inquired Penny feather. It would stand hard with him, if Sir Henry indicted him for fraud.”
“Of course, it would," answered Inglefield; "and I am now here to say that, provided no steps be taken against him as a criminal, he will make no opposition to Sir Henry taking immediate possession of the estate. As to refunding the monies drawn, that is out of the question ; for, beyond a sum at his banker's, which can be paid only to Sir Henry, he has no other property. During the later proceedings of the trial, I hastily advised him to this, as the only means of avoiding punishment, and he sullenly assented. It remains with Sir Henry to say whether he is disposed to grant these terms; but I may honestly assure him, and my friend Mr Pennyfeather will hear me out in the statement, that though a verdict has been returned against my client, he has the power of causing the - prosecutor a great deal of trouble and expense, ere be quits Rockhart Hall."
“I can safely attest this, Sir Henry," observed Pennyfeather; "and my advice is, that you adopt the course suggested by my learned friend."
Mr Strickland supported the opinion of the two advocates, and Henry did not consider himself at liberty to adopt a contrary
Base and ill-deserving as Rockhart was, he was still his uncle; and it would look unseemly in the eyes of the world, were he to pursue him with an appearance of such rancorous hatred. The thought flashed across his mind, that Richard would desire the