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the water came into Alfred's
eyes: "Ah, stanch friend," he said, "how few are like you! To the intellectual
dwarfs who conspire with my oppressors, Hardie v. Hardie is but a family
squabble. Parvis omnia parva." Mr. Compton read it too; and said from the bottom
of his heart, "Heaven defend us from our friends! This is enough to make the
courts decline to try the case at all."
And, indeed, it did not cure the
evil: for next term another malade affidavitaire was set up. Speers to wit. This
gentleman deposed to having come over on purpose to attend the trial; but,
having inadvertently stepped aside as far as Wales, he lay there stricken with a
mysterious malady, and had just strength to forward medical certificate. On this
the judge, in spite of remonstrance, adjourned Hardie v. Hardie to the summer
term. Summer came, the evil day drew nigh: Mr. Heathfield got the venue changed
from Westminster to London, which was the fifth postponement. At last the cause
came on: the parties and witnesses were all in court, with two whole days to try
Dr. Sampson rushed in furious.
"There is some deviltry afloat," said he. "I was in the House of Commons last
night, and there I saw the defendant's counsel earwigging the judge."
"Nonsense," said Mr. Compton,
"such suspicions are ridiculous. Do you think they can talk of nothing but
Hardie v. Hardie?"
"Maiódearr Sirrómy son met one of
Heathfield's clerks at dinner, and he let out that the trip was not to come off.
Put this and that together now."
"It will come off," said Mr.
Compton, "and in five minutes at farthest."
In less than that time the
learned judge came in, and before taking his seat made this extraordinary
"I hear this cause will take
three days to try: and we have only two days before us. It would be inconvenient
to leave it unfinished; and I must proceed on circuit the day after to-morrow.
It must be a remanet: no man can do more than time allows."
Plaintiff's counsel made a feeble
remonstrance; then yielded. And the crier with sonorous voice called on the case
of Bread v. Cheese, in which there were pounds at stake but no principle. Oh,
with what zest they all went into it; being small men escaping from a great
thing to a small one. Never hopped frogs into a ditch with more alacrity. Alfred
left the court and hid himself, and the scalding tears forced their way down his
cheeks at this heartless proceeding: to let all the witnesses come into court at
a vast expense to the parties: and raise the cup of justice to the lips of the
oppressed, and then pretend he knew a trial would last more than two days, and
so shirk it. "I'd have made that a reason for sitting till midnight," said poor
Alfred, "not for prolonging a poor injured man's agony four mortal months." He
then prayed God earnestly for this great postponer's death as the only event
that could give him back an Englishman's right of being tried by his peers, and
so went down to Oxford broken-hearted.
As for Sampson he was most
indignant, and said a public man had no business with a private
ear: and wanted to appeal to the
press again: but the doughty doctor had a gentle but powerful ruler at home, as
fiery horses are best ruled by a gentle hand. Mrs. Sampson requested him to
write no more, but look round for an M.P. to draw these repeated defeats of
justice to the notice of the House. Now there was a Mr. Bite, who had taken a
prominent and honorable part in lunacy questions; headed committees and so on:
this seemed the man. Dr. Sampson sent him a letter saying there was a flagrant
case of a sane man falsely imprisoned, who had now been near a year applying for
a jury, and juggled out of this constitutional right by arbitrary and
unreasonable postponements: would Mr. Bite give him (Dr. Sampson) ten minutes
and no more, when he would explain the case and leave documentary evidence
behind him for Mr. Bite to test his statement. The philanthropical M. P. replied
promptly in these exact words:
"Mr. Bite presents his
compliments to Dr. Sampson to state that it is impossible for him to go into his
case, nor to give him the time he requests to do so."
Sampson was a little indignant at
the man's insolence; but far more at having been duped by his public assumption
of philanthropy. "The little pragmatical impostor!" he roared. "With what a
sense o' relief th' animal flings off the mask of humanity when there is no easy
eclat to be gained by putting 't on." He sent the philanthropical Bite's
revelation of his private self to Alfred, who returned it with this single
remark: "Homunculi quanti sunt!"
Dishonest suitors all try to
postpone; but they do not gain unmixed good thereby. These delays give time for
more evidence to come in; and this slow coming, and chance, evidence is
singularly adverse to the unjust suitor. Of this came a notable example in
October next, and made Richard Hardie determine to precipitate the trial, and
even regret he had not fought it out long ago.
He had just returned from
consulting Messrs. Heathfield, and sat down to a nice little dinner in his
apartments (Sackville Street), when a visitor was announced; and in came the
slouching little figure of Mr. Barkington alias Noah Skinner.
DIAMOND CUT DIAMOND.
Mr. Hardie suppressed a start,
and said nothing. Skinner bowed low with a mixture of his old cringing was, and
a certain sly triumphant leer, so that his body seemed to say one thing, and his
face the opposite. Mr. Hardie eyed him and saw that his coat was rusty, and his
hat napless; then Mr. Hardie smelt a beggar, and prepared to parry all attempts
upon his purse.
"I hope I see my old master
well," said Skinner, coaxingly.
"Pretty well in body, Skinner;
"I had a deal of trouble to find
you, Sir. But I heard of the great lawsuit between Mr. Alfred and you, and I
knew Mr. Heathfield was your solicitor. So I watched at his place day after day:
and at last you came. Oh, I was so pleased when I saw your noble figure; but I
wouldn't speak to you in the street, for fear of
disgracing you; I'm such a poor
little guy to be addressing a gentleman like you."
Now this sounded well on the
surface, but below there was a subtle something Mr. Hardie did not like at all:
but he took the cue, and said,
"My poor Skinner, do you think I
would turn up my nose at a faithful old servant like you? have a glass of wine
with me, and tell me how you have been getting on." He went behind a screen and
opened a door, and soon returned with a decanter, leaving the door opened: now
in the next room sat, unbeknown to Skinner, a young woman with white eye-lashes,
sewing buttons on Mr. Hardie's shirts. That astute gentleman gave her
instructions, and important ones too, with a silent gesture; then reappeared and
filled the bumper high to his faithful servant. They drank one another's healths
with great cordiality, real or apparent. Mr. Hardie then asked Skinner
carelessly, if he could do anything for him. Skinner said, "Well, Sir, I am very
"So am I between you and me,"
said Mr. Hardie, confidentially: "I don't mind telling you; those confounded
Commissioners of Lunacy wrote to Alfred's trustees, and I have been forced to
replace a loan of five thousand pounds. That Board always sides with the insane.
That crippled me, and drove me to the Exchange: and now what I have left is all
invested in time-bargains. A month settles my fate: a little fortune, or
"You'll be lucky, Sir, you'll be
lucky," said Skinner, cheerfully; "you have such a long head: not like poor
little me. The Exchange soon burnt my earnings. Not a shilling left of the
thousand pounds, Sir, you were so good as to give me for my faithful services.
But you will give me another chance, Sir, I know; I'll take better care this
time." Mr. Hardie shook his head sorrowfully, and said it was impossible.
Skinner eyed him askant, and remarked, quietly, and half aside, "Of course I
could go to the other party: but I shouldn't like to do that. They would come
"What other party?"
"La, Sir, what other party? why
Mrs. Dodd's, or Mr. Alfred's; here's the trial coming on, you know, and of
course if they could get me to go on the box and tell all I know, or half what I
know, why the judge and jury would say locking Mr. Alfred up for mad was a
Mr. Hardie quaked internally; but
he hid it grandly, and once more was as Spartan gnawed beneath his robe by this
little fox: "What," said he, sternly, "after all I and mine have done for you
and yours, would you be so base as to go and sell yourself to my enemies?"
"Never, Sir," shouted Skinner,
zealously: then in a whisper, "not if you'll make a bid for me."
"How much do you demand?"
"Only another thousand, Sir."
"A thousand pounds!"
"Why, what is that to you, Sir:
you are rich enough to buy the eighth commandment out of the tables of ten per
cent.: and then the lawsuit, Hardie versus Hardies!"
"You have spoken plainly at
last," said Mr. Hardie, grimly. "'This is extorting money by
threats. Do you know that nothing
is more criminal, nor more easy to punish? I can take you before a magistrate,
and imprison you on the instant for this attempt. I will, too."
"Try it," said Skinner, coolly.
"Where's your witness?"
"Behind that screen."
Peggy came forward directly, with
a pen in. her hand. Skinner was manifestly startled and disconcerted. "I have
taken all your words, down, Mr. Skinner," said Peggy, softly: then. to her
master, "Shall I go for a policeman, Sir?"
Mr. Hardie reflected.. "Yes,"
said be, sternly: "there's no other course with such a lump of treachery and
ingratitude as this."
Peggy whipped on her bonnet.
"What a hurry you are in!" whined
Skinner; "a policeman ought to be the last argument for old friends to ran to."
Then, fawning spitefully, "Don't talk of indicting me, Sir," said he; "it makes
me shiver: why how will you look when I up and tell them all how Captain Dodd
was took with apoplexy in our office, and how you nailed fourteen thousand
pounds off his senseless body, and forgot to put them down in your
balance-sheet, so they are not whitewashed off like the rest."
"Any witnesses to all this,
"Well; your own conscience, for
one," said Skinner.
"He is mad, Peggy," said Mr.
Hardie, shrugging his shoulders. He that looked Skinner full in the face, and
said, "Nobody was ever seized with apoplexy in my office. Nobody ever gave me
£14,000, and if this is the probable tale with which you come here to break the
law and extort money, leave my house this instant: and if ever you date to utter
this absurd and malicious slander, you shall lie within four stone walls, and,
learn what it is for a shabby vagabond to come without a witness to his back,
and libel a man of property and honor."
Skinner let him run on in this
loud, triumphant strain till he had quite done; then put out a brown skinny
finger, and yoked him lightly in the ribs, and said, quite quietly, and oh, so
dryly, with a knowing wink,
BATTLE OF CHATTANOOGA.
WE devote pages 808 and 809 to an
illustration of a scene in the great battle of Chattanooga, from a sketch by Mr.
Theodore R. Davis. Mr. Davis writes:
STORMING OF MISSIONARY RIDGE, NOVEMBER 25, 1863, BY THE FOURTH CORPS.
GRANGER, CHATTANOOGA, Nov. 27.
"On Wednesday afternoon the
Fourth Corps was ordered to carry the rifle-pits at the base of Missionary
Ridge. After the carrying of these works it was discovered that they were so
commanded by the guns upon the ridge that, in order to hold the works, the ridge
itself must be taken. Which (Next
THE CAPTURE OF ORCHARD KNOB,
CHATTANOOGA, BY HAZEN'S AND WILLICH'S BRIGADES,
DEPLOYED AS SKIRMISHERS, NOVEMBER 23, 1863. SKETCHED BY MR. THEODORE R.
DAVIS.ó[SEE PAGE 813.]