Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

ANNALS OF PUBLIC JUSTICE.

The day

From the European Magazine. THE WESTERN ASSIZE COURT IN 1689. he rejected all the easy moralities of T HERE was once in a village near Terence, and chose from his old friend

St. David's a pedagogue whose Plautus a drama which required no figure and furniture were worthy of flippant valet, well dressed courtezan, or comparison with Shakspeare's apotbe- gallant young man.

He bad some cary. If the Bardic notion bas any thoughts of translating into pure Latin truth,“ that the soul is an intelligence the scene of Bottom, Starveling, and lapsed from the region of light and Quince, in the Midsummer Night's knowledge, and makes its progress in Dream, as most likely to be suitably this world through a circle of transmi- dressed by his actors; but he luckily grations till it returns to its original remembered a scene in one of Aristostate,” this good man's spirit was very phanes' comedies, which even bis own near its perfection, being almost divest- wardrobe could furnish forth, and this ed of corporeal matter. He lived in a he selected as an interlude. poor hut, attached to a still poorer gar- of rehearsal was of immeose imporden, which furnished his meagre table tance, and Padrig prepared for it aceorwith almost all its accompaniments. dingly. The chief personage is the The riches of bis boyse consisted of play is an old miser, who op bis return numberless traditionary volumes of with the broth which he bas been reWelch romance, especially a genuine ceiving from public charity, finds his copy of the Historia Brittonum ascri- daughter's lover with a troop of servants bed to Nennius, and edited in the tenth preparing for a wedding-dinner in bis century by Mark the Hermit; proba- kitchen, and going to take the soup bly the original of that celebrated MS. kettle in which all bis money is conlately discovered in the Vatican, after cealed. Padrig's kitchen required no having graced the library of Queen alteration to represent the miser's, and Christina. He knew by heart all the no addition except the interment of a Welch chronicle of St. Patrick, from three-legged pot under the bearth-stone. his captivity among the Scots as a He had one of very antique shape, swineberd till he bad baptized seven which be filled with pieces of tin and a kings and seen the flock of birds wbich few old copper medals, to represent the typified the number of his converts. He hoarded coin; and having placed it kuew all the tales of Merlin's ship of under the stone which served as his fireglass ; and, in short, wbatever proves place, Padrig went to bis bed of chaff, the abundance of fiction in Wales: but little dreaming by whom the operation his glory was a school consisting of bad been observed, and what was to folabout fourteen ragged boys, whose ac- low. quirements in Latin could be matched The classic recitations of the next only by their devastations in leek-por- evening began by an interlude translaridge. Emulous of wbat later days ted into Welch from the original have boasted, Padrig qualified his pu- Greek, which Padrig's scholars conld pils to persorm a Latin play annually, not yet compass; and he acting at to improve their prosody and their once as audience, prompter, chief Rosmanners, though he himself (with the cius, and stage-manager, came down exception of the grey-headed vicar, to the door of his but, wbich served on who fasted anu prayed with eight boys this occasion as a very suitable proson thirty pounds per annum) was their cenium. According to the business of sole audience. The expense of erect. the drama, be sat wrapped in an old ing a stage or providing scenery was blanket folded round him in the style of obviated by his choice of a play which Euripides, when a beggar of good required none but what his hut afford. beight and very theatrical demeanour ed. Wiser than modern academicians, came over the hedge of the copse, ex

claiming, in the genuine Greek, “Eu- their stead more than eighty pieces of ripides! I am a distressed man, and pure gold and silver ! But what appearneed thy help to procure pity.” Pa- ed most valuable in his eyes, was a drig, enchanted and surprised by an quantity of medals of rare antiquity, actor so accomplished, but not doubt- and in exquisite preservation. He ing that the rector of St. David's bad brooded over this prodigious treasure sent bis eldest son, as he had promised, till daylight; and his simplicity, aided to assist bis theatricals, replied, in the by his legendary learning, almost inclilanguage of Aristophanes, "Friend, ned him to believe it the gift of some thou hast need of no advocate more elo- second Merlin. In the morn he bastquent than tby scare-crow visage."- ened to his neighbour, the good parish “O Prince of Poets," replied the priest, and shewed him the prosperous stranger, “ of wbat avail is misery unless pot of Plautus, specially pointing out a suitably dressed ?-give me thy rags medal apparently of the days of Brenin which thy Oedipus makes his ap- him Oil, King of all Britain, and a sepearance wiib such grand effect.”—All ries of coins from thence toCadwallader this being exacıly in the business of the The reverend and learned man was comedy, Padrig went into his hut, and deeply astonished at the whole adven-brought forth a bundle of very genuine ture, particularly at the conduct of the rags, which be gave with the air and stranger who had performed a part in speech assigned to Euripides. But, the Greek interlude ; and the schoolmaster of the tragic art !” exclaimed master was no less surprised wheo the the beggar—“implore anotber boon vicar assured him that he knew nothing

- What would thy Oedipus himself of the matter : that his son whose aid have done without a basket ?"_" Seest had been promised had been too much thou not that I am busy with a new indisposed to recite his part, and had tragedy ?" said Euripides—“uke that sent his excuse by an itinerant musician. basket, and begone." -“Beneficent Honest Padrig thought of his ancient Euripides ! of what import is a basket romances, but the vicar saw mischief without picturesque contents ? lend me and danger lurking in bis supposed the water-cresses which thy mother uso good-fortune. The year 1688 had ed to sell in our streets."' Euripides caused the removal of James II. and granted this boon also, and the petition- the agents of his cruelty or his folly er finished his part of the farce by de- were fying in all directions. The parting with bis rags, basket and herbs, confusion, the intrigues, and the secret leaving Padrig to lament that all the enmities of two parties suddenly changlearned of Wales were not present to ing places, were felt even in this remote own how well he had performed the district; and the friends of the Prince wittiest satire composed by Aristo- of Orange, scarcely yet proclaimed phanes against his greatest rival. King of England, were starting from

The whiteheaded Welch striplings, their former concealment to retaliate who had gaped with great awe during the hatred of their enemies. Therethe pompous Greek dialogue, were now fore, the vicar of Padrig's parish feared called on to enact their parts in what that the giver of the gold was some emthey called the Howlolaria of Plautus, inent fugitive, who had contrived to All went on well till the last scene, leave this recompense for the disguise when the pot was discovered under the which he had obtained by acting the hearth, and a great alteration in its part of the Greek poet's mendicant. weight appeared to have been made. When the schoolmaster reflected on the But until the rehearsal was over, and singular fluency with wbich bis unPadrig uncovered his pot, intending to known visitor had spoken a classic lanremove its copper contents and substi- guage, on the style of his features wbich tute a little broth for his supper, he did were evidently altered by art, and on not perceive the wonderful transforma- the rich tokens left behind, he was of tion. All the pieces of tin and old the same opinion ; but his friend's admedals had been removed, leaving in vice to keep the matter secret cost him

some severe struggles. His gleeful he could find an opportunity. Lisle heart ached with its fullness, and he had shrewdness enough to see the could not forbear muttering hiots of his possibility that he might have visited good luck among bis pupils, and some- his old friend and tutor, and perhaps times taking his pot to the casement to received aid froin biin. He yielded io inspect his treasures. The consequen- templation, and, rising at midoigbt, ces were not slow in their coming. took the pot, from its place of interment,

There lived with Padrig under his and speeded his way to the ing where roof, as a kind of inmate and assistant, he knew one of the crown-lawyers had a young man named Lisle, grandson of stopped to spend the night. Serjeant that onhappy lady whose misfortunes Bellasise was a politician too wary to have a place in our history. She was miss any occasion of manifesting zeal widow of a man who had enjoyed to the new government. He heard the Cromwell's favour; and having filed, informer's story, and was shewn the at the Restoration, was assassinated in hoarding-pot, from which Lisle bad Switzerland by three Irisb ruffians, wbo taken all except the cojas, medals, and boped to obtain patronage by their a seal-ring, of which he did not know crime. Lady Lisle was accused of the value. Fellow !" said the Sersheltering iwo of Monmouth's partisans jeant, “this is not all. Bring the rest, after his defeat at Sedgemoor, and or I shall know what to tbink of your after a shameful trial was sentenced to information.” Lisle was taken by death by Judge Jefferies, notwithstand- surprise, but he had to deal with a ing the opinion three times expressed craftier and cooler politician than himby the jury, in favour of her innocence. self. Seeing that he hesitated, the Her miserable descendant found a ref- crown-lawyer added, “ You are youruge in the bounty of the poor school- self an accomplice in secreting a traitor. master, wbo sheltered him from that Show me the rest of the bribe, or my year to the present, intending bim for servants shall take you joto custody." his successor, and calling him with The informer was taken in a trap he harmelss affectation of pomp bis usher, had not foreseen ; and after a long dePadrig could not conceal from Lisle, mur, found himself forced to resign the who had been absent on a journey when pot, and all its contents 10 Serjeant the adventure occurred, the contents of Bellasise, who promised, upon this conbis iron pot, which still remained depos- dition, to preserve him from all bazard, ited under his hearth-stone. Lilse be- and ensure a due reward for bis loyalty. held it eagerly, and an evil spirit enter Not many hours after, Padrig was ed his thoughts.

The Judges were taken from his quiet abode, and lodged expected in a few days to hold the in the town gaol on a charge of highcounty-sessions, and he miglit obtain treason. If any thing could have comthis wealth, and perhaps court-patron- forted him for the treachery of his age, by removing his benefactor. The adopted guest, it would have been the means were easy. Padrig, in the sim- affectionate lamentation of his little plicity of his heart, had often told that flock of pupils, who followed him from Jefferies, whose name has gained such the school he had ruled thirty years to dreadful immortality, had been, when his place of confinement, as if it had an obscure boy of five years old, his fa- been a triumphal procession. Padrig's vourite and most promising pupil. And story had become a subject of very being secretly proud that a chancellor general question, and those wbo knew and chief justice had sprung from his the bent of public affairs bad but little school, he had been often heard to say, hope of bis acquittal. Besides, the that he could not believe Jefferies whol- spirit of the new government was yet ly without some good incligations. untried; and though Chief Justice Now it was strongly suspected that this Herbert and his colleagues were disdistinguished culprit was endeavouriog possessed of power, their successors to make bis escape from the Welch might be equally blind and riotous in coast, and lurking about in disguise till their new authority.

The day of Pa.

drig's trial assembled a croud as anx- justice and a chancellor, and held his ious as any that ever filled a court, sovereign's commission with such men even in these times of sacrifice and per- as Kirke, who instigated and besotted il. Had he been one of the five her- him, But he had no friends, and mits once sanctified in Wales, he could those who had not courage to remonnot have been more respectfully greeted strate against bis violence, will bave by the spectators, nor could his appear- enough now to show him the bitterness ance have been more venerably simple. of his disgrace, when he is weak and His long surcoat of brown camblet, desolate. No, my lord, in this land belted round his waist, his leathern san- and in this year we need not be afraid dals, and the thick grey hair which fell to find places of refuge open to Jeffeon each side of his face down to his ries: he has neither brother nor father, shoulders, shewing his broad forehead wife nor children—he has nothing here and large mild eye, gave him the aspect but enemies and hunters.

If he was of a St. Kentigern, or of bis favorite here, who is in this court that would Hermit Mark, the cbronicler of Wales. not be ready to mock him now as much But the Judges were strangers, and the as they feared bim once? They would leading counsel of the crown a man bid him go and ask mercy from the new to his office, and to this remote woman whose brother perished before district. His countenance promised her eyes after she bąd sold herself to little, for the abundant flow of his hair save him; or from the mother of that was even beyond the ordinary fashion unhappy soldier whose speed was of the times, and indicated more cor- matched with a war horse's. These combry than wisdom. The accused things were done, not by Jefferies but and accuser were both in court, and the by men more wicked than he; yet murmur wbich would have attended the which of these things is greater in crulatter was hushed by fear. Few, very elty than the accusation lodged to-day few, of Padrig's friends ventured to against a helpless old man by his guest think of testifying in his favor, lest the and his pensioner! He is accused of friend of a fallen man should involve sheltering a disgraced and proscribed them in his danger. Padrig stood judge because he loved him when a alone, left to Providence and innocence child. Would this be a fault, even which he trusted, and his eye did not if it was true? Perhaps he did not lose its firm fixture when the crown- koow the unfortunate man he befriendlawyer rose. There was a pause of ed; and it is certain, by the public deep fear and expectation till he ad- frankness of his commuications, that he dressed the court.

did oot koow the gold was attainted. “My lord, you have beard the in- These medals and this ring are known dictment of this man- I have permit- to have belonged once to Jefferiested it to be read, though the iostruc- but his motive forleaving them in Pations in my hand are to withdraw the drig's house might have been a pure prosecution. I permitted it, I say, be- one. There must have been some cause it is fitting that they who dragged good in his heart when he dared return him to this bar, and the people who to his first friend. It must bave been have held bim in reverence till now, punishment enough to return to that should be shewn to justice, and wit- friend and that house poorer

and more ness its dispensation. You have heard despised and wretched than he left it. this grey-headed old man accused of Let us remember how high he stood, abetting a refugee's escape, because a and from whence he fell. Those who few pieces of old gold have been found sit in his place to-day will remember, in bis possession, and because he was that he fell because he judged too rashonce a teacher of grammar to Jefferies. ly, and did not think his King strong You are surprised at the name. Who ever enough to afford mercy to his enemies. thought of befriending Jefferies? He Let our first act be wiser than bis. I bas had his flatterers and bis advocates miglit tear my bries, and close the

proswhen he sat on the bench as a chief- ecution, but I appeal to this court, and

expect to hear the prisoner's acquittal. ved, post-haste and in great trepidation, And that you may be assured how lit. declaring that he had been detained by tle his accuser deserves belief, I am indisposition on the road. None of empowered to tell you, that Jefferies, the judges knew him personally on tbis that criminal whom he pretends was circuit, and they all agreed that none conveyed away by Padrig's means, is but Jefferies himself could have had at this very moment before his judges ; audacity enough to personate him. and this paltry jar of coins, which Enquiries were made at the village ino, tempted the accusation, was brought to and they were informed that the person me as a bribe to forward it. And if it who called himself Bellasise had bad been so offered even 10 Jefferies, arrived there on borseback alone only a he would have thrown it back as I do." few minutes before the treacherous in

The ploader was answered by a half- former came to seek him. How he stifled shout of applause. When he went from the town, or which way be began to speak, his voice was low and travelled, was not very diligently traced hoarse, but as he advanced it became by those who had heard bis daring devigorous, and his eyes started from fence of an innocent man. Ever bold their dark hollows with the earnestness and eccentric, mingling great courage of eloquence. The new judges were with enormous obstinacy, Jefferies had touched by his appeal, and by the op- returned to London, expecting and truportunity to gain favour by a popularly judging that he would be least sought verdict. Padrig was unanimously ac. in the midst of his enemies. Bot by quitted, and the jar of gold, which his lingering too long in the street to hear unexpected advocate had thrown on the music, of which he was passionately table of the court, was restored to him fond, he was discovered, and conveyed undiminished. His miserable accuser to the Tower. There he expiated stole out of the people's reach; but some of his errors by a long imprisonwhen he went to thank the public ment, and died with no consolation but prosecutor for his lenity, he was no the blessing of the poor schoolinaster of where to be found. The pleader had St. David's. He chose the bottle for bis never been seen after he left the court ; executioner; and never had recourse to it and a few hours having been spent in without drinking health to the Judges of wonder, the real Serjeant Bellasise arri- the Western Assizes in 1689. V.

HUMAN SACRIFICES.

From the London Literary Gazette, May 1820. THE THE following account of a pre. ble motives for their visits to this wild,

vented sacrifice, in India, con unattractive place of worship ; and it tains particulars of Hindu superstitions, is their zeal for increasing the native with which we were previously unac- population that gives rise to one of the quainted. The transaction took place inost cruel and murderous sacrifices at Puchmurry, in the Goand Hills. that takes place in Iodia.

At a short distance from Puchmur When a woman has been so long ry, there is a celebrated natural cave, barrea as to make even hope itself turn in the bottom of a solid rock, and this to despair, she proceeds thither, and afbeing sacred to Mahadeo, and other- ter going through the usual ceremonies, wise very famous, great numbers of entreats Mahadeo to remove her 10pilgrims annually resort to it for the fruitfulness, and concludes the whole purpose of prayer and ablution, in a with vowing to sacrifice her first bora small quantity of water, with which infant at his shrine, by dashing it beadthe boriom of the cave is always cove long from a high and craggy rock, ered, owing to a continual dripping close to the one ia which his cave is! from the roof. The female part of the This most dreadful act is executed, I pilreimage, however, have more sensi- was told, yearly, by at least one moth

« VorigeDoorgaan »