Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

66

[ocr errors]

sure.

eyes and started up. "Oh Christopher, I state; when he went to bed his castles wish you wouldn't come and frighten me were stories high, he had awakened with so,” she said, petulantly turning herself a sense that they were crumbling, and away from him.

now he saw them shattered and laid low. Dear, I have been here ever so long; Added to this, Sunday was a day which only before you lay so quiet, that when I always tried him, its 'minutes seemed to heard you move and sigh, I thought you dray themselves out to hours, and he was were awake perhaps and wanted some glad of any prospect which offered some thing."

change to the routine of church-going, in ÑO," Robin could command her ac- which the example set by his neighbors tions better than her words; she stretched had to be followed. out her hand to him, “only to be left He had intended that Dr. Heywood quiet,” she added.

should have been asked to pay his call at “Do you mind me sitting here?luncheon-time, this would have insured I'd rather you went away.”

his hearing all the gossip for twenty Christopher turned to go.

miles round, and on his part he had arRobin was stirred by compunction. ranged what he would say regarding Mr.

Christopher, you don't think me un. Chandos, about whom now he would no kind, do you? I don't want to be.” longer keep silent; he should tell the

“ Unkind! No, why should I think doctor that he was free to repeat his words you unkind ? Because you don't want to anybody, and by this means he fancied to be fidgetted by me, for fidgetty I am it not impossible that they might reach and always shall be, I fear, whenever the the ears of the squire himself. slightest thing is the matter with you As is usually the case when cheerfulthe toll we pay for love is anxiety." ness is the result of effort, Robin's spirits

“But there is nothing to be anxious seemed unusually high, and this in itself about. I am not ill. I haven't anything aggravated Mr. Blunt and made him rethe matter with me.”

sentful towards her. The suspicion conNothing the matter! and you lying cerning that money transaction came back here, that is not like my Robin, I am with renewed force, he felt perfectly con

vinced that she had “put Christopher up The words were so tenderly spoken to it," and he cautioned himself to be on that they dropped like dew on Robin's bis guard, and keep tight hold of the fevered heart. Should she tell him? tell purse-strings, for fear that by indepen: him all. Confide in him about Jack, of dence his authority might be slackened. her meeting with him, and who he had Christopher dead, Robin left with chil. proved to be ?

dren, unless he kept some hold over her, She hesitated, a something which she who could say how she might treat him? would not own, which she resolutely “ No, no,” it was very well now all was turned away from, rose unbidden and fine-weather sailing, but he hadn't forgotheld her back. She knew that she might ten to whom she belonged, nor how that trust Christopher, that he was worthy of who had served him, and he raked among her confidence; it was not that which his recollections in search of bygone stopped her, it was something in herself, slights and injuries, banking up his ill. still, after all, perhaps ... The opportu- humor and setting it smouldering: nity was gone.

Unfortunately familiar with the look Christopher, recalling what she had upon his father's face, Christopher, notsaid, pressed her hand with his lips, and ing the impatience of his movements and before she had fully made up her mind the surly tone, of his voice, felt particuwhat she would do, he turned away and larly uneasy. went out of the room.

Úp to the present time Robin had seen

nothing of his ill temper, and whatever CHAPTER XXVI.

rough speech he had indulged in had ROBIN's appearance at breakfast the never for a moment rested on her; but next morning, recovered and her usual this morning she evidently did not please self, disowning any remaining trace of him - his tea was too sweet, he had it indisposition, and laughing at the bare thrown away; in the next cup given him, idea of having a doctor to see her, did not she put too much milk; in each remark tend to improve the bad temper in which she made — and poor soul, what an effort Mr. Blunt had arisen. Possibly the re. it cost her to make one !- he found some. action from his self-indulgence of the thing to contradict, until, with that unnight before had something to do with his lucky fate which generally leads persons

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

at cross-purposes to touch on some sore “ He never interfered with me though, subject, Robin, reminded by something papa didn't,” she said, looking up in re. Christopher said of Sundays abroad, re- ply to Mr. Blunt. " When I

was old ferred to a particular one which they had enough to do as I liked, and I could go, all spent in Venice together. Since she I always went to church every Sunday, had seen Jack, her father had been so in more especially latterly," and in an instant her thoughts that his name – seldom her memory had travelled back, and she mentioned by her before Mr. Blunt saw herself setting off to go, because slipped out inadvertently,

perhaps God would listen to her there, Christopher, plunging into a long-wind- would hear her prayers better, would ed, roundabout reply, hoped that his father spare her father to her. was not going to notice it. Illusory sup- A burst of tears followed on her words. position ! Mr. Blunt had been itching " Robin! Robin!” for something to be dropped that he could Christopher was beside her. catch up and be offensive about.

“It's because it made me think of him," His state was by no means singular she sobbed, “and how I used to hope he in Wadpole that very morning a finger would get better.” might have been placed on a good score Christopher passed his hand tenderly of persons, old and young of both sexes, over the bent head, trying to soothe her. who to their own torment, and the tor. He knew how uncontrollably these bursts ment of their families, felt themselves in of sorrow came, and how bravely she a similar disposition ; but among them tried to subdue them. Already she was all not one labored under the disadvan- wiping their traces away. tages which beset Mr. Blunt; from whom, Mr. Blunt, for the moment taken aback, the moment his good-humor forsook him, now gave vent to a most lugubrious sigh. the thin veneering of social polish van. “ If you're going to give way to the habit ished completely, and you saw the man of every time anything's spoken, of treatas nature had left him, coarse, rough, ing us to a set out of tears, Robin, it's bullying, with no comprehension of any best for you to know that I for one can't of those finer feelings, about which he stand it; I never could in my life, and I himself knew nothing.

ain't going to begin now. It's what I A great many of the wounds he gave never was accustomed to - crying in fe. he had no idea of giving; and he prided males, more particularly when there's himself on forgetting the injuries he re. nothing to cry for. It's true you may ceived far sooner than those who had have lost your father, but that's in a injured him forgave the rebuffs he gave course of nature. Everybody, if they them.

live to, sooner or later, must some time Only waiting till Christopher had so or 'nother lose their fathers." far delivered himself that he might feel “ Well, of course she knows that,” said certain of commanding Robin's undivided Christopher, " although what difference it attention, Mr. Blunt gave vent to a suc- makes I can't see. It's only very natural cession of snorts intended by him as a that she should sorrow for him, seeing laugh, but which might be taken for any- how devoted they were to each other." thing indicating contempt and derision. Mr. Blunt laughed offensively.

“That's good,” he said, “about Sun. "Oh, well," he said, “I suppose it's days; he must have precious altered be the right way: spend every farthing you fore church.going was anything in your can lay your hand to; beggar your wife, father's way." The sneering tone and leave your daughter dependent on charity, manner, more than the words, made Rob- and you'll be lamented as the best father in's cheeks scarlet; for a moment she that ever was. It's something new to me, was silent; about her father caring to go though, and I'd hoped my daughter-into church there was nothing she could law would have showed more sense than say. How often, since Christopher had to try and teach me the lesson. I'm willtalked to her, had she lamented that she ing enough to let bygones be bygones. had not been more persistent in her urg: I don't want to rake up the past, nor to ing! It was true that at times she had bave names mentioned that I never speak asked him to go with her, but when he of — only, if they are, don't treat me to a declined she was quite content that he scene which leads to a regular upset,” and should stay away; Jack didn't go, why jumping up, he pushed back his chair should he ?' In those days Jack had been violently, seemed as if he was going out Robin's standard of morality and consist of the room, altered his mind, and came ency.

back again.

A FRENCH ASSIZE.

I.

Perhaps he was expecting that she It was Christopher's face that grew scarwould say something. Robin tried to let. A glance at him showed Robin how stiile her sense of injury. Her eyes, dry his father's words were paining him. In of tears now, were opened to the full, a moment she had gone over to where the bright and sparkling: a spot of color had old man stood, and stretching out her come out on either cheek; she held her hands to him, “Uncle," she said, “you head more than usually erect, and her know that is not what Christopher means. voice, when she spoke, was high-toned. He knows - and I know, too — how very

“I am sorry if I have made you at all kind you have been to me, and if I have uncomfortable, uncle,” she said, address in any way said anything to offend you, ing him. “I will take care it does not forgive it; only - only when - when you happen again; but to speak, as you have speak of my father" - her rising tears just done, of my father to me, is not kind began to choke her, and unable to stem of you."

the torrent, she ran out of the room, leay“Oh, indeed, isn't it?" said Mr. Blunt ing the father and son alone. surlily. “Well, I'm the best judge of that.”

“No, I don't think you are. I cannot suppose that you knew how much it

From The Cornhill Magazine. would wound me, or I don't believe that you

would have said it.” “ I tell you what it is, young lady: you know very little about what's happened The entrance of two judges into an between your father and me, so the less English assize town is, weather favoring, you take me to task about it the better we an impressive sight; or at least it can be two shall get on together."

made so. It is not often that a sheriff His wrath was beginning to increase. evinces his parsimony after the manner Christopher, dreading a further display of of a certain official of that rank, who went it, hastened to be peacemaker.

out to receive Lord Chief Justice Cock. “Come, come, father,” he said; “let burn in a hansom cab, and was straightus say no more about the matter. I am way fined 500l. for his impudence. Most sure you must see that Robin had no sheriffs are anxious to acquit themselves thought of vexing you any more than you creditably of the task which the law imwished to wound her. So let's forget all poses upon them, and some would no about it."

doubt go to extremes in the matter of But, quick to note, Mr. Blunt saw pageantry had not an etiquette arisen that as he spoke he took Robin by the which informally regulates to what extent hand, an evidence, to his mind, that he the ceremonial of receiving the judges sided with her.

shall go. The judges must have fine car“Two against one,” he thought; "and riages with four horses, servants in livery, that's what it will be in future if I don't javelin-men; a comfortable house toflodge put down my foot upon it,” so assuming in, and the sheriff, who houses and feeds more displeasure than he positively felt, them at his own expense, must attend he said,

them into court daily attired in uniform. “ Easier said than done, at my time If the calendar at the assizes be a heavy of life. You must, both of you, try and one, the sheriff's expenses in entertaining keep it in mind that I'm master of this the judges for several days must often be house, and therefore expect to be a little considerable. In France, where the calstudied.”

endars are always heayy, the assize judges "Well, I hope you have had no reason have not only to defray all their own ex

I to complain of that so far,” said Christo- penses, but they are expected to give at pher. " I'm sure Robin has entirely de. least one dinner to the local officials. By voted herself to you.”

way of indemnity they receive from the Oh, dear, bless my heart, I don't want State a fee of five hundred francs, or 201. her to make a trial of what there's plenty The regular salaries of these assize as good as she, and better too, would look judges, who are councillors of the Dis. upon as a pleasure. There must be a fat trict Court of Appeal, specially commislot to complain of in eating and drinking sioned, vary between 2401. and 3601.; but of the best, having a carriage to ride in, never exceed this last figure. and not being asked to soil a finger, espe- This is only another way of saying that cially to one who's been so very much French judges are as a rule men of priused to that sort o' thing as she has." vate means who have accepted judicial

1

[graphic]

office for the honor of the thing. The are likewise sought only by the most afflu. republican party now in power have re-ent. As for the highest judicial office of solved to effect a radical reform in the all, that of president of the Court of Cas. judicature, and to bestow the highest sation or supreme court of civil and offices on the bench, as they are conferred criminal appeal, the salary is 1,200l.; in England, on successful barristers whom but the holder of this most venerated they will attract by the offer of salaries office has to pay for his dignity on a scale twice and three times larger than those which only an income of several thounow paid. Thus it is proposed to give sands of pounds will suffice to meet. councillors of appeal courts (whose nun- Assizes are held twice, or if needful bers will be diminished) from Gool. to three times a year, in the chief towns of 1,000l. a year, and presidents of appeal each department, and three councillors courts from 1,2001. to 2,000l.; under the of the district cour d'appel are commis. new system also, should it ever come into sioned to hold them. The senior councilforce, the judges of assize will have all lor takes the temporary title of president their expenses paid for them and receive of the assizes, and on him devolve all the a fee of 41. a day into the bargain. These principal duties, ceremonial and other. reforms must altogether change the or- The judges arrive in the town without any ganization of the French judicature ; but display, but as soon as they have alighted speaking of French judges as they are at the chief hotel in the place they must now, one must say of them that, if not begin paying their official visits in a caralways intellectually brilliant, they are riage and pair. They are bound to call without exception a highly dignified, hon- first on the prefect, on the commander of orable, and well-trained body of men. the garrison if he be a general of division, Those of them who are commissioned to and on the diocesan if he be an archhold assizes have generally sat for many bishop, and the visits in such cases must years on the bench. They belong in be paid in their scarlet robes. If, how most cases to the provincial noblesse and ever, the garrison commander be a gen. commenced their career in the magistra. eral of brigade, and the diocesan only a ture assize, at the age of twenty-six bishop, the assize president and his asor twenty-seven, by being appointed as- sessors return to their hotel after calling sistant judges in the tribunals of correc. on the prefect, for they rank higher for tional police; after which they became the nonce than all other officials, and are assessors in those tribunals, juges d'in- entitled to receive first visits from them. struction (examining magistrates), and The prefect, accompanied by his secrefinally councillors of a court of appeal. tary and the councillors of préfecture, all There are twenty-one of these appeal in full uniform, speedily arrives at the courts, formerly called royal or imperial hotel to pay his return visit, and after him courts, and the staff of each includes a come, in what order they please, the genpresident and an indefinite number of eral, the bishop, the mayor of the town, councillors. Some courts have but six or the president, assessor, and public proseeight councillors, others more than twenty. cutor of the local tribunal, the central A councillorship is the supreme dignity commissioner of police, and divers other to which a judge can claim to rise by functionaries. They make but a short length of service, though by government stay, and as soon as they are gone the favor he may be promoted to the higher judges divest themselves of their robes, functions of president of a court, or coun- and set out to pay their return visits in cillor of the Court of Cassation in Paris. evening dress. The etiquette in all these The presidentships, however, are very points is strictly defined. It was origioften conferred on the most distinguished nally regulated by Napoleon, and has been members of the magistrature debout, the adhered to with but little variation ever procurator general, or chief public pros. since. At times attempts have been made ecutor of appeal courts; and it may be to condense the whole formality into a mentioned that councillors seldom care mere exchange of cards; but the French to accept these high posts unless they are love ceremony, and of late the secret anquite rich men. The president of a cour tagonism between aristocratic judges and d'appel gets 6ool. a year, but he is re. the republican government has induced quired to keep up so much state and to republican prefects to stickle most puncgive so many dinners and parties that he tiliously for the observance of all official spends his salary two or three times over. courtesies due towards them.

Not long The councillorships of the Court of Cas- ago an assize president who was by birth sation, which involve a residence in Paris, la

marquis called upon a prefect, and made

a

66

.

him the stiffest of bows, saying, “Sir, I | at the courts of appeal, which are stahave come to pay you the visit which the tionary, and whose presidents never figure law requires.” The prefect was a good sel- in assize commissions. When a calendar low, and returning the call an hour after- is unusually heavy, the judges arrive two wards, said with the blandest of smiles, or three days before the proceedings com

Sir, I come to pay a visit which in some mence; but in any case they come one cases might be a mere duty, but which in clear day beforehand, in order that they this instance is a real pleasure.” The in- may have ample time to examine the terviews between judges and bishops are dossiers of all the causes. This is algenerally more genial than this.

ways done with the utmost care. The While the judges have been getting dossier is a compilation which includes through their visits, the avocat général not only the indictment and the deposiappointed to act as public prosecutor at tions of witnesses before the examining the assizes has also been exchanging ci- magistrate, but all the facts and rumors vilities with the local authorities; but in which the police have been able to collect his case card-leaving is held to be suffi- concerning the antecedents of the accient. The avocat général is one of the cused. A copy of each dossier handed assistants of the procureur général or to the judges is laid before the chambre chief public prosecutor of the district des mises en accusation, which performs over which the appeal court has jurisdic. the same functions as an English grand tion. He sits in the assize court in red jury. The members composing it are robes, and conducts the prosecution of all specially delegated judges or magistrates the prisoners: it is only in cases where of a lower rank than councillors, and it private prosecutors want to get pecuniary rests with them to determine whether damages out of a prisoner, besides seeing prisoners shall be put upon their trial. him punished according to law, that they They are not limited, however, to the two are represented by counsel of their own. alternatives of finding a true bill or ignorThey are then said to constitute them- ing the bill altogether. They may order selves civil parties to the suit. They may a supplément d'instruction, that is, send do this even when a prisoner is on his trial back the case to the examining magistrate for murder, and indeed pecuniary damages for further inquiry. It is the main prinare almost always claimed when a pris. ciple of French procedure that a case oner is supposed to be able to pay them. should come up to a criminal court comIt has not unfrequently happened that a plete in all its details, and this throws raurderer, besides being sentenced to upon examining magistrates an amount death, has been made to pay a heavy fine of labor and responsibility almost incredi. to the relations of his victimn. These fines ble. are inflicted, not by the jury, but by the Four categories of offences are tried at bench. A few years ago a gentleman the assizes: firstly, crimes involving sennamed Armand, of Bordeaux, was put tences of death or penal servitude ; sec. upon his trial for trying to murder his ondly, political offences; thirdly, by the servant, Maurice Roux. The jury ac- Act of iSSi, press offences; and fourthly, quitted him, but the bench, having their manslaughters caused by duelling. The doubts about the matter, sentenced hi offenders in the ist three categories are to pay twenty thousand francs damages to generally, though not always, treated Roux, and the Court of Cassation upheld with courtesy. They have been at large this curious decision. Prince Pierre on their own recognisances; they are not Bonaparte, when acquitted of the murder required to surrender themselves into of Victor Noir, the journalist, in 1870, actual custody, and they do not sit in the was also made to pay twenty thousand dock during trial. All other offenders, francs damages to his victim's mother; however, even when they have been adand only a few months since. a country mitted to bail, must surrender at the gentleman, who was convicted of having house of detention on the day before killed an antagonist in a duel, was sen- the assizes open, and must be brought up tenced to pay 4,000l. compensation to the in custody. It is the public prosecutor, deceased's widow, in addition to undergo- and not the bench, who decides to what ing a year's imprisonment, and paying a extent accused persons shall be enlarged fine of 401. to the State with all the costs before and during trial. He may if he of the trial.

pleases keep a political offender or a

| journalist or duellist as strictly confined French assizes are only held to try before trial as an ordinary felon; and he criininal causes. All civil suits are heard | may at his discretion stay the execution

II.

« VorigeDoorgaan »