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her frequently in prison, and endeavoured to speak comfort to her afflicted spirit; but it was of no avail—the iron had sunk too deeply into her soul. She was convinced, she said, that she must die ; she knew that she had forfeited her life to the outraged laws of her country ; she had indeed no wish to live-her only thoughts were for her poor helpless children; and when I assured her that the hand of benevolence had already been extended to assist them, and that there was nothing to be feared for their safety or welfare, slie became more resigned to her fate, and exhibited a degree of moral fortitude worthy of the most enlightened and philosophical mind.
The day of trial at length arrived, and at the appointed hour she was led into court. She was neatly attired in deep monrning, which had been provided for her by some charitable ladies. Upon being arraigned, she pleaded in a firm but respectful tone“ Not Guilty.” The trial proceeded; she listened with intense interest to all that was passing, and wept bitterly and convulsively as in the course of the evidence the witnesses spoke of the deceased. Notwithstanding the humane and talented exertions of Mr. C. the counsel in her behalf, and the evident feeling of commiseration which pervaded the whole court, the circumstance of her having vowed revenge against her husband as she left the public-house weighed strongly against her. The judge in rigid adherence to his duty called the attention of the jury to this fact, leaving it to them to decide whether a threat made at such a time and under the aggravated and degrading circumstance of a blow could be considered the malice aforethought which can alone constitute the crime of murder. The jury, after receiving his lordship’s charge, conferred together, and, after the lapse of half-an-hour-to the surprise and mortification of the whole court-the foreman pronounced her “ Guilty !!”—A slight tremor came over her as she heard her doom, but no further symptom of fear was apparent-not a word, not a sigh escaped her, as the judge in the most impressive and affecting manner pronounced the awful sentence of the law; and although, throughout the solemn scene, every eye wept, and every heart beat in fearful anxiety for the dreaded fate of the unfortunate woman, she stood calm and resigned, in all that consciousness of innocence which alone could support her at so dreadful a crisis. Indeed, as the sadness of her situation increased, she appeared to rise in moral strength-she curtsied respectfully to the court, and retired from the bar with a slow but by no means faltering step: One convulsive sigh, in which her very soul appeared to burst its limits, alone escaped her as she passed to that cell in which she was to be immured until she should end her wretched existence in ignominy.
Business had prevented me from visiting her immediately after her condemnation; but on the Sunday evening preceding the day of her execution one of the under turnkeys of the prison brought an urgent request that I would not fail to see her. It was a dreary night-the rain fell in torrents—the wind blew at intervals in tremendous gusts down the deserted streets, and all was in unison and keeping with the melancholy business on which I had been summoned. Wrapped in my own sad reflectious, and heedless of the weather, I proceeded on my way until I reached the Old Bailey, and readily obtained admissionthe officer of the prison conducted me to the cell in which the unhappy woman was confined. I shuddered with horror as I was ushered along the dark and narrow galleries that led to the particular part of the prison in which these cells are situated, nor could I check my thoughts as they suggested to my reflection how many a bitter sigh of misery and remorse had been echoed along those dreary vaults-how many a wietched
heart-broker fellow-creature had there passed the last sad hours of his existence, and .whose early career had probably dawned with life's fairest prospects and all the expectations of wealth and honour. I could not but give a momentary thought to the frightful history of crime and misfortune that might be gathered from within the limited confines of these cells. My reflections, however, were of short duration, for my guide, stopping before a low door, applied a massive key thereto, and having unlocked the same, with main strength opened the way to my admittance. The prisoner was seated at a low wooden table, with her face buried in her hands, and a bible open before her; she raised her head at the noise occasioned by my entrance, and, strange as it may appear, a melancholy smile passed over her pale features as she recognised
“This is kind,” she exclaimed, "very kind of you thus to visit me in my trouble, I feared that you had no longer thought me deserving your benevolent attentions.” I explained to her the reason I had not seen her before. “ I have sent for you,” she said, “ to offer the last sad acknowledgments of a grateful heart for the kindness you have shewn me under all the bitter circumstances which have led to my present hopeless situation. When all others, even those bound to me by the ties of kindred, forsook me, you, a perfect stranger, pitied my misfortunes and lent your aid to save me from the awful and ignominious doom which fate has destined. Accept my thanks, my heartfelt thanks, and may the consciousness of your disinterested feeling towards a wretched and for.. saken creature be ever present to reward you beyond all human recompense.”
Overpowered by the grateful acknowledgements of the unhappy woman, I entreated her not to permit the subject to occupy her mind, but rather to turn her thoughts to preparation for the awful change she must soon experience.--Here a deep drawn sigh again escaped her—she raised her eyes towards Heaven, and clasping her hands together in the firm and solemn attitude of prayer, she uttered in the most emphatic and impressive tone, “ Lord, thy will be done”—then resuming her composure, she said “I had resolved to die with the secret of my life locked in my own breast, but I have thought that I owe it to you to acquaint you whom you have befriended-take this paper,” she added, “ it contains a short sketch of my life, but open it not I beg of you, until after I shall have paid with that life, the forfeit of the crime of which I have been found guilty, by human judgement, but of which an all just and merciful God will acquit me. A slight tremor affected her as she uttered these words, but quickly recovering her fortitude, she in a sad pathetic manner continued, “ little did I think, when in girlhood's happy days, I sported the gayest of my companions, that ignominy awaited me, and that uncontrollable destiny had marked out my way to the scaffold—little did I contemplate that in the agonies of death, I should be exposed to the vulgar gaze of the heartless and unfeeling, who delight in such exhibitions, and who can behold with apathy and indifference, the last sad struggles of expiring nature;- but my sentence is just, I have merited my fate—I was gifted with reason, and the omission to exercise that reason in the control of passion was in itself a crime.” She was proceeding, but the door of her cell opened, and the ordinary of the prison entered to administer to her the last comforts of religion. I took a last leave of her; she pressed my hand, but her heart was full to breaking; she could not speak- I bowed respectfully to the clergyman, and hastened from the scene of misery.—On the following day she met ber end in the most resigned manner, and with a degree of fortitude which, according to report, had been rarely equalled.
I was so much affected by the fate of this unfortunate creature, and so sensibly impressed by the grateful acknowledgements made me, as well as by the general recollection of all the melancholy circumstances before related, that it was some days, ere I could venture on the task of perusing the paper she had entrusted to me, but time
“ The comforter And only healer when the heart bath bled," brought its restorative aid, and in a leisure hour I gave my mind to its perusal ; it was written in a clear and intelligible hand and its contents failed not to excite in me a feeling of commiseration for the unhappy woman who had thus untimely suffered an ignominious fate.-The nar. rative I propose to present in the next chapter.
“ Well, old boy,” said Mr. Fibbs to Mr. Narcissus Smith, after the usual unmeaning compliments had passed between them-“Well, my boy, what say you to a trip to Richmond.”
« With all my heart," replied Mr. Smith, “ but how, whey, and with whom."
“Oh those points are easily settled,” rejoined Fibbs—"first, there'll be you and I, Tomkins, Stubbs, Nonsuch, Fusbidos, and Winkins.-Of course, we'll hire a boat all to ourselves, and depend upon it we'll manage capitally.”
“ Yes, all that's very true," answered Mr. Smith, with a vacant kind of stare, and a slight blush, as if he were loth to confess his total igno. rance of nautical pursuits, “ but then my dear fellow, I can't row.”
Why, lor bless you! no more can I ; but you'll soon learn, its easy enough, you've got nothing to do, but to drop your oar into the water, and pull it out again--so." -As Mr. Fibbs uttered these remarks, he endeavoured to suit the action to the word, and with his ebony walking stick for an oar, he seated himself cross-legged on an arm-chair, and caused the said stick to execute several extraordinary maneuvres, which he facetiously termed rowing. After he had continued this for some little time, he turned triumphantly to Mr. Smith, and with a flourish of the aforesaid stick which came into very dangerous proximity with that gentlemau's white beaver, exclaimed—There, my boy, that's the way.
“And now,” rejoined Smith, whose countenance had brightened during the little bit of pantomime enacted by Mr. Fibbs, for he now thought it must be very easy, “about the indispensables, I mean, the ladies."
“Oh, aye, to be sure--why, we'll take your own sisters, Miss Smith and Miss Penelope Smith-that is to say, if they will so far honour us as to accompany us." flere Mr. Fibbs made a most reverend inclina
tion of his head. “ Then there'll be Miss Timms, Miss Wiggins, and Miss Johnstone. That will make our party complete; we'll dine on the grass and walk about the park, and eat maids of honour, and
“ Eat what?" exclaimed Smith in the greatest horror.
“Why maids of honour to be sure," answered Fibbs, “ they are little cheese-cake sort of things.”
Oh, ah," answered Mr. Smith, “I didn't know what you meant before.--Well, so far, so good; and now there only one thing more to think of, and that is, the place of embarkation.”
“Oh, Lyon's, at Westminster," was the reply, “ on Thursday next, at nine o'clock precisely."
“ Aye, that will do nicely--we shall have such a pleasant day,” and Mr. Smith rubbed his hands with extacy at the thought.
Upon this they parted mutually pleased with the agreement into which they had entered. It may possibly have already been guessed by our readers that these worthies were natives of the good city of London, or in plain terms they were cockneys. Not that we would insinuate by this that they possessed that blissful ignorance or those peculiarities so generally attributed to the unfortunate Londoners—oh no, they knew the difference between a goose and a gridiron, and they were too wise to mistake a sparrow for a partridge.
The morning of Thursday ushered in one of those bright and glorious days so frequently met with in the month of August ; there was not a cloud in the blue arch of heaven to dim the lustre of the sun-in short, every thing promised a pleasant voyage. At nine o'clock precisely, the whole party met with pleasure beaming in their countenances. There were the gentlemen dressed in the very height of nautical dandyismwhite trowsers made extremely loose about the legs, and equally tight in another part which it is not necessary for us to mention; striped blue shirts, which from the very broad streaks which they exhibited, presented a very great resemblance to those lines which may frequently be seen exposed in stationers' shops, for the exclusive benefit of such persons as cannot write perfectly straight-black neckerchiefs, tied loosely round the neck, a la Byron, and white hats completed their equipments. Then there were the Miss Smiths, in pink pelisses and white satin bonnets, which served to render more conspicuous the ruddy cheeks possessed by these ladies, and to diminish which, was the constant object of their solicitude. There were Miss Timms, Miss Wiggins, and Miss Johnstone, who had adopted the ingenious, though by no means novel, expedient of dressing alike, very large plum-coloured silk dresses, (which, by the way, they modestly termed frocks), in order that they might be mistaken for sisters. And there lay the little vessel that was to bear this lovely and gallant freight, with all its neat equipments, while the Jack in the water was running to and fro, under the laudable pretence of being necessarily very busy, in order that the sixpence which he conjectured would be given him, might appear not to have been easily earned.
With a great deal of trouble, accompanied on the part of the ladies by those indispensable extemporaneous effusions, hysterical shrieks, as the boat tilted on either side, they managed to seat themselves in their right order, and, after a warm debate, carried on in a high tone, to the no small amusement of a party of watermen who were lounging on the shore, they declared themselves ready to start. To effect this very desirable purpose, Mr. Fibbs, who was seated at the bow of the boat, and who considered himself the conductor of the whole affair, gave the order to push off; but the Jack in the water the instant he had received
fee had departed to another boat, which was also about to start, and