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It has already been remarked that Colin bore a strong resemblance to the Squire.
And when,' she continued, 'shall I see it again ?-Never! It went from me soon after I was wed.'
* Pray be calm,' interposed Mr. Lupton, in a kind tone. "We will talk these matters over some future time.
And this favour,' continued Mrs. Lupton, 'I beg particularly-I would have no one put me out of this house any more.
I will endure every thing patiently, and soon get out of the way
where no man's snares shall ravel me again.'
Under the painful circumstance of this temporary alienation Mr. Lupton and Colin retired, leaving the unfortunate lady in the hands of her attendants, one of whom was her old companion, Miss Shirley
After a few days, when Colin was again introduced to her, Mrs. Lupton had recovered her self-possession, and comprehended certain arrangements which Mr. Lupton had mentioned to her touching that young man. In these she quietly acquiesced, not because she felt any interest in them, but simply because her husband had proposed them. At the same time, while his every wish was hers, personally she felt that indifference not unusual with individuals who regard themselves as hopeless here, and, consequently, contemplate the world to come as their only place of refuge.
Whether this feeling was accelerated by an event which shortly after happened, and which, happily perhaps, put an end to all Mrs. Lupton's earthly sorrows, I will not pretend to divine ; although it has been asserted, that the nearness of death will often produce exhibitions of feeling, as regards this world, never so fully made under other circumstances.
It is not for the compiler of this history 10 speculate on such a subject; and, therefore the reader must here be informed, that, now Mrs. Lupton's faculties had returned, she stre. nuously opposed—notwithstanding what we have previously record. ed—the marriage of her young friend, Miss Calvert, with the hero of this book. On that one question only did she evince the least
but no sooner was she aware that he was the object of that affection which had caused Miss Calvert so much trouble, than she retired to her room, and addressed a letter to her.
The same post which placed it in Miss Calvert's hands, conveyed to her two others :-one from Colin, and the other from her brother Roger. Colin's contained all those passionate appeals which might have been expected. Judging from this epistle, Colin was in a state of desperation; and it concluded by expressing his determination never to relinquish his suit, though even Jenny herself should be induced to resist his addresses.
This spirited production at first inspired poor Jenny with momentary hope ; more especially as she found, on opening her brother's letter, that he also advised her by no means to sacrifice her own
His remarks in some degree counteracted the bitterness of those which made her weep over Mrs. Lupton's letter, although they served to assist her in drawing a correct conclusion as to the cause of objection that her father saw in the parentage of Mr. Clink the bar to their union.
How long Jenny grieved I need not say, but grieve she did, until some that had known her slightly knew her not again ; and those
who had known her best became most certain that if this was suffered to continue, a light heart was for ever exchanged for a sad one, and the creature whose presence had diffused happiness was converted into one of those melancholy beings over whose mind seems to have settled an everlasting cloud. Then it was that the obstinate began to soften. Everybody loved Jenny, and grieved to see her grief. So at length they proceeded, from the exertion of counter. influences upon her, to the tacitly understood holding out of hope that matters might yet be arranged
Meanwhile, as the Squire's object in introducing his son to Mrs. Lupton had been fulfilled, Colin took the earliest opportunity to re. turn to London. But before we follow him the reader will, perhaps, be pleased to hear something respecting certain other characters, to whose interest, be it hoped, he does not feel indifferent.
In order that the charge brought against Rowel, of having been guilty of the murder of Skinwell, might be substantiated, Mr. Lupton had not omitted any means likely to conduce to that end; not the least important of which was the disinterment of the deceased's coffin in the church.yard of Bramleigh. This was undertaken with quietness; and a careful examination would, doubtless, have taken place, had it not been discovered, to everybody's amazement, on opening the grave, that somebody had been there before, and the corpse was gone. This fact was no sooner ascertained than speculations innu. merable started into existence; and strange stories were published of lights having been seen in the church-yard after dark; of the sound of a spade having been heard there in the dead of nightthough when heard, or what favoured mortal had heard it, could not be precisely made out.
These things, however, ended as such things usually do, where they began. The mystery was never positively cleared up; although, on the examination of Dr. Rowel's establishment some time after, a circumstance occurred which gave ground for suspicion, that as that gentleman had been considerably cut up by the lawyer when alive, he had seized his opportunity to return the compliment. Every other description of evidence was obtained and arranged for the anticipated trial.
While the Doctor soliloquized in the castle at York, whither he had been removed, information was conveyed to him of the rescue of Woodruff, and of old Jerry's death. His brother-in-law thus free, Rowel gave up everything as lost, and for some time after the re. ceipt of the news remained in a state of stupor. Regarding himself as abandoned by fortune, he so far lost spirit as to sink into one of the most abject creatures that ever breathed. Dreading the course which Woodruff might adopt, he caused a formal communication to be made to that injured individual, in which he bound himself not only to restore the estate so long withheld, but to make every restitution in his power for the injuries sustained ; injuries for which no compensation could atone, but which he yet trusted might be regarded with mercy.
• Unworthy,' remarked Woodruff, when this statement was made to him—'unworthy as that man is, whom I cannot ever again name as a relation, yet I do not feel disposed to gratify any feeling of revenge. No; all I wish that man to do is, to be left to the reflection, that the evil labours of so many years have produced only a harvest of wretchedness. For the rest, -the great and fearful trial of the future,-that lies between his God and him.'
Although every person who heard these sentiments could not but feel deeply the worthiness of that injured individual, yet the general sentiment appeared to be, that he forgot justice in his anxiety for mercy. Nevertheless, Mr. Woodruff persisted in his determination to leave his brother.in-law without other punishment than that which might be awarded to him on his trial.
While this trial was drawing on, the constabulary made themselves active in ferreting out every scrap of evidence, in the hope of fixing the guilt upon a man to whom everybody believed it to belong. The circumstances preceding and attendant on the case were of such an unusual nature, that when the day of trial arrived, the most extraordinary interest was evinced by the public.
It is not my purpose to give the details, or to follow through its ramifications that mass of circumstantial evidence which the industry of the executive had accumulated. Neither is it needful to state more than that a most able defence was made by an eminent counsel retained on the part of the prisoner.
At length, his Lordship summed up in an address which occupied more than three hours in the delivery, after which the jury retired. They returned into court a few minutes before midnight, and before a breathless audience pronounced a verdict of Not Guilty. No sooner was it uttered than the prisoner dropped insensible in the dock. The people in the court murmured. The words Not Guilty were repeated on the stairs, and again outside, like magic. The multitude almost yelled for the murderer's blood. But the verdict had gone forih,-a jury had pronounced him innocent. They cried for him to be brought forth, and desperately threatened to wait till he came out, and execute him on the spot. The time of night, the darkness that reigned around, the fearful passions of the mob, now aroused almost to frenzy, all combined to render the scene one never to be forgotten.
Under the circumstances, it will not be supposed that Rowel was set at liberty that night. For his own sake, there was but one course to pursue,- to detain him within the castle. The crowd outside, evincing no disposition to disperse, was at length driven away by the aid of the police. Some of them, however, assembled again outside the walls of the city. The cry here soon became For Nabbfield! The spirit of destruction bad arisen, and the threat of fire succeeded that of blood.
In the dead of night, a dense press of men moved rapidly but stealthily off, in a direction that offered the straightest line between York and that establishment. Scarcely a word was said during this fearful march; though many were the heavy stakes drawn from hedges in their path, and converted into clubs, as they proceeded. The dire determination of mischief, mistaken for justice, seemed gathered into one fierce, dark power, hurrying headlong and irresistible to the work of desolation.
Their outset had not been observed from the city; and none, save perhaps some late and solitary farm-servant, peeping fearfully from her lighted window when the dog barked, and the tramp and crash were heard as they passed below, knew of them on their road. Like a meteor that falls unseen when the world is asleep, that band was
only known to have been by the trail of destruction it left behind.Comparatively a brief time afterwards, the walls of Nabbfield were scaled, the gardens were trampled down, the trees uprooted. Now caine the thundering at doors, the tearing down of shutters, the smashing of glass, and the shrieks and cries of the inhabitants, scarcely sensible from fear, and yet scarcely thrown off sleep. The invading party had entered the premises.
Scattered and down the house might now have been seen desperate men, with their faces blackened, and otherwise disguised. Their first object seemed to be the seizure of the people who had the establishment in charge : and as this task, since the imprisonment of the Doctor, had devolved upon his own wife, the strong man Robson, with their usual assistants, the force that had thus suddenly appeared found little difficulty in effecting their object. Robson himself had started up on hearing the first assault, and made
half-dressed, into one of the lower rooms, where he encountered half-a-dozen of the men described. Thinking the disturbance had arisen in consequence of some of the patients having broken from their cells, he began to call upon them in his usual manner to submit to their keeper, when he found himself seized by many arms at once, and informed, that if he were not quiet they should knock him on the head without ceremony:
Mrs. Rowel contrived to take refuge in a small outhouse, where she remained shivering with cold and terror.
The dependants of the establishment having been secured, the mob proceeded to pile up the furniture in the middle of the rooms, and set it on fire ; while others broke open the cells, and let out the inmates. Some of these escaped into the woods, and during several days rambled wildly over the surrounding country; others were conveyed to one of the stables, and fastened in, under the care of Robson ; while a few, it was believed, whose maladies rendered them incapable of knowing what was going on, were burnt to death in the flames, which subsequently enveloped the whole in one sheet of fire.
The incendiaries then departed without leaving any trace whereby their route could be discovered : and although eventually, a reward of five hundred pounds, and a pardon to any person not actually guilty of the offence, were offered by the government, no clue was ever obtained to lead to their conviction.
Notwithstanding the violence which Doctor Rowel might receive by making his appearance upon the scene of his crimes, he no sooner was informed of the destruction of his establishment than he grew frantic, and, in a state of excitement bordering on derangement, set off from York in as private a manner as possible.
On arriving at his late residence, he beheld only a black ruin, with but one solitary object near it which had survived the general deso lation,—the old yew-tree under which Woodruff had passed so many weary years, and which now brought back to the Doctor's eye a picture of all that had led to this. The tree used to look black before; but now, amidst the greater blackness of the place, it looked gaily green in the sunshine, as though it rejoiced over the wild just. ice that had overtaken one guilty of so many crimes.
Outside was a throng of gazers, kept off by the constabulary. On a knoll at some little distance he recognised Lupton and Woodruff, watching the workmen employed in recovering as much of the property as might have escaped with partial damage. He would have got out, but dared not.
Unrecognised in his carriage, he was secure; and having drawn up to the spot where the little party stood, he gazed with intensity of look upon the operations. It was plain some strange idea had come into his mind; it seemed written in his features that soinething might be found which he would have no man know.
But it was a wooden box,' thought he, and it could not escape.' Yet, as he comforted himself thus, the possibility was still standing on his brow as plainly as did the mark on Cain's. Still the workmen worked, and he still gazed. At last they carried out on a hand-barrow a heap of broken furniture.
"Tis it!' exclaimed the Doctor, madly, as he dashed his fist through the window; and having rapidly opened the door, rushed distractedly to the men.
This sudden apparition so astonished the people, that all fled backwards in fear. Mr. Lupton, and Woodruff, besides many others, instantly recognised the Doctor ; while the first-named gentleman as instantly hastened after him, in order at once to know the cause of this wild proceeding, and to prevent by magisterial authority the mischief which he feared might ensue.
* That's it!—it's mine !--my own! cried the Doctor, as he threw himself upon a box of considerable dimensions, deeply scorch. ed, but not burnt through. At the same time he clasped his arms about it. The workmen interfered.
Molest him not,' said Mr. Lupton. 'I swear it is mine!' again exclaimed Rowel,' and no man shall open it while I live. I'm innocent; they judged me so last night. People will destroy me if it's seen. They'll swear it is his body.'
What body ? demanded Mr. Lupton in astonishment. 'His-his. I'm — No; his who died. They shall not open it. Again the Doctor endeavoured to hide it with his body.
Mr. Lupton saw in this more than appeared upon the surface; and accordingly commanded the constabulary to protect Mr. Rowel back to the carriage, and convey the box to Kiddal.
The Doctor made such a desperate resistance, and raved so furiously, that great force was required to get him into the carriage; and it was found necessary to bind him ere his conveyance could be considered safe.
This done, he was driven off to the residence of his brother on Sherwood Forest.
During these transactions, the excitement of the multitude was so great, that, but for the judicious measures adopted, the disorders of the previous night would have been concluded by the murder of the Doctor. This fearful consequence was, however, happily avoided. Mr. Woodruff again joined Mr. Lupton, and followed the crowd that accompanied the mysterious box to the Squire's own residence.
A short time after, the above-named individuals, with one or two others, retired into a private room, whither the chest had been carried, and remained present while a heavy lock upon it was broken, and the uplifted lid displayed a sight so horrible, that the strongestnerved present recoiled. Before them, huddled up to make it fit into its habitation, lay a corpse, sufficiently perfect to leave not the slightest doubt but that they looked upon the remains of the unfor