صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

the tope.

his home. Suspecting that a careful watch annoying attacks of insects which swarm would be kept during the day, the police the woods in this tropical clime, sat like authorities determined, in order to ensure a startled fawn, watching for any danger success, to postpone their approach until that might threaten him. The light streamed the night-fall, when the proprietor of the tope full on her beautiful face, the expression had consented to point out the different paths of which varied at every movement of her through which the object of their pursuit graceful head, as she turned slowly from side might escape. About twelve o'clock at night, side, in hopes of catching the slightest noise ; the party, consisting of nine men, approached her large brighteyes glistened with excitement,

As had been pre-concerted, six rendered more striking by the shade that fell peons were stationed at the different avenues, on them from her long dark lashes; the full while the two remaining accompanied the lips of her small mouth were partially withmagistrate towards the centre of the tope; drawn from over the whitest teeth, to assist it was then dark, and the sea breeze blowing her breathing, which now appeared to come freshly through the trees, prevented their foot- heavily from her panting bosom. One wild steps from being heard. Just as they had scream, which rung through the wood, too entered the wood the moon rose bright and plainly told the tale that all her watchfulness full, and enabled them, as they moved cau- had been in vain, and that Madhoo Row was tiously on, guided by the light that came in the power of those whose authority he had occasionally through the thinner branches so long braved and despised. The limbs overhead, to distinguish for some distance which a moment before lay slackened in before them. Sometimes they fancied the languid repose, were nerved with sudden gleaming firefly a taper hastily extinguished; agony, to strive for life. The pulses that their tread fell softer, and their hearts beat beat so calmly, while his hand lay locked in quicker; but the instant return of the dan- her's, throbbed to bursting: a sick faintness cing insect, even brighter than before, proved seized him ; his imagination became conhow easily their excited imaginations had fused from the sudden change; but there been deceived. Sometimes, in the plaintive was still the certain knowledge of danger, moaning of the wind through the branches which, either from an imperfect recollection of the casserina trees, they fancied they of his situation on a similar occasion, or from heard the low sweet tones of Luchsmi Sita some other cause, made him recur on the warning bim she loved. Sometimes the low instant to the words of the judge on his chirping whistle of the night-bawk made them former trial, “ he that sheddeth man's blood, think they had been betrayed, and that it bg man shall his blood be shed.Ere the was a signal for attack and murder.

morning dawned, he was in prison, chained, A quarter of an hour of this close search and in darkness. Still did that devoted girl had hardly passed, when the magistrate, who attend him; when he slept, it was her lap was in front of the other two, raised his left which formed his pillow; it was her hand hand with the palm turned towards them, which fanned the air to keep him cool; it betokening them not to advance, and with was her voice which cheered him when he the other, which held a sword, he pointed to awoke; and when hungry, it was her hand where the moonbeams, coming obliquely which dressed and brought his food, her through an opening in the thick foliage, ran mournful eye that watched him still. in a bright stream for some distance under The trial commenced ; there were few the covering into a much thicker part of the witnesses to call, but the evidence produced wood, which would not have been visible if before the grand jury was known to have the light had not fallen in that direction. been so conclusive, that no hope of life, it On every other side the darkness was intense, would have been supposed, could have preand only assisted in more plainly disclosing sented itself to the prisoner; yet, when he that one spot where the objects of their search appeared at the bar, the daring manner in were ; it seemed as if the finger of heaven which he pronounced“ nán shaiyáh mátpointed out the abode of guilt, and smiled tane(I ain not guilty,) seemed to prove upon their futile attempts to escape. At that he at least had confidence in the saythe first glance only Luchsmi Sita was to ing, “ while there is life there is hope:” be seen; but on a more careful exami- and when it was considered that death pation, the dreaded Madhoo Row appeared in its most terrible form hovered over the reposing by her side, while she, poor girl, unhappy culprit, his proud firmness aphaving thrown her chadda or veil over his peared strange and unnatural, and obtained face and body, to protect him from the for him that involuntary respect, which a manly and fearless manner always pro- found who deliberately and willingly underduces on the mind. During the whole of took to put to death this defenceless creature, the trial, he stood with his arms folded if he did not swear in the most sacred manner and his eyes fixed upon the witness box, to abscond, and not appear at the trial of occasionally turning to answer the questions Madhoo Row; such was the power that this of the interpreter who stood near the judge. man possessed over the minds of some of his His dress was, on this occasion, precisely that followers! Fortunately the police authorities of a high caste Hindoo : a plain white turban; were apprized of this circumstance, and took his tunic of the finest and whitest muslin, care to lodge Anuntya in a secure home, with the red and gold sash; and over his where he could not be again molested, and shoulders was carelessly thrown a shawl of could have his food dressed by trust-worthy the richest pattern ; the Moorish trowsers were persons; for when he first arrived even in this thrown aside, and the saffron-coloured cloth place of refuge an attempt was made to worn by the Brahmins was wrapped in poison him. folds round his legs; the only ornament As soon as Anuntya had been sworn, he wore was a diamond ring, of immense according to the custom of the country, hy size and value. The first witness that was swallowing the Toolooshey*, and repeating the to be called, and the principal one, was oath spoken by the Pandarum, the counsel the victim of his ferocious attack. Immedi- for the prosecution, Mr. N-arose, and ately the jury had been impannelled, Anun- desired him to turn to the prisoner, and swear tya was summoned; all eyes were for a mo

that he was the man who, on the night of ment turned to the part of the court where Sept. 18—, had reduced him to his present he would enter, and then as quickly with- unhappy state. The intense excitement in drawn to watch what effect his entrance the court at this moment is not to be described; would have upon the prisoner. For a moment crowded as it was, a pin might have been there was a dead pause, and then a con

heard to fall; the loud booming surf, that fused low murmuring expressive of pity and broke every half minute with a sullen crash horror at the spectacle which presented itself. upon the shore, within twenty yards of the Borne in the arms of three men appeared the building, did not appear to affect the crowd wretched limbless Anuntya; as it was im

with the least fear that the slightest whisper possible to place him in the witness-box, he would be lost. Every eye was fixed either on was brought, by the permission of the judge, the prisoner or the witness, every nerve upon and seated upon the table where the bar- the stretch; their breathings even restrained to risters were. A more pitiable object cannot catch the answer to the question upon which be conceived; he could not have been more life or death-everything depended; whether than twenty-eight years of age; of a mild Madhoo Row should meet with his due and most pleasing expression of counte- deserts, or again be permitted to go abroad nance; beautiful features; and, to judge of and commit excesses, which kept the country what remained, his frame, although slight, around in perpetual alarm. Either from fear, must have been particularly well made.

or recollection of what he had suffered, perWhat was be now ? A mere trunk; the body haps from the strangeness of his situation, alone remained. liere was one of God's Anuntya, when he had slowly turned his creatures, young, in health, and universally calm, mild countenance upon the prisoner, esteemed, in a moment, by the hand of a did not appear immediately to recollect him, fellow being, deprived of all the enjoyments and although there was not a word uttered, that this life can afford. He was unable not a whisper breathed, nor a look changed, to make the slightest movement without and everything remained in the same intense assistance; even his food it was necessary silent excitement, still a spectator felt that should be placed in his mouth by another there was an indescribable sensation excited person. And when it is considered that he in the court, which, if not counteracted in was a Brahmin; that the cause of bis suffer- some way, would burst forth in loud expresing was produced by an individual of a lower sions of disappointment. In a kind encourcaste; that he was quite unable to perform aging voice Mr. N. again repeated the the many daily duties required of him by a question, through the interpreter : “ Witness, superstitious religion, upon which he firmly do you recognise the prisoner at the bar?” believed not only his well-being in this world but liis future state depended, an object

The leaf soaked in water of the Toolooshey Sheddey, more worthy of pity cannot be imagined. and is always administered by the Pandarum (or Yet even in this state there were wretches priest) to any person about to take an oath.

one of the sacred shrubs, which is excessively bitter,

VOL. 11.-NO. I.


At this moment the anguished sobs of the who was the last witness for the prosecuunhappy Luchsmi Sita, who was known tion described the state in which the poor to have accompanied Madhoo Row to the Brahmin was brought to the hospital, and court house, were distinctly heard amidst the of his being obliged, in consequence of the sullen roar of the surf; a few eyes were turned dreadful wounds he had received, to amputo see whether the judge was likely to make tate the sufferer's legs, one of which, in adany remark on this interruption to the general dition to the sword cuts, appeared to have silence, but his thoughts appeared fixed upon been greatly injured by the hoofs of a horse, what was to be the answer of Anuntya, who which it was concluded was Madhoo Row's. shrank when he heard the tones of distress, The prosecution here closed, and the prisoner and iminediately, as if possessed with a pe- was asked what he had to say in his defence. culiar feeling of dislike to the cause of them, Without unfolding his arms he turned to the in a clear hurried tone replied, “Am, aiyah, interpreter, and for the first time during the arandan,yes, sir, that is the man. Every trial raised his eyes towards the judge. He one present again breathed freely, the excite- commenced by denying the charge, stating ment was at an end; everything had fallen that he was not the person who had comout as every body had said, every body had mitted the assault for which he was brought thought, and every body had wished; they to the bar; that it was a conspiracy against were not mistaken in their judgment, and his life in consequence of the strict manner they were satisfied. The remainder of the in which he had fulfilled the duties required evidence elicited from this witness was a mere of him by his employers, the tobacco renters. repetition of what has already been related. He appealed to the magistrate, if smuggling He spoke of the feast of Gauri; of the proces- had not greatly diminished since he had sion; the place where Madhoo Row and his been employed in its prevention, and if a followers were standing, on their first circuit great number of idle persons were not in conof the village of Triplicane; mentioned the sequence thrown out of employment, who display of fireworks which it was their cus- looked upon him as the principle cause of tom to exhibit on such occasions ; described their misfortunes. “These, these are the men,” the prisoner's dress; and in the most clear and he said, " that have perpetrated the crime; satisfactory manner, the rush of his horse, and and to wreak their vengeance, as well as to the way in which his companion was thrown escape punishment, they have accused me. It down; avowed the expressions he had made is well known that I was at my house on the use of towards the prisoner; and lastly, eighth of September, and did not attend at directed their attention to the shoulder of the feast of Gauri as has been stated. When the right arm, which he stated was the I find credit given to such men- men who cut which he first received, and which are known to be my enemies, of a different brought him to the earth; he had no re- caste, and who by my conviction will be enacollection of what took place afterwards. bled to return to their old trade of smuggling, Although the writer of this kept his eyes fixed. I am not surprised at the little chance there on the prisoner during the whole of this in- appears of my being acquitted. I feel I am teresting examination, in hopes of observing alone; that I have no one to defend me; some change, some quiver of the museles that your lordship already sides with the about the face, when his eyes met those of world against me. Go not with the streain; his victim, and when Anuntya recognised enquire the character of the different withim, there was not the slightest appearance nesses, and they will be found more capable either of pity or remorse. He stood calm of committing the crime of which I am ac. and erect, his arms folded, and his head cused. If Anuntya was brought to the a little lowered on his breast, watching the earth, as he states, by the first blow, dewitness as a tiger does its prey, with liis livered by a man on horseback who rushed large eyes gleaming brightly and fiercely suddenly upon bim, how is it possible he from underneath his dark and heavy brow. should be able to speak with certainty as to When asked, at the conclusion of Anuntya's the person ? many of my countrymen wear examination, whether he bad any question the same description of dress, and on a dark to put, he replied “ None, I never saw the night in a crowded procession, it is not easy witness before to my knowledge; "the obser- to distinguish one from another. Mighty sir, vation was not heeded, and the trial pro- you who possess all good qualities, protect ceeded. The witnesses that followed merely your slave from the enmity of the world. I spoke to his identity, and to his being the am a poor man, and place my trust in you; person that attacked Anuntya. Dr. L- it is said Englishmen are just let it appear so; my life, my soul rests upon your shadow, gold zone round her small waist : ou her may it never be less; peace be upon you; arms, which were bare beyond her shoulders, Innam nan yenna cholloo ? what more can I she wore a profusion of gold and jewelled say??

bangles ; and when she moved, the tinkling His defence was delivered in a clear, manly gold ornaments that encircled her well-turned tone, in his own language, and translated by ankles, rang with a musical sound. Having the interpreter to the court as he proceeded. been placed in the witness-box, and sworn Hopeless as was his case, he made no appeals according to the custom of her country, a few farther than those which are used by his unimportant questions were asked to give countrymen on every occasion, and are the her encouragement. Until then she had kept result of manners more than feeling; he her head down, the veil partially covering rather appeared to glory in his unfriended her face ; but when they asked whether she state, and to have more confidence in a frank, was acquainted with the prisoner, her veil fell bold denial of the charge brought against as she looked up, and disclosed the most him, than in a cringing, supplicatory address. beautiful face that the writer of this narrative When he had concluded, Sir

ob- ever beheld : her large swimming fawn eyes served, “ Prisoner, you state in your defence, were wild and tremulously bright with exthat on the night of September-you were at citement: the dark, straight, pencilled eyehome and did not attend at the feast of Gauri, brows, which extended far over each temple, in the village of Triplicane ; have you any and assisted in giving effect to the most dewitness to prove the truth of yow' assertion ?” licately chisselled nose, were now slightly After a short enquiry it appeared that Luchs- raised with surprise at the question, and mi Sita was the only person he could pro- served to increase the interesting expression duce to prove an alibi. The poor girl had of the countenance of this lovely Hindoo. For followed Madhoo Row to the court-house, a moment she gazed upon the prisoner, who and had made her way through the immense returned her pitying look with an appealing crowd that had collected round the doors, but expression, and then, turning to the judge finding she was not able to approach near with eyes suffused with tears, answered boldly enough to the bench to hear the trial, had in the affirmative. sunk down exhausted and dispirited within Her look and tone were immediately the court, but sufficiently near the bar for her changed to those of pride and confidence, as sobs to be distinctly heard between each crash if she gloried in acknowledging the prisoner, of the surf, the sound of which was made and felt certain that no danger could await more impressive and sullen by the contrast. bim, if she spoke boldly and all she knew On being informed that she was required to in his favour. She little knew, poor girl, give her evidence before the judge, she arose to what Madhoo Row had summoned her to apparently wild and distracted, ignorant of swear: there had been no schcoling, no prewhat tley asked, but willing to execute any concerted plan ; her being called upon to order that might be given. Some friend whis. give evidence was as unexpected by herself pered to her, that she was required to speak as it was by the prisoner. His defence (if it in favour of her lover; immediately her could be so called) was the thought of the tears were wiped away, her face brightened moment, resulting from the strict examination with a smile to think how well she could of the witnesses produced upon the trial, and perform such an office, and how bright the from the fact having been acknowledged, both result might be. She hastily arranged by the judge and the counsel for the proseher dress, and the muslin chadda * cution, that a great deal too much had been thrown gracefully over her dark bright hair, said to the prejudice of the prisoner elsewhere. which was arranged (together with her dress) When in prison he had scorned and laughed with that care which respect to him she loved at employing any one in his defence; and and the forms of her religion required : it appeared to look forward to the result of his was parted in the centre of her well-shaped trial, if not with confidence, certainly without forehead; and the two ends being brought fear. He saw his danger now; it was imround, were rolled into a ball, and placed possible Luchsmi Sita could prove the alibi, over the left ear, and the ball covered with a and of this he was aware, and of the injury circular plate of ornamented gold, slightly her strict examination would most likely do hollowed out to receive it. Her scarlet muslin his cause. But he was saved the pain of dress was tastefully disposed in folds about having himself publicly convicted of making her person, and kept fa: by a plain broad a false

fence, by an occurrence as painful as it was unexpected. Luchsmi Sita, not appearing precisely acquainted with the


Kind of veil.




charge brought against the prisoner, having prisoner was tried ; and considerately bringonly heard from bim that in an affray (which ing forward those points to the notice of the she had concluded was with the smugglers,) jury, that appeared in the slightest degree to a man had been severely wounded, Mr. N- bear favourably upon the case of the unhappy determined, before he commenced the exami- man. In conclusion, he implored the jury not nation, to make her acquainted with the prin- io allow any reports which they might have cipal circumstances relative to the trial ; he heard elsewhere, to have the slightest infiutherefore proceeded, in a distinct tone, to re- ence in determining their verdict--a verdict state the case, without uttering a word to on which depended the life of a fellow-creaprejudice the court against the prisoner ; to ture, against whom, he was sorry to confess, all of which Luchsmi Sita attentively listened. there existed a very strong feeling. “Dismiss But when the victim of Madhoo Row's attack this feeling,” said the judge in those impreswas pointed out to her, she was observed to sive words which I shall never forget, “and make a slight start; her whole frame trem- I charge you, as you will one day answer it bled, her eyes appeared almost to start from at the bar of the last judgment, where you, their soekets, and to become fixed and horror- and I, and all must appear, deliver your verstruck upon seeing Anuntya: for an instant dict according to conscience and truth.” she stood with her lips apart, gasping for The event of the trial must already have breath, and then, as if nature made one des- been anticipated. The jury, after a short de. parate struggle to free itself, she gasped forth liberation, returned a verdict of guilty. in a loud convulsive sob, “ yen tammeyah !!(my brother) and sank upon the ground. She It was late on the morning after the trial, was immediately borne out of the court, ap- when the unhappy Luchsmi Sita came to her parently lifeless. The poor girl's expression senses, and found herself in a low mean of speechless terror appeared to have been room, in the house of her old and faithful communicated to every one present ; not a nurse, Maiya, by whom she was attended. word was spoken; the judge sat motionless ; She had recovered several hours previously the counsel for the prosecution still stood from that perfectly lifeless state, which had with his eyes bent upon the spot where the followed the painful recognition of her browitness a moment before had stood. Some ther in the court-house, but had still lain looked towards the unbappy Anuntya, who, it apparently insensible of the cause of her afflicappeared, had been in some measure prepared tions : sometimes she would rise suddenly, for this disgraceful disclosure, having recog- and leaning on her hand, gaze wildly about nised his sister upon her first appearance; the room; and then, as if forgetting the motive others attentively surveyed the prisoner, who of the exertion, sink slowly back upon her bed, appeared, for the first time during his trial, muttering to herself prayers for Madhoo Row's deeply affected, although he did his utmost speedy return, whom she appeared to think, to conceal his feelings ; but the deep sigh as in days gone by, was abroad engaged which came struggling heavily from his in performing the duties allotted to himn by breast, and the parched lips, which his his employers. Throughout the whole night tongue vainly attempted to soften, too plain- the kind attendant of her youth watched ly showed the state of his mind and body: by the poor girl's side, delicately avoiding his eyes, expressive of the strongest con- any remark that might affect her feelings, cern, had followed the inanimate body of but soothing her by kind words, and anxious Luchsmi Sita as it was carried out of the to seize upon any opportunity that might court; but when it was no longer visible, he present itself, for commencing a conversation again folded his arms, and surveyed the upon any subject, however indifferent. After court with a sullen, revengeful look. After a various unsuccessful attempts, poor old Maiya time, life again appeared to return to those at length brought some cold rice for her present, and the awful silence which had mistress to eat, and as she presented it, spread followed this painful scene was broken by on a plate formed of several leaves of the sacred the judge, who, after a few questions, began, tree ravi *, (which is supposed to procure in an impressive but subdued tone, to sum

* So sacred is this tree, (called Arassamura in Ta. up the case: this he did with great care and mul,) that it is thus addressed in prayer :--" Thou art impartiality, recapitulating the whole of the the king of trees; thy root resembles Brahma; thy evidence that had been adduced upon the

branches are like Siva ; thou grantest peace, the re.

mission of sins, and a blessed world after death, to trial; explaining at considerable length the

those who have 'honoured thee in their lives by the nature of the new law*, under which the ceremonies of the cord and of marriage; to those who

have offered thee sacrifices, have gone round about • It was immediately after the passing of Mr.Peel's thee, and have honoured thee. Destroy my sins, and

grant me a happy world after death."

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