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ing to this day, for annuitants live long-pensions from the brotherhood, is known to those behind the scenes.
The "Explosives Bill" was drafted, and finally found its way to the Statute - Book, through the instrumentality of two junior captains in the service, who were requisitioned from the Artillery and relegated to the Home Office to carry out its provisions; and one of whom died almost immediately after his transfer. Of the survivor it would be difficult indeed to speak in adequate terms. Many and many a time have I seen him tried, and never found wanting; and many a time has the Victoria Cross been bestowed on men less deserving. The motto of the Royal Regiment is "Ubique," and that motto seemed to attach itself to him individually. His escapes were many; but he led a charmed life. Day or night was immaterial to him. Distance did not enter into his calculations. In the heart of the city at midday, or on the dreary weird marshes down the river, by the light of a waning moon,where duty called him, there he was to be found. Knowing what he had in all likelihood to face when summoned, a little détour from the Home Office to "The Rag," about lunch time, might have been excusable; but, no!-"I am on my way," you would get by "wire,
spring, on arriving at my office, I found a man standing sentry over a square box. In answer to my questions-you may be sure I didn't ask many-he told me where it had been found, half an hour previously, and said he thought there was "something going on inside." Putting it on the table, without a moment's delay I sent a special messenger off to Whitehall. I knew I was confronted by an "infernal machine,' probably filled with dynamite, and arranged to explode at a certain time; and as half an hour had already gone, and there was an uncertainty as to how long it had been lying before it was discovered, the situation, to say the least of it, was somewhat embarrassing. Before it had lain on the table for ten minutes it got considerably on my nerves. I fancied the tick was becoming more pronounced, and wondered, when the crisis came, how far up I should go, or whether— for some explosives have an awkward habit of striking downwards-I should be propelled in the direction of that region to which I had no inclination to find myself translated. At last I heard a horse pulled back on his haunches; somebody hurrying across the courtyard; a rush upstairs three steps at a time; the door was opened; and "The Colonel was before me, breathless, radiant, and cheery as usual. wire," and the fleetest "Well," he said, "what's of hansoms was summoned to the " I pointed to our bring him to the scene of friend, the enemy. One look action. was sufficient. Raising the One morning in the early box with the utmost caution,
he placed his ear against it, and turned to me for the instruments which, needless to say, I had ready. Selecting one, he applied it to the lid, and, almost before I could realise what was happening, the box was open, the clockwork detached, and our safety assured. I was very glad to see him come, and equally glad to see him go; for he took away with him in a fourwheeler as much dynamite as would have blown the bottom out of an Atlantic liner.
Some years ago on the classic links of St Andrews a severe struggle took place between two scratch players. Victory hung in the balance for long, till a beautiful "slice," aided by a keen breeze, landed one of the contestants in the "station master's garden." Even then good fortune stood by him, and he won on the post by a short head. In walking home his friends crowded round him, extolling his grand play and grander nerve. With the modesty innate in every true golfer he received their congratulations becomingly. "Verra true, verra true-I had his measure; but, solemnly, mind ye, it was jist by the damndest proavidence he missed the put." On the evening of this eventful day, as I went driving
There were in fact only two or three on whom suspicion could rest, for by this time the Irish-Americans who had been giving so much trouble had been nearly all accounted for, and the band had got small by degrees and beautifully less-only one, about the last of the lot, being still in evidence. This man, who was living in northern regions, in the salubrious district of Islington, was, as regards social position, perhaps the lowest member of the gallant fraternity,—a strange mixture of impudence, ignorance, and cunning. He was, however, quite intelligent enough to know that he had attracted attention, and was "under observation," a discovery which did not, I imagine, act as a soporific,-and feeling he had too much dynamite and too little cash, he proceeded with commendable promptitude to endeavour to reduce his stock of the former commodity and increase his store
"Out into the west, out into the west, of the latter. The explosive, As the sun went down,"
I realised the fact that we had missed death, or very serious injury, by about as narrow a margin.
Who the gentleman was to
separated into pieces of various dimensions, and lying conveniently to hand, he kept in his bedroom in the usual black trunk of American cloth, nearly the trunk I mean-sufficient
evidence of guilt in itself, had no more been forthcoming, and as well known to the detectives of London as James Braid's mashie is to the caddies of Walton Heath. Taking the pieces out from among the dirty jerseys and socks,-washing, unless he did it himself, was always a difficulty with the "pathriot,"-he deposited them carefully at the extremity of the little "back green," to which his landlady's fowls had
Dynamite has been put to many uses, but never, as far as I am aware, has it appeared, save in this instance, on the bill of fare of a covey of chickens. It has certainly no smell; but evidently it had a taste, for as soon as it was put down they pecked away at it with avidity. Possibly they regarded it in the light of Cayenne pepper, which we know can be partaken of with advantageous results; but whether that landlady's fowls gave a pyrotechnic display, and went off in a succession of sky-rockets to the delight of the neighbours, or whether they fizzled out one after another like damp squibs, or whether they suffered from indigestion, or laid eggs by the score, I never discovered. The explosive being now disposed of, our friend paid a visit to the hairdresser and got quit of a large heavy moustache; and then, presumably easier in his mind, he posted a letter to his relatives in "Garden City," or wherever it was-I forget the exact locality. He was sick of "this dam country,"
and was sailing for home "in two or three days." Unfortunately, however, the sinews of war had still to be provided; so he betook himself to the Bank of England, and presented, with that child-like simplicity which was one of his characteristics, a £20-note known to be one of those in the possession of the "Invincibles." They gave him the change he asked for-they couldn't refuse it but the sleuthhounds were on his track. He was arrested, tried, and got twenty years' penal servitude.
Some months afterwards I had a second experience, also ending happily. This time the "form of vice was a tube some twelve or fourteen inches long, with a tape attached to one end, on removing which, the Colonel told me, "the explosion" would occur. I was all against its removal, suggesting that the tube should be placed in a cab, driven to the marshes, and decently interred some feet underground; but, to my consternation, he thought it his duty to open it, and I most reluctantly arrived at the conclusion that it was my duty to stand by him. A procession was formed he and I leading, with two detectives bringing up the rear, to gather up the fragments should any be left of us or them. I have ofttimes walked from the condemned cell to the scaffold with equanimity; but then I was not destined to take the part of the leading lady or gentleman, as the case might be, in the piece, and that makes all the difference. Here
I was at the head of the column, in the forefront of the battle that uncomfortable and prominent position assigned in most reprehensible fashion by the Psalmist to the Hittite; and as we marched solemnly to our destination some large underground cellars-I sincerely wished myself well out of it. On our arrival the tape was removed, and coal-dust in profusion trickled out. No explosive was there-not sufficient for the manufacture of one squib. The hoax certainly had been excellently devised; and our only consolation lay in thinking that the perpetrator was not aware of the mauvais quart d'heure he had given us.
Hardly any one knew "the streets of London" as Dickens did. Were he among us now he would find many alterations, but few for the better. The cosy dens he depicted are improved off the face of the earth. They would not be frequented if they existed. Honour among thieves is a thing of the past, and distrust reigns supreme. I have known a man sell his most intimate "pal" into penal servitude for half-a-crown. When Dickens wrote of Fagin and his boys, of Bill Sikes and Nancy, of Noah Claypole and Charlotte, he never overdrew a character. We have still, as we had then, "receivers" with men, women,
and children in their regular employ. The Sikes of our time may be met with in hundreds, of a more degraded sort than his distinguished prototype. The original supported his woman by burglary and house-breaking, when detection meant death on the scaffold. The present Sikes lives on his woman's earnings, and hammers her well when she doesn't bring in enough from the streets to keep him in gin.
The City, felicitously called the "one square mile," is the happy hunting-ground of the swindler and company promoter, the headquarters of what is called "commercial crime." Within its limits helpless women and equally helpless men, country parsons, and officers of the army who have commuted their pensions-who think they know a thing or two, Lord help them!-are robbed of every shilling they possess. Delay in the great majority of cases inevitably ensues; and while the public prosecutor and the city solicitor are deciding on who should take the initiative, and the person defrauded as to whether or not he can stand the expense of a prosecution, the criminal is half way to California. recent case of absorbing interest, where there were good grounds for supposing that the criminal was endeavouring to
1 Within the last few weeks a distinguished soldier who had been suffering from depression through "financial difficulties" died by his own hand-a braver man seldom or never wore the King's uniform. Should his tragic fate serve as a beacon-light to warn all those gallant fellows to whom we owe so much, to stick to their trade, unremunerative though it be, and leave company promoting and dabbling in stocks and shares to those whose upbringing has fitted them for such pursuits, he has not died in vain.
take ship for America or some foreign country, the Corporation sanctioned, in the first instance, the expenditure of large sums incurred in connection with the watching, &c., of all outward-bound vessels, -a very proper step to take, seeing the necessity there was for immediate action. These sums, it is true, were repaid by the Treasury; but, as far as I have been able to ascertain, the Corporation are now, at all times, ready to come forward should a prosecutor decline to be responsible for police expenses. A well-known judge, at the trial of a man who had lived by swindling in the City for thirty years, but who happily got his deserts at last, after directing the jury towards an acquittal, was pleased to animadvert in no measured language on the "authorities "the police, presumably, he wasn't very definite-who could allow such a state of things to exist. The police had done everything that could be done; but they were in that case, as in hundreds of such cases, absolutely powerless. When the person swindled enters into a compact with the swindler, the robbed with the robber, and in the hope of getting back, say, two thousand of the five thousand he has lost, declines, by the advice of his solicitor, to prosecute criminally, what can the police do? Letters, documents, &c., all the evidence in the case, are destroyed. The defrauded is thankful to have pulled something out of the fire, and the swindler is fairly
well pleased too. Three thousand profit is not so bad. Were there an official in the City similar to the Procurator-Fiscal in Scotland, the change for the better would be apparent in a week. Even the pedestrian traffic would benefit, for half the gentlemen one sees in the morning tumbling out of the trains at Moorgate Street or the Mansion House from Bayswater and Putney, intent on picking their neighbours' pockets, would be engaged in the more congenial occupation of picking oakum.
From the City emanate daily prospectuses of limited liability companies, beautifully got up, offering sometimes as much as two thousand per cent on your capital. Few such are complete without two or three decoys, -a field - officer and some noble lords being apparently indispensable to the flotation. A butler in the North, anxious to get a good return for four or five hundred pounds, the savings of a lifetime, was attracted by one, which was indeed a typical specimen, the concluding clause being unique in its way-"and," so it ran, as the interest is guaranteed, no investment with us can be called of a speculative nature." Noble lords and distinguished warriors who frequent the City sometimes require-even with Debrett and the Army List at one's elbowa good deal of finding; and these books of reference, complete as they are, failed in the present instance to locate the members of the board. The whole lot, some eight or ten in