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posed ; but there is a propensity in roner was the identical attorney who human nature to regard the shedder had conducted all the prosecutions hiof man's blood, whether by accident therto carried on against the Lees. or design, with abhorrence. He who Whether his judgment was warped by but a minute ago was a favourite with prejudice, or whether he hoped to conall the bystanders, became now an ob- ciliate the good-will of the landed ject of loathing to the majority. Whilst aristocracy by involving one member a few voices, therefore, called aloud to of a detested family in trouble, or let the poor fellow go,
hundreds were whether he acted, as charity would decidedly of opinion that he ought to dictate, in accordance with his own be detained. “As to Joe himself he sense of duty, I cannot tell. Certain never atteinpted to escape. Whilst it is, that a verdict was returned acthe fate of the fallen wrestler was in cording to his recommendation, and, doubt,-or rather as long as his hurts under the coroner's warrant, Joe Lee were considered in no degree to en. was removed to jail. danger his life, Joe kept aloof from It is needless to describe with mihim, and probably congratulated him- nuteness the circumstances which atself on the extent of the chastisement tended the young man's imprisonment which he had inflicted; but when a and trial. 'Neither is it necessary to cry was raised, “ the keeper is dead," observe that the misfortune in which there was not an individual in the their son was involved gave to Simon throng who appeared more anxious to and his wife the deepest concern ; falsify the rumour, by bestowing upon more especially as they dreaded a deits object every attention in his power. gree of interference from certain high Dead, however, the keeper was; and quarters, which they considered capaJoe readily gave himself up to the ble of carrying all before it, even to parish constable, until the issue of the conviction of an accused person, in the coroner's inquest should be ascer- defiance of the clearest evidence of his tained.
innocence. Simon and his wife, how, Several hours of daylight still re- ever, only fell, in this respect, into the maining, no time was lost in dispatch- double error which frequently posing a messenger for the coroner; and sesses the minds of the lower orders in as the office for this part of the county this country. They groundlessly ima, happened at the time to be filled by a gined, first, that their betters would Folkestone attorney, that gentleman desire to pervert the course of justice, speedily arrived. A jury was sum- for the sake of furthering a selfish purmoned, witnesses examined, and the pose—a crime of which some no doubt body viewed on the spot where it had may be guilty, but from which the ceased to breathe. There cannot be a aristocracy of England are, as a body, doubt that a verdict of accidental entirely free; and, secondly, they er. death would have been returned, but roneously conceive, that wealth and for the unfortunate speech delivered rank are able to overwhelm innocence by Joe previous to the commencement and poverty—a calamity from which of the match_"Do not spare me, for, our glorious constitution effectually by the Lord, I do not mean to spare guards us all. Had Joe Lee been are you.” This sounded very like malice raigned before a bench of county magiprepense; and the fact, that the par- strates, it is just possible that his geneties were at the moment in a state of ral character might have told against hostility towards one another, furnish- him; but he was given over to be dealt ed strong ground of suspicion that, if with according to the judgment of there existed no design on either side twelve plain Englishmen, in whose positively to take away life, still each eyes there really are some crimes more was resolved to inflict upon the other heinous than that of killing game withas severe a bodily punishment as it was out qualification, licence, or permispossible to inflict.“ Under these cire sion. Nor did the jury which tried his cumstances, gentlemen,” said the co- case disappoint my expectation. In roner, “ I see not how we can suffer spite of the formidable sentence which, this matter to end here. You must in the view of the subject taken by the return a yerdiet either of murder or coroner, rendered a verdict of manmanslaughter, which you think pro- slaughter inevitable, Joe Lee was fully per. My own opinion is, that the lat- acquitted; and he returned home, after ter will suit best with the state of the a'sojourn of a week or two at Maidpresent affair.” It is said that the cos stone, to follow his former occupations.
If the Lees had formerly been ob- was inhabited. I stepped in. There sat jects of general dislike, they now be- Simon in his old corner, with his head came so in a tenfold greater degree. bent down, and arms crossed upon his The game-keepers on all the neigh.. bosom; of his dogs, only one was near bouring estates entered into close al- him, the identical black terrier which liance with the tenantry, for the pro- usually accompanied his son; and it tection, as it was said, of their mas- lay upon the ground, with its tongue ters' property, but more justly, I be- hanging out, and its limbs at full lieve, to revenge the death of theirstretch, apparently in the agonies of comrade. The farmers, again, resolw' death. Simon either did not, or would ved to give neither work nor relief to not, notice me. The wounded dog, characters so desperate ; and the very however, for on a nearer inspection I labouring classes shunned them, as if saw a desperate wound in its flank, they had been polluted creatures, and made an effort to raise its head, and a deadly infection rode upon their repeated the melancholy growl which breaths. Simon and his family were it had given when I first stepped across not unaware of this. It had the ef- the threshold; but the head dropped fect, not of softening or reclaiming, again to the earth, and the sound ceabut of rendering them more ruthless sed. Still Simon took no notice. I than ever; and it was now pretty went up to him, placed my hand or generally understood, that both fa- his shoulder, and called him by his ther and son were resolved to follow name; he looked up, and in my life I their vocation at all hazards ;'whilst never beheld such expression in the strong, and even armed parties, were human countenance. Agony, grief, nightly abroad, for the purpose of rage, and despair, were all depicted intercepting them. It was in vain there. His eyes were bloodshot, his that I sought to reason with either cheeks pale as ashes; there was blood party. The world would not give upon his garments, and his whole way to an individual; that individual form was defiled with mud. Withwould not give way to the world : in- out apparently knowing what he was deed, I soon found that, by attempt about, he sprung to his feet. In a ing to make things better, I only moment the but-end of a gun was made them worse, and weakened my brandished over me; and, had I not influence over each of the contending quickly stepped back, it would have factions. Matters at length attained dashed my skull to pieces. As it was, to such a crisis, that I anxiously de- the blow falling upon the unfortu. sired to hear of Simon's capture and nate dog, put an end at once to its conviction ; for I had little doubt that agonies. the latter event would be followed « Simon,” said I, “ what means his banishment from the country ; this? Why lift your hand against and I was quite sure, that nothing me?" The unhappy man stared at short of his removal would prevent me for a moment; the savage expressome act of desperate violence from sion gradually departed from his face, being sooner or later committed. A and, falling down again upon his seat, single month had barely elapsed from he burst into tears. I know no specthe return of Joe out of prison, when, tacle more harrowing than that of an on wandering to Simon's cottage one old man when he is weeping. The morning, with the view of making a grief must be deep-seated indeed, last effort to reclaim him, I found that which wrings salt tears from the eyes my worst fears had been realized. of such a man as Simon Lee ; and I
Having knocked at the door several accordingly trembled when I again times without receiving any answer, I requested to be made acquainted with raised the latch, for the purpose of the cause of behaviour so extraordientering. Instead of the loud bark- nary, and so unlike that which I usuing which usually gave notice of the ally met at his hands. watchfulness of Simon's four-footed "I thought you had been one of companions, a sort of broken growl, the blood-hounds, sir," cried he; I something between the sound of a thought you had tracked us to our bark and a howl, alone caught my very
go up stairs, go and ear. It was accompanied with
a wail- you will see, for I cannot speak of it.” ing noise—the noise of a woman weep- I went up accordingly, and beheld, ing; but, except from these noises, upon a miserable pallet, all that rethere was no intimation that the house mained of the stoutest wrestler, thio
fastest runner, and the best shot in out the necessity of firing, when the the parish. His mother was standing dogs starting a couple of hares, both near him, wringing her hands in piti- father and sou discharged their pieces able agony; his little brothers and almost at the same moment. All this sisters were clustered round him, and occurred close to a particular corner joining, some of them scarce knew of the wood where they had placed no why, in the lamentations of the pa- fewer than three wires, at short disrent. I was much affected. “ How tances from one another. No doubt has this happened?" asked I, hardly the wires had been observed ; and the able to articulate. “Oh, my boy! keepers, rightly judging that those my boy !” exclaimed the unhappy mo- who set them would return at night ther, my first born, and the dearest to take away their spoil, laid themof my children, has it come to this ? selves up in ambush in their immeWas it for this end that I reared you diate vicinity. The report of firewith so much care, that you should arms drew them instantly to the spot; die by the hands of common murdere neither Simon nor Joe considered it at ers?' Look here,” cried she, at the all derogatory to their dignity to eso same time rolling down the bed- cape, if they could; so; seeing three clothes, “ look what they have done.' men advancing towards them, they I did look, and beheld a wide wound took to their heels. The kcepers folupon the left breast of the corpse, as lowed. Joe might have escaped with if a whole charge of slugs, or swan- ease; but his father, grown stiff by shot, had entered. The left arm, too; years, was unable to keep up with I saw was broken; it was a horrible him. The pursuers gained upon him spectacle. I covered it up again. It rapidly. “Run, Joe; run, my boy," was plain enough that a rencounter
cried the old man;
never mind me. had taken place, during the preceding Remember your mother and sisters; night, between some of the keepers run, and take care of them."-" That and Simon and his son ; and that it I will not, father,” answered Joe; had ended fatally, the proof was now
you are, I am ; let them come before me. I could not, however, in
Old Simon was by this time quire into particulars just at that mo- pretty well spent with running. He ment, for the parents were too much stopped to breathe : Joe stopped also. overcome by the fate of their child to He endeavoured to load his gun, but repeat them ; but I learned them soon had only time to ram home the powafter. They were as follows:-- der, when the assailants came up:
About ten o'clock on the preceding One of them made a blow at the old night, the moon being in her first man's head with a bludgeon, which, quarter, Simon and his son, each arm- had it taken effect, would have put ed with a fowling-piece, and attended him beyond the reach of surgical art; by their dogs, set out, according to but Joe caught it ere it fell. His left custom, in quest of game. As they arm received it, and was broken. Still had placed several snares in the woods the right remained to him, and with of Denne in the course of the
pre- a single stroke from the but of his gun ceding morning, they directed their he laid the fellow flat upon the earth. steps thither; not only because they A desperate struggle now ensued bewere tolerably sure of filling their tween the two remaining keepers and bag in a moderate space of time, but the poachers. Though powerless of with the view of ascertaining whether one hand, Joe was still a match for or not the wires had availed them. most men; and Simon, having recoThe distance was considerable. They vered his breath, fought as if only walked seven good miles before they half the load of years had been upon reached their ground, consequently his back. The keepers gave ground. midnight was hard at hand when The sole object of the Lees being esthey began to penetrate the preserves. cape, they abstained from pursuing Their object being to obtain as many them, and made the best of their way head of game, and with as little noise for the high road, and along it toas possible, they had taken care to wards their home. But they were not provide themselves with brimstone permitted to go unmolested. The matches, for the purpose of smoking keepers followed. By way of checksuch pheasants as they might happen ing their farther advance, Joe unfor. to see at roost upon the boughs. They tunately turned round and levelled had succeeded in bagging a brace with his piece. He had hardly done so,
when one of the pursuers fired, and ver, from the hour of his son's death, his gun being loaded for the purpose in a fit state to conduct any business, with buck-shot, its contents made or even to take care of himself. His their way through the young man's stubborn temper, if it could not bend, clothing, and entered his chest. The was at length broken. All his misa wound
was not, however, immediate- fortunes, real and imaginary, seemed ly fatal.
“I am hurt, father," cried to press upon his mind with double
fly, and leave me to my fate.” violence, now that the child of his Another shot was fired while he was pride was taken away from him. I yet speaking, which took effect upon have myself seen him weer, at times, the only dog that stuck to them. Wild like a woman. Long after his wife with rage, old Simon would have load, had regained her composure, Simon ed his gun, and revenged his son or was inconsolable ; and the ravages perished, had not the latter assured made by sorrow upon his health and him that he was still able to proceed. frame were many degrees more visible By darting down a deep ravine they and more serious, than those which managed to evade the keepers ; and three score and three winters had efthen taking the most unfrequented fected. Simon was an altered man. ways, they made for the moor. But The gun and the net were laid aside, just as the light in their cottage win- but the spade and the hoe took not dow became discernible, Joe's strength their place. At first he was deemed forsook him ; he reeled and fell ; nor lazy; the parish refused to assist him; was it without much waste of time, he was cited before the magistrates, and almost super-human exertions, and committed to jail. Having rethat the old man continued to drag, mained there till the period of his rather than carry him home. Poor sentence expired, he was again set at Joe never spoke after. He was laid liberty. But of his liberty he made upon his bed in a state of stupor, no good use. His very wife now comand about half an hour before day- plained of him. He would sit, she break breathed his last.
said, for hours at a time, with folded Such is a brief relation of the events arms, staring into the fire. He seldom that brought about the melancholy spoke either to her or her young ones; scene to which I was now a witness. and when he did, it was incoherently From it I learned, that the blood upon and wildly. At length he was missa Simon's gaberdine was his son's. The ing. He wandered forth one morning, state of frantic sorrow, too, in which unshod and bare-headed. In this I found him, was sufficiently explain- plight he was seen to pass through ed, as well as the impulse which drove the church-yard, resting for a minute him to raise a murderous arm against or two on Joe's grave. But what any intruder; and though I could became of him after no one can tell. not acquit this old man of blame, He was never heard of again. By though, indeed, I felt that the death some it was surmised, that, under the of Joe was entirely owing to his lawe influence of a crazed brain, he had less proceedings, I could not but pity wandered into a distant part of the him to a far greater degree than I con- country; and hence that, sooner or demned him. I did my best to com- later, tidings of him would certainly fort both him and the lad's mother; arrive. By others it was insinuated, but my words fell upon inattentive that he must have either thrown himears, and I departed, much troubled self from the cliffs into the sea, or in my own mind, and without having fallen over and been destroyed. That the consolation to reflect, that I had the first report was groundless, an in any degree lightened the troubles absence of five years, during which no of others.
intelligence of his destiny has reached The affair, fatal as it was, never his family, furnishes ample ground came before a court of justice. It was for belief; whether either of the latnot, of course, to the interest of Si- ter surmises be correct, I am ignorant. mon, had he been capable of attend. All that I know is, that he has never ing to his interests, to stir in the mat- been seen or heard of in these quarter; for he could not bring his charge ters since the morning above alluded home to any definite person, and the to; and that his wife, and four survery attempt so to do must have in- viving children, are now wholly sup, volved him in additional trouble. The ported from the poor's-rates. fact, however, is, that Simon was ne. VOL. XIX.
POSTHUMOUS LETTERS OF CHARLES EDWARDS, ESQ.
London, 184 “ Hockley in the Hole,”-indeed there WELL! here I am, once more, in is no such place with three brace of London. You saw my name among pistols, his hair in papers, and a hun. the “ arrivals." -“ Charles Edwards, dred guineas in his pocket! And, as for Esq. from a tour !” They would have wild, solitary journeying, by bridle
, said as much, although I had come paths, over mountains and through fofrom Botany Bay, so that I drove to rests, to muse along at a foot pace in ; P's Hotel with four horses ; and scanty luncheons by the side of a river, I won't be positive as to the fact of or under the shade of a cork-tree ; cote coming back-but I should not be the tage and convent up-puttings, or any first who had set out from that house other of the casualties that to you and for such a destination.
me, in earlier and better days, used to I staid one evening at Clifton, and make travel delightful! Mail-coaches posted from Bath upwards—the world forsake us! the whole hundred and certainly cannot match such travel- twenty miles of road from London to ling, for people who are in haste. Mare Bristol is but one great high street, ry! the same circumstances-(every, now, almost with houses upon both thing shows as new to me here as if I sides of the way; cursed with turtle, were an Esquimaux, or a Kamschat- gas-light, horse patrole, excellent inn, can born, instead of an Englisman)- turnpike at every half mile, and every but the same circumstances which other nuisance of wealth and regu. combine to furnish the power for this larity. rapid locomotion, make its adoption, In fact, I look at England now, now they exist, pretty nearly compul- something with the eye, though not at sory. Farewell to the last incarnation all with the heart, of a foreigner-did of the eccentric, and adventurous—the it never strike you, bating, of course, scenes that inspired Smollett, and Far- the loss of national strength which quhar, and Fielding. It would be unfortunately would accompany such heavy work now to ride through Eng- a change, that the people here would land on horseback-putting up, every be happier if they were not quite so twelve hours, for the night, at the enlightened as they are ; and still close of the day's stage or journey : more so, if there were not quite so and without even the chance of a sword many of them? What say you to a drawn at the inn where you stopped, good rummaging plague again-such or a scuffle with a highwayman (or as that treatedl of in the veritable and a brace of footpads) before you got moth-eaten tome that you have sent there.
me; and which (do me the favour to The joys which charmed the youth say so much, with my profound reof our grandfathers, are departed ! spects, to your lady sister) shall be There are no people robbed in St Paul's returned, translated in the best way church-yard, nor in Holborn, now. that I can make it out-a plague of
Paddington stage” is never purpose, and which, as Fletcher's stopped now (unless to deliver parcels, grave-digger suggests it, should take not once a-year !) instead of being the apothecaries and physicians first, plundered regularly every night, and that there might be no help left for the coachman stripped to his shirt, money? and so set upon his box again--some- London alone, for a genuine strantimes without any shirt-as it used to ger, the work of half a life would be. There has not been a burglary, hardly be sufficient for him to exathat is, not a proper burglary—the mine it. The mere new matter which people tied back to back and put down has arisen since I was here last-in in the coal-cellar, while the house was six years—is such a survey to go gutted, and so on-scarcely within my through, that I must die very slightly recollection. Nor a fine young thief informed as to three-fourths of it. at least nineteen times escaped from “Improvement”-or, at least, increase Newgate-of “ five-and-twenty, or of extent, will make it a post-stage thereabouts,” taken at such a place as from one end of the town to the other,