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LET us now return to Mr. Whittingham, whom we left in
serious and unfeigned tribulation at the moment when his young master was
taken into custody upon the charge of passing a forged note.
The Bow Street runner whom the
officer had left behind to search the house, first possessed himself of the two
letters which were lying upon the table in Markham's library, and which were
addressed respectively to Mrs. Arlington and Mr. Monroe. The functionary then
commenced a strict investigation of the entire premises; and, at the end,
appeared marvellously surprised that he had not found a complete apparatus for
printing forged notes, together with a quantity of the false articles
themselves. This search, nevertheless, occupied three hours; and, when it was
over, he took his departure, quite sulky because he had nothing to offer as
evidence save the two sealed letters, which might be valuable in that point of
view, or might not.
The moment this unwelcome guest had quitted the house, the
butler, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour - for it was now dusk - ordered
the market cart to be got ready; and, with the least possible delay, he
proceeded into town.
Upon his arrival in Bow Street, he found the police-office
closed: but upon enquiry he learnt that the investigation of Richard Markham's
case had been postponed until the following morning at eleven o'clock, the
prisoner having declared that he could produce a witness who would
satisfactorily show his (the prisoner's) entire innocence in the
In the meantime, he had been removed to Clerkenwell Prison.
Without asking another question, Whittingham mounted his cart
once more, and drove away at a rattling pace to Clerkenwell Prison. There he
began to thunder like a madman at the knocker of the governor's private
entrance, and could hardly believe his senses when a servant-girl informed him
that it was past the hours to see the prisoners. Whittingham would have
remonstrated; but the girl slammed the door in his face. He accordingly bad no
alternative save to drive direct home again.
The very next morning at nine o'clock Mr. Whittingham entered
the Servants' Arms Tavern; and with but little of his usual
circumlocution and verbosity, enquired the address of Mr. Mac Chizzle, the
lawyer, who had been one of the party at that house the evening but one before.
"Here is his card," said the landlord. "He
uses my house reglar, and is a out-and-out practitioner."
Whittingham did not wait to hear any further eulogium upon
the attorney. It had struck him that his young master might require a
"professional adviser:" and having the supreme felicity of
being totally unacquainted with the entire fraternity, he had felt himself
somewhat puzzled how to supply the desideratum. In this dilemma, he had
suddenly bethought himself of Mac Chizzle; and, without waiting to ponder upon
the propriety of the step he was taking, he rushed off in the manner described
to procure that individual's address.
"Well, what do you want?" cried the lawyer, who was
astonished at the unceremonious manner in which Whittingham suddenly rushed into
his office: "what do you want ?"
"Law," was the laconic answer.
"Well, you can have plenty of that here," said Mr..
Mac Chizzle. "But - I think you are the gentleman with whom I had the
pleasure of passing a pleasant evening at the Servants' Arms, a day or
"The indentical same," returned Whittinghain,
flinging his hat upon the floor and himself into a chair.
"Take time to breathe, sir," said the lawyer.
"If you're come for advice you couldn't have selected a
better shop; but I must tell you before-hand that mine is quite a ready money
"Very good, sir. I'll tell you my story first and
foremost; and you can then explain the most legible means of preceeding. I want
law and justice."
"Law you can have in welcome; but whether you
will obtain justice is another consideration."
"I'm bewildered in a labyrinth of mazes, sir," said
the butler. "I always opiniated that law and justice was the same
"Quite the reverse, I can assure you. Law is a human
invention: justice is a divine inspiration What is law to-day, is not law
to-morrow, and yet everything is still denominated justice. A creditor
salts for justice when he appeals to a tribunal against his debtor; and how is
that justice awarded? Why - if a man can't pay five pounds, the law immediately
makes his debt ten pounds; and if he can't live out of doors, the law
immediately shuts him up in prison by way of helping him out of his
difficulties. That is law, sir; but it is not justice."
"Right, sir - very right."
"Law, you see, sir," continued
MacChizzle who was particularly fond of hearing himself talk -"law is
omnipotent, and beats justice to such an extreme, that justice would be
justified in bringing an action of assault and battery against law. Law even
makes religion, sir; and gives the attributes of the Deity, for no one dares
assert that God possesses a quality or a characteristic, unless in conformity
with the law. And as these laws are always changing, so of course does
the nature of the deity, as established by the law, vary too; so that men may be
said to go to heaven or to another place by the turnpike roads laid down by the
"I like your reasonable powers amazingly," said the
butler, somewhat impatiently; "and I will now proceed to unfold the
momentary object of my visit."
"Give yourself breathing time, my dear sir. As I was
observing, Law is more powerful than even Justice and Religion;
and I could now show that it exercises the same predominating influence over
Morality also. For instance, Law, and not Conscience, defines virtues and
vices. If I murder you, I commit a crime; but the executioner who puts me to
death for the action, does not commit a crime. Neither does the
soldier who kills his fellow creature in battle. Thus, murder is only a crime
when it is not legalised by human statutes, - or, in plain terms, when it is not
according to law."
"I comprehend, sir," said Whittingham and, seeing
that Mr. Mac Chizzle now paused at length, he narrated the particulars of his
master's arrest upon an accusation of passing a forged note for five hundred
"This is an ugly case, Mr. Whittingham."
"You must go down to him at Bow-Street his case comes on
at eleven o'clock."
"Well, there is plenty of time: It is only half-past
nine o'clock. I think we had better instruct counsel."
counsel!" ejaculated Whittingham; "I want you to get him liberated at
"Ah I dare say you do, said the lawyer, coolly.
"That is often more easily said than done. From what you have told me I
should not wonder if your master was committed for trial."
"But he is innocent, sir - he is innocent - as the young
lamb in the meadows which is unborn!" cried Whittingham. "Master
Richard would no more pass a fictious note than I should endeavour to pass a
race-horse if I was mounted on a donkey."
Mr. Mac Chizzle smiled, and summoned his clerk by the
euphonious name of "Simcox". Mr. Simcox was somewhat slow in making
his appearance; and when he did, a very comical one it was - for his hair was
red, his eyes were green, his countenance was studded with freckles, and his
eye-lashes were white.
"Simcox," said Mr. Mac Chizzle, "I am going
out for a few hours. If the gentleman calls about the thousand pound bill, tell
him that I can get it discounted for him, for fifty pounds in money and eight
hundred in wine - which allows a hundred and fifty for discount and my commission,
If the lady calls whose husband has run away from her, tell her that I've sent
to Paris to make enquiries after him, and that if she'll leave another fifty
pounds, I'll send to Vienna. By-the-bye, that bothering fellow Smith is certain
to call : tell him I'm gone into the country, and shall be away for a fortnight.
If Jenkins calls, tell him I shall be home at five and he must wait, as I want
to see him."
"Very well, sir, said Simcox. "And if the gentleman
calls about the loan."
"Why, that I shall sees party about it this evening. The
first party declines; but I have another party in view."
Somehow or another, men of business have always got a
particular "party" in view to accomplish a particular purpose, and
they are always being disappointed by their "parties" - whom,
by-the-bye, they never condescend to name. To be "deceived by a
party;" or "having a party to meet;" or "being engaged so
long with a particular party," are excuses which will last as long as
business itself shall exist, and will continue to be received as apologies as
long as any apologies are received at all. They will wear out every other lie.
Whittingham was too much occupied by the affairs of his
master, to pay any attention to the orders which the solicitor gave his clerk;
and be was considerably relieved when he found himself by the aide of his
professional adviser, rolling along the streets in a cabriolet.
At length the lawyer and the faithful domestic were set down
at the Police-Office in Bow Street; and in a few moments they were admitted, in
tin presence of a policeman, to an interview with Markham in one of the cells
attached to the establishment.
Richard's countenance was pale and care-worn: his hair was
dishevelled; and his attire seemed put on slovenly. But these circumstances
scarcely attracted the eyes of Whittingharn :- a more appalling and monstrous
spectacle engrossed all the attention of that faithful old dependant; and this
was the manacle which confined his revered master's hands together.
"Oh! Master Richard," he exclaimed in a voice
broken by sobs, "what an unforseen and perfidious adventure is this! You
surely nevar could - no, I know you didn't!"
"Do not grieve yourself, my faithful friend," said
Richard, deeply affected: "my innocence will soon be proved. I have sent
for Mr. Chichester, who will be here presently: and he can show to one moment
how I became possessed of the two notes."
"Two notes!" cried Whittingham.
"Yes - I had another of fifty pounds value in my purse,
which I also received from Chichester, and which has turned out to be a spurious
one. Doubtless he has been deceived himself "
"Oh! that ere Winchester, or Kidderminster - or - whatever his name may be,"
interrupted the butler, a strange misgiving oppressing his mind " I'm
afeard he won't do the thing that's right. But here is a profound adwiser,
Master Richard, that I've brought with me; and he'll see law done, he says - and
I believe him too."
Markham and Mac Chizzle then entered into conversation together: but
scarcely had the unfortunate young man commenced his account of the peculiar circumstances in which he was involved, when the jailor entered, to conduct
him into the presence of the magistrate.
Markham was placed in the felon's dock, and Mr. Mac Chizzle intimated to the
sitting magistrate, in a simpering tone, that he appeared for the prisoner.
Now we must inform our readers that Mac Chizzle was one of those low
pettifoggers, who, without being absolutely the black sheep of the profession,
act upon the principle that all are fish that come to their net, and practise
indiscriminately in the civil and the criminal courts - conduct a man's
insolvency, or defend him before the magistrate - discount bills and issue no end
of write - act for loan societies and tally shops - in a word, undertake anything
that happens to fall in their way, so long as it brings grist to the mill.
Mr. MacChizzle was not, therefore, what is termed "a
respectable solicitor ;" and the magistrate's countenance assumed an
appearance of austerity - for he had previously been possessed in Markham's
favour - when that individual announced that he appeared for the
prisoner. Thus poor Whittingham, in his anxiety to do his beloved master a
great deal of good, actually prejudiced his case materially at its outset.
Though unhappy and care-worn, Richard was not downcast.
Conscious innocence supported him. Accordingly when he beheld Mr.
Chichester enter the witness-box, he bowed to him in a friendly and even
grateful manner; but, to his ineffable surprise, that very fashionable gentleman
affected not to notice the salutation.
It is not necessary to enter into details. The nature of the
evidence against Markham was that he had called at his guardian's bankers the
day but one previously, to receive a sum of money; that he requested the cashier
to change a five hundred pound Bank of England note; that, although an unusual
proceeding, the demand was complied with; that the prisoner wrote his name at
the back of the note, and that in the course of the ensuing morning it was
discovered that the said note was a forgery. The prisoner was arrested; and upon
his person was found a second note, of fifty pounds' value, which was also a
forgery. Two letters were also produced one to Mrs. Arlington, and another to Mr. Monroe, which not
only proved that the, prisoner had intended to leave the country with strange
abruptness, but the contents of which actually appeared to point at the
[-63-] crime now alleged against him, as the motive of his flight.
Markham was certainly astounded when be heard the stress laid
upon those letters by the solicitor for the prosecution, and the manner in which
their real meaning was made to tell against him.
The Magistrate called upon him for his defence, and Markham,
forgetful that Mac Chizzle was there to represent him, addressed himself in an
earnest tone to Mr. Chichester, exclaiming, " You can now set me
right in the eyes of the magistrate, and in the opinion of even the prosecuting
counsel, who seems so anxious to distort every circumstance to my disadvantage."
"I really am not aware," said Mr. Chichester caressing
his chin in a very nonchalant manner, "that I can throw any light upon
"All I require is the truth," ejaculated Richard
surprised at the tone and manner of his late friend "Did you not give me
that note for five hundred pounds to change for you? and did I not receive the
second note from you in exchange for fifty sovereigns ?"
Mr. Chichester replied in an indignant negative.
The magistrate shook his head: the prosecuting solicitor took
snuff significantly ;- Mac Chizzle made a memorandum ;- and Whittingham
murmured, "Ah! that mitigated villain Axminster."
"What do I hear!" exclaimed Richard' "Mr
Chichester, your memory must fail you sadly I suppose you recollect the occasion
upon which Mr Talbot gave you the five hundred pound note ?"
"Mr. Talbot never gave me any note at all,"
Chichester, in a measured and determined manner.
"It is false - false as hell!" cried Markham more enraged
than alarmed; and he forthwith detailed to the magistrate the manner in which
he had been induced to change the one note, and had be come possessed of the
"This is a very lame story, indeed," said the magistrate;
"and you must try and see if you can get a jury to believe it. You stand
Before Richard could make any reply, he was lugged out of the dock by the
jailor; the next case was called on; and he was hurried back to his cell,
whither Mac Chizzle and the butler were permitted to follow him.
chapter < | THE MYSTERIES OF LONDON
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