Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

2 erthygl ar y dudalen hon




♦ -JI'r" pretty case indeed, sir, as far as it goes. However, we must see what the examination wiil bring out, and then have a remand." "A remand exclaimed Van Flowker, in alarm. And you fancy, Slark, I shall remain in dis tog- hole, or some vorse kennel still, vhile under remand Vhy, man, I should pe dead in a day. You shall have to get me pail. De magistrate von't pe a pig-headed fellow, like dis inspector, I should hope." Get bail, my dear sir! No doubt we shall get bail; no doubt of it, whatever," returned Mr. Slark, virtuously indignant that his rich client should not have anything he pleased. "Refuse bail to a gentle- man of your respectability and standing, Mr. van Flewker ? Not a magistrate in the City would dream of such a thing, sir." Anoder ting, Slark," interposed the merchant. Send to my offices directly for my foreign corre- spondent, M. Kleckser. He is acquainted with all the details of this affair, and can give valuable evi- dence. Send at vonce." A messenger was dispatched in search of Kleckser to Augustine-close, hard by. He returned with the intelligence that Kleckser was nowhere to be found. Van Flewker ground his teeth with rage. See, Slark, the artful nature of dis villain," he whispered fiercely to his solicitor. He tampers vid my servants, and keeps dem out of de vay. More is to come than yet ve have heard." The lawyer answered with a feeble smile. He was old and muddie-headed, and criminal business was altogether out of his depth. His lips mecha,ni- cally framed themselves to his accustomed formula, A pretty case, my dear sir; a ve-ry pretty case, so far as it goes." Van Flewker perceived that Mr. Slark was not likely to afford him much assistance but there was no time left now to secure other professional advice. Besides, they must hear first by what evidence Pari supported his charge. The merchant could not help believing it must inevitably break down at once. Time passed, and Van Flewker was placed at the bar. M. ParIandet presented himself to testify against his benefactor. To those who knewhim it was evident he was carefully got up for the occasion. His dress was plainer and less pretentious than was his wont; his beard was more carefully oiled and arranged than usual; his cheeks presented only a suspicion of rouge, just enough to hint that the brilliancy of his naturally ruddy complexion had been impaired by sorrow and distress of mind. He cast a deprecating glance upon his patron as he came forward, sighed lugubriously, then mournfully shook his head. It was clear that the position in which he found himself occasioned the severest anguish to his grateful mind. The facts of the case, your worship," began Mr. Leonard Jacobs, the solicitor Parl had engaged, unfortunately lie in a nutshell. The missing person, Raymond White was at the commencement of last May, a clerk in the prisoner's service. Upon the 4th of that month he was dispatched to the prisoner's residence, at Richmond, with a message. I shall prove to your worship, by a credible witness, that White reached Richmond between eight and nine in the evening, that he was shown into the prisoner's study, and that he never came ont alive,I shall prove the prisoner's motive for getting rid of White. I shall prove, by unimpeachable evidence, that the prisoner has himselt admitted the charge upon which he is arraigned and, lastly, I shall show your worship proof, under his own hand, that this charge is only too lamentably true. Call Mrs. Lydia White." Mrs. White came forward, pale, but composed. Her evidence was mainly formal. It was directed to prove the fact of her son's engagement by Van Flewker, his tenure of a situation in the merchant's office, his leaving home upon the morning of the 4th of May, and his failure to return. At Van Flewker's desire, Mr. Slark declined to cross-examine. Esther Wayte was the next witness. She deposed that she was housemaid in the prisoner's service at Richmond. She remembered the 4th of May. Ad- mitted Mr. White that evening to the cottage a little after eight. Showed him into her master's study. Never let Mr. White out of the house. Never saw him go out. Didn't know whether he was there now. Shouldn't think it likely. Cross-examined: Entered the study twice during Mr. White's interview with her master, to pull down the blinds, and to take in some refreshment. Was not aware that her master let Mr. White out. Re-examined Would positively swear she never let Mr. White out. Master might, but she didn't. Had never seen Mr. White since that night. M. Napoleon-Victoire Parlandet, being next sum- moned, stepped into the witness-box with a mildly sorrowful air. He was sworn, and smacked the Testament with evident gusto. His examination followed. chap 39 You recollect the evening of the 4th of May ?"— "Alas! monsieur, but too well." "Relate what, so far as you are aware, took place upon that evening."—" My never-to-be-sufficiently- lamented friend honoured my humble roof with his visit. We conversed. We were social. We were happy. Ah! could I but have surmised that I enjoyed his beloved presence for the last time M. Pariandet furtively wiped away a tear. Compose yourself. Your feelings do you honour, but sentiment must yield to justice. You asked Mr. White to take a message for you to Richmond ?"— Alas, I did." At whose instigation ?"—" By previous arrange- I ment with M. Van Flewker." "The prisoner at the bar had desired you to send Mr. White to Richmond, upon a fictitiously important message ?" Monsieur, he had." Now, M. Parlandet when did you first hear of the mur—well, the disappearance of this Mr. White ?' —" Upon my arrival at Augustine-close, next morning. The lamentable intelligence was com- municated by another very dear and esteemed friend, M. Kleckser." What was your first impression upon the sub- ject Alas! I am ashamed to confess it was an impression that did dishonour to his worthy memory." He joined his hands pathetically. I must remind YOllnot to give way to your feelings, however creditable. I am afraid I must press you to tell me what that impression was."—"My first idea was that my friend had gone astray. That, yielding to momentary temptation, he had erred from the jjaths of rectitude. Ah, false friend, not to know thy Raymond better." What caused you tb change this opinion ?"—" I grieve to say, the cruel and unfeeling jests of my em- ployer. The mother of my friend arrive at the I office that afternoon—the 5th—to inquire for her | son. My employer did receive her civilly; but dis- I miss her so soon as he was able. After her de- Darture. he turns to me, and mock himself at the -u. poor dame's distress. Sudeten suspfefon dart Info my soul." Was that suspicion subsequently strengthened ?" —" Alas, too sadly. Conversing, as was my wont, frequently with my employer upon this mournful topic, he would display impatience, desire me to be silent, discourse of other things." chap 39 Do you also recollect the afternoon of the 6th of August ?"—" Alas monsieur, I do." "What happened upon that day to fix the date in your memory ?"_H Then it was that my terrible suspicion was converted into sad assurance. Then it was that, finally overcome by horror and remorse, unable longer to support the pangs of conscience, that man (pointing to Van Flewker) confessed to me in plain- alas too plain-and dreadful language, it was he had removed my never-to-be-forgotten friend." Immense sensation was produced in the court by this testimony of M. Parlandet. The hum and stir that go forth from men* when moved agitated the audience, and swayed them to and fro as they stood upon tiptoe to watch the effect of this evidence upon the prisoner. Mr. Slark rose hastily from the solicitor's table and whispered to his client, ap- parently urging him to be calm. But the merchant's anger overcame his prudence. Pushing the solicitor aside, he leant over the bar, and shouted at the top of his voice, A lie, you scoundrel. Every word a base and treacherous lie!" Horrified Mr. Slark rushed at his impetuous client, and clapped his fingers over his mouth. The gaoler in the dock pulled Van Flewker back. Alderman Beltry administered a severe reprimand. If the prisoner interfered again, lie declared, he should be removed from the bar, and the examination carried on in his absence. When order was restored, Mr. Jacobs resumed his examination. You had further conversation with the prisoner on the subject, had you not I had." You expressed horror and detestation of the crime he acknowledged to have committed ?" Monsieur, I did." You asked him what could have been his motive, I think. What was he reply.That he feared an attachment between my beloved friend and his daughter, Mademoiselle Gertrude." Van Flewker started up in the dock, and fell back into a fit. Foam churned around his lips. They brought him water, and he presently reyived. Can't ye shorten the witness's examination, Mr. Attorney ?" asked Alderman Beltry, after a whispered consultation with his clerk. The scene is growing very painful." Three more questions, your worship, and I have done," replied Mr. Jacobs. Now, M. Parlandet, do you recognise this document He held out a paper. Alas! monsieur, I do. That paper, with the exception of the signature was written by me to my late employer's distation that same afternoon of the 6th of.Augmt." Whose is the signature ?" That of Fabian Van Flewker, my late employer." "You swear that the prisoner knowingly signed this documentmpon the afternoon of the 6th of August last in your presence ?" Monsieur, I swear it." M. Parlandet lifted up his right hand with a theatrical gesture, and walked out of the witness- box. Mr. Jacobs handed the paper to the clerk, who passed it to the alderman. So profound was the silence, so intense the curiosity of all within the court that no one stirred. Ye must read it out aloud, Mr. Flathers," said Alderman Beltry. The clerk took back the paper, and read as follows:— Augustine Close, August 6th, 18—. MY DEAR PAIILANT)I'T.-At your especial request, to relieve my mind from a weight which is beginning to grow trouble- some, and, to show my great, confidence in you, I here repeat to you in writing what I have already told you in words respecting what occurred at my cottage in Richmond upon the night of the 4th of May last. You, upon your part, promise not to disclose the contents of this paper during my lifetime, and to burn it after my death. Upon the evening of the 4th of May, you sent Raymond White, by my desire, to my cottage at Richmond. You made an occasion for doing so. I wished to speak with the young man privately on a serious matter. 1 had observed, for some time past symptoms of a growing attachment between this White and mv daughter Gertrude. You were the first to point it out. To* also cautioned me against allowing it to proceed too far. Your object was kind and friendly and although the result was unfortunate still, I thank you for good intention. The young man reached my house, as we had arranged, I set him to write some letters which I required, then spoke to him upon the subject of my daughter. His manner, in reply, was impertinent. I grew warm, and remonstrated strongly. He answered me in terms of even greater insolence, I desired him to leave me, and discharged him from my ser- vice upon the spot. He turned to go, with the remark, that if I wanted a slave, I must look for one elsewhere. In sudden passion, I snatched a heavy letter-weight from the table, and flung it at him as he moved away. By an unfortunate accident the weight smote him on the temple. He fell as if struck by lightning. 1 ran up, turned him over, felt his pulse, his heart. They ceased to beat beneath my hand. He gasped for breath an instant, then fell back. He was dead! Horrified at this accident, I knew not what to do. I locked the door of my study, went into the drawing-room, and passed the evening there. At midmght, when the house was quiet, when the mocn had set, when all bad retired to rest, I stole down- stairs to my study. Despair tent me strength and courage. I took the dead man on my shoulders, and struggled with my burden across the lawn to the river-side.. "I tied stones to the feet of the corpse, and pushed it in. This is the actual truth of that iiiiforttiiiate event, You will see at once how the mischance took place. Regret is useless but I shall naturally be careful that nothing of this kind shall occur again. Accept, my dear friend, the sincere assurance of my perfect consideration, FABIAN VAN FLEWKER. This was the paper shuffled in by M. Parlandet among the letters which Van Flewker signed hur- riedly, without reading, that mail-day when Whiffles felt so grateful for the manager's assistance. The affected carelessness of the last paragraph was inten- tional. At this point the letter turned over on to the third page, and these were the only lines likely to fall beneath the merchant's eye as he signed. They were purposely so drawn up as to admit of easy ex- planation. Read in connection, now, with pre- ceded, they displayed a brutal cynicism, whicl,mwent a shudder through the police-court. That, your worship, is our case," said Mr. Jacobs, when the clerk had read the letter. I can call witnesses to prove the prisoner's signature, if re- quisite but I think that will hardly be denied. We ask for immediate committal." Mr. Slark had been in eager consultation with his client. He turned to the magistrate. We ask for a remand, your worship, to enable us to produce witnesses. We reserve our right of cross-examina- tion, and we deny everything. We deny the evidence of Parlandet; we deny the genuineness of the docu- ment that has just been read; we deny the truth of the accusation altogether. The charge has taken us entirely by surprise; and it is not too much to assert that we never even beard a breath of suspicion before to-day. A siiort defay wilf enable us to prepare a, thorough refutation. We ask for a remand, and to be admitted to bail. It can be forthcoming, your worship, to any required amount." Mr. Jacobs opposed the application, and the alderman took time to consider. His decision, pronounced an hour subsequently, was to the effect that he would grant a remand, but that, considering the serious nature of the chMge, bail could not be allowed. Fabian van Flewker was consigned for a week to the House of Detention. (To be continued.)