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Two Trials by E. V. Lucas

I

Sally Delia

Silence being demanded, the secretary opened the trial.

Secretary. Lucy Sterling against Sally Delia, for raising contention among her schoolfellows, and disturbing the general peace.

Judge. If I was unhappy in being appointed to sit in judgment on Billy Prattle, how much more so must I now be when I am bound to inquire with impartiality into every particular which may tend to convict Sally Delia of the charge laid against her. I would, however, recommend you to go through this business with the utmost candour, to advance nothing through prejudice, to conceal nothing through a mistaken tenderness; and to you, ladies of the jury, to divest yourselves of everything but truth, to weigh nicely the force of the evidence, that, in giving your verdict, you may convince everyone present you have acted upon upright principles.

Secretary. Lucy Sterling, please to support the charge.

Judge. I would beg leave, Lucy Sterling, before you proceed to give your evidence, to ask you whether either of the ladies on the jury were anyways concerned in this quarrel.

Lucy Sterling. Sally Delia left the choice of her jury to me. It therefore became my business, though a principal evidence against her, to choose such young ladies as were absent at the time of the fray.

Judge. Happy, indeed, is that young lady in whom friends and enemies confide!

Lucy Sterling. A few evenings ago, when all the young ladies had finished their labours for that day, they were allowed to amuse themselves in what innocent manner they pleased in our garden. Our governess, solicitous for our felicity, thought to add to our pleasures by sending us a basket of sweetmeats, which she intended to be equally divided; but an unlucky accident turned this kind intention into a scene of sorrow, and raised in their hearts nothing but strife. There happened to be a piece of candied angelica, which seemed very beautiful. On this they all placed their attention, and all begged for that. Every one endeavoured to show her superior right. Sally Delia urged her superior strength. But as they were all speaking together it was almost impossible to distinguish what one said from the other.

Judge. Was Sally Delia the first who talked of committing violence?

Lucy Sterling. I heard nobody else mention any such thing. I endeavoured to quiet them, but they would not listen to me. Their minds were so bent upon this piece of sweetmeat that all the rest were disregarded. I offered to divide it amongst them to pacify them; but they all talked together, and had no time to listen to what I said. Then, as the only method to quiet the disturbance, I threw the bone of contention into a ditch, from whence it was impossible for either of them to get it. A profound silence ensued, and I took that opportunity to reason with them on the folly of quarrelling about such trifles. My admonitions were in vain, for the contention broke out more violently, and the dispute now was, not who should have it, but who ought to have had it. Sally Delia was the first who renewed the strife, and not being able to give vent to her passion in words alone, gave Nancy Graceful a slap on the face. The other returned the blow, and the scuffle became general. Many blows, indeed, did not pass between them, for they aimed only at tearing each others' clothes. One had her cap torn to pieces, and her hair pulled all about her shoulders; a second had her frock torn down the middle; and, in short, there was hardly one among them who had not some mark to show of having been concerned in this unfortunate affair.

Judge. What part did you act in this fray, and how did it end?

Lucy Sterling. I endeavoured to part them, and in endeavouring so to do, received several scratches on the hands and arms. I know not where all this would have ended had not our governess come to my assistance. After hearing her voice, everything was quiet, excepting with Sally Delia, who, in the presence of her governess, tore two handkerchiefs and an apron. The fear of punishment now began to take place of anger, and each, ashamed of the trophies of victory she held in her hands, let them fall to the ground. Our governess for some time stood astonished, little thinking that what she had given them to increase their felicity should be the cause of so much animosity. Madame inquired of me the cause of this disaster, which I explained as well as I was able. They were all examined separately, their tears pleaded their pardon; but Sally Delia remained obdurate and inflexible.

Secretary. Polly Artless, please to come and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know, Polly, of this quarrel?

Polly Artless. I was not present when it happened; but the next morning I attended Sally Delia's examination before Lucy Sterling. Her governess had ordered Lucy Sterling to examine her, and in case she could not bring her to repentance, then to confine her, and order her to be brought to trial.

Judge. Relate what passed at this examination.

Polly Artless. Lucy Sterling asked her in the most kind manner what she could think to get by her contention about a piece of sweetmeat. Sally Delia replied that she should not answer her question; that she did not like to have more than one governess, and if she obeyed her she thought she did enough.

Judge. What reply did Lucy Sterling make to this?

Polly Artless. Lucy Sterling reminded her of the authority with which she herself had contributed to invest her; that she did not set up to govern others, or to prove herself wiser than they; that she only wanted to persuade her to learn to be peaceable and happy. She therefore begged leave to repeat the question whether she got anything by this last quarrel?

Judge. Did Sally Delia make any answer?

Polly Artless. She replied that she could not say she did get anything by it but the displeasure of her governess and having her clothes torn; that she did not value the sweetmeat, but that she had too much spirit to be imposed on, and that she was sure she had as much right to it as any of them.

Judge. Did Lucy Sterling endeavour any further to convince her of her fault?

Polly Artless. Yes. Lucy Sterling told her that she would have shown a greater spirit in giving up the matter of contention than in fighting for it; that then she would have proved herself a young lady of moderation and sense, nor would she have incurred the high displeasure of her governess. Sally Delia was at a loss for an answer, but she was so obstinate that she did not care to own herself in the wrong. At last she replied: 'I think I am as capable of judging what is right as you are of teaching me.' Then, finding herself overpowered by reason, she burst into tears. Lucy Sterling did everything in her power to bring her to confess her fault, but all was to no purpose. She therefore left her in custody till her trial.

Judge. What is the character of Sally Delia among her schoolfellows?

Polly Artless. She is too apt to be quarrelsome, too full of her high birth, and dissatisfied with everything.

Secretary. Betsy Friendly, please to come and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know, Betsy Friendly, concerning this quarrel?

Betsy Friendly. I accompanied Polly Artless on the examination of the accused before Lucy Sterling, and, to the best of my remembrance, Polly Artless has told the truth.

Judge. Do you know anything further?

Betsy Friendly. I called this morning on Sally Delia, before she came on her trial. I found her divided between obstinacy and contrition, but I thought more inclinable to the latter.

Judge. Relate what passed at this visit?

Betsy Friendly. As soon as I entered the chamber, I saw her sitting on a sofa in a pensive posture, and tears in her eyes. I asked her what she thought of Lucy Sterling's advice, and whether it would not have been better to have followed it than suffer her conduct to be exposed in a public manner?

Judge. What reply did she make?

Betsy Friendly. Sally Delia said that she began to see a good deal of truth in Lucy Sterling's observations, and she seemed to fear that her reason would at last oblige her to own it. This last thought seemed to fill her with the most painful reflections.

Judge. Did you not endeavour to convince her of the folly of her obstinacy?

Betsy Friendly. I said all I could think of to persuade her to conquer her spirit. She would not, at last, give me a word of answer to anything I said. I then turned from her and left her.

Judge. What have you observed with respect to her general behaviour?

Betsy Friendly. She is too often obstinate and quarrelsome, but at other times free, easy, and good-natured.

Secretary. Susan Lenox, please to give evidence.

Judge. What do you know in respect to this fray?

Susan Lenox. I have too much reason to remember it, for my cambric apron, which had cost me three months' working, was torn to rags.

Judge. What is your opinion of the general behaviour of Sally Delia?

Susan Lenox. She is sometimes well enough—at least, so long as you will listen to her tales about her illustrious family.

Secretary. Anne Graceful, please to give evidence.

Judge. Please to inform the court, Anne Graceful, of what you know concerning this affair.

Anne Graceful. I have reason to complain of my loss; my muslin frock was entirely destroyed.

Judge. Please to inform the court who gave the first blow?

Anne Graceful. Though I did not see Delia give the first blow, I have no reason to doubt she was the person from whom I received it. When we were disputing who ought to have had the favourite sweetmeat, Sally Delia urged her high birth and fortune, and concluded that if reason could not strength should have obtained it. Hearing this, I turned my back on her as a mark of contempt, when I instantly received a violent slap on the head.

Judge. How did you act on that occasion.

Anne Graceful. I instantly turned about, and in my anger, mistaking Susan Lenox for Sally Delia, I treated her very rudely.

Judge. This ought to teach us that passion is not only ill-becoming a young lady, but that it may lead into such mistakes as may be attended with serious consequences. But when you found your mistake, how did you behave towards Susan Lenox?

Anne Graceful. As soon as peace was restored, I begged pardon, and offered to repair all injuries. The former was granted, but the latter she would not accept.

Judge. I have only one more question to ask, which you will please to answer me on your word. Was there not some old grudge subsisting between you and Sally Delia?

Anne Graceful. I must own that I never liked her; there was something in her so proud and overbearing as gave me a disgust.

Judge. But were Delia to alter her conduct, should you forget what is past?

Anne Graceful. When she begins to act like a reasonable girl, she will become dear to me and the rest of her schoolfellows.

Secretary. Henry Lenox, come forward and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know, Henry Lenox, of this fray?

Henry Lenox. I saw all the finest part of it. I happened to be looking after a bird's nest in a field next to the garden: I heard the young ladies in high chat: but, as the sound did not seem to be very harmonious, curiosity led me to see what they were at. I instantly climbed up into a tree, and scarce had I taken my seat, when the engagement began. I saw Sally Delia strike Anne Graceful in the face; that young lady turned about and pulled off my sister's cap, and part of her hair with it. The battle soon became general, and it was impossible for me to distinguish friends from foes. Such a havoc ensued among caps, gowns, and frocks, as I never before beheld. This is the truth of what I know of this terrible disaster.

Judge. Do you, on your word, declare that Sally Delia gave the first blow?

Henry Lenox. I am certain she did.

Judge. Sally Delia, what have you to say in your defence?

Sally Delia. I am now brought to a public trial, as though I were some mean-born wretch; but out of conformity to your customs I submit to it. I deny the whole of the charge, and will wait for the verdict.

Judge. Young ladies of the jury, Sally Delia now stands before you, accused of raising strife and contention among her schoolfellows, and disturbing the general peace. Lucy Sterling affirms that the governess having presented the young ladies with a basket of sweetmeats to regale them, a quarrel arose among them with respect to the preference of choice of one part of it. Disputes ran high, and at last Sally Delia was so imprudent as to lift up her hand against one of her schoolfellows, which created a general confusion. The part Lucy Sterling acted in endeavouring to pacify them is no small addition to that character for which she is so justly admired. This young lady says positively that she saw Sally Delia give the first blow; that the contention was no sooner over than all of them were sorry for what they had done, except Sally Delia, who persisted in her fault, and was to be prevailed on by no entreaties or arguments. Polly Artless says that she was not present at the fray, but attended Sally Delia on her examination before Lucy Sterling, and corroborates everything which that young lady had advanced, but more particularly points out the care Lucy Sterling took to bring her to reason. I may add, the character this evidence gives Sally Delia is not at all to her reputation. Betsy Friendly, who visited the accused before her trial, seems to speak something in her favour by saying she showed some marks of contrition, but at last left her in an obstinate condition. Susan Lenox stood next to the accused at the time she struck Anne Graceful, and became herself a sufferer thereby. Anne Graceful cannot take upon herself positively that Sally Delia was the person that struck her, though circumstances are strong against her; but Henry Lenox declares he saw Sally Delia give the blow. Sally Delia, in her defence, contents herself with denying the whole of the charge, and rests on her innocence. I will only observe that I cannot see how you can acquit her when there are so many convincing proofs of her guilt. The principal point to be considered is what punishment you will inflict: it ought not to be so slight a one that the remembrance of it may leave no impression behind, nor so heavy that it may anyways be deemed insupportable. After all, I only give my opinion freely, which, above all, is to do justice and love mercy.

(The jury went out, and returned again in about half an hour.)

Judge. Are you all agreed in your verdict?

Jury. Yes.

Judge. Is Sally Delia guilty or not guilty?

Jury. Guilty.

Judge. What punishment do you inflict?

Jury. To be confined one month to her chamber; to be allowed neither sweetmeats nor fruit, nor to receive any visits; but, that her health may not be impaired, that she be allowed to walk twice a day in the garden, at those times when none of the scholars are there; that, after that time is expired, she be brought into the large hall, and there be obliged to ask a general pardon of all her schoolfellows; and that, in case she refuses to comply with these injunctions, that her parents be then prayed to take her home.

Sally Delia, who had made no doubt that she should be acquitted, no sooner heard this hard judgment given against her than she burst into tears. The judge seeing it, thus spoke to her: 'I should be glad, Sally Delia, if you would inform me and the whole court from what source those tears flow: whether from a just sense of your crimes, or only from the apprehensions of your punishment? Why should you delay to humble that haughty spirit, to acknowledge your error, and beg for a mitigation of your punishments? I will myself then plead for you. But remember, if you continue obstinate till the court is broken up, your repentance afterwards will come too late.'

Sally Delia then fell upon her knees, acknowledged her fault, and begged a mitigation of her punishment. The judge recommended her to the jury, who left the matter entirely to him. He ordered her to be confined only three days, and even during that time to have the liberty of receiving visits from the rest of the scholars.

The trial being now ended, Sally Delia's schoolfellows, who just before had been evidences against her, ran to her and tenderly embraced her.

She promised to lay aside all her haughty actions, and, instead of being hated by her companions, to obtain the love of them all. She kept her word, and is now become one of the most amiable young ladies in the school.

The whole court was extremely well satisfied with the candid manner in which every part of the trial was supported.

II

Harry Lenox

Harry Lenox little thought, when he was giving evidence against Sally Delia, that he should himself be soon brought to public trial. He was in many respects of a good disposition; he loved his books, was affable and obliging to his schoolfellows, and subservient to his tutor; but then he was fond of getting into mischief, such as breaking church-windows, laying traps to throw people down, and was very ingenious at inventions of this kind. Whenever he was accused of anything of this sort, he would not only deny it, but stoutly stand to it; and this, at last, brought him to a trial.

The young gentlemen in general were very much vexed at Harry's disgrace, and would have bought off the complaint but that this would have been deemed bribery and corruption. The ladies were, most of them, well pleased that he was himself now brought into the same dilemma. In the meantime the judge took his seat, the jury assembled, and the prisoner was brought to the bar.

Secretary. Sammy Halifax against Harry Lenox, for a robbery and telling a fib.

Judge. Call up the evidence.

Secretary. Sammy Halifax, support the charge.

Judge. What have you to say, Sammy Halifax, against the prisoner?

Sammy Halifax. A few days ago, having given my tutor satisfaction in the performance of my exercises, he ordered me a plum-tart as a reward. It was baked in a tin pan, which I was ordered to bring back as soon as I had eat the tart. Henry Lenox was remarkably taken with the look of this tart, and offered to keep it for me till I wanted it, alleging that his room, which was a north light, would keep it much better than mine, on which the sun shone the hottest part of the day. I accepted the offer, and saw him put it into his cupboard. I went immediately to invite two or three of my intimates to partake of it in the evening in my own room, and thought I could do no less than ask Harry Lenox to make one of the party, in consideration of his kindness; but he excused himself. In the evening we all met, and Harry Lenox brought the tart and set it down, and begged leave to be excused, as he had promised to take a walk with his sister. It was a long time, so charming did it look, before we could persuade ourselves to spoil the sight of it. At last I stuck my knife into it; but how shall I express our disappointment when, instead of fine plums and rich juice, we found only pebbles and water! We all vowed revenge for this piece of treachery, and would have beat him soundly could we have then found him; but he had taken care to get out of the way. When our first warmth was over, we concluded it would be better to treat him in a judicial manner; and he is now before this court for that purpose.

Judge. You have said that you saw him put the tart into the cupboard; can you take upon you to say whether or not there was any lock to it?

Sammy Halifax. I am certain there was no lock on the cupboard; for he said to me when he put the tart into it that he had no lock, and he hoped nobody would get at it.

Judge. By what reason do you then conclude that he was the thief?

Sammy Halifax. Because he had the care of it, and refused to come and partake of it.

Secretary. George Bobadil, come and give evidence.

Judge. What do you know of this matter, George Bobadil?

George Bobadil. I was one invited by Sammy Halifax to eat part of this tart; but on cutting it up, instead of plums, we found only stones. It was instantly concluded that Henry Lenox was the traitor.

Judge. Had you any other reason to suppose that Henry Lenox was such?

George Bobadil. There was reason to think so; besides, I met him as I was going to the feast, stopped him, and told him where I was hastening; when he replied, as I thought, with a sneer, 'You will have a delicate repast!' I did not then know that he was entrusted with the care of it, and concluded that this manner of answering me arose from my supposition of his not being invited; but the tart was no sooner cut up than his reason for answering me thus was evidently apparent.

Judge. You cannot take upon you to say that you positively know him to be guilty of the charge?

George Bobadil. I cannot, but there is the strongest presumption of it.

Secretary. Samuel Evelyn, come and give evidence.

Judge. What have you to say, Samuel Evelyn, to this matter?

Samuel Evelyn. I was one invited by Sammy Halifax to partake of this tart, which, when cut up, produced nothing but stones. I had been walking after dinner in the garden before I went into the school; and when I got to the bottom of it I saw Henry Lenox and three or four more sitting on the grass under a rose-bush. As soon as I came within sight of them, I saw them all in a bustle; and when I came up to them, though I did not see them eating anything, yet their mouths were so clammy that it was with difficulty they could answer me. As I had then no reason to suspect anything, and finding myself an unwelcome guest, I left them and went into the school.

Judge. You do not, then, pretend to say what they had been eating.

Samuel Evelyn. I cannot take upon me positively to say what they had been eating, but I afterwards made no doubt of its being Sammy Halifax's tart.

Secretary. Come, Edward Harris, and give evidence.

Judge. What have you to say, Edward, with respect to this tart?

Edward Harris. I was invited to partake of it, and was, like the rest, disappointed; for there was nothing left but the top crust, the side and bottom crust, all the plums being taken away, and stones and water put in their place.

Judge. Who do you suppose did it?

Edward Harris. I make no doubt that it was Henry Lenox. It being left in his custody, and his refusing to come and partake of it, seem to corroborate the guilt of Henry Lenox.

Judge. Have you any other circumstance to allege against him?

Edward Harris. Yes; after he came out of the garden, and had been some time in the school, he was called out to construe. Before he left his form, he pulled out his handkerchief to blow his nose, when three or four plumstones fell on the ground. After he was gone I picked them up, for I love the bitter of the kernel.

Judge. Did you observe these plumstones, whether they were of a pale or a red colour?

Edward Harris. I had put them into my pocket, and forgotten them; but, on meeting with my disappointment in the tart, and finding there was so much room to suspect that Henry Lenox was the culprit, I pulled out the stones, and found by their colour they had been baked, for they were of a deep red. We concluded likewise that they must that day have been taken out of some tart, as they were still clammy.

Judge. Did you ask Henry Lenox how he came by those stones?

Edward Harris. I did not, for I well knew, if I had, he would not have answered me.

Judge. Did you take any method to discover who was the person that robbed Sammy Halifax?

Edward Harris. Yes; we agreed among ourselves, with our tutor's leave, to stick up a paper in the school, offering one shilling reward to any of the party who would turn evidence, and give information of the person who committed the fact. As we had great reason to suppose several were concerned in the eating of it, we were in hopes by this means to make a discovery; but we were disappointed, for not any spoke a word about it, and all in general pleaded ignorance.

Secretary. Hannah Careful, please give evidence.

Judge. Pray, what have you to say to this matter?

Hannah Careful. I am a half-boarder, and was ordered by my governess to attend here, in order to prove that the tart I delivered to Sammy Halifax was filled with plums, and not stones.

Judge. That is a material point; pray proceed.

Hannah Careful. My governess instructs me in the art of pastry and confectionery; I that day made all the tarts myself, and was ordered to give Sammy Halifax one of the best. Before I gave it him, I raised one side of the crust, to see if the syrup might not have boiled out, when I found it had not; and I am certain it was filled with plums when I delivered it to Sammy Halifax.

Secretary. Sally Delia, please to give evidence.

Judge. What do you know of this affair?

Sally Delia. Your lordship cannot have yet forgotten that I was myself so unfortunate as to fall under the censure of this court. I am sorry for the crime which then brought me before you, but I shall ever consider that day as the happiest period of my life—a day in which I was convinced of my folly, obstinacy, and self-conceit; a day to which I owe all the happiness of a calm and peaceful life, free from the passions of thoughtless girls who place enjoyments in the gratification of unreasonable desires.

Judge. Pray, Sally, proceed, and do not imagine you will be troublesome to the court; there is nothing we can listen to with so much pleasure as the language of reformation.

Sally Delia. I do not mention this out of vanity; only to induce the court to believe that I do not this day appear here against Henry Lenox out of any grudge whatever to his having been a witness against me. So far from it, I consider him as my benefactor; I consider him as one of those to whom I am indebted for my reformation. Happy shall I think myself if I shall in any way contribute to his.

Judge. Your evidence cannot be disputed, and I doubt not the jury will lay much stress on what you shall advance.

Sally Delia. It has lately been my custom in the evening to retire to a little arbour behind the summer-house in the bottom of the garden. I had this evening been so intent on what I was reading that I had stayed longer than usual. In the midst of my thoughts I was interrupted by the noise of somebody breaking through the bushes. I soon heard Henry Lenox's voice, and that of some others whom I well knew. I soon found the cause of their thus breaking out of their own bounds. They had some secret to talk of. I sat as still as possible, fearing I might be discovered, and heard Henry Lenox say, 'If you blow me, I never will forgive you; besides, you will come in for a flogging as well as me.' They all promised they never would puff; one said he never ate anything sweeter in his life; another said it was sweeter because it was stolen; and a fourth laughed heartily on thinking, when it was opened, how foolish they must all look; it was, says the fifth, one of the best——Here he stopped, for the foot of a person was heard coming down the garden, when they all flew away, and got off unperceived by anyone but myself. It was one of the maids, who was coming to look after me; and my governess chid me for staying beyond the time allowed me. My acknowledging my fault and asking pardon was thought a sufficient atonement.

[Illustration: 'I was reading, and was interrupted by Henry Lenox and three others talking over a secret.'—Page 64.]

Judge. Can you, from what you heard in the garden, take upon you to say that Henry Lenox is certainly guilty of what is laid to his charge?

Sally Delia. Had not the maid disturbed them by coming to call me, I doubt not but I should have been able to answer in the affirmative; at the present, I only say that I believe so, and that upon the strongest presumption.

Henry Lenox. I am happy in being tried by a judge and jury who have too much sense to convict me on mere conjecture, and there is far from any positive proof. To give a verdict against me in this case would be opening a way to the greatest errors. How many, through the hasty determination of a jury, on mere conjecture, have suffered unjustly! But should I meet with that fate, I will never find fault or repine, since I am sensible I shall not be the first, and I trust that my innocence will support me under the unmerited disgrace. Sammy Halifax came to me, brought a tart in his hand, and for safety, to oblige him, I put it into my cupboard. I brought it from thence, and gave it him. If anyone got to it, and treated it in the manner he describes, I am sorry for it; but it cannot be imputed to my fault. My reason for declining taking part of it is well known to my sister, whom I had promised to take a walk with in the evening. She is now in court, and I apprehend her word will not be doubted. As for the sneering words I made use of to George Bobadil (for that was the term he gave them), if they had any particular meaning at all, it could only serve to show what little consideration I made of mere matters for the tooth. As for the evidence which Samuel Evelyn has given against me, it can be of no weight, since it is well known that each has his confidant, and that each has some mighty secret to reveal to another. As to what Edward Harris advances with respect to the plumstones, they might as easily have fallen from the pocket of another as from mine, and there is even a possibility that these very plumstones may have come out of the tart after they themselves had eat it. Upon the whole, I leave it to your lordship and this honourable court whether there be any other view in this trial than that my accusers may obtain another tart at the expense of my credit.

Secretary. Susan Lenox, please give evidence.

Susan Lenox. My brother came to me in the evening in which the tart was eat, agreeable to my invitation; and I did not hear him mention the least syllable that could indicate his guilt in this matter. He mentioned the tart, indeed, by saying he was invited to eat part of it, but added that his appetite was the least of his concern.

Judge. Did he appear more cheerful or dejected than usual?

Susan Lenox. I perceived no change in him; he had nothing more or less of his natural gaiety and cheerfulness.

Stephen Brooks. I have known the prisoner a long time, and have always found him more ready to give than receive, and far from taking anything from anyone.

Richard Richards. The prisoner has been my intimate playmate for four years, and I never once quarrelled with him in my life.

Benjamin Blunt. The whole is a contrivance to bring Henry Lenox into disgrace, and to make you believe they have been ill used.

Judge. You have said, Sally Delia, that there were some voices you heard in the summer-house besides that of Henry Lenox. Do you imagine that either of these last young gentlemen were there?

Sally Delia. I am certain they were all three there.

Judge. Young gentlemen of the jury, I will not take up your time in recapitulating the evidence given; every part of it seems to agree so well that you cannot mistake it. The two principal points to be considered are these: If you are determined to find him guilty only on positive proofs, then you must acquit him, for there does not appear to be any throughout the whole trial; but if you will be contented with circumstances, supported by the strongest evidence that can be given, then you must find him guilty. It is, indeed, a just observation of the prisoner, in his defence, that many have suffered innocently, though on the strongest presumptions, and I must add that the character of a young gentleman is too tender a thing to be sported with. After all, I do not presume to direct you. I would only advise you to think of the matter impartially; a verdict given from such principles of action, though it may tend to lead to a mistake, can never be attended with reproach.

(The jury then went out of court, and returned in about an hour and a quarter.)

Judge. Gentlemen of the jury, are you agreed in your verdict?

Jury. We cannot determine, and therefore beg to leave it special.

The judge immediately quitted the chair, which was soon after filled by the tutor, and the judge took the place of the secretary. Henry Lenox, who had not doubted, as there was no positive proof against him, but that he should be acquitted, as soon as he found the jury left it special, and that his tutor had taken the chair against him, his heart instantly failed him, and everyone took notice of the alteration of his countenance. Judge Meanwell then went all through the evidence, which, being finished, the tutor thus addressed Henry Lenox:

'Henry Lenox, I am unhappy for you in finding that to the crime of theft you have added the grievous guilt of a lie. By your artful defence, you have so far baffled the jury as to make them doubtful of the clearest thing in the world. Do not foolishly imagine that you have any compliment to pay yourself on this score; the most shining abilities, when used to deceive and mislead, to trick and cozen mankind, and to persuade them out of their lawful property, become the most dangerous possessions, and are as mischievous as plagues, pestilence, and famine. How can you dare to arrogate to yourself that part of philosophy which teaches you to look upon the luxuries of life with indifference, while your heart must tell you that you have not the least claim to it, and that you sacrifice your character and reputation to obtain luxurious trifles? They who are capable of deceiving in small concerns will not scruple to be guilty of injustice in matters of the highest moment. No one is wicked all at once; they harden their hearts by degrees against the truth, and at last are totally blind to it. Such conduct as yours promises nothing but the most fatal events; but it is my place to destroy it in its bud; and be assured that, though the jury could not see into your guilt, I can most clearly; and I do further tell you that unless you confess your fault, ask pardon, promise to do so no more, and make it your study to keep your word, I will treat you with the utmost severity. I will abridge you of every kind of amusement, and will confine you from the rest of your schoolfellows, that you may not corrupt them. On the other hand, if you confess your crime, I will lessen your punishment, and may, perhaps, restore you to my favour.'

Henry Lenox then fell on his knees, and, with tears in his eyes, confessed he was guilty, but mentioned nothing of those that ate part of it. His master then forgave him, on his most faithful promises of future amendment; and those who had been evidences against him shook hands with him, and they were all friends immediately.

 
 
 

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