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presumptuous?) be looked upon as a man who
has really gone through what, in these days,
would be called a sensational time. I heard
every word the foreman of the jury said, and
found myself wondering what the judge's
black cap——of which every one has heard, out
few have seen——would be like. Then I was
in a kind of dream for a time, until I heard the
words condemning me to be hanged by the neck
until I was dead. A sensational effect upon
me, gentlemen, or am I presumptuous? And
will you favour me, sir, with a light?

"In spite of appearances," said this little
old gentleman, smoking with exceeding relish,
"my friends did not believe me to be guilty of
the fearful crime for which I was to be hanged
by the neck until I was dead, in ten days after
the trial. They moved heaven and earth to
obtain a commutation of my sentence, and, after
a great deal of trouble, they succeeded. At
the time of which I speak, there was in England
a temporary, but very strong, reaction
against capital punishment. I cannot recollect
all the circumstances of the case, but in a trial
for murder two men had been condemned to
death and duly executed, and shortly after
they had been hanged by the neck until they
were dead their supposed victim made his
appearance, well and hearty. The public press
took up the question of not hanging upon
circumstantial evidence, and I benefited to
the extent of my life by the temporary excitement.
I was respited, and condemned to transportation
for life, and very shortly afterwards——
for in those days transportation was in full
swing——found myself on my way out to Van
Diemen's Land, a convict ' lifer.'

"For seven long years, gentlemen, did I
undergo this punishment for a crime of which
I was perfectly innocent. Curiously enough,
the man who really had murdered poor Strange,
as he afterwards confessed, went out in the
same ship with me, condemned to seven
years' transportation for burglary. He must
have heard me tell my story and declare
my innocence over and over again; for in the
colony we worked a long time together in the
same gang. He was afterwards assigned to
a master who lived near the prison where I had
to slave out my time, as in those days ' lifers,'
whose sentence had been commuted for capital
punishment, were never allowed to leave the
chain gangs. But, after three years in Van
Diemen's Land, this real murderer took to
his old trade of burglary. To avoid being
captured, he fled to the bush, and on a party of
police being sent after the band to which he
belonged, he shot a constable in cold blood.
He was captured, sentenced to be hanged
by the neck until he was dead, and two days
before his execution confessed that he had
murdered, at Southampton, a person called
Strange, for which offence another man had
been sentenced to death. His statement was
taken down, and it was exact. It appeared that
he had been hidden for several hours in the
inn, intending to steal whatever he could lay his
hands on. Early in the morning he had found his
way into poor Strange's room, hoping to pick
up something before the house was astir. But
his entrance awoke Strange, who struggled for
a few minutes with him, and kept hold of
him. The razor which. I had lent Strange
being still lying on the bed, he murdered his
victim with it, and then put it into Strange's
hand, in order to make it appear that he had
committed suicide. He secured the watch, the
purse, and the bank-notes, of the murdered man,
and stole out of the house, locking the door of
the bedroom on the outside, and hiding the key.
He declared that he had got into Strange's
room before I left the house, and that for some
time after his fear was lest I should come back.
Had I done so, the murder would, in all probability,
have been prevented.

"When the statement made by this convict
had been duly verified, and when certain references
had been made to the home authorities,
I was duly liberated. That is to say, gentlemen,
I obtained the royal pardon for having
committed a crime which I never committed.
And very sensible I am, gentlemen, of the royal
clemency. Though it seems odd."

"All tickets, gentlemen, all tickets ready!"

The train had reached the ticket platform at

"Ah! Yes!" said the little old gentleman,
producing his: " Mine's a Return Ticket; but
it had very nearly been otherwise!"


MESSRS. CHAPPELL AND Co. beg to announce
that, knowing it to be the determination of MR.
DICKENS finally to retire from Public Reading soon
after his return from America, they (as having been
honoured with his confidence on previous occasions)
made proposals to him while he was still in the
United States achieving his recent brilliant successes
there, for a final FAREWELL SERIES OF READINGS in
this country. Their proposals were at once accepted by
MR. DICKENS, in a manner highly gratifying to them.

The Series will commence in the ensuing autumn,
and will comprehend, besides London, some of the
chief towns in England, Ireland, and Scotland.
It is scarcely necessary for MESSRS. CHAPPELL AND
Co. to add that any announcement made in connexion
with these FAREWELL READINGS will be strictly
adhered to, and considered final; and that on no
consideration whatever will MR. DICKENS be induced to
appoint an extra night in any place in which he shall
have been once announced to read for the last time.

All communications to be addressed to MESSRS.
CHAPPELL AND Co., 60, New Bond-street, London, W.

Just published, bound in cloth, price 5s. 6d.,