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yet himself had died, for want of a
twentieth part of it, of slow starvation!

It must not, however, be supposed that
Chancery never releases its victims. We
must be just to the laws of "Equity." There
is actually a man now in London whom they
have positively let out of prison! They had,
however, prolonged his agonies during
seventeen years. He was committed for
contempt in not paying certain costs, as he had
been ordered. He appealed from the order;
but until his appeal was heard, he had to
remain in durance vile. The Court of Chancery,
like all dignified bodies, is never in a
hurry; and therefore, from having no great
influence, and a very small stock of money to
forward his interest, the poor man could only
get his cause finally heard and decided on in
December, 1849seventeen years from the
date of his imprisonment. And, after all,
the Court decided that the original order was
wrong; so that he had been committed for
seventeen years by mistake!

How familiar to him must have been the
face of that poor, tottering man, creeping
along to rest on the bench under the wall
yonder. He is very old, but not so old as he
looks. He is a poor prisoner and another
victim to Chancery. He has long ago
forgotten, if he ever knew, the particulars of his
own case, or the order which sent him to a
jail. He can tell you more of the history of
this gloomy place and its defunct brother, the
Fleet, than any other man. He will relate
you stories of the "palmy days" of the Fleet,
when great and renowned men were
frequently its denizens; when soldiers and
sailors, authors and actors, whose names even
then filled England with their renown, were
prisoners within its walls; when whistling
shops flourished and turnkeys were smugglers;
when lodgings in the prison were dearer than
rooms at the west-end of town; and when
a young man was not considered to have
finished his education until he has spent a
month or two in the Bench or the Fleet.  He
knows nothing of the world outsideit is dead
to him. Relations and friends have long ceased
to think of him, or perhaps even to know of his
existence. His thoughts range not beyond the
high walls which surround him, and probably
if he had but a little better supply of food
and clothing, he might almost be considered a
happy man. But it is the happiness of apathy,
not of the intelligence and the affectionsthe
painless condition of a trance, rather than the
joyous feeling which has hope for its bright-
eyed minister. What has he to do with hope?
He has been thirty-eight years a Chancery
prisoner. He is another out of twenty-four,
still prisoners here, more than half of whom
have been prisoners for above ten years, and
not one of whom has any hope of release! A
few have done something fraudulent in
"contempt" of all law and equity; but is not even
their punishment greater than their crime?

Let us turn away. Surely we have seen
enough, though many other sad tales may
be told, rivalling the horrors of Speilberg
and French Lettres-de-cachet.


THE Lady sate at the castle gate,
  Her face was wan and wild,
And "Oh," she said, "that I were dead,
  But for ye, my bonnie wee child."

The night grew late, still there she sate,
  Biding the winter storm;
The morning came, and still the same,
  Sate there the muffled form.

With stately show, but sad and slow,
  They threw the portals wide,
And a little bier was drawing near,
  Borne with a mournful pride.

"Why sit ye there?" cried they who bare,
  "This is nae place for you,
Gae seek a name to hide your shame,
  And make nae mair ado."

She spake nae word, she never stirred,
   They plucked her cloak away
From her face so wan, was the wildness gone,
  And there Death softly lay.


"Now then," said Jack Ayres, " we'll go
and look for a ship." Accordingly, turning
out of our boarding-house in Maddison Street,
New York, we bent our steps towards the
Shipping Master's Office, on the quay.

We were walking along the quay, under the
jib booms of the large ships, that thrust their
ends almost into the warehouse windows,
were when Jack suddenly stopped, as if he had
forgotten something, and exclaimed, " Have
you got your protection?"

"No," I answered, "nor do I exactly know
how to get one. I have only been an American
a month."

"Oh, that's nothing," cried Jack, "come
along with me;" and he hurried me off to
the Custom House.  Jack stated at the proper
department what I wanted, and in five
minutes I had a document, stating I was born
at New Bedford, Massachusetts, giving a
concise and flattering description of my person,
and entitling me to the rights and privileges
of a free-born Americanall for one dollar.

"And very cheap, too, for such a
tremendous 'buster'! " said Jack.

"It's very shocking," I remarked; though
I am afraid that I seized and pocketed the
document without any repugnance whatever.

"Them sort don't count nothing, you know,"
said Jack, "afore a strangerbut here we

The Shipping Office was a small room,
containing a large counter, that extended quite
across it. Behind this stood the Shipping
Master, a keen-looking man, with more of a
Jewish than American cast of countenance.
Before it were a group of sailors dressed in

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