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on its hinges, that in so many hours or
minutes all those horrors would infallibly
ensue? Have you heard that, after my
poisonings, I have had to face the
circumstances out, with friends and enemies, doctors,
undertakers, all sorts of men, and have
uniformly done it; and do you wonder that
I face it out with you? Why not? What
right or reason can you have to expect
anything else of me? Wonder! You might
wonder, indeed, if you saw me moved, here
now before you. If I had any natural human
feeling for my face to express, do you imagine
that those medicines of my prescribing and
administering would ever have been taken
from my hand? Why, man, my demeanour
at this bar is the natural companion of my
crimes, and, if it were a tittle different from
what it is, yon might even begin reasonably
to doubt whether I had ever committed

The Poisoner had a confident expectation
of acquittal. We doubt as little that he
really had some considerable hope of it, as we
do that he made a pretence of having more
than he really had. Let us consider, first, if
it be wonderful that he should have been
rather sanguine. He had poisoned his victims
according to his carefully-laid plans; he had
got them buried out of his way; he had
murdered, and forged, and yet kept his place as a
good fellow and a sporting character; hehad
made a capital friend of the coroner, and a
serviceable traitor of the postmaster; he was
a great public character, with a special Act of
Parliament for his trial; the choice spirits of
the Stock Exchange were offering long odds
in his favor, and, to wind up all, here was a
tip-top Counsellor bursting into tears for
him, saying to the jury, three times over,
"You dare not, you dare not, over, you dare not!"
and bolting clean out of the course to declare
his belief that he was innocent. With all
this to encourage him, with his own Derby-
day division of mankind into knaves and
fools, and with his own secret knowledge of
the difficulties and mysteries with which the
proof of poison had been, in the manner of
the Poisoning, surrounded, it would have
been strange indeed if he were not borne up
by some idea of escape. But, why should he
have professed himself to have more hope of
escape than he really entertained? The
answer is, because it belongs to that
extremity, that the villain in it should not only
declare a strong expectation of acquittal
himself, but should try to infect all the people
about him with it. Besides having an artful
fancy (not wholly without foundation) that
he disseminates by that means an impression
that he is innocent; to surround himself in
his narrowed world with this fiction is, for
the time being, to fill the jail with faintly
rose-coloured atmosphere, and to remove the
gallows to a more agreeable distance. Hence,
plans are laid for the future, communicated
with an engaging candor to turnkeys, and
discussed in a reliant spirit. Even sick men
and women, over whom natural death is
impending, constantly talk with those about
them on precisely the same principle.

It may be objected that there is some
slight ingenuity in our endeavours to resolve
the demeanour of this Poisoner into the same
features as the demeanour of every other
very wicked and very hardened criminal in
the same strait, but that a parallel would be
better than argument. We have no difficulty
in finding a parallel; we have no difficulty in
finding scores, beyond the almost insuperable
difficulty of finding, in the criminal records,
as deeply-dyed a murderer. To embarrass
these remarks, however, with references to
cases that have passed out of the general
memory, or have never been widely known,
would be to render the discussion very
irksome. We will confine ourselves to a famous
instance. We will not even ask if it be so
long ago since RUSH was tried, that his
demeanour is forgotten. We will call THURTELL
into court, as one of the murderers best
remembered in England.

With the difference that the circumstances
of Thurtell's guilt are not comparable in
atrocity with those of the Poisoner's, there
are points of strong resemblance between the
two men. Each was born in a fair station, and
educated in conformity with it; each murdered
a man with whom he had been on terms of
intimate association, and for whom he
professed a friendship at the time of the murder;
both were memberts of that vermin-race of
outer betters and blacklegs, of whom some
worthy samples were presented on both trials,
and of whom, as a community, mankind
would be blessedly rid, if they could all be,
once and for ever, knocked on the head at a
blow. Thurtell's demeanour was exactly that
of the Poisoner's. We have referred to the
newspapers of his time, in aid of our previous
knowledge of the case; and they present a
complete confirmation of the simple fact for
which we contend. From day to day, during
his imprisonment before his trial, he is
described as "collected and resolute in his
demeanour", "as rather mild and conciliatory
in his adress," as being visited by "friends
whom he receives with cheerfulness," as
"remaining firm and unmoved," as "increasing
in confidence as the day which is to decide
his fate draws nigh," as "speaking of the
favourable result of the trial with his usual
confidence. On his trial he looks "particularly
well and healthy." His attention and
composure are considered as wonderful as
the Poisoner's; he writes notes as the
Poisoner did; he watches the case with the
same cool eye; he "retains that firmness for
which, from the moment of his apprehension,
he has been distinguished;" he "carefully
assorts his papers on a desk near him;" he is
(in this being singular) his own orator, and
makes a speech in the manner of Edmund
Kean, on the whole not very unlike that of

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