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immediate, was placed in my hands, which
silenced me the instant I looked at it. It
was written from the prison by Mr. Fauntleroy,
and it contained two lines only, entreating
me to apply for the necessary order,
and to go and see him immediately.

I shall not attempt to describe the flutter
of expectation, the strange mixture of dread
and hope that agitated me, when I recognised
his handwriting, and discovered what it
was that he desired me to do. I obtained the
order, and went to the prison. The
authorities, knowing the dreadful situation in
which he stood, were afraid of his attempting
to destroy himself, and had set two men to
watch him. One came out as they opened
his cell-door. The other, who was bound not
to leave him, very delicately and considerately
affected to be looking out of window
the moment I was shown in.

He was sitting on the side of his bed, with
his head drooping and his hands hanging
listlessly over his knees, when I first caught
sight of him. At the sound of my approach,
he started to his feet, and, without speaking
a word, flung both his arms round my

My heart swelled up. "Tell me it's not
true, sir! For God's sake, tell me it's not
true!" was all I could say to him.

He never answeredOh, me! he never
answered, and he turned away his face.

There was one dreadful moment of silence.
He still held his arms round my neck; and
on a sudden he put his lips close to my ear.
"Did you get your money out?" he
whispered. "Were you in time on Saturday

I broke free from him, in the astonishment
of hearing those words.

"What!" I cried out loud, forgetting the
third person at the window. "That man
who brought the message—?"

"Hush!" he said, putting his hand on my
lips. "There was no better man to be found,
after the officers had taken meI know no
more about him than you doI paid him
well, as a chance messenger, and risked his
cheating me of his errand."

"You sent him, then!"

"I sent him."

My story is over, gentlemen. There is no
need for me to tell you that Mr. Fauntleroy
was found guilty, and that he died by the
hangman's hand. It was in my power to
soothe his last moments in this world, by
taking on myself the arrangement of some of
his private affairs, which, while they
remained unsettled, weighed heavily on his
mind. They had no connection with the
crimes he had committed, so I could do him
the last little service he was ever to accept
at my hands with a clear conscience. I say
nothing in defence of his character, nothing
in palliation of the offence for which he
suffered. But I cannot forget that in the
time of his most fearful extremity, when
the strong arm of the law had already
seized him, he thought of the young man
whose humble fortunes he had helped to
build; whose heartfelt gratitude he had
fairly won; whose simple faith he was
resolved never to betray. I leave it to
greater intellects than mine to reconcile the
anomaly of his reckless falsehood towards
others, and his steadfast truth towards me.
It is as certain as that we sit here, that one
of Fauntleroy's last efforts in this world, was
the effort he made to preserve me from being
a loser by the trust that I had placed in him.
There is the secret of my strange tenderness
for the memory of a felonthat is why the
word villain does somehow still grate on my
heart, when I hear it associated with the
namethe disgraced name, I grant youof
the forger Fauntleroy. Pass the bottles,
young gentlemen, and pardon a man of the
old school for having so long interrupted
your conversation with a story of the old


IN the month of May last, I sent you some
details collected on the site of that awful
event, the great earthquake of December,
eighteen hundred and fifty-seven.* They told
a tale of suffering, such as the world does not
often hear; and recorded instances of Neapolitan
misgovernment, and of British energy
which, happily in the one case, and deplorably
in the other, are sufficiently frequent.
* See page 553, Volume Seventeen.

The resident and the visitor in this country
pass a great portion of their summer as
dormice are said to do their winter; that is, in
sleepor at least in inactionso that it was
only a few days since that I repeated my visit
to Mr. Major, who so honorably distinguished
himself by his humanity and intelligence
during a protracted visit amongst the
sufferers by the earthquake.

That gentleman informed me that,
although the official journal publishes the
names of contributors of grains even (a sum
of about the value of a farthing); and
though, by the sweet flattery of publicity,
and the appellation of pious offerers, people
have been persuaded to subscribe upwards of
one hundred and seventy thousand ducats,
little of the money has been appropriated to
the object for which it was intended. A few
orphans have been provided for, it is true, and
perhaps some monasteries have been assisted;
but the houses have not been restored, nor
have the parochial churches been repaired.
A certain Jesuit has been active in pulling
down houses, and clearing streets; making
the proprietors pay for his handy-work. Some
thought it rather a hard thing to be
compelled to pay for the destruction of their own
property, ruined though it might be; still

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