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difficult one. There is no use shutting one's eyes to the fact that the circumstantial evidence is strongly against you. If the case had been laid before me in writing, without the advantage of having seen and conversed with you, I would have come to the conviction which, I admit, even with the advantage of a personal interview, was my first impression, that you were guilty."
"I am sorry to hear this," said Darcy. "I know I am innocent; but I don't like to run a risk of being hanged. If that be your opinion, I had better get out of the way."
"I wish you had asked my advice sooner," said Erian. "Say, the day we travelled together. I would have insisted on your going back to London, and it would never have entered into anyone's head to suspect you. But your flight, for it will be so considered, inevitably suggests only one explanation to outsiders who know nothing of you and Bella, and who would think your account of the reason for coming down here so suddenly, only a very clumsily trumped-up story. I am compelled to say that, if you are caught the chances are against you as the case stands at present. The mischief has already been done; and, if you give yourself up now, there are a hundred ways of accounting for your surrender quite consistent with your guilt. For instance, it would be said that you despaired of ultimate escape, and, therefore, surrendered voluntarily to take the possible benefit of such a step on the minds of the jury. I counsel delay if possible; you can't be much worse than you are, and something may turn up in the interval which may clear I confess I don't well see what can you. turn up of this kind, as I despair of the murderers being found; but you should take the chance if you can. At any rate, let us sleep over it. You remain with me all night. In the morning my opinion will be matured, and I will have decided on what ought to be done. And now suppose we dismiss business and have a bottle of wine."
"With all my heart!" said Darcy; "the business is not a pleasant one. It will be time enough to resume it to-morrow; and I have no objections to a bottle of wine."
"You have plenty of nerve," said Brian, "and deserve a bottle of the best."
It is unnecessary to relate the conversation which followed. Any third party would have supposed the Writer to the Signet and his young friend were boon companions, with none but agreeable associations between them. Our hero was a premature philosopher, and had either acquired or inherited a profound belief in the saying, that sufficient to the day was the evil thereof, and Brian, a man of the world and of business, was of opinion that it was more than enough.
The moment business was dismissed. Brian relapsed into the quasi-intoxicated state, in which he had been before the consultation commenced, and Darcy, after finishing a bottle, was glad to plead weariness and retire to his chamber.
Next morning Darcy found Brian and an elderly lady, whom he subsequently learned was his sister, waiting for him in the breakfast-room. There were no signs in the Writer to the Signet of the evening's symposium; and it did not strike Darcy as at all incongruous that, on the servant's coming up at a summons from the bell, Brian read a long chapter from the Bible and delivered an extemporary prayer. The ceremony was transacted with a decorum, and even a fervour, which left no doubt of the sincerity of Brian, or of the religious complacency of his audience-and, indeed, it is a characteristic of the Scotch curiously to dissever their ordinary from their religious life; so that a man who during business hours has all his energies devoted to the main chance, and in general pursues that object with little hindrance from any sentimental consideration for others, and at meals, and in the evening, is wholly, and somewhat grossly, devoted to the good things of this life, suddenly, when the supper is over, and before the teddy is brought in, relapses or rises into a fit of solemn piety which is very impres sive, and even overpowering. Nor is there, in the morning devotions, any infusion of a livelier or more gentle element such as the fresh spirits which generally attend the first hours of the morning might lead one to expect. These appear after devotions; and breakfast is a light, social, refined, and, occasionally boisterous meal. But the preliminary "service," in a well-regulated Scotch household, especially if the master is conscious to himself of being something of a bon-vivant, is solemn and ponderous, and must have the beneficial effect it is intended to have on the servants and young people.
Brian's was a model house on the old Scotch footing, and the whole seemed in excellent keeping. What was called, appropriately enough by him, "the morning sacrifice" was no sooner over than Brian relaxed; and you might have failed to find among the old noblesse of France a more piquant converser or a gayer and more debonnaire manner, than that in which he indulged during breakfast. The meal over, his sister curtsied and retired, and immediately another change passed over his mobile features. Gravely with unalterable sang-froid, he reviewed the position of Darcy, which he had evidently maturely thought over. He stated all the different
contingencies which might arise, and the possible results, canvassed the several courses of action which the situation allowed, and then, with little interruption from Darcy, who could not deny the cogency of his reasonings, he came to the conclusion that only
one course of action was open to him, and that was, to keep out of the clutches of the law as long as possible.
It was a hard alternative. Darcy, young, in perfect health, suddenly enriched, conscious of innocence, loving and beloved, was he to incur all the inconveniences and disgrace of a fugi. tive from justice? Was he to skulk about the country in the same way as one guilty of some infamous crime would require to do? And all this for no crime that he had done; but simply owing to a chain of circumstances which had entwined themselves round him? It almost drove him mad to think that the power which had him in his clutches was nothing better than a blind fatality, a casual connection of events, which had, as it were, tumbled haphazard upon him and threatened to stifle him. It was a waking nightmare. It would have been far more tolerable had there been some blood-and-bones tyrant, who, out of caprice alone, was subjecting him to all this persecution. He could have cursed the tyrant silently, and waited his time for revenge; but there was no use cursing chance or fate.
So there was nothing for it but that Darcy should become an innocent felon without a ticket-of-leave, and the sole question to decide was, where it was best to go. On that point Brian gave sagacious advice.
No use," said he, "going to the Continent. No doubt the police there have been communicated with; and our consuls, eager to be of use to justify their salaries, would do their best to secure the Westminster murderer; but what do you say to the highlands of Scotland. It is not a very likely place for a fugitive from the law to go to, for though no place is better for concealment than a highland hill, your mauvais sujet likes good living and must have society of some kind or other, and, therefore, he never goes to the highlands of Scotland. But you will go there, and I recommend Sutherland as the most depopulated and interesting of counties, where there is plenty of fishing and shooting. Moreover, it so happens that I have at present instructions from a client to get him a tenant for a very capital moor. It is large enough for three guns, and I have already secured two," said Brian, "and you will be the third. You will find your companions very nice fellows, and if you happen to be discovered and subsequently hanged, I believe they will look upon it as an uncommonly good joke."
Darcy at once agreed to the arrangement, and the terms of lease were accordingly then and there interchanged, and Mr. Seymour, the name Darcy selected, became one of the tenants of the Ashcoram shootings, with the right of fishing in the celebrated Lake of Ashcoram, and the salmon river which runs out of it.
Darcy did not venture out that day; but Brian had Mrs. Legh
and Bella to dinner, when the arrangements they had made were fully discussed, and very reluctantly agreed to. The difficulty was, to devise a plausible reason for breaking off the marriage, which had already been spoken of to one or two of the few acquaintances Mrs. Legh had in Edinburgh, but luckily without mentioning the name of the fiancé. A good reasonable quarrel must be con. cocted, and by Brian's advice it took place on the settlements. Brian wrote a letter to himself from Darcy, highly indignant and honourable, which Darcy copied out and signed. It indulged in some very ill-natured remarks about the Scotch nation in general, and Scotch lawyers in particular; gave an absolute refusal to give certain explanations Brian was supposed to have asked, and wound-up by saying that as he must suppose the lawyer acted on the instructions of his clients, he thought it due to himself at once. to break off the engagement. The correspondence concluded by a letter from Darcy to Bella, dictated by that lady, in which Darcy expressed himself, in the most high-flown terms, in her favour, but regretted that he could not give the information required by her lawyer without forfeiture of honour, but conjured her to believe that all was as it ought to be, and that she would never regret having trusted him, but that if she would not confide so far in his bare word, it were better that all should be ended between them.
Darcy dictated Bella's reply, in which, in the most feeling and even despairing terms she lamented the obstinacy of her mother in following the directions of Brian, and that she could not marry him without her mother's consent. As for freeing him from his engagement, she plainly declared as she had no intention of breaking off from it herself; trusting all would come right, in time, she would not liberate him. At the same time, she must say that she could not understand why he could not give Brian and her mother the most reasonable explanations they asked.
Brian looked carefully over the correspondence, backed up the last letter on the series as a copy, and tying them round with red ape locked them up in his desk, and remarked, that after so painful a correspondence it was the most natural thing in the world that the young gentleman should immediately and abruptly leave Edinburgh, and that he should think a month or two's seclusion in the Highlands the most hopeful course to soothe his agitated feelings.
After this they dined together at Brian's hospitable board, in better spirits than might have been anticipated; and Brian next morning, after packing his portmanteau and paying his bill, departed. by the Scottish Central for the Highlands.
BY DR. ALFRED J. H. CRESPI.
THAT the time might soon come when wars will cease and armies be disbanded has long been the earnest prayer of the Christian and the dream of the enlightened philosopher. With Europe one vast camp, and wars and rumours of wars continually distracting the nations, that blessed reign of peace does not seem likely soon to
The present century has been pre-eminently distinguished for its colossal armies, and hard-fought and sanguinary battles. The first fifteen years were passed in wars which cost the lives of not fewer than three, perhaps even of four, millions of men, and which seriously retarded the progress of the world.
With the fall of Napoleon, at Waterloo, the principal source of danger was removed, and for thirty years Europe was able to breathe, or, rather, it had time to partially recover from the effects of those expensive, and in many cases iniquitous, wars, which had laid waste a large part of the Continent, and had brought sorrow and poverty to millions of homes. That brief period of uneasy repose over, a new era commenced, one not perhaps so remarkable for the number and duration of its wars as for the ceaseless preparation made for war-preparations little less ruinous and unwise than actual war itself—and so vast, so well organised, as to transform a great part of Europe into an enormous camp, and half the men of Europe into soldiers..
The wars of the last twenty years have been on a colossal scale. Europe has several times seen a million, sometimes nearer two millions, of armed men in motion. The United States, separated by the broad ocean from the rest of the civilised world, have been the scene of a terrible and fratricidal conflict, in which some hundreds of thousands of brave and generous men were consigned to an early grave. Battles have taken place in which from 300,000 to 500,000 men have been actually engaged. Science has exerted herself to the utmost to improve the weapons with which the mighty armies of the present day are armed, and to render possible the rapid concentration of still larger masses of troops.
Firearms are in general use as remarkable for their accuracy of fire as for their length of range. The whole strength of a nation is called forth by the breaking out of war, and the most tremendous