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said Mr. Glossin could not presume to hope it could be either necessary or useful.
“Why, my good Sir, you will understand me only to mean, that I am something deficient in the practical knowledge of the ordinary details of justicc-business. I was indeed educated to the bar, and might boast perhaps at one time, that I had made some progress in the speculative, and abstract, and abstruse doctrines of our municipal code; but there is in the present day so little opportunity of a man of family and fortune rising to that eminence at the bar, which is attained by adventurers who are as willing to plead for John a Nokes as for the first noble of the land, that I was really early disgusted with practice. The first case, indeed, which was laid on my table, quite sickened me; it respected a bargain, Sir, of tallow, between a butcher and a candle-maker; and I found it was expected that I should grease my mouth, not only with their vulgar names, but with all the technical terms, and phrases, and peculiar language, of their dirty arts. Upon my honour, my good Sir, I have never been able to bear the smell of a tallow-candle since.”
Pitying, as seemed to be expected, the mean use to which the Baronet's faculties had been degraded on this melancholy occasion, Mr. Glossin offered to officiate as clerk or assessor, or in any way in which he could be most useful. “And with a view to possessing you of the whole business, and in the first place, there will, I believe, be no difficulty in proving the main fact, that this was the person who fired the unhappy piece. Should he deny it, it can be proved by Mr. Hazlewood, I presume?"
“Young Hazlewood is not at home to-day, Mr. Glossin.”
“But we can have the oath of the servant who attended him," said the ready Mr. Glossin; “indeed I hardly think the fact will be disputed. I am more apprehensive, that, from the too favourable and indulgent manner in which I have understood that Mr. Hazlewood has been pleased to represent the business, the assault may be considered as accidental, and the injury as unintentional, so that the fellow may be immediately set at liberty, to do more mischief.”
“I have not the honour to know the gentleman who now holds
the office of king's advocate,” replied Sir Robert, gravely; “but I presume, Sir — nay, I am confident, that he will consider the mere fact of having wounded young Hazlewood of Hazlewood, even by inadvertency, to take the matter in its mildest and gentlest, and in its most favourable and improbable light, as a crime which will be too easily atoned by imprisonment, and as more deserving of deportation."
“Indeed, Sir Robert,” said his assenting brother in justice, “I am entirely of your opinion; but, I don't know how it is, I have observed the Edinburgh gentlemen of the bar, and even the officers of the crown, pique themselves upon an indifferent administration of justice, without respect to rank and family; and I should fear"
“How, Sir, without respect to rank and family! Will you tell me that doctrine can be held by men of birth and legal education? No, Sir; if a trifle stolen in the street is termed merc pickery, but is elevated into sacrilege if the crime be committed in a church, so, according to the just gradations of society, the guilt of an injury is enhanced by the rank of the person to whom it is offered, done, or perpetrated, Sir.”
Glossin bowed low to this declaration ex cathedra, but observed, that in case of the very worst, and of such unnatural doctrines being actually held as he had already hinted, “the law had another hold on Mr. Vanbeest Brown."
“Vanbeest Brown! is that the fellow's name? Good God! that young Hazlewood of Hazlewood should have had his life endangered, the clavicle of his right shoulder considerably lacerated and dislodged, several large drops or slugs deposited in the acromion process, as the account of the family surgeon expressly bears, and all by an obscure wretch named Vanbeest Brown!”
“Why, really, Sir Robert, it is a thing which one can hardly bear to think of; but, begging ten thousand pardons for resuming what I was about to say, a person of the same name is, as appears from these papers, (producing Dirk Hatteraick’s pocket-book,) mate to the smuggling vessel who offered such violence at Woodbourne, and I have no doubt that this is the same individual;
which, however, your acute discrimination will easily be able to ascertain."
“The same, my good Sir, he must assuredly be it would be injustice even to the meanest of the people, to suppose there could be found among them two persons doomed to bear a name so shocking to one's ears as this of Vanbeest Brown."
“True, Sir Robert; most unquestionably; there cannot be a shadow of doubt of it. But you see farther, that this circumstance accounts for the man's desperate conduct. You, Sir Robert, will discover the motive for his crime you, I say, will discover it without difficulty, on your giving your mind to the examination; for my part, I cannot help suspecting the moving spring to have been revenge for the gallantry with which Mr. Hazlewood, with all the spirit of his renowned forefathers, defended the house at Woodbourne against this villain and his lawless companions."
“I will inquire into it, my good Sir,” said the learned Baronet. “Yet even now I venture to conjecture that I shall adopt the solution or explanation of this riddle, enigma, or mystery, which you have in some degree thus started. Yes! revenge it must beand, good Heaven! entertained by and against whom? entertained, fostered, cherished, against young Hazlewood of Hazlewood, and in part carried into effect, executed, and implemented, by the hand of Vanbeest Brown! These are dreadful days indeed, my worthy neighbour (this epithet indicated a rapid advance in the Baronet's good graces) — days when the bulwarks of society are shaken to their mighty base, and that rank, which forms, as it were, its highest grace and ornament, is mingled and confused with the viler parts of the architecture. 0, my good Mr. Gilbert Glossin, in my time, Sir, the use of swords and pistols, and such honourable arms, was reserved by the nobility and gentry to themselves, and the disputes of the vulgar were decided by the weapons which nature had given them, or by cudgels cut, broken, or hewed out of the next wood. But now, Sir, the clouted shoe of the peasant galls the kibe of the courtier. The lower ranks have their quarrels, Sir, and their points of honour, and their revenges, which they must bring, forsooth, to fatal
arbitrement. But well, well! it will last my time — let us have in this fellow, this Vanbeest Brown, and make an end of him at least for the present."
'T was he
Fair Maid of the Inn. The prisoner was now presented before the two worshipful magistrates. Glossin, partly from some compunctious visitings, and partly out of his cautious resolution to suffer Sir Robert Hazlewood to be the ostensible manager of the whole examination, looked down upon the table, and busied himself with reading and arranging the papers respecting the business, only now and then throwing in a skilful catchword as prompter, when he saw the principal, and appa most active magistrate, stand in need of a hint. As for Sir Robert Hazlewood, he assumed on his part a happy mixture of the austerity of the justice, combined with the display of personal dignity appertaining to the baronet of ancient family.
“There, constables, let him stand there at the bottom of the table. - Be so good as look me in the face, Sir, and raise your voice as you answer the questions which I am going to put to
“May I beg, in the first place, to know, Sir, who it is that takes the trouble to interrogate me?" said the prisoner; "for the honest gentlemen who have brought me here have not been pleased to furnish any information upon that point.”
“And pray, Sir,” answered Sir Robert, “what has my name and quality to do with the questions I am about to ask you?"
“Nothing, perhaps, Sir," replied Bertram; “but it may considerably influence my disposition to answer them.”
"Why, then, Sir, you will please to be informed that you are in presence of Sir Robert Hazlewood of Hazlewood, and another justice of peace for this county -- that's all.”
As this intimation produced a less stunning effect upon the prisoner than he bad anticipated, Sir Robert proceeded in his investigation with an increasing dislike to the object of it.
“Is your name Vanbeest Brown, Sir?” “It is," answered the prisoner.
“So far well; - and how are we to design you farther, Sir?” demanded the Justice.
“Captain in his majesty's - regiment of horse," answered Bertram.
The Baronet's ears received this intimation with astonishment; but he was refreshed in courage by an incredulous look from Glossin, and by hearing him gently utter a sort of interjectional whistle, in a note of surprise and contempt. “I believe, my friend,” said Sir Robert, “we shall find for you, before we part, a more humble title."
“If you do, Sir,” replied his prisoner, “I shall willingly submit to any punishment which such an imposture shall be thought to deserve.”
“Well, Sir, we shall see,” continued Sir Robert.. “Do you know young Hazlewood of Hazlewood?"
“I never saw the gentleman who I am informed bears that name excepting once, and I regret that it was under very unpleasant circumstances.”
“You mean to acknowledge, then," said the Baronet, “that you inflicted upon young Hazlewood of Hazlewood that wound which endangered his life, considerably lacerated the clavicle of his right shoulder, and deposited, as the family surgeon declares, several large drops or slugs in the acromion process?”
“Why, Sir," replied Bertram, “I can only say I am equally ignorant of and sorry for the extent of the damage which the young gentleman has sustained. I met him in a narrow path, walking with two ladies and a servant, and before I could either pass them or address them, this young Hazlewood took his gun from his servant, presented it against my body, and commanded me in the most haughty tone to stand back. I was neither inclined to submit to his authority, nor to leave him in possession of the means to injure me, which he seemed disposed to use with