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The moment he stood upright on the table, he turned himself fully to the judge, without a glance towards the dock. "Sit down, sit down, poor man," said the judge. "Thanks to you, my lord, I will," answered Peery, "only, first I'd ax you to let me kneel, for a little start;" and he accordingly did kneel, and after bowing his head, and forming the sign of the cross on his forehead, he looked up, and said—" My Judge in heaven above, 'tis you I pray to keep me to my duty, afore my earthly judge, this day:—amen; ''—and then repeating the sign of the cross, he seated himself.
The examination of the witness commenced, and humanely proceeded as follows—(the counsel for the prosecution taking no notice of the superfluity of Peery's answers). "Do you know Michaul, or Michael, Carrol, the prisoner at the bar?" "Afore that night, Sir, I believed I knew him well; every thought of his mind, every bit of the heart in his body: afore that night, no living creatur could throw a word at Michaul Carrol, or say he ever forgot his father's renown, or his love of his good God;—an' sure the people are afther telling you by this time, how it come about that night—an, you, my lord,—an' ye, gintlemen,—an' all good christians that hear me ;—here I am to help to hang him—my own boy, and my only one—but, for all that, gintlemen, ye ought to think of it; 'twas for the weenoch and the ould father that he done it;—indeed, an'deed, we hadn't a pyatee in the place; an' the sickness was among us, a start afore; it took the wife from him, and another babby; an'id had himself down, a week or so beforehand; an' all that day, he was looking for work, but couldn't get a hand's turn to do; an' that's the way it was; not a mouthful for me an' little Peery; an', more betoken, he grew sorry for id, in the mornin', an' promised me not to touch a scrap of what was in the barn,—ay, long afore the steward and the peelers came on us,—but was willin' to go among the neighbours an' beg our breakfast, along wid myself, from door to door, sooner than touch it." "It is my painful duty," resumed the barrister, when Peery would at length cease,—" to ask you for closer information. You saw Michael Carrol in the barn, that night?—" "Musha—The Lord pity himand me—I did, Sir." "Doing what?"— "The sheep between his hands,"answered Peery, dropping his head, and speaking almost inaudibly. "I must still give you pain, I fear;—stand up; take the crier's rod; and if you see Michael Carrol in court, lay it on his head." " Och, musha, musha, Sir, don't ax me to do that!" pleaded Peery, rising, wringing his hands, and for the first time weeping—" och, don't my lord, don't, and may your own judgment be favourable, the last day.'' "I am sorry to command you to do it, witness, but you must take the rod,"
answered the judge, bending his head close to his notes, to hide his- own tears; and, at the same time, many a veteran barrister rested his forehead on the edge of the table. In the body of the court were heard sobs. "Michaul,awcA.' Michaul, a carra-ma-chree .'" exclaimed Peery, when at length he took the rod, and faced round to his son, —" is id your father they make to do it, ma-bttuchal 9" "My father does what is right," answered Michael, in Irish. The judge immediately asked to have his words translated; and when he learned theii import, regarded the prisoner with satisfaction. "We rest here, my lord," said the counsel, with the air of a man freed from a painful task.
The judge instantly turned to the jury-box.
"Gentlemen of the jury. That the prisoner at the bar stole the' sheep in question, there can be no shade of moral doubt. But you have a very peculiar case to consider. A son steals a sheep that his own famishing father and his own famishing son may have food. His aged parent is compelled to give evidence against him here for the act. The old man virtuously tells the truth, and the whole truth, before you and me. He sacrifices his natural feelings—andwe have seen that they are lively—to his honesty, and to his religious sense of the sacred obligations of an oath. Gentlemen, I will pause to observe, that the old man's conduct is strikingly exemplary, and even noble. It teaches all of us a lesson. Gentlemen, it is not within the province of a judge to censure the rigour of the proceedings which have sent him before us. But I venture to anticipate your pleasure that, notwithstanding all the evidence given, you will be enabled to acquit that old man's son, the prisoner at the bar. I have said there can not be the shade of a moral doubt that he has stolen the sheep, and I repeat the words. But, gentlemen, there is a legal doubt, to the full benefit of which he is entitled. The sheep has not been identified. The herdsman could not venture to identify it (and it would have been strange if he could) from the dismembered limbs found in the barn. To his mark on its skin, indeed, he might have positively spoken; but no skin has been discovered. Therefore, according to the evidence, and you have sworn to decide by that alone, the prisoner is entitled to your acquittal. Possibly, now that the prosecutor sees the case in its full bearing, he may be pleased with this result."
While the jury, in evident satisfaction, prepared to return their verdict, Mr Evans, who had but a moment before returned home, entered the court, and becoming aware of the concluding words of the judge, expressed his sorrow aloud, that the prosecution had ever been undertaken; that circumstances had kept him uninformed of it, though it had gone on in his name; and he begged leave to assure his lordship that it would be his future effort to keep Michaul Carrol in his former path of honesty, by finding him honest and ample employment, and, as far as in him lay, to reward the virtue of the old father.
While Peery Carrol was laughing and crying in a breath, in the arms of his delivered son, a subscription, commenced by the bar, was mounting into a considerable sum for his advantage.
THE SQUIRE'S PEW.
A Slanting ray of evening light
Shoots through the yellow pane,
And gilds the fringe again;
How many a cloudless day,
Hath come and passed away!
The cunning hand must be,
Acorn and fleur-de-lis,
In mimicking the chisel's art
In days of yore as now we call,
When the first James was king,
Hither his train would bring;
All reverently they knelt,
In ancient English spelt,
Now streaming down the vaulted aisle
The sunbeam long and lone,
Of their inscription-stone,
He and my lady fair,
In attitude of prayer,
The numerous offspring bend,
As if they did intend
Those mellow days are past and dim,
But generations new,
Still fill the stately pew,
With all his train appear,
At season of the year,
The hollow sounding floor,
Which shall, as heretofore,
In all its wonted state,
And stop before the gate,
Each in their narrow beds,
Shine gaily o'er their heads,
THE TWO SISTERS.
A VILLAGE STORY. BY MISS MITFORD.
The pretty square Farm-house, standing at the corner where Kibes Lane crosses the brook, or the brook crosses Kibes Lane, (for the first phrase, although giving by far the closest picture of the place, does, it must be confessed, look rather Irish,) and where the aforesaid brook winds away by the side of another lane, until it spreads into a river-like dignity, as it meanders through the sunny plain of Hartly Common, and finally disappears amidst the green recesses of Perge Wood—that pretty square Farm-house, half hidden by the tall elms in the flower court before it, which, with the spacious garden and orchard behind, and the extensive barn, yards, and outbuildings, so completely occupies one of the angles formed by the crossing of the land and the stream,—that pretty Farm-house contains one of the happiest and most prosperous families in Aberleigh, the large and thriving family of Farmer Evans.
Whether from skill or from good fortune, or, as is most probable, from a lucky mixture of both, every thing goes right in his great farm. His crops are the best in the parish: his hay is never spoiled; his cattle never die; his servants never thieve: his children are never ill. He buys cheap, and sells dear: money gathers about him like a snow-ball; and yet, in spite of all this provoking and intolerable prosperity, every body loves Farmer Evans. He is so hospitable, so good-natured, so generous,—so homely! There, after all, lies the charm. Riches have not only not spoilt the man, but they have not altered him. He is just the same in look, and word, and way, that he was thirty years ago, when he and his wife, with two sorry horses, one cow, and three pigs, began the world at Dean-Gate, a little bargain of twenty acres, two miles off:—aye, and his wife is the same woman!—the same frugal, tidy, industrious, good-natured Mrs Evans, so noted for her activity of tongue and limb, her good looks, and her plain dressing: as frugal, as good-natured, as active, and as plain-dressing Mrs Evans at forty-five as she was at nineteen, and, in a different way, almost as good-looking.
Their children—six "boys," as Farmer Evans promiscuously calls them, whose ages vary from eight to eight and twenty—and three girls, two grown up, and one, the youngest of the family, are just what might be expected from parents so simple and so good. The young men, intelligent and well conducted-, the boys docile