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nounced from the great Tribunal, before which she was summoned, when Justice shall strip all human motives of the blinded trappings which may conceal them from mortal sight, and the naked roots, from which a thousand evils have sprung, are laid bare, and open, and undisguisedwhen the lips of the paid pleader are mute, and the hired defender of wrong stands silent—when right shall need no advocate, and wrong shall not lack an accuser—when the balance of justice is held even, by an Omnipotent arm, and not a human being dares to tamper with it, or sully its star-like brightness with a breath :—then may the form of Mary, holding up her child, stand high, and with pointed finger mark out those whose cruel laws drove her to seek, through the dark alleys of death, that repose which they denied her here. And if the realms of eternal misery, like those fabled by the old poets, are divided into regions where the bleak winter rages, and the summer burns with a volcanic heat, the avenging spirit need not to inflict on them a sterner doom, nor deal forth a juster punishment, than to turn them abroad, without either food or raiment, on some unbounded and frozen desert, and leave them to the same elements and the same mercy, to which they left and her child,—the icy torments to which Dante consigned Ugolino and Ruggieri, in his “ Inferno." *
* The fact upon which the story of “Pretty Mary” is founded will be familiar to every reader of the newspapers. So recently as about the time of the opening of Parliament, in 1846, a similar scene was repeated :-A poor woman and her infant were sent out of the Union Workhouse at Wootton Basset, Wiltshire, all but naked; the child was picked up dead, and the woman committed to take her trial for murder. It almost seems, on again reading over this portion of the sketch, that I had been adding a chapter to a Romance, instead of merely painting the scenery amid which this terrible tragedy was enacted.
And what thought young farmer Elliston to all this? He cared not; for the law which should have protected Mary and her child was so framed that it could not touch him—was so worded that a woman who had still a remnant of modesty left, shrunk back in disgust from its aid. The fate of the beautiful and broken-hearted girl seemed to concern him not. Beauty seldom exists without vanity; and, in the higher circles of society, women are hemmed in with binding forms and becoming ceremonies; and when this barrier is overleaped, there comes the law, thundering with indignation, and heavy with damages; while the poorer daughter of Eve is compensated with a broken heart, and an early death!
Many a simple country youth and maiden who envied Mary on the day of the statutes, and thought or spoke harshly of her as she passed, were sorry at heart for what they had done, and numberless are the visits which they have since paid to her suffering mother, and many the trifling presents they have made her.
As for the noble-hearted butcher of Rampton, he came to some arrangement with the master of the Union Workhouse, which stopped the mouth of the law: “For,” as he said, “ the thief who would lend himself to turn out a woman and child on such a day as he did, almost naked, and in the midst of a wild common, and all to keep his hateful situation, would, at any time, submit to having his head broken if he could but get a pound or two by it, and the doctor's bill paid; which he was sure to charge over again to the parish.”
Both he and his wife, however, bestirred themselves, and through their interference, and the assistance of other friends, the remains of poor Mary were brought back from
the gaol in which she expired (almost as soon as it was entered); and she and her child were buried in the same grave, in the churchyard of the village in which she was born. The grave opened its hungry jaws but once to receive them both, then closed upon the blighted flower and the opening blossom for ever!
-“She died in youth-and bowed
THERE was a queer, odd kind of a character, who lived in the village of Skellingthorpe; he had nothing in the world to do, except to attend to his garden, and provide for his wife, for he had neither “child nor chick," as they say in the country; so, either through a love of meddling, or a love of mischief, he busied himself with the affairs of other
people. Now, a person may lend a hand in the matters of other folks, and by doing so render them great assistance ; but he was only clever in one way, and that, according to a very ancient saying, was in “helping a lame dog over a style," which said wise adage may be rendered into plainer English by saying, that it means to “make bad worse;" and there is a great deal to be understood in this brief, threeworded sentence. A village is a fine field for a man to practise in, who loves to “set people together by the ears ;" if he begins at one end, he is as safe to reach the other, as a well-laid train of gunpowder is to explode the whole length of the line, when it is once fired; and abuse is sure to be conveyed safer than praise ; for instead of losing, it gathers weight whilst it travels. Let slander, with its peculiar look, but whisper that such a one was seen at the bar, refreshing himself with a glass; and round the next turning it will be rumoured that he is a tippler; by the time that report reaches the middle of the street he will rarely be seen sober; and ere it has travelled the whole length, he is set down as a confirmed drunkard ; and he
think himself well off, if only defrauder is thrown into the scale, without picking up some five or six other unenviable epithets, which seem to lie in wait at every corner.
Saint Saxby, of Skellingthorpe, was christened Saint, without any other addition to his surname ; for his father, although he resolved that he should be called after Saint somebody or another, yet when he came to run his eye over the calendar, the great variety of names he had to pick and choose from, caused him to waver in his decision; so one day, whilst he was out, his wife went to church with the godmother, and they made him Saint Saxby, at a venture, although the worthy woman would fain have added Smith,