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ject whatever. But a hustling, sort of noise was heard. at the farther end of the closet. His lordship tben, fired one of his pistols at random, by way of alarm. A piercing cry, ending in a loud groan, immediately came from the dog.--"Great God!' exclaimed his lordship, “I have surely destroyed my defender.' He ran out for a light, and snatched a candle from the innholder, - who came in apparent consternation, as to enquire into the alarm of tlie family. Others of the house now entered the rooni; but, without paying attention to their questions, bis lordship ràn towards the closet to look for his dog. "The door is open! the door is open ! ejaculated the publican ;- then all is over !! -As his lordship was re-entering the closet, he was met by his servant, who, with every mark of almost speechless consternation in his voice and countenance, exclaimed, “O, my lord ! my. lord! I have seen such shock ing sights!' and, without being able to finish his sentence he 'sunk on the floor. Before his master could explore the cause of this, or succeed in raising up his fallen domestic, the poor dog came limping from the closet, while a bloodtrack marked his path. He gained, with great difficulty, the place where his lordship stood aghast, and fell at his master's feet. Every demonstration of grief ensued; but the dog, unmindful of his wounds, kept his eyes still intent upon the closet door; and denoted that the whole of the mystery was not yet developed. ' * “ Seizing the other pistol from the servant, who had falJen into a swoon, his lordship now re-entered the closet. The wounded dog crawled after him; when, on examining every part, he perceived, in one corner, an opening into the inn yard, by a kind of trap-door, to which some broken steps descended. The dog seated himself on the steps; but there was nothing to be seen but a common sack. Nor was any thing visible upon the floor, except some drops of
blood, part of wlich were evidently those which had issued from the wound of the dog limself, and part must have been of long standing, as they were dried into the boards. His lordship went back into the bed-chamber, but the dog remained in the closet. On his return the dog met him, breathing hard, as if from violent exercise, and followed bis master into the chamber.
“ T'lre state of the man-servânt, upon whom fear had. operateri so as to continue liim in a succession of swoons, ; now claimed his lordship's attentions, and while those were adnyinistered, the dog again left the cliamber. A short time after this, lie was heard to bark aloud, then cry, accoinpanied by a noise, as if something beavy was drawn along the floor. On going once more into the closet, his Jordship found tlie dog trying to bring forward the sack whicli had been seen lying on the steps near the trap-door. 'The animal renewed bis exertions at the sight of his mas.. ter; but again exhausted both by labour and loss of blood, he rested his head and his feet on the mouth of the sack.
€ Excited by this new mystery, bis lordship now assisted the poor animal in his labour, and, tłough tliat labour was not light, curiosity, and the apprelievsion of discovering something extraordinary, on the part of his lordship, and unabating perseverance on that of the dog, to accomplish his purpose, gave them strength to bring at length the sack from the closet to the chamber. The servant was somewhat restored to bimself, as the sack was dragged into the room, but every person, who in tive beginning of the alarm had rushed into the apartment, bad now disappeared.
" As his lordship loosened the corrl which fastened the sack's mouth, the dog fixed his eyes on it, and stood over it with wild and trembling eagerness, as if ready to scize and devour tlie contents. “Tire contents appeared, and the extreme of horror was
displayed. A human body, as if murdered in bed, being covered only with a bloody shirt, and that clotted, and still damp, as if recently shed; the head severed from the shoulders, and the other members mangled and separated, so as to make the trunk and extremities lie in tbe sack, were now exposed to view.
“The dog smelt the blood, and after surveying the corpse, looked piteously at his master, and licked his land, as if grate! :) that the mysterious murder was discovered.
“ It was afterwards proved, that a traveller had really been murdered two, nights before his lordship's arrival at that haant of infany; and that the offence was committed in the very chamber, and probably in the very bed, where in his lordship had slept; and which, but for the warnings of his faithful friend, must have been fatal to himself.
“ The maid-servant was an accomplice in the guilt; and the ruffian travellers, who were consederating with the innholder and his wife, were the murderers of the remains that had been just emptied from the sack, and which were to have been buried that night in a pit, dug in an adjacent field belonging to the innholder; whose intention it likewise was to have murdered the nobleman. The innkeeper and his wife were taken up, and punished according to their deserts, and the nobleman was so affected at his miraculous, escape, that he bound up the wounds of his faithful dog with the greatest care, and the balms of love and friendship were infused.” .. .
This is one of the many instances in which a most secret and cruel murder has been brought to light, by means apparently the most trivial, and in a manner the most anexpected; but even in cases where the bloody perpetrator is allowed for some time to elude the stroke of justice, and “ sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, let not the hearts of the sons of men be set to do evil."..
: The murderer may indeed escape conviction at the bar of his country for a while, and may be thought fortunate in eluding for a season the vigilance of the law;-but, alas! how can he quench the qualms of conscience, or fly from the torturing pangs of “a mind diseased*.”
* The dreadful state of such a mind is most affectingly and justly depicted in the description of MAITLAND SMITH, after he had committed the murder of Mr WILLIAMSON, and I cannot describe it in more forcible language than in the following Extracts, which at once evince the feelings and ability of the Narrator.
« 1 he assassin had now turned round to retire with his booty, when all the atrocity of the crime he had committed flashed at once on his soul. Conscience returned with all its terrors, and a sudden blaze of light seemed to fall from heaven, to shew his guilt in all its blackest colours - his strength failed his head became giddy-his whole frame trembled.--a cold perspiration burst from every pore. He would have given a thousand worlds to have recalled the horrible deed. I'he natural desire of self-preservation urged him to fly; but exhausted and agitated as he was, even the dread of being apprehended could not recal his vigour. He slowly gained the highway, and after passing several persons, who, he thought, eyed him with suspia · cion, he had just reached a belt of planting, when he heard the sound of horses feet at full gallop in pursuit of him. He threw himself over the hedge, and passing through the plantation, concealed himself be. hind the outer fence. The horsemen rode on without observing him ; and seeing, at a little distance, a place of greater security, he crept softly along, and laid himself at full length in the bottom of a dry ditch. Here he remained for upwards of an hour, expecting every moment to be discovered, anıt giving himself up to all the agonies of despair. The very recollection of his sufferings on this occasion, when he afterwards endeavoured to describe them to the author of this nar. rative, seemed to harrow up his soul. At last, however, he was dis. covered, and without attempting to make any resistance, allowed him. self to be secured. Being taken back to Ferguson's house, he was bound with cords, and a strong guard set on his person. His countenance was strongly marked with an expression of horror and despair; but his behaviour was gentle and submissive, and the ferocious spirit which hardened his heart for the murder, seemed to be completely subdued. · "The wretched man remained in the most deplorable condition, His feelings-worn out with excessive perturbation, would sometimes subside into a death-like stupor, and then collecting strength from this temporary rest, would burst out afresh in all the agonies of despair. Here he remained till a few days previous to his trial, and was treated with all the humanity that the circumstances of the case would per
9' * mit.
Ask yonder horror-struck wretch! who is about to ofler up his life to the executioner's stroke, what peace ke ever enjoyed after having perpetrated the execrable deed! eren before he considered himself in danger of being brought to the bar of an earthly tribunal, and he may give you some faint idea of that dreadful perturbation of spirit which renders life loathsome, and often induces its unhappy victims to anticipate that fearful fiery indignation that a waits them, by rushing into the presence of their maker by an act of suicide.
Many are the examples we have in history of the agonizing horrors of remorse which liave taken hold of the consciences of persons guilty of this dreadfu erime: and so many are the illustrations of the awful truth, that a brother's blood cries aloud for vengeance, and that even earthly greatness is not exempt from the keen reproaches of the vicegerent of the Almighty. · The wretched state of Richard III. after he had mur. dered his nephews-of Attalus, king of Pergamos, after he bad slain his mother and bis wife,ấof the emperor Nero after he had murdered bis mother Agrippina, of Kenneth, king of Scotland, after the murder of prince Malcolm, of the emperor Constans after the murder of his brotherin-law,---of Herod after baving put to death Mariamne, ure but so many proofs that even kings and princes are not above the power of conscience, and that the cry of blood against the most remorseless and cruel tyrant will he heard...
mit. His mind, however, continued for some time in a state of the most inexpressible agony. By night, and by day, the image of the poor murdered man kaunted his imagination, and disturbed his reason. He fancied, that he sometimes saw him falling lifeless on the ground, and at other times starting from the grave, and calling on heaven for vengeance. His soul shuddered with prodigious terror, he beat his breast, he tore his hair, and cried aloud in the madness of agony.
See Life of Maitland Smith, who was executed at Dumfries
2I56 October, 1807.