Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[graphic]

bone."

and his principle was that a story to be is, it seems, a minister of religion, of what really good, should be always "cut to the religion it does not appear; but to judge

Maule held the same view, and by his conduct it cannot be of any form of often offered for a wager to compress the Christianity." Here, it will be noted, point of any story into a couple of lines. there is no rebuke, he simply notes that This however is not taking stock of the the practice does not correspond with the numerous jolter-headed people who re- standard of precept. The whole is coldly quire more leisurely exposition to take in judicial, yet scathing from its very modthe points. This compressed significance eration. is found in Maule's own sayings. Two A common form of the assizes is words often with him are as dramatic as the child witness, usually well“ primed many sentences.

A smart barmaid was to answer some prefatory religious quesgiving testimony before him against an tions, or a few formulas supposed to test ill-looking ruffian charged with what is his knowledge of responsibility. The called “ringing the changes.” They got counsel usually puts on his most engaging, into a sort of wrangle or recrimination, encouraging maoner, stoops down, and but the prisoner, an impudent fellow, could asks where she expects to go to if she make nothing of her, and at last said, does not tell the truth. A little girl once “Well, you may go away, the jury won't thus questioned replied as usual : " To believe you."

." I shan't go for your let- the naughty place," and being next asked ting me go,” was the answer. The judge, whither she was to be sent if she did tell who had been taking his notes, looked up the truth, prattled out:“ To de good place.” and said, “My good girl, you have given Maule, with well-affected astonishment, your evidence very well, and can go; and exclaimed: "This little girl knows more remember you have this advantage over than I do." What a “dispersion of hum. the prisoner, that you can go away, and bug” was here, for in this stale formula he can't.” The man was found guilty and were settled the greatest issues, and this sentenced to penal servitude, when he said infant, who was presumed to know noth. in a low voice, “ You'll be in hell before ing, arrived at a supernatural knowledge the time is over.' Maule did not hear of its future. The absurdity of such an. and asked the clerk what he had said. swers, as a proof of the witness telling “He said," said the clerk with much truth, was also made manifest. solemnity, " that your lordship will be in Here are some more trivial jests, rehell before his time is over." We shall produced, and not so worthy of his fame. see," said the judge.“ Call the next case."

." Their authenticity is doubtful. Such was To us it seems there is something ex. his remark to the policeman wbo spoke of quisitely humorous in this " we shall see," being in the “Hen Division." an acceptance, as it were, a willingness to mean the poultry ?" was the reply, which leave the issue of the prophecy to be suggests the better jest of the judge, who, decided by the event. Another hardened irritated by a witness's pronunciation "the ruffian, when about to be sentenced, broke'igh bailiff” said, “I have often heard of out with, “ May God strike me dead if I a bum-bailiff, but never of an eye-bailiff.” did it!” on which followed a long, solemn He was lately credited in the Times with pause, the jury wondering and everybody the well-known and original reproof to an expecting some expression of severity or arrogant member of the bar. " Your lanpunishment. At last Maule broke the guage is intolerable, and such as the Cre. silence, “ As the Almighty has not seen ator would not use even to a black beetle!" fit to interpose," and proceeded to sen- “Sir,” he said to a counsel who was ram. tence. There was nothing profane in this, bling a good deal, “ I would advise you to it was really a rebuke. But a better ver- state your arguments in some sort of order. sion is this. A man tried for stealing a The chronological is of course the best, watch was asked had he any witnesses. but if you cannot manage that, try the He replied that he had “none but his alphabetical." This unlucky counsel's Maker, who knew his innocence." The name, according to Sir F. Doyle, was judge, after waiting a few moments, ad-“Barker." He was, in fact, ever intolerdressed the jury. Gentlemen, the pris- ant of ignorance or self-sufficiency in the oner is charged with stealing a watch. profession, and he was specially caustic to He calls a witness who does not appear; any “ Gentleman of the Long Robe” who on the other hand two witnesses saw him displayed ignorance, supported by assur. take the watch."

A young prosecuting counsel had On another occasion he said, en pas- sat down after concluding his case, which sant, as it were, “ One of these defendants | be had conducted very inefficiently, but

[ocr errors]

o Do you

[graphic]

ance.

66

[ocr errors]

66

6

with much affectation of knowledge. I threw doubts on the certificate and on the “ Have you any further evidence, Mr. policeman's evidence, to which the jury

?" the judge asked. “None, my seemed to listen. In his most ironical Lord. That is my case.” “ You surely vein, the judge proceeded to tell them have other witnesses?" “No, my Lord,” that the certificate by itself was of course the counsel answered flippantly," I don't not conclusive, that policemen have often think more to be necessary." “ Then, sir, told falsehoods, papers, too, have often I must tell you that you have not proved been forged, “and, gentlemen, never forget any ownership in the articles, which, for that you are a British jury, and if you can all I know, may be the property of the have a reasonable doubt in your minds, prisoner himself._Gentlemen, I direct God forbid that you should not give the you to acquit.” This must have extin. prisoner the benefit of it.” The jury, it is guished the young counsel on the spot. said, were twenty minutes in consultation To another of the same class, he said sar- before it dawned upon them that the judge castically : “ You have already read that had been laughing at them. There was section four times, Mr. -, it's iteration; much wit, too, in his definition of imprisit's — well, I use no epithet, but it is onment for debt, which he happily chariteration.” His method of neutralizing, acterized as “merely a device for enabling as it were, the usual clap-trap formulas of a man to pledge the compassion of his counsel, in mystifying juries, was admira- friends." ble, as well for his good humor as for the A jury being about to retire to consider sound common sense displayed. When a their verdict, the usual oath was adminiscounsel had been pressing on the jury that tered to the tipstaff, that “they should be * there was some evidence on a point, in kept in some convenient place without favor of his client, the judge, as usual meat, drink, or fire, candlelight excepted, when he was in his caustic vein, affected till they had agreed on their verdict." One to agree. Counsel was perfectly right in of the jury having sent out for a glass of his law," but he's a lawyer, gentlemen, water, a grave representation of the fact and you are not, and as you don't know was made to the judge, who affected to what he means byósome evidence,' I'll tell treat the matter very seriously. He had you. Suppose there was an action on a the oath read aloud, then called for bill of exchange, and six people swore that " Lush's Practice.” After some hesitation they saw the defendant accept it, and oth: he gave judgment stating," he was clear ers swore they heard him say he should that water was not meat, neither was it have to pay it, and six others swore to his drink, in the popular acceptance of the handwriting, and suppose, on the other word,” so he decided that the juryman side, they called a poor old man, who had might have it. been at school with the defendant forty It was said happily enough, “that it years before, and had not seen him since'; would have been dangerous to assume his and he said " he rather thought the accept- ignorance on any subject whatever," for ance was not his writing,' why there'd be the reason that he possessed so much frag

some evidence' that it was not and that's mentary knowledge of all kinds. Though what Mr. means in this case.” What his knowledge of foreign tongues was a little drama this is, and how refreshing great, he was always modest enough to and convincing the argument!

say that “he knew a little ” of these lanAnother of his capital illustrations of guages. His memory was prodigious; the limits of evidence was the following : facts, names, dates, complicated mathe"If a man,” he said to a jury, “ goes into the matical expressions, long passages of London Docks sober, without the means Greek, Latin, and the French poets, in of getting drunk, and comes out of one of all sorts of metres, passages which for the cellars wherein are a million gallons of years he had never seen, long, strings of wine, very drunk, I think that would be nursery rhymes, all lay side by side to. reasonable evidence that he had stolen gether in that capacious storehouse. His some of the wine in the cellar, though you knowledge of the abundant French “ Ana ” could not prove that any wine was stolen, was boundless; he himself was wont to or any wine missed.

relate, somewhat triumphantly, how once A stupid jury and an ingenious counsel upon circuit his post-chaise companion were engaged in a case of the plainest had picked up at a bookstall a collection kind; where a previous conviction was of anecdotes containing in his estimation proved against the prisoner by the usual an unusual amount of fresh material, and certificate and the evidence of a policeman how thereupon, he had himself undertaken who had him in his charge. The counsel | to give the point of any story in it on

VOL. LXXIII. 3786

6

[ocr errors]

a

LIVING AGE.

EXTRACTS FROM THE DIARY OF A DISTRICT

NURSE.

hearing two lines of it read, and had ful. As might be expected, the possessor of filled his boast without a single failure. such gifts was regarded with a certain These were amiable and even engaging distrust, if not awe, by both bench and qualities, which contrasted with the usual bar. His brethren wbile esteeming him, hard and practical tone of the regular pro- pot unnaturally felt some discomfort in fessed wit. We have omitted the pleasant his presence. It is astonishing to recall that reason which led him to exert his skill in Douglas Jerrold wrote of him : “Thank picking locks. It seems, he used often to God the world is not made of Justice forget or lose his keys, and sometimes Maules, nor are there many natures like found himself in a circuit town with his his !” They knew that what they uttered portmanteau, but in the awkward position was being measured by that too critical of being unable to open it. Practice and intellect. Carrying out his high standard study soon made him skilful in this odd of propriety, he retired from the bench in accomplishment.

1856 as soon as he found he could not do On one occasion at least, it is recorded full justice to the duties of his high office. that he exhibited a certain "gruffness- Two years later he died, at his home in or even rudeness in private life. Mr. Hyde Park Gardens, aged only sixty-nine. Greville, the well-known diarist and “gruncher,” had been at school with him. He recalled him “in my mind's eye, suspended by the hair of his head and being

From Temple Bar. well caned, and recollect, as if it were yes.

LIFE IN THE LONDON SLUMS. terday, his doggedly drumming a lesson of Terence into my dull, reluctant brain." Greville said he was a clever boy and had assisted in teaching the other boys, November 15th. I shall begin my diary being taught himself by his uncle, who - which I have been meaning to start was an excellent scholar and a great brute. ever since I began district nursing in Sobo, Many years afterwards at a dinner of a few weeks ago — with a little anecdote clever men given at the Athenæum Club, which seems to show that our work really Greville recognized his old schoolfellow.does fill a want in the lives of the poor. He described the meeting: “When I My chief, Sister Lucy (I am only the as. found out who he was, I went up to him sistant, a sort of probationer to fetch and with the blandest manner, as he sat read carry and look after the easy cases), has ing a newspaper, and said that I believed for weeks past nursed a poor woman we had once been very well acquainted through a bad attack of rheumatic fever, though we had not met for twenty-seven and now that she is convalescent she falls years.' He looked up and said, 'Oh, it's to my share to wash and tend and make too long to talk about,' and turned back to happy for the day. She is rather a fretful, his paper. So I set him down for a brute, fussy old woman, very full, poor dear, of like his uncle, and troubled him no fur. her own woes, and on arriving this mornther,” adds the charitable gruncher. It ing I found a district visitor talking and may have been, however, that Maule dis- reading to her. So after a few words, liked the man and his ways, and perhaps having deposited my beef-tea and a little did not relish this reminder of those early custard pudding, I slipped on my cloak schooldays, which were after all not agree- again, meaning to return later. able to recall.

"Why, nurse, you ain't going?” exOnce at Derby, when he was passing claimed my patient in despairing accents; sentence, the governor of the gaol crossed and ignoring my polite remonstrances, she over, in a crouched attitude, to give some continued, "Oh, but you can't go! I do papers to the barristers, and thus passed want you so ! I'm just lost without you!” between the judge and the prisoner. The district visitor, after some hesiMaule rebuked him, intimated to him that tation, smilingly withdrew, and when I he had violated one of the best known gently suggested to Mrs. Brown that she rules of society “Don't you know, sir, should have shown her visitor more delyou ought never to pass between two erence, she merely retorted, “Well, she gentlemen, when one is addressing the may be very good for talking, but I want other?" This seems scarcely in his my hands and face washed, and she usual good taste, particularly as he pro- couldn't have done that for me.” The ceeded 10 finish his “conversation” with sentiment was a very natural one, and it the “other gentleman ” by a heavy sen. seemed to me that her words struck upon tence.

one of the philanthropic problems of the

6

a

66

[ocr errors]

day, and that if only we bore in mind the heat the water, who realizes from painful virtue of talking less and doing more, our experience the utter depths of squalor in well-meant efforts would be less often which thousands of families live. And as abortive.

for the dirt in these London tenement. November 19th. We often say that men houses, I will not attempt to describe it. are our nicest patients. They are cer- Our big white linen aprons, which we wear tainly more submissive and less fretful under our long cloaks, are not fit to be than women, and they sometimes show us a seen after a morning's nursing in the slums sort of chivalrous gratitude which is very of Soho and Seven Dials. touching. Dear old James Grantis a case November 25th. A very busy day. First in point. He is an old bed-ridden soldier, thing this morning there comes an urgent utterly crippled with rheumatism, but with summons from the dispensary doctor to go a good deal of the martial spirit still alive at once to Mrs. Carey in Street. So within hin, one of those beautiful old men off we rush, laden with probable necessawith snow white hair and blue eyes and a ries — for the mission under whose auspatch of pink color in his cheeks. He pices we work generously supply all things served all through the Crimean War, and needful. Our new patient occupies a fairnow he lives, I fancy, on an insufficient sized, ground-floor room, looking out. pension eked out by his wife's casual earn through a small grimy window into a nar. ings as a charwoman. Any way they can row grimy street; so that a perpetual allow themselves nothing beyond the twilight reigns within. No furniture was barest necessaries of life, so when James there beyond a tailor's board, a broken caught a feverish chill, the parish doctor table bearing a few cracked cups and sent round for us. And now the poor old plates, an empty grate, and a narrow bedman hardly knows what to do to show his stead piled with rags and coverlet of more gratitude. His bright smile of welcome is than dubious tint. Here lay a woman enough reward in itself; he always ad. with closed eyes and gasping breath, thin dresses us paternally as “ dear girl," and to emaciation, with the curious drawn look to-day I saw tears in his eyes when I said and peculiar greyness of color, which once good-bye.

seen, can never be forgotten, and which “ I have always respected females all means but one thing – slow starvation. my life," he assured us one day with Beside her, on the solitary stool, sat a quaint gravity.

little girl of six, with a pathetic, piquante The art of hospital bed-making is an little face, and the almost painful precocity unfathomable mystery to him, and he al- of the London gutter-child. From her by ways fails to understand how that clean degrees we gain a few facts. sheet has been slipped under him without * Father's out; 'e's a tailor ; 'e's got no putting all his old bones to the torture. It work. No, we ain't got nothink; we was is quite difficult not to bestow too much sold up last week. Father's pawned the time on one who appreciates so much the machine, so 'e can't work no more. I sits little refinements of life; a quarter of an and takes care of mummy, and gives her hour with old Grant seems to brighten up her redicine - this last with a loving a whole morning of drudgery.

little glance at poor, speechless, dying November 20th. It is curious what late“ mummy.' hours very poor people keep both in get- She seems almost at her last gasp. ting up and in going to bed. We find it is While Sister Lucy rouses our patient, and no use starting on our rounds before ten pours a few drops of brandy down her o'clock. This morning I called to see a throat, I hasten to light a fire with some patient about half past nine, and found remnants of coal and wood found in a half the family still in bed, and everything corner matches we always carry with in a state of ghastly confusion. The only us and warm some of our beef-tea in a kiod thing to do was to beat a prompt re- very battered saucepan. Then, having treat. Perhaps no set of people know so forced a little between the unwilling lips, well as a district nurse exactly how the and done our best to "make" the mispoor do live.

District visitors, Bible- erable bed, we give careful instructions to women, casual philanthropists, and so little Molly, who is quite equal to the task, forth, see but the outside poverty, so to as to alternate sips of beef-tea and doses speak; it is only the nurse, who under- of medicine, and promise to return in a takes to make the bed, or who, on wishing couple of hours with further comforts. It to wash the patient, finds that the family seems horrible to leave her at all, but a can boast neither basin, nor soap, nor long list of patients are awaiting us. towel, nor even perhaps a kettle in which to November 29th. Mrs. Carey is better,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

a

a

woman

and is wearily creeping back to life; but child was up and dressed on its mother's the process will be so slow that we have knee in a very draughty room, not from persuaded her to be moved into the work any negligence on the mother's part, but house infirmary: She told us that for from sheer ignorance that bed was the months she had lived on dry bread and a right place under the circumstances. little weak tea, owing to want of work; but Luckily some friends only the other day I am afraid that drink on the part of the made us an invaluable present of chil. husband is the real cause of their poverty. dren's flannel nightgowns, and poor little Some kind Anglican Sisters of Mercy have Bessie was soon made comfortable in one heard of the case, and will take charge of of them. little Molly, so our responsibility is at an It really is no use undertaking district end.

nursing without a plentiful supply of In that same house there lives a former nursing requisites. Fortunately, through patient of Sister Lucy's, so the other day the generosity of the friends of our miswe toiled up the narrow stairs to see her, sion, we are well provided for. We go and received the warmest of welcomes. entirely on the lending principle for such * Well, now,

I am glad to see you again, things as bed-linen, blankets, iobalers, nurse!” exclaimed a tidy, bright-eyed water-cushions, mackintosh sheets, etc.,

of about twenty-eight, bastily and find it the only practical plan. By brushing some imaginary dust off a couple keeping a careful memorandum, and diliof well-polished chairs before offering gently collecting, our goods when the them for our use. Here, at last, amid all patient is convalescent, we seldom lose the filth and grime of the surroundings, anything. It is a great pleasure in cases was the typical British workman's home of serious illness, to be able to keep the as it ought to be, and, alas, as it so seldom patient with a proper supply of clean bedis. To be sure, there was only one room, linen, and it is a luxury intensely appreand everything of the plainest, but as ciated by the recipient. One lady not clean and bright as possible. Two small long ago made us a present of half-a-dozen children were playing on the floor, and on pairs of strong linen sheets, and we often the bed, side by side, as like as two pins, wish she could know what pleasure and in checked frocks and white pinafores, comfort her kindly gift has afforded to lay twin girls, the pride of their mo er's many a poor invalid. heart, sucking away lustily at their respec

December Sth. Two more little children tive bottles.

dead. It takes so terribly little to kill A - Ain't they beauties !” exclaimed the them off; they seem to have no recuperafond parent, showing them off in turn. live power, and the little flames of life And yet this woman's husband is only a just ficker out at the smallest breath. common laborer at eighteen shillings a December 12th. I had rather a painweek; she pays at least four shillings a ful experience this morning, which has week in rent, and out of the rest she feeds, haunted me all day. I went to call on a clothes, and warms her husband, herself poor consumptive patient and found she and five children, in comfort and decency. died suddenly in the night. The scene How can she manage it? And if she can, might have come out of one of Dickens's why not thousands of other women living novels. I heard eager voices from the now in squalor and misery? It set one open door as I climbed the steep stairs, pondering anew how far the Socialists are and, stepping in, found the family and right, and how much of all the suffering some three or four female neighbors aswe daily see is the result, not of bad laws sembled, and in the midst the poor woman and capitalist oppression, but of sin and laid out on the bed, dead and stiff and drink and indifference.

motionless. She was so emaciated that December 5th. The bitter weather of you could hardly discern the body beneath last week has given us any amount of the sheet; there seemed to be only a head, work. The very next day after the snow. with the face all altered from the day bestorm we had half-a-dozen cases of bron-fore, thin and stern and placid. An elderly chitis on our hands, and we have been female, a sort of Mrs. Gamp, volunteered rushing about with inhalers and steam- a garrulous account of the death. kettles ever since. The saddest cases are “ She's a beautiful corpse," she rethe tiny children, and only yesterday one marked, gloatingly pulling down the sheet of our small patients, a fat, jolly little trot for me to see. See how nicely she's laid of three, panted its little short life away. out nurse! I've had practice at laying The first time we came, with a temperature out.” at 102° and a flushed, hot little face, the Then she consulted me in a profes

« ElőzőTovább »