Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 450 - Volume 18, New Series, August 14, 1852
Author: Various
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No. 450. NEW SERIES. SATURDAY, AUGUST 14, 1852. PRICE 1-1/2d.


The advocates of the diffusion of useful knowledge among the great body of the people, found one of their greatest difficulties to lie in an inability on the part of the people themselves to see what benefit they were to derive from the knowledge proposed to be imparted. This knowledge consisted of such a huge mass of facts of all kinds, that few could overcome a sense of hopelessness as attending every endeavour to acquire it. Take botany alone, it was said. You have a hundred thousand species of plants to become acquainted with—to learn their names, and to what genera and orders they belong, besides everything like a knowledge of their habitats, their properties, and their physiology. Seeing that this is but one of the sciences, there might well be a pause before admitting that the moral and intellectual regeneration of our people was to be brought about by the useful-knowledge movement.

There was here, however, a mistake on both hands, and one which we are only now beginning to appreciate. It was not observed at first, that there is a great distinction to be drawn between the relations of science to its cultivators or investigators, and those which it bears to the community at large. It is most important that a scientific zoologist like Mr Waterhouse, or a profound physiologist like Professor Owen, should determine and describe every species with the minutest care, even to the slightest peculiarities in the markings of a shell or the arrangements of a joint, because that exactness of description is necessary in the foundations of the science. But it is not necessary that every member of the public should follow the man of science into all these minutiae. It is not required of him, that he should have the names of even the seventy families of plants at his finger-ends, though that is not beyond the reach of most people. Some summation of the facts, some adroit generalisation, if such be attainable, is enough for him. The man of science is, as it were, a workman employed in rearing up a structure for the man of the world to look at or live in. The latter has no more necessary concern with the processes of investigation and compilation, than a gentleman has with the making of the mortar and hewing of the stones used in a house which he has ordered to be built for his residence.

Were the facts of science thus generalised, it is surprising how comprehensive a knowledge of the whole system of the universe every person might have. Only generalise enough, and no one need to be ignorant. Just in proportion as a man has little time to bestow on learning, condense the more what you wish to impart, and the result, where there is any fair degree of preparedness, will be all the better. In the very last degree of exigency, explain that nature is a system of fixed method and order, standing in a beneficial relation to us, but requiring a harmonious conformity on our part, in order that good may be realised and evil avoided, and you have taken your pupil by one flight to the very summit of practical wisdom. The most illustrious savant, while knowing some of the intermediate steps by which that wisdom was attained, and having many delightful subjects of reflection in the various phenomena involved in the generalisation, cannot go an inch further.

This is putting the matter in its extreme form. We are entitled to suppose that the bulk of mankind have some time to spend on the acquirement of a knowledge of the natural system of things into which their Maker has thrown them. Grant a little time to such a science, for example, as botany; we would never attempt impressing a vast nomenclature upon them. We would give them at once more pleasure and more instruction in shewing some of the phenomena of vegetable physiology: fundamental and profoundly interesting matters, of which specific distinctions and external characters of all kinds are only accidental results—that is, results determined by the outer phenomena affecting the existence of plants. A single lesson on the profound wonders of morphology would go further, we verily believe, in making our pupil a man of science, than the committing of the whole Linnaean system to memory. In zoology, again, we would leave the endless details of minute description to the tomes of the scientific naturalist, and be content to sketch animals in broad masses—first, in regard to grades of organisation; and, second, in regard to family types. The Feline Animal, we say, is one idea of the Creator—a destructive creature of wonderful strength in comparison with its bulk—of immense agility, furtive in its movements, furnished with great powers for the destruction of others. Lion, tiger, panther, ounce, lynx, jaguar, cat, are all essentially one creature—not the slightest difference can be traced in their osteological structure, hardly any in their habits. Why dwell, then, on minutiae of external appearances, if time presses, and there be much of more importance to be learned? So, also, is the Cirrhopode one idea of the author of nature. You may find a very respectable quarto account of the family, tracing them in all their varieties; but a page might inform you of all that is essential about the barnacle, curious as its history has been, and you need not ponder on the quarto unless you have some particular curiosity to gratify. The Types of nature, both in her vegetable and animal departments are, after all, few. Describe each comprehensively, group them all in correct relations to each other, and display their various destinies and connections with the rest of creation, and you enable your pupil to learn in a few weeks more than Pliny mastered in a lifetime.

It appears to us that the reason why science is so coldly received in ordinary society is, that either by reason of its unripeness for generalisation, or of the tendency of its cultivators to keep continually analysing and multiplying facts, it has not in general been presented in propositions which the ordinary mind can comprehend or make use of. We should be loath to urge it into generalisations for which it was not prepared; but while this is duly avoided, we would have it to be somewhat more vigilant than it usually is, in taking opportunities of proceeding with those synthetical clumpings of facts which we conceive to be so essential, on mere grounds of convenience, to its success with the multitude. Better be a little dogmatical, than insupportably tedious. Better have your knowledge in some order, though not perhaps beyond correction, than in no order at all. It is to be feared, however, that the thing wanting is not the sufficiency of particulars out of which to make general or comprehensive truths, but that of the requisite intellectual power and habit on the part of the men of science. The constant working towards separate facts seems to disqualify the mind for grouping or clustering them. Hundreds can detect a new sphinx or butterfly in the fauna of a country or a county, and are content with such small results, for one who can lay a few facts together, and make one truth out of all. One could almost believe, that there is a greater want of comprehensive intellect in the walks of science, than in some other fields of labour which make less pretension to an exertion of the mental faculties: for example, merchandise. And does not that very appearance of continual peddling amongst trifles, in some degree prevent the highest kind of minds from going into the fields of science? There is here, it appears to us, a great error to be corrected.

Another cause why science makes little way with the multitude is, that there is too little connection to be observed between the ordinary proceedings of the scientific and learned, and the practical good of the community. The British Association meets, and has its week of notoriety, and when we look into the resulting volume, what do we find? Doubtless, many ingenious speculations and many curious investigations, which may in the long-run prove beneficial in some indirect way. But it must be admitted, that there is hardly anything bearing directly upon the great interests of contemporary humanity. The crying social evils of our time and country obtain no notice from the recognised students of science. To all appearance, the political error which legitimated scarcity would have never been put an end to by them. The sanitary evils which press so severely upon the health and morals of the common people, would apparently go on for ever, for anything that philosophers have to say to the contrary. What concern have they taken in the question of education, either in promoting its extension to the masses, or improving its quality? Our national councils, and every deliberative public body throughout the country, spend one half their time in wrangling about the most contemptible puerilities, without drawing one word of indignant comment, or one effort at correction, from the learned. The studious are like stars, and dwell apart. Busying themselves in a world of their own, exercising no visible influence on the current of ordinary things, is it to be wondered at that the common people of the world put them and their pursuits almost as entirely out of account as they do the proceedings at Melton Mowbray? We grant it is not desirable that the cui bono should be the ruling consideration in matters of science; but we at the same time feel, that it would be well for it if it gave a little more attention to the social and moral questions affecting living interests, or at least endeavoured to bring its results to account in practical improvements of general utility.[1]

We must recur after all to the maxim which it is mainly the object of this paper to impress—that judicious generalisation is the indispensable pre-requisite to a more general diffusion of knowledge. To bring it to an apothegm—Let the man of science in seeking to enlighten himself, pursue analysis; in seeking to enlighten the outer public, he has no chance but in synthesis.


[1] We have much pleasure in acknowledging one instance of a movement in the right direction, in connection with the Museum of Economic Geology in London. While nothing can exceed the beauty of the arrangements in that institution, for enabling everybody that chooses to study the science from the actual objects, the professors have, during the last winter, come forward with supererogatory zeal to teach the working-classes, and to illustrate in every possible way the bearings of the subject upon the arts and economy of life.



'Pray remember, Monsieur Lagnier, that I wish particularly to go out this morning. It is now past one o'clock, and if you continue endeavouring to do what is quite impossible, my hair will never be dressed. You had much better plait it as usual.'

Adelaide de Varenne pronounced these words in a tone of pettishness very unusual with her, as, giving vent to a long sigh of impatience and weariness, she glanced hastily at the mirror on her toilet-table, and saw there reflected the busy fingers of M. Lagnier, the hairdresser, deliberately unfastening her hair, and preparing once more to attempt the arrangement, which repeated failures had declared to be an impossibility. He looked up, however, as he did so, and seemed to read the expression of her features, for a comic mixture of astonishment and dismay immediately overspread his own.

'Fifteen years,' he exclaimed, 'I have had the honour of daily attending mademoiselle, and she never was angry with me before! What can I have done to offend her?'

'Oh, nothing very serious,' replied the young girl, good-naturedly; 'but really I wish you would not dally so long. It is of very little consequence, I think, how one's hair is worn.'

'Why, certainly every style is equally becoming to mademoiselle,' was the old man's polite reply. 'Nevertheless, I had set my heart upon arranging it to-day according to the last fashion: it would suit mademoiselle a ravir.' Adelaide laughed.

'But you see it is impossible,' she said. 'I have so very little hair; and I am sure it is not my fault—nor,' she added archly, 'the fault of all those infallible pomades and essences recommended to me by somebody I know.' M. Lagnier looked embarrassed.

'Mademoiselle is so gay, she finds amusement in everything,' he replied. 'I cannot laugh upon so serious a subject.' Adelaide laughed again more heartily than before, and M. Lagnier continued, indignantly: 'Mademoiselle does not care for the loss of her beauty, then?'

'Oh, I did not know there was any question of that!' and the young girl suddenly resumed an expression of gravity, which completely imposed upon the simple old man.

'You see, mademoiselle,' he continued earnestly, 'I have been considering a long time what is best to be done. It is evident that my pomades, usually so successful, have no effect upon your hair; owing, I suppose, to—to—— I can't say exactly what it is owing to. It is very strange. I never knew them to fail before. Would mademoiselle object to wearing a slight addition of false hair?' he asked anxiously, after a moment's pause.

'Indeed, I should not like it,' was the reply. 'Besides, Monsieur Lagnier, you have often told me that, in all Paris, it was impossible to obtain any of the same shade as mine.'

'Ah, but I have succeeded at last!' exclaimed he; and as he spoke, he drew triumphantly from his pocket a small packet, in which was carefully enveloped a long lock of soft golden hair.

'How beautiful!' Adelaide involuntarily exclaimed. 'Oh, Monsieur Lagnier, that is far finer and brighter than mine.'

'The difference is very slight indeed; it would be imperceptible when both were braided together,' returned the hairdresser. 'Do, pray, allow me, mademoiselle, to shew you the effect;' and without waiting for a reply, he commenced the operation. In a few moments it was completed, and the old man's delight was extreme. 'There!' he exclaimed in ecstasy. 'I knew the style would suit you exactly. Oh, mademoiselle, pray allow it to remain so; I should be au desespoir were I obliged to unfasten it now.'

Adelaide hesitated: it was, however, no conscientious scruple which occasioned her hesitation. She was a Frenchwoman, a beauty, and a little—a very little—of a coquette. To add to her attractions by the slight supercheries of the toilet was, she thought, a very venial sin; it was a thing which, in the society that surrounded her, was looked upon as necessary, and sometimes even considered as a virtue. She was a strange girl, a dreamer, an enthusiast, with a warm heart, and a lively, but perhaps too easily-excited imagination. From her infancy, she had been accustomed to reflect, to question, and to reason; but left almost entirely to her own unguided judgment, the habit was not in every respect favourable to the formation of her character. It was, however, but little injured by it. She was one of those favoured beings whom no prosperity can spoil, no education entirely mislead, and whose very faults arise from the overflowings of a good and generous nature. The thought which agitated her now was one worthy of her gentle heart.

'Monsieur Lagnier,' she said earnestly, 'such beautiful hair could only have belonged to a young person. She must have been in great distress to part with it. Do you know her? Did she sell it to you? What is her name? I cannot bear to wear it: I shall be thinking of her continually.'

'Ah, Mademoiselle Adelaide, that is so like you! Why, I have provided half the young ladies in Paris with false tresses, and not one has ever asked me the slightest question as to how or where they were obtained. Indeed, I should not often have been able to reply. In this case, however, it is different. I bought it myself, and consequently can give you a little information respecting it. Yesterday evening, I was standing at my door in the Rue St Honore, when a young girl, attracted no doubt by the general appearance of my window, stopped to admire the various articles exhibited there. She had a pretty face, but I scarcely looked at that; I only saw her hair, her beautiful, rich, golden hair. It was pushed carelessly behind her ears, and half concealed beneath a little white cap. "Mademoiselle," I said, accosting her—for I could not bear that she should pass the door—"is there anything that you would like to buy? a pair of combs, for instance. I have some very cheap; although," I added, with a sigh, as she appeared about to move on, "such lovely hair as yours requires no ornament." At these words, she returned quickly, and looking into my face, exclaimed: "Will you buy my hair, monsieur?" "Willingly, my child," I replied; and in another instant she was seated in my shop, and the bright scissors were gleaming above her head. Then my heart failed me, and I felt half inclined to refuse the offer. "Are you not sorry, child, to part with your hair?" I asked. "No," she answered abruptly; and gathering it all together in her hand, she put it into mine. The temptation was too great; besides, I saw that she herself was unwilling that we should break the contract. Her countenance never changed once during the whole time, and when all was over, she stooped, and picking up a lock which had fallen upon the ground, asked in an unfaltering voice: "May I keep this, monsieur?" I said yes, and paid her; and then she went away, smiling, and looking quite happy, poor little thing. After all, mademoiselle, what is the use of beauty to girls in her class of life? She is better without it.'

'And her name—did you not ask her name?' inquired Adelaide reproachfully.

'Why, yes, mademoiselle, I did. She told me that it was Lucille Delmont, and that she was by trade a fleuriste. It was all the information she would give me.'

'What could she have wanted with the money? Perhaps she was starving: there is so much misery in Paris!' continued Mademoiselle de Varenne, after a pause.

'She was very pale and thin,' said the hairdresser; 'but then so are the generality of our young citizens. Do not make yourself unhappy about it, mademoiselle; I shall see her again, probably, and shall endeavour to find out every circumstance respecting her.' With these words, M. Lagnier respectfully took leave, having by one more expressive glance testified his delighted approval of the alteration which had taken place in the young lady's appearance.

Adelaide, having summoned her maid, continued her toilet in a listless and absent manner. Her thoughts were fixed upon the young girl whose beauty had been sacrificed for hers, and an unconquerable desire to learn her fate took possession of her mind. Her intended disposal of the morning seemed quite to be forgotten; and she was on the point of forming new plans, very different from the first, when the lady to whose care she had been confided during the absence of her father from town, entered the apartment, and aroused her from her reverie by exclaiming: 'Ah, you naughty girl! I have been waiting for you this half hour. Was not the carriage ordered to take us to the Tuileries?'

'Yes, indeed, it was; but I hope you will excuse me: I had almost forgotten it.' And Adelaide immediately related to her friend the circumstance which had occurred, and begged her aid in the discovery of Lucille. Madame d'Heranville laughed—reasoned, but in vain; and, finding Adelaide resolved, she at length consented to accompany her upon the search, expressing as she did so her entire conviction that it would prove useless and unsatisfactory.

The day was spent in visits to the principal modistes of Paris; but from none could any information be gained concerning the young flower-girl. None had ever even heard her name. Adelaide was returning home, disappointed, but not discouraged. Still resolved to continue her endeavours, she had just announced to Madame d'Heranville her intention of visiting upon the following day the shops of an inferior class, when the carriage was suddenly arrested in its course by the crowd of vehicles which surrounded it, and they found themselves exactly before the door of a small warehouse of the description she alluded to. She was about to express a wish to enter, it being still early, when her attention was attracted by two persons who stood conversing near the door, and whose voices, slightly raised, were distinctly audible. They had excited the interest and curiosity of both Adelaide and her companion by the earnestness of their manner, and by the expression of sorrow depicted upon the countenance of the elder speaker, a young man of about twenty-five years of age, who, from his costume, as well as accent, appeared to be a stranger in Paris.

'I have promised—will you not trust me?' he said in a half-reproachful tone; and Adelaide bent eagerly forward to catch a glimpse of the young girl to whom these words were addressed; but her face was turned away, and the large hood of a woollen cloak was drawn over her head, almost completely concealing her features.

'I do trust you,' she said in reply to the young man's words—'I do indeed. And now, good-by, dear Andre; we shall meet again soon—in our own beautiful Normandie.' And she held out her hand, which he took and held for an instant without speaking.

'May I not conduct you home?' he asked at length.

'No, Andre; it is better that we should part here. We must not trust too much to our courage, it has failed us so often already.' And as she spoke, she raised her head, and looked up tearfully at her companion, disclosing as she did so a face of striking beauty, although worn and pallid to a painful degree, and appearing even more so than it really was from the total absence of her hair. The tears sprang to Adelaide's eyes. In the careworn countenance before her she read a bitter tale. Almost instinctively, she drew forth her purse, and leaning over the side of the carriage, called 'Lucille! Lucille!' But the young girl did not hear her; she had already turned, and was hastening rapidly away, while Andre stood gazing after her, as if uncertain of the reality of what had just occurred. He was so deeply engrossed in his reflections, that he did not hear his name repeatedly pronounced by both Adelaide and her friend. The latter at length directed the servant to accost him, and the footman was alighting for that purpose, when two men turned quickly the corner of the street, and perceiving Andre, stopped suddenly, and one of them exclaimed: 'Ah, good-evening, Bernard; you are just the very fellow we want;' and taking Andre by the arm, he drew him under the shade of a porte cochere, and continued, as he placed a small morocco case in his hand: 'Take care of this for me, Andre, till I return: I shall be at your lodgings in an hour. Giraud and I are going to the Cite, and as this pocket-book contains valuables, we are afraid of losing it. Au revoir!'

Andre made no reply. He placed the pocket-book carelessly in his bosom, and his two friends continued hastily their way. He was himself preparing to depart, when the footman touched him gently on the shoulder, and told him of Mademoiselle de Varenne's wish to speak to him. Andre approached the carriage, surprised and half abashed at the unlooked-for honour; then taking off his cap, waited respectfully for one of the ladies to address him. At the same instant, a police-officer seized him roughly by the arm, and exclaimed: 'Here is one of them! I saw them all three together not two hours ago!' And calling to a comrade who stood near, he was about to lead Andre away. At first, the young man made no resistance; but his face grew deadly pale, and his lip trembled violently.

'What do you want? What have I done?' he demanded at length, turning suddenly round to face his accuser; but the latter only replied by a laugh, and an assurance that he would know all about it presently. A slight struggle ensued, in the midst of which the pocket-book fell to the ground, and a considerable number of bank-notes bestrewed the pavement. At this sight, Andre seemed suddenly to understand the cause of his arrest; he stood for an instant gazing at the notes with a countenance of horror; then, with an almost gigantic effort, he broke from the grasp which held him, and darted away in the direction which had before been taken by the young girl. He was immediately followed by the police; but although Adelaide and her friend remained for some time watching eagerly the pursuit, they were unable to ascertain whether he had succeeded in effecting his escape.

'I am sure I hope so, poor fellow!' murmured Adelaide as they drove homewards—'for Lucille's sake, as well as for his.'

'You have quite made up your mind, then, as to its being Lucille that we saw?' said Madame d'Heranville with a smile. 'If it was,' she added, more gravely, 'I think she can scarcely merit all the trouble you are giving yourself on her account. Her friendship for Andre does not speak much in her favour.'

'Why not? Surely you do not think he stole the pocket-book?' asked Adelaide, in undisguised dismay.

'Perhaps not; but his intimacy with those who did, leads one to suppose that he is not unaccustomed to such scenes. You remember the old proverb: "Dis moi qui tu hantes, je te dirai qui tu es."'

'Do you not think we should give information respecting what we saw? He was certainly unconscious of its contents?' asked Adelaide again, after a short silence.

'He appeared so,' returned Madame d'Heranville; 'and I shall write to-morrow to the police-office. Perhaps our evidence may be useful to him.'

'To-morrow!' thought Adelaide; but she did not speak her thoughts aloud. 'And to-night he must endure all the agonies of suspense!' And then she looked earnestly at her companion's face, and wondered if, when hers, like it, was pale and faded, her heart should also be as cold. A strange, sad feeling crept over her, and she continued quite silent during the remainder of the drive. Her thoughts were still busy in the formation of another plan for the discovery of Lucille, when, upon her arrival at home, she was informed that M. Lagnier desired anxiously to see her, having something to communicate.

'Mademoiselle, I have not been idle,' he exclaimed, immediately upon entering the apartment. 'Here is Lucille's address, and I have seen her mother. Poor things!' he added, 'they are indeed in want. Their room is on the sixth floor, and one miserable bed and a broken chair are all the furniture. For ornament, there was a rose-tree, in a flower-pot, upon the window-seat: it was withered, like its young mistress!'

'They are not Parisians?' inquired Adelaide.

'No, no, mademoiselle. From what the mother said, I picked up quite a little romance concerning them. The husband died two years ago, leaving them a pretty farm, and a comfortable home in Normandie. Lucille was very beautiful. All the neighbours said so, and Mrs Delmont was proud of her child. She could not bear her to become a peasant's wife, and brought her here, hoping that her beauty might secure to her a better fate. The young girl had learned a trade, and with the assistance of that, and the money they had obtained upon selling the farm, they contrived to manage very well during the first year. Lucille made no complaint, and her mother thought she was happy. A Parisian paid her attention, and asked her to become his wife. She refused; but as he appeared rich, the mother would not hear of declining the offer. She encouraged him to visit them as much as possible, and hoped at length to overcome Lucille's dislike to the marriage. One evening, however, as they were all seated together, a young man entered the room. He had been an old lover of Lucille's—a neighbour's son, and an early playmate. She sprang forward eagerly to meet him, and the rich pretender left the place in a fit of jealous anger, and they have not seen him since. Then troubles came, one following another, until at last they fell into the state of destitution in which I found them. Andre Bernard, who had quarrelled with his parents in order to follow them, could find no work, and every sou that Lucille gained was given to him, to save him, as she said, from ruin or from sin. Last week she sold her hair, to enable him to return home. She had made him promise that he would do so, and to night he is to leave Paris.'

'It is he, then, whom we saw arrested!' exclaimed Adelaide; 'and he will not be able to return home. Oh, let us go to Lucille at once! Do, pray, come with me, Madame d'Heranville!' and turning to her friend, she pleaded so earnestly, and the large tears stood so imploringly in her eyes, that it was impossible to resist. Madame d'Heranville refastened her cloak, and soon afterwards, with Adelaide and M. Lagnier, found herself ascending the steep and dilapidated staircase of the house inhabited by the Delmonts. Adelaide seated herself upon the highest step, to await the arrival of her friend, whose agility in mounting was not quite equal to her own. As she did so, a loud and angry voice was heard proceeding from the apartment to which this staircase led. It was followed by a sound as of a young girl weeping, and then a few low, half-broken sentences were uttered in a voice of heart-broken distress.

'Mother, dear mother,' were the words, 'do not torture me. I am so ill—so wretched, I wish I were dead.'

'Ill! wretched! ungrateful girl!' was the reply. 'And whose fault is it that you are so? Not mine! Blame yourself, if you will, and him, your darling Andre. What will he do now that you have no more to give? nothing even that you can sell, to supply him with the means of gratifying his extravagance. You will soon see how sincere he is in his affection, and how grateful he feels for all the sacrifices that you have made—sacrifices, Lucille, that you would not have made for me.'

'Mother,' murmured the poor girl in a tone of heart-broken reproach, 'I have given my beauty for him; but I have given my life for you.' Adelaide listened no more. Shocked beyond measure at the misery expressed in the low, earnest voice of Lucille, she knocked at the door of the apartment, and scarcely waiting for permission, lifted the latch and entered hurriedly.

Lucille was seated at a window working, or seeming at least to do so; for her head was bent over a wreath of artificial flowers, through which her emaciated fingers passed with a quick convulsive motion. It needed not, however, a very nice observation to discover that the work progressed but slowly. The very anxiety with which she exerted herself, seemed to impede her movements, and the tears which fell from time to time upon the leaves obscured her sight, and often completely arrested her hand. She did not raise her head as Adelaide entered; too deeply engrossed in her own sadness, she had not heard the opening of the door, or her mother's exclamation of surprise, and Mademoiselle de Varenne was at her side before she was in the least conscious of her presence. Adelaide touched her gently on the arm.

'What is the matter, Lucille?' she asked. 'Tell me: I will do all I can to help you.' At these words the mother interposed, and said softly: 'I am sure, madame, you are very kind to speak so to her. I am afraid you will find her an ungrateful girl; if you had heard her words to me just now—to me, her own mother!'

'I did hear them,' returned Adelaide. 'She said she had given her life for you. What did she mean? What did you mean, Lucille?' she asked, gently addressing the young girl, whose face was buried in her hands.

'Forgive me, mother; I was wrong,' murmured Lucille; 'but I scarcely know what I say sometimes. Mademoiselle,' she continued earnestly, 'I am not ungrateful; but if you knew how all my heart was bound to home, and how miserable I am here, you would pity and forgive me, if I am often angry and impatient.'

'You were never miserable till he came,' retorted the mother; 'and now that he is going, you will be so no more. It will be a happy day for both of us when he leaves Paris.' At this moment heavy steps were heard ascending the stairs; then voices raised as if in anger. Lucille started up; in an instant her pale cheek was suffused with the deepest crimson, her eye flashed, and her whole frame trembled violently. Her mother grasped her by the hand, but she freed herself with a sudden effort, and darting past Madame d'Heranville and the hairdresser, who had entered some time before, she ran out upon the landing. Adelaide followed, and at once perceived the cause of her emotion. Andre was rapidly ascending the stairs, his countenance pale, and his whole demeanour indicating the agitation of his feelings. He was closely followed by the police-officer, whose voice, as he once more grasped his prisoner, appalled the terrified Lucille. 'You have given us a sharp run,' he exclaimed, 'and once I thought you had got off. You should not have left your hiding-place till dark, young gentleman.' And, heedless of the frantic and agonised gestures of the unhappy youth, he drew him angrily away.

Lucille sprang forward, and taking Andre's hand in hers, she looked long and earnestly in his face. He read in her eyes the question she did not dare to ask, and replied, as a crimson blush mounted to his forehead: 'I am accused of robbery, Lucille, and many circumstances are against me. I may perhaps be condemned. I came here to tell you of my innocence, and to return you this;' and he placed a gold piece in her hand. It was the money she had given him for his journey—the fruit of the last sacrifice she had made. She scarcely seemed to understand his words, and still looked up inquiringly. 'Lucille,' he continued, 'they are taking me to prison; I cannot go home as I promised; but you will not think me guilty. How could I do what I knew would break your heart?'

She smiled tenderly and trustfully upon him; then letting fall his hand, she pushed him gently away, and whispered: 'Go with him, Andre. Justice will be done. I am no longer afraid.' Madame d'Heranville and Adelaide at this moment approached, and eagerly related what they had seen, both expressing their conviction of the young man's innocence.

'It is not to me you must speak, ladies,' returned the gendarme, wonderfully softened by their words. 'If you will be so good as to give me your names, and come to-morrow to our office, I have no doubt that your evidence will greatly influence the magistrate in favour of the prisoner.' The ladies gave their names, and promised to attend the court the following morning; and shortly afterwards, they left the house, having by their kind promises reassured the weeping girl, and succeeded in softening her mother's anger towards her. The next day they proceeded early to the court. As Adelaide entered, she looked round for Lucille, and perceived her standing near the dock, her earnest eyes fixed upon the prisoner, and encouraging him from time to time with a look of recognition and a smile. But notwithstanding all her efforts, the smile was a sad one; for her heart was heavy, and the appearance of the magistrate was not calculated to strengthen her hope. Andre had declared his innocence—his complete ignorance of the contents of the pocket-book his friend had placed in his hand; but his very intimacy with such men operated strongly against him. Both Giraud and his companion were well known to the police as men of bad character, and very disreputable associates. The prisoner's declaration, therefore, had but little effect upon those to whom it was addressed; and the magistrate shook his head doubtfully as he listened. Madame d'Heranville and Adelaide then related what they had seen—describing the young man's listless look as he received the book, and endeavouring to prove, that had Andre been aware of its contents, his companion need scarcely have made the excuse he did for leaving it with him. At this moment, a slight movement was observed among the crowd, and two men were brought forward, and placed beside Andre. At their appearance, a scream escaped from Lucille; and, turning to her mother, she pointed them out, while the name of Jules Giraud burst from her lips. Hearing his own name, one of the men looked up, and glanced towards the spot where the young girl stood. His eyes met hers, and a flush overspread his face; then, after a momentary struggle, which depicted itself in the workings of his countenance, he exclaimed: 'Let the boy go: we have injured him enough already. He is innocent.'

'What do you mean?' inquired the magistrate; while a look of heartfelt gratitude from Lucille urged Giraud to proceed.

'Andre knows nothing of this robbery,' he continued; 'his sole connection with us arises from a promise we gave him, to find him employment in Paris; and all the money he received we took from him under the pretence of doing so. Yesterday morning, we met him for the purpose of again deceiving him, but failed. He had a louis-d'or; but it had been given him by his fiancee, that he might return home, and he was determined to fulfil his promise. I would have taken his last sou; for he'—and the destined forcat ground his teeth—'for he owed me a debt! However,' he continued recklessly, 'it is all over now. I am off for the galleys, that's clear enough; and before starting, I would do something for Lucille.'

'How had the accused harmed you?' asked the magistrate.

Giraud hesitated; but Madame Delmont came forward, and exclaimed: 'I will tell you, monsieur. He wished to marry my daughter himself; and I,' she added, in a tone of deep self-reproach, 'would almost have forced her to consent.'

The same evening, Madame Delmont, Andre, and Lucille were seated together, conversing upon what had passed, and deliberating as to the best means of accomplishing an immediate return to Normandie, when a gentle tap was heard at the door, and the old hairdresser entered the room. He appeared embarrassed; but at length, with a great effort restraining his emotion, he placed a little packet in Lucille's hand, and exclaimed: 'Here, child, I did not give you half enough for that beautiful hair of yours. Take this, and be sure you say nothing about it to any one, especially to Mademoiselle Adelaide;' and without waiting for one word of thanks, he was about to hurry away, when he was stopped by Mademoiselle de Varenne in person.

'Ah, Monsieur Lagnier,' she merrily exclaimed, 'this is not fair. I hoped to have been the first; and yet I am glad that you forestalled me,' she added, as she looked into the bright glistening eyes of the old hairdresser. 'My father has just arrived in town, Lucille,' she continued, after a short pause, 'and he is interested in you all. He offers Andre the porter's lodge at the chateau, and I came here immediately to tell you the good news. It is not very far from your old home, and I am sure you will like it. Do not forget to take with you this poor rose-tree; it looks like you, quite pale for want of air. There! you must not thank me,' she exclaimed, as Madame Delmont, Andre, and Lucille pressed eagerly forward to express their gratitude: 'it is I, rather, that should thank you. I never knew till now how very happy I might be.'

And as Adelaide de Varenne pronounced these words, a bright smile passed across her face. The old hairdresser gazed admiringly upon her, and doubted for a moment whether the extraordinary loveliness he saw owed any part of its charm to the lock of false hair.


In March of the year 1843, a remarkable beam of light shot suddenly out from the evening twilight, trailing itself along the surface of the heavens, beneath the belt stars of Orion. That glimmering beam was the tail of a comet just whisked into our northern skies, as the rapid wanderer skirted their precincts in its journey towards the sun. To the watchful eyes of our latitudes, the unexpected visitant presented an aspect that was coy and modest in the extreme; its head, indeed, was scarcely ever satisfactorily in sight. But it dealt far otherwise with the more favoured climes of the south. At the Cape of Good Hope, it was seen distinctly in full daylight, and almost touching the solar disk; and at night appeared with the brilliancy of a first-class star, with a luminous band flowing out from it to a distance some hundred times longer than the moon's face is wide. Few persons who caught a glimpse of that shining tail, either as it fitfully revealed itself in our heavens, or as it steadily blazed upon the opposite hemisphere of the earth, were led to form adequate notions of the magnificence of the object they were contemplating. No one, unaided by the teaching of science, could have conceived that the streak of light, so readily compressed within the narrow limits of an eye-glance, stretched out 170 millions of miles in length.

The comet comes from regions of unknown remoteness, and rushes, with continually increasing speed, towards our own source of warmth and light—the genial sun. When it has reached within a certain distance of this object, it appears, however, to overshoot the mark of its desire, as if too ardent in the chase, and then sways round with fearful impetus, beginning reluctantly to settle out into space again, and moving with less and less velocity as it goes, until its misty form is once more withdrawn by distance from human sight. When the comet of 1813 swept round the sun in this way, it was so near to the shining surface of the solar orb, that it must have been rushing for the time through a temperature forty-seven thousand times higher than any which the torrid region of the earth ever feels. Such heat would have been twenty-four times more than enough to melt rock-crystal. The overburdened sense experiences a feeling of relief in the mere knowledge, that the comet passed this fiery ordeal as the lightning's flash might have done. In two short hours, it had shifted its place from one side to the other of the solar sphere. In sixty little minutes, it had moved from a region in which the heat was forty thousand times greater than the fiercest burning of the earth's torrid zone, into another, in which the temperature was four times less. The comet might well have a glowing tail as it came from such a realm of fire. Flames that were colder by many hundred times, would make the dull black iron shine with incandescent brightness.

As, however, it is the comet's nature to guard its ornamental appendages with jealous care, it may be conceived that this tail of 170 million miles might prove a somewhat troublesome travelling companion in so rapid a journey. Comets always turn their tails prudentially out of harm's way as they whisk through the neighbourhood of the solar blaze. In whatever direction these bodies may be moving, they are always seen to project their caudal beams directly from the sun. Imagine the case of a rigid straight stick, held by one end in the hand, and brandished round through a half-circle. The outer end of the stick would move through a considerable sweep. If the stick were 170 million miles long, the extent of the sweep would be not less than 500 million miles! Through such a stupendous curve did the comet of 1843 whirl its tail in two little hours as it rounded the solar orb. It is hardly possible to believe, that one and the same material substance could have been subjected to the force of such motion without being shattered into a myriad fragments. Sir John Herschel very beautifully suggests, that the comet's tail, during this wonderful perihelion passage, resembled a negative shadow cast beyond the comet, rather than a substantial body; a momentary impression made upon the luminiferous ether where the solar influence was in temporary obscuration. But this suggestion can only be received as an ingenious and expressive hint; it cannot be taken as an explanation. There is as much difficulty, as will be presently seen, in the way of admitting that comets have shadows of any kind, as there would be in compassing the idea that bodies of enormous length can be whirled round through millions of miles in the minute. The truth is, the comet's tail is yet an unguessed puzzle, and vexes even the wits of the wise. It keeps grave men seated on the horns of a dilemma, so long as their attention is fixed upon its capricious charms.

The comet's tail is always thrown out away from the sun, just as the shadow of an opaque body in the same position would be. But this is not all that can be said of it. It is not only cast away from the sun: it is really cast by the sun—shadow-like, although not of the nature of shadow. It only appears when the comet gets near to the sun's effulgence, and is lost altogether when that body gets far from the great source of mundane light and heat. It is raised from the comet's body, by the power of sunshine, as mist is from damp ground. When Halley's Comet of 1682 approached the fierce ordeal of its perihelion position, the exhalation of its tail was distinctly perceived. First, little jets of light streamed out towards the sun, as if bursting forth elastically under the influence of the scorching blaze; very soon these streams were stopped, and turned backwards by the impulse of some new force, and as they flowed in this fresh direction, became the diverging streaks of the tail. Not only a vapour-forming power, but also a vapour-drifting power, is brought into play in the process of tail formation; and this latter must be some occult agent of considerable interest in a scientific point of view, as well as of considerable importance in a dynamic one, for it is a principle evidently antagonistic to the great prevailing attribute of gravitation, so universally present in matter. The comet's tail is the only substance known that is repelled instead of being attracted by the sun.

The repulsive power to which the development of the comet's tail is due, is one of extraordinary energy. The comet of 1680 shot out its tail through something like 100 million miles in a couple of days. Most probably, much of the matter that is thus thrown off from the cometic nucleus is never collected again, but is dissipated into space, and lost for ever to the comet. The tail of the comet of 1680 was seen in its greatest brilliancy soon before the solar approach; this was, however, an exception to the general rule. Comets nearly always have the finest tails, and present altogether the most beautiful appearance, immediately after they have been in the closest proximity to the sun.

The comet's tail seems, in reality, to be a thin oblong case of vapour, formed out of the cometic substance by the increasing intensity of the sunshine, and enclosing the denser portion of that substance at one end. The diverging streams which it displays upon the sky are merely the retiring edges of the rounded case, where the greatest depth of luminous matter comes into sight. As the comet nears the sun, much of its substance is vaporised for the construction of this envelope; but as it goes off again into remoteness, the vaporous envelope is once more condensed. The tail may then be seen to flow back towards the head, out of which it was originally derived.

But here, again, a difficulty presents itself. The comet's tail is believed by most of the illustrious astronomers of the day, to be the body converted into vapour by solar influence. If it be so, the vaporising process must be a much more subtile one than any that could be performed in our alembics, for the comet's substance is already all vapour before the distillation commences. The faintest stars have been seen shining through the densest parts of comets without the slightest loss of light, although they would have been effectually concealed by a trifling mist extending a few feet from the earth's surface. Most comets appear to have bright centres—nuclei, as they are called; but these nuclei are not solid bodies, for as soon as they are viewed by powerful telescopes, they become as diffused and transparent as the fainter cometic substance. Comets are properly atmospheres without contained spheres; enormous clouds rushing along in space, and bathed with its sunshine, for they have no light excepting sunlight. They become brighter and brighter as they get deeper within the solar glare, and dimmer and paler as they float outwards from the same. The light of the comet only differs from the light of a cloud that is drifted across the cerulean sky of noon, in the fact, that it is reflected from the inside as well as the outside of the vaporous substance. The material illuminated reflects light, and is permeated by light, at once. In this respect it resembles air as much as cloud—the blueness of the sky is the sunlit air seen through the lower and inner strata of itself. In the same way, the whiteness of the comet is sunlit vapour seen through portions of itself. The sunbeams pass as readily through the entire thickness of the cometic substance as they do through our own highly permeable atmosphere.

The belief in the comet's surpassing thinness and lightness is not a mere speculative opinion. It rests upon incontrovertible proof. In 1770, Lexell's Comet passed within six times the moon's distance of the earth, and was considerably retarded in its motion by the terrestrial attraction. If its mass had been of equal amount with the earth's mass, its attraction would have influenced the earth's movement in a like degree in return, and the earth would have been so held back in its orbitual progress in consequence, that the year would have been lengthened to the extent of three hours. The year was not, however, lengthened on that occasion by so much as the least perceptible fraction of a second; hence it can be shewn, that the comet must have been composed of some substance many thousand times lighter than the terrestrial substance. Newton was of opinion, that a few ounces of matter would be sufficient for the construction of the largest comet's tail.

Light as the comet's substance is, it is not, however, light enough to escape the grasp of the sun's gravitating attraction. When the mass of thin vapour is rushing through the obscurity of starlit space, so far from the sun that the solar sphere looks but the brightest of the stellar host, it feels the influence of the solar mass, remote as it is, and is constrained to bend its course towards it. Onwards the thin vapour goes, the sun waxing bigger and bigger with each stage of approach, until at last the little star has become a fiery globe, filling up half the heavens with its vast proportions, and stretching from the horizon to the zenith of the visible concave. The great comet of 1680 came in this way from a region of space where the sun looked but half as wide as the planet Mars in the sky, and where the solar heat was imperceptible, the surrounding temperature being 612 degrees colder than freezing water, into another in which the sun filled up 140 times greater width of the sky than it does with us, and where the heat was some hundred times higher than the temperature of boiling water. It was then only 880,000 miles away from the solar surface, and would have fallen to it in three minutes, in obedience to its attraction, if the impetus of its motion in a different direction had been on the instant destroyed or arrested. But this impetus proved too great for the attraction, light as the material of the moving body was. When the comet has approached comparatively near to the grand source of attraction, the speed of its accelerating motion has become so excessive, that it is able to withstand the augmented solicitation it is subjected to, and move outwards in a more direct course. It goes, however, slower and slower, and curving its journey less and less, until at last its motion in remote obscurity is again so sluggish, that the sun's attraction is once more predominant, and able to recall the truant towards its realms of light. Such is the history of the comet's course.

Thin comet vapours drift through space, sustained by exactly the same influences that uphold dense planetary spheres. They are supported in the void by the combined effects of motion and attraction. Their own impetus strives to carry them one way, while the sun's attraction draws them another, and they are thus constrained to move along paths that are intermediate to the lines of the two impulses. Now, when bodies are driven in this way by two differently acting powers, they must travel along curved lines, if both the driving forces are in continued operation, for a new direction of motion is then impressed on them at each succeeding instant. There are three kinds of curved lines along which bodies thus doubly driven may move: the circular curve, which goes round a central point at an unvarying equal distance, and returns into itself; the elliptical curve, which returns into itself by a route that is drawn out considerably in one direction; and the hyperbolic curve, that never returns into itself at all, but has, on the other hand, a course which sets outwards each way for ever. The parabolic curve, as it is called, is a line partaking of the closeness of the ellipse on the one hand, and the openness of the hyperbola on the other. A parabola is an ellipse passing into a hyperbola; or, in other words, it is a part of an ellipse whose length, compared with its breadth, is too great to be estimated, and is consequently deemed to be endless for all practical purposes.

In most instances, comets move in space, about the sun, in ellipses so very lengthened, that their paths seem to be parabolas as long as the cloudy bodies are visible in the sky. Two of them, Ollier's Comet and Halley's, are known to return into sight after intervals of seventy-four and seventy-six years, during which they have visited portions of space a few hundred millions of miles further than the orbit of Neptune. Six comets travel in elliptical orbits that are never so far from the sun as the planet Neptune, and return into visibility in short periods that never exceed seven or eight years. These interior comets of short period seem to be regular members of our world-system in the strictest sense. Their paths, although more eccentric, are all contained in planes that nearly correspond with the planes of the planetary orbits, and they travel in these paths in the same general direction with their planetary brethren in every case. The planetoid comets of short period are—Encke's, De Vico's, Brorsen's, D'Arrest's, Biela's, and Fage's. The comet of 1843 is half suspected to belong to the group, and to be also a periodic body, revisiting our regions punctually at intervals of twenty-one years.

The comet's motions strikingly illustrate the almost absolute voidness of space. If the thin vapour experienced any resistance while moving, its free passage would be checked, although that resistance was many thousand times less than the one the hand feels when waved in the air. It is found, however, that Encke's Comet does indicate the presence of some such resistance. It goes slower and slower with each return, and contracts the dimensions of its elliptical journey progressively. But it must be remembered, that this is one of the close comets that never gets well out of the solar domain in which our neighbouring planets float. The resisting medium which opposes its journey may be merely an ethereal solar atmosphere surrounding the sun, as our air surrounds the earth, but spreading to distances of millions instead of tens of miles. On the other hand, it must be remembered also that starlight passes through universal space, and is everywhere spread out therein, and that it is hardly possible to think of starlight as an existence without some sort of material reality. Some physicists believe that Encke's Comet, with its retarded motions, will some day fall into the sun; while others fancy that such a consummation can never take place, because successive portions of its substance will be thrown off by the tail-forming process with each perihelion return; so that long before the cometic mass could reach the sun, it will have been altogether dissipated into space, and nothing will be left to accomplish the final state of the fall.

The great peculiarity of cometic paths, as compared with the planetary ones, is, that they consist of ellipses of very much more eccentric proportions; and that, therefore, the bodies moving in them, go alternately to much greater and less distances from the sun than the planets do. It must not be imagined, however, that all comets revolve about the sun even in the most lengthened ellipses. Three at least—the comets of 1723, 1771, and 1818—are known to have moved along hyperbolic paths instead of parabolic or elliptical ones. These comets, therefore, can make but one appearance in our skies. Having once shewn themselves there, and vanished, they are lost to us for ever. They are but stray and chance visitors to the domains of our sun, and refuse to submit themselves, with the more regular members of their fraternity, to the regulation-arrangements of our system, or to appear punctually at the systematic roll-call therein instituted. They are the true free-wanderers of the Infinite, passing from shore to shore of immensity, and presenting themselves, for short and uncertain intervals, to star after star. When they flit through our skies, they shew themselves in all possible positions, and move along all possible directions. They sometimes, however, yield too much to temptation, and have to suffer the penalty of a short imprisonment in consequence. Lexell's Comet, for instance, rushed in its hyperbolic path too near to Jupiter, and was caught in the attraction of its mass, and made to dance attendance on the sun through two successive elliptical revolutions. At the end of the second, the influence that had impounded the comet came, however, into play oppositely, and restored it again to its wandering life and hyperbolic courses. Its cloudy form has not presented itself amongst our stars since 1770, when its visit was thus strangely received by Jupiter.

Twenty-three comets were seen by the naked eye during the sixteenth century, 12 were seen in the seventeenth, 8 in the eighteenth, and 9 in the first half of the nineteenth. This does not, however, give anything like an adequate idea of the number of comets really in existence. When Kepler was asked how many comets he thought there were, he answered: 'As many as there are fishes in the sea.' And modern science seems determined, that the sagacious German shall not be at fault even in this predication. Two or three fresh telescopic comets are now usually found out every year. In 1847, 178 comets were known to be moving in parabolic orbits, and therefore to be in some way permanent connections of our world-system. Lalande has enumerated 700 comets, but Arago believes that not less than 7,000,000 exist, which fall at some time or other within the reach of our sun's influence.


She is easy, good-natured, and compliant about everything but her sleep. On that point she can bear no interference and no stoppages. Unless she had it fully out every day, neither would life be worth having for herself, nor would she allow the life of any other people to be endurable. Sleep is her great gift; her body has been wonderfully constituted to take a great deal of ease. Deprive her of that, and you starve her as effectually as you famish a human being by abstraction of food. Her personal appearance confirms her philosophy; for you can detect not one particle of restlessness about her. All is soft, rounded, and woolly, as if she carried an atmosphere of deafening about with her.

It has been her habit ever since her earliest years. One of the principal anecdotes of her girlish days now remembered in her family is, that her mamma having sent on some exigency to rouse her, she faintly murmured forth, 'Not for kingdoms!' then turned on the other side, and doggedly went to sleep again. There is another story of her having had to rise one morning at half-past seven, in order to attend a friend as bridemaid, when, coming down stairs, and seeing it to be a raw drizzly day, she pronounced her situation to be 'the ne plus ultra of human misery!' She told the young bride (by way of a compliment) that she would not have got up in the middle of the night to be present at the marriage of any other friend on earth. This phrase might seem to most people only a pleasant hyperbole; but I am not quite sure that it was so intended. The fact is, she has seen so little of the world at any other hours than between noon and midnight, that she has a very obscure sense of other periods of daily time. She scarcely knows what morning is. Sunrise is to her as much of a phenomenon as a total eclipse of the sun to any other person. She cannot tell what mankind in general mean by breakfast-time, for she has scarcely ever seen the world so early. And really half-past seven was not very far from the middle of her night.

Her husband, who is a little of a wag, compares her waking-life to the appearance which the sun makes above the horizon on a winter day: only, her morning is about his noon. He says, however, there appears to be no necessary end to her sleep. It is like Decandolle's idea as to the life of a tree: keep up the required conditions, as sap, &c., and the tree will never decay. So, keep up the necessary conditions for her repose, and she continues to sleep. It is always some external accident of a disturbing nature which gets her up. He has sometimes proposed making an attempt so to arrange matters as to test how long she would sleep. But, unfortunately, he cannot provide against the disturbing effect of hunger, so he fears she might not sleep above two nights and a day at the most—a result that would not be worth the trouble of the experiment. She takes all his jokes in good-humour, as indeed she takes everything which does not positively interfere with her favourite indulgence. '"Ah, little she'll reck if ye let her sleep on," ought,' says he, 'to be her motto, being applicable to her in the most trying crises of life, even that of the house burning about her ears.'

He contrasts his life, which is a moderately active one, with hers. 'I went up to my dressing-room, about nine o'clock one evening, to prepare to go to a party, when the sound of heavy breathing from the neighbouring apartment informed me that she had reached the land of forgetfulness. I went out, spent a couple of hours in conversation, had supper, set several new conundrums agoing in life, and made one or two new friends. Then I came home, had my usual rest, rose, and set to work in my business-room, where I drew up an important paper. Still no appearance of the lady. I had breakfast, read the newspaper, and played with the children. One of my new friends called, and made an appointment. Still no appearance of my wife down stairs. At length, about the middle of the day, when I was deep in a new piece of business, she peeped in, with a cold nose and fresh ringlets, to ask a cheque for her house-money—having got down stairs rather more promptly than usual that morning, in order to go out and settle her weekly bills. Thus I had a series of waking transactions last night, another this morning—in fact, a history—while she had been lost in the regions of oblivion. My sleep is rounded by hers, like a small circle within a large one.'

Sometimes he speculates on the ultimate reckoning of their respective lives. 'Mine,' says he, 'will have been so thickened up with doings of all kinds, that it will appear long. I shall seem to have lived all my days. I fear it must be different with yours. So much of it having been passed in entire unconsciousness, you will look back from seventy as most people do from five-and-thirty; and when Death presents his dart, you will feel like one that has been defrauded of a most precious privilege. You will go off in a state of impious discontent, as if you had been shockingly ill-used.' Such is one of his sly plans for rousing her to a sense of the impropriety of her ways; but all such quips and cranks are in vain. Only don't absolutely shake her in her bed before her thirteenth hour of rest, and you may say what you please. It cannot be implied that she is hardened, for no such quality is compatible with her character. But she smiles every joke and every advice aside with such an air of impassible benignity, that you see it is of no use to think of reforming her in this grand particular.

One day not long since it rather seemed as if she was going to turn the tables on her worthy spouse. She had a remarkable dream, in which she thought she heard a lady sing a new song. When she awoke, she remembered the two verses she thought she had heard, and they turned out to be perfectly good sense and good metre, and not intolerable as poetry. Now this was what Coleridge calls a psychological curiosity, for the verses had of course been composed by her in her sleep. There was more in the matter still. In her waking-life, she has a remarkably treacherous memory for poetry, being seldom able to repeat a single verse even of Isaac Watts without a mistake. Here, however, she had carried two entire verses safe and sound out of her sleep into her waking existence. It was therefore a double wonder. She has accordingly got up a theory, that her mind is at its best in her sleep, and is judged of at a disadvantage in its daylight moments. In sleep lies her principal life. Waking is an inferior exceptive kind of existence, into which she is dragged by the base exigencies of the world. She ought to be judged of as she is in her dreams. No saying what she goes through then. Perhaps she is the most active woman in the world in that state. Possibly she says and does the most brilliant things, such as nobody else could say or do in any condition. 'You say you cannot test it, for you cannot follow me into my dream-world. Well, but it may be as I say; and till you can prove the reverse, I hold that I am entitled to the presumption which my dream-song establishes in my favour.' It must be admitted there is some force in this reasoning. All that her husband can in the meantime say on the other side, is just this: 'Granted the activity and the brilliancy of your sleep-life, it does wonderfully little for me or our household concerns. Only give us an hour more of your sweet company in the forenoon, and we shall admit you to be in your sleep as stirring and as clever as you choose to call yourself.' This of course he says very safely, for he well knows that no earthly consideration would induce her to abridge her sleep even by that one hour.

At a visit I lately paid to this good couple, I found them debating these points, the gentleman still refusing to give implicit credence to the theory which the lady had started in her own favour. The controversy was conducted with a great deal of good-humour, and I could not refrain from entering into the discussion. I started, however, a new theory, which I thought might please both parties, and in this object I am happy to say I was successful. 'Here,' said I, 'is a wife remarkable for putting as much good-nature into her six or eight hours of day-life as most women put into twice the time. No one can tell what she is in her sleep: perhaps the veriest termagant on earth. Suppose her sleep could be abridged, might not some of this termagantism overflow into and be diffused over her waking existence? I can well imagine this, and you, my friend, reduced to such straits by it that you might wish she would never waken more. Be content, then, and rather put up with the little ills you have than fly to others that you know not of.'


The subject of convict discipline has for several years past excited the attention both of legislators and philanthropists; but the knowledge of the public concerning its details has hitherto been exceedingly meagre. It is not intended in this article to discuss the abstract question of the policy of transportation to the colonies, or of convict discipline there pursued; but merely to give some account of the system adopted at a new settlement in Australia. We will state at once, that our official authority is a Blue Book—one of those huge volumes printed from time to time, by order of parliament, for the edification—or as some facetious folks say, for the mystification—of M.Ps. Having carefully waded through its voluminous pages, we have jotted down the passages that especially struck us, and propose to present the pith and substance of our labour—for it is nothing less—in a condensed and popular form.

Little more than a couple of years ago, it was resolved by government to establish a convict settlement at Fremantle—a small town, as we learn, of some 5000 inhabitants—in Western Australia. The first ship arrived in Swan River on 1st June 1850, with 75 convicts; and in October following, a second came with 100 more. Soldiers, and proper officers to control and conduct the convicts, were on the spot; and a tolerably suitable prison was forthwith extemporised out of a wool-shed or warehouse. It is this kind of temporary and experimental establishment that forms the subject of the published returns to government, which are dated up to February 1851, and include an exceedingly minute and clearly-stated detail of the operations and plans adopted during the six months ending December 31, 1850. Three hundred more convicts—principally from the Portland prison in England—were expected in February 1851, and a grand permanent prison was to be erected, to contain 500 cells.

The convicts at Fremantle are employed in both in-door and out-of-door work, but principally the latter. The artisans—tradesmen they are styled in the Reports—such as blacksmiths, masons, carpenters, tailors, bricklayers, &c., labour at their respective trades; and the labourers, par excellence, toil at road-making and various other works of public utility. The 'daily routine' is as follows:—The first bell is rung at 5 A.M., and the prisoners rise, and neatly fold up their bedding—they sleep in hammocks, we believe, as the documents speak of the beds being 'hung' at night. The second bell rings at 5.15; and they are then mustered in their several wards, and paraded. The third bell rings at 5.55, when they are minutely inspected by the proper officers, and working-parties are detailed and marched off. From this time to 7.55, the prison orderlies are busily engaged in sweeping the wards, and making preparations for breakfast. At 7.55, the bell rings, and the convicts muster, and go into breakfast. One of the prisoners is selected to say grace, and the breakfast is eaten in perfect silence. At 8.25, they leave the mess-room, and are then 'allowed to smoke in the square before the prison door till 8.45, when they must muster inside for prayers.' At 9 o'clock, the bell rings for work, and the parties are inspected and marched off. At 12 o'clock, the dinner-bell rings; but parties working at a considerable distance from the prison, are allowed to leave off work a quarter or half an hour earlier, according to the distance they have to walk to the prison. When grace after dinner—for which meal one hour seems to be allowed—is said, they are again permitted to assemble outside from 1 P.M., till resuming work. At 1.55, the 'warning-bell' rings, and the working-parties are again formed. At 2 o'clock, the bell rings, and off they march, and continue working till 6 o'clock, when they are all paraded, wash themselves, and muster for supper. At 6.15 rings the supper-bell; and after supper they are 'allowed outside' from 6.45 till 7.30, when the chaplain reads prayers. At 8 o'clock, the beds are hung, and the convicts are sent into them immediately; and the most perfect quiet is enforced till the morning.

The 'rules and regulations' to be observed by the officers of the establishment and the prisoners are very strict and minute; and, on the whole, appear to be exceedingly judicious. As a fair specimen of the sound and humane spirit that seems to pervade the regulations in question, we will only quote No. 2 of the 'General Rules'—as follows:—'It is the duty of all officers to treat the prisoners with kindness and humanity, and to listen patiently to and report their complaints or grievances, being firm at the same time in maintaining order and discipline, and enforcing complete observance of the rules and regulations of the establishment. The great object of reclaiming the prisoner should always be kept in view by every officer in the prison; and they should strive to acquire a moral influence over the prisoners, by performing their duties conscientiously, but without harshness. They should especially try to raise the prisoners' minds to a proper feeling of moral obligation, by the example of their own uniform regard to truth and integrity, even in the smallest matters. Such conduct will, in most cases, excite the respect and confidence of the prisoners, and will make the duties of the officers more satisfactory to themselves and to the public.'

With respect to the degree of communication permitted between the convicts and their friends, it is stated that a prisoner is allowed to write, or to receive a letter, once every three months; but the chaplain or the overseer reads all letters either received or sent; and if the contents appear objectionable, they are withheld. We are told in the 'Rules for Prisoners,' that no prisoner during the period of his confinement, or employment on public works, has any claim to remuneration of any kind, but that industry and good conduct are rewarded by a fixed gratuity under certain regulations, depending on the class in which the prisoner is placed; and this gratuity is credited to him at the following general rates: 1st class, 9d. per week; 2d class, 6d.; 3d class, 4d. If any misconduct themselves, they forfeit all advantages, or are subject to the minor punishment of being placed in a lower class, &c. A prisoner, by particularly good behaviour, will be eligible to receive 3d. to 6d. per week in addition to the above rates. The amounts thus credited 'will be advanced to the prisoner under certain restrictions, or otherwise applied for his benefit, as may be considered desirable.'

There are several long and extremely circumstantial tables given of the amount of work done per day, per week, per month, &c. We gather, that the estimated value of the work earned by all the convicts in the six months ending 31st December 1850, was no less than L.3128, 9s. 4d. The total number of 'non-effectives'—men unable to labour through illness or otherwise—was 40 in the six months. The total 'effective' workers, during the same time, was 586—artisans, 218; labourers, 368; and this gives the average number of effectives as nearly 98 per month; so that some idea may be formed of their individual earnings. In the month of November, the total number of effectives was 154; and they earned the large sum of L.823, 17s. 6d. During the following month of December, task-work was adopted, and the effectives, 143 in number, earned L.665, 19s. 10d. We are informed that task-work has been contrived to allow each man to do 1-1/4 to 1-1/2-days' work per diem, and to obtain credit for the extra amount earned. Were we, however, to take the above figures as a criterion, we should conclude that less, rather than more, was proportionately earned during the month of task-work; yet this conclusion would not be fair, for doubtless many modifying circumstances require to be taken into consideration—such as the state of the weather, the number of artisans as compared with the labourers, &c.; besides which, it must be borne in mind, that although task-work has been specially designed to benefit the convicts themselves, yet, while some would work with a will, others, and perhaps many, would prefer unremunerative idleness.

To every breach of discipline, certain punishments are allotted; some, indeed, appear very severe; and for many misdemeanours, corporal punishment is not merely held out in terrorem, but inflicted. Attempts at escape are liable to be punished by labour in chains, or flogging up to 100 lashes, or to a renewed sentence of transportation; and the recaptured convict has to work out the expenses of his capture, and the reward paid for the same. In the list of offences and punishments for the month of December, we see some very curious items; and, not knowing anything of the peculiar circumstances of each case, they are apt to strike one as being somewhat arbitrary. For instance, 'for refusing to work,' a man had 'bread and water for three days;' a second, 'for insubordinate conduct'—much the same thing, we should suppose, as 'refusing to work'—had the very severe punishment of 'bread and water, and twenty-eight days' solitary confinement;' a third, for 'talking to a female,' was 'admonished;' a fourth, for being 'drunk at work,' had 'bread and water for three days, and fourteen days' solitary confinement;' a fifth, 'for threatening language,' had his 'tobacco stopped for three days!' On the subject of the 'pernicious Indian weed,' there is the following passage in the Report of the comptroller-general of Fremantle:—'The issue, under his Excellency's sanction, of a small allowance of tobacco, has been appreciated as a very great boon, and has prevented many irregularities. It also furnishes an excellent means of punishment for minor offences—that is, by its stoppage.' We can well believe this. We know positively that prisoners will undergo any risk to get even a morsel of tobacco, and would gladly sacrifice a day's food for it. It is almost incredible what an intense longing for tobacco arises in the minds of those forcibly restrained from the indulgence.

Several 'tickets-of-leave' had already been granted at Fremantle; and on this subject we are presented with a mass of remarkable and instructive information. The reader is probably aware, that convicts in prison, before quitting England, are subjected to a term of hard labour—proportionate in duration to the length of their sentences of transportation—and to a further term of hard labour on arriving in Australia. When the latter term has expired, if the prisoner has conducted himself well, he is presented with a ticket-of-leave, which confines him to a certain district, where he may engage to labour for his own benefit under an employer. He does this, however, under very strict rules, and the least transgression is punished severely. If, for instance, he leaves the district, he is liable to be apprehended, and summarily convicted by a magistrate, who may sentence him to labour in irons; or he may forfeit his ticket-of-leave, and relapse into his former situation as a convict. Or if he at all misconducts himself, or is insubordinate, his employer may carry him before a magistrate, and have him corporally punished. A list is given of the convicts who obtained tickets-of-leave at Fremantle, with their trades, and the names of their employers, and the wages they were to receive. A groom received L.12 per annum; a carpenter, L.14; a labourer, L.1 per month; a blacksmith, L.1, 8s. per month; a mason, L.1, 10s. per month; and a brickmaker, L.2, 10s. per month. Each ticket-holder must pay to the comptroller-general the sum of L.15, for the expenses of his passage out to the colony. No ticket-holder, unless under very special circumstances, gets a 'conditional pardon' till one-half of his sentence, from date of conviction, is expired; nor will he receive a conditional pardon till the whole of the L.15 is paid. 'Wives and families of well-conducted ticket-of-leave men will be sent out to them, when one-half the cost of so doing has been paid, either by themselves, their friends, or their parishes in the United Kingdom; or the expenses of their passage may be assumed as a debt by the ticket-of-leave holder, to be repaid (under a bond) by the same means as the expenses of his own passage.' This is paid by the employer handing over to the comptroller-general annually any sum not exceeding one-third of the ticket-holder's salary, and not above L.5 a year in any case, unless at the man's own desire. On the subject of this forced payment of L.15 to government, the comptroller-general in his Report animadverts strongly. He says that ticket-men will try every trick to evade it; and that many of them openly say, that the situation of a well-conducted ticket-holder is such, as to make them think it not worth while paying so much as L.15 for a conditional pardon. The employers, however, he hints, object to pay ticket-men at all; seeming to think government ought to assign them gratuitously, as was done, we believe, under the old system.

The surgeon states in his report, that the food supplied at the establishment is 'wholesome, and ample;' and the health of the convicts seems very good, for only two had died up to that time, and both of these were landed in a very debilitated condition. He states the number of convicts in January 1851 at 140.

The chaplain's report is interesting and encouraging. He says, that 'the present discipline is well calculated to maintain the habits of industry, order, and cleanliness acquired in preceding prisons;' and he speaks well of the general attention of the convicts to religious exercises. Above all, he strongly and wisely advocates the formation of a library for their use; and hints that the books selected should not merely be religious, but 'entertaining and instructive'—such as history, biography, voyages and travels, scientific books with illustrations, &c. One exceedingly interesting fact mentioned is, that certain of the best educated and most intelligent convicts have been permitted to deliver lectures to their fellow-prisoners on the subjects with which they were best conversant, and with the happiest effects. Thus, a man who had been employed in a large brewery, described the whole 'mystery' in a very able manner; a second, who was by trade a French polisher, did the same; and a third, who had been a sailor, gave two lectures on the art of navigation, and illustrated them in capital style with diagrams drawn on a black-board. We cannot but think that the beneficial tendency of these novel prison recreations will be very great.

The Report of the comptroller-general himself is, on the whole, decidedly cheering; and he says of the convicts, that, 'taken as a body, I am inclined to believe they are anxious to do well, and by honest and steady conduct, to regain here that position they have forfeited in their native land.' When inquiring of government whether the same scale is to be adopted at Fremantle as at Van Diemen's Land, he says, that at the latter place the cost of officers—such as magistrates, superintendents, overseers, storekeepers, religious instructors, medical men, &c.—allowed for each 300 convicts, amounts to L.1337, 3s. 6d. per annum, or L.4, 9s. 2d. for each convict. This seems a large sum, and does not appear to include the heavy additional cost of warders and other prison-officers.

The necessary brevity of this article precludes any allusion to a great variety of curious and instructive details of the Fremantle 'establishment,' as it is called; but if what we have already said interests the reader, and he requires to know more, we can confidently refer him to the bulky Blue Book alluded to, with an assurance that he will there find most ample and authentic information.


In the year 1753, London was so deeply convulsed with a great question at issue in the criminal courts, that the peace of the city was seriously threatened. From the highest to the lowest grades, society was divided into two parties on this question; and it was impossible to speak of it at a dinner-table or in a street assemblage without exciting a dangerous quarrel. This dispute was an extravagant illustration of English zeal for justice and fair play. The real question lay between an old gipsy woman and a young servant-girl. The question at issue was—Had the gipsy robbed and forcibly confined Elizabeth Canning, or had Elizabeth Canning falsely accused the gipsy of these outrages? By the force of incidental circumstances, the question came to be a really important one, in which the statesmen and jurists of the age took a lively interest. In fact, it connected itself with the efficacy of the great judicial institutions of the land, and their capacity to do justice and protect innocence. Hence the several trials and inquiries occupy as much space in the State Trials as three or four modern novels. In giving our readers an outline of the events so recorded, only the more prominent and marked features of them can of course find room.

Elizabeth Canning, a young woman between eighteen and nineteen years of age, had borne an unexceptionable character, and was a domestic servant in the house of a gentleman living in Aldermanbury, named Edward Lyon. On the 1st of January 1753, she obtained liberty to pay a visit to her uncle, who lived at Saltpetre Bank. As she did not return at the specified time, Mr Lyon's family made inquiry of her mother about her, and learned that she had not made her appearance among her other relations after the visit to her uncle. Days and weeks passed, in which every inquiry was unavailingly made after her, and her mother suffered intense anxiety. Public notice had been taken of the mystery; it was commented on in the newspapers, and much talked of. At length, at the end of January, Elizabeth entered her mother's house in a wretched condition—emaciated and exhausted, and with scarcely a sufficiency of clothes on her person for mere decorum. She was, of course, asked eagerly to give an account of her misfortunes. Her narrative by degrees resolved itself into this shape: She set out on her visit at eleven o'clock in the day, and stayed with her uncle till nine o'clock in the evening. Her uncle and aunt accompanied her as far as Aldgate. Then setting off alone, as she crossed Moorfields, and passed the back of Bethlehem Hospital, two stout men seized her. 'They said nothing to me,' she said, 'at first, but took half a guinea, in a little box, out of my pocket, and three shillings that were loose. They took my gown, apron, and hat, and folded them up, and put them into a greatcoat pocket. I screamed out; then the man who took my gown put a handkerchief or some such thing in my mouth.' They then tied her hands behind her, swore savagely at her, and dragged her along with them. She now, according to her own account, swooned, and on recovering from her fit, she felt herself still in their hands; they were swearing, and calling on her to move on. Partly insensible, she was conveyed for a considerable distance, but could not say whether she was dragged or carried. When she found herself at rest, it was daylight in the morning. She remembered being in a disreputable-looking house, in the presence of a woman, who said if she would accompany her, she should have fine clothes. Elizabeth refused, and the woman taking a knife from a dresser, cut open her stays, and removed them. The woman and the other people present then hustled her up stairs into a wretched garret, and locked the door. She found here a miserable straw-bed, a large black pitcher nearly full of water, and twenty-four pieces of bread, seeming as if a quartern-loaf had been cut in so many pieces. Her story went on to say, that she remained in this place for four weeks, eating so much of the bread and drinking a little water daily, till both were exhausted. She then succeeded in making her escape, by removing a board which was nailed across a window. 'First,' she said, 'I got my head out, and kept fast hold of the wall, and got my body out; after that, I turned myself round, and jumped into a little narrow place by a lane, with a field beside it. Having nothing on but 'an old sort of a bedgown and a handkerchief, that were in this hay-loft, and lay in a grate in the chimney,' she managed to travel twelve miles through an unknown country to her mother's house, not daring, as she said, to call at any place by the way, lest she should again fall into the hands of her persecutors.

If Elizabeth's absence created excitement, her reappearance in the plight she was in, and with such a story to tell, increased it tenfold. She was an attractive-looking girl; and seeing the sympathy she excited, had no objection to assent to the theory formed by her friends, that the people in whose hands she had fallen had the basest designs upon her; that they had resolved to conquer her virtue by imprisonment and starvation; and that she had magnanimously and patiently resisted all their efforts. The story was hawked about everywhere. It was spoken of in every tavern and at every dinner-table. The indignation of many respectable citizens was roused. They were parents, and had daughters of their own, who might be made the victims of the diabolical crew from which this poor girl had escaped. Many of them resolved to rally round her—avenge her wrongs, and punish the perpetrators. Elizabeth found herself one of the most important people in London. She received many presents, and considerable funds were raised to prosecute the inquiry. In these circumstances, she was bound of course to assist her friends by remembering every little incident that could lead them to the place of her sufferings. She believed that it must have been on the Hertford road, for in looking from the window, she had caught sight of a coach on that road with which she was familiar, as a former mistress had been accustomed to travel in it. This circumstance, with the distance travelled by the girl, afforded her champions a clue, and they concentrated their researches at Enfield Wash. There they found a questionable-looking lodging-house kept by a family of the name of Wells, which seemed to answer to Elizabeth's description. It had a garret with an old straw-bed, and a black pitcher was found in the house.

Elizabeth was taken to examine this house in a sort of triumphal procession. Her friends went on horseback, making a complete cavalcade; she and her mother travelled in a coach. As many as could find room seem to have simultaneously rushed into the squalid lodging-house, and the natural astonishment and confusion of its inmates on such an invasion were at once assigned as the symptoms of conscious guilt. Elizabeth seemed to be at first somewhat confused and undecided; these symptoms were attributed to the excitement of the moment on recollection of the horrors she had endured, and to a feeling of insecurity. She was told to take courage; she was among her friends, who would support her cause; and she at last said decidedly, that she was in the house where she had been imprisoned. A gipsy woman of very remarkable appearance was present. One of the witnesses recognised her, from her likeness to the portraits of Mother Shipton the sorceress. She sat bending over the fire smoking a pipe, and exhibiting through the hubbub around the imperturbable calmness peculiar to her race. Elizabeth immediately pointed to her, and said she was the woman who had cut her stays, and helped to put her in her prison-room. Even this did not disturb the stolid indifference of the old woman, who was paying no attention to what the people said. When, however, her daughter stepped up and said: 'Good mother, this young woman says you robbed her,' she started to her feet, turned on the group her remarkable face, and said: 'I rob you! take care what you say. If you have once seen my face, you cannot mistake it, for God never made such another.' When told of the day of the robbery, she gave a wild laugh, and said she was then above a hundred miles off in Dorsetshire. This woman was named Squires. Her son, George Squires, was present. Elizabeth did not seem completely to remember him at first, but she in the end maintained him to be one of the ruffians who had attacked her in Moorfields. Her followers were now eminently satisfied. All the persons in the house were seized, and immediately committed for examination. The strange, wild aspect of the gipsy seems to have added an element to the horrors of the affair; and in the afternoon, when two of Elizabeth's friends were discussing the whole matter over a steak in the Three Crowns at Newington, one of them said to the other: 'Mr Lyon, I hope God Almighty will destroy the model that he made that face by, and never make another like it.' It was found that Mrs Wells, who kept the lodging-house, belonged to a disreputable family, and she admitted that her husband had been hanged. If Elizabeth had given a false tale to hide the questionable causes of her absenting herself, she had probably found that it took a much more serious turn than she intended, and she must now make up her mind to recant her tale or go through with it. She resolved on the latter course, to which she was probably tempted by having all London to back her. She could not well have carried on the charge alone, but the popularity of her cause brought her unexpected aid. A woman named Virtue Hall, who lived in Mrs Wells's lodging-house, thought it would be a good speculation to be partner with Elizabeth Canning, and she gave testimony which corroborated the whole story.

On the 21st of February, Mary Squires and Susannah Wells were brought to trial for a capital offence. The evidence adduced against them was the story just told. When Mrs Squires was called on for her defence, she gave a succinct account of how she had from day to day gone from one distant place to another during the time when Elizabeth said she was in confinement. Two or three witnesses came forward somewhat timidly to corroborate her statement; and it is a melancholy fact, that others would have appeared and offered convincing testimony of the innocence of the accused, but were intimidated by the ferocious aspect of the London populace from venturing to give their evidence. That it was not very safe to contradict the popular idol, Elizabeth Canning, was indeed experienced in a very unpleasant way by the witnesses John Gibbons, William Clarke, and Thomas Greville, who came forward in favour of Squires. Money was collected to prosecute them for perjury. Dreading the strength of the popular current against them, they had to incur great expense in preparation for their defence. Before the day of trial, however, some of Canning's champions began to feel a misgiving, and no prosecutor appeared. The counsel for the accused complained bitterly of the hardship of their position. They had incurred great expense. They felt that it was necessary for the complete removal of the stain of perjury thrown on their character, that there should be a trial. They said they had witnesses 'ready to give their testimony with such clear, ample, convincing circumstances, as would demand universal assent, and fully prove the innocence of the three defendants, and the falsity of Elizabeth Canning's story in every particular;' whereas, without a trial, all would be virtually lost to the accused, who, instead of obtaining a triumphant acquittal, might be suspected of having agreed to some dubious compromise.

Mrs Squires was at length convicted, and had judgment of death. But Sir Crisp Gascoyne, the lord mayor of London, who was nominally at the head of the commission for trying Squires, believed that she was the victim of falsehood and public prejudice. He resolved to subject the whole question to a searching investigation, and to obviate, if possible, the scandal to British institutions, of perpetrating a judicial murder, even though the victim should be among the most obscure of the inhabitants of the realm. In the first place, an inquiry was instituted by the law-officers of the crown, the result of which was, that the woman Squires received a royal pardon. The lord mayor, however, having satisfied himself that this poor woman had but narrowly escaped death from the perfidious falsehood of Elizabeth Canning, aided by an outbreak of popular zeal, was not content with the gipsy woman's escape, but thought that an example should be made of her persecutor. Accordingly, although he was met with much obloquy, both verbal and written—for controversial pamphlets were published against him as an enemy of Elizabeth Canning—he resolved to bring this popular idol to justice.

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