“Fetch here the stocks, ho! You stubborn ancient knave, you reverend bragget, We’ll teach you.”—Lear.
The long days and early sun of July allowed time for a gathering of the interested, before the little bell of the academy announced that the appointed hour had arrived for administering right to the wronged, and punishment to the guilty. Ever since the dawn of day, the highways and woodpaths that, issuing from the forests, and winding among the sides of the mountains, centred in Templeton, had been thronged with equestrians and footmen, bound to the haven of justice. There was to be seen a well-clad yeoman, mounted on a sleek, switch- tailed steed, rambling along the highway, with his red face elevated in a manner that said, “I have paid for my land, and fear no man;” while his bosom was swelling with the pride of being one of the grand inquest for the county. At his side rode a companion, his equal in independence of feeling, perhaps, but his inferior in thrift, as in property and consideration. This was a professed dealer in lawsuits—a man whose name appeared in every calendar—whose substance, gained in the multifarious expedients of a settler’s change able habits, was wasted in feeding the harpies of the courts. He was endeavoring to impress the mind of the grand juror with the merits of a cause now at issue, Along with these was a pedestrian, who, having thrown a rifle frock over his shirt, and placed his best wool hat above his sunburnt visage, had issued from his retreat in the woods by a footpath, and was striving to keep company with the others, on his way to hear and to decide the disputes of his neighbors, as a petit juror. Fifty similar little knots of countrymen might have been seen, on that morning, journeying toward the shire-town on the same errand.
By ten o’clock the streets of the village were filled with busy faces; some talking of their private concerns, some listening to a popular expounder of political creeds; and others gaping in at the open stores, admiring the finery, or examining scythes, axes, and such other manufactures as attracted their curiosity or excited their admiration. A few women were in the crowd, most carrying infants, and followed, at a lounging, listless gait, by their rustic lords and masters. There was one young couple, in whom connubial love was yet fresh, walking at a respectful distance from each other; while the swain directed the timid steps of his bride, by a gallant offering of a thumb.
At the first stroke of the bell, Richard issued from the door of the
“Bold Dragoon,” flourishing a sheathed sword, that he was fond of saying his ancestors had carried in one of Cromwell’s victories, and crying, in an authoritative tone, to “clear the way for the court.” The order was obeyed promptly, though not servilely, the members of the crowd nodding familiarly to the members of the procession as it passed. A party of constables with their staves followed the sheriff, preceding Marmaduke and four plain, grave-looking yeomen, who were his associates on the bench. There was nothing to distinguish these Subordinate judges from the better part of the spectators, except gravity, which they affected a little more than common, and that one of their number was attired in an old-fashioned military coat, with skirts that reached no lower than the middle of his thighs, and bearing two little silver epaulets, not half so big as a modern pair of shoulder-knots. This gentleman was a colonel of the militia, in attendance on a court-martial, who found leisure to steal a moment from his military to attend to his civil jurisdiction; but this incongruity excited neither notice nor comment. Three or four clean- shaved lawyers followed, as meek as if they were lambs going to the slaughter. One or two of their number had contrived to obtain an air of scholastic gravity by wearing spectacles. The rear was brought up by another posse of constables, and the mob followed the whole into the room where the court held its sitting.
The edifice was composed of a basement of squared logs, perforated here and there with small grated windows, through which a few wistful faces were gazing at the crowd without. Among the captives were the guilty, downcast countenances of the counterfeiters, and the simple but honest features of the Leather-Stocking. The dungeons were to be distinguished, externally, from the debtors’ apartments only by the size of the apertures, the thickness of the grates, and by the heads of the spikes that were driven into the logs as a protection against the illegal use of edge-tools. The upper story was of frame work, regularly covered with boards, and contained one room decently fitted up for the purpose of justice. A bench, raised on a narrow platform to the height of a man above the floor, and protected in front by a light railing. ran along one of its sides. In the centre was a seat, furnished with rude arms, that was always filled by the presiding judge. In front, on a level with the floor of the room, was a large table covered with green baize, and surrounded by benches; and at either of its ends were rows of seats, rising one over the other, for jury-boxes. Each of these divisions was surrounded by a railing. The remainder of the room was an open square, appropriated to the spectators.
When the judges were seated, the lawyers had taken possession of the table, and the noise of moving feet had ceased in the area, the proclamations were made in the usual form, the jurors were sworn, the charge was given, and the court proceeded to hear the business before them.
We shall not detain the reader with a description of the captious discussions that occupied the court for the first two hours, Judge Temple had impressed on the jury, in his charge, the necessity for dispatch on their part, recommending to their notice, from motives of humanity, the prisoners in the jail as the first objects of their attention. Accordingly, after the period we have mentioned had elapsed, the cry of the officer to “clear the way for the grand jury,” announced the entrance of that body. The usual forms were observed, when the foreman handed up to the bench two bills, on both of which the Judge observed, at the first glance of his eye, the name of Nathaniel Bumppo. It was a leisure moment with the court; some low whispering passed between the bench and the sheriff, who gave a signal to his officers, and in a very few minutes the silence that prevailed was interrupted by a general movement in the outer crowd, when presently the Leather-Stocking made his appearance, ushered into the criminal’s bar under the custody of two constables, The hum ceased, the people closed into the open space again, and the silence soon became so deep that the hard breathing of the prisoner was audible.
Natty was dressed in his buckskin garments, without his coat, in place of which he wore only a shirt of coarse linen-cheek, fastened at his throat by the sinew of a deer, leaving his red neck and weather-beaten face exposed and bare. It was the first time that he had ever crossed the threshold of a court of justice, and curiosity seemed to be strongly blended with his personal feelings. He raised his eyes to the bench, thence to the jury-boxes, the bar, and the crowd without, meeting everywhere looks fastened on himself. After surveying his own person, as searching the cause of this unusual attraction, he once more turned his face around the assemblage, and opened his mouth in one of his silent and remarkable laughs.
“Prisoner, remove your cap,” said Judge Temple.
The order was either unheard or unheeded.
“Nathaniel Bumppo, be uncovered,” repeated the Judge.
Natty started at the sound of his name, and, raising his face earnestly toward the bench, he said:
Mr. Lippet arose from his seat at the table, and whispered in the ear of the prisoner; when Natty gave him a nod of assent, and took the deer-skin covering from his head.
“Mr. District Attorney,” said the Judge, “the prisoner is ready; we wait for the indictment.”
The duties of public prosecutor were discharged by Dirck Van der School, who adjusted his spectacles, cast a cautious look around him at his brethren of the bar, which he ended by throwing his head aside so as to catch one glance over the glasses, when he proceeded to read the bill aloud. It was the usual charge for an assault and battery on the person of Hiram Doolittle, and was couched in the ancient language of such instruments, especial care having been taken by the scribe not to omit the name of a single offensive weapon known to the law. When he had done, Mr. Van der School removed his spectacles, which he closed and placed in his pocket, seemingly for the pleasure of again opening and replacing them on his nose, After this evolution was repeated once or twice, he handed the bill over to Mr. Lippet, with a cavalier air, that said as much as “Pick a hole in that if you can.”
Natty listened to the charge with great attention, leaning forward toward the reader with an earnestness that denoted his interest; and, when it was ended, he raised his tall body to the utmost, and drew a long sigh. All eyes were turned to the prisoner, whose voice was vainly expected to break the stillness of the room.
“You have heard the presentment that the grand jury have made, Nathaniel Bumppo,” said the Judge; “what do you plead to the charge?”
The old man drooped his head for a moment in a reflecting attitude, and then, raising it, he laughed before he answered:
“That I handled the man a little rough or so, is not to be denied; but that there was occasion to make use of all the things that the gentleman has spoken of is downright untrue. I am not much of a wrestler, seeing that I'm getting old; but I was out among the Scotch- Irishers—let me see—it must have been as long ago as the first year of the old war—”
“Mr. Lippet, if you are retained for the prisoner,” interrupted Judge Temple, “instruct your client how to plead; if not, the court will assign him counsel.”
Aroused from studying the indictment by this appeal, the attorney got up, and after a short dialogue with the hunter in a low voice, he informed the court that they were ready to proceed.
“Do you plead guilty or not guilty?” said the Judge.
“I may say not guilty, with a clean conscience,” returned Natty; “for there’s no guilt in doing what’s right; and I’d rather died on the spot, than had him put foot in the hut at that moment.”
Richard started at this declaration and bent his eyes significantly on Hiram, who returned the look with a slight movement of his eyebrows.
“Proceed to open the cause, Mr. District Attorney,' continued the Judge. “Mr. Clerk, enter the plea of not guilty.”
After a short opening address from Mr. Van der School, Hiram was summoned to the bar to give his testimony. It was delivered to the letter, perhaps, but with all that moral coloring which can be conveyed under such expressions as, “thinking no harm,” “feeling it my bounden duty as a magistrate,” and “seeing that the constable was back’ard in the business.” When he had done, and the district attorney declined putting any further interrogatories, Mr. Lippet arose, with an air of keen investigation, and asked the following questions:
“Are you a constable of this county, sir?”
“No, sir,” said Hiram, “I’m only a justice-peace.”
“I ask you, Mr. Doolittle, in the face of this court, put ting it to your conscience and your knowledge of the law, whether you had any right to enter that man’s dwelling?”
“Hem!” said Hiram, undergoing a violent struggle between his desire for vengeance, and his love of legal fame: “I do suppose—that in—that is—strict law—that supposing—maybe I hadn’t a real—lawful right; but as the case was—and Billy was so back’ard—I thought I might come for’ard in the business.”
“I ask you again, sir,” continued the lawyer, following up his success, “whether this old, this friendless old man, did or did not repeatedly forbid your entrance?”
“Why, I must say,” said Hiram, “that he was considerable cross- grained; not what I call clever, seeing that it was only one neighbor wanting to go into the house of another.”
“Oh! then you own it was only meant for a neighborly visit on your part, and without the sanction of law. Remember, gentlemen, the words of the witness, ‘one neighbor wanting to enter the house of another.’ Now, sir, I ask you if Nathaniel Bumppo did not again and again order you not to enter?”
“There was some words passed between us,” said Hiram, “but I read the warrant to him aloud.”
“I repeat my question; did he tell you not to enter his habitation?”
“There was a good deal passed betwixt us—but I’ve the warrant in my pocket; maybe the court would wish to see it?”
“Witness,” said Judge Temple, “answer the question directly; did or did not the prisoner forbid your entering his hut?”
“Why, I some think—”
“Answer without equivocation,” continued the Judge sternly.
“And did you attempt to enter after his order?”
“I did; but the warrant was in my hand.”
“Proceed, Mr. Lippet, with your examination.”
But the attorney saw that the impression was in favor of his client, and waving his hand with a supercilious manner, as if unwilling to insult the understanding of the jury with any further defence, he replied:
“No, sir; I leave it for your honor to charge; I rest my case here.”
“Mr. District Attorney,” said the Judge, “have you anything to say?” Mr. Van der School removed his spectacles, folded them and, replacing them once more on his nose, eyed the other bill which he held in his hand, and then said, looking at the bar over the top of his glasses; I shall rest the prosecution here, if the court please.”
Judge Temple arose and began the charge.
“Gentlemen of the jury,” he said, “you have heard the testimony, and I shall detain you but a moment. If an officer meet with resistance in the execution of a process, he has an undoubted right to call any citizen to his assistance; and the acts of such assistant come within the protection of the law. I shall leave you to judge, gentlemen, from the testimony, how far the witness in this prosecution can be so considered, feeling less reluctance to submit the case thus informally to your decision, because there is yet another indictment to be tried, which involves heavier charges against the unfortunate prisoner.”
The tone of Marmaduke was mild and insinuating, and, as his sentiments were given with such apparent impartiality, they did not fail of carrying due weight with the jury. The grave-looking yeomen who composed this tribunal laid their heads together for a few minutes, without leaving the box, when the foreman arose, and, after the forms of the court were duly observed, he pronounced the prisoner to be “Not guilty.”
“You are acquitted of this charge, Nathaniel Bumppo,” said the Judge.
“Anan!” said Natty.
“You are found not guilty of striking and assaulting Mr. Doolittle.”
“No, no, I’ll not deny but that I took him a little roughly by the shoulders,” said Natty, looking about him with great simplicity, “and that I—”
“You are acquitted,” interrupted the Judge, “and there is nothing further to be said or done in the matter.”
A look of joy lighted up the features of the old man, who now comprehended the case, and, placing his cap eagerly on his head again, he threw up the bar of his little prison, and said, feelingly:
“I must say this for you, Judge Temple, that the law has not been so hard on me as I dreaded. I hope God will bless you for the kind things you’ve done to me this day.”
But the staff of the constable was opposed to his egress, and Mr. Lippet whispered a few words in his ear, when the aged hunter sank back into his place, and, removing his cap, stroked down the remnants of his gray and sandy locks, with an air of mortification mingled with submission.
“Mr. District Attorney,” said Judge Temple, affecting to busy himself with his minutes, “proceed with the second indictment.”
Mr. Van der School took great care that no part of the presentment, which he now read, should be lost on his auditors. It accused the prisoner of resisting the execution of a search-warrant, by force of arms, and particularized in the vague language of the law, among a variety of other weapons, the use of the rifle. This was indeed a more serious charge than an ordinary assault and battery, and a corresponding degree of interest was manifested by the spectators in its result. The prisoner was duly arraigned, and his plea again demanded. Mr. Lippet had anticipated the answers of Natty, and in a whisper advised him how to plead. But the feelings of the old hunter were awakened by some of the expressions in the indictment, and, forgetful of his caution, he exclaimed:
“‘Tis a wicked untruth; I crave no man’s blood. Them thieves, the Iroquois, won’t say it to any face that I ever thirsted after man’s blood, I have fou’t as soldier that feared his Maker and his officer, but I never pulled trigger on any but a warrior that was up and awake. No man can say that I ever struck even a Mingo in his blanket. I believe there’s some who thinks there’s no God in a wilder ness!”
“Attend to your plea, Bumppo,” said the Judge; “you hear that you are accused of using your rifle against an officer of justice? Are you guilty or not guilty?”
By this time the irritated feelings of Natty had found vent: and he rested on the bar for a moment, in a musing posture, when he lifted his face, with his silent laugh, and, pointing to where the wood- chopper stood, he said:
“Would Billy Kirby be standing there, d’ye think, if I had used the rifle?”
“Then you deny it,” said Mr. Lippet; “you plead not guilty?”
“Sartain,” said Natty; “Billy knows that I never fired at all. Billy, do you remember the turkey last winter? Ah me! that was better than common firing; but I can’t shoot as I used to could.”
“Enter the plea of not guilty,” said Judge Temple, strongly affected by the simplicity of the prisoner.
Hiram was again sworn, and his testimony given on the second charge. He had discovered his former error, and proceeded more cautiously than before. He related very distinctly and, for the man, with amazing terseness, the suspicion against the hunter, the complaint, the issuing of the warrant, and the swearing in of Kirby; all of which, he affirmed, were done in due form of law. He then added the manner in which the constable had been received; and stated, distinctly, that Natty had pointed the rifle at Kirby, and threatened his life if he attempted to execute his duty. All this was confirmed by Jotham, who was observed to adhere closely to the story of the magistrate. Mr. Lippet conducted an artful cross-examination of these two witnesses, but, after consuming much time, was compelled to relinquish the attempt to obtain any advantage, in despair.
At length the District Attorney called the wood-chopper to the bar, Billy gave an extremely confused account of the whole affair, although he evidently aimed at the truth, until Mr. Van der School aided him, by asking some direct questions:
“It appears from examining the papers, that you demanded admission into the hut legally; so you were put in bodily fear by his rifle and threats?”
“I didn’t mind them that, man,” said Billy, snapping his fingers; “I should be a poor stick to mind old Leather-Stocking.”
“But I understood you to say (referring to your previous words [as delivered here in court] in the commencement of your testimony) that you thought he meant to shoot you?”
“To be sure I did; and so would you, too, squire, if you had seen a chap dropping a muzzle that never misses, and cocking an eye that has a natural squint by long practice I thought there would be a dust on’t, and my back was up at once; but Leather-Stocking gi’n up the skin, and so the matter ended.”
“Ah! Billy,” said Natty, shaking his head, “‘twas a lucky thought in me to throw out the hide, or there might have been blood spilt; and I’m sure, if it had been your’n, I should have mourned it sorely the little while I have to stay.”
“Well, Leather-Stocking,” returned Billy, facing the prisoner with a freedom and familiarity that utterly disregarded the presence of the court, “as you are on the subject it may be that you’ve no—”
“Go on with your examination, Mr. District Attorney.”
That gentleman eyed the familiarity between his witness and the prisoner with manifest disgust, and indicated to the court that he was done.
“Then you didn’t feel frightened, Mr. Kirby?” said the counsel for the prisoner.
“Me! no,” said Billy, casting his eyes oven his own huge frame with evident self-satisfaction; “I’m not to be skeared so easy.”
“You look like a hardy man; where were you born, sir?”
“Varmount State; ‘tis a mountaynious place, but there’s a stiff soil, and it’s pretty much wooded with beech and maple.”
“I have always heard so,” said Mr. Lippet soothingly. “You have been used to the rifle yourself in that country.”
“I pull the second best trigger in this county. I knock under to Natty Bumppo, there, sin’ he shot the pigeon.”
Leather-Stocking raised his head, and laughed again, when he abruptly thrust out a wrinkled hand, and said:
“You’re young yet, Billy, and haven’t seen the matches that I have; but here’s my hand; I bear no malice to you, I don’t.”
Mr. Lippet allowed this conciliatory offering to be accepted, and judiciously paused, while the spirit of peace was exercising its influence over the two; but the Judge interposed his authority.
“This is an improper place for such dialogues,” he said; “proceed with your examination of this witness, Mr. Lippet, or I shall order the next.”
The attorney started, as if unconscious of any impropriety, and continued:
“So you settled the matter with Natty amicably on the spot, did you?”
“He gi’n me the skin, and I didn’t want to quarrel with an old man; for my part, I see no such mighty matter in shooting a buck!”
“And you parted friends? and you would never have thought of bringing the business up before a court, hadn’t you been subpoenaed?”
“I don’t think I should; he gi’n the skin, and I didn’t feel a hard thought, though Squire Doolittle got some affronted.”
“I have done, sir,” said Mr. Lippet, probably relying on the charge of the Judge, as he again seated himself, with the air of a main who felt that his success was certain.
When Mr. Van der School arose to address the jury, he commenced by saying:
“Gentlemen of the jury, I should have interrupted the leading questions put by the prisoner’s counsel (by leading questions I mean telling him what to say), did I not feel confident that the law of the land was superior to any ad vantages (I mean legal advantages) which he might obtain by his art. The counsel for the prisoner, gentlemen, has endeavored to persuade you, in opposition to your own good sense, to believe that pointing a rifle at a constable (elected or deputed) is a very innocent affair; and that society (I mean the commonwealth, gentlemen) shall not be endangered thereby. But let me claim your attention, while we look over the particulars of this heinous offence.” Here Mr. Vain der School favored the jury with an abridgment of the testimony, recounted in such a manner as utterly to confuse the faculties of his worthy listeners. After this exhibition he closed as follows: “And now, gentlemen, having thus made plain to your senses the crime of which this unfortunate man has been guilty (unfortunate both on account of his ignorance and his guilt), I shall leave you to your own consciences; not in the least doubting that you will see the importance (notwithstanding the prisoner’s counsel [doubtless relying on your former verdict] wishes to appear so confident of success) of punishing the offender, and asserting the dignity of the laws.”
It was now the duty of the Judge to deliver his charge. It consisted of a short, comprehensive summary of the testimony, laying bare the artifice of the prisoner’s counsel, and placing the facts in so obvious a light that they could not well be misunderstood. “Living as we do, gentlemen,” he concluded, “on the skirts of society, it becomes doubly necessary to protect the ministers of the law. If you believe the witnesses, in their construction of the acts of the prisoner, it is your duty to convict him; but if you believe that the old man, who this day appears before you, meant not to harm the constable, but was acting more under the influence of habit than by the instigations of malice, it will be your duty to judge him, but to do it with lenity”
As before, the jury did not leave their box; but, after a consultation of some little time, their foreman arose, and pronounced the prisoner Guilty.
There was but little surprise manifested in the courtroom at this verdict, as the testimony, the greater part of which we have omitted, was too clear and direct to be passed over. The judges seemed to have anticipated this sentiment, for a consultation was passing among them also, during the deliberation of the jury, and the preparatory movements of the “bench” announced the coming sentence.
“Nathaniel Bumppo,” commenced the Judge, making the customary pause.
The old hunter, who had been musing again, with his head on the bar, raised himself, and cried, with a prompt, military tone:
The Judge waved his hand for silence, and proceeded:
“In forming their sentence, the court have been governed as much by the consideration of your ignorance of the laws as by a strict sense of the importance of punishing such outrages as this of which you have been found guilty. They have therefore passed over the obvious punishment of whipping on the bare back, in mercy to your years; but, as the dignity of the law requires an open exhibition of the consequences of your crime, it is ordered that you be conveyed from this room to the public stocks, where you are to be confined for one hour; that you pay a fine to the State of one hundred dollars; and that you be imprisoned in the jail of this county for one calendar month, and, furthermore, that your imprisonment do not cease until the said fine shall be paid. I feel it my duty, Nathaniel Bumppo—”
“And where should I get the money?” interrupted the Leather-Stocking eagerly; “ where should I get the money? you’ll take away the bounty on the painters, because I cut the throat of a deer; and how is an old man to find so much gold or silver in the woods? No, no, Judge; think better of it, and don’t talk of shutting me up in a jail for the little time I have to stay.”
“If you have anything to urge against the passing of the sentence, the court will yet hear you,” said the Judge, mildly.
“I have enough to say agin’ it,” cried Natty, grasping the bar on which his fingers were working with a convulsed motion. “Where am I to get the money? Let me out into the woods and hills, where I’ve been used to breathe the clear air, and though I’m threescore and ten, if you’ve left game enough in the country, I’ll travel night and day but I’ll make you up the sum afore the season is over. Yes, yes—you see the reason of the thing, and the wicked ness of shutting up an old man that has spent his days, as one may say, where he could always look into the windows of heaven.”
“I must be governed by the law—”
“Talk not to me of law, Marmaduke Temple,” interrupted the hunter.
“Did the beast of the forest mind your laws, when it was thirsty and hungering for the blood of your own child? She was kneeling to her God for a greater favor than I ask, and he heard her; and if you now say no to my prayers, do you think he will be deaf?”
“My private feelings must not enter into—”
“Hear me, Marmaduke Temple,” interrupted the old man, with melancholy earnestness, “and hear reason. I’ve travelled these mountains when you was no judge, but an infant in your mother’s arms; and I feel as if I had a right and a privilege to travel them agin afore I die. Have you forgot the time that you come on to the lake shore, when there wasn’t even a jail to lodge in: and didn’t I give you my own bear-skin to sleep on, and the fat of a noble buck to satisfy the cravings of your hunger? Yes, yes—you thought it no sin then to kill a deer! And this I did, though I had no reason to love you, for you had never done anything but harm to them that loved and sheltered me. And now, will you shut me up in your dungeons to pay me for my kindness? A hundred dollars! Where should I get the money? No, no—there’s them that says hard things of you, Marmaduke Temple, but you ain’t so bad as to wish to see an old man die in a prison, because he stood up for the right. Come, friend, let me pass; it’s long sin’ I’ve been used to such crowds, and I crave to be in the woods agin. Don’t fear me, Judge— I bid you not to fear me; for if there’s beaver enough left on the streams, or the buckskins will sell for a shilling apiece, you shall have the last penny of the fine. Where are ye, pups? come away, dogs, come away! we have a grievous toil to do for our years, but it shall be done—yes, yes, I’ve promised it, and it shall be done!”
It is unnecessary to say that the movement of the Leather-Stocking was again intercepted by the constable; but, before he had time to speak, a bustling in the crowd, and a loud hem, drew all eyes to another part of the room.
Benjamin had succeeded in edging his way through the people, and was now seen balancing his short body, with one foot in a window and the other on a railing of the jury-box. To the amazement of the whole court, the steward was evidently preparing to speak. After a good deal of difficulty, he succeeded in drawing from his pocket a small bag, and then found utterance.
“If-so-be,” he said, “that your honor is agreeable to trust the poor fellow out on another cruise among the beasts, here’s a small matter that will help to bring down the risk, seeing that there’s just thirty-five of your Spaniards in it; and I wish, from the bottom of my heart, that they was raal British guineas, for the sake of the old boy. But ‘tis as it is; and if Squire Dickens will just be so good as to overhaul this small bit of an account, and take enough from the bag to settle the same, he’s welcome to hold on upon the rest, till such time as the Leather-Stocking can grapple with them said beaver, or, for that matter, forever, and no thanks asked,”
As Benjamin concluded, he thrust out the wooden register of his arrears to the “ Bold Dragoon” with one hand, while he offered his bag of dollars with the other. Astonishment at this singular interruption produced a profound stillness in the room, which was only interrupted by the sheriff, who struck his sword on the table, and cried:
“There must be an end to this,” said the Judge, struggling to overcome his feelings. “Constable, lead the prisoner to the stocks. Mr. Clerk, what stands next on the calendar?”
Natty seemed to yield to his destiny, for he sank his head on his chest, and followed the officer from the court room in silence. The crowd moved back for the passage of the prisoner, and when his tall form was seen descending from the outer door, a rush of the people to the scene of his disgrace followed.Next