Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page

;:z ,CAUGHT AT LAST; j» ob,…

News
Cite
Share

;:z ,CAUGHT AT LAST; j» ob, -v THE FELON'S BRANP. [ta MOHTfl BM»TlP^y^ \s"* TRe recollection of lier forlorn and destitute state, thrust penniless with her child into the streets of an unknown town, seemed to break afresh upon the un. happy girl as she detailed her sufferings, and she bowed her face upon the dock with a rush of tears. A strange story, so far, M. Walther," observed the magistrate to the interpreter; and not impossible, perhaps. It seems a hard case, though, for so young a girl. But there is more to come. Is she known to the police, Inspector Sharpe?" Never saw her in the town before this week, your worship," replied the functionary. "She has been Jiangin' about the station, though, and watchin' all the trains that came from London." That agrees with her tale," said the magistrate. « Let her go on." I wandered about the streets for many days," the girl continued, at M. Walther's bidding. How long 1 caftt;tell, for I seemed to lose all count of time. I only know it rained continually, and I was always wet to the skin, though I wrapped my baby in my shawl and kept her dry. How I lived I don't know either, except that I picked up bits from the kennels and the yubbish thrown out of doors, and slept at night under stalls and benches, or in dark and quiet archways, upon the stones. I wasn't strong when I came here, and carrying about a heavy baby made me weaker Still. But she isn't heavy now, sir!" she exclaimed, in a passion of grief. Look here Fallen away to this in a fortnight My darling! oh, my darling!" Anna,Marris threw back her shawl as she spoke, ;tnd held' up the child to public view. A groan of horror echoed through the court at the sight. Rings of a livid purple surrounded the little creature's closed eyes its fair, curly hair clung in matted locks to its attenuated temples, through which the pulses might be almost seen to beat. Wan and colourless were the cheeks; cracked and puckered the lips which in happfer, well-fed children, blush with health. The infant's limbs had dwindled down to bones. It was evidently too exhausted to sit upright, too feeble even to moan, but lay a helpless heap of inert matter in its mother's arms, fading away perceptibly minute after minute, so haggard and so deathly, it seemed as if the actual touch cf the Destroyer could have effected little change. •'Shocking!" exclaimed the magistrate, himself a father, startled out of all official dignity by the spectacle. Take the child away this minute, one Of you! Carry it to the workhouse, and request the doctor to attend to it immediately A shrill scream broke from the prisoner as Inspector Sharpe attempted to execute the magistrate's order. A scream of terror-of dismay—the heart-cry of a mother's agony, which no privation had been able to extort for her own sufferings. Mein Kindmein Kindshe ejaculated, clasping the baby to her breast. Ach lassen Sie mir mein .(" My child! my child! ah! let me keep my Child!") The iatrepreter hastened to pacify her with the assurance that the child was only to be taken where it would be looked after and cared for; but it was Jongbofore he succeeded in prevailing upon her to felinquish her hold. Pray, M. Walther," said the magistrate, per- luadeher to finish her statement, and let us end the ease." What can I say morp demanded Anna, fiercely, in reply to the interpreter. I did take the loaf. What was I to do ? The child was starving. I could not let her die before my eyes. I should do the same to-morrow. Now you know all." The magistrate leant his head upon his hand and pondered. It was the most painful case that had ever Come before even his lengthened experience.. Respect for Jaw. and the rights of property pul!ed in one direction, compassion for the wretched creature at the bar pull-d in another. Whose dictates should he follow ? lie chose a middle course. Defendant, said the magistrate, gravely, you are Convicted, upon the clearest evidence and upon your i)wn cori-fession. of a serious crime against the laws Of the Country arid I should fail in my duty if I did not pinish you severely. 1 may inform you that, the time was when your life would have been forfeited for the crime you have committed. Fortunately, the law now visits this species of offence more mildly. If, as you say, you were really in need, you should have applied to the union for relief. You must be im- prisoned for two months. Officer, take her away, and Call the next ease. And under the circumstances," tdded the magistrate, confidentially, to his clerk, I don't hhk I could have done the poor creature a treater- iervi ce." j I Amia«jAkriis was according led off to gaol. The exposure and distress of that fatal fortnight, however, had done their work. Before a day had passed, Anna was an inmate of the prison infirmary. The seeds of consumption—an ever-lurking malady inheritedl(;om her mother—had blossomed into hideous fruit; and the doctor shook his head as lie prescribed repose an4 nourishing diet for the new case, and passed to tlio, next bed. Not far from the prison lived at that time a widow lady with her grown up son and daughter. The widow's means were scanty. The son, in fact, principally supported the little household. But they were benevolent and charitable to the best of their ability. The daughter, Ruth, managed the house affairs, so that much time remained upon the mother's hands. The widow's idea was that neither man nor woman, with leisure at command, performed their plain and human duty unless they strove to their utmost to amend the condition of the wretched and the castaway. Money she had none to bestow what she had to dispose of she gave, and that was her time, her trouble, and her prayers. It was Mrs. White's peculiar pleasure to visit the Bick in the female ward of the prison infirmary, to read" the Pook- at their bedsides, to soothe with tnotherly tenderness and loving hope the death-pang of many a guilty soul. Many a hardened, brazen, batter "ed jade, for so many years the associate, of the ICUi&and off-scourings of the streets, that all tra-ce of her womanhood was almost equaly trodden out of soul and visage, turned sullenly away from the re- | minder of the chaplain that she was a miserable sinnet1, but opened her heart to the kind expostula- tion^ of Mrs. Lydia White. arrival of Anna Marris in the infirmary could Got ;Ipr-.iaiii long unknown to so frequent a visitor as Mrs. White. She had seen a report of the case in Jjhe papers, and her kindly spirit yearned with sym-

Advertising

Advertising

[No title]

BRUISES AND CUTS.

;:z ,CAUGHT AT LAST; j» ob,…

;:z ,CAUGHT AT LAST; j» ob,…