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accompanied the constables, who lodged him in prison till the Dover Magistrates should commence their sitting at ten o'clock. When summoned before the magistrate, the evidence against Pycroft, though short, seemed overwhelming. The landlord and several persons connected with the Inn deposed to the fact of having seen the Prisoner and Selford together on the previous night; they considered them to be mere chance acquaintances, and not old friends, and also noticed that once or twice they seemed arguing very warmly about something. The servant swore to both travellers having entered their rooms, and to having herself secured the yard-door, which fastened in a peculiar manner, and was difficult to open. Then came the evidence of both landlord and servant that the room of Selford was discovered empty, that blood was found on the stones near the vard-door, on the door itself, and across the yard to the well, where they ceased. The well was of great antiquity and of immense depth, so that all hopes of recovering the body which it doubtless contained were deemed vain. The landlord and constables concluded the case by proving the discovery of the watch and chain in the prisoner's bed, and the watch on being produced was found to have the name of 'William Selford' engraved upon it. This left no doubt upon the mind of the magistrate, who after listening incredulously to a few words of the prisoner's defence, told him he had better reserve what he had to say, and then fully committed Philip Pycroft for trial on the charge of having wilfully murdered William Selford at the "Spaniard Inn," Dover, on the night of the 14th of November. Philip Pycroft was removed to Maidstone gaol to await his trial at the assizes, which were not far distant.

In a few days he received a note from a solicitor named Quillett, advising him to obtain the assistance of counsel, and promising to secure an able barrister for the defence. Philip Pycroft willingly agreed; and accordingly Mr. Allington, a young man, but one of the most rising barristers on the circuit, was instructed by Mr. Quillett in the facts of the case, and was dulv retained for the defence,

The approaching trial excited a good deal of attentipn. The widowed mother of William Selford visited Dover when the search for her son's body was being made, and then took up her quarters at Maidstone to await the trial, at which she was to be examined as a witness. The friends of Philip Pycroft, too, arrived at Maidstone, and had frequept interviews with the prisoner, and with his solicitor, Mr. Quillett. The trial came on in due course, and on the eventful day the Court was densely crowded by those for whom mystery and horror seem to have a peculiar attraction. The appearance of the prisoner, who was a young man with pleasing and amiable features, and wtio looked very ill and careworn, caused great interest and commiseration among many of the spectators. It was with a qaljn and, earnest voice, which rang through, the silent Court, that Philip Pycroft

pleaded "Not Guilty." When, however, the counsel for the prosecution stated the facts of the case clearly and dispassionately, backing his statements by the evidence of the landlord and servant of the " Spaniard Inn," public opinion was strongly in favour of the prisoner's guilt. Mrs. Selford was called to prove that her son left London with a considerable sum of money, that he was a quiet, inoffensive man, not likely to quarrel; and when the poor tearful mother added that her son had supported her by his exertions, there was a strong feeling of sorrow for the bereaved widow and indignation against the murderer felt throughout the Court. Mr. Allington, the prisoner's counsel tried to elicit from Mrs. Selford, in cross-examination, that the prisoner was well-known to William Selford, and was his particular friend; but the witness declared that she had never heard her son mention the prisoner's name.

The case for the prosecution being concluded, the prisoner's counsel rose to address the jury. He spoke with a fervour and eloquence which elicited the admiration of all his hearers. He spoke of the doubt and mystery which enveloped the whole affair; he pointed out that the only evidence was purely circumstantial, and he quoted numerous cases where the proofs had been much stronger than in the present case, when years after the innocence of the accused had been established. "I need not tell you, gentlemen of the jury, said Mr. Allington, "what feelings of remorse would prey upon your minds, what agonies of contrition would people your afterlives with the phantoms of your victim, were you to find an innocent man guilty of the worst of crimes on the mere strength of a few accidental appearances. The body of William Selford has never been found; I say his body, I should rather say that William Selford himself has never been found; are we then to jump to the conclusion that he has been murdered? I deny altogether that there is a shadow of proof deserving of your credit, which points to the murder having been committed at all. William Selford disappears—disappears suddenly, and in a strange manner, I grant, leaving his pack of goods behind him; why those goods were not rather taken with him we have no means of judging, but the fact of their being left behind untouched argues that the murder, supposing it to have been committed, was nor perpetrated for the sake of plunder. It baa been urged by my learned friend as a strong proof of guilt that William Selford's watch was discovered in the prisoner's possession, but the explanation of this is easy; I give this merely as a statement, as the prisoner's evidence is of course worthless: Selford on retiring to rest gave his watch tp the prisoner, who was his intimate friend, and asked the prisoner to wake him early on the following morning, as he was a heavy sleeper and wished to be moving early. The prisoner overslept himself, and was only awakened by the landlord's charging him with murder. Let me ask you, gentlemen of the jury, is jt likely, is jt even possible, tha( a man, ahonld be at once so careless and unwise, as well as unmoved by the horror of his crime, as to first murder his friend and companion during the night, conceal his body so effectually that no search can discover it, then return, leaving his victim's property untouched, except a watch and chain of no great value, and having deposited these under his pillow, sleep on soundly till aroused on the following morning? Gentlemen, I think you will allow that no criminal would in the first place be so unwise, and in the second place that no one, even the most hardened ruffian, could sleep quietly with his hands still red with his victim's blood. I entreat you not to be led away by the apparent strength of circumstantial evidence, but ta weigh carefully and calmly the merits of the case, remembering that the life of a living, breathing human being depends upon your verdict. Gentlemen of the jury, I leave my client's fate to be decided by your sense of reason and your love of truth." With these words Mr. AUington concluded his address, and the judge having summed up, the jury retired to consider their verdict. More than one hour passed before their return, and the time seemed to be interminable to the unfortunate prisoner, whose agonised anxiety was painfully visible.

At length the jury returned, and delivered a verdict of guilty against Philip Pycroft, on whom the judge proceeded to pass sentence of death.

When this painful 6cene was concluded, the prisoner said, as he was about to quit the dock, "My lord* if there has been one murder committed already, which I sincerely trust is not the case, there will he another perpetrated on the day on which I die! May God forgive you, for you know not what you do."

Thus ended the trial, and Philip Pycroft was taken back to prison a doomed man.

In a few hours' time he was to suffer death, and atone for the blood of William Selford as far as earthly retribution was concerned.

It chanced at this time that in a little back street in the town of Maidstone there lived an apothecary named Ralph Asphodel, who, besides being skilful in his art, had paid much attention to some branches of science not strictly connected with his profession. Mr. Ralph Asphodel was not well liked in Maidstone; there were many who spoke of him in that tone of mysterious depreciation which needs many nods and winks and shakings of the head to make it intelligible. Perhaps it was that Asphodel knew more than most of his craft; or it might have been his rival, Mr. Duncan M'Gee, outshone him with the brightness of his brass-plate and the vivid reflection of his crimson lamp. On the night before the execution of Philip Pycroft, Ralph Asphodel.stood in an obscure corner near the prison, from which his own house was not far distant, talking earnestly with a shabbily-dressed individual, who was no other than the executioner. Asphodel, who was a tall thin man, with a white cadaverous face and restless grey eves, was holding the finisher

of the law by one of his greasy buttons, and (•eemed very anxious to impress what he wanted upon his hearer.

"Now mind, my friend," he said, "you must contrive to cut him down as soon as possible, while there's still a spark of life in him; not that I care a straw for the fellow's life, but it will ensure the success of my experiment."

"I understand you, sir," answered the man; "but it's a ticklish business cutting down a man afore the hour's out, and if any of the officers are about I shan't be able to manage it!"

"Well, you know your price," answered Asphodel, "the people won't stay long to look at a man's body in the cold and fog to-morrow morning. I'll have a covered cart ready at this corner to bring the body to my house, and there'll be no difficulty, as I have an order for his dead body for dissection."

"Yes, for his dead body it's all rieht," said the other, grinning; but, however, I'll do my best, so good-night to you, Bir."

The morning of the execution was dark and cold, with a thick fog, which enveloped every object in its yellow folds. The lovers of horror who had turned out early to see the death of a fellow-man were not rewarded for their pains, as the fatal scene was scarcely visible in the darkness. The spectators soon retired, and the prison authorities also, and no very long time after the execution a covered cart arrived at the back-door of Mr. Asphodel's premises, from which the inanimate body of Philip Pycroft was conveyed into the apothecary's house.

"I'm a thinking it '11 require a pretty considerable shock of your galvanizing to bring him to life again, Mr. Asphodel," said Jack Ketch; "however, I 've done my part."

"You have managed excellently," was the doctor's reply, at the same time placing in his agent's hand the sum they had previously agreed upon.

"Well, sir, I wish you luck with your patient," said he; and with this grim joke the executioner departed.

Meanwhile Ralph Asphodel was anxiously examining the body of Philip Pycroft, and having, with the aid of a young medical pupil, raised the apparently lifeless body to a sitting posture, he inspected the neck of his patient with a keen scrutiny.

"Quick, Reuhen j the battery!" exclaimed Asphodel to his assistant; "there is yet strong hope of reanimating this seeming corpse; there is no dislocation of the vertebral column."

The galvanic battery was quickly adjusted, and a powerful shock administered to the body, producing a very visible effect. The hands and arms of the dead man were convulsed, and his eyes started open wildly. Other shocks were administered, and a powerful convulsion shook the frame of the patient, who next gasped painfully for breath.

"He's coming round finely," exclaimed the apothecary} "and, hp% cheat tlft Jmugman after all. Reuben, get me those glasses from the shelf; they contain the drugs I require, ready prepared."

After some time, when they had inflated his lungs by means of pipes, the apparently-lifeless Philip Pycroft was so far recovered as to be able to ask Asphodel to explain the strange circumstances under which he found himself.

"You expected to find yourself elsewhere by this time, eh?" said the apothecary; "but don't thank me, because I don't deserve it. I brought you to life again to satisfy roy curiosity in the science of galvanism, and you may think yourself lucky that your neck was tough, and wasn't tried too long."

"It is surely a providential escape to prove my innocence," exclaimed Philip Pycroft.

"It may be," answered Asphodel; "and if you really are innocent, I 'm glad you 've disappointed the jury and the hangman into the bargain. But now what's to be done? Your own safety and mine are rather precarious just now."

After some discussion, it was decided that Philip Pycroft, who had so strangely earned the title of "The Dead Alive," should be concealed in the house of Mr. Asphodel till the evening, and should then be conveyed, sufficiently disguised, on board a vessel lying in the Medway which was to sail early on the following morning. The secret of Pycroft's resuscitation was known to none except Asphodel, and his nephew and pupil Reuben, on whose secrecy he could rely; so that evening Philip Pycroft was conveyed on board the vessel, possessing five pounds given him by Asphodel, in return, as he said, "for so obligingly coming to life again;" and on the following morning was rapidly leaving Maidstone, where he had so nearly finished his earthly career.

Many years after these events, a stranger, dressed as a sailor, and being in fact a warrantofficer in the navy, entered " The Spaniard Inn," at Dover, and inquired whether Mr. Taply, the landlord, was at home. Mine host, now greyheaded and rather deaf, came out of the bar at the visitor's summons, and followed his guest into a little private room up-stairs.

"Do you remember me, landlord?" asked the stranger.

"No, I can't say as I do, sir," answered mine host, after a careful scrutiny through his spectacles. "I 've seen so many of your sort in my time that I can't recollect many faces."

"Well, then, do you remember a certain night in November, when a traveller disappeared from your inn?"

As he mentioned the exact date, the landlord exclaimed " Remember that day I To be sure I do. Why that was the day of poor Selford's murder."

"Then he was murdered?" said the stranger.

"Yes, poor fellow, not a doubt of it—and Pycroft was hanged for it; though where the yillaln hid the body I can't make put. J 've b»4

my old well regularly searched and bricked up since then, but never found so much as a bone."

"Poor Pycroft! Then the report I heard was true I" said the stranger.

"True enough, sir," answered mine host; "but why we couldn't find the body in the well I can't imagine."

"You weren't likely to find what wasn't put there," observed the sailor, drily.

"Eh? what!—not put there?" exclaimed Taply, opening his eyes very wide; "what do you know about the murder?"

"I know this much—that I am William Selford; that my body was never put down your well; and that the poor fellow who was hanged for killing me was himself most foully murdered."

"Why, bless my heart, is it possible?" said the astonished landlord. "Well, I 'm glad, for the credit of the house, that you were not murdered. But let's hear all about it; I'm dying of curiosity."

"Go and bring up a glass of grog, then, and I'll tell you the story, which isn't a long one, and is simple enough."

Mr. Taply was not long in satisfying his guest's wants, and William Selford then said: "On that November night, I went to bed and gave my watch to poor Phil Pycroft, asking him to call me early, as I was a heavy sleeper and he wasn't, as a rule. Well, I didn't sleep well; felt hot and feverish, and at last got out of bed to find some cold water; when I discovered that your lazy servants, Taply, had left the jug empty. So I slipped on all my clothes, as it was a bitter cold night (though I was as hot as fire), and went down-stairs to the yard. For a long time I couldn't unfasten your clumsy yard-door: what with the darkness and the difficulty of opening the lock I fumbled about for ten minutes or so, and then managed to open it, though not before I had cut my hand against the lock, and consequently went bleeding down the yard."

"It was that very blood as I made so much on at the trial I God forgive me!" said Taply, in a husky voice.

"Well," continued Selford, "I hadn't got half across the yard, before three or four menof-war's men rushed out from behind the wall of your well; knocked me down, and gagged me before I could strike a blow. They were a press-gang, on the look-out for some one else, I suppose; however, they carried me off and put me on board their ship—and there I was forced to stay. From that day to this I have never been on my native shore, though I've been on almost every other. Now I'm boatswain on board the Redoubtable. That's my story."

Some year or two later, William Selford, who had now quitted the navy, entered a shop in Liverpool, and was about to ask for some tobacco, when his eye fell on a pale, grey-headed man, who was employed at a desk behind the counter, Selford, turned^ to a, deathly him, staggered back, and would have fallen but for the support of this same desk at which the pale man was writing.

"It is he 1 My God, he yet lives!" exclaimed Selfurd, in a choking voice.

The master of the shop and his assistants were much alarmed at this scene, and eagerly inquired the cause. Selford told them he was ■object to fits of giddiness, and that he was astonished at meeting an old friend in the shop. He indicated the man at the desk, and asked permission for him to leave his employment for a few hours. The request was granted, and the pale quiet man, who had hitherto maintained his composure, hastened away with Selford. The murdered man and his victim were standing side by side!

"Don't be alarmed, my dear friend," said Philip Pycroft; "I am no ghost, as you seem to think. I escaped my unjust doom, and I thank God that you too are safe."

"But I was never murdered, and you were executed I" exclaimed Selford.

"True; but I am alive and well; all the same.

Come to this inn, and we will hear each other's story."

Philip Pycroft had not long returned from his exile; sorrow and the terrible ordeal through which he had passed had blanched his hair, and made him an old man before his time. He was now poor; his friends were dead; and the strange position in which he was placed cast a shade over his prospects and blighted his hopes. There was little chance of his strange story being believed, even if it were prudent to disclose it. Ralph Asphodel had disappeared, and when William Selford's return became known, people could only say what a pity it was that the poor fellow who was hanged was innocent.

During Selford's life, Philip Pycroft was well cared-for; but on his friend's death, Pycroft had been reduced to the lowest degree of poverty. None thought, as they were solicited for a penny by the grey-haired, sad-faced man at Charing Cross, that he who asked them was once an executed criminal. Truly there are "more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in our philosophy."


{A Tate in Fovr Parlt.)


Part I.

Chap. I.

An old-fashioned country-house, nestling among great beech-trees, whose leaves seemed ever whispering to each other—a house with large wide-seated windows, where you could sit and pull the cluster-roses twining everywhere, and peering into the rooms whenever they got a chance. One of these windows lighted a long, low room, furnished in the style of a bygone day, and yet so thoroughly home-like and genial in its cosy comfort, that you felt no amount of modernizing would compensate for any change. The great oak book-case, so well filled, in every sense, rendered it tempting to a student; but the old velvet sofa and lounging-chairs, the vase of ferns and flowers upon the table, hardly entitled it to be called a " study" only.

Half sitting, half lying—not on the windowseat, but on the floor beside it, her arms resting on the soft cushions, and a great volume open before her—was a young girl of about twenty, who, in her present attitude, might have been ungraceful had such a thing been possible with that svelte figure (which it was not); for nothing could be more charming than Mabel, with the light falling full upon a sweet, fair face

the gold-brown hair turned softly back from the pure brow; not strained and pulled, but folding loosely above the tiny ears, and showing tender, sheeny lights here and there, as it rippled and waved into thick coils upon the slender neck. No face could be insipid with those clear dark brows, and the great soft eyes, resembling nothing so much as those of a spaniel—the same trusting, faithful expression. Maybe they did not always look like this, but could flash with anger too; for that little mouth, though soft and womanly, has curves that tell of some determination. You could fancy that golden head resting fondly on the breast of one beloved, but held haughtily enough towards the world in general! The yielding figure might cling caressing to an arm cast about it in tenderness but could be right stately too. These are the kind of women who are most capable of extremes in good or ill—who make either very bad or very good women —such a nature turned to bitterness, or driven to recklessness, knows no medium; but in the sunshine of trust and love can be moulded to the purest, sweetest type of womanhood, wifehood, and motherhood. Shakespeare, that wonderful observer of human nature, tells us "the habit oft pro. claims the man"—and, if " the man," a hundred times more " the woman I" Not, however, being either milliner or dressmaker, I can only tell you Mabel's toilette always gave a general impression of violet or grey blending into white or black, and without suggesting the least undue compression, her dresses fitted closely to a round slender waist, that swayed easily as she walked; that these same dresses trailed and drooped, yet never seemed to get entangled in one's feet, or to knock down chairs, &c, as she moved above a room; that her voice was soft and low, with a ring in it that told you she could feel; that she spoke perhaps less often than most women, just because she never talked for talking's sake—and I think my heroine is sufficiently described, and has been left long enough in the window, with the shadows of the rose-sprays wavering on her hair. She had not heard a fo tfall on the soft turf, but she saw a shadow fall across her book. A sudden gleam shone out all over her face. It was something verv fair to see, this brightening into life, and eagerness of what had been so still and calm.

"O Gardy," she said, "how you startled me! You glide about like a ghost. But I am very glad. I was just longing to show you the leaves of our young copper-beech; they have opened ever so much since yesterday, and shine such a lovely colour in the sun."

She had sprung from the ground, and was leaning towards him through the window.

He was a man past his first youth—some time past; not handsome; perhaps even plain; but his face had power and thought enough to have a charm of its o»n, peculiar to itself. The keen grey eye, the broad massive brow, told of intellect clear and comprehensive; a heavy moustache swept over the mouth, thus hiding the play of that most characteristic and tell-tale feature. Col. Thornton, Mabel's guardian, had a face capable of baffling the most curious, and concealing perfectly the thoughts and feelings of its owner. When he spoke his voice was in keeping with the rest—passionless even—a voice that would not quiver, even under suffering. He did not take much heed to the beauties of the beech-tree just then,

"It is warm here, Mabel; come out to me. Tie that handkerchief over your head, child. There, now you look Madonna-like 1"

They were soon pacing slowly up and down a long sheltered terrace—up and down, up and down—and yet the Colonel was silent. Mabel, used to see him so sometimes, walked demurely enough by his side (longing, nevertheless, to carry him off to inspect a newly-found bird'snest in the wall, among the leaves of the Virginian creeper).

The sun was dipping downwards, and the shadows on the grass grew long; nothing broke the evening stillness but the song of the robin, and the cry of some venerable rooks, who inhabited a tall clutter of trees behind the bouse. Beeohwood looked very fair in the soft sunset light—the beau-ideal of an English home,

"Mabel," said Col. Thornton, "have yoo been happy here with us—Aunt Ellen and I r'

She looked up with wonder into his face; it seemed such a strange question.

"Happy ?—why Gardy, I should think you knew—happy, at hornet—why do you ask me that r Do you remember the first day I cama to Beechwood J—I was such a little thing then— so very small. Why I could hardly walk across the grass without I held your finger or Aunt Ellen's."

He had not been quite prepared for this turn in the conversation, and had to bring her back to his original question, and its answer.

"I am glad to think you have been happy, May, very glad; for soon I have something to tell you—something of great, of vital importance to yourself."

"O tell me, quickly, Gardy; I am not patient —never, you know: what is it?"

But he seemed in no hurry; he glanced at her eager, half-frightened face, and then looked away, far away, over to the sunset clouds, which, hung just then very bright with gold and crimson, and made his sight aliltledim; but, notwithstanding, he oontinued watching them, while he spoke:

"Arthur Stanley is coming to Beechwood tomorrow. I saw his father this morning. Can you guess, Mabel, that"—

But she did not let him finish the sentence. She flushed and glowed all over her fair face, the two little hands upon his arm trembled sadly, and she clung to him ■ as though in some immediate dread of being torn away. Her voice had "tears in it:" "O you are very cruel—very, very cruel; you are tired of me! you want to send me away. What have I done f Have I been such a tiresome ward r"

This torrent of words did not in the least discompose him; he took her hands in his. "You are childish and unreasonable. Who said anything about wanting to send you away? Mabel, you are a woman now; it is my duty to advise you for the best; and Mrs. Stanley very properly spoke to me, as your guardian, before Arthur addressed you. I do not want to bias you unduly either way, dear childie; a woman's heart is her best guide." She had grown quite calm and quiet now, and was deliberately pulling to pieces, leaf by leaf, a poor China rose. "Of course," continued Col. Thornton, after a short silence, "in every point of view this marriage would be a suitable one: there is no disparity of years or position, and I honestly believe Arthur Stanley loves my little May."

She had grown very pale; all the bright colour gone; a pained, pitiful look had come into her eves.

"Gardy, I couldn't marry anyone, unless I had your 'full approval and consent'—isn't that it? (He knew she was alluding to her father's will, and nodded assent.) Well—then, let me understand. This—this marriage would please you; you would like it; you are pleading Arthur Stanley's cause V

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