Eight weeks had passed; the
wounds of Augustus were nearly healed; his health was restored, and his
strength returned, and Harry said that in another week he might depart;
but the announcement gave no joy to him to whom it was addressed. His
confinement had been robbed of its solitariness, it had become as a dream
in which he delighted, and he could have asked but permission to gaze upon
the face of his companion to endure it for ever. About an hour after he
received this intelligence, Fanny entered the apartment. He rose to meet
her—he took her hand, and they sat down together. But her harp lay
untouched—she spoke little—he thought she sighed, and he, too, was silent.
"Lady," said he, anxiously,
still holding her hand in his, "I know not where I am, nor by whom I am
surrounded—this only I know, that you, with an angel’s care, have watched
over me, that you have restored me to health, and rendered confinement
more grateful than liberty; but, in a few days, we must part—part,
perhaps, for ever; then, before I go, grant me but one request—let me look
upon the face of her whose remembrance will dwell in my heart as its
dearest thoughts while the pulse of life throbs within it."
"I must not, I dare not,"
said Fanny, and she paused and sighed—"‘tis not worth looking on," she
"Nay, dearest," continued
he, "deny me not—it is a small request. Fear nothing—never shall danger
fall upon any connected with you through me. I will swear to you."
"Swear not!" interrupted
Fanny—"I dare not!—no!— no!" and she again sighed.
He pressed her hand more
closely within his. A breathless silence followed, and a tear glistened in
his eyes. Her bosom heaved—her countenance bespoke the struggle that
warred in her breast.
"Do I look like one who
would betray your friends—if they be your friends?" said he, with emotion.
"No," she faltered, and her
head fell on her bosom.
He placed his hand across
her shoulders—he touched the ribbon by which the deep folds of the veil
were fastened over her head—it was the impulse of a moment—he unloosed it,
the veil fell upon the floor, and the flaxen locks and the lovely features
of Fanny Teasdale were revealed. Augustus started in admiration; for weeks
he had conjured up phantoms of ideal beauty, but the fair face before him
exceeded them all. She blushed—her countenance bespoke anxiety rather than
anger—tears fell down her cheeks, and he kissed them away. He sat,
silently gazing on her features, drawing happiness from her eyes.
Again ten days had passed,
and, during each of them, Fanny, in the absence of her father, sat
unveiled by his side. Still he knew not her name, and, when he entreated
her to pronounce it, she wept, and replied, "I dare not."
He had told her his. "Call
me your Augustus," said he, "and tell me by what name I shall call
you, my own. Come dearest, do you doubt me still? Do you still
think me capable of the part of an informer?"
But she wept the more, for
she knew that to tell her name was to make known her father’s also—to
betray him, and to place his life in jeopardy. He urged her yet more
earnestly, and he had sunk upon his knee, and was pressing her hand to his
lips, when Harry, in the disguise in which he had always seen him, entered
the room. The smuggler started back.
"What!" cried he sternly,
"what hast thou done, girl?—shown thy face and betrayed me?—and told thy
name, and mine too, I suppose?"
"O no! no! dear father!"
she exclaimed, flinging her arms around him; "I have not--indeed I have
not. Do not be angry with your Fanny."
"Fanny! hastily exclaimed
Augustus," Fanny!—bless thee for that word!"
"That thou mayest make it a
clew to destroy her father!" returned the smuggler.
"No, Sir," answered
Augustus, proudly, "but that I may treasure it up in my heart, as the name
of one who is dearer to me than the life which thou hast preserved."
"Ay! ay!" replied Harry,
"thou talkest like every hot-headed youth; but it was an ungrateful return
in thee, for preserving thy life, to destroy my peace. Get thee ben to the
other room, Fanny, for thou’st been a silly girl."
She arose weeping, and
"Now, Sir," continued
Harry, "thou must remain nae langer under this roof. This very hour will I
get a horse ready, and conduct thee to where ye can go to your friends, or
wherever ye like; and as ye were brocht blindfolded here, ye maun consent
to be taken blindfolded away."
"Nay, trust to my honour,
Sir," said Augustus—"I am incapable of betraying you."
"I’m no sae sure about
that," returned the smuggler, "and it’s best to be sure. I trusted to your
honour that ye wad ask nae questions while here—and how have you kept your
honour? Na, lad, na!—what ye dinna see ye winna be able to swear to. So
make ready." Thus saying, Harry left the apartment, locking the door
It was about an hour after
nightfall, and within ten minutes the smuggler again entered the room. He
carried a pistol in one hand, and a silk handkerchief in the other. He
placed the pistol upon the table, and said—"I have no time to argue—allow
me to tie thy eyes up, lest worse follow."
Augustus requested that he
might see Fanny but for a few minutes, and he would comply without a
"No!" said Harry, sternly;
"wouldst tamper with my child’s heart, when her trusting in thee would
place my life in thy power? Say no more—I won’t hear thee," he continued,
again raising the pistol in his hand.
expostulation vain, submitted to have his eyes bound up; and as the
smuggler was leading him from the house, the bitter sobs of Fanny reached
his ear; he was almost tempted to burst from the grasp of his conductor
and rush towards her; but endeavouring to suppress the tumult of his
feelings, he exclaimed aloud—
"Forget me not, dear
Fanny!—we shall meet again."
"Never!" whispered Harry in
The smuggler’s horse stood
ready at the door. In a moment he sprang upon the saddle—(if saddle it
could be called)—and taking Augustus by the hand, placed him behind him,
and, at a word spoken, the well-trained animal started off, as though
spurs had been dashed into its sides. For several hours they galloped on,
but in what direction Augustus knew not, nor wist he from whence he had
been brought. At length, the smuggler suddenly drew up his horse, and
Augustus obeyed, but scarce
had his feet touched the ground, when Harry, crying "Farewell!" dashed
away as an arrow shot from a bow; and before the other could unfasten the
handkerchief with which his eyes were bound up, the horse and its rider
It was drawing towards grey
dawn, and he knew neither where he was nor in what direction to proceed.
He remembered also that he was without money—but there was something heavy
tied in a corner of the handkerchief, which he yet held in his hand. He
examined it, and found ten guineas, wrapt in a scrap of paper, on which
some words seemed to be written. He longed for day that he might be
enabled to read them, and, as the light increased, he deciphered, written
with a trembling hand—
"You may need money.—Think
sometimes of me!"
"Heaven bless thee, my
unknown Fanny!" cried he, "whoever thou art—never will I think of any but
I need not tell about his
discovering in what part of the country the smuggler had left him, of his
journey to his father’s house in Devonshire, or his relation of what had
befallen him; nor how he dwelt upon the remembrance of Fanny, and vainly
endeavoured to trace where her residence was, or to discover what was her
name beyond Fanny.
He was appointed to the
command of a cutter, and four years passed from the period of the scenes
that had been described, when, following in pursuit of a smuggling vessel,
he again arrived upon the coast of Northumberland. Some of his crew, who
had been on shore, brought him information that the vessel was delivering
her cargo near Embleton, and, ordering two boats to be manned, he
instantly proceeded to the land. They came upon the smuggler—a scuffle
ensued, and one of Captain Hartley’s men was stabbed by his side with a
clasp-knife, and fell dead at his feet; and he wrenched the knife from the
hand of the murderer, who, with his companions, effected his escape
without being discovered.
But day had not yet broken
when two constables knocked at the door of Harry Teasdale, and demanded
admission. The servant-girl opened the door—they rushed into the house,
and to the side of the bed where he slept.
They grasped him by the
shoulder, and exclaimed—
"You are our prisoner!"
"Your prisoner!" replied
Harry; "for what, neighbours?"
"Well dow ye knaw for
what," was the answer. Harry sprang upon the floor, and, in the excitement
of the moment, he raised his hand to strike the officers of the law.
"Ye are only making things worse,"
said one of them; and he submitted to have handcuffs placed upon his
Fanny sprang into the room,
"My father! my father!" and flinging
her arms around his neck—"Oh! what is it?—what is it?" she continued
breathless, and her voice choked with sobbing—"what do they say that you
"Nothing, love, nothing,"
said he, endeavouring to be calm—"it is some mistake, but some one shall
answer for it."
His daughter’s arms were
forcibly torn from around his neck; and he was taken before a neighbouring
magistrate, by whom the deposition of Captain Hartley had been received.
Harry was that morning committed to the county prison on a charge of
murder. I shall neither attempt to describe his feelings, nor will I dwell
upon the agony which was worse than death to his poor daughter. She knew
her father innocent; but she knew not his accusers, nor the nature of the
evidence which they would bring forward to prove him guilty of the crime
which they imputed to him.
But the fearful day of
trial came. Harry Teasdale was placed at the bar. The principal witness
against him was Captain Hartley. The colour came and went upon the
prisoner’s cheeks as his eye fell upon the face of his accuser. He seemed
struggling with sudden emotion; and many who observed it, took it as a
testimony of guilt. In his evidence Captain Hartley deposed that he and a
part of his crew came upon the smugglers on the beach, while in the act of
concealing their goods; that he and the seaman, who was murdered by his
side, having attacked three of the smugglers, the tallest of the three,
whom he believed to be the prisoner, with a knife, gave the mortal stab to
the deceased—that he raised the weapon also against him, and that he only
escaped the fate of his companion by striking down the arm of the
smuggler, and wrenching the knife from his hands, who then escaped. He
also stated that on examining the knife, which was of great length, he
read the words, "HARRY TEASDALE," which were deeply burned into its bone
handle, and which led to the apprehension of the prisoner. The knife was
then produced in court, and a murmur of horror ran through the multitude.
Other witnesses were
examined, who proved that, on the day of the murder, they had seen the
knife in the hands of the prisoner; and the counsel for the prosecution,
in remarking on the evidence, pronounced it to be
"Confirmation strong as holy
The judge inquired of the
prisoner if he had anything to say, or aught to bring forward in his
"I have only this to say,
my Lord," said Harry, firmly, "that I am as innocent o’ the crime laid to
my charge as the child unborn. My poor daughter and my servant can prove
that on the night when the deed was committed, I never was across my own
door. And," added he, firmly, and in a louder tone, and pointing to
Captain Hartley as he spoke, "I can only say, that he whose life I saved
at the peril o’ my own, has, through some mistake, endeavoured to take
away mine; and his conscience will carry its punishment when he discovers
Captain Hartley started to
his feet—his cheeks became pale—he inquired in an eager tone—"Have you
seen me before?" The prisoner returned no answer; and at that moment the
officer of the court called the name of
"Ha!" exclaimed the
captain, convulsively, and suddenly striking his hand upon his breast—"Is
The prisoner bowed his head
and wept. The court were stricken with astonishment.
Fanny was led towards the
witness-box—there was a buzz of admiration and of pity as she passed
along. Captain Hartley beheld her—he clasped his hands together—"Gracious
Heavens! my own Fanny!" he exclaimed aloud.
He sprang forward—he stood
by her side—her head fell on his bosom. "My lord!—O my lord!" he cried,
wildly, addressing the judge, "I doubt--I disbelieve my own evidence!
There must be some mistake. I cannot be the murderer of the man who saved
me—of my Fanny’s father!"
The most anxious excitement
prevailed through the Court, every individual was moved, and, on the
bench, faces were turned aside to conceal a tear.
The judge endeavoured to
The shock of meeting with
Augustus, in such a place, and in such an hour, though she knew not that
he was her father’s accuser, added to her agony, was too much for Fanny,
and, in a state of insensibility, she was carried out of the court.
Harry’s servant girl was
examined; and, although she swore that, on the night on which the murder
was committed, he had not been out of his own house, yet, in her
cross-examination, she admitted that he frequently was out during the
night without her knowledge, that he might have been so on the
night in question. Other witnesses were called, who spoke to the excellent
character of the prisoner, and to his often-proved courage and humanity;
but they could not prove that he had not been engaged in the affray in
which the murder had been committed.
Captain Hartley strove
anxiously to undo the impresssion which his evidence had already produced;
but it was too late.
The judge addressed the jury, and
began to sum up the evidence. He remarked upon the knife with which the
deed was perpetrated, being proved and acknowleged to be the property of
the prisoner—of its being seen in his hand on the same day, and of his
admitting the fact—on the resemblance of the figure to that of the
individual who was seen to strike the blow, and on his inability to prove
that he was not that individual. He was proceeding to notice the singular
scene that had occurred, with regard to the principal witness and the
prisoner, when a shout was heard from the court door, and a gentleman,
dressed as a clergyman, pressed through the crowd, and reaching the side
of the prisoner, he exclaimed—"My lord, and gentlemen of the jury,
the prisoner, Harry Teasdale, is innocent!"
"Thank Heaven" exclaimed
The spectators burst into a
shout, which the judge instantly suppressed, and desired the clergyman to
be sworn, and to produce his evidence. "We are here to give it," said two
others who had followed behind them.
The clergyman briefly
stated that he had been sent for on the previous evening to attend the
deathbed of an individual whom he named, and who had been wounded in the
affray with Captain Hartley’s crew, and that, in his presence, and in the
presence of the other witnesses who then stood by his side, a deposition
had been taken down from his lips an hour before his death. The
deposition, or confession, was handed into court; and it set forth that
his hand struck the fatal blow, and with Harry Teasdale’s knife, which he
had found lying upon the stern of his boat on the afternoon of the day on
which the deed was committed—and, farther, that Harry was not upon the
beach that night.
The jury looked for a
moment at each other—they instantly rose, and their foreman pronounced the
prisoner, "Not Guilty." A loud and spontaneous shout burst from the
multitude. Captain Hartley sprang forward—he grasped his hand.
"I forgive thee, lad," said
Hartley led him from the
dock—he conducted him to Fanny, whom he had taken to an adjoining inn.
"Here is your father!—he is
safe!—he is safe, my love!" cried Augustus, as he entered the room where
Fanny wept on her father’s
bosom, and he kissed her brow, and said, "Bless thee."