My dearest Grace," said the Justice, losing a fraction

of his equanimity, " who talks of cutting him off? he is

not even in custody."

" No/' said Grace, removing her hands from her eyes,

and fixing her gaze on the opposite side of the apartment,

whilst she spoke deliberately and with frequent pauses, as

if interpreting a threatening hand-writing on the wall.

"No hut the hour will come. I ask not to know the

cruel verdict I see it before me in letters of blood

and the name of my own father ratifies the sentence. Oh

God ! oh God ! the picture is no picture. The horrors of

my girlhood, the very dream of my childhood, have all

come to pass ! That awful figure, that pitiless parent,

steps out of the canvass, and with a remorseless hand drags



" Grace !" said the father, rather more hastily than his

wont, for his tongue had generally the stately pace of a

managed horse, "the physicians had, I thought, cured

these delusions. For myself, if my performance at all

resembles the model you allude to, it should command your

reverence. There is but one who can know and appreciate

the pangs I suffer in conscientiously acting as one of the

viceroys of the Divine Justice. Possibly the culprit who

is turned off at the gallows feels less pain in dying than

the sheriff who presides at the execution j but what is the

amount of their united pangs to the aggregate sufferings of

society, provided there were neither culprit nor sheriff?

The many must not suffer for the few. By divine enactment

all men are brethren, and if a fratricide kills one of


my brothers, for the sake of the rest

" He is found guilty, then," interrupted Grace, speaking

hurriedly in a tone that scarcely amounted with all its

energy to a whisper.

" The law of God must be kept inviolate," said the

magistrate, reinforcing his resolution by a text from the

More magazines by this user
Similar magazines