108 TYLNEY HALL. secretly pleased with an opportunity of having a Matthews-like "At Home," and performing the characters of Solon, Draco, Brutus, and Judge JefFeries, to a select audience. " The prisoner," he continued, "is below, in charge of Gregory, the head constable, and the prosecutor is in attendance in my study. If it be agreeable, therefore, we will transform the drawing-room, for once, into a Lit de Justice, and take the evidence. I assure you, Mrs. Hamilton, you will find it an interesting case, and presenting a moral phenomenon perfectly new to me in all my magisterial experience ; I mean the remarkable indifference of the accused party, as to penal consequences, or rather, I should say, a kind of hankering to incur the extreme penalty of the law." " Why, really, sir," answered Mrs. Hamilton, *' I have so much of the curiosity of my sex, that I should like to see the culprit, and to hear what reasons he could assign for so very extra- ordinary a taste."" " And, for my part," said Grace, " I am curious
TYLNFA' HALL. 109 to behold Unlucky Joe, wlio has been described to me as the mere foot-ball of fortune." " So be it then," said the Justice, " Mr. Ferrers, go and bring hither our tools of trade, and tell Gregory to produce his prisoner in court." The clerk accordingly fetched his writing mate- rials, and installed himself at the table fronting the Justice, who seated himself with much dignity in a large easy chair. In a few minutes the con- stable introduced his charge, who stared with a vacant careless gaze at the company, but the moment his eyes encountered the Baronet his face twitched all over, and muttering a reflection on " his luck," he dropped his head, and kept looking downwards, as if for the bolt that was to be drawn beneath his feet. The oath was recited by the clerk, and Joe kissed the book. " Prisoner, what is your name ?" asked the Justice, in a tone which he reserved for the chair and the bench. " Joseph Spiller," answered the culprit, " and 1 wish I'd never been born to be baptized."