The next evidence who came forward was the Jew, from whom I had bought the clothes and sold my own. He narrated all that had occurred, and swore to the clothes in the bundle left by the footpad, and to the stick which he had sold to me. The constable then produced the money found about my person and the diamond solitaire ring, stating my attempt to escape when I was seized. The magistrate then asked me whether I had anything to say in my defence, cautioning me not to commit myself.
I replied, that I was innocent; that it was true that I had sold my own clothes, and had purchased those of the Jew, as well as the stick: that I had been asked to hold the horse of a gentleman when sitting on a bench opposite a public-house, and that some one had stolen my bundle and my stick. That I had walked on towards Hounslow, and, in assisting a fellow-creature, whom I certainly had considered as having been attacked by others, I had merely yielded to the common feelings of humanity—that I was seized when performing that duty, and should willingly have accompanied them to the magistrate’s, had not they attempted to put on handcuffs, at which my feelings were roused, and I knocked the constable down, and made my attempt to escape.
“Certainly, a very ingenious defence,” observed one of the magistrates; “pray where—!” At this moment the door opened, and in came the very gentleman, the magistrate at Bow Street, whose horse I had held. “Good morning, Mr Norman, you have just come in time to render us your assistance. We have a very deep hand to deal with here, or else a very injured person, I cannot tell which. Do us the favour to look over these informations and the defence of the prisoner, previous to our asking him any more questions.”
The Bow Street magistrate complied, and then turned to me, but I was so disguised with mud, that he could not recognise me. “You are the gentleman, sir, who asked me to hold your horse,” said I. “I call you to witness, that that part of my assertion is true.”
“I do now recollect that you are the person,” replied he, “and you may recollect the observation I made, relative to your hands, when you stated that you were a poor countryman.”