“I do, sir, perfectly,” replied I.
“Perhaps then you will inform us by what means a diamond ring and twenty pounds in money came into your possession?”
“Honestly, sir,” replied I.
“Will you state, as you are a poor countryman, with whom you worked last—what parish you belong to—and whom you can bring forward in proof of good character?”
“I certainly shall not answer those questions,” replied I; “if I chose I might so do, and satisfactorily.”
“What is your name?”
“I cannot answer that question either, sir,” replied I.
“I told you yesterday that we had met before; was it not at Bow Street?”
“I am surprised at your asking a question, sir, from the bench, to which, if I answered, the reply might affect me considerably. I am here in a false position, and cannot well help myself. I have no friends that I choose to call, for I should blush that they should see me in such a state, and under such imputations.”
“Your relations, young man, would certainly not be backward. Who is your father?”
“My father!” exclaimed I, raising up my hands and eyes. “My father! Merciful God!—if he could only see me here—see to what he has reduced his unhappy son,” and I covered my face, and sobbed convulsively.
By the committing of magisterial mistakes I am personally and penally committed—I prepare for my trial by calling in the assistance of the tailor and the perfumer—I am resolved to die like a gentleman.
“It is indeed a pity, a great pity,” observed one of the magistrates, “such a fine young man, and evidently, by his demeanour and language, well brought up; but I believe,” said he turning to the others, “we have but one course; what say you, Mr Norman?”
“I am afraid that my opinion coincides with yours, and that the grand jury will not hesitate to find a bill, as the case stands at present. Let us, however, ask the witness Armstrong one question. Do you positively swear to this young man being one of the persons who attacked you?”
“It was not very light at the time, sir, and both the men had their faces smutted; but it was a person just his size, and dressed in the ame way, as near as I can recollect.”
“You cannot, therefore, swear to his identity?”
“No, sir; but to the best of my knowledge and belief, he is the man.”
“Take that evidence down as important,” said Mr Norman, “it will assist him at his trial.”