Stu. And did he fall so suddenly?
Bates. The repetition pleases you, I see. I told you, he fell without a groan.
Stu. What heard you of him this morning?
Bates. That the watch found him in their rounds, and alarmed the servants. I mingled with the crowd just now, and saw him dead in his own house. The sight terrified me.
Stu. Away with terrors, till his ghost rise and accuse us. We have no living enemy to fear—unless ’tis Beverley; and him we have lodged safe in prison.
Bates. Must He be murdered too?
Stu. No; I have a scheme to make the law his murderer. At what hour did Lewson fall?
Bates. The clock struck twelve, just as I turned to leave him. ’Twas a melancholy bell, I thought, tolling for his death.
Stu. The time was lucky for us. Beverley
was arrested at one, you say?
Stu. Good. We’ll talk of this presently. The women were with him, I think?
Daw. And old Jarvis. I would have told you of them last night, but your thoughts were too busy. ’Tis well you have a heart of stone, the tale would melt it else.
Stu. Out with it then.
Daw. I traced him to his lodgings; and pretending pity for his misfortunes, kept the door open, while the officers seized him. ’Twas a damned deed—but no matter—I followed my instructions.
Stu. And what said he?
Daw. He upbraided me with treachery, called You a villain, acknowledged the sums you had lent him, and submitted to his fortune.
Stu. And the women—
Daw. For a few minutes astonishment kept them silent. They looked wildly at one another, while the tears streamed down their cheeks. But rage and fury soon gave them words; and then, in the very bitterness of despair, they cursed me, and the monster that had employed me.
Stu. And you bore it with philosophy?
Daw. Till the scene changed, and then I melted. I ordered the officers to take away their prisoner. The women shrieked, and would have followed him; but We forbad them. ’Twas then they fell upon their knees, the wife fainting, the sister raving, and both, with all the eloquence of misery, endeavouring to soften us. I never felt compassion till that moment; and had the officers been moved like Me, we had left the business undone, and fled with curses on ourselves. But their hearts were steeled by custom: the tears of beauty, and the pangs of affection, were beneath their pity. They tore him from their arms, and lodged him in prison, with only Jarvis to comfort him.
Stu. There let him lie, till we have farther business with him. And for You, Sir, let me hear no more of your compassion. A fellow nursed in villainy, and employed from childhood in the business of hell, should have no dealings with compassion.