Malvern Versus Malvern

The remarkable suit I have just named, came on for hearing before Lord Ellenborough and a special jury, at Westminster Hall, about five-and-thirty years ago. Mr. White, of Furnival’s Inn, Mrs. Leigh Malvern’s solicitor, retained Mr. Prince for the defence, which was to be led by the great Nisi Prius celebrity, Mr. S—. The matter, in its first aspect, had a queer, almost absurd, character. Mr. Raymond Malvern, a broken-down gentleman of high family, but by no means equally elevated character, had brought, on the demise of his elder brother, Mr. John Leigh Malvern, in conjunction with the mythic John Doe, an action in ejectment, to establish his right to certain property in Middlesex, wrongfully withheld from him by Mrs. Leigh Malvern, the guardian of the said deceased brother’s infant son. The claim involved, in fact, the right to the whole of the Malvern estates which were extensive. At first, Mr. White believed the action to be a mere flash in the pan, a stupid clumsy device to terrify Mrs. Leigh Malvern into supplying, much more largely than she was inclined to do, the ruined roue’s necessities. As the suit however proceeded, a vague feeling of apprehension succeeded to the solicitor’s contemptuous pooh-poohish manner of treating it, and yet, wherein could lie the danger? Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Malvern had been married some four or five years; three children, two boys and a girl, were the issue of the union; and the estates contended for were entailed on the heir-male. There could be no doubt of all this; still, Mr. White, a wary, clever man, grew more and more fidgety when Hilary term came round, and the cause was ripe for hearing at an early day. And this vague, undefinable feeling of alarm appeared at the last consultation held at Mr. Prince’s chambers on the eve of the day when the cause would, in all likelihood, be called to be shared by all the counsel engaged, Mr. S— included. Mrs. Malvern, accompanied by her brother, Mr. John Halcombe, was present for a short time, and they also, I observed, looked pale and nervous, chiefly, I concluded, in consequence of the grave tone of the lawyers. Those gentlemen could not divest themselves of a suspicion that something remained behind; something which the form of the pleadings did not afford a hint of. One or two questions suggested, rather than directly put, by Mr. S—, kindled Mrs. Malvern’s fine, expressive countenance to a flame, and the dark, lustrous eyes sparkled with fire. She was a splendid woman, not more than five-or six-and-twenty years of age, of a Juno-like presence and aspect, and a complexion so fair as to be almost dazzling,—especially heightened and relieved as it was by the glossy blackness of her hair: she was one of the queens of earth, in short, whose sceptres command the homage of the reddest of red republicans. It could not be for a moment supposed that she would willfully conceal anything, and the puzzled conclusion was, that either the record would be withdrawn at the last moment, or that some incomprehensible conspiracy was hatching by the plaintiff and his attorney, whom I shall call Mr. Benjamin Walker, a gentleman whose name had been more than once in danger of suddenly disappearing from the roll of attorneys.

The Court of King’s Bench was crowded the next day chiefly by distinguished persons, of both sexes, anxious to learn the issue of so strange a suit. About twelve o’clock the case was called. An instant hush pervaded the eager auditory, and all eyes were bent upon Mr. G—, who led on the other side, and who, as soon as the case had been formally stated by one of the juniors, rose to address the Court and jury. His tone, it struck me from the first moment, though firm and confident, was regretful, almost sad, and it was quickly apparent that the curtain was rising, not upon an insane farce, as we had hoped, but upon the opening scene of what threatened to prove a lamentable tragedy. “His client, Mr. Raymond Malvern,” Mr. G— said, after a brief exordium, “claimed the property in question, as heir-at-law of his elder brother, Leigh Malvern, who had died childless—.”

“Died childless?” ejaculated Mr. S—.

“Yes; we shall prove that, and having done so, there can be no doubt that the verdict must be for the plaintiff. In a word,” continued counsel, “a great crime has, I am instructed, been committed against the estimable, but unfortunate lady who defends this suit as guardian of her son. With that, however, my client has nothing to do. It was only very lately, and by mere chance, that he hit upon the true circumstances of the case, and, as advised, brought this action for the recovery of his undoubted right,—a right which cannot be withheld, however much the necessity of coming to such a decision may be regretted.”

Counsel paused, as if to gather energy and courage to launch the thunderbolt that was to annihilate the defendant, and I had a moment’s leisure to look around. Mr. Raymond Malvern was busy with his snuffbox, so that I could not see his features; but Benjamin Walker, Esquire, I observed, looked as cadaverous and shaky as a man in a fit of tertian ague. I next glanced at Mrs. Malvern, who, closely veiled, was seated, not far from us, between her father and brother. She was playing with the leaves of a law book lying before her, and counsel’s solemn sentences, I was rejoiced to perceive, had not, in the slightest degree, troubled the disdainful calm of countenance and manner, which contrasted so strikingly with the nervous agitation of the majority of the audience, many silk and stuff gowns included.

“Mr. Leigh Malvern,” counsel resumed, “was married in October, 1811, to—”

“In February, 1813,” interrupted Mr. Prince, glancing at the certified copy of the marriage register.

“Was married,” persisted Mr. G—, “on the 7th of October, 1811, at Stratford-le-Bow Church, to a person whose name will not be unfamiliar to the lady so unfortunately interested in this most painful case, —one Eleanor Beauchamp—’

A slight exclamation arrested the barrister’s words, and turned the eyes of everyone in Court upon Mrs. Malvern. “Eleanor Beauchamp!” she ejaculated with impulsive wildness,— “married to Eleanor Beauchamp,—good God!” The calm, disdainful confidence was gone; the book had fallen from her nerveless grasp, and the dead marble of her features gleamed, almost spectre-like, through the meshes of her black veil.

“Who died in the month of April, 1813, never having borne her husband a living child.”  

Mr. G— stopped abruptly. Mrs. Malvern had fainted, and was instantly conveyed out of Court by her agitated relatives. As soon as the confusion caused by this incident had in some measure subsided, the address to the jury was resumed; but there was little more to say, and the first witness, Samuel Pendergast, was called. This person, counsel informed the Court, was a very reluctant witness, so much so, that from some expressions that had escaped him, it had been thought necessary to compel his attendance by a judge’s order.

A tall, well-looking individual, of about forty, appeared upon the summons, in the charge of a tipstaff, and was conducted to the witness-box. Reluctant as he was said to be, I never saw a man better dressed and made up for the part of a conscientious, solidly-respectable witness in my life! He was habited in black, plainly cut, of finest quality, and without a speck; his white, parson-tied cravat, and shirt-front, were equally unexceptionable; his port-wined, double-chinned visage, and ample corporation, were of unquestionably well-to-do colour, sleekness, and rotundity; and his right mourning-ringed hand held a gold-headed cane.

Mr. Pendergast was sworn, and the examination in chief was about to commence, when the witness begged, with submission, to address the Court. This being acceded to, he went on: “I find myself,” he said, “in a most painful position. I would not, for half I am worth, have appeared here today. However, as the harsh measures of the plaintiff have compelled my attendance, I respectfully ask your lordship whether I can be obliged to answer questions which must convict myself, if not of legal criminality, yet of moral neglect of duty, of criminal supineness, at all events, at a time when prompt exertion might have averted the lamentable consequences which I fear may flow from these proceedings?”

“Overdoing it, Mr. Plausible—overdoing it!” shot through my brain, and almost escaped my lips. And so, I was pretty sure, thought Lord Ellenborough, who had been keenly eyeing Mr. Samuel Pendergast during his very smooth speech. “We must wait to hear what questions will be asked,” replied the Chief Justice, coldly. “If you object to answer, the Court will decide whether you must or not.”

The examination went on, and, substantively, the witness deposed as follows:—He had been long in the deceased Mr. Malvern’s and his venerable mother’s service. He left in August, 1811, under circumstances which he was willing and able to satisfactorily explain, if called upon to do so. The quarrel between him and Mr. Leigh Malvern had been envenomed and rendered irreconcilable by a gentleman, whose name he had no desire to mention, and towards whom he felt not the slightest animosity. He knew Eleanor Beauchamp; she lived as companion with Mrs. Malvern. She was a young lady of rare personal attractions. Mr. Leigh Malvern paid her very assiduous attentions, but studiously apart from his mother, Mrs. Malvern’s observations. In the beginning of October, 1811, a rumour, communicated by one of the servants, reached him that a stolen marriage was on the tapis; and, by dint of close observation, he, witness, contrived to be present at the ceremony, which took place on the 7th of October, at Stratford Church. At about ten o’clock on the morning of that day, Eleanor Beauchamp was privately married to Mr. Leigh Malvern. The reason he had been so inquisitive, he was not ashamed to say, was, that he had himself made Miss Beauchamp an offer of marriage, and been somewhat rudely repulsed: a feeling of jealousy or envy had prompted his conduct. He had seen the lady, then Mrs. Leigh Malvern, at a place near Cardiff, in Wales, where she was living in strict retirement. This was in the following August: he had sought her out to solicit her good offices with Mr. Malvern for the restoration of his, witness’s, place,—a request she declined acceding to for the moment, but hinted that, if he were discreet enough not to speak of her marriage till after Mrs. Malvern’s death, who had a large personalty at her disposal, his silence would be rewarded. Mrs. Leigh Malvern appeared to be in delicate health; and Mr. Griffiths, a surgeon, of Cardiff, who attended her, said she had just previously been confined with a stilborn infant. Mr. Malvern, it was also stated, visited his wife very seldom, and then remained so brief a time, and was so wrapped up and disguised, that eyen the servants would have great difficulty in recognizing him. Witness saw Mrs. Leigh Malvern, in the following November, at Everton, near Liverpool, where she was then residing, still in strict privacy. He preferred the same request as before, and was put off with the same excuse and the same caution. He then determined on settling in Liverpool as commission agent, and God had prospered him. In December, 1812, a paragraph in a London paper announced the approaching marriage of Mr. Leigh Malvern with Miss Julia Halcombe. He at first paid no attention to it. “And here,” solemnly exclaimed Samuel Pendergast,— “here, my lord and gentlemen, was my first criminal neglect of a plain duty, and it was only, I grieve to say, after much hesitating reluctance that I, at last, determined to see Mrs. Leigh Malvern, and show it her. She laughed at it as a ridiculous fabrication. Weeks passed on; witness was busy in his new business; still the newspaper report disturbed him at intervals, and it was at length so strongly borne in upon his mind that he ought, in honour and conscience, to investigate the rumour, that he started for London in person, and arrived there on the 20th of February, just three days too late,—the sham marriage of Julia Halcombe with Leigh Malvern having been celebrated on the 17th! Even then,” continued the penitent witness, “I had not the moral courage to inform the real wife of what had happened. But a rumour of the truth, at length, reached her, and she sent for me: I was, of course, obliged to confirm it. She had been long ailing,” added the witness, passing the back of his hand swiftly across his eyes, and speaking in a broken voice, “and she sank rapidly under this last blow. I saw her on the 29th of March, and on the 3rd of April, she was a corpse!” After a pause, the witness said, in reply to a question from counsel, that “he had then, perhaps erroneously, decided that it would be better for all parties that the unfortunate marriage should be buried in oblivion. How the plaintiff had come to a knowledge of the facts, he, witness, knew not.”

The evidence, admirably delivered as it was, produced a powerful impression, and there was immediately an eager whispered consultation between the counsel for the defendant and Mr. White. I did not hear a word; but, at its conclusion, Mr. S— intimated that he had no question to ask the witness. Mr. Pendergast stood down, and other evidence was called, confirmatory of his testimony: Mr. Griffiths, of Cardiff, the clerk of Stratford Church, and a Liverpool sexton. Neither of them, indeed, knew either Mr. Leigh Malvern, or Eleanor Beauchamp, personally. Mr. Griffiths had never even seen the husband of the lady he had attended; but, upon a miniature being placed in his hands,—that of a singularly beautiful female,—he swore positively that the Mrs. Malvern he had known was the original of that portrait. Mr. White whispered me, that it was as unquestionably that of Eleanor Beauchamp, and an admirable likeness. A Mr. Heyworth, the last witness, deposed, that it was the portrait of Miss Eleanor Beauchamp, which he had painted by order of Mr. Leigh Malvern, who had paid him ten guineas for it. This was the plaintiff’s case, and, taken all in all, a sufficiently staggering one, it must be confessed.

Mr. S— briefly addressed the Court. “My lord,” he said, “we have been taken completely by surprise: we have been kept, by the other side, in entire ignorance both of the true nature of the claim intended to be set up, and of the evidence by which it was to be supported. We have thought it best, therefore, not to attempt struggling for a verdict on this occasion, but to allow it to pass for the plaintiff, with leave to move the Court above for a new trial, on the ground of surprise.” The Chief Justice concurred, the formal verdict was recorded, and the Court adjourned.

“Mr. White,” said Mr. Prince, addressing me, sotto voce, “wishes you to follow, and closely observe Mr. Samuel Pendergast; he knows White’s clerk, it seems, personally, so that you will be likelier to succeed than he.” I was off in a jiffy, and got in sight of the immaculate witness, just as he was crossing Palace Yard. He walked rapidly on till he reached the Golden Cross, Charing Cross,—a very different place then, by the way, to what it is now,—where he first secured an inside place in that night’s Liverpool coach, and then ordered dinner, a very nice one indeed, and a pint of sherry with it. I ensconced myself in the coffee room, whence I could easily observe all in-comers and out-goers. It was half past five o’clock, and dark as pitch,—the oil lamps being, with the exception of a doubtful twinkle here and there, extinguished by a fog of extra thickness,—when Samuel Pendergast, his portly body encased in a stout greatcoat, and his jolly throat swathed with a red comforter, sallied forth. I stealthily pursued up the Haymarket, across Coventry Street, and finally housed my man in a public house in Sherrard Street, the name of which I forget, though I passed it but the other day: I cautiously opened the bar door, and peeped in; he was not there. I entered, but afraid to make any inquiries, I could only call for some porter and sit down behind a tall cask which happened to be close by. It was fortunate I did so; for, presently a loud guffaw, undoubtedly Mr. Benjamin Walker’s, echoed by the more subdued chuckle of Samuel Pendergast, and, if I did not greatly mistake, a faint laugh from Mr. Raymond Malvern, came distinctly out of a back parlour, —a private apartment for the nonce, no doubt,—as a waiter, in obedience to a loud ringing of the bell, entered for orders. My patience was not, this time, very severely tried. Scarcely half an hour had passed when out they came, all three, in jocund spirits,—it was Mr. Ratymond Malvern,—and were going out together. Just at the door, they paused. “Well,” said Benjamin Walker, “good-bye. I hardly think we shall want you again: they’re dead beat, in my opinion; but, if we do, why, we know how to compel your services, don’t we, my fine fellow, eh?” The attorney’s laugh was echoed by his companions, and the three separated, going off singly, in different directions.

My report was, of course, deemed significant, and several minor circumstances, not easily appreciable save by men versed in such matters, gave life, colour, and distinctness, to the dim, shadowy suspicion excited in the minds of the defendant’s counsel by the evidence of Samuel Pendergast. It was resolved that there should be no bustle or preparation, no exhibition of confidence, the reverse rather,—so as to afford a better opportunity of catching the adversary napping in his fool’s paradise. The rule for a new trial was made absolute, upon payment of costs, and the tone of Mr. Prince, who moved for it, was as little confident as Benjamin Walker, Esquire, or his client, could have desired. In consultation, albeit, the opinion of counsel was encouraging and hopeful, and the agonizing alarm of Mrs. Malvern gradually subsided,—ought I not to say, rose?—into a patient trustfulness in Him who ruleth the hearts and trieth the reins of men.

Yet was there much to be done; and, amongst other arrangements, it was finally determined that I, being—as before stated—unknown to Samuel Pendergast, should proceed to Liverpool and ascertain what, in the way of rebutting evidence, could be fished up there.

I found that Mr. Samuel Pendergast’s character stood high in Liverpool,—that he was esteemed to be a prosperous,—highly respectable commission agent, and the pattern-pillar of a religious community—of what denomination it is unnecessary to say: there are black sheep in all flocks. He was married, but had no family; and his wife—reported to be in delicate health—lived in almost entire seclusion at his private residence, Everton. This was hardly worth journeying two hundred miles for, but an interview with Dr. Roundtree, who, Mr. White had attended the soi-disant Mrs. Malvern in last illness, promised better results. I brought a note from an old friend of the doctor’s, and, after a full explanation, he said he would willingly assist in defeating such a plot, if plot there were. The doctor seemed disposed to believe Mr. Pendergast’s evidence. “A specious, hypocritical man, no doubt,” he remarked; “pharisaical, and so on, but not the atrocious villain you appear to take him for.” In reply to my question as to the personal appearance of the said Mrs. Leigh Malvern, he said she was of fair complexion, and had light-brown hair and blue eyes. The vague hope I had entertained died within me. The portrait had blue eyes, brown hair, and fair complexion. “Very beautiful, was she not?” I added.

“Oh, dear, no; quite the reverse,—exceedingly plain, I should say.”

“Exceedingly plain!”

“Surely; but that is, after all, a matter of taste. Her sister, now—Mr. Pendergast’s wife—is, or rather, has been—for the grave-shadow overlies her beauty—a beautiful woman.”

“Her sister! Mrs. Pendergast!” It was a gleam of lightning! Why, what devil’s game was the fellow playing? “Eleanor Beauchamp,” I hurriedly exclaimed, “had no sister!”

“Well, but hear me,” said calm, steady-going Dr. Roundtree. “It was by mere inadvertence, and not very long ago, that Mrs. Pendergast let fall the observation; and I, noticing her vexation, feigned not to have heard it. She might mean her sister-in-law, you know.”

“I should be very glad to see Mrs. Pendergast,” I said.

“Ah! poor soul, nobody will see her long. An unhappy, long-suffering woman; and, decorously as Pendergast treats her before others—though she seldom sees anyone—there is only one thing she dreads more than she does him, and that is death! I have seen her cower beneath that hard, glittering eye of his, like a beaten hound. She daily grows more and more superstitious, too, and her dread of dissolution is, as I have told you, intense. Her husband has constantly urged me to buoy her up with hopes of lengthened life; but that is fast becoming impossible.”

“But can I see her?” I impatiently, almost rudely, iterated.

Dr. Roundtree reflected for a few moments, and then said, “Yes; it may be managed. I have to send her a prescription in the morning, accompanied with some directions concerning diet. You can, if you like, be my messenger. She is sure to see and cross-question you as to my real opinion of her state.” I joyfully acquiesced, took leave, and immediately wrote and posted a letter to London, requesting Mr. White to come down instantly.

I was at Everton the next morning about half an hour after Mr. Pendergast had left for his place of business, and was instantly admitted to the patient’s presence. The curtains of the sick room were closed, but one glance only, even in the faint light which struggled in through the yellow damask and exaggerated the death-hue of the worn and anxious countenance which met my gaze, sufficed to convince me that I was in the presence of the original of the portrait of the once gay, fascinating, Eleanor Beauchamp. Although somewhat prepared for this, I was so much startled that my hand trembled in presenting her with the physician’s note, almost as much as the white, transparent one that received it, and my answers to her anxious queries were so incoherent, contradictory, and absurd, that she bade me, with some asperity, leave the house immediately, and inform Dr. Roundtree that she implored him to come to her without delay. I obeyed, after promising to fulfil her injunction. Dr. Roundtree was at home; and, five minutes after my return, was on his way to Everton.

He was gone nearly three hours. When I again saw him, he said, “I begin to think you are right. At all events, Mrs. Pendergast is in a most pitiable state, both mentally and physically. So rapidly has a change for the worse come on, that I felt it my duty to inform her, peremptorily, she had not a week, perhaps not half that time, to live. Her despairing outcries were for a time terrific; but as she calmed, the religious traditions of her youth returned with their old power upon her imagination. Her mother, it seems, was an Irishwoman, and she was educated in the Catholic faith. I have promised her, though I hardly think I ought to have done so, to bring her a clergyman of that creed; and this, too, without her husband’s knowledge. Confound it, I wish I had not promised; but, there, my word is given, and I must speak to one of the clergymen of St. Patrick’s Chapel,—a worthy man whom I happen to know. He may perhaps induce her to make a clean breast of it before the world.”

This was greatly to be desired, for the unhappy lady’s own sake; and great was the satisfaction of Mr. White and Mr. John Halcombe, who had arrived only a few hours previously, when informed that Mrs. Pendergast was desirous of making a full confession in the presence of such witnesses as might be deemed necessary.

This expiation of her partial complicity in the guilt of Samuel Pendergast was made in the chamber where I had first beheld her; and there were present the Catholic priest, Mr. White, Mr. Halcombe, and myself. Brokenly, and with many pauses of her failing breath, the dying woman murmured forth a full and explicit statement of all that was necessary to be known, which Mr. White took carefully down in writing. I need only give here a brief summary of it: “From early girlhood,” she said, “her mind had been warped and inflated by vanity and ambition,—vanity and ambition prompted, generated, by the homage paid to her personal attractions. When living with the elder Mrs. Malvern, as companion, she aspired to wed with her son, Mr. Leigh Malvern, and spared no art to effect her purpose. For a time she believed herself on the verge of success; but his fancy had been caught merely, not his heart—as she had hoped—subjugated; and he offered no serious objection when his mother—irritated by some impertinence of hers with respect to her son—peremptorily ordered her to leave the house. She soon became acquainted with the cause of his indifference. He had seen Julia Halcombe—his friend, John Halcombe’s sister—and fallen violently in love with her. A tempest of jealous fury swept through her brain at this intelligence, succeeded by a wild thirst for revenge—utterly causeless, for the young man was guiltless of any wrong towards her. Whilst in this state of mind, Samuel Pendergast—who had been dismissed Mr. Malvern’s service for gross fraud in his office of steward—called on her. The tempter had chosen his hour well; and, by artfully flattering her passions, hinting emphatically, though darkly, at a sure, perhaps swift revenge, she consented to wed him. His hatred, she found, was chiefly directed against the Halcombes, it being his impression that, but for Mr. John Halcombe’s advice, Mr. Malvern would have overlooked the offence of which he had been guilty. I scarcely understood him,” continued Mrs. Pendergast; “I doubt, even, if his purpose was clearly defined to himself. He had certainly an impression that Mr. Malvern was not likely to live many years, in consequence of the injury he received by the fall from his horse; but the result was, that we were married at Stratford Church, on the 7th October, 1811—he, in the name of Leligh Malvern. That is the point of chiefest interest to you; and I need scarcely say that what I have read in the papers of the two Mrs. Malverns is true. I was the Mrs. Malvern of Cardiff. I had about five hundred pounds when I married—a recent legacy,—which defrayed—no matter—The light is passing from my eyes; I must be brief. The—the Mrs. Malvern, of Everton, was his young half-sister, Mary Saunders, who had been long—as I now am—dying. We were both his bondslaves, and he, pitiless and fierce as—hark! That is he! You promised not to leave me!”

Mr. White assured her he would not. The outer door was opened in obedience to Pendergast’s peremptory knock; and we could presently hear his violent exclamations in reply to the message which greeted his entrance. “See me, you say, and a priest in the house. Yes; she shall see me,” he continued, as he strode fiercely up the stairs, and along the passage towards the bedroom; “no mistake about that!”

He flung open the chamber door. “Pray, sir priest! Why—why, what is this?”

How quickly did the pious mask fall off before the terrible apparition thus suddenly encountered! For some moments be seemed chilled to stone, and when he at length recovered—partially recovered speech and motion—it was only to gurgle out in choking accents, as be fell into a chair,—“What, what do you all here?”

“We are here,” said Mr. White, “to receive, and we have received, the declaration of your dying wife, formerly Eleanor Beauchamp.”

“False—false!—no doubt an invention for my ruin!”

“It is true,” rejoined the woman, with deep solemnity, “as that my soul is trembling on the lips which utter it.”

“Wretched—accursed woman!” hissed Pendergast through his clenched teeth, and shaking his doubled fists at his wife with impotent rage.

“True! that is true,” she rejoined with sudden energy; and, raising herself, without assistance, to an upright sitting posture on the couch. “Wretched and accursed in life!—by you rendered so,—evil, miserable man! But not,” she added, clasping her hands with passionate fervour, and looking upwards with beseeching earnestness, “not, O clement God—not, Father of Mercies,—accursed in death!”

This vehement exertion exhausted the last powers of life: the supplicating arms dropped down: the relaxing muscles of the neck could no longer sustain the upraised countenance, the elevated head, and she fell forward, with her face on the bedclothes. We raised her up: she was dead; albeit a living smile still played about the lips, as if her last prayer had been granted in its utterance.

Let me hasten to conclude. There was, of course, no second trial of the case of Malvern versus Malvern, and we managed to convict Samuel Pendergast of willful and corrupt perjury, for which he was sentenced to twelve months’ imprisonment with hard labour; a leniency of punishment I could not at all understand. Benjamin Walker, Esquire, and his client could not be legally reached, but they both died, I have reason to believe, in miserable poverty, abroad. Samuel Pcndergast was luckier, for a time at least, for if he was not the sleek secretary of one of the bubble companies of 1825, my eyes must have strangely deceived me, which is not at all likely; for even now, after the lapse of more than another quarter of a century, I can see, like Beatrice, a church by daylight. Men’s evil deeds follow them, it is true, but it is not always in this world that they overtake the wrongdoer.


From Leaves from the Diary of a Law-Clerk by the Author of Recollections of a Detective Police Officer,. London: J.C. Brown & Co., 1857.