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All this passed in what seemed years instead of hours; till at last my heart gave a great bound of hope, for there, through the window, which had neither blind nor shutter, I could see lights moving about over the snow in different directions. Then all the lights came together to the door, and some one tried to open it. Alas! it was locked and the key gone, as I knew. So, after another futile attempt to open it, the lights all moved slowly away. was afraid to go forward to the window, lest the man should see me and the torch-bearers should not; I only moved along the wall so as to be opposite to it, and waved both hands in a silent frenzy. No one saw me, and soon all the lights had quite disappeared. This disappointment almost deprived me of all the strength I had left; but I was too thoroughly terrified to faint. I was in no hurry for any such luxury, and now every moment expected that the man, roused by the noise at the door, would get up and come into my room to examine it. However, time passed on, and he did not move, only now and then the chains rattled a little, as if he were turning in his sleep.
At last the total darkness began to give way; a faint grayness came stealing through the little window. The night was not going to last for ever! Slowly the grayness grew towards light, very slowly but unceasingly, and I could dimly see every object in the room-when at last I heard footsteps outside, then the key put in the lock, and-oh, how slowly!-turned. It was my deliverer.
Ever since that time I have lived in dread of going mad. Indeed, I do not think I am always quite so sane as other people. But I am an old woman now, and I think I shall be spared worse madness. I have written this in the hope of easing my mind a little; though I can never forget that night.
THE SEAMY SIDE OF HUMAN NATURE. FROM a Return of Judicial Statistics for the year 1881, issued by the Home Secretary, it appears that there are no fewer than seventy-one thousand six hundred and thirty-seven known thieves and depredators in England and Wales. Of these, however, only thirty-nine thousand one hundred and sixty-one are in a position to carry on active opera tions, the rest being in convict or local prisons. These criminals are worse than drones in the social hive. They are the Ishmaelites of society, preying upon honest people when out of prison, and supported at the public expense when in Without reckoning the value of property stolen and not recovered during the year, we find that the cost of police and prisons in 1881 in England and Wales was nearly four millions sterling, which has to be defrayed either by direct or indirect taxation.
The halcyon days of thieving when bands of stout fellows lived a bold and free life under the greenwood tree, and balanced the despoiling of a fat abbot by the succouring of a distressed widow; or when bold moss-troopers, Scotts or Percies or Douglases, conducted a doughty Border raid-are for ever gone. The average thief nowa days is a very mean-spirited creature indeed. Though he has plenty of low cunning, he is not a many-sided man. He generally has but one particular lay,' and after serving a term of imprisonment, returns to his old haunts and habits. A cracksman' or housebreaker does not commit paltry shop-door thefts, while a pickpocket seldom figures in a charge of robbery by violence. Some thieves are notorious for thefts from children. Others have their peculiar vocation in snatching greatcoats from unguarded lobbies, or appropriating stray door-mats. The detective knows this, and conducts his inquiries accordingly. This officer is the abhorrence of the professional thief. The uniformed constable can be watched as he lounges leisurely along; but the detective working silently in plain clothes, often pounces on the thief when least expected.
as he unconsciously informs you, the 'sell,' is just going on. When an outsider does go in, a number of confederates, got up in various characters-from the clergyman in rusty black, to the country woman with her basket on her armcarry on the sale briskly, and articles are rapidly sold at very low prices. If the visitor is not wary and sensible, he is sure to bid, and may possibly find himself, before he leaves, the purchaser of an antiquated old sofa, a set of rickety chairs, or a Brummagem dinner service, at double their value, t
The popular delusion that a detective was an almost supernatural being who could find out dark and mysterious crimes as if by magic, and who always turned up in the nick of time, has now nearly gone. By a fortunate chance, an officer may occasionally stumble on the thing he is looking for; but success is generally the result of patient, laborious, and often disagreeable or dangerous work. He must be cool and wary, for he has to deal with all sorts of persons. While apparently noticing nothing, he examines everything with an observant eye. Much of the information given him is utterly worthless, some Another dodge is generally tried on retired of it being purposely calculated to mislead; but military or naval officers. The swindler sends from such he often draws conclusions of the very a letter recalling some reminiscence of mutual opposite character to those intended by the in-service in an army corps, or on board a manformer. Local knowledge, and a thorough under- of-war, a number of years ago. He mentions standing of the nature and habits of each criminal his vivid recollection of these happy days, and in his district, are of the greatest assistance to hints that he has not been over-fortunate in a detective officer. worldly affairs. He has been security for a friend, who has failed to meet the bill which he himself has had to pay. The last instalment is nearly due, and he is still eight or ten pounds short, while the consequences will be serious if the money is not forthcoming. Can he presume so far upon the memory of old times as to ask a small loan to tide him over the difficulty? This type of swindler possesses more than an average education, and his information regarding the antecedents of his intended dupe is curiously accurate. It is probably gathered from some old tar or discharged soldier, many of whom are extremely garrulous regarding their favourite officers or old masters,
An ingenious fraud has lately been practised in London. A tall well-dressed man, apparently a City merchant on his way home from business, is seen talking on the street to a man in workman's dress who carries a basket and some tools. The 'merchant' accosts some well-dressed passenger, and tells him the mechanic's' tale of want of employment and family distress. He adds that he has satisfied himself of the truth of the story, and is about to give a trifle; will the gentleman join in giving a small sum to relieve deserving necessity? The apparent respectability of the voucher often succeeds where a common begging petition would fail, and the person accosted generally gives something. A gentleman who had given a small sum saw both swindlers issue in company from a public-house some time after. Of course, on seeing him they decamped.
A clever dodge has lately come to light, which shows how thoroughly the swindler understood those on whom he was to operate, and forms a curious commentary on the relations between servants and tradesmen. A man having the appearance of a gentleman's servant called on several tradesmen in a fashionable part of London, asking them to come to a certain house for orders for different classes of goods, at the same time throwing out a suggestion that a small gratuity for himself would be acceptable, and might not be lost by the tradesman in a distribution of further orders. In a number of instances, small sums were given; but when the shopmen attended at the place named, they found their services were not required, and that the small fees had flowed into the pocket of some clever rascal.
Swindling, though extremely annoying to the victim, often presents a comical side to the
In a number of cases, however, common-sense is the best safeguard of the public against imposition, Some swindles are of such a nature that the victims choose rather to pocket their chagrin and suffer the loss in silence, than be dragged into a court to give evidence, or have their names appear in the public prints. We shall briefly describe some of these swindles, as, notwithstanding the warnings so often given in the newspapers, the imposition still goes on, and complaints by victims of the first two species have lately come under our notice.
There is the swindling Loan Company, with its commodious chambers in a good locality, and a large brass plate on the door. A speciously worded advertisement informs the needy that money on personal security can be borrowed at a moderate rate of interest. There is a delightful haziness about the paragraph, suggestive of long credit and a disinterested and philanthropic lender. The embarrassed tradesman or struggling young professional man, ashamed to let his friends know how the shoe pinches him, thinks this is the thing for him, and writes for particulars. He receives a circular showing the Company's terms, and containing a list of questions to be answered, and also containing a demand for an advance fee, varying in amount from half a guinea to two guineas. If sent, the advance fee is invariably retained; while in many cases a curt intimation is sent that the Company decline to entertain the application. When a loan is granted, a high rate of interest is charged, and the first year's interest is deducted from the loan; while the borrower is obliged to grant a bond over his house, furniture, or stock-in-trade. On these, if there is the slightest failure in giving them their pound of flesh, the Company generally foreclose at the most inconvenient time for the borrower. If a man's business is in such a state that a temporary loan can help him, and his character is good, he will seldom be at a loss for somebody who knows him to give him a friendly lift. If this is not the case, it is far better that he should give up the business, pocket his pride, and start journeyman again, than, by getting into the hands of harpies, ruin his prospects for life.
There are various mock-auctions in every large town. A decoy at the door invites the unwary passenger to walk in, as the sale, or,
Time and space would fail us to mention the various swindles in the shape of sham agencies, foreign lotteries, and deceptive advertisements of all kinds that are continually being forced on the notice of a gullible public. If the ingenuity now being wasted by rogues in cheating people were employed in some useful oceupation, it could hardly fail of being success ful; and the most likely way to induce them to take an honest course is by the public turning a deaf ear to the voice of the charmer and refusing to be imposed on godt bus amildeg * 9.[T surone 9.4 le mitral www VET Lid
onlooker. That our Yankee cousins are go-ahead innkeeper knew they were no thieves; and the
NOTES ON CONTINENTAL TRAVEL
#9 #1 165
found the whole town on the alert. The king (Louis-Philippe) was expected. He was coming, accompanied by the whole court; so that to see the palace was out of the question. And your reaching Paris to-night, added the innkeeper, is equally impossible. Every horse on the road has been engaged for His Majesty, who always travels with a large retinue. I haves excellent accom modation at your service, a well-served cuisine, the best beds. Fontainebleau is acharming sojourn, and in yo′′ sú to đó, xi The entrance of the postillion cut short our host's loquacity. He confirmed the statement of the latter as to the improbability of being able to get horses but added, that if we were willing to take chance and go on another poste, his horses would be rested and refreshed in a couple of hours, and could take us on We accepted his offer, despite the remonstrances and grumblings of the landlord, and having ordered dinner, sallied out for a ramble while it was in pre paration.
pledge. "Mine uncle' grinned, and thinking it
At the end of the next stage, some diligence horses were fortunately to be had; but on some drunken wager, he laughingly ten- reaching Penthièvre, we came to a full stop; pence. This was immediately accepted, and a not a quadruped was procurable for love or pawn-ticket given, marked, at the pledger's re-money. The entire population of the little town quest, A piece of silver-plate. The pledger now was in the street, eagerly looking out for the returned to the public-house. His companions royal cortège, which was every moment expected were at first rather dubious of the wisdom of to pass through. We had nothing for it but to his procedure, but were soon undeceived. He await patiently that event, and then remain until ordered some ale, and while paying the landlord, some of the horses which had brought Louis remarked to his companions on the shabbiness Philippe were sufficiently rested to proceed with of the pawnbroker. The words, Piece of plate' us. The posthouse was a miserable-looking place, made the host prick up his ears. He made some dirty and uninviting, so that the ladies of the inquiry, was shown the pawn-ticket, and told party preferred staying in the carriage; the maid that an old heirloom had been sacrificed. The following the example of her mistresses, and
remaining; in her seat on the rumble behind, a distributed when his bac
incoherent way, often to himself
was paying attention to him. A woman who had seen him talking to us, shook her head, and said: Ah, poor little, Jeannot! there he goes with his cakes. A worthy creature; but all wrong here, you understand,' she added, tapping her forehead he never the same since he lost his wife mid buntot di horowane od dvie The subject of her remarks returning to us asking any ques
postillions and their horses added not a little to at this moment, prevented our theme, poor tions. He was soon on his
at a moment's warning. They fits and starts The told
the animation of the scene. The latter, which were all gray, without a single exception, were Marie. It was not difficult to draw his little fastened up against a wall opposite the posthouse, story from him; he told it unconnectedly, by to be in readine imals, tossing translated: and may be thus unconnectedly, by were fidgety animals, tossing their heads and Marie was very pretty, and she was good too pawing the ground with impatience Dotip a the best girl in the village. We loved each other The French postillion-an individual now from childhood, ah, how dearly! and we always almost extinct was as peculiar and marked settled to be married some day. Marie's father among his Countrymen, in appearance as and mother gave their consent on condition that different from them as unlike their sister hand to begin our little ménage. We were too poissardes of we should have between us a certain sum beforeBoulogne and Dieppe are citizens whose business is unconnected with deep happy at the prospect of being united to mind Waters Tall, heavy, and strongly built one any conditions, however hard; so we set to work Would have imagined him ill calculated for his both of us, to try a and increase our little store. calling, and win a country, too, where diminutive It was no easy task. I had an old blind mother men predominate. The huge French, postillion to support out of my earnings; and though Marie was often gruff and taciturn another contrast to made cakes, and had such a winning way with the natives in general; given, too, to grumbling her that she sold twice as much as any one else, at the end of his stage; but that is, I believe, a still the purse filled slowly. Time went Droug characteristic of the driving fraternity all over however, and we met with various pieces of the world. He was generally good-looking; and good fortune. My Marie was so industrious and his costume the glazed round hat with its smart so clever, everything prospered with her, and cockade, blue jacket with crimson facings, yellow with me, for her sake. We grew rich at last, leather breeches, and enormous jack-boots-set off so rich that the sum was nearly made up, How toradvantage his stalwart figure.mov ta noitsbot happy we were! and twice as fond of each other We were drawn up quite close to the posthouse, as ever. Bu But before the year was o out, ah, what to be out of the way when the cortège arrived, a blow came! T The conscription took place-I the pole of our carriage almost touching the wall was drawn for a soldier oldier Heda &Marie?” 1 of the building Soon after taking up this posiWhat is to become of us now, tion, a little old man with a basket of cakes on cried. "We are lost!" slaih his arm came up to us and asked us to buy some. She threw her arms round my neck, and wept He was a lean, shrivelled, little creature, with as if her heart would break. Then suddenly a huge pair of earrings, and a brown face like starting up, she ran into her own little room, and adwalnutson Very neat in his person; his linen bringing out her purse, pressed it into my hand. jacket and fapron, with the cloth that covered There," she sobbed; "take that, Jeannot. You his basket, were as white as snow. We did not have more we can buy a substitute." 'f mind him at first, but he returned often to the Marie!? charge. goitring 99 Buy my cakes, ladies,' he said they are excellent.: First quality flour, best of butter, and such sugar and fruit! Plenty of spice too, and no stint of eggs. They melt in the mouth. Poor Marie taught me to make them-Marie, you know My little daughter makes them too; but I never allow her to come out and sell them. Sheris too young and too pretty; not so pretty, though, as Marie! Buy my cakes, my excellent cakes' dgrond bad doidy 2981od sit to gros diTo please the poor little man, and get of his importunities, we invested in some of his manufactures. They did not quite come up to his description of them, but were highly appreciated by the children to whom they were
7 T Dom righT
But our marriage our marriage, Marie
and I wrang my hands in despair.) ot hands in despair. We A "Well, mon ami, it must only be put 729185 must go to work again and get more money, We are both so young, Jeannot, so very young There was no help for it. I was bought off It took more than half our funds; very down-hearted at having to begin afresh. Marie had much more courage. The year passed on, and brought joy at its close. An old uncle, a grocer at Dijon, died and left me a small legacy. Marie became mine, olid had, and how prettily What a nice cottage we had,
and I was
it was furnished! How proud I was of my little