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THE DUKE OF ARCANUM.

§T CAJaLETON LOWG.

CHAPTER XXXI. THE REUNION. There was great indignation in the community against Madame Renaud when it became known that a human skeleton had been found in the dungeon beneath the old Kinzie-street bagnio. A suspicion of such things had long been prevalent in die minds of people, and when such incontrovertible evidence was discovered, the popular voice cried out for justice. The interest in the Maneel Tewkes murder ease was revived by these notable arrests. The incidents of the Edgeumb trial were recalled. The conviction, escape, suicide, and strange disappearance of James Kye were all brought to mind, only to' augment or intensify the feelings of bitterness, or to call forth still deeper execrations upon the heads of the prisoners. There was a popular sen- ; timent abroad that a speedy trial and conviction should follow. The State's Attorney saw in Jarinyn's discovery a confirmation of the statement made to him by Chloe in the presence of the Governor and the 'Duke of Arcanum.' . The demands of an outraged public found a responsive echo in his actions, and he prepared to hasten the arraignment and trial of the prisoners with all the speed which the law would afford. As to the prisoners themselves, they were kept entirely apart. Pintard was furious when told that instead of the old charge of burglary which was pending against him at the time of his escape, he would be tried upon an indictment for murder. Madam Renaud was irreconcilable over her fate. She knew that she had run her course; that the police had long sought an opportunity to place her within the pale of the !iw, to answer for her many crimes. She raved in her cell, and loaded the prison air i with foul curses upon Jarmyn and I the officers for the deception which i they had practised upon her. With i one breath she protested her innocence, and with- the next she emptied the vials of her wrath upon Coulter, Pintard, and Chloe. Coulter was sullen. He sat upon the j edg-e of his bed hours at a time, with i his head bent forward in his hands, j If anyone approached the door he I would sometimes glance with a rest- I less look toward the iron bars of his Cell. The dim discernment of a mind clouded with alcohol, such as had been ! bis upon the night of his arrest, had ; cleared into a true perception of his j condition, and the fate which was in j store for him. He saw himself in the same situation as the man he had persecuted —in prison, without a farthing or a friend, and what was even worse, without the consciousness of innocence to give him hope. If there i ever comes an hour of desolation to a wicked heart ; an hour when neglected opportunities, a misspent life, or a life of crime lashes the soul with the terrors of the penalties before it, it must have come to him as he languish-; ed under the restraint of his prison j ■walls, contemplating the past and an- j tieipating the future. In such a sit- I nation a man's own thoughts become

an engine of torture, remorseless, consuming, and from which there is no escape. There can be but one result to all this. It is such as befell Coulter : the victim falls into a state of sulleuness. It is the first state to supervene, after which follows a gradual submission 'to the inevitable. The State's Attorney procured two indictments against the prisoners, one for the murder of Maneel Tewkes, the other for the murder of James Kye. A few days later the court assembled in which they were to be tried. Madame Kena.nd had funds with which to procure a lawyer to defend her ; but the Court found it necessary to appoint one to look after Coulter's ami Pintard's defence. They were to be tried together upon the indictment for the murder of M-ancel Tewkes. The prisoners were brought before the bar to plead. Coulter and Pintard pleaded not guilty. Then Madame Renaud stood up. ' Do you plead guilty or not guilty to the charge ?' was asked. 'Guilty!' answered the wautou. There was a sensation in the court- ', room as the coarse, gruff voice of the ; woman pronounced these words. I Coulter and Pintard turned upon ; her a look of hatred and contempt. ,If they had cherished any hope at all; it was dissipated by the words which they had just heard. Madame Renaud's counsel then arose and said : ' Your Honor : After j a thorough examination into my client's case I have advised this step. Madame Renaud pleads guilty to this ; charge and throws herself upon the \ mercy of the Court, hoping- that it i ! will be remembered in pronouncing | sentence upon her that she is a woman. The prosecution, I am informed, does not seek to establish anything j beyond the fact that this woman was one of the conspirators against the life of Maneel Tewkes, and not a priu- i cipal to the act of murder itself. We | do not deny that the responsibility j before the law is the same in either! case ; but we hope that it will mitigate the severity of the sentence j which the Court might otherwise see! fit to pronounce. Anne Renaud will ! make a full confession as the trial j proceeds. , The plea was entered upon the court, records, and the trial proceeded. A lady entered with two children. They were given seats near the State's! Attorney. Coulter recognised the wife of Stanley Edgeumb. Governor Davids occupied a chair by the side of the judge, while Chloe sat next to Imogen. It was her hour | of triumph. A look of revenge was in ■ her eyes. There was no longer any i need of keeping up her deception, j The mask was off. and Coulter saw, j when it was too late, that he had been j consorting with the very incarnation j of duplicity ; one who had led him j slowly but surely into the meshes of ; the law. j Next to Chloe s*"t Robert Earl, and ! behind him. leaning with his arm up- j on the railing- which kept back the j throng of .spectators, stood Jarinyn, j viewing the scene with a relish. It ! was meat and drink to him : the re- ■ ward of a long and faithful chase. ; Jasper Morton was not present. After j the opening speeches came the cvi- j dence. The State's Attorney said that ' he would first show the existence of j a conspiracy to commit the murder ' and charge it upon Stanley Edgeumb. ! Robert Earl was called and told the jury of the lost message and the delivery of the envelope on the night of i the mnrdeividentifying- Coulter. | Imogen came next, telling how the :

, envelope was recived and what, it con- ; tamed, and of.the find tag of the lost • messuge. Next followed Jarmyn, who told i hoWj the morning- after the crime was i committed, the Chief-of-Police (since • deceased) had received a letter from Coulter (iMiouneiiig- Edg-eumb, and describing a certain bill, which he i suggested might be found upon his j person, and which was found after ; his arrest. Chloe was then called, and the si- I lenee of death came over the court. ! Every net.-k was craned and every ear was strained. She was calm and j resolute, and met the gaze of Madame .Renaud, Pintard, and Coulter unflinch- • ing-ly. She told the story of her rela- | tions with Coulter; of her suspicions, I and the manner in which she had learned of the affair; of Coulter beingiat the house on the- night of the j crime; of his going- away with Pintard and Yitellius; of their return later in the evening-; of the descent of the police and the flight into the tunnel. She told how .she had, at Coulter's request, disguised herself and testified at the Edgeumb trial as being- the room-mate of James Kye; how Coulter had told her upon that j occasion that she need never fear any ! trouble from Kye. Chloe then finished jby describing" I'intard's proposal to j extort money from Coulter; and tho. story of Kye's abduction ami fate , which she had obtained from him, j ostensibly for that purpose. i Coulter turned with a scowl upon | Pintard. lie saw that even the com- j panion of his miserable fate had also j conspired ag-ainst him. Hedged about by the enemies of his own creation, he knew not where to turn, or where i to look for a sing-le human soul to j give him comfort. Madame Renaud then mado her confession. Jt was corroborative of Chloo's evidence. The story of tho j | conspiracy was told in a plain, blunt i manner, without- any attempt to conceal her complicity. The cross-examination by the de~ t fence developed nothing- in their bej half. The State having closed its case, j j a few moments of consultation ensued j I between the counsel and prisoners, I after which the former stated that no evidence would be offered by the j defence. b*t instead, the case would bt" ' permitted to go to the jury after the closing- ayg-uments were heard. It was r most unexpected contraction of tin; trial. The jury having- retired, Jarinyn left the court-room in great haste, and ! Governor .Davids left his seat by the I judge and took another near the j State's Attorney. Half an hour liaring suflioi'd for the jury to prepare' ! their verdict, it was read to the court. ! jlt pronounced the culprits guilty, and i imposed the death penalty, as was | expected, even by the prisoners them-! I selves. | I At this juncture, a gentleman, finely ' attired, and of distinguished presence, P was seen making his way toward the l table before which Governor Davids ' and the State's Attorney were sitting-. He seeino'.l to command the attention of all in the room. Even the judge, who was about to make some remark to the jiuy, paused at the sight of the J stranger. The prisoners, who had c appeared insouciant over the reading ' of the verdict, lost what momentary interest they may have had in it by j his appearance. Jannyn, who was i figain seen leaning upon the railing, r looked on interestedly, his face beam- ( ins- v.-ith smiles. Governor Davids rose as the gentleman approached, f and shook his hand; then, turning-, addressed the court: ' (

'Your honor: I trust that you will ; pardon this interruption, but I desire to present to you our distinguished fellow-citizen, Jasper Morton, who has : been facetiously called the "Duke of : ; Arcanum." Mr Morton has an iin- ! portant statement to make, which has some bearing upon this case.' | Morton made a profound bow, : j which was suitably recognised by tho ; judge. The latter having signified his > willing-ness to listen, Morton spoke in ! clear and measured toues: i Tour honor: By the trial which has just been brought to a close the public has had recalled an incident which happened one evening- in the closing days of August. 1870. A man was on trial-for his life, charged with the murder of this same Maneel Tewkes, j for which these persons have been tried and convicted,^ Just as the jury I entered the room I s terrific thunder- | storm burst from the clouds. Whether ] or not it was a just interposition of Providence hi behalf- of an innocent man, at any rate, even then, as the j clerk read the words which pronounc- : ed that terrible verdict, a thunder- i bolt stretched the State's Attorney j lifeless upon the iloor. In the con-j fusion which followed the prisoner made his escape. Escaped, for what?] to cast himself into the lake- and i die the miserable death of a sui- j eide ? xNo; escaped to live i I and to have honour restored to his j name; and that same man now stands \ ; before you vindicated, and demands i ' that justice, tardy though it be, shall ! absolve the responsibility which was ; ; wrongfully charged upon him for the commission of that horrible crime. 1, ■ Stanley Edgcnmb, now .surrender my- ' i self and claim the immunity which i the law guarantees to an innocent per- • son.' There was a tremendous commotion in the court-room. Imogen, who j could no longer restrain herself from i the excitement under Which she had been labouring since Governor Davids' announcement that her husband was Jasper Morton, the 'Duke of Arcanum,' sprang forward, threw herself into Morton's arms, and exclaimed: 'Yes; you are my husband, and you are vindicated at fast!' Chloe and Robert Earl were spoechI less with surprise, while Coulter, j blanching to the whiteness of death, ' trembled in his chair like an aspen J leaf. There was a sudden change apparent, for with a startling wildness, his eyes wandered about and then set- j tied upon Edgeumb with a fixed and I glassy stare. Ilia reason had lied; he i had gone utterly mad. Whether or not Coulter thought that ) the dead had returned to haunt him, or j i the memories of that terrible night j with the ghost of Stanley Edgeumb j bursting upon hit* mind with unex- J pected suddenness had unseated his j reason, will never hv known. The j probabilities art* that dissipation had I ' robbed his mind of the vigour which ' ' was essential to sustain it in so g-reat t a shock, so that when it came he fell into a helpless state of insanity. (To be Continued.)

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS18981221.2.45

Bibliographic details

THE DUKE OF ARCANUM., Auckland Star, Volume XXIX, Issue 301, 21 December 1898

Word Count
2,272

THE DUKE OF ARCANUM. Auckland Star, Volume XXIX, Issue 301, 21 December 1898

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