Page images


favourite, Prince Potemkin : the Boyard who had as many diamondmounted snuftboxes as there were days of the year, and who was so cleverly robbed of one of his treasures during a visit to England, by the distinguished English pickpocket, George Barrington. A palace is nothing without a ghost; and I may mention that the Taurida Palace is said to be haunted by the phantom of the last Khan of the Crimea, who on windy nights can be heard dolefully lamenting the loss of the Chersonese, and the spoliation of the Tartar Palace of Simpheropol. There is an apartment in this goblin palace (I mean the Petropolitan, not the Tartar one) which requires the aid of twenty thousand wax candles to illuminate it thoroughly. Sometimes, again, the Anitchkoff Palace is inhabited by the Imperial Family. This was built by the Empress Elizabeth for Count Ramusovsky, but it afterwards passed into the hands of the omnivorous Potemkin. After his death it reverted to the Crown, and was long a favourite abode of the Czar Nicholas. The old Michailoff Palace on the Fontanka Canal is now a school of military engineering; while the new Michailoff was for many years inhabited by the Grand Duke Michael. The Grand Duke Constantine (brother of the present Czar) used to live in a prodigious house which went by the name of the Palace of Marble. It was a very dingy house to look at outside ; and, so far as appearances went, might have been more appropriately designated the Palace of Wallsend.

It is to this city, full of palaces, and full, too, of churches, museums, public offices, barracks, theatres, and convents, all on a colossal scale, and all with façades more or less cracked by the asperity of the climate, that our Sailor Prince is going to claim his Imperial bride. Was there not an unfortunate King of Bohemia once who from his continual misadventures was styled “The Winter Prince”? The hyperborean influences will, we all hope and believe, bring better auguries to his Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh; and all things considered, mid-winter is about the very best time in the year to be married in the capital of all the Russias. In summer the climate of St. Petersburg is intolerably hot; the odours of the streets are far from agreeable; there is generally a good deal of cholera about; the Opera and all the best theatres are closed, and the fashionable world all out of town. In winter the weather is excruciatingly cold, but society never fails to be, in music-hall parlance, “awfully jolly.” The phrase is not quite so slangy as it seems, and is at least appropriate to winter life in St. Petersburg. A Frenchman who was asked how he had enjoyed himself there, replied that he had found "la vie horriblement gaie.” “You are obliged to dance furiously,” he said, "in order to avoid being frozen to death.”

[blocks in formation]

DHE privileges of cross-examination in England are a dis

grace to our judicial code. The statutory declaration, as used in the Ransford-Barnard case, is an evil sufficiently

appalling. Happily this power is not often exercised; but the intellectual thumb-screw placed in the hands of petty solicitors and barristers-at-law is used every day, and used mercilessly. “The line" is drawn everywhere and for everything it would seem except in a legal cross-examination.

It is a strange anomaly in a country where libel is jealously punished, that a lawyer instructed by a wicked client, or of his own malice, may slander man or woman by implication or innuendo, or directly, without having any limit set to his brutal torture. Surely some wise lawgiver in the future will impose penalties for the libel by inference, now legalised in so-called courts of law.

How far Mr. Cuffing's cross-examination of Lady St. Barnard was justified the reader is hardly in a position to judge, though it is easy to form an estimate of some of the questions that most seriously affected her reputation. It has been stated by two of my critics that this case is the ripping up of the Twiss scandal. The reader who reads and does not criticise with a paper-knife will smile at the shallowness of this statement. In the two histories there is no incident alike; the story of Clytie stands apart altogether from the case in question; the two narratives are as different as the poetry of Miller and Buchanan; though why this should irritate the Spectator is only a mystery outside literary circles. This is, however, by the way. “ Clytie” may not be put down by critics who dislike Miller and object to " Prebend's Bridge," a proper name, as ungrammatical.

The cross-examination of Lady St. Barnard commenced on the


fifth day of her ladyship’s appearance, in a crowded court hushed with curiosity and wonder.

“Now, Lady St. Barnard, kindly attend to me,” said Mr. Cuffing, with an air of importance which greatly irritated Mr. Holland.

The lady acknowledged Mr. Cuffing's observation by a slight inclination of the head.

You say your grandfather was a professor of music, and was organist of St. Bride's at Dunelm, as long as you can remember?

Was he not a performer in the orchestra of a London theatre ?
I have understood so.
How old were you when you were taken to Dunelm ?
I was an infant.
Your mother was an actress ?

Mr. Holland objected to these questions; they were unnecessary, and the facts sought to be elicited were admitted.

Mr. Cuffing: We shall get on much quicker if you do not interrupt. The questions, I submit, are quite proper.

The magistrate overruled Mr. Holland's objection, and the crossexamination was continued.

Your mother was Miss Pitt, the well-known actress ?

And she eloped with the son of a nobleman, the Hon. Frank Barnard, and you were born at Boulogne ?

I believe that is so.
What day school did you attend at Dunelm?
Miss Bede's, at South Hill.
How old were you then ?
About twelve, I think.
Why did you leave Miss Bede's school?
Because my grandfather thought I required more advanced tuition.
How old were you



left? Fourteen or fifteen.

Now try and remember, did you not leave on account of insubordination?

She was.


I did not

Was not your grandfather advised to remove you from Miss Bede's school?

No; the suggestion is altogether unwarranted.
Indeed; we shall see. Where next did you go to school?
To the Miss Cuthberts', in the College Green.


had also tutors at home ?
How many ?
A French master and a drawing master.
And how long did you remain with the Miss Cuthberts ?
A year or more.

You said you left school at fifteen; your present calculation would make it sixteen. Which is correct?

Both. I think I said I left when I was about fifteen or sixteen.

Do you remember if you had written characters from your schoolmistresses ?

I do not

Did not the Miss Cuthberts complain to your grandfather about your conduct in school hours and vut of school hours ?

Not that I know of. They had no reason to do so.

Were you not charged with being given to flirtation, even at that early age ?

Mr. Holland : Really, your Worship, is this absurd and cruel style of thing to be allowed ?

Mr. Cuffing : Certainly it is. If it is absurd, why object ?

The Magistrate : I really do not see how these questions are to advance the interest of your client, Mr. Cuffing. I have no power to stop you; but I would suggest that

Mr. Cuffing : Pardon my interruption, your Worship; my questions are quite pertinent to the case. My client, who is a prisoner, remember, is charged with a very serious offence; he justifies all he has said. (Sensation.)

Mr. Holland : Justifies all he has said, after the evidence as to the late Earl ?

Mr. Cuffing : He justifies all he has said ; and it is my duty, however painful, to show you the bias of Miss Waller's mind from the first; and I shall do it, your Worship, from first to last. If Mr. Holland objects to this, let him request you to discharge my client, and dismiss the case. If he courts inquiry, why then does he desire to stifle it in the bud? (Applause.)

Mr. Holland : I have no desire to stifle inquiry, but as far as may be, I am anxious to protect a lady from insult and calumny.

The Magistrate : I can only suggest moderation on both sides, and I trust Mr. Cuffing will not overstep the licence of an advocate.

Mr. Holland bowed submissively to the Bench. Kalmat watched with painful anxiety the face of the witness. Lord St. Barnard, who sat beside her, pressed her hand; the crowded court took a long breath, and the cross-examination was continued.

You told my learned friend how you first met the prisoner. It was in the Banks, at Dunelm?

Yes, I said so.

You said so; and you met him a week afterwards, and allowed him to walk with you?

He placed himself in my way, took off his hat, and said he particularly wished to see my grandfather.

Yes, I know; and he walked home with you?

I said my grandfather was at home, and Mr. Ransford walked by my side, as I was then on my way home.

What did he talk about?
I do not know.
Did he meet you after that time?
Yes, occasionally.
Unknown to your grandfather?
I did not always tell my grandfather.

Oh, you did not always tell your grandfather. Did Mr. Ransford make love to you?

He complimented me, and I was foolish enough to listen to him. I was very young, and knew no better.

Oh, he complimented you, and you were foolish enough to listen to him. How old were you?

About seventeen.

Interesting age. Did another gentleman in Dunelm pay you attention ?

Another gentleman?

Yes, Lady St. Barnard ; let me assist your memory. Did a Mr. Mayfield visit the Hermitage and walk out with you?

Mr. Tom Mayfield was a student and a friend of my grandfather's ; and, with my grandfather's consent, he proposed for me in marriage, and I refused him.

Indeed. Where was this?
I was gathering wild flowers.

Very well. You were gathering wild flowers when Mr. Mayfield pressed his suit, and was rejected. Why was he not acceptable to you?

I do not know: he was a gentleman, and my grandfather hoped I would accept him, chiefly, I think, because my grandfather regarded Mr. Ransford as a scoundrel.

Because Mr. Ransford was a scoundrel. Did you walk with Mr.

« PreviousContinue »