Read CHAPTER VII of The Foreigner , free online book, by Ralph Connor, on ReadCentral.com.

CONDEMNED

The two months preceding the trial were months of restless agony to the prisoner, Kalmar. Day and night he paced his cell like a tiger in a cage, taking little food and sleeping only when overcome with exhaustion. It was not the confinement that fretted him. The Winnipeg jail, with all its defects and limitations, was a palace to some that he had known. It was not the fear of the issue to his trial that drove sleep and hunger from him. Death, exile, imprisonment, had been too long at his heels to be strangers to him or to cause him fear. In his heart a fire burned. Rosenblatt still lived, and vengeance had halted in its pursuit.

But deep as was the passion in his heart for vengeance, that for his country and his cause burned deeper. He had been able to establish lines of communication between his fatherland and the new world by means of which the oppressed, the hunted, might reach freedom and safety. The final touches to his plans were still to be given. Furthermore, it was necessary that he should make his report in person, else much of his labour would be fruitless. It was this that brought him “white nights” and black days.

Every day Paulina called at the jail and waited long hours with uncomplaining patience in the winter cold, till she could be admitted. Her husband showed no sign of interest, much less of gratitude. One question alone, he asked day by day.

“The children are well?”

“They are well,” Paulina would answer. “They ask to see you every day.”

“They may not see me here,” he would reply, after which she would turn away, her dull face full of patient suffering.

One item of news she brought him that gave him a moment’s cheer.

“Kalman,” she said, one day, “will speak nothing but Russian.”

“Ha!” he exclaimed. “He is my son indeed. But,” he added gloomily, “of what use now?”

Others sought admission, visitors from the Jail Mission, philanthropic ladies, a priest from St. Boniface, a Methodist minister, but all were alike denied. Simon Ketzel he sent for, and with him held long converse, with the result that he was able to secure for his defence the services of O’Hara, the leading criminal lawyer of Western Canada. There appeared to be no lack of money, and all that money could do was done.

The case began to excite considerable interest, not only in the city, but throughout the whole country. Public opinion was strongly against the prisoner. Never in the history of the new country had a crime been committed of such horrible and bloodthirsty deliberation. It is true that this opinion was based largely upon Rosenblatt’s deposition, taken by Sergeant Cameron and Dr. Wright when he was supposed to be in extremis, and upon various newspaper interviews with him that appeared from time to time. The Morning News in a trenchant leader pointed out the danger to which Western Canada was exposed from the presence of these semibarbarous peoples from Central and Southern Europe, and expressed the hope that the authorities would deal with the present case in such a manner as would give a severe but necessary lesson to the lawless among our foreign population.

There was, indeed, from the first, no hope of acquittal. Staunton, who was acting for the Crown, was convinced that the prisoner would receive the maximum sentence allowed by law. And even O’Hara acknowledged privately to his solicitor that the best he could hope for was a life sentence. “And, by gad! he ought to get it! It is the most damnable case of bloody murder that I have come across in all my practice!” But this was before Mr. O’Hara had interviewed Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

In his hunt for evidence Mr. O’Hara had come upon his fellow countrywoman in the foreign colony. At first from sheer delight in her rich brogue and her shrewd native wit, and afterward from the conviction that her testimony might be turned to good account on behalf of his client, Mr. O’Hara diligently cultivated Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s acquaintance. It helped their mutual admiration and their friendship not a little to discover their common devotion to “the cause o’ the paythriot in dear owld Ireland,” and their mutual interest in the prisoner Kalmar, as a fellow “paythriot.”

Immediately upon his discovery of the rich possibilities in Mrs. Fitzpatrick Mr. O’Hara got himself invited to drink a “cup o’ tay,” which, being made in the little black teapot brought all the way from Ireland, he pronounced to be the finest he had had since coming to Canada fifteen years ago. Indeed, he declared that he had serious doubts as to the possibilities of producing on this side of the water and by people of this country just such tea as he had been accustomed to drink in the dear old land. It was over this cup of tea, and as he drew from Mrs. Fitzpatrick the description of the scene between the Nihilist and his children, that Mr. O’Hara came to realise the vast productivity of the mine he had uncovered. He determined that Mrs. Fitzpatrick should tell this tale in court.

“We’ll bate that divil yet!” he exclaimed to his new-found friend, his brogue taking a richer flavour from his environment. “They would be having the life of the poor man for letting a little of the black blood out of the black heart of that traitor and blackguard, and may the divil fly away with him! But we’ll bate them yet, and it’s yersilf is the one to do it!” he exclaimed in growing excitement and admiration.

At first Mrs. Fitzpatrick was most reluctant to appear in court.

“Sure, what would I do or say in the face av His ‘Anner an’ the joorymin, with niver a word on the tongue av me?”

“And would you let the poor man go to his death?” cried O’Hara, proceeding to draw a lurid picture of the deadly machinations of the lawyer for the Crown, Rosenblatt and their associates against this unfortunate patriot who, for love of his country and for the honour of his name, had sought to wreak a well-merited vengeance upon the abject traitor.

Under his vehement eloquence Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s Celtic nature kindled into flame. She would go to the court, and in the face of Judge and jury and all the rest of them, she would tell them the kind of man they were about to do to death. Over and over again O’Hara had her repeat her story, emphasising with adjurations, oaths and even tears, those passages that his experience told him would be most effective for his purpose, till he felt sure she would do full credit to her part.

During the trial the court room was crowded, not only with the ordinary morbid sensation seekers, but with some of Winnipeg’s most respectable citizens. In one corner of the court room there was grouped day after day a small company of foreigners. Every man of Russian blood in the city who could attend, was there. It was against the prisoner’s will and desire, but in accordance with O’Hara’s plan of defence that Paulina and the children should be present at every session of the court. The proceedings were conducted through an interpreter where it was necessary, Kalmar pleading ignorance of the niceties of the English language.

The prisoner was arraigned on the double charge of attempted murder in the case of Rosenblatt, and of manslaughter in that of the dead Polak. The evidence of Dr. Wright and of Sergeant Cameron, corroborated by that of many eyewitnesses, established beyond a doubt that the wound in Rosenblatt’s breast and in the dead Polak’s neck was done by the same instrument, and that instrument the spring knife discovered in the basement of Paulina’s house.

Kalmar, arrayed in his false black beard, was identified by the Dalmatian and by others as the Polak’s partner in the fatal game of cards. Staunton had little difficulty in establishing the identity of the black-bearded man who had appeared here and there during the wedding festivities with Kalmar himself. From the stupid Paulina he skilfully drew evidence substantiating this fact, and though this evidence was ruled out on the ground that she was the prisoner’s wife, the effect upon the jury was not lost.

The most damaging testimony was, of course, that offered by Rosenblatt himself, and this evidence Staunton was clever enough to use with dramatic effect. Pale, wasted, and still weak, Rosenblatt told his story to the court in a manner that held the crowd breathless with horror. Never had such a tale been told to Canadian ears. The only man unmoved was the prisoner. Throughout the narrative he maintained an attitude of bored indifference.

It was not in vain, however, that O’Hara sought to weaken the effect of Rosenblatt’s testimony by turning the light upon some shady spots in his career. In his ruthless “sweating” of the witness, the lawyer forced the admission that he had once been the friend of the prisoner; that he had been the unsuccessful suitor of the prisoner’s first wife; that he had been a member of the same Secret Society in Russia; that he had joined the Secret Service of the Russian Government and had given evidence leading to the breaking up of that Society; that he had furnished the information that led to the prisoner’s transportation to Siberia. At this point O’Hara swiftly changed his ground.

“You have befriended this woman, Paulina Koval?”

“Yes.”

“You have, in fact, acted as her financial agent?”

“I have assisted her in her financial arrangements. She cannot speak English.”

“Whose house does she live in?”

Rosenblatt hesitated. “I am not sure.”

“Whose house does she live in?” roared O’Hara, stepping toward him.

“Her own, I think.”

“You think!” shouted the lawyer. “You know, don’t you? You bought it for her. You made the first payment upon it, did you not?”

“Yes, I did.”

“And since that time you have cashed money orders for her that have come month by month?”

Again Rosenblatt hesitated. “I have sometimes ”

“Tell the truth!” shouted O’Hara again; “a lie here can be easily traced. I have the evidence. Did you not cash the money orders that came month by month addressed to Paulina Koval?”

“I did, with her permission. She made her mark.”

“Where did the money go?”

“I gave it to her.”

“And what did she do with it?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did she not give you money from time to time to make payments upon the house?”

“No.”

“Be careful. Let me remind you that there is a law against perjury. I give you another chance. Did you not receive certain money to make payments on this house?” O’Hara spoke with terrible and deliberate emphasis.

“I did, some.”

“And did you make these payments?”

“Yes.”

“Would you be surprised to know, as I now tell the court, that since the first payment, made soon after the arrival in the country, not a dollar further had been paid?”

Rosenblatt was silent.

“Answer me!” roared the lawyer. “Would you be surprised to know this?”

“Yes.”

“This surprise is waiting you. Now then, who runs this house?”

“Paulina Koval.”

“Tell me the truth. Who lets the rooms in this house, and who is responsible for the domestic arrangements of the house? Tell me,” said O’Hara, bearing down upon the wretched Rosenblatt.

“I assist her sometimes.”

“Then you are responsible for the conditions under which Paulina Koval has been forced to live during these three years?”

Rosenblatt was silent.

“That will do,” said O’Hara with contempt unspeakable.

He could easily have made more out of his sweating process had not the prisoner resolutely forbidden any reference to Rosenblatt’s treatment of and relation to the unfortunate Paulina or the domestic arrangements that he had introduced into that unfortunate woman’s household. Kalmar was rigid in his determination that no stain should come to his honour in this regard.

With the testimony of each succeeding witness the cloud overhanging the prisoner grew steadily blacker. The first ray of light came from an unexpected quarter. It was during the examination of Mrs. Fitzpatrick that O’Hara got his first opening. It was a master stroke of strategy on his part that Mrs. Fitzpatrick was made to appear as a witness for the Crown, for the purpose of establishing the deplorable and culpable indifference to and neglect of his family on the part of the prisoner.

Day after day Mrs. Fitzpatrick had appeared in the court, following the evidence with rising wrath against the Crown, its witnesses, and all the machinery of prosecution. All unwitting of this surging tide of indignation in the heart of his witness the Crown Counsel summoned her to the stand. Mr. Staunton’s manner was exceedingly affable.

“Your name, Madam?” he enquired.

“Me name is it?” replied the witness. “An’ don’t ye know me name as well as I do mesilf?”

Mr. Staunton smiled pleasantly. “But the court desires to share that privilege with me, so perhaps you will be good enough to inform the court of your name.”

“If the court wants me name let the court ask it. An’ if you want to tell the court me name ye can plaze yersilf, fer it’s little I think av a man that’ll sit in me house by the hour forninst mesilf an’ me husband there, and then let on before the court that he doesn’t know the name av me.”

“Why, my dear Madam,” said the lawyer soothingly, “it is a mere matter of form that you should tell the court your name.”

“A matter o’ form, is it? Indade, an’ it’s mighty poor form it is, if ye ask my opinion, which ye don’t, an’ it’s mighty poor manners.”

At this point the judge interposed.

“Come, come,” he said, “what is your name? I suppose you are not ashamed of it?”

“Ashamed av it, Yer ’Anner!” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick, with an elaborate bow to the judge, “ashamed av it! There’s niver a shame goes with the name av Fitzpatrick!”

“Your name is Fitzpatrick?”

“It is, Yer ’Anner. Mistress Timothy Fitzpatrick, Monaghan that was, the Monaghans o’ Ballinghalereen, which I’m sure Yer ’Anner’ll have heard of, fer the intilligent man ye are.”

“Mrs. Timothy Fitzpatrick,” said the judge, with the suspicion of a smile, writing the name down. “And your first name?”

“Me Christian name is it? Ah, thin, Judge dear, wud ye be wantin’ that too?” smiling at him in quite a coquettish manner. “Sure, if ye had had the good taste an’ good fortune to be born in the County Mayo ye wudn’t nade to be askin’ the name av Nora Monaghan o’ Ballinghalereen.”

The judge’s face was now in a broad smile.

“Nora Fitzpatrick,” he said, writing the name down. “Let us proceed.”

“Well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick,” said the counsel for the Crown, “will you kindly look at the prisoner?”

Mrs. Fitzpatrick turned square about and let her eyes rest upon the prisoner’s pale face.

“I will that,” said she, “an’ there’s many another I’d like to see in his place.”

“Do you know him?”

“I do that. An’ a finer gintleman I niver saw, savin’ Yer ’Anner’s prisence,” bowing to the judge.

“Oh, indeed! A fine gentleman? And how do you know that, Mrs. Fitzpatrick?”

“How do I know a gintleman, is it? Sure, it’s by the way he trates a lady.”

“Ah,” said the lawyer with a most courteous bow, “that is a most excellent test. And what do you know of this ah this gentleman’s manners with ladies?”

“An’ don’t I know how he trates mesilf? He’s not wan to fergit a lady’s name, you may lay to that.”

“Oh, indeed, he has treated you in a gentlemanly manner?”

“He has.”

“And do you think this is his usual manner with ladies?”

“I do,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick with great emphasis. “A gintleman, a rale gintleman, is the same to a lady wheriver he mates her, an’ the same to ladies whativer they be.”

“Mrs. Fitzpatrick,” said Mr. Staunton, “you have evidently a most excellent taste in gentlemen.”

“I have that same,” she replied. “An’ I know thim that are no gintlemen,” she continued with meaning emphasis, “whativer their clothes may be.”

A titter ran through the court room.

“Silence in the court!” shouted the crier.

“Now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick,” proceeded Mr. Staunton, taking a firmer tone, “you say the prisoner is a gentleman.”

“I do. An’ I can tell ye ”

“Wait, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. Wait a moment. Do you happen to know his wife?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know his wife?”

“Perhaps I do if you say so.”

“But, my good woman, I don’t say so. Do you know his wife, or do you not know his wife?”

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean?” said Mr. Staunton impatiently. “Do you mean that you have no acquaintance with the wife of the prisoner?”

“I might.”

“What do you mean by might?”

“Aw now,” remonstrated Mrs. Fitzpatrick, “sure, ye wouldn’t be askin’ a poor woman like me the manin’ av a word like that.”

“Now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, let us get done with this fooling. Tell me whether you know the prisoner’s wife or not.”

“Indade, an’ the sooner yer done the better I’d like it.”

“Well, then, tell me. You either know the prisoner’s wife or you don’t know her?”

“That’s as may be,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

“Then tell me,” thundered Staunton, losing all patience, “do you know this woman or not?” pointing to Paulina.

“That woman is it?” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick. “An’ why didn’t ye save yer breath an’ His ’Anner’s time, not to shpake av me own that has to work fer me daily bread, by askin’ me long ago if I know this woman?”

“Well, do you know her?”

“I do.”

“Then why did you not say so before when I asked you?” said the exasperated lawyer.

“I did,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick calmly.

“Did you not say that you did not know the wife of the prisoner?”

“I did not,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick.

By this time the whole audience, including the judge, were indulging themselves in a wide open smile.

“Well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick,” at length said the lawyer, “I must be decidedly stupid, for I fail to understand you.”

“Indade, I’ll not be contradictin’ ye, fer it’s yersilf ought to know best about that,” replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick pleasantly.

A roar of laughter filled the court room.

“Silence in the court! We must have order,” said the judge, recovering his gravity with such celerity as he could. “Go on, Mr. Staunton.”

“Well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, I understand that you know this woman, Paulina Koval.”

“It’s mesilf that’s plazed to hear it.”

“And I suppose you know that she is the prisoner’s wife?”

“An’ why wud ye be afther supposin’ such a thing?”

“Well! well! Do you know it?”

“Do I know what?”

“Do you know that this woman, Paulina Koval, is the wife of the prisoner?”

“She might be.”

“Oh, come now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, we are not splitting hairs. You know perfectly well that this woman is the prisoner’s wife.”

“Indade, an’ it’s the cliver man ye are to know what I know better than I know mesilf.”

“Well, well,” said Mr. Staunton impatiently, “will you say that you do not consider this woman the prisoner’s wife?”

“I will not,” replied Mrs. Fitzpatrick emphatically, “any more than I won’t say she’s yer own.”

“Well, well, let us get on. Let us suppose that this woman is his wife. How did the prisoner treat this woman?”

“An’ how should he trate her?”

“Did he support her?”

“An’ why should he, with her havin’ two hands av her own?”

“Well now, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, surely you will say that it was a case of cruel neglect on the part of the prisoner that he should leave her to care for herself and her children, a stranger in a strange land.”

“Indade, it’s not fer me to be runnin’ down the counthry,” exclaimed Mrs. Fitzpatrick. “Sure, it’s a good land, an’ a foine counthry it is to make a livin’ in,” she continued with a glow of enthusiasm, “an’ it’s mesilf that knows it.”

“Oh, the country is all right,” said Mr. Staunton impatiently; “but did not this man abandon his wife?”

“An’ if he’s the man ye think he is wudn’t she be the better quit av him?”

The lawyer had reached the limit of his patience.

“Well, well, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, we will leave the wife alone. But what of his treatment of the children?”

“The childer?” exclaimed Mrs. Fitzpatrick, “the childer, is it? Man dear, but he’s the thrue gintleman an’ the tinder-hearted father fer his childer, an’ so he is.”

“Oh, indeed, Mrs. Fitzpatrick. I am sure we shall all be delighted to hear this. But you certainly have strange views of a father’s duty toward his children. Now will you tell the court upon what ground you would extol his parental virtues?”

“Faix, it’s niver a word I’ve said about his parental virtues, or any other kind o’ virtues. I was talkin’ about his childer.”

“Well, then, perhaps you would be kind enough to tell the court what reason you have for approving his treatment of his children?”

Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s opportunity had arrived. She heaved a great sigh, and with some deliberation began.

“Och! thin, an’ it’s just terrible heart-rendin’ an’ so it is. An’ it’s mesilf that can shpake, havin’ tin av me own, forby three that’s dead an’ gone, God rest their sowls! an’ four that’s married, an’ the rest all doin’ well fer thimsilves. Indade, it’s mesilf that has the harrt fer the childer. You will be havin’ childer av yer own,” she added confidentially to the lawyer.

A shout of laughter filled the court room, for Staunton was a confirmed and notorious old bachelor.

“I have the bad fortune, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, to be a bachelor,” he replied, red to the ears.

“Man dear, but it’s hard upon yez, but it’s Hivin’s mercy fer yer wife.”

The laughter that followed could with difficulty be suppressed by the court crier.

“Go on, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, go on with your tale,” said Staunton, who had frankly joined in the laugh against himself.

“I will that,” said Mrs. Fitzpatrick with emphasis. “Where was I? The man an’ his childer. Sure, I’ll tell Yer ’Anner.” Here she turned to the judge. “Fer he,” with a jerk of her thumb towards the lawyer, “knows nothin’ about the business at all, at all. It was wan night he came to me house askin’ to see his childer. The night o’ the dance, Yer ‘Anner. As I was sayin’, he came to me house where the childer was, askin’ to see thim, an’ him without a look o’ thim fer years. An’ did they know him?” Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s voice took a tragic tone. “Not a hair av thim. Not at the first. Ah, but it was the harrt-rendin’ scene, with not a house nor a home fer him to come till, an’ him sendin’ the money ivery month to pay fer it. But where it’s gone, it’s not fer me to say. There’s some in this room” (here she regarded Rosenblatt with a steady eye) “might know more about that money an’ what happened till it, than they know about Hivin. Ah, but as I was sayin’, it wud melt the harrt av a Kerry steer, that’s first cousin to the goats on the hills fer wildness, to see the way he tuk thim an’ held thim, an’ wailed over thim, the tinder harrt av him! Fer only wan small hour or two could he shtay wid thim, an’ then aff to that haythen counthry agin that gave him birth. An’ the way he suffered fer that same, poor dear! An’ the beautiful wife he lost! Hivin be kind to her! Not her,” following the judge’s glance toward Paulina, “but an angel that need niver feel shame to shtand befure the blissid Payther himsilf, wid the blue eyes an’ the golden hair in the picter he carries nixt his harrt, the saints have pity on him! An’ how he suffered fer the good cause! Och hone! it breaks me harrt!” Here Mrs. Fitzpatrick paused to wipe away her tears.

“But, Mrs. Fitzpatrick,” interrupted Mr. Staunton, “this is all very fine, but what has this to do ”

“Tut! man, isn’t it that same I’m tellin’ ye?” And on she went, going back to the scene she had witnessed in her own room between Kalmar and his children, and describing the various dramatis personae and the torrential emotions that had swept their hearts in that scene of final parting between father and children.

Again and again Staunton sought to stay her eloquence, but with a majestic wave of her hand she swept him aside, and with a wealth of metaphor and an unbroken flow of passionate, tear-bedewed rhetoric that Staunton himself might well envy, she held the court under her sway. Many of the women present were overcome with emotion. O’Hara openly wiped away his tears, keeping an anxious eye the while upon the witness and waiting the psychological moment for the arresting of her tale.

The moment came when Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s emotions rendered her speechless. With a great show of sympathy, Mr. O’Hara approached the witness, and offering her a glass of water, found opportunity to whisper, “Not another word, on your soul.”

“Surely,” he said, appealing to the judge in a voice trembling with indignant feeling, “my learned friend will not further harass this witness.”

“Let her go, in Heaven’s name,” said Staunton testily; “we want no more of her.”

“So I should suppose,” replied O’Hara drily.

With Mrs. Fitzpatrick, the case for the Crown was closed. To the surprise of all, and especially of the Counsel for the Crown, O’Hara called no witnesses and offered no evidence in rebuttal of that before the court. This made it necessary for Staunton to go on at once with his final address to the jury.

Seldom in all his experience had he appeared to such poor advantage as on that day. The court was still breathing the atmosphere of Mrs. Fitzpatrick’s rude and impassioned appeal. The lawyer was still feeling the sting of his humiliating failure with his star witness, and O’Hara’s unexpected move surprised and flustered him, old hand as he was. With halting words and without his usual assurance, he reviewed the evidence and asked for a conviction on both charges.

With O’Hara it was quite otherwise. It was in just such a desperate situation that he was at his best. The plight of the prisoner, lonely, beaten and defenceless, appealed to his chivalry. Then, too, O’Hara, by blood and tradition, was a revolutionist. In every “rising” during the last two hundred years of Ireland’s struggles, some of his ancestors had carried a pike or trailed a musket, and the rebel blood in him cried sympathy with the Nihilist in his devotion to a hopeless cause. And hence the passion and the almost tearful vehemence that he threw into his final address were something more than professional.

With great skill he took his cue from the evidence of the last witness. He drew a picture of the Russian Nihilist hunted like “a partridge on the mountains,” seeking for himself and his compatriots a home and safety in this land of liberty. With vehement scorn he told the story of the base treachery of Rosenblatt, “a Government spy, a thief, a debaucher of women, and were I permitted, gentlemen, I could unfold a tale in this connection such as would wring your hearts with grief and indignation. But my client will not permit that the veil be drawn from scenes that would bring shame to the honoured name he wears.”

With consummate art the lawyer turned the minds of the jury from the element of personal vengeance in the crime committed to that of retribution for political infidelity, till under his manipulation the prisoner was made to appear in the rôle of patriot and martyr doomed to suffer for his devotion to his cause.

“But, gentlemen, though I might appeal to your passions, I scorn to do so. I urge you to weigh calmly, deliberately, as cool, level-headed Canadians, the evidence produced by the prosecution. A crime has been committed, a most revolting crime, one man killed, another seriously wounded. But what is the nature of this crime? Has it been shown either to be murder or attempted murder? You must have noticed, gentlemen, how utterly the prosecution has failed to establish any such charge. The suggestion of murder comes solely from the man who has so deeply wronged and has pursued with such deadly venom the unfortunate prisoner at the bar. This man, after betraying the cause of freedom, after wrecking the prisoner’s home and family, after proving traitor to every trust imposed in him, now seeks to fasten upon his victim this horrid crime of murder. His is the sole evidence. What sort of man is this upon whose unsupported testimony you are asked to send a fellow human being to the scaffold? Think calmly, gentlemen, is he such a man as you can readily believe? Is his highly coloured story credible? Are you so gullible as to be taken in with this melodrama? Gentlemen, I know you, I know my fellow citizens too well to think that you will be so deceived.

“Now what are the facts, the bare facts, the cold facts, gentlemen? And we are here to deal with facts. Here they are. There is a wedding. My learned friend is not interested in weddings, not perhaps as much interested as he should be, and as such, apparently, he excites the pity of his friends.”

This sally turned all eyes towards Mrs. Fitzpatrick, and a broad smile spread over the court.

“There is a wedding, as I was saying. Unhappily the wedding feast, as is too often the case with our foreign citizens, degenerates into a drunken brawl. It is a convenient occasion for paying off old scores. There is general melee, a scrap, in short. Suddenly these two men come face to face, their passions inflamed. On the one hand there is a burning sense of wrong, on the other an unquenchable hate. For, gentlemen, remember, the man that hates you most venomously is the man who has wronged you most deeply. These two meet. There is a fight. When all is over, one man is found dead, another with a wound in his breast. But who struck the first blow? None can tell. We are absolutely without evidence upon this point. In regard to the Polak, all that can be said is this, that it was a most unfortunate occurrence. The attempt to connect the prisoner with this man’s death has utterly failed. In regard to the man Rosenblatt, dismissing his absurdly tragic story, what evidence has been brought before this court that there was any deliberate attempt at murder? A blow was struck, but by whom? No one knows. What was the motive? Was it in self-defence warding off some murderous attack? No one can say. I have as much right to believe that this was the case, as any man to believe the contrary. Indeed, from what we know of the character of this wretched traitor and thief, it is not hard to believe that the attack upon this stranger would come from him.”

And so O’Hara proceeded with his most extraordinary defence. Theory after theory he advanced, quoting instance after instance of extraordinary killings that were discovered to be accidental or in self-defence, till with the bewildered jury no theory explanatory of the crime committed in the basement of Paulina’s house was too fantastic to be considered possible.

In his closing appeal O’Hara carried the jury back to the point from which he had set out. With tears in his voice he recounted the scene of the parting between the prisoner and his children. He drew a harrowing picture of the unhappy fate of wife and children left defenceless and in poverty to become the prey of such men as Rosenblatt. He drew a vivid picture of that age-long struggle for freedom carried on by the down-trodden peasantry of Russia, and closed with a tremendous appeal to them as fathers, as lovers of liberty, as fair-minded, reasonable men to allow the prisoner the full benefit of the many doubts gathering round the case for the prosecution, and set him free.

It was a magnificent effort. Never in all his career as a criminal lawyer had O’Hara made so brilliant an attempt to lift a desperate case from the region of despair into that of hope. The effect of his address was plainly visible upon the jury and, indeed, upon the whole audience in the court room.

The judge’s charge did much to clear the atmosphere, and to bring the jury back to the cold, calm air of Canadian life and feeling; but in the jury room the emotions and passions aroused by O’Hara’s address were kindled again, and the result reflected in no small degree their influence.

The verdict acquitted the prisoner of the charge of manslaughter, but found him guilty on the count of attempted murder. The verdict, however, was tempered with a strong recommendation to mercy.

“Have you anything to say?” asked the judge before pronouncing sentence.

Kalmar, who had been deeply impressed by the judge’s manner during his charge to the jury, searched his face a moment and then, as if abandoning all hope of mercy, drew himself erect and in his stilted English said: “Your Excellency, I make no petition for mercy. Let the criminal make such a plea. I stand convicted of crime, but I am no criminal. The traitor, the thief, the liar, the murderer, the criminal, sits there.” As he spoke the word, he swung sharply about and stood with outstretched arm and finger pointing to Rosenblatt. “I stand here the officer of vengeance. I have failed. Vengeance will not fail. The day is coming when it will strike.” Then turning his face toward the group of foreigners at the back of the room he raised his voice and in a high monotone chanted a few sentences in the Russian tongue.

The effect was tremendous. Every Russian could be picked out by his staring eyes and pallid face. There was a moment’s silence, then a hissing sound as of the breath drawn sharply inward, followed by a murmur hoarse and inhuman, not good to hear. Rosenblatt trembled, started to his feet, vainly tried to speak. His lips refused to frame words, and he sank back speechless.

“What the deuce was he saying?” enquired O’Hara of the Interpreter after the judge had pronounced his solemn sentence.

“He was putting to them,” said the Interpreter in an awed whisper, “the Nihilist oath of death.”

“By Jove! Good thing the judge didn’t understand. The bloody fool would have spoiled all my fine work. He would have got a life term instead of fourteen years. He’s got enough, though, poor chap. I wish to Heaven the other fellow had got it.”

As the prisoner turned with the officer to leave the dock, a wild sobbing fell upon his ear. It was Paulina. Kalmar turned to the judge.

“Is it permitted that I see my children before before I depart?”

“Certainly,” said the judge quickly. “Your wife and children and your friends may visit you at a convenient hour to-morrow.”

Kalmar bowed with grave courtesy and walked away.

Beside the sobbing Paulina sat the children, pale and bewildered.

“Where is my father going?” asked the boy in Russian.

“Alas! alas! We shall see him no more!” sobbed Paulina.

Quickly the boy’s voice rang out, shrill with grief and terror, “Father! father! Come back!”

The prisoner, who was just disappearing through the door, stopped, turned about, his pale face convulsed with a sudden agony. He took a step toward his son, who had run toward the bar after him.

“My son, be brave,” he said in a voice audible throughout the room. “Be brave. I shall see you to-morrow.”

He waved his hand toward his son, turned again and passed out with the officer.

Through the staring crowd came a little lady with white hair and a face pale and chastened into sweetness.

“Let me come with you,” she said to Paulina, while the tears coursed down her cheeks.

The Galician woman understood not a word, but the touch upon her arm, the tone in the voice, the flowing tears were a language she could understand. Paulina raised her dull, tear-dimmed eyes, and for a brief moment gazed into the pale face above her, then without further word rose and, followed by her children, accompanied the little lady from the room, the crowd making respectful way before the pathetic group.

“Say, O’Hara, there are still angels going about,” said young Dr. Wright, following the group with his eyes.

“Be Hivin!” replied the tender-hearted Irishman, his eyes suddenly dim, “there’s wan annyway, and Margaret French is the first two letters of her name.”