University of Virginia Library




“Tarry a little, there is something else.”

After getting his bail accepted for Max Clifford, Archibald
sent him to his sister, while he went to the house of
Gilmore's father, in the hope of eliciting something that
might be available to Max's defence. Mr. Gilmore's residence
was in a fashionable street, and in one of those magnificent
structures that the enterprise and intelligence of our
citizens, and California gold, has added to the substantial
wealth of our city. Certainly, neither intelligence nor any
other analogous creative power builded the house of David

An Irish lad, in livery, opened the door for Lisle. He
was struck with a blending of acuteness and stupidity in the
lad's face, not uncommon with his race. Lisle found Gilmore
cautious and crusty; he declined listening to any particulars;
said “that it was very onjust his family should be mixed
up with a disgraceful business of that sort, merely because
his son had the misforten to be in the same counting-house
with the young fellow who had committed the forgery.
This country fellow had, he understood, been a wild lad
from the beginning. He had led his son astray for a while,
but he—the father—being of opinion that boys' pranks was
catchin, had removed his son from Beekwell's, and since
Ernest had quit there, their acquaintance had ended, and his
son had been remarkable correct.”


Page 150

After stating some facts in relation to the early and late
intercourse of the lads at rather striking variance with the
father's assertions, Lisle frankly told him Clifford's version
of the presentation of the draft; and added, “that legal steps
had been taken to confront the young men, and that he
should prove at the trial of his client, that Ernest was not
at home, as had been asserted, through the morning of the
fraud, but that he had been distinctly recognized in Wall-street
by more than one person.” The unhappy father had
no quieting consciousness of his son's uprightness, and he
was evidently flustered. The affair did not seem so easily
disposed of as before a powerful friend had appeared for Clifford.
Upon Lisle asking, “if Mr. Ernest was at home, to be
allowed to speak with him,” Gilmore rang the bell, and the
Irish lad who had admitted Lisle, came from the pantry, the
door of which was ajar.

“What are you doing there, you rascal?” exclaimed his
master. “Listening?”

“`Listening!' No indeed, your honor. I was just stopping
quiet, not to be after disturbing the gentleman.” True
to his Celtic blood, Pat's invention was ready at need.

At Mr. Gilmore's bidding, he went in search of his son,
and returned, saying, “Mr. Ernest is not at home,” accompanying
the assertion with a side glance at Lisle, which, to
his quick perception, eliminated the not.

“It does not much signify,” he said to Mr. Gilmore. “The
examination of my client is deferred till to-morrow morning.
The young men must then be confronted; and allow me to
beg, that nothing may prevent your son being present, and
punctual. He would be compromised by his absence; strong
suspicions are afloat against him.”

“The evidence against your friend,” retorted Gilmore,
“is too heavy to be toppled over by suspicions. My son
will be present.”


Page 151

As Lisle left the house, Patrick, bare-headed, followed him
into the street, looking back and around to elude observation.
“Did I hear aright?” he asked, “and is it young Mr.
Clifford, God help him, that's in trouble?”


“Stop a bit—your honor's a gintleman; don't be after
going like a railroad. Tell me the name, plase, was on the
nasty bit o' paper.”

“Thomas Innis.”

“And how do you be after spillin' it?”

“Spelling, do you mean?”

“The same, plase your honor.”


“Not Sint Thomas; faith and I was tached that at home.”

“Ah, Innis—I-n-n-i-s.”

“That's the very one! Thanks to Him above,” cried
Patrick, grinning wide his cavernous mouth, as if to let out
a volume of joy.

“Pat!” screamed a voice from the area of Gilmore's house,
“you're wanted.”

“Don't scrame so unpolite, Bridget. You'll hare from
me,” he added to Lisle, and as he retraced his steps, he
muttered, “that shall he if I lose my place. It was the
poor lad himself saved my ould mother, and should not I
give him a lift—why not?”

The Irishman's promise made no impression on Lisle. He
well knew the hot hearts and hasty sympathies of the Irish
race, and merely inferred that listening to Max Clifford's
sad case, had turned the current of Pat's toward him.

After a hard day's work in their service, Lisle was obliged
to go to his young friends at Steinberg's, with but gloomy
prospects for the next day. He had nothing to offer at Clifford's
examination, but the testimony of the heads of both
the mercantile houses in which he had been employed, to his


Page 152
truth and uprightness. This was not enough to rebut the
direct evidence against him.

He found Grace Herbert with Alice. The young women
had bridged over the abyss of their long separation with
many a pleasant memory, and Grace was casting that spell
of enchantment over Alice which can hardly be defined, and
certainly not resisted. Alice's anxieties had been suspended
for an hour, and even Max seemed like one suddenly awakened
from a delicious trance, when the entrance of Archibald
turned all their thoughts on the approaching examination in
the Municipal Court.

Archibald proceeded to communicate the meagre result
of the day's investigation, and as he concluded, he asked
Max if there were any foundation for the Irish lad's interest
in him?

Max modestly told the probable ground of it. He said,
“that in one of his fast drives, with Ernest Gilmore, down
the Third Avenue with a famous trotter, and a heavy bet at
stake, Ernest drove against a woman, who proved to be this
same Patrick's mother. Her arm was broken, and she was
otherwise badly bruised. Ernest drove the horse to the
stable; he (Max) helped to convey the old woman to her
shanty, and afterwards gave her, from time to time, what
succor he could. Ernest was, as usual, out of pocket, but
he proposed to make what reparation he could, and save
himself from a prosecution by the injured party, by inducing
his mother to take the lad, Patrick, who had just arrived a
raw boy, into her service. `I'll come round the old lady,'
that was his respectful mode of alluding to his mother; `she
likes nothing better than training a fresh hand, if she can
get him under price. Pat is a likely lad—she's a trump at
training, and when he gets on his livery he'll do.'”

It may be matter of some surprise that any mistress of a
Fifth Avenue palace should thus bestow her time and talents,


Page 153
but Mrs. Gilmore had achieved her greatness by beginning
as the “smart” and pretty daughter of a country innkeeper.
She had married a New York shopkeeper, and by “slow,
but not easy stages,” had arrived at her present position,
with a carriage and liveried servants, and one only son; that
son such as might be expected from the ambition, the examples,
and the society of his parents; the paramount interest
of the one, being the rise and fall of stocks—and of the
other, ostentation at the least possible outlay.

Both Grace and Alice found ground for some vague expectation
in the intimations of the Irish lad; to the young
men they seemed without foundation. Women are not always
wrong in kindling their hopes by their desires. To
Alice's quick and apprehensive observation, it was ominous
of evil that Lisle seemed hardly to be conscious of Miss
Herbert's presence, and that when, at the sound of her carriage,
she rose to go, he did not raise his eye from some
papers he was examining. But when she said, “Mr. Lisle,
will it do, or will it not, for this poor little sister to go with
her brother to the court-room to-morrow?” his eye lighted
as he turned it on her; he was about to reply—he hesitated.

“Oh, pray say yes, Archy,” said Alice; “poor Max will
have no friend to stand by him; you, you know, will only
appear as his counsel.”

“But, dear little Alice,” said Lisle, speaking to her as if
she were still the petted child of their earlier days, “that
miserable court-room is no place for you, alone; if your

“Alone!” interrupted Grace; “do you imagine I was so
barbarous as to propose that? No, we have arranged it
all—settled it together. I go with her as sister, mother,
friend—one or all, as you please; and—stop, hear us through
—not merely satisfied to be `strong-armed with conscience,'
like the lady in Comus, but we will go in strict deference to


Page 154
the judgment that may be supposed to emanate from the
best society in such an anomalous case. My dear brother-in-law,
Frank Esterly, late clergyman, will go with us; he
is rueful enough just now to give us solemn countenance.
Now tell us honestly, if you were balancing the evidence
for and against this poor fellow, might not the presence
of three friends be the feather to turn the scale—the last
ounce on the back of the camel, to crush his opponent?”

“To me, Miss Herbert, it might be a blinding evidence,
but our judges must be governed by precedent and statute;
however, if you ladies have the courage, I make no opposition.
We must give Max every possible chance.”

“Then to-morrow at nine, Alice, I will be with you,” said
Grace; “and for once I will borrow my step-mother's coach
—we must invest ourselves in the respectabilities.”

The sun went with Grace, and night and dews came.
When Lisle returned from putting her in the carriage, he
found Max gloomily leaning his elbow on the mantel, and
Alice standing drooping beside him. She hastily wiped away
her tears. “Is the trial to-morrow final, Archy?” she asked.

“Yes—the grand jury was in session when Max was arrested,
and immediately found an indictment against him.”

“It looks black as night,” said Max. “What were those
papers you were looking at, Archy?”

“The draft you presented, which the officers at the bank
very kindly permitted me to take possession of to compare
the endorsement with your handwriting and Gilmore's. I
hoped the experts, to whom I submitted it, would detect a
resemblance to Gilmore's.”

“And they did not?”

“Not satisfactorily. They rather inclined to the opinion,
that there was more resemblance to the characteristics of his
hand than to yours; but their opinion was not strong enough
to give value to their testimony.”


Page 155

“Experts, indeed!” exclaimed poor Max, in a tone as sad
as it was contemptuous. “Do you, Alice, sit down, and examine
the papers; you are an `expert' in every thing.”

Alice sat down, and Archibald beside her, but even her
keen perception availed nothing. “Oh, Max,” she said, “I
could myself swear to this for your handwriting.”

“Then the game is up. I see there is no hope for me.”

“Oh, don't say so, dear Max, till after to-morrow; nor
then, even if they convict you—the very worst—yet we may
get a pardon.”

“A pardon! I'll not take a pardon from them; what has
an innocent man to do with a pardon?”

Max, like most people of his temperament, sank as easily
as he rose. He was now at the bottom of the abyss. Alice's
fertility in resources was not exhausted. “I have heard,”
she said, “of a fraud detected by the manufacturer's date
on the paper.” She held the Innis draft to the candle.
“There is neither date nor letter on this,” she added, sadly
shaking her head.

Max bent his head to examine it. “But—by George!
look Alice—Archy look! Don't you see fine water-lines, a
check all through the paper?” They did see it, and both
looked to Max for an explanation. He said it was paper
bought of an old Frenchman, Merceau, who lived in a garret
in Nassau-street. “Gilmore bought all his paper of
him. He was very fond of making errands there to see a
pretty grand-daughter of old Merceau; he used to take
presents to her, and I told him it was not fair, and we had a
little fight about it. It's the same paper—I've twenty notes
from the rascal written on it. That was a bright thought of
yours, Alice! was n't it, Archy?” Lisle cordially assented,
and soon left the brother and sister to follow up, himself, the
faint light that had dawned.


Page 156

Clifford was present when the court opened the next
morning. Lisle was on one side of him; his sister, Mr.
Esterly, and Grace, on the other. Ernest Gilmore soon
after entered with his counsel, one of the ablest lawyers in
the city.

Ernest's friends were of the “fast” order, and having
rather nervous associations with the purlieus of Courts of
Justice, they did not find it convenient to be with him. His
father stood upon his dignity, and would not give countenance
to the complication of his son by appearing at the investigation.
There was, however, no lack of an audience:
the morning papers had given sufficient publicity to the
affair, to fill the court-room with curious idlers.

It was soon obvious which way the current of sympathy
set. Human nature, unbiassed by selfishness or prejudice, is
true to its instincts. Legal proof might fail Max at his
need, but there was persuasive testimony in his favor in his
fair candid brow, his clear open eye with its straight-forward
look-out, in the purity and sweet affectionateness of his
countenance—an insurance against meanness of all sorts—
and in his healthy aspect, and manly bearing. Ernest was
tall, and thin, and with very handsome features. He was
faultlessly got up by tailors, and barbers, and other professors
of like “branches of learning;” but he had a certain
pallor and tremulousness, that indicated his way of life, and
the vulgarity of expression that inevitably follows it.

We have not the masculine pen of Dickens—nor, alas!
the fathomless genius whereby he sounds the miry depths
of humanity, or the opportunities and the observation that
aid him in reproducing the infinite variety of life, with all its
vitality, on his pages. Therefore we can only give the briefest
summary of this morning's proceedings, so critical to our
dear friends. We shall not attempt to describe the confident
hope that actually shone in poor Max's face, as witness after


Page 157
witness from the houses of Beekwell & Co., and Smith &
Eaton, deposed to the integrity of his character; nor Alice's
sweet trustful smile, showing even through the folds of her
veil, as her eye met her brother's, nor the gratulation of
Grace Herbert's brilliant face, nor the quiet assured faith of
Esterly's pale, fine countenance, nor how their hopes rose to
the highest mark, as Lisle, with all the ingenuity of his profession,
and the earnestness of his zeal, converted probabilities—so
it seemed to them—to proofs.

But alas! for the old saying, “one story is good till another
is told.” When the young ladies, in the bliss of their
ignorance of the “glorious uncertainties of the law,” trusted
it all settled in Max's favor, and he—a greenhorn, as he
afterward called himself—thought so too, the district attorney
rose, and weakened the testimony to Max's character,
by producing witnesses to testify that he had been
dismissed from Beekwell & Co.'s in consequence of frequent
absences on “sprees,” and that he had been repeatedly seen
with “fast” young men driving “fast” horses along the
avenues. These irregularities the counsel argued, led to expenses
not to be met by the ordinary receipts of a clerk.
He granted every thing that could be claimed from the general
impression of the probity of the young man, and assented
to all that it was reasonable to infer from the influences
of his rural home. “It was evident,” he said, turning
his eye to Alice, and pausing while it rested on her now pale
and tearful face, “that they were of the most salutary and
interesting nature, and he could but exclaim, as he looked
upon the youth, with still the freshness and purity of his
country life, on his unblighted countenance, `Would to God
it were possible to exculpate him!' But alas! how rapid
is the work of depravation in the corrupting atmosphere
of this city; before the bloom fades, the fruit is infected to
the core! How small temptations mark the sliding scale!


Page 158
How short and rapid is the passage through the seemingly
innocent indulgence that the gay and audacious temperament
of youth craves, how short it is to crime! A proof of
this dreadful acceleration from `deep to lower deep' was
striking in the unscrupulousness of Clifford in accusing a
generous friend, a far graver offence than the hasty transgression,
which might have been committed in a moment of
despair,” etc., etc. He recurred to the evidence in relation
to the paper bought of Merceau. “Doubtless the old man
had, as he swore, sold that paper to Ernest Gilmore, and he,
Merceau, alone had imported it from the manufactory in
France. But Gilmore had, as Merceau admitted, been in
the habit for two years of buying that paper, and what was
more probable than that he had shared it with his friend to
whom, as has been shown, he had, perhaps too lavishly imparted
of his superior means, etc., etc. As to the argument
drawn from the hue of the paper corresponding precisely
with that of the last importation—a half ream of this, Merceau
had testified to having sold to Gilmore within a few
days—it was most futile. A sheet within a package, shut
from the air in a writing-case, would not be perceptibly
changed in months. And finally,” he said, “he felt too much
compassion for the young man, too much sorrow”—“for his
family,” he would have added, but seeing that Alice, unable
to sustain herself, had dropped her head on her brother's
shoulder, he paused, and eager to avert observation from
her, he hastily concluded, saying that “it was unnecessary for
him to dwell on the comparison unfavorable to his client,
which had been instituted between the young men; they
were associates and intimates, and it would require an
acute analysis to detect their different degree of merit;
and finally, the jury,” he said, “must decide against the
defendant, there being nothing in the slight probabilities
alleged in his favor to invalidate the fatal evidence against


Page 159
him in the plain handwriting of the endorsement of the

He sat down, and Esterly whispered to Grace that their
verdict would doubtless be against Clifford, and that she had
best withdraw her friend; but Alice, when the proposal was
made, shook her head, “Oh, let me,” she said, “stay with
him till the last minute.”

“Don't be disheartened,” whispered Lisle, “we may—we
must get a pardon.”

But poor Max was utterly disheartened. He felt the full
force of the truth “that the difference of going just right
and a little wrong in the commencement of the journey of
life, is the difference between a happy home or a miserable
slough at the end of it.” The ploughshare had uprooted his
self-confidence, and humility was springing up. To him it
did not now seem a slight departure from right, “a little
wrong,” that by dangerous associates and selfish indulgences
he had periled his own honor, and his mother's and sister's
happiness. “Any punishment,” he thought, “is not too
severe for me, if I could bear it alone.” But the thought
of the dark shadow he had cast on his dear home unmanned
him, and the handkerchief with which he hid his convulsed
face, was drenched in tears.

At this moment a letter was passed over to Lisle. It was
written on the coarsest paper, and folded not after the likeness
of any thing in heaven or earth. Within it was an old
envelop resealed. He at first looked at the hand-writing
despairingly. The words were oddly formed, syllables as
oddly parted, and capitals thrown in or left out, hap-hazard.
He was about to thrust it into his pocket for a leisure moment,
when certain names caught his eye, and he explored
his way through the following lines with intense eagerness:


Page 160

“dearsiranonord:—it was My mothers prares to the
blessed Virgin that was thecosofit—that is my stain in the
pantry, and unbenonst harin you tell of poor young Mr.
clifford, that same young gintleman savin My ould mother
after she Comin all the wa from Ireland, she and The pig
notthepig For that wascrished and squealin when Mr. clifford
—the Almighty blesshimfor that Same Took the little ould
woman like a Fither in hes Arms in the Shanty and haledup
the wunes of Body and hart fetchin the doctor and byin a
Frish one that Is a pig for The dareould lady. so You see,
sir, for Yees may want the testimoni I larned to rite a bit At
home and wasafter larnin better here cos theboyssas a poor
man may be a Poor prisident in yees country. so goin won
nite to mr. ernest's room with the cole I sese scitterd On the
floor a letter sinde Thomas Innis, splindid riten and a sheetof
paper All over rit Thomas Innis so sasiPat sasi this Is iligant
for you to copy, and no loss to the Yung gintelman fortis But
paper and Ink so I pitsitin my pock et handylike. But when
He comesome his belrings like thunder And when I ansersit
hes blazin and sashe Pat sashe wharsmy papers. the papers
Is itsir sasi—Yes sashe the papers I lift—so To squinch the
trouble sasi the Papers was after fallin on the flore and the
ent nothin happind to em only i jist set the fire agoin widem
—thin he cooldof and sashe niver Mind pat—go about yer
bisnes and So i did and put in my Chist al the ritins every
won and herethe Is. and if i took arite yer honors tauk to
the ould gintelman the May do asarvice to Mister clifford
Godbless him—and the dare ould ladis blessin and yer sarvans
to the Ind of it—that'sme pat MacCormick.”

Lisle having mastered Pat's epistle in an incredibly short
time, tore open the envelop, and found, within, an autograph
letter from Thomas Innis and a sheet of poor Merceau's
paper, on which Gilmore had practised, not only copying


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the name of Innis, but various words of the letter, of a
chirography so clear and beautiful that it might have arrested
a more clerkly eye than our friend Pat's.

The smile that lifted all the clouds from Archibald's face
as he involuntarily looked toward the group of which Max
was the centre, indicated good news. Lisle asked to be
heard, and, after some controversy, having obtained permission
of the court to offer some newly discovered evidence, he,
with such explanations as were necessary, exhibited the documents
enclosed by Pat. A murmur of satisfaction ran through
the court-room. Not a person there was silent, excepting
those who were too suddenly happy for words, and the poor,
already convicted wretch, on whose shoulder an officer had
laid his hand. From the door-way came a voice silencing
all others, crying out, “It's I, Pat M`Cormick, that writ
the letter, and that same am here quite entirely ready to
swear all that your Honors command.” Pat was admitted.
If it is difficult for an Irishman to tell the truth, he can emit
it, and Pat answered satisfactorily to examination, and cross-examination.
Max Clifford was discharged, and Gilmore
committed. Max had paid dearly for his follies; Gilmore
was to pay, perhaps, his antecedents taken into consideration,
too dearly for his crime. But perfect justice is not attainable
at human tribunals, and there were other parties to the
offences of these lads, not in anywise amenable there; not,
perhaps, accused by their own consciences, but who will
assuredly be found wanting, and receive a greater condemnation
when summoned to the bar of the infallible judge.

There are thousands of young men in our city employed
by merchants, and rich mechanics who acknowledge none
but a business relation with them, who never, for a moment,
consider the duty of looking after their morals, and their
rightful recreations, which have so much to do with their
morals. Had Beekwell & Co., or Messrs. Smith & Eaton


Page 162
extended a kind hand to Max Clifford; had they, in any
mode, linked him into their social life, they would have saved
him from imminent peril, and his family from a cruel heart-ache.
Hundreds of young men are lost by similar neglect.
That loss is fearful, but it may be found, hereafter, that the
loss of the golden opportunity of doing good which Providence
bestows upon the prosperous, is more fearful!

“Oh bright occasions of dispensing good,
How seldom used, how little understood!”[1]

While these pages are going to press, we have heard a fact which we
are proud to record. A hatter in Brooklyn has, during the past winter,
employed an eminent chemist to lecture to his nine hundred workmen, twice
a week, at fifty dollars a lecture. Rarely has one of the nine hundred seats
of this little army been vacant. Better this, than the charge of the six
hundred at Balaklava.