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Justice and Retribution
WHEN the mysteries were all cleared up, it came out, by confession of Hugh
Hendon, that his wife had repudiated Miles by his command that day at
Hendon Hall-a command assisted and supported by the perfectly trustworthy
promise that if she did not deny that he was Miles Hendon, and stand firmly to
it, he would have her life; whereupon she said take it, she did not value it-and
she would not repudiate Miles; then her husband said he would spare her life,
but have Miles assassinated! This was a different matter; so she gave her word
and kept it.
Hugh was not prosecuted for his threats or for stealing his brother’s estates and
title, because the wife and brother would not testify against him-and the former
would not have been allowed to do it, even if she had wanted to. Hugh deserted
his wife and went over to the continent, where he presently died; and by and by
the Earl of Kent married his relict. There were grand times and rejoicings at
Hendon village when the couple paid their first visit to the Hall.
Tom Canty’s father was never heard of again.
The king sought out the farmer who had been branded and sold as a slave, and
reclaimed him from his evil life with the Ruffler’s gang, and put him in the way
of a comfortable livelihood.
He also took that old lawyer out of prison and remitted his fine. He provided
good homes for the daughters of the two Baptist women whom he saw burned
at the stake, and roundly punished the official who laid the undeserved stripes
upon Miles Hendon’s back.
He saved from the gallows the boy who had captured the stray falcon, and also
the woman who had stolen the remnant of cloth from a weaver; but he was too
late to save the man who had been convicted of killing a deer in the royal forest.
He showed favor to the justice who had pitied him when he was supposed to
have stolen a pig, and he had the gratification of seeing him grow in the public
esteem and become a great and honored man.
As long as the king lived he was fond of telling the story of his adventures, all
through, from the hour that the sentinel cuffed him away from the palace gate
till the final midnight when he deftly mixed himself into a gang of hurrying
workmen and so slipped into the Abbey and climbed up and hid himself in the
Confessor’s tomb, and then slept so long, next day, that he came within one of
missing the Coronation altogether. He said that the frequent rehearsing of the
precious lesson kept him strong in his purpose to make its teachings yield
benefits to his people; and so, while his life was spared he should continue to tell
the story, and thus keep its sorrowful spectacles fresh in his memory and the
springs of pity replenished in his heart.