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ted faculties, so as to comprehend the full distress of his situation, he was the fatheF of-a female infant, and a widower.
But see, his face is black, and full of blood;
His eye-balls farther out than when he lived,
Staring full ghastly like a strangled man;
His hair uprear'd, his nostrils stretch'd with struggling,
His hands abroad display'd, as one that gasp'd
And tugg'd for life, and was by strength subdued.
Henry IV. Part First.
The Sheriff-depute of the county arrived at Ellangowan next morning by daybreak. To this provincial magistrate the law of Scotland assigns judicial powers of considerable extent, and the task of enquiring into all crimes committed within his jurisdiction, the apprehension and commitment of suspected persons, and so forth.
The gentleman who held the office in the shire of at the time of this catastrophe, was well born and well educated; and, though somewhat pedantic and professional in his habits, he enjoyed general respect as an active and intelligent magistrate. His first employment was to examine all witnesses whose evidence could throw light upon this mysterious event, and make up the written report, proces verbal, or precognition, as it is technically called, which the practice of Scotland has substituted for a coroner's inquest. Un'der the sheriff's minute and skilful enquiry, many circumstances appeared, which were incompatible with the original opinion, that Kennedy had accidentally fallen from the cliffs. We shall briefly detail some of these.
The body had been deposited in a neighbouring fisher-hut, but without altering the condition in which it was found. This was the first object of the Sheriff's examination. Though fearfully crushed and mangled by the fall from such a height, the corpse was found to exhibit a deep cut in the head, which, in the opinion of a skilful surgeon, must have been inflicted by a broad-sword, or cutlass. The experience of this gentleman discovered other suspicious indications. The face was much blackened, the eyes distorted, and the veins of the neck swelled. A coloured handkerchief, which the unfortunate man had worn around his neck, did not present the usual appearance, but was much loosened, and the knot displaced and dragged extremely tight: the folds were also compressed, as if it had been used as a means of grappling the deceased, and dragging him perhaps to the precipice.
On the other hand, poor Kennedy's purse was found untouched; and, what seemed yet more extraordinary, the pistols which he usually carried when about to encounter any hazardous adventure, were found in his pockets loaded. This appeared particularly strange, for he was known and dreaded by the contraband traders as a man equally fearless and dexterous in the use of his weapons, of which, be bad given many signal proofs. The Sheriff enquired, whether Kennedy was not in the practice of carrying any other arms. Most of Mr Bertram's servants recollected that he generally had a couteau de chasse, or short hanger, but no such was found upon the dead body ; nor could those who had seen him on the morning of the fatal day, take it upon them to assert whether he then carried that weapon or not.
The corpse afforded no other indicia respecting the fate of Kennedy; for, though the clothes were much displaced, and the limbs dreadfully fractured, the one seemed the probable, the other the certain, consequences of such a fall. The hands of the deceased were clenched fast, and full of turf and earth; but this also seemed equivocal.
The magistrates then proceeded to the place where the corpse was first discovered, and made those who had found it, give, upon the spot, a particular and de