Guilt and Innocence
Steel-engraving, dark plate, facing p. 552.
12.3 cm high by 8.9 cm wide (4 ¾ by 3 ½ inches), framed.
Thirty-seventh illustration for Roland Cashel, published serially by Chapman and Hall (1848-49).
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Scanned image and text by Philip V. Allingham.
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Passage Illustrated: Cashel commiserates with the "peasant," Dan Keane
The cross-examination now opened, but without in any way serving to shake the material character of the testimony, at the same time that it placed in a still stronger light the attachment of the witness to the prisoner. Cashel, hitherto inattentive and indifferent to all that was going forward, became deeply interested as this examination proceeded; his features, apathetic and heavy before, grew animated and eager, and he leaned forward to hear the witness with every sign of anxiety.
The spectators who thronged the court attributed the prisoner's eagerness to the important nature of the testimony, and the close reference it bore to the manner of the crime; they little knew the simple truth, that it was the semblance of affection for him, — the pretended interest in his fate, — which touched his lonely heart, and kindled there a love of life.
“That poor peasant, then,” said Roland to himself, “he, at least, deems me guiltless. I did not think that there lived one who cared as much for me!”
With the apparent intention of showing to the Court and jury that Keane was not biassed towards his former master, Mr. Jones addressed several questions to him; but instead of eliciting the fact, they called forth from the witness a burst of gratitude and love for him that actually shook the building by the applause it excited, and called for the interference of the Bench to repress.
“You may go down, sir,” said Jones, with the fretful impatience of a man worsted in a controversy; and the witness descended from the table amid the scarcely suppressed plaudits of the crowd. As he passed the dock, Cashel leaned forward and extended his hand towards him. The fellow drew back, and they who were next him perceived that a sallow sickly colour spread itself over his face, and that his lips became bloodless.
“Give me your hand, man!” said Cashel.
“Oh, Mr. Cashel! oh, sir!” said he, with that whining affectation of modesty the peasant can so easily assume.
“Give me your hand, I say,” said Cashel, firmly. “Its honest grasp will make me think better of the world than I have done for many a day.” [Chapter LXIV, "The Trial — The Prosecution," pp. 552-553]
Commentary: Cashel Takes Note of the Proceedings at Last
Phiz depicts Cashel as completely taken in by Dan Keane, who has tried throughout his testimony in the trial to be seen as completely in sympathy with his landlord. However, when Cashel asks to shake his hand, Dan's dread of touching the man who in fact is being tried for the very crime that Dan committed becomes apparent. He has been called as a witness because he found Cashel's duelling pistol on a drain at the side of the road, not far from Kennyfeck's body. Expert testimony has already established that the pistol had recently been discharged, and that the calibre of its bullets is the same as that of the bullet which pierced the victim's skull. Although the case against Cashel is purely circumstantial, such details, accumulating over the course of the trial, certainly point towards his guilt. Thus far, no other likely culprit has been identified. Thus, both Linton and Keane remain in the clear. Indeed, Linton has not even been called as a witness.
Lever, Charles. Roland Cashel. With 39 illustrations and engraved title-vignette by Phiz. London: Chapman & Hall, 1850.
Lever, Charles. Roland Cashel. Illustrated by Phiz [Hablot Knight Browne]. Novels and Romances of Charles Lever. Vols. I and II. In two volumes. Boston: Little, Brown, 1907. Project Gutenberg. Last Updated: 19 August 2010.
Matthews, Mimi. "The History of the Lorgnette." Posted 20 September 2015. mimimatthews.com/2015/09/20/the-history-of-the-lorgnette/ Accessed 23 January 2023.
Steig, Michael. Chapter Seven: "Phiz the Illustrator: An Overview and a Summing Up." Dickens and Phiz. Bloomington: Indiana U. P., 1978. Pp. 298-316.
Created 24 January 2023