chapter  17
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Chapter V

It was in one of the lucid intervals, as I may term them, that occurred during this period, that a peasant was brought before him, in his character of a justice of peace, upon an accusation of having murdered his 52 [fellow]. As Mr Falkland had by this time acquired the repute of a melancholy valetudinarian, it is probable he would not have been called upon to act in his official character upon the present occasion, had it not been that two or three of the neighbouring justices were all of them from home at once, so that he was the only one to be found in a circuit of many miles. The reader however must not imagine, though I have employed the word insanity in describing Mr Falkland’s symptoms, that he was by / any means reckoned for a madman by the generality of those who had occasion to observe him. It is true that his behaviour at certain times was singular and unaccountable; but then at other times there was in it so much dignity, regularity and economy; he knew so well how to command and make himself respected; his actions and carriage were so condescending, considerate and benevolent; that, far from having forfeited the esteem of the unfortunate or the many, they were loud and earnest in his praises.