Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/200

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pockets of the distinguished company. He then attempted a still higher flight of villany by trying to seize the diamond snuff-box presented to Prince Orloff by the Empress Catherine, and valued at £30,000. Barrington made this daring attempt in Covent Garden Theatre. He contrived to get a seat next to that of the Russian Prince, and succeeded in snatching the snuff-box, but it was soon missed, and the culprit was caught before he had time to get away from the theatre with his splendid prize. After a long career of undetected pocket-picking, Barrington was now bowled out for the first time, and just as he was essaying the most ambitious of his exploits, but his cool self-possession did not desert him in the hour of trouble. When brought before the court and charged with the crime he had so nearly consummated, Barrington spoke so effectively, and concocted such a plausible defence, that the Russian Prince, relenting, refused to prosecute, and the prince of pickpockets was discharged with a caution to be more careful in his handling of other people's property for the future. The publicity that this little incident acquired necessitated Barrington's retirement for a season from fashionable and exclusive circles, and he had to be content with exercising his talents in the humbler and less remunerative walks of life. He made a professional tour through Ireland and Scotland, and after this eclipse, he returned to aristocratic society and shone with even greater brilliancy than before. But, unrivalled artist as he was, continued success had the natural result of making him less cautious in his operations, and one day Barrington was caught picking a pocket on a racecourse. He was tried, convicted, and sentenced to seven years' transportation. Barrington bade good-bye to the old world in this clever and characteristic little speech from the