Infomotions, Inc.A Book of Remarkable Criminals / Irving, Henry Brodribb, 1870-1919

Author: Irving, Henry Brodribb, 1870-1919
Title: A Book of Remarkable Criminals
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): derues; castaing; dyson; eyraud; holmes; butler; madame boyer; crime; peace; murder; gabrielle bompard; criminal; auguste ballet; police; marie boyer
Contributor(s): Rudder, Robert S. [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 94,495 words (short) Grade range: 10-13 (high school) Readability score: 57 (average)
Identifier: etext446
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A Book of Remarkable Criminals

by H. B. Irving

February, 1996  [Etext #446]

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"For violence and hurt tangle every man in their toils,
and for the most part fall on the head of him from whom
they had their rise; nor is it easy for one who by his
act breaks the common pact of peace to lead a calm
and quiet life."

Lucretius on the Nature of Things.

















"The silent workings, and still more the explosions, of human
passion which bring to light the darker elements of man's nature
present to the philosophical observer considerations of intrinsic
interest; while to the jurist, the study of human nature and
human character with its infinite varieties, especially as
affecting the connection between motive and action, between
irregular desire or evil disposition and crime itself, is equally
indispensable and difficult."--_Wills on Circumstantial

I REMEMBER my father telling me that sitting up late one night
talking with Tennyson, the latter remarked that he had not kept
such late hours since a recent visit of Jowett.  On that occasion
the poet and the philosopher had talked together well into the
small hours of the morning.  My father asked Tennyson what was
the subject of conversation that had so engrossed them. 
"Murders," replied Tennyson.  It would have been interesting to
have heard Tennyson and Jowett discussing such a theme.  The fact
is a tribute to the interest that crime has for many men of
intellect and imagination.  Indeed, how could it be otherwise? 
Rob history and fiction of crime, how tame and colourless would
be the residue!  We who are living and enduring in the presence
of one of the greatest crimes on record, must realise that trying
as this period of the world's history is to those who are passing
through it, in the hands of some great historian it may make
very good reading for posterity.  Perhaps we may find some little
consolation in this fact, like the unhappy victims of famous
freebooters such as Jack Sheppard or Charley Peace.

But do not let us flatter ourselves.  Do not let us, in all the
pomp and circumstance of stately history, blind ourselves to the
fact that the crimes of Frederick, or Napoleon, or their
successors, are in essence no different from those of Sheppard or
Peace.  We must not imagine that the bad man who happens to
offend against those particular laws which constitute the
criminal code belongs to a peculiar or atavistic type, that he is
a man set apart from the rest of his fellow-men by mental or
physical peculiarities.  That comforting theory of the Lombroso
school has been exploded, and the ordinary inmates of our prisons
shown to be only in a very slight degree below the average in
mental and physical fitness of the normal man, a difference
easily explained by the environment and conditions in which the
ordinary criminal is bred.

A certain English judge, asked as to the general characteristics
of the prisoners tried before him, said:  "They are just like
other people; in fact, I often think that, but for different
opportunities and other accidents, the prisoner and I might very
well be in one another's places."  "Greed, love of pleasure,"
writes a French judge, "lust, idleness, anger, hatred, revenge,
these are the chief causes of crime.  These passions and desires
are shared by rich and poor alike, by the educated and
uneducated.  They are inherent in human nature; the germ is in
every man."

Convicts represent those wrong-doers who have taken to a
particular form of wrong-doing punishable by law.  Of the larger
army of bad men they represent a minority, who have been
found out in a peculiarly unsatisfactory kind of misconduct. 
There are many men, some lying, unscrupulous, dishonest, others
cruel, selfish, vicious, who go through life without ever doing
anything that brings them within the scope of the criminal code,
for whose offences the laws of society provide no punishment. 
And so it is with some of those heroes of history who have been
made the theme of fine writing by gifted historians.

Mr. Basil Thomson, the present head of the Criminal Investigation
Department, has said recently that a great deal of crime is due
to a spirit of "perverse adventure" on the part of the criminal. 
The same might be said with equal justice of the exploits of
Alexander the Great and half the monarchs and conquerors of the
world, whom we are taught in our childhood's days to look up to
as shining examples of all that a great man should be.  Because
crimes are played on a great stage instead of a small, that is no
reason why our moral judgment should be suspended or silenced. 
Class Machiavelli and Frederick the Great as a couple of rascals
fit to rank with Jonathan Wild, and we are getting nearer a
perception of what constitutes the real criminal.  "If," said
Frederick the Great to his minister, Radziwill, "there is
anything to be gained by it, we will be honest; if deception is
necessary, let us be cheats."  These are the very sentiments of
Jonathan Wild.

Crime, broadly speaking, is the attempt by fraud or violence to
possess oneself of something belonging to another, and as such
the cases of it in history are as clear as those dealt with in
criminal courts.  Germany to-day has been guilty of a perverse
and criminal adventure, the outcome of that false morality
applied to historical transactions, of which Carlyle's life of
Frederick is a monumental example.  In that book we have a
man whose instincts in more ways than one were those of a
criminal, held up for our admiration, in the same way that the
same writer fell into dithyrambic praise over a villain called
Francia, a former President of Paraguay.  A most interesting work
might be written on the great criminals of history, and might do
something towards restoring that balance of moral judgment in
historical transactions, for the perversion of which we are
suffering to-day.

In the meantime we must be content to study in the microcosm of
ordinary crime those instincts, selfish, greedy, brutal which,
exploited often by bad men in the so-called cause of nations,
have wrought such havoc to the happiness of mankind.  It is not
too much to say that in every man there dwell the seeds of crime;
whether they grow or are stifled in their growth by the good that
is in us is a chance mysteriously determined.  As children of
nature we must not be surprised if our instincts are not all that
they should be.  "In sober truth," writes John Stuart Mill,
"nearly all the things for which men are hanged or imprisoned for
doing to one another are nature's everyday performances," and in
another passage:  "The course of natural phenomena being replete
with everything which when committed by human beings is most
worthy of abhorrence, anyone who endeavoured in his actions to
imitate the natural course of things would be universally seen
and acknowledged to be the wickedest of men."

Here is explanation enough for the presence of evil in our
natures, that instinct to destroy which finds comparatively
harmless expression in certain forms of taking life, which is at
its worst when we fall to taking each other's.  It is to check an
inconvenient form of the expression of this instinct that we
punish murderers with death.  We must carry the definition of
murder a step farther before we can count on peace or
happiness??{in}??this world.  We must concentrate all our
strength on?? fighting criminal nature, both in ourselves and in
the world around us.  With the destructive forces of nature we
are waging a perpetual struggle for our very existence.  Why
dissipate our strength by fighting among ourselves?  By enlarging
our conception of crime we move towards that end.  What is anti-
social, whether it be written in the pages of the historian or
those of the Newgate Calendar, must in the future be regarded
with equal abhorrence and subjected to equally sure punishment. 
Every professor of history should now and then climb down from
the giddy heights of Thucydides and Gibbon and restore his moral
balance by comparing the acts of some of his puppets with those
of their less fortunate brethren who have dangled at the end of a
rope.  If this war is to mean anything to posterity, the crime
against humanity must be judged in the future by the same rigid
standard as the crime against the person.

The individual criminals whose careers are given in this book
have been chosen from among their fellows for their pre-eminence
in character or achievement.  Some of the cases, such as Butler,
Castaing and Holmes, are new to most English readers.

Charles Peace is the outstanding popular figure in nineteenth-
century crime.  He is the type of the professional criminal who
makes crime a business and sets about it methodically and
persistently to the end.  Here is a man, possessing many of those
qualities which go to make the successful man of action in all
walks of life, driven by circumstances to squander them on a
criminal career.  Yet it is a curious circumstance that this
determined and ruthless burglar should have suffered for what
would be classed in France as a "crime passionel."  There is more
than a possibility that a French jury would have ?? ing
circumstances in the murder of Dyson.  ?? Peace is only another
instance of the wreck- ?? ong man's career by his passion for a

?? bert Butler we have the criminal by conviction, a conviction
which finds the ground ready prepared for its growth in the
natural laziness and idleness of the man's disposition.  The
desire to acquire things by a short cut, without taking the
trouble to work for them honestly, is perhaps the most fruitful
of all sources of crime.  Butler, a bit of a pedant, is pleased
to justify his conduct by reason and philosophy--he finds in the
acts of unscrupulous monarchs an analogy to his own attitude
towards life.  What is good enough for Caesar Borgia is good
enough for Robert Butler.  Like Borgia he comes to grief;
criminals succeed and criminals fail.  In the case of historical
criminals their crimes are open; we can estimate the successes
and failures.  With ordinary criminals, we know only those who
fail.  The successful, the real geniuses in crime, those whose
guilt remains undiscovered, are for the most part unknown to us. 
Occasionally in society a man or woman is pointed out as having
once murdered somebody or other, and at times, no doubt, with
truth.  But the matter can only be referred to clandestinely;
they are gazed at with awe or curiosity, mute witnesses to their
own achievement.  Some years ago James Payn, the novelist,
hazarded the reckoning that one person in every five hundred was
an undiscovered murderer.  This gives us all a hope, almost a
certainty, that we may reckon one such person at least among our

[1] The author was one of three men discussing this subject in a
London club.  They were able to name six persons of their various
acquaintance who were, or had been, suspected of being successful

Derues is remarkable for the extent of his social ambition,
the daring and impudent character of his attempts to gratify it,
the skill, the consummate hypocrisy with which he played on the
credulity of honest folk, and his flagrant employment of that
weapon known and recognised to-day in the most exalted spheres by
the expressive name of "bluff."  He is remarkable, too, for his
mirth and high spirits, his genial buffoonery; the merry murderer
is a rare bird.

Professor Webster belongs to that order of criminal of which
Eugene Aram and the Rev. John Selby Watson are our English
examples, men of culture and studious habits who suddenly burst
on the astonished gaze of their fellowmen as murderers.  The
exact process of mind by which these hitherto harmless citizens
are converted into assassins is to a great extent hidden from us.

Perhaps Webster's case is the clearest of the three.  Here we
have a selfish, self-indulgent and spendthrift gentleman who has
landed himself in serious financial embarrassment, seeking by
murder to escape from an importunate and relentless creditor.  He
has not, apparently, the moral courage to face the consequences
of his own weakness.  He forgets the happiness of his home, the
love of those dear to him, in the desire to free himself from a
disgrace insignificent{sic} in comparison with that entailed by
committing the highest of all crimes.  One would wish to believe
that Webster's deed was unpremeditated, the result of a sudden
gust of passion caused by his victim's acrimonious pursuit of his
debtor.  But there are circumstances in the case which tell
powerfully against such a view.  The character of the murderer
seems curiously contradictory; both cunning and simplicity mark
his proceedings; he makes a determined attempt to escape from the
horrors of his situation and shows at the same time a curious
insensibility to its real gravity.  Webster was a man of refined
tastes and seemingly gentle character, loved by those near to
him, well liked by his friends.

The mystery that surrounds the real character of Eugene Aram is
greater, and we possess little or no means of solving it.  From
what motive this silent, arrogant man, despising his ineffectual
wife, this reserved and moody scholar stooped to fraud and murder
the facts of the case help us little to determine.  Was it the
hope of leaving the narrow surroundings of Knaresborough, his
tiresome belongings, his own poor way of life, and seeking a
wider field for the exercise of those gifts of scholarship which
he undoubtedly possessed that drove him to commit fraud in
company with Clark and Houseman, and then, with the help of the
latter, murder the unsuspecting Clark?  The fact of his humble
origin makes his association with so low a ruffian as Houseman
the less remarkable.  Vanity in all probability played a
considerable part in Aram's disposition.  He would seem to have
thought himself a superior person, above the laws that bind
ordinary men.  He showed at the end no consciousness of his
guilt.  Being something of a philosopher, he had no doubt
constructed for himself a philosophy of life which served to
justify his own actions.  He was a deist, believing in "one
almighty Being the God of Nature," to whom he recommended himself
at the last in the event of his "having done amiss."  He
emphasised the fact that his life had been unpolluted and his
morals irreproachable.  But his views as to the murder of Clark
he left unexpressed.  He suggested as justification of it that
Clark had carried on an intrigue with his neglected wife, but he
never urged this circumstance in his defence, and beyond his own
statement there is no evidence of such a connection.

The Revd. John Selby Watson, headmaster of the Stockwell Grammar
School, at the age of sixty-five killed his wife in his
library one Sunday afternoon.  Things had been going badly with
the unfortunate man.  After more than twenty-five years' service
as headmaster of the school at a meagre salary of L400 a year,
he was about to be dismissed; the number of scholars had been
declining steadily and a change in the headmastership thought
necessary; there was no suggestion of his receiving any kind of
pension.  The future for a man of his years was dark enough.  The
author of several learned books, painstaking, scholarly, dull, he
could hope to make but little money from literary work.  Under a
cold, reserved and silent exterior, Selby Watson concealed a
violence of temper which he sought diligently to repress.  His
wife's temper was none of the best.  Worried, depressed, hopeless
of his future, he in all probability killed his wife in a sudden
access of rage, provoked by some taunt or reproach on her part,
and then, instead of calling in a policeman and telling him what
he had done, made clumsy and ineffectual efforts to conceal his
crime.  Medical opinion was divided as to his mental condition. 
Those doctors called for the prosecution could find no trace of
insanity about him, those called for the defence said that he was
suffering from melancholia.  The unhappy man would appear hardly
to have realised the gravity of his situation.  To a friend who
visited him in prison he said:  "Here's a man who can write
Latin, which the Bishop of Winchester would commend, shut up in a
place like this."  Coming from a man who had spent all his life
buried in books and knowing little of the world the remark is not
so greatly to be wondered at.  Profound scholars are apt to be
impatient of mundane things.  Professor Webster showed a similar
want of appreciation of the circumstances of a person charged
with wilful murder.  Selby Watson was convicted of murder and
sentenced to death.  The sentence was afterwards commuted to
one of penal servitude for life, the Home Secretary of the day
showing by his decision that, though not satisfied of the
prisoner's insanity, he recognised certain extenuating
circumstances in his guilt.[2]

[2] Selby Watson was tried at the Central Criminal Court January,

In Castaing much ingenuity is shown in the conception of the
crime, but the man is weak and timid; he is not the stuff of
which the great criminal is made; Holmes is cast in the true
mould of the instinctive murderer.  Castaing is a man of
sensibility, capable of domestic affection; Holmes completely
insensible to all feelings of humanity.  Taking life is a mere
incident in the accomplishment of his schemes; men, women and
children are sacrificed with equal mercilessness to the necessary
end.  A consummate liar and hypocrite, he has that strange power
of fascination over others, women in particular, which is often
independent altogether of moral or even physical attractiveness. 
We are accustomed to look for a certain vastness, grandeur of
scale in the achievements of America.  A study of American crime
will show that it does not disappoint us in this expectation. 
The extent and audacity of the crimes of Holmes are proof of it.

To find a counterpart in imaginative literature to the complete
criminal of the Holmes type we must turn to the pages of
Shakespeare.  In the number of his victims, the cruelty and
insensibility with which he attains his ends, his unblushing
hypocrisy, the fascination he can exercise at will over others,
the Richard III. of Shakespeare shows how clearly the poet
understood the instinctive criminal of real life.  The Richard of
history was no doubt less instinctively and deliberately an
assassin than the Richard of Shakespeare.  In the former we can
trace the gradual temptation to crime to which circumstances
provoke him.  The murder of the Princes, if, as one writer
contends, it was not the work of Henry VII.--in which case that
monarch deserves to be hailed as one of the most consummate
criminals that ever breathed and the worthy father of a criminal
son--was no doubt forced to a certain extent on Richard by the
exigencies of his situation, one of those crimes to which bad men
are driven in order to secure the fruits of other crimes.  But
the Richard of Shakespeare is no child of circumstance.  He
espouses deliberately a career of crime, as deliberately as Peace
or Holmes or Butler; he sets out "determined to prove a villain,"
to be "subtle, false and treacherous," to employ to gain his ends
"stern murder in the dir'st degree."  The character is sometimes
criticised as being overdrawn and unreal.  It may not be true to
the Richard of history, but it is very true to crime, and to the
historical criminal of the Borgian or Prussian type, in which
fraud and violence are made part of a deliberate system of so-
called statecraft.

Shakespeare got nearer to what we may term the domestic as
opposed to the political criminal when he created Iago.  In their
envy and dislike of their fellowmen, their contempt for humanity
in general, their callousness to the ordinary sympathies of human
nature, Robert Butler, Lacenaire, Ruloff are witnesses to the
poet's fidelity to criminal character in his drawing of the
Ancient.  But there is a weakness in the character of Iago
regarded as a purely instinctive and malignant criminal; indeed
it is a weakness in the consistency of the play.  On two
occasions Iago states explicitly that Othello is more than
suspected of having committed adultery with his wife, Emilia, and
that therefore he has a strong and justifiable motive for being
revenged on the Moor.  The thought of it he describes as
"gnawing his inwards."  Emilia's conversation with Desdemona
in the last act lends some colour to the correctness of Iago's
belief.  If this belief be well-founded it must greatly modify
his character as a purely wanton and mischievous criminal, a
supreme villain, and lower correspondingly the character of
Othello as an honourable and high-minded man.  If it be a morbid
suspicion, having no ground in fact, a mental obsession, then
Iago becomes abnormal and consequently more or less irre-

sponsible.  But this suggestion of Emilia's faithlessness made in
the early part of the play is never followed up by the dramatist,
and the spectator is left in complete uncertainty as to whether
there be any truth or not in Iago's suspicion.  If Othello has
played his Ancient false, that is an extenuating circumstance in
the otherwise extraordinary guilt of Iago, and would no doubt be
accorded to him as such, were he on trial before a French jury.

The most successful, and therefore perhaps the greatest, criminal
in Shakespeare is King Claudius of Denmark.  His murder of his
brother by pouring a deadly poison into his ear while sleeping,
is so skilfully perpetrated as to leave no suspicion of foul
play.  But for a supernatural intervention, a contingency against
which no murderer could be expected to have provided, the crime
of Claudius would never have been discovered.  Smiling, jovial,
genial as M. Derues or Dr. Palmer, King Claudius might have gone
down to his grave in peace as the bluff hearty man of action,
while his introspective nephew would in all probability have
ended his days in the cloister, regarded with amiable contempt by
his bustling fellowmen.  How Claudius got over the great dif-

ficulty of all poisoners, that of procuring the necessary poison
without detection, we are not told; by what means he distilled
the "juice of cursed hebenon"; how the strange appearance of
the late King's body, which "an instant tetter" had barked about
with "vile and loathsome crust," was explained to the multitude
we are left to imagine.  There is no real evidence to show that
Queen Gertrude was her lover's accomplice in her husband's
murder.  If that had been so, she would no doubt have been of
considerable assistance to Claudius in the preparation of the
crime.  But in the absence of more definite proof we must assume
Claudius' murder of his brother to have been a solitary
achievement, skilfully carried out by one whose genial good-
fellowship and convivial habits gave the lie to any suggestion of
criminality.  Whatever may have been his inward feelings of
remorse or self-reproach, Claudius masked them successfully from
the eyes of all.  Hamlet's instinctive dislike of his uncle was
not shared by the members of the Danish court.  The "witchcraft
of his wit," his "traitorous gifts," were powerful aids to
Claudius, not only in the seduction of his sister-in-law, but the
perpetration of secret murder.

The case of the murder of King Duncan of Scotland by Macbeth and
his wife belongs to a different class of crime.  It is a striking
example of dual crime, four instances of which are given towards
the end of this book.  An Italian advocate, Scipio Sighele, has
devoted a monograph to the subject of dual crime, in which he
examines a number of cases in which two persons have jointly
committed heinous crimes.[3]  He finds that in couples of this
kind there is usually an incubus and a succubus, the one who
suggests the crime, the other on whom the suggestion works until
he or she becomes the accomplice or instrument of the stronger
will; "the one playing the Mephistophelian part of tempter,
preaching evil, urging to crime, the other allowing himself
to be overcome by his evil genius."  In some cases these two
roles are clearly differentiated; it is easy, as in the case of
Iago and Othello, Cassius and Brutus, to say who prompted the
crime.  In others the guilt seems equally divided and the
original suggestion of crime to spring from a mutual tendency
towards the adoption of such an expedient.  In Macbeth and his
wife we have a perfect instance of the latter class.  No sooner
have the witches prophesied that Macbeth shall be a king than the
"horrid image" of the suggestion to murder Duncan presents itself
to his mind, and, on returning to his wife, he answers her
question as to when Duncan is to leave their house by the
significant remark, "To-morrow--as he proposes."  To Lady Macbeth
from the moment she has received her husband's letter telling of
the prophecy of the weird sisters, murder occurs as a means of
accomplishing their prediction.  In the minds of Macbeth and his
wife the suggestion of murder is originally an auto-suggestion,
coming to them independently of each other as soon as they learn
from the witches that Macbeth is one day to be a king.  To Banquo
a somewhat similar intimation is given, but no foul thought of
crime suggests itself for an instant to his loyal nature.  What
Macbeth and his wife lack at first as thorough-going murderers is
that complete insensibility to taking human life that marks the
really ruthless assassin.  Lady Macbeth has the stronger will of
the two for the commission of the deed.  It is doubtful whether
without her help Macbeth would ever have undertaken it.  But even
she, when her husband hesitates to strike, cannot bring herself
to murder the aged Duncan with her own hands because of his
resemblance as he sleeps to her father.  It is only after a deal
of boggling and at serious risk of untimely interruption that the
two contrive to do the murder, and plaster with blood the
"surfeited grooms."  In thus putting suspicion on the servants of
Duncan the assassins cunningly avert suspicion from themselves,
and Macbeth's killing of the unfortunate men in seeming indigna-
tion at the discovery of their crime is a master-stroke of
ingenuity.  "Who," he asks in a splendid burst of feigned horror,
"can be wise, amazed, temperate and furious, loyal and natural in
a moment?"  At the same time Lady Macbeth affects to swoon away
in the presence of so awful a crime.  For the time all suspicion
of guilt, except in the mind of Banquo, is averted from the real
murderers.  But, like so many criminals, Macbeth finds it
impossible to rest on his first success in crime.  His
sensibility grows dulled; he "forgets the taste of fear"; the
murder of Banquo and his son is diabolically planned, and that is
soon followed by the outrageous slaughter of the wife and
children of Macduff.  Ferri, the Italian writer on crime,
describes the psychical condition favourable to the commission of
murder as an absence of both moral repugnance to the crime itself
and the fear of the consequences following it.  In the murder of
Duncan, it is the first of these two states of mind to which
Macbeth and his wife have only partially attained.  The moral
repugnance stronger in the man has not been wholly lost by the
woman.  But as soon as the crime is successfully accomplished,
this repugnance begins to wear off until the King and Queen are
able calmly and deliberately to contemplate those further crimes
necessary to their peace of mind.  But now Macbeth, at first the
more compunctious of the two, has become the more ruthless; the
germ of crime, developed by suggestion, has spread through his
whole being; he has begun to acquire that indifference to human
suffering with which Richard III. and Iago were gifted from the
first.  In both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth the germ of crime
was latent; they wanted only favourable circumstances to convert
them into one of those criminal couples who are the more
dangerous for the fact that the temptation to crime has come to
each spontaneously and grown and been fostered by mutual
understanding, an elective affinity for evil.  Such couples are
frequent in the history of crime.  Eyraud and Bompard, Mr. and
Mrs. Manning, Burke and Hare, the Peltzer brothers, Barre and
Lebiez, are instances of those collaborations in crime which find
their counterpart in history, literature, drama and business. 
Antoninus and Aurelius, Ferdinand and Isabella, the De Goncourt
brothers, Besant and Rice, Gilbert and Sullivan, Swan and Edgar
leap to the memory.

[3] "Le Crime a Deux," by Scipio Sighele (translated from the
Italian), Lyons, 1893.

In the cases of Eyraud and Bompard, both man and woman are idle,
vicious criminals by instinct.  They come together, lead an
abandoned life, sinking lower and lower in moral degradation.  In
the hour of need, crime presents itself as a simple expedient for
which neither of them has any natural aversion.  The repugnance
to evil, if they ever felt it, has long since disappeared from
their natures.  The man is serious, the woman frivolous, but the
criminal tendency in both cases is the same; each performs his or
her part in the crime with characteristic aptitude.  Mrs. Manning
was a creature of much firmer character than her husband, a woman
of strong passions, a redoubtable murderess.  Without her
dominating force Manning might never have committed murder.  But
he was a criminal before the crime, more than suspected as a
railway official of complicity in a considerable train robbery;
in his case the suggestion of murder involved only the taking of
a step farther in a criminal career.  Manning suffered from
nerves almost as badly as Macbeth; after the deed he sought to
drown the prickings of terror and remorse by heavy drinking
Mrs. Manning was never troubled with any feelings of this kind;
after the murder of O'Connor the gratification of her sexual
passion seemed uppermost in her mind; and she met the
consequences of her crime fearlessly.  Burke and Hare were a
couple of ruffians, tempted by what must have seemed almost
fabulous wealth to men of their wretched poverty to commit a
series of cruel murders.  Hare, with his queer, Mephistophelian
countenance, was the wickeder of the two.  Burke became haunted
as time went on and flew to drink to banish horror, but Hare
would seem to have been free from such "compunctious visitings of
Nature."  He kept his head and turned King's evidence.

In the case of the Peltzer brothers we have a man who is of good
social position, falling desperately in love with the wife of a
successful barrister.  The wife, though unhappy in her domestic
life, refuses to become her lover's mistress; marriage is the
only way to secure her.  So Armand Peltzer plots to murder the
husband.  For this purpose he calls in the help of a brother, a
ne'er-do-well, who has left his native country under a cloud.  He
sends for this dubious person to Europe, and there between them
they plan the murder of the inconvenient husband.  Though the
idea of the crime comes from the one brother, the other receives
the idea without repugnance and enters wholeheartedly into the
commission of the murder.  The ascendency of the one is evident,
but he knows his man, is sure that he will have no difficulty in
securing the other's co-operation in his felonious purpose. 
Armand Peltzer should have lived in the Italy of the Renaissance.

The crime was cunningly devised, and methodically and
successfully accomplished.  Only an over-anxiety to secure the
fruits of it led to its detection.  Barre and Lebiez are a
perfect criminal couple, both young men of good education,
trained to better things, but the one idle, greedy and vicious,
the other cynical, indifferent, inclined at best to a lazy
sentimentalism.  Barre is a needy stockbroker at the end of
his tether, desperate to find an expedient for raising the wind,
Lebiez a medical student who writes morbid verses to a skull and
lectures on Darwinism.  To Barre belongs the original
suggestion to murder an old woman who sells milk and is reputed
to have savings.  But his friend and former schoolfellow, Lebiez,
accepts the suggestion placidly, and reconciles himself to the
murder of an unnecessary old woman by the same argument as that
used by Raskolnikoff in "Crime and Punishment" to justify the
killing of his victim.

In all the cases here quoted the couples are essentially criminal
couples.  From whichever of the two comes the first suggestion of
crime, it falls on soil already prepared to receive it; the
response to the suggestion is immediate.  In degree of guilt
there is little or nothing to choose between them.  But the more
interesting instances of dual crime are those in which one
innocent hitherto of crime, to whom it is morally repugnant, is
persuaded by another to the commission of a criminal act, as
Cassius persuades Brutus; Iago, Othello.  Cassius is a criminal
by instinct.  Placed in a social position which removes him from
the temptation to ordinary crime, circumstances combine in his
case to bring out the criminal tendency and give it free play in
the projected murder of Caesar.  Sour, envious, unscrupulous,
the suggestion to kill Caesar under the guise of the public
weal is in reality a gratification to Cassius of his own ignoble
instincts, and the deliberate unscrupulousness with which he
seeks to corrupt the honourable metal, seduce the noble mind of
his friend, is typical of the man's innate dishonesty.  Cassius
belongs to that particular type of the envious nature which
Shakespeare is fond of exemplifying with more or less degree
of villainy in such characters as Iago, Edmund, and Don John, of
which Robert Butler, whose career is given in this book, is a
living instance.  Cassius on public grounds tempts Brutus to
crime as subtly as on private grounds Iago tempts Othello, and
with something of the same malicious satisfaction; the soliloquy
of Cassius at the end of the second scene of the first act is
that of a bad man and a false friend.  Indeed, the quarrel
between Brutus and Cassius after the murder of Caesar loses
much of its sincerity and pathos unless we can forget for the
moment the real character of Cassius.  But the interest in the
cases of Cassius and Brutus, Iago and Othello, lies not so much
in the nature of the prompter of the crime.  The instances in
which an honest, honourable man is by force of another's
suggestion converted into a criminal are psychologically
remarkable.  It is to be expected that we should look in the
annals of real crime for confirmation of the truth to life of
stories such as these, told in fiction or drama.

The strongest influence, under which the naturally non-criminal
person may be tempted in violation of instinct and better nature
to the commission of a crime, is that of love or passion. 
Examples of this kind are frequent in the annals of crime.  There
is none more striking than that of the Widow Gras and Natalis
Gaudry.  Here a man, brave, honest, of hitherto irreproachable
character, is tempted by a woman to commit the most cruel and
infamous of crimes.  At first he repels the suggestion; at last,
when his senses have been excited, his passion inflamed by the
cunning of the woman, as the jealous passion of Othello is played
on and excited by Iago, the patriotism of Brutus artfully
exploited by Cassius, he yields to the repeated solicitation and
does a deed in every way repugnant to his normal character. 
Nothing seems so blinding in its effect on the moral sense as
passion.  It obscures all sense of humour, proportion, congruity;
the murder of the man or woman who stands in the way of its full
enjoyment becomes an act of inverted justice to the perpetrators;
they reconcile themselves to it by the most perverse reasoning
until they come to regard it as an act, in which they may
justifiably invoke the help of God; eroticism and religion are
often jumbled up together in this strange medley of conflicting

A woman, urging her lover to the murder of her husband, writes of
the roses that are to deck the path of the lovers as soon as the
crime is accomplished; she sends him flowers and in the same
letter asks if he has got the necessary cartridges.  Her husband
has been ill; she hopes that it is God helping them to the
desired end; she burns a candle on the altar of a saint for the
success of their murderous plan.[4]  A jealous husband setting
out to kill his wife carries in his pockets, beside a knife and a
service revolver, a rosary, a medal of the Virgin and a holy
image.[5]  Marie Boyer in the blindness of her passion and
jealousy believes God to be helping her to get rid of her mother.

[4] Case of Garnier and the woman Aveline, 1884.
[5] Case of the Comte de Cornulier:  "Un An de Justice," Henri
Varennes, 1901.

A lover persuades the wife to get rid of her husband.  For a
whole year he instils the poison into her soul until she can
struggle no longer against the obsession; he offers to do the
deed, but she writes that she would rather suffer all the risks
and consequences herself.  "How many times," she writes, "have I
wished to go away, leave home, but it meant leaving my children,
losing them for ever . . that made my lover jealous, he believed
that I could not bring myself to leave my husband.  But if my
husband were out of the way then I would keep my children, and my
lover would see in my crime a striking proof of my devotion."  A
curious farrago of slavish passion, motherly love and murder.[6]

[6] Case of Madame Weiss and the engineer Roques.  If I may be
permitted the reference, there is an account of this case and
that of Barre and Lebiez in my book "French Criminals of the
Nineteenth Century."

There are some women such as Marie Boyer and Gabrielle Fenayrou,
who may be described as passively criminal, chameleon-like,
taking colour from their surroundings.  By the force of a man's
influence they commit a dreadful crime, in the one instance it is
matricide, in the other the murder of a former lover, but neither
of the women is profoundly vicious or criminal in her instincts. 
In prison they become exemplary, their crime a thing of the past.

Gabrielle Fenayrou during her imprisonment, having won the
confidence of the religious sisters in charge of the convicts, is
appointed head of one of the workshops.  Marie Boyer is so
contrite, exemplary in her behaviour that she is released after
fifteen years' imprisonment.  In some ways, perhaps, these
malleable types of women, "soft paste" as one authority has
described them, "effacees" in the words of another, are the
most dangerous material of all for the commission of crime, their
obedience is so complete, so cold and relentless.

There are cases into which no element of passion enters, in which
one will stronger than the other can so influence, so dominate
the weaker as to persuade the individual against his or her
better inclination to an act of crime, just as in the relations
of ordinary life we see a man or woman led and controlled for
good or ill by one stronger than themselves.  There is no more
extraordinary instance of this than the case of Catherine
Hayes, immortalised by Thackeray, which occurred as long ago as
the year 1726.  This singular woman by her artful insinuations,
by representing her husband as an atheist and a murderer,
persuaded a young man of the name of Wood, of hitherto exemplary
character, to assist her in murdering him.  It was unquestionably
the sinister influence of Captain Cranstoun that later in the
same century persuaded the respectable Miss Mary Blandy to the
murder of her father.  The assassin of an old woman in Paris
recounts thus the arguments used by his mistress to induce him to
commit the crime:  "She began by telling me about the money and
jewellery in the old woman's possession which could no longer be
of any use to her"--the argument of Raskolnikoff--"I resisted,
but next day she began again, pointing out that one killed people
in war, which was not considered a crime, and therefore one
should not be afraid to kill a miserable old woman.  I urged that
the old woman had done us no harm, and that I did not see why one
should kill her; she reproached me for my weakness and said that,
had she been strong enough, she would soon have done this
abominable deed herself.  `God,' she added, `will forgive us
because He knows how poor we are.'"  When he came to do the
murder, this determined woman plied her lover with brandy and put
rouge on his cheeks lest his pallor should betray him.[7]

[7] Case of Albert and the woman Lavoitte, Paris, 1877.

There are occasions when those feelings of compunction which
troubled Macbeth and his wife are wellnigh proof against the
utmost powers of suggestion, or, as in the case of Hubert and
Prince Arthur, compel the criminal to desist from his enterprise.

A man desires to get rid of his father and mother-in-law.  By
means of threats, reproaches and inducements he persuades another
man to commit the crime.  Taking a gun, the latter sets out
to do the deed; but he realises the heinousness of it and turns
back.  "The next day," he says, "at four o'clock in the morning I
started again.  I passed the village church.  At the sight of the
place where I had celebrated my first communion I was filled with
remorse.  I knelt down and prayed to God to make me good.  But
some unknown force urged me to the crime.  I started again--ten
times I turned back, but the more I hesitated the stronger was
the desire to go on."  At length the faltering assassin arrived
at the house, and in his painful anxiety of mind shot a servant
instead of the intended victims.[8]

[8] Case of Porcher and Hardouin cited in Despine.  "Psychologie

In a town in Austria there dwelt a happy and contented married
couple, poor and hard-working.  A charming young lady, a rich
relation and an orphan, comes to live with them.  She brings to
their modest home wealth and comfort.  But as time goes on, it is
likely that the young lady will fall in love and marry.  What
then?  Her hosts will have to return to their original poverty. 
The idea of how to secure to himself the advantages of his young
kinswoman's fortune takes possession of the husband's mind.  He
revolves all manner of means, and gradually murder presents
itself as the only way.  The horrid suggestion fixes itself in
his mind, and at last he communicates it to his wife.  At first
she resists, then yields to the temptation.  The plan is
ingenious.  The wife is to disappear to America and be given out
as dead.  The husband will then marry his attractive kinswoman,
persuade her to make a will in his favour, poison her and, the
fortune secured, rejoin his wife.  As if to help this cruel plan,
the young lady has developed a sentimental affection for her
relative.  The wife goes to America, the husband marries the
young lady.  He commences to poison her, but, in the presence of
her youth, beauty and affection for him, relents, hesitates to
commit a possibly unnecessary crime.  He decides to forget and
ignore utterly his wife who is waiting patiently in America.  A
year passes.  The expectant wife gets no sign of her husband's
existence.  She comes back to Europe, visits under a false name
the town in which her faithless husband and his bride are living,
discovers the truth and divulges the intended crime to the
authorities.  A sentence of penal servitude for life rewards this
perfidious criminal.[9]

[9] Case of the Scheffer couple at Linz, cited by Sighele.

Derues said to a man who was looking at a picture in the Palais
de Justice:  "Why study copies of Nature when you can look at
such a remarkable original as I?"  A judge once told the present
writer that he did not go often to the theatre because none of
the dramas which he saw on the stage, seemed to him equal in in-

tensity to those of real life which came before him in the course
of his duties.  The saying that truth is stranger than fiction
applies more forcibly to crime than to anything else.  But the
ordinary man and woman prefer to take their crime romanticised,
as it is administered to them in novel or play.  The true stories
told in this book represent the raw material from which works of
art have been and may be yet created.  The murder of Mr. Arden of
Faversham inspired an Elizabethan tragedy attributed by some
critics to Shakespeare.  The Peltzer trial helped to inspire Paul
Bourget's remarkable novel, "Andre Cornelis."  To Italian crime
we owe Shelley's "Cenci" and Browning's "The Ring and the Book." 
Mrs. Manning was the original of the maid Hortense in "Bleak
House."  Jonathan Wild, Eugene Aram, Deacon Brodie, Thomas
Griffiths Wainewright have all been made the heroes of books or
plays of varying merit.  But it is not only in its stories
that crime has served to inspire romance.  In the investigation
of crime, especially on the broader lines of Continental
procedure, we can track to the source the springs of conduct and
character, and come near to solving as far as is humanly possible
the mystery of human motive.  There is always and must be in
every crime a terra incognita which, unless we could enter into
the very soul of a man, we cannot hope to reach.  Thus far may we
go, no farther.  It is rarely indeed that a man lays bare his
whole soul, and even when he does we can never be quite sure that
he is telling us all the truth, that he is not keeping back some
vital secret.  It is no doubt better so, and that it should be
left to the writer of imagination to picture for us a man's
inmost soul.  The study of crime will help him to that end.  It
will help us also in the ethical appreciation of good and evil in
individual conduct, about which our notions have been somewhat
obscured by too narrow a definition of what constitutes crime. 
These themes, touched on but lightly and imperfectly in these
pages, are rich in human interest.

And so it is hardly a matter for surprise that the poet and the
philosopher sat up late one night talking about murders.

The Life of Charles Peace

"Charles Peace, or the Adventures of a Notorious Burglar," a
large volume published at the time of his death, gives a full and
accurate account of the career of Peace side by side with a story
of the Family Herald type, of which he is made the hero.  "The
Life and Trial of Charles Peace" (Sheffield, 1879), "The Romantic
Career of a Great Criminal" (by N. Kynaston Gaskell, London
1906), and "The Master Criminal," published recently in London
give useful information.  I have also consulted some of the
newspapers of the time.  There is a delightful sketch of Peace in
Mr. Charles Whibley's "Book of Scoundrels."



Charles Peace told a clergyman who had an interview with him in
prison shortly before his execution that he hoped that, after he
was gone, he would be entirely forgotten by everybody and his
name never mentioned again.

Posterity, in calling over its muster-roll of famous men, has
refused to fulfil this pious hope, and Charley Peace stands out
as the one great personality among English criminals of the
nineteenth century.  In Charley Peace alone is revived that good-
humoured popularity which in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries fell to the lot of Claude Duval, Dick Turpin and Jack
Sheppard.  But Peace has one grievance against posterity; he has
endured one humiliation which these heroes have been spared.  His
name has been omitted from the pages of the "Dictionary of
National Biography."  From Duval, in the seventeenth, down to
the Mannings, Palmer, Arthur Orton, Morgan and Kelly, the
bushrangers, in the nineteenth century, many a criminal, far less
notable or individual than Charley Peace, finds his or her place
in that great record of the past achievements of our countrymen. 
Room has been denied to perhaps the greatest and most naturally
gifted criminal England has produced, one whose character is all
the more remarkable for its modesty, its entire freedom from that
vanity and vain-gloriousness so common among his class.

The only possible reason that can be suggested for so singular an
omission is the fact that in the strict order of alphabetical
succession the biography of Charles Peace would have followed
immediately on that of George Peabody.  It may have been thought
that the contrast was too glaring, that even the exigencies of
national biography had no right to make the philanthropist Pea-

body rub shoulders with man's constant enemy, Peace.  To the
memory of Peace these few pages can make but poor amends for the
supreme injustice, but, by giving a particular and authentic
account of his career, they may serve as material for the
correction of this grave omission should remorse overtake those
responsible for so undeserved a slur on one of the most unruly of
England's famous sons.

From the literary point of view Peace was unfortunate even in the
hour of his notoriety.  In the very year of his trial and
execution, the Annual Register, seized with a fit of
respectability from which it has never recovered, announced that
"the appetite for the strange and marvellous" having considerably
abated since the year 1757 when the Register was first
published, its "Chronicle," hitherto a rich mine of extraordinary
and sensational occurrences, would become henceforth a mere diary
of important events.  Simultaneously with the curtailment of
its "Chronicle," it ceased to give those excellent summaries of
celebrated trials which for many years had been a feature of its
volumes.  The question whether "the appetite for the strange and
marvellous" has abated in an appreciable degree with the passing
of time and is not perhaps keener than it ever was, is a
debatable one.  But it is undeniable that the present volumes of
the Annual Register have fallen away dismally from the variety
and human interest of their predecessors.  Of the trial and
execution of Peace the volume for 1879 gives but the barest

Charles Peace was not born of criminal parents.  His father, John
Peace, began work as a collier at Burton-on-Trent.  Losing his
leg in an accident, he joined Wombwell's wild beast show and soon
acquired some reputation for his remarkable powers as a tamer of
wild animals.  About this time Peace married at Rotherham the
daughter of a surgeon in the Navy.  On the death of a favourite
son to whom he had imparted successfully the secrets of his
wonderful control over wild beasts of every kind, Mr. Peace gave
up lion-taming and settled in Sheffield as a shoemaker.

It was at Sheffield, in the county of Yorkshire, already famous
in the annals of crime as the county of John Nevison and Eugene
Aram, that Peace first saw the light.  On May 14, 1832, there was
born to John Peace in Sheffield a son, Charles, the youngest of
his family of four.  When he grew to boyhood Charles was sent to
two schools near Sheffield, where he soon made himself
remarkable, not as a scholar, but for his singular aptitude in a
variety of other employments such as making paper models, taming
cats, constructing a peep-show, and throwing up a heavy ball of
shot which he would catch in a leather socket fixed on to his

The course of many famous men's lives has been changed by
what appeared at the time to be an unhappy accident.  Who knows
what may have been the effect on Charles Peace's subsequent
career of an accident he met with in 1846 at some rolling mills,
in which he was employed?  A piece of red hot steel entered his
leg just below the knee, and after eighteen months spent in the
Sheffield Infirmary he left it a cripple for life.  About this
time Peace's father died.  Peace and his family were fond of
commemorating events of this kind in suitable verse; the death of
John Peace was celebrated in the following lines:

"In peace he lived;
    In peace he died;
Life was our desire,
    But God denied."

Of the circumstances that first led Peace to the commission of
crime we know nothing.  How far enforced idleness, bad
companionship, according to some accounts the influence of a
criminally disposed mother, how far his own daring and
adventurous temper provoked him to robbery, cannot be determined
accurately.  His first exploit was the stealing of an old
gentleman's gold watch, but he soon passed to greater things.  On
October 26, 1851, the house of a lady living in Sheffield was
broken into and a quantity of her property stolen.  Some of it
was found in the possession of Peace, and he was arrested.  Owing
no doubt to a good character for honesty given him by his late
employer Peace was let off lightly with a month's imprisonment.

After his release Peace would seem to have devoted himself for a
time to music, for which he had always a genuine passion.  He
taught himself to play tunes on a violin with one string, and at
entertainments which he attended was described as "the modern
Paganini."  In later life when he had attained to wealth and
prosperity the violin and the harmonium were a constant source of
solace during long winter evenings in Greenwich and Peckham.  But
playing a one-stringed violin at fairs and public-houses could
not be more than a relaxation to a man of Peace's active temper,
who had once tasted what many of those who have practised it,
describe as the fascination of that particular form of nocturnal
adventure known by the unsympathetic name of burglary.  Among the
exponents of the art Peace was at this time known as a "portico-
thief," that is to say one who contrived to get himself on to the
portico of a house and from that point of vantage make his
entrance into the premises.  During the year 1854 the houses of a
number of well-to-do residents in and about Sheffield were
entered after this fashion, and much valuable property stolen. 
Peace was arrested, and with him a girl with whom he was keeping
company, and his sister, Mary Ann, at that time Mrs. Neil.  On
October 20, 1854, Peace was sentenced at Doncaster Sessions to
four years' penal servitude, and the ladies who had been found in
possession of the stolen property to six months apiece.  Mrs.
Neil did not long survive her misfortune.  She would seem to have
been married to a brutal and drunken husband, whom Peace thrashed
on more than one occasion for ill-treating his sister.  After one
of these punishments Neil set a bull-dog on to Peace; but Peace
caught the dog by the lower jaw and punched it into a state of
coma.  The death in 1859 of the unhappy Mrs. Neil was lamented in
appropriate verse, probably the work of her brother:

"I was so long with pain opprest
    That wore my strength away;
It made me long for endless rest
    Which never can decay."

On coming out of prison in 1858, Peace resumed his fiddling, but
it was now no more than a musical accompaniment to burglary. 
This had become the serious business of Peace's life, to be
pursued, should necessity arise, even to the peril of men's
lives.  His operations extended beyond the bounds of his native
town.  The house of a lady living in Manchester was broken into
on the night of August 11, 1859, and a substantial booty carried
away.  This was found the following day concealed in a hole in a
field.  The police left it undisturbed and awaited the return of
the robber.  When Peace and another man arrived to carry it away,
the officers sprang out on them.  Peace, after nearly killing the
officer who was trying to arrest him, would have made his escape,
had not other policemen come to the rescue.  For this crime Peace
was sentenced to six years' penal servitude, in spite of a loyal
act of perjury on the part of his aged mother, who came all the
way from Sheffield to swear that he had been with her there on
the night of the crime.

He was released from prison again in 1864, and returned to
Sheffield.  Things did not prosper with him there, and he went
back to Manchester.  In 1866 he was caught in the act of burglary
at a house in Lower Broughton.  He admitted that at the time he
was fuddled with whisky; otherwise his capture would have been
more difficult and dangerous.  Usually a temperate man, Peace
realised on this occasion the value of sobriety even in burglary,
and never after allowed intemperance to interfere with his
success.  A sentence of eight years' penal servitude at
Manchester Assizes on December 3, 1866, emphasised this wholesome

Whilst serving this sentence Peace emulated Jack Sheppard in a
daring attempt to escape from Wakefield prison.  Being engaged on
some repairs, he smuggled a small ladder into his cell.  With
the help of a saw made out of some tin, he cut a hole through the
ceiling of the cell, and was about to get out on to the roof when
a warder came in.  As the latter attempted to seize the ladder
Peace knocked him down, ran along the wall of the prison, fell
off on the inside owing to the looseness of the bricks, slipped
into the governor's house where he changed his clothes, and
there, for an hour and a half, waited for an opportunity to
escape.  This was denied him, and he was recaptured in the
governor's bedroom.  The prisons at Millbank, Chatham and
Gibraltar were all visited by Peace before his final release in
1872.  At Chatham he is said to have taken part in a mutiny and
been flogged for his pains.

On his liberation from prison Peace rejoined his family in
Sheffield.  He was now a husband and father.  In 1859 he had
taken to wife a widow of the name of Hannah Ward.  Mrs. Ward was
already the mother of a son, Willie.  Shortly after her marriage
with Peace she gave birth to a daughter, and during his fourth
term of imprisonment presented him with a son.  Peace never saw
this child, who died before his release.  But, true to the family
custom, on his return from prison the untimely death of little
"John Charles" was commemorated by the printing of a funeral card
in his honour, bearing the following sanguine verses:

"Farewell, my dear son, by us all beloved,
Thou art gone to dwell in the mansions above.
In the bosom of Jesus Who sits on the throne
Thou art anxiously waiting to welcome us home."

Whether from a desire not to disappoint little John Charles, for
some reason or other the next two or three years of Peace's
career would seem to have been spent in an endeavour to earn an
honest living by picture framing, a trade in which Peace,
with that skill he displayed in whatever he turned his hand to,
was remarkably proficient.  In Sheffield his children attended
the Sunday School.  Though he never went to church himself, he
was an avowed believer in both God and the devil.  As he said,
however, that he feared neither, no great reliance could be
placed on the restraining force of such a belief to a man of
Peace's daring spirit.  There was only too good reason to fear
that little John Charles' period of waiting would be a prolonged

In 1875 Peace moved from Sheffield itself to the suburb of
Darnall.  Here Peace made the acquaintance--a fatal acquaintance,
as it turned out--of a Mr. and Mrs. Dyson.  Dyson was a civil
engineer.  He had spent some years in America, where, in 1866, he

Toward the end of 1873 or the beginning of 1874, he came to
England with his wife, and obtained a post on the North Eastern
Railway.  He was a tall man, over six feet in height, extremely
thin, and gentlemanly in his bearing.  His engagement with the
North Eastern Railway terminated abruptly owing to Dyson's
failing to appear at a station to which he had been sent on duty.

It was believed at the time by those associated with Dyson that
this unlooked-for dereliction of duty had its cause in domestic
trouble.  Since the year 1875, the year in which Peace came to
Darnall, the domestic peace of Mr. Dyson had been rudely
disturbed by this same ugly little picture-framer who lived a few
doors away from the Dysons' house.  Peace had got to know the
Dysons, first as a tradesman, then as a friend.  To what degree
of intimacy he attained with Mrs. Dyson it is difficult to
determine.  In that lies the mystery of the case Mrs. Dyson is
described as an attractive woman, "buxom and blooming"; she was
dark-haired, and about twenty-five years of age.  In an
interview with the Vicar of Darnall a few days before his
execution, Peace asserted positively that Mrs. Dyson had been his
mistress.  Mrs. Dyson as strenuously denied the fact.  There was
no question that on one occasion Peace and Mrs. Dyson had been
photographed together, that he had given her a ring, and that he
had been in the habit of going to music halls and public-houses
with Mrs. Dyson, who was a woman of intemperate habits.

Peace had introduced Mrs. Dyson to his wife and daughter, and on
one occasion was said to have taken her to his mother's house,
much to the old lady's indignation.  If there were not many
instances of ugly men who have been notably successful with
women, one might doubt the likelihood of Mrs. Dyson falling a
victim to the charms of Charles Peace.  But Peace, for all his
ugliness, could be wonderfully ingratiating when he chose. 
According to Mrs. Dyson, Peace was a demon, "beyond the power of
even a Shakespeare to paint," who persecuted her with his
attentions, and, when he found them rejected, devoted all his
malignant energies to making the lives of her husband and herself
unbearable.  According to Peace's story he was a slighted lover
who had been treated by Mrs. Dyson with contumely and

Whether to put a stop to his wife's intimacy with Peace, or to
protect himself against the latter's wanton persecution, sometime
about the end of June, 1876, Dyson threw over into the garden of
Peace's house a card, on which was written:  "Charles Peace is
requested not to interfere with my family."  On July 1 Peace met
Mr. Dyson in the street, and tried to trip him up.  The same
night he came up to Mrs. Dyson, who was talking with some
friends, and threatened in coarse and violent language to blow
out her brains and those of her husband.  In consequence of
these incidents Mr. Dyson took out a summons against Peace, for
whose apprehension a warrant was issued.  To avoid the
consequences of this last step Peace left Darnall for Hull, where
he opened an eating-shop, presided over by Mrs. Peace.

But he himself was not idle.  From Hull he went to Manchester on
business, and in Manchester he committed his first murder. 
Entering the grounds of a gentleman's home at Whalley Range,
about midnight on August 1, he was seen by two policemen.  One of
them, Constable Cock, intercepted him as he was trying to escape.

Peace took out his revolver and warned Cock to stand back.  The
policeman came on.  Peace fired, but deliberately wide of him. 
Cock, undismayed, drew out his truncheon, and made for the
burglar.  Peace, desperate, determined not to be caught, fired
again, this time fatally.  Cock's comrade heard the shots, but
before he could reach the side of the dying man, Peace had made
off.  He returned to Hull, and there learned shortly after, to
his intense relief, that two brothers, John and William Habron,
living near the scene of the murder, had been arrested and
charged with the killing of Constable Cock.

If the Dysons thought that they had seen the last of Peace, they
were soon to be convinced to the contrary.  Peace had not
forgotten his friends at Darnall.  By some means or other he was
kept informed of all their doings, and on one occasion was seen
by Mrs. Dyson lurking near her home.  To get away from him the
Dysons determined to leave Darnall.  They took a house at Banner
Cross, another suburb of Sheffield, and on October 29 moved into
their new home.  One of the first persons Mrs. Dyson saw on
arriving at Banner Cross was Peace himself.  "You see," he said,
"I am here to annoy you, and I'll annoy you wherever you go." 
Later, Peace and a friend passed Mr. Dyson in the street. 
Peace took out his revolver.  "If he offers to come near me,"
said he, "I will make him stand back."  But Mr. Dyson took no
notice of Peace and passed on.  He had another month to live.

Whatever the other motives of Peace may have been--unreasoning
passion, spite, jealousy, or revenge it must not be forgotten
that Dyson, by procuring a warrant against Peace, had driven him
from his home in Sheffield.  This Peace resented bitterly. 
According to the statements of many witnesses, he was at this
time in a state of constant irritation and excitement on the
Dyson's account.  He struck his daughter because she alluded in a
way he did not like to his relations with Mrs. Dyson.  Peace
always believed in corporal chastisement as a means of keeping
order at home.  Pleasant and entertaining as he could be, he was
feared.  It was very dangerous to incur his resentment.  "Be
sure," said his wife, "you do nothing to offend our Charley, or
you will suffer for it."  Dyson beyond a doubt had offended "our
Charley."  But for the moment Peace was interested more
immediately in the fate of John and William Habron, who were
about to stand their trial for the murder of Constable Cock at
Whalley Range.

The trial commenced at the Manchester Assizes before Mr. Justice
(now Lord) Lindley on Monday, November 27.  John Habron was

The case against William Habron depended to a great extent on the
fact that he, as well as his brother, had been heard to threaten
to "do for" the murdered man, to shoot the "little bobby."  Cock
was a zealous young officer of twenty-three years of age, rather
too eager perhaps in the discharge of his duty.  In July of 1876
he had taken out summonses against John and William Habron, young
fellows who had been several years in the employment of a
nurseryman in Whalley Range, for being drunk and disorderly.  On
July 27 William was fined five shillings, and on August 1, the
day of Cock's murder, John had been fined half a sovereign. 
Between these two dates the Habrons had been heard to threaten to
"do for" Cock if he were not more careful.  Other facts relied
upon by the prosecution were that William Habron had inquired
from a gunsmith the price of some cartridges a day or two before
the murder; that two cartridge percussion caps had been found in
the pocket of a waistcoat given to William Habron by his
employer, who swore that they could not have been there while it
was in his possession; that the other constable on duty with Cock
stated that a man he had seen lurking near the house about twelve
o'clock on the night of the murder appeared to be William
Habron's age, height and complexion, and resembled him in general
appearance; and that the boot on Habron's left foot, which was
"wet and sludgy" at the time of his arrest, corresponded in
certain respects with the footprints of the murderer.  The
prisoner did not help himself by an ineffective attempt to prove
an alibi.  The Judge was clearly not impressed by the strength of
the case for the prosecution.  He pointed out to the jury that
neither the evidence of identification nor that of the footprint
went very far.  As to the latter, what evidence was there to show
that it had been made on the night of the murder?  If it had been
made the day before, then the defence had proved that it could
not have been Habron's.  He called their attention to the facts
that Habron bore a good character, that, when arrested on the
night of the murder, he was in bed, and that no firearms had been
traced to him.  In spite, however, of the summing-up the jury
convicted William Habron, but recommended him to mercy.  The
Judge without comment sentenced him to death.  The
Manchester Guardian expressed its entire concurrence with the
verdict of the jury.  "Few persons," it wrote, "will be found to
dispute the justice of the conclusions reached."  However, a few
days later it opened its columns to a number of letters
protesting against the unsatisfactory nature of the conviction. 
On December 6 a meeting of some forty gentlemen was held, at
which it was resolved to petition Mr. Cross, the Home Secretary,
to reconsider the sentence.  Two days before the day of execution
Habron was granted a respite, and later his sentence commuted to
one of penal servitude for life.  And so a tragic and irrevocable
miscarriage of justice was happily averted.

Peace liked attending trials.  The fact that in Habron's case he
was the real murderer would seem to have made him the more eager
not to miss so unique an experience.  Accordingly he went from
Hull to Manchester, and was present in court during the two days
that the trial lasted.  No sooner had he heard the innocent man
condemned to death than he left Manchester for Sheffield--now for
all he knew a double murderer.

It is a question whether, on the night of November 28, Peace met
Mrs. Dyson at an inn in one of the suburbs of Sheffield.  In any
case, the next morning, Wednesday, the 29th, to his mother's
surprise Peace walked into her house.  He said that he had come
to Sheffield for the fair.  The afternoon of that day Peace spent
in a public-house at Ecclesall, entertaining the customers by
playing tunes on a poker suspended from a piece of strong string,
from which he made music by beating it with a short stick.  The
musician was rewarded by drinks.  It took very little drink to
excite Peace.  There was dancing, the fun grew fast and furious,
as the strange musician beat out tune after tune on his fantastic

At six o'clock the same evening a thin, grey-haired,
insignificant-looking man in an evident state of unusual
excitement called to see the Rev. Mr. Newman, Vicar of Ecclesall,
near Banner Cross.  Some five weeks before, this insignificant-
looking man had visited Mr. Newman, and made certain statements
in regard to the character of a Mr. and Mrs. Dyson who had come
to live in the parish.  The vicar had asked for proof of these
statements.  These proofs his visitor now produced.  They
consisted of a number of calling cards and photographs, some of
them alleged to be in the handwriting of Mrs. Dyson, and showing
her intimacy with Peace.  The man made what purported to be a
confession to Mr. Newman.  Dyson, he said, had become jealous of
him, whereupon Peace had suggested to Mrs. Dyson that they should
give her husband something to be jealous about.  Out of this
proposal their intimacy had sprung.  Peace spoke of Mrs. Dyson in
terms of forgiveness, but his wrath against Dyson was extreme. 
He complained bitterly that by taking proceedings against him,
Dyson had driven him to break up his home and become a fugitive
in the land.  He should follow the Dysons, he said, wherever they
might go; he believed that they were at that moment intending to
take further proceedings against him.  As he left, Peace said
that he should not go and see the Dysons that night, but would
call on a friend of his, Gregory, who lived next door to them in
Banner Cross Terrace.  It was now about a quarter to seven.

Peace went to Gregory's house, but his friend was not at home. 
The lure of the Dysons was irresistible.  A little after eight
o'clock Peace was watching the house from a passage-way that led
up to the backs of the houses on the terrace.  He saw Mrs. Dyson
come out of the back door, and go to an outhouse some few yards
distant.  He waited.  As soon as she opened the door to come
out, Mrs. Dyson found herself confronted by Peace, holding his
revolver in his hand.  "Speak," he said, "or I'll fire."  Mrs.
Dyson in terror went back.  In the meantime Dyson, hearing the
disturbance, came quickly into the yard.  Peace made for the
passage.  Dyson followed him.  Peace fired once, the shot
striking the lintel of the passage doorway.  Dyson undaunted,
still pursued.  Then Peace, according to his custom, fired a
second time, and Dyson fell, shot through the temple.  Mrs.
Dyson, who had come into the yard again on hearing the first
shot, rushed to her husband's side, calling out:  "Murder!  You
villain!  You have shot my husband."  Two hours later Dyson was

After firing the second shot Peace had hurried down; the passage
into the roadway.  He stood there hesitating a moment, until the
cries of Mrs. Dyson warned him of his danger.  He crossed the
road, climbed a wall, and made his way back to Sheffield.  There
he saw his mother and brother, told them that he had shot Mr.
Dyson, and bade them a hasty good-bye.  He then walked to At-

tercliffe Railway Station, and took a ticket for Beverley. 
Something suspicious in the manner of the booking-clerk made him
change his place of destination.  Instead of going to Beverley
that night he got out of the train at Normanton and went on to
York.  He spent the remainder of the night in the station yard. 
He took the first train in the morning for Beverley, and from
there travelled via Collingham to Hull.  He went straight to the
eating-house kept by his wife, and demanded some dinner.  He had
hardly commenced to eat it when he heard two detectives come into
the front shop and ask his wife if a man called Charles Peace was
lodging with her.  Mrs. Peace said that that was her husband's
name, but that she had not seen him for two months.  The
detectives proposed to search the house.  Some customers in
the shop told them that if they had any business with Mrs.
Peace, they ought to go round to the side door.  The polite
susceptibility of these customers gave Peace time to slip up to a
back room, get out on to an adjoining roof, and hide behind a
chimney stack, where he remained until the detectives had
finished an exhaustive search.  So importunate were the officers
in Hull that once again during the day Peace had to repeat this
experience.  For some three weeks, however, he contrived to
remain in Hull.  He shaved the grey beard he was wearing at the
time of Dyson's murder, dyed his hair, put on a pair of
spectacles, and for the first time made use of his singular power
of contorting his features in such a way as to change altogether
the character of his face.  But the hue and cry after him was
unremitting.  There was a price of L100 on his head, and the
following description of him was circulated by the police:

"Charles Peace wanted for murder on the night of the 29th inst. 
He is thin and slightly built, from fifty-five to sixty years of
age.  Five feet four inches or five feet high; grey (nearly
white) hair, beard and whiskers.  He lacks use of three fingers
of left hand, walks with his legs rather wide apart, speaks some-

what peculiarly as though his tongue were too large for his
mouth, and is a great boaster.  He is a picture-frame maker.  He
occasionally cleans and repairs clocks and watches and sometimes
deals in oleographs, engravings and pictures.  He has been in
penal servitude for burglary in Manchester.  He has lived in
Manchester, Salford, and Liverpool and Hull."

This description was altered later and Peace's age given as
forty-six.  As a matter of fact he was only forty-four at this
time, but he looked very much older. Peace had lost one of
his fingers.  He said that it had been shot off by a man with
whom he had quarrelled, but it was believed to be more likely
that he had himself shot it off accidentally in handling one of
his revolvers.  It was to conceal this obvious means of
identification that Peace made himself the false arm which he was
in the habit of wearing.  This was of gutta percha, with a hole
down the middle of it into which he passed his arm; at the end
was a steel plate to which was fixed a hook; by means of this
hook Peace could wield a fork and do other dexterous feats.

Marked man as he was, Peace felt it dangerous to stay longer in
Hull than he could help.  During the closing days of the year
1876 and the beginning of 1877, Peace was perpetually on the
move.  He left Hull for Doncaster, and from there travelled to
London.  On arriving at King's Cross he took the underground
railway to Paddington, and from there a train to Bristol.  At the
beginning of January he left Bristol for Bath, and from Bath, in
the company of a sergeant of police, travelled by way of Didcot
to Oxford.  The officer had in his custody a young woman charged
with stealing L40.  Peace and the sergeant discussed the case
during the journey.  "He seemed a smart chap," said Peace in re-

lating the circumstances, "but not smart enough to know me." 
From Oxford he went to Birmingham, where he stayed four or five
days, then a week in Derby, and on January 9th he arrived in

Here Peace found a convenient lodging at the house of one, Mrs.
Adamson, a lady who received stolen goods and on occasion
indicated or organised suitable opportunities for acquiring them.

She lived in a low part of the town known as the Marsh.  It was
at her house that Peace met the woman who was to become his
mistress and subsequently betray his identity to the police. 
Her maiden name was Susan Gray.

She was at this time about thirty-five years of age, described as
"taking" in appearance, of a fair complexion, and rather well
educated.  She had led a somewhat chequered married life with a
gentleman named Bailey, from whom she continued in receipt of a
weekly allowance until she passed under the protection of Peace. 
Her first meeting with her future lover took place on the
occasion of Peace inviting Mrs. Adamson to dispose of a box of
cigars for him, which that good woman did at a charge of
something like thirty per cent.  At first Peace gave himself out
to Mrs. Bailey as a hawker, but before long he openly
acknowledged his real character as an accomplished burglar.  With
characteristic insistence Peace declared his passion for Mrs.
Bailey by threatening to shoot her if she did not become his. 
Anxious friends sent for her to soothe the distracted man.  Peace
had been drowning care with the help of Irish whiskey.  He asked
"his pet" if she were not glad to see him, to which the lady
replied with possible sarcasm:  "Oh, particularly, very, I like
you so much."  Next day Peace apologised for his rude behaviour
of the previous evening, and so melted the heart of Mrs. Bailey
that she consented to become his mistress, and from that moment
discarding the name of Bailey is known to history as Mrs.

Life in Nottingham was varied pleasantly by burglaries carried
out with the help of information supplied by Mrs. Adamson.  In
the June of 1877 Peace was nearly detected in stealing, at the
request of that worthy, some blankets, but by flourishing his
revolver he contrived to get away, and, soon after, returned for
a season to Hull.  Here this hunted murderer, with L100 reward
on his head, took rooms for Mrs. Thompson and himself at the
house of a sergeant of police.  One day Mrs. Peace, who was still
keeping her shop in Hull, received a pencilled note saying, "I am
waiting to see you just up Anlaby Road."  She and her stepson,
Willie Ward, went to the appointed spot, and there to their
astonishment stood her husband, a distinguished figure in black
coat and trousers, top hat, velvet waistcoat, with stick, kid
gloves, and a pretty little fox terrier by his side.  Peace told
them of his whereabouts in the town, but did not disclose to them
the fact that his mistress was there also.  To the police
sergeant with whom he lodged, Peace described himself as an
agent.  But a number of sensational and successful burglaries at
the houses of Town Councillors and other well-to-do citizens of
Hull revealed the presence in their midst of no ordinary robber. 
Peace had some narrow escapes, but with the help of his revolver,
and on one occasion the pusillanimity of a policeman, he
succeeded in getting away in safety.  The bills offering a reward
for his capture were still to be seen in the shop windows of
Hull, so after a brief but brilliant adventure Peace and Mrs.
Thompson returned to Nottingham.

Here, as the result of further successful exploits, Peace found a
reward of L50 offered for his capture.  On one occasion the
detectives came into the room where Peace and his mistress were
in bed.  After politely expressing his surprise at seeing "Mrs.
Bailey" in such a situation, one of the officers asked Peace his
name.  He gave it as John Ward, and described himself as a hawker
of spectacles.  He refused to get up and dress in the presence of
the detectives who were obliging enough to go downstairs and wait
his convenience.  Peace seized the opportunity to slip out of the
house and get away to another part of the town.  From there he
sent a note to Mrs. Thompson insisting on her joining him.  He
soon after left Nottingham, paid another brief visit to Hull,
but finding that his wife's shop was still frequented by the
police, whom he designated freely as "a lot of fools," determined
to quit the North for good and begin life afresh in the ampler
and safer field of London.



Peace's career in London extended over nearly two years, but they
were years of copious achievement.  In that comparatively short
space of time, by the exercise of that art, to his natural gifts
for which he had now added the wholesome tonic of experience,
Peace passed from a poor and obscure lodging in a slum in Lambeth
to the state and opulence of a comfortable suburban residence in
Peckham.  These were the halcyon days of Peace's enterprise in
life.  From No. 25 Stangate Street, Lambeth, the dealer in
musical instruments, as Peace now described himself, sallied
forth night after night, and in Camberwell and other parts of
South London reaped the reward of skill and vigilance in entering
other people's houses and carrying off their property.  Though in
the beginning there appeared to be but few musical instruments in
Stangate Street to justify his reputed business, "Mr. Thompson,"
as he now called himself, explained that he was not wholly depen-

dent on his business, as Mrs. Thompson "had money."

So successful did the business prove that at the Christmas of
1877 Peace invited his daughter and her betrothed to come from
Hull and spend the festive season with him.  This, in spite of
the presence of Mrs. Thompson, they consented to do.  Peace, in a
top hat and grey ulster, showed them the sights of London,
always inquiring politely of a policeman if he found himself in
any difficulty.  At the end of the visit Peace gave his consent
to his daughter's marriage with Mr. Bolsover, and before parting
gave the young couple some excellent advice.  For more reasons
than one Peace was anxious to unite under the same roof Mrs.
Peace and Mrs. Thompson.  Things still prospering, Peace found
himself able to remove from Lambeth to Crane Court, Greenwich,
and before long to take a couple of adjoining houses in
Billingsgate Street in the same district.  These he furnished in
style.  In one he lived with Mrs. Thompson, while Mrs. Peace and
her son, Willie, were persuaded after some difficulty to leave
Hull and come to London to dwell in the other.

But Greenwich was not to the taste of Mrs. Thompson.  To gratify
her wish, Peace, some time in May, 1877, removed the whole party
to a house, No. 5, East Terrace, Evelina Road, Peckham.  He paid
thirty pounds a year for it, and obtained permission to build a
stable for his pony and trap.  When asked for his references,
Peace replied by inviting the agent to dine with him at his house
in Greenwich, a proceeding that seems to have removed all doubt
from the agent's mind as to the desirability of the tenant.

This now famous house in Peckham was of the ordinary type of
suburban villa, with basement, ground floor, and one above; there
were steps up to the front door, and a bow window to the front
sitting-room.  A garden at the back of the house ran down to the
Chatham and Dover railway line.  It was by an entrance at the
back that Peace drove his horse and trap into the stable which he
had erected in the garden.  Though all living in the same house,
Mrs. Peace, who passed as Mrs. Ward, and her son, Willie,
inhabited the basement, while Peace and Mrs. Thompson
occupied the best rooms on the ground floor.  The house was
fitted with Venetian blinds.  In the drawing-room stood a good
walnut suite of furniture; a Turkey carpet, gilded mirrors, a
piano, an inlaid Spanish guitar, and, by the side of an elegant
table, the beaded slippers of the good master of the house
completed the elegance of the apartment.  Everything confirmed
Mr. Thompson's description of himself as a gentleman of
independent means with a taste for scientific inventions.  In
association with a person of the name of Brion, Peace did, as a
fact, patent an invention for raising sunken vessels, and it is
said that in pursuing their project, the two men had obtained an
interview with Mr. Plimsoll at the House of Commons.  In any
case, the Patent Gazette records the following grant:

"2635 Henry Fersey Brion, 22 Philip Road, Peckham Rye, London,
S.E., and John Thompson, 5 East Terrace, Evelina Road, Peckham
Rye, London, S.E., for an invention for raising sunken vessels by
the displacement of water within the vessels by air and gases."

At the time of his final capture Peace was engaged on other
inventions, among them a smoke helmet for firemen, an improved
brush for washing railway carriages, and a form of hydraulic
tank.  To the anxious policeman who, seeing a light in Mr.
Thompson's house in the small hours of the morning, rang the bell
to warn the old gentleman of the possible presence of burglars,
this business of scientific inventions was sufficient explana-

Socially Mr. Thompson became quite a figure in the neighbourhood.
He attended regularly the Sunday evening services at the parish
church, and it must have been a matter of anxious concern to
dear Mr. Thompson that during his stay in Peckham the vicarage
was broken into by a burglar and an unsuccessful attempt made to
steal the communion plate which was kept there.

Mr. Thompson was generous in giving and punctual in paying.  He
had his eccentricities.  His love of birds and animals was
remarkable.  Cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea-pigs, canaries, parrots
and cockatoos all found hospitality under his roof.  It was
certainly eccentricity in Mr. Thompson that he should wear
different coloured wigs; and that his dark complexion should
suggest the use of walnut juice.  His love of music was evinced
by the number of violins, banjoes, guitars, and other musical
instruments that adorned his drawing-room.  Tea and music formed
the staple of the evening entertainments which Mr. and Mrs.
Thompson would give occasionally to friendly neighbours.  Not
that the pleasures of conversation were neglected wholly in
favour of art.  The host was a voluble and animated talker, his
face and body illustrating by appropriate twists and turns the
force of his comments.  The Russo-Turkish war, then raging, was a
favourite theme of Mr. Thompson's.  He asked, as we are still
asking, what Christianity and civilisation mean by countenancing
the horrors of war.  He considered the British Government in the
highest degree guilty in supporting the cruel Turks, a people
whose sobriety seemed to him to be their only virtue, against the
Christian Russians.  He was confident that our Ministers would be
punished for opposing the only Power which had shown any sympathy
with suffering races.  About ten o'clock Mr. Thompson, whose
health, he said, could not stand late hours, would bid his guests
good night, and by half-past ten the front door of No. 5, East
Terrace, Evelina Road, would be locked and bolted, and the house
plunged in darkness.

Not that it must be supposed that family life at No. 5, East
Terrace, was without its jars.  These were due chiefly to the
drunken habits of Mrs. Thompson.  Peace was willing to overlook
his mistress' failing as long as it was confined to the house. 
But Mrs. Thompson had an unfortunate habit of slipping out in an
intoxicated condition, and chattering with the neighbours.  As
she was the repository of many a dangerous secret the
inconvenience of her habit was serious.  Peace was not the man to
hesitate in the face of danger.  On these occasions Mrs. Thompson
was followed by Peace or his wife, brought back home and soundly
beaten.  To Hannah Peace there must have been some satisfaction
in spying on her successful rival, for, in her own words, Peace
never refused his mistress anything; he did not care what she
cost him in dress; "she could swim in gold if she liked."  Mrs.
Thompson herself admitted that with the exception of such
punishment as she brought on herself by her inebriety, Peace was
always fond of her, and treated her with great kindness.  It was
she to whom he would show with pride the proceeds of his nightly
labours, to whom he would look for a smile when he returned home
from his expeditions, haggard and exhausted

Through all dangers and difficulties the master was busy in the
practice of his art.  Night after night, with few intervals of
repose, he would sally forth on a plundering adventure.  If the
job was a distant one, he would take his pony and trap.  Peace
was devoted to his pony, Tommy, and great was his grief when at
the end of six months' devotion to duty Tommy died after a few
days' sickness, during which his master attended him with un-

remitting care.  Tommy had been bought in Greenwich for fourteen
guineas, part of a sum of two hundred and fifty pounds which
Peace netted from a rich haul of silver and bank-notes taken
from a house in Denmark Hill.  Besides the pony and trap, Peace
would take with him on these expeditions a violin case containing
his tools; at other times they would be stuffed into odd pockets
made for the purpose in his trousers.  These tools consisted of
ten in all--a skeleton key, two pick-locks, a centre-bit, gimlet,
gouge, chisel, vice jemmy and knife; a portable ladder, a
revolver and life preserver completed his equipment.

The range of Peace's activities extended as far as Southampton,
Portsmouth and Southsea; but the bulk of his work was done in
Blackheath, Streatham, Denmark Hill, and other suburbs of South
London.  Many dramatic stories are told of his exploits, but they
rest for the most part on slender foundation.  On one occasion,
in getting on to a portico, he fell, and was impaled on some
railings, fortunately in no vital part.  His career as a burglar
in London lasted from the beginning of the year 1877 until
October, 1878.  During that time this wanted man, under the very
noses of the police, exercised with complete success his art as a
burglar, working alone, depending wholly on his own mental and
physical gifts, disposing in absolute secrecy of the proceeds of
his work, and living openly the life of a respectable and
industrious old gentleman.

All the while the police were busily seeking Charles Peace, the
murderer of Mr. Dyson.  Once or twice they came near to capturing
him.  On one occasion a detective who had known Peace in
Yorkshire met him in Farringdon Road, and pursued him up the
steps of Holborn Viaduct, but just as the officer, at the top of
the steps, reached out and was on the point of grabbing his man,
Peace with lightning agility slipped through his fingers and
disappeared.  The police never had a shadow of suspicion that Mr.
Thompson of Peckham was Charles Peace of Sheffield.  They
knew the former only as a polite and chatty old gentleman of a
scientific turn of mind, who drove his own pony and trap, and had
a fondness for music and keeping pet animals.

Peace made the mistake of outstaying his welcome in the
neighbourhood of South-East London.  Perhaps he hardly realised
the extent to which his fame was spreading.  During the last
three months of Peace's career, Blackheath was agog at the number
of successful burglaries committed in the very midst of its
peaceful residents.  The vigilance of the local police was
aroused, the officers on night duty were only too anxious to ef-
fect the capture of the mysterious criminal.

About two o'clock in the morning of October 10, 1878, a police
constable, Robinson by name, saw a light appear suddenly in a
window at the back of a house in St. John's Park, Blackheath, the
residence of a Mr. Burness.  Had the looked-for opportunity
arrived?  Was the mysterious visitor, the disturber of the peace
of Blackheath, at his burglarious employment?  Without delay
Robinson summoned to his aid two of his colleagues.  One of them
went round to the front of the house and rang the bell, the other
waited in the road outside, while Robinson stayed in the garden
at the back.  No sooner had the bell rung than Robinson saw a man
come from the dining-room window which opened on to the garden,
and make quickly down the path.  Robinson followed him.  The man
turned; "Keep back!" he said, "or by God I'll shoot you!"
Robinson came on.  The man fired three shots from a revolver, all
of which passed close to the officer's head.  Robinson made
another rush for him, the man fired another shot.  It missed its
mark.  The constable closed with his would-be assassin, and
struck him in the face.  "I'll settle you this time," cried the
man, and fired a fifth shot, which went through Robinson's
arm just above the elbow.  But, in spite of his wound, the
valiant officer held his prisoner, succeeded in flinging him to
the ground, and catching hold of the revolver that hung round the
burglar's wrist, hit him on the head with it.  Immediately after
the other two constables came to the help of their colleague, and
the struggling desperado was secured.

Little did the police as they searched their battered and moaning
prisoner realise the importance of their capture.  When next
morning Peace appeared before the magistrate at Greenwich Police
Court he was not described by name--he had refused to give any--
but as a half-caste about sixty years of age, of repellant
aspect.  He was remanded for a week.  The first clue to the iden-

tity of their prisoner was afforded by a letter which Peace,
unable apparently to endure the loneliness and suspense of prison
any longer, wrote to his co-inventor Mr. Brion.  It is dated
November 2, and is signed "John Ward."  Peace was disturbed at
the absence of all news from his family.  Immediately after his
arrest, the home in Peckham had been broken up.  Mrs. Thompson
and Mrs. Peace, taking with them some large boxes, had gone first
to the house of a sister of Mrs. Thompson's in Nottingham, and a
day or two later Mrs. Peace had left Nottingham for Sheffield. 
There she went to a house in Hazel Road, occupied by her son-in-
law Bolsover, a working collier.[10]

[10] Later, Mrs. Peace was arrested and charged with being in
possession of stolen property.  She was taken to London and tried
at the Old Bailey before Mr. Commissioner Kerr, but acquitted on
the ground of her having acted under the compulsion of her

It was no doubt to get news of his family that Peace wrote to
Brion.  But the letters are sufficiently ingenious.  Peace
represents himself as a truly penitent sinner who has got himself
into a most unfortunate and unexpected "mess" by giving way
to drink.  The spelling of the letters is exaggeratedly
illiterate.  He asks Mr. Brion to take pity on him and not
despise him as "his own famery has don," to write him a letter to
"hease his trobel hart," if possible to come and see him.  Mr.
Brion complied with the request of the mysterious "John Ward,"
and on arriving at Newgate where Peace was awaiting trial, found
himself in the presence of his friend and colleague, Mr.

In the meantime the police were getting hot on the scent of the
identity of "John Ward" with the great criminal who in spite of
all their efforts had eluded them for two years.  The honour and
profit of putting the police on the right scent were claimed by
Mrs. Thompson.  To her Peace had contrived to get a letter
conveyed about the same time that he wrote to Mr. Brion.  It is
addressed to his "dearly beloved wife."  He asks pardon for the
"drunken madness" that has involved him in his present trouble,
and gives her the names of certain witnesses whom he would wish
to be called to prove his independent means and his dealings in
musical instruments.  It is, he writes, his first offence, and as
he has "never been in prison before," begs her not to feel it a
disgrace to come and see him there.  But Peace was leaning on a
broken reed.  Loyalty does not appear to have been Susan
Thompson's strong point.  In her own words she "was not of the
sentimental sort."  The "traitress Sue," as she is called by
chroniclers of the time, had fallen a victim to the wiles of the
police.  Since, after Peace's arrest, she had been in possession
of a certain amount of stolen property, it was easier no doubt to
persuade her to be frank.

In any case, we find that on February 5, 1879, the day after
Peace had been sentenced to death for the murder of Dyson, Mrs.
Thompson appealed to the Treasury for the reward of L100
offered for Peace's conviction.  She based her application on
information which she said she had supplied to the police
officers in charge of the case on November 5 in the previous
year, the very day on which Peace had first written to her from
Newgate.  In reply to her letter the Treasury referred "Mrs. S.
Bailey, alias Thompson," to the Home Office, but whether she
received from that office the price of blood history does not

The police scouted the idea that any revelation of hers had
assisted them to identify "John Ward" with Charles Peace.  They
said that it was information given them in Peckham, no doubt by
Mr. Brion, who, on learning the deplorable character of his
coadjutor, had placed himself unreservedly in their hands, which
first set them on the track.  From Peckham they went to
Nottingham, where they no doubt came across Sue Thompson, and
thence to Sheffield, where on November 6 they visited the house
in Hazel Road, occupied by Mrs. Peace and her daughter, Mrs.
Bolsover.  There they found two of the boxes which Mrs. Peace had
brought with her from Peckham.  Besides stolen property, these
boxes contained evidence of the identity of Ward with Peace.  A
constable who had known Peace well in Sheffield was sent to
Newgate, and taken into the yard where the prisoners awaiting
trial were exercising.  As they passed round, the constable
pointed to the fifth man:  "That's Peace," he said, "I'd know him
anywhere."  The man left the ranks and, coming up to the
constable, asked earnestly, "What do you want me for?" but the
Governor ordered him to go on with his walk.

It was as John Ward, alias Charles Peace, that Peace, on November
19, 1878, was put on his trial for burglary and the attempted
murder of Police Constable Robinson, at the Old Bailey before Mr.
Justice Hawkins.  His age was given in the calendar as sixty,
though Peace was actually forty-six.  The evidence against the
prisoner was clear enough.  All Mr. Montagu Williams could urge
in his defence was that Peace had never intended to kill the
officer, merely to frighten him.  The jury found Peace guilty of
attempted murder.  Asked if he had anything to say why judgment
should not be passed upon him, he addressed the Judge.  He
protested that he had not been fairly dealt with, that he never
intended to kill the prosecutor, that the pistol was one that
went off very easily, and that the last shot had been fired by
accident.  "I really did not know," he said, "that the pistol was
loaded, and I hope, my lord, that you will have mercy on me.  I
feel that I have disgraced myself, I am not fit either to live or
die.  I am not prepared to meet my God, but still I feel that my
career has been made to appear much worse than it really is.  Oh,
my lord, do have mercy on me; do give me one chance of repenting
and of preparing to meet my God.  Do, my lord, have mercy on me;
and I assure you that you shall never repent it.  As you hope for
mercy yourself at the hands of the great God, do have mercy on
me, and give me a chance of redeeming my character and preparing
myself to meet my God.  I pray, and beseech you to have mercy
upon me."

Peace's assumption of pitiable senility, sustained throughout the
trial, though it imposed on Sir Henry Hawkins, failed to melt his
heart.  He told Peace that he did not believe his statement that
he had fired the pistol merely to frighten the constable; had not
Robinson guarded his head with his arm he would have been wounded
fatally, and Peace condemned to death.  He did not consider it
necessary, he said, to make an inquiry into Peace's antecedents;
he was a desperate burglar, and there was an end of the matter. 
Notwithstanding his age, Mr. Justice Hawkins felt it his duty
to sentence him to penal servitude for life.  The severity of the
sentence was undoubtedly a painful surprise to Peace; to a man of
sixty years of age it would be no doubt less terrible, but to a
man of forty-six it was crushing.

Not that Peace was fated to serve any great part of his sentence.

With as little delay as possible he was to be called on to answer
to the murder of Arthur Dyson.  The buxom widow of the murdered
man had been found in America, whither she had returned after her
husband's death.  She was quite ready to come to England to give
evidence against her husband's murderer.  On January 17, 1879,
Peace was taken from Pentonville prison, where he was serving his
sentence, and conveyed by an early morning train to Sheffield. 
There at the Town Hall he appeared before the stipendiary
magistrate, and was charged with the murder of Arthur Dyson. 
When he saw Mrs. Dyson enter the witness box and tell her story
of the crime, he must have realised that his case was desperate. 
Her cross-examination was adjourned to the next hearing, and
Peace was taken back to London.  On the 22nd, the day of the
second hearing in Sheffield, an enormous crowd had assembled
outside the Town Hall.  Inside the court an anxious and expectant
audiience{sic}, among them Mrs. Dyson, in the words of a con-

temporary reporter, "stylish and cheerful," awaited the
appearance of the protagonist.  Great was the disappointment and
eager the excitement when the stipendiary came into the court
about a quarter past ten and stated that Peace had attempted to
escape that morning on the journey from London to Sheffield, and
that in consequence of his injuries the case would be adjourned
for eight days.

What had happened was this.  Peace had left King's Cross by the
5.15 train that morning, due to arrive at Sheffield at 8.45. 
From the very commencement of the journey he had been wilful and
troublesome.  He kept making excuses for leaving the carriage
whenever the train stopped.  To obviate this nuisance the two
warders, in whose charge he was, had provided themselves with
little bags which Peace could use when he wished and then throw
out of the window.  Just after the train passed Worksop, Peace
asked for one of the bags.  When the window was lowered to allow
the bag to be thrown away, Peace with lightning agility took a
flying leap through it.  One of the warders caught him by the
left foot.  Peace, hanging from the carriage, grasped the
footboard with his hands and kept kicking the warder as hard as
he could with his right foot.  The other warder, unable to get to
the window to help his colleague, was making vain efforts to stop
the train by pulling the communication cord.  For two miles the
train ran on, Peace struggling desperately to escape.  At last he
succeeded in kicking off his left shoe, and dropped on to the
line.  The train ran on another mile until, with the assistance
of some gentlemen in other carriages, the warders were able to
get it pulled up.  They immediately hurried back along the line,
and there, near a place called Kineton Park, they found their
prisoner lying in the footway, apparently unconscious and
bleeding from a severe wound in the scalp.  A slow train from
Sheffield stopped to pick up the injured man.  As he was lifted
into the guard's van, he asked them to cover him up as he was
cold.  On arriving at Sheffield, Peace was taken to the Police
Station and there made as comfortable as possible in one of the
cells.  Even then he had energy enough to be troublesome over
taking the brandy ordered for him by the surgeon, until one of
the officers told "Charley" they would have none of his hanky-
panky, and he had got to take it.  "All right," said Peace, "give
me a minute," after which he swallowed contentedly a couple
of gills of the genial spirit.

Peace's daring feat was not, according to his own account, a mere
attempt to escape from the clutches of the law; it was noble and
Roman in its purpose.  This is what he told his stepson, Willie
Ward:  "I saw from the way I was guarded all the way down from
London and all the way back, when I came for my first trial, that
I could not get away from the warders, and I knew I could not
jump from an express train without being killed.  I took a look
at Darnall as I went down and as I went back, and after I was put
in my cell, I thought it all over.  I felt that I could not get
away, and then I made up my mind to kill myself.  I got two bits
of paper and pricked on them the words, `Bury me at Darnall.  God
bless you all!'  With a bit of black dirt that I found on the
floor of my cell I wrote the same words on another piece of
paper, and then I hid them in my clothes.  My hope was that, when
I jumped from the train I should be cut to pieces under the
wheels.  Then I should have been taken to the Duke of York (a
public-house at Darnall) and there would have been an inquest
over me.  As soon as the inquest was over you would have claimed
my body, found the pieces of paper, and then you would have
buried me at Darnall."

This statement of Peace is no doubt in the main correct.  But it
is difficult to believe that there was not present to his mind
the sporting chance that he might not be killed in leaping from
the train, in which event he would no doubt have done his best to
get away, trusting to his considerable powers of ingenious
disguise to elude pursuit.  But such a chance was remote.  Peace
had faced boldly the possibility of a dreadful death.

With that strain of domestic sentiment, which would appear to
have been a marked characteristic of his family, Peace was
the more ready to cheat the gallows in the hope of being by that
means buried decently at Darnall.  It was at Darnall that he had
spent some months of comparative calm in his tempestuous career,
and it was at Darnall that he had first met Mrs. Dyson.  Another
and more practical motive that may have urged Peace to attempt to
injure seriously, if not kill himself, was the hope of thereby
delaying his trial.  If the magisterial investigation in
Sheffield were completed before the end of January, Peace could
be committed for trial to the ensuing Leeds Assizes which
commenced in the first week in February.  If he were injured too
seriously, this would not be possible.  Here again he was doomed
to disappointment.

Peace recovered so well from the results of his adventure on the
railway that the doctor pronounced him fit to appear for his
second examination before the magistrate on January 30.  To avoid
excitement, both on the part of the prisoner and the public, the
court sat in one of the corridors of the Town Hall.  The scene is
described as dismal, dark and cheerless.  The proceedings took
place by candlelight, and Peace, who was seated in an armchair,
complained frequently of the cold.  At other times he moaned and
groaned and protested against the injustice with which he was
being treated.  But the absence of any audience rather dashed the
effect of his laments.

The most interesting part of the proceedings was the cross-
examination of Mrs. Dyson by Mr. Clegg, the prisoner's solicitor.

Its purpose was to show that Mrs. Dyson had been on more intimate
terms with Peace than she was ready to admit, and that Dyson had
been shot by Peace in the course of a struggle, in which the
former had been the aggressor.

In the first part of his task Mr. Clegg met with some
success.  Mrs. Dyson, whose memory was certainly eccentric--she
could not, she said, remember the year in which she had been
married--was obliged to admit that she had been in the habit of
going to Peace's house, that she had been alone with him to
public-houses and places of entertainment, and that she and Peace
had been photographed together during the summer fair at
Sheffield.  She could not "to her knowledge" recollect having
told the landlord of a public-house to charge her drink to Peace.

A great deal of Mrs. Dyson's cross-examination turned on a bundle
of letters that had been found near the scene of Dyson's murder
on the morning following the crime.  These letters consisted for
the most part of notes, written in pencil on scraps of paper,
purporting to have been sent from Mrs. Dyson to Peace.  In many
of them she asks for money to get drink, others refer to oppor-

tunities for their meetings in the absence of Dyson; there are
kind messages to members of Peace's family, his wife and
daughter, and urgent directions to Peace to hold his tongue and
not give ground for suspicion as to their relations.  This bundle
of letters contained also the card which Dyson had thrown into
Peace's garden requesting him not to interfere with his family. 
According to the theory of the defence, these letters had been
written by Mrs. Dyson to Peace, and went to prove the intimacy of
their relations.  At the inquest after her husband's murder, Mrs.
Dyson had been questioned by the coroner about these letters. 
She denied that she had ever written to Peace; in fact, she said,
she "never did write."  It was stated that Dyson himself had seen
the letters, and declared them to be forgeries written by Peace
or members of his family for the purpose of annoyance.  Neverthe-

less, before the Sheffield magistrate Mr. Clegg thought it his
duty to cross-examine Mrs. Dyson closely as to their authorship. 
He asked her to write out a passage from one of them:  "You
can give me something as a keepsake if you like, but I don't like
to be covetous, and to take them from your wife and daughter. 
Love to all!"  Mrs. Dyson refused to admit any likeness between
what she had written and the handwriting of the letter in ques-

tion.  Another passage ran:  "Will see you as soon as I possibly
can.  I think it would be easier after you move; he won't watch
so.  The r--g fits the little finger.  Many thanks and love to--
Jennie (Peace's daughter Jane).  I will tell you what I thought
of when I see you about arranging matters.  Excuse this
scribbling."  In answer to Mr. Clegg, Mrs. Dyson admitted that
Peace had given her a ring, which she had worn for a short time
on her little finger.

Another letter ran:  "If you have a note for me, send now whilst
he is out; but you must not venture, for he is watching, and you
cannot be too careful.  Hope your foot is better.  I went to
Sheffield yesterday, but I could not see you anywhere.  Were you
out?  Love to Jane."  Mrs. Dyson denied that she had known of an
accident which Peace had had to his foot at this time.  In spite
of the ruling of the magistrate that Mr. Clegg had put forward
quite enough, if true, to damage Mrs. Dyson's credibility, he
continued to press her as to her authorship of these notes and
letters, but Mrs. Dyson was firm in her repudiation of them.  She
was equally firm in denying that anything in the nature of a
struggle had taken place between Peace and her husband previous
to his murder.

At the conclusion of Mrs. Dyson's evidence the prisoner was
committed to take his trial at the Leeds Assizes, which commenced
the week following.  Peace, who had groaned and moaned and
constantly interrupted the proceedings, protested his innocence,
and complained that his witnesses had not been called.  The
apprehension with which this daring malefactor was regarded by
the authorities is shown by this clandestine hearing of his
case in a cold corridor of the Town Hall, and the rapidity with
which his trial followed on his committal.  There is an
appearance almost of precipitation in the haste with which Peace
was bustled to his doom.  After his committal he was taken to
Wakefield Prison, and a few days later to Armley Jail, there to
await his trial.

This began on February 4, and lasted one day.  Mr. Justice Lopes,
who had tried vainly to persuade the Manchester Grand Jury to
throw out the bill in the case of the brothers Habron, was the
presiding judge.  Mr. Campbell Foster, Q.C., led for the
prosecution.  Peace was defended by Mr. Frank Lockwood, then
rising into that popular success at the bar which some fifteen
years later made him Solicitor-General, and but for his premature
death would have raised him to even higher honours in his

In addressing the jury, both Mr. Campbell Foster and Mr. Lockwood
took occasion to protest against the recklessness with which the
press of the day, both high and low, had circulated stories and
rumours about the interesting convict.  As early as November in
1878 one leading London daily newspaper had said that "it was now
established beyond doubt that the burglar captured by Police
Constable Robinson was one and the same as the Banner Cross
murderer."  Since then, as the public excitement grew and the
facts of Peace's extraordinary career came to light, the press
had responded loyally to the demands of the greedy lovers of
sensation, and piled fiction on fact with generous profusion. 
"Never," said Mr. Lockwood, "in the whole course of his
experience--and he defied any of his learned friends to quote an
experience--had there been such an attempt made on the part of
those who should be most careful of all others to preserve the
liberties of their fellowmen and to preserve the dignity of
the tribunals of justice to determine the guilt of a man."  Peace
exclaimed "Hear, hear!" as Mr. Lockwood went on to say that "for
the sake of snatching paltry pence from the public, these persons
had wickedly sought to prejudice the prisoner's life."  Allowing
for Mr. Lockwood's zeal as an advocate, there can be no question
that, had Peace chosen or been in a position to take proceedings,
more than one newspaper had at this time laid itself open to
prosecution for contempt of Court.  The Times was not far wrong
in saying that, since Muller murdered Mr. Briggs on the North
London Railway and the poisonings of William Palmer, no criminal
case had created such excitement as that of Charles Peace.  The
fact that property seemed to be no more sacred to him than life
aggravated in a singular degree the resentment of a commercial

The first witness called by the prosecution was Mrs. Dyson.  She
described how on the night of November 29, 1876, she had come out
of the outhouse in the yard at the back of her house, and found
herself confronted by Peace holding a revolver; how he said: 
"Speak, or I'll fire!" and the sequence of events already related
up to the moment when Dyson fell, shot in the temple.

Mr. Lockwood commenced his cross-examination of Mrs. Dyson by
endeavouring to get from her an admission; the most important to
the defence, that Dyson had caught hold of Peace after the first
shot had been fired, and that in the struggle which ensued, the
revolver had gone off by accident.  But he was not very
successful.  He put it to Mrs. Dyson that before the magistrate
at Sheffield she had said:  "I can't say my husband did not get
hold of the prisoner."  "Put in the little word `try,' please,"
answered Mrs. Dyson.  In spite of Mr. Lockwood's questions, she
maintained that, though her husband may have attempted to get
hold of Peace, he did not succeed in doing so.  As she was
the only witness to the shooting there was no one to contradict
her statement.

Mr. Lockwood fared better when he came to deal with the relations
of Mrs. Dyson with Peace previous to the crime.  Mrs. Dyson
admitted that in the spring of 1876 her husband had objected to
her friendship with Peace, and that nevertheless, in the
following summer, she and Peace had been photographed together at
the Sheffield fair.  She made a vain attempt to escape from such
an admission by trying to shift the occasion of the summer fair
to the previous year, 1875, but Mr. Lockwood put it to her that
she had not come to Darnall, where she first met Peace, until the
end of that year.  Finally he drove her to say that she could not
remember when she came to Darnall, whether in 1873, 1874, 1875,
or 1876.  She admitted that she had accepted a ring from Peace,
but could not remember whether she had shown it to her husband. 
She had been perhaps twice with Peace to the Marquis of Waterford
public-house, and once to the Star Music Hall.  She could not
swear one way or the other whether she had charged to Peace's
account drink consumed by her at an inn in Darnall called the
Half-way House.  Confronted with a little girl and a man, whom
Mr. Lockwood suggested she had employed to carry notes to Peace,
Mrs. Dyson said that these were merely receipts for pictures
which he had framed for her.  On the day before her husband's
murder, Mrs. Dyson was at the Stag Hotel at Sharrow with a little
boy belonging to a neighbour.  A man followed her in and sat
beside her, and afterwards followed her out.  In answer to Mr.
Lockwood, Mrs. Dyson would "almost swear" the man was not Peace;
he had spoken to her, but she could not remember whether she had
spoken to him or not.  She denied that this man had said to her
that he would come and see her the next night.  As the result of
a parting shot Mr. Lockwood obtained from Mrs. Dyson a reluc-

tant admission that she had been "slightly inebriated" at the
Half-way House in Darnall, but had not to her knowledge" been
turned out of the house on that account.  "You may not have known
you were inebriated? suggested Mr. Lockwood.  "I always know what
I am doing," was Mrs. Dyson's reply, to which an unfriendly
critic might have replied that she did not apparently know with
anything like certainty what she had been doing during the last
three or four years.  In commenting on the trial the following
day, the Times stigmatised as "feeble" the prevarications by
which Mrs. Dyson tried to explain away her intimacy with Peace. 
In this part of his cross-examination Mr. Lockwood had made it
appear at least highly probable that there had been a much closer
relationship between Mrs. Dyson and Peace than the former was
willing to acknowledge.

The evidence of Mrs. Dyson was followed by that of five persons
who had either seen Peace in the neighbourhood of Banner Cross
Terrace on the night of the murder, or heard the screams and
shots that accompanied it.  A woman, Mrs. Gregory, whose house
was between that of the Dysons and the passage in which Dyson was
shot, said that she had heard the noise of the clogs Mrs. Dyson
was wearing as she went across the yard.  A minute later she
heard a scream.  She opened her back door and saw Dyson standing
by his own.  She told him to go to his wife.  She then went back
into her house, and almost directly after heard two shots,
followed by another scream, but no sound as of any scuffling.

Another witness was a labourer named Brassington.  He was a
stranger to Peace, but stated that about eight o'clock on the
night of the murder a man came up to him outside the Banner Cross
Hotel, a few yards from Dyson's house.  He was standing under a
gas lamp, and it was a bright moonlight night.  The man asked
him if he knew of any strange people who had come to live in the
neighbourhood.  Brassington answered that he did not.  The man
then produced a bundle of letters which he asked Brassington to
read.  But Brassington declined, as reading was not one of his
accomplishments.  The man then said that "he would make it a warm
'un for those strange folks before morning--he would shoot both
of them," and went off in the direction of Dyson's house. 
Brassington swore positively that Peace was the stranger who had
accosted him that night, and Mr. Lockwood failed to shake him in
his evidence.  Nor could Mr. Lockwood persuade the surgeon who
was called to Dyson at the time of his death to admit that the
marks on the nose and chin of the dead man could have been caused
by a blow; they were merely abrasions of the skin caused by the
wounded man falling to the ground.

Evidence was then given as to threats uttered by Peace against
the Dysons in the July of 1876, and as to his arrest at
Blackheath in the October of 1878.  The revolver taken from Peace
that night was produced, and it was shown that the rifling of the
bullet extracted from Dyson's head was the same as that of the
bullet fired from the revolver carried by Peace at the time of
his capture.

Mr. Campbell Foster wanted to put in as evidence the card that
Dyson had flung into Peace's garden at Darnall requesting him not
to interfere with his family.  This card had been found among the
bundle of letters dropped by Peace near the scene of the murder. 
Mr. Lockwood objected to the admission of the card unless all the
letters were admitted at the same time.  The Judge ruled that
both the card and the letters were inadmissible, as irrelevant to
the issue; Mr. Lockwood had, he said, very properly cross-
examined Mrs. Dyson on these letters to test her credibility, but
he was bound by her answers and could not contradict her by
introducing them as evidence in the case.

Mr. Lockwood in his address to the jury did his best to persuade
them that the death of Dyson was the accidental result of a
struggle between Peace and himself.  He suggested that Mrs. Dyson
had left her house that night for the purpose of meeting Peace,
and that Dyson, who was jealous of his wife's intimacy with him,
had gone out to find her; that Dyson, seeing Peace, had caught
hold of him; and that the revolver had gone off accidentally as
Dyson tried to wrest it from his adversary.  He repudiated the
suggestion of Mr. Foster that the persons he had confronted with
Mrs. Dyson in the course of his cross-examination had been hired
for a paltry sum to come into court and lie.

Twice, both at the beginning and the end of his speech, Mr.
Lockwood urged as a reason for the jury being tender in taking
Peace's life that he was in such a state of wickedness as to be
quite unprepared to meet death.  Both times that his counsel put
forward this curious plea, Peace raised his eyes to heaven and
exclaimed "I am not fit to die."

Mr. Justice Lopes in summing up described as an "absolute
surmise" the theory of the accidental discharge of the pistol. 
He asked the jury to take Peace's revolver in their hands and try
the trigger, so as to see for themselves whether it was likely to
go off accidentally or not.  He pointed out that the pistol
produced might not have been the pistol used at Banner Cross; at
the same time the bullet fired in November, 1876, bore marks such
as would have been produced had it been fired from the pistol
taken from Peace at Blackheath in October, 1878.  He said that
Mr. Lockwood had been perfectly justified in his attempt to
discredit the evidence of Mrs. Dyson, but the case did not rest
on her evidence alone.  In her evidence as to the threats
uttered by Peace in July, 1876, Mrs. Dyson was corroborated by
three other witnesses.  In the Judge's opinion it was clearly
proved that no struggle or scuffle had taken place before the
murder.  If the defence, he concluded, rested on no solid founda-

tion, then the jury must do their duty to the community at large
and by the oath they had sworn.

It was a quarter past seven when the jury retired.  Ten minutes
later they came back into court with a verdict of guilty.  Asked
if he had anything to say, Peace in a faint voice replied, "It is
no use my saying anything."  The Judge, declining very properly
to aggravate the prisoner's feelings by "a recapitulation of any
portion of the details of what I fear, I can only call your
criminal career," passed on him sentence of death.  Peace
accepted his fate with composure.

Before we proceed to describe the last days of Peace on earth,
let us finish with the two women who had succeeded Mrs. Peace in
his ardent affections.

A few days after Peace's execution Mrs. Dyson left England for
America, but before going she left behind her a narrative
intended to contradict the imputations which she felt had been
made against her moral character.  An Irishwoman by birth, she
said that she had gone to America when she was fifteen years old.

There she met and married Dyson, a civil engineer on the Atlantic
and Great Western Railway.  Theirs was a rough and arduous life. 
But Mrs. Dyson was thoroughly happy in driving her husband about
in a buggy among bears and creeks.  She did not know fear and
loved danger:  "My husband loved me and I loved him, and in his
company and in driving him about in this wild kind of fashion I
derived much pleasure."  However, Mr. Dyson's health broke down,
and he was obliged to return to England.  It was at Darnall that
the fatal acquaintance with Peace began.  Living next door
but one to the Dysons, Peace took the opportunity of introducing
himself, and Mr. Dyson "being a gentleman," took polite notice of
his advances.  He became a constant visitor at the house.  But
after a time Peace began to show that he was not the gentleman
Mr. Dyson was.  He disgusted the latter by offering to show him
improper pictures and "the sights of the town" of Sheffield.

The Dysons tried to shake off the unwelcome acquaintance, but
that was easier said than done.  By this time Peace had set his
heart on making Mrs. Dyson leave her husband.  He kept trying to
persuade her to go to Manchester with him, where he would take a
cigar or picture shop, to which Mrs. Dyson, in fine clothes and
jewelry, should lend the charm of her comely presence.  He of-

fered her a sealskin jacket, yards of silk, a gold watch.  She
should, he said, live in Manchester like a lady, to which Mrs.
Dyson replied coldly that she had always lived like one and
should continue to do so quite independently of him.  But Peace
would listen to no refusal, however decided its tone.  Dyson
threw over the card into Peace's garden.  This only served to
aggravate his determination to possess himself of the wife.  He
would listen at keyholes, leer in at the window, and follow Mrs.
Dyson wherever she went.  When she was photographed at the fair,
she found that Peace had stood behind her chair and by that means
got himself included in the picture.  At times he had threatened
her with a revolver.  On one occasion when he was more insulting
than usual, Mrs. Dyson forgot her fear of him and gave him a
thrashing.  Peace threatened "to make her so that neither man nor
woman should look at her, and then he would have her all to
himself."  It was with some purpose of this kind, Mrs. Dyson
suggested, that Peace stole a photograph of herself out of a
locket, intending to make some improper use of it.  At last,
in desperation, the Dysons moved to Banner Cross.  From the day
of their arrival there until the murder, Mrs. Dyson never saw
Peace.  She denied altogether having been in his company the
night before the murder.  The letters were "bare forgeries,"
written by Peace or members of his family to get her into their

Against the advice of all her friends Mrs. Dyson had come back
from America to give evidence against Peace.  To the detective
who saw her at Cleveland she said, "I will go back if I have to
walk on my head all the way"; and though she little knew what she
would have to go through in giving her evidence, she would do it
again under the circumstances.  "My opinion is," she said, "that
Peace is a perfect demon--not a man.  I am told that since he has
been sentenced to death he has become a changed character.  That
I don't believe.  The place to which the wicked go is not bad
enough for him.  I think its occupants, bad as they might be, are
too good to be where he is.  No matter where he goes, I am satis-

fied that there will be hell.  Not even a Shakespeare could
adequately paint such a man as he has been.  My lifelong regret
will be that I ever knew him."

With these few earnest words Mrs. Dyson quitted the shores of
England, hardly clearing up the mystery of her actual relations
with Peace.

A woman with whom Mrs. Dyson very much resented finding herself
classed--inebriety would appear to have been their only common
weakness--was Mrs. Thompson, the "traitress Sue."  In spite of
the fact that on February 5 Mrs. Thompson had applied to the
Treasury for L100, blood money due her for assisting the
police in the identification of Peace, she was at the same time
carrying on a friendly correspondence with her lover and making
attempts to see him.  Peace had written to her before his
trial hoping she would not forsake him; "you have been my bosom
friend, and you have ofttimes said you loved me, that you would
die for me."  He asked her to sell some goods which he had left
with her in order to raise money for his defence.  The traitress
replied on January 27 that she had already sold everything and
shared the proceeds with Mrs. Peace.  "You are doing me great
injustice," she wrote, "by saying that I have been out to `work'
with you.  Do not die with such a base falsehood on your
conscience, for you know I am young and have my living and
character to redeem.  I pity you and myself to think we should
have met."  After his condemnation Mrs. Thompson made repeated
efforts to see Peace, coming to Leeds for the purpose.  Peace
wrote a letter on February 9 to his "poor Sue," asking her to
come to the prison.  But, partly at the wish of Peace's relatives
and for reasons of their own, a permission given Mrs. Thompson by
the authorities to visit the convict was suddenly withdrawn, and
she never saw him again.



In the lives of those famous men who have perished on the
scaffold their behaviour during the interval between their
condemnation and their execution has always been the subject of
curiosity and interest.

It may be said at once that nothing could have been more deeply
religious, more sincerely repentant, more Christian to all
appearances than Peace's conduct and demeanour in the last weeks
of his life.  He threw himself into the work of atonement with
the same uncompromising zeal and energy that he had displayed as
a burglar.  By his death a truly welcome and effective re-

cruit was lost to the ranks of the contrite and converted
sinners.  However powerless as a controlling force--and he
admitted it--his belief in God and the devil may have been in the
past, that belief was assured and confident, and in the presence
of death proclaimed itself with vigour, not in words merely, but
in deeds.

In obedience to the wishes of his family, Peace had refrained
from seeing Sue Thompson.  This was at some sacrifice, for he
wished very much to see her and to the last, though he knew that
she had betrayed him, sent her affectionate and forgiving
messages.  These were transmitted to Sue by Mr. Brion.  This
disingenuous gentleman was a fellow-applicant with Sue to the
Treasury for pecuinary recognition of his efforts in bringing
about the identification of Peace, and furnishing the police with
information as to the convict's disposal of his stolen property. 
In his zeal he had even gone so far as to play the role of an
accomplice of Peace, and by this means discovered a place in
Petticoat Lane where the burglar got rid of some of his booty.

After Peace's condemnation Mr. Brion visited him in Armley Jail. 
His purpose in doing so was to wring from his co-inventor an
admission that the inventions which they had patented together
were his work alone.  Peace denied this, but offered to sell his
share for L50.  Brion refused the offer, and persisted in his
assertion that Peace had got his name attached to the patents by
undue influence, whatever that might mean.  Peace, after wres-

tling with the spirit, gave way.  "Very well, my friend," he
said, "let it be as you say.  I have not cheated you, Heaven
knows.  But I also know that this infamy of mine has been the
cause of bringing harm to you, which is the last thing I should
have wished to have caused to my friend."  A deed of gift was
drawn up, making over to Brion Peace's share in their
inventions; this Peace handed to Brion as the price of the
latter's precious forgiveness and a token of the sincerity of his
colleague's repentance.  Thus, as has often happened in this sad
world, was disreputable genius exploited once again by smug
mediocrity.  Mr. Brion, having got all he wanted, left the
prison, assuring the Governor that Peace's repentance was "all
bunkum," and advising, with commendable anxiety for the public
good, that the warders in the condemned cell should be doubled.

Peace had one act of atonement to discharge more urgent than
displaying Christian forbearance towards ignoble associates. 
That was the righting of William Habron, who was now serving the
third year of his life sentence for the murder of Constable Cock
at Whalley Range.  Peace sent for the Governor of the jail a few
days before his execution and obtained from him the materials
necessary for drawing up a plan.  Peace was quite an adept at
making plans; he had already made an excellent one of the scene
of Dyson's murder.  He now drew a plan of the place where Cock
had been shot, gave a detailed account of how he came by his
death, and made a full confession of his own guilt.

In the confession he described how, some days before the
burglary, he had, according to his custom, "spotted" the house at
Whalley Range.  In order to do this he always dressed himself
respectably, because he had found that the police never suspected
anyone who wore good clothes.  On the night of the crime he
passed two policemen on the road to the house.  He had gone into
the grounds and was about to begin operations when he heard a
rustle behind him and saw a policeman, whom he recognised as one
of those he had met in the road, enter the garden.  With his
well-known agility Peace climbed on to the wall, and dropped on
to the other side, only to find himself almost in the arms of
the second policeman.  Peace warned the officer to stand back and
fired his revolver wide of him.  But, as Peace said, "these
Manchester policemen are a very obstinate lot."  The constable
took out his truncheon.  Peace fired again and killed him.

Soon after the murderer saw in the newspapers that two men had
been arrested for the crime.  "This greatly interested me," said
Peace.  "I always had a liking to be present at trials, as the
public no doubt know by this time."  So he went to Manchester
Assizes and saw William Habron sentenced to death.  "People will
say," he said, "that I was a hardened wretch for allowing an in-

nocent man to suffer for the crime of which I was guilty but what
man would have given himself up under such circumstances, knowing
as I did that I should certainly be hanged?"  Peace's view of the
question was a purely practical one:  "Now that I am going to
forfeit my own life and feel that I have nothing to gain by
further secrecy, I think it is right in the sight of God and man
to clear this innocent young man."  It would have been more right
in the sight of God and man to have done it before, but then
Peace admitted that during all his career he had allowed neither
God nor man to influence his actions.

How many men in the situation of Peace at the time, with the
certainty of death before him if he confessed, would have
sacrificed themselves to save an innocent man?  Cold-blooded
heroism of this kind is rare in the annals of crime.  Nor did
Peace claim to have anything of the hero about him.

"Lion-hearted I've lived,
And when my time comes
Lion-hearted I'll die."

Though fond of repeating this piece of doggerel, Peace would have
been the last man to have attributed to himself all those
qualities associated symbolically with the lion.

A few days before his execution Peace was visited in his prison
by Mr. Littlewood, the Vicar of Darnall.  Mr. Littlewood had
known Peace a few years before, when he had been chaplain at
Wakefield Prison.  "Well, my old friend Peace," he said as he
entered the cell, "how are you to-day?" "`I am very poorly, sir,"
replied the convict, "but I am exceedingly pleased to see you." 
Mr. Littlewood assured Peace that there was at any rate one
person in the world who had deep sympathy with him, and that was
himself.  Peace burst into tears.  He expressed a wish to
unburden himself to the vicar, but before doing so, asked for his
assurance that he believed in the truth and sincerity of what he
was about to say to him.  He said that he preferred to be hanged
to lingering out his life in penal servitude, that he was grieved
and repentant for his past life.  "If I could undo, or make
amends for anything I have done, I would suffer my body as I now
stand to be cut in pieces inch by inch.  I feel, sir, that I am
too bad to live or die, and having this feeling I cannot think
that either you or anyone else would believe me, and that is the
reason why I ask you so much to try to be assured that you do not
think I am telling lies.  I call my God to witness that all I am
saying and wish to say shall be the truth--the whole truth--
nothing but the truth."  Mr. Littlewood said that, after
carefully watching Peace and having regard to his experience of
some of the most hardened of criminals during his service in
Wakefield Prison, he felt convinced that Peace was in earnest and
as sincere as any man could be; he spoke rationally, coherently,
and without excitement.

Peace was determined to test the extent of the reverend
gentleman's faith in his asseverations.  "Now, sir," he said, "I
understand that you still have the impression that I stole the
clock from your day-schools."  Mr. Littlewood admitted that such
was his impression.  "I thought so," replied Peace, "and this has
caused me much grief and pain, for I can assure you I have so
much respect for you personally that I would rather have given
you a clock and much more besides than have taken it.  At the
time your clock was stolen I had reason for suspecting that it
was taken by some colliers whom I knew."  There was a pause.  Mr.
Littlewood thought that Peace was going to give him the name of
the colliers.  But that was not Peace's way.  He said sharply: 
"Do you now believe that I have spoken the truth in denying that
I took your clock, and will you leave me to-day fully believing
that I am innocent of doing that?"  Mr. Littlewood looked at him
closely and appeared to be deliberating on his reply.  Peace
watched him intently.  At last Mr. Littlewood said, "Peace, I am
convinced that you did not take the clock.  I cannot believe that
you dare deny it now in your position, if you really did."  Once
more Peace burst into tears, and was unable for some time to

Having recovered his self-possession, Peace turned to the serious
business of confession.  He dealt first with the murder of Dyson.

He maintained that his relations with Mrs. Dyson had been of an
intimate character.  He wanted to see her on the night of the
crime in order to get her to induce her husband to withdraw the
warrant which he had procured against him; he was tired, he said,
of being hunted about from place to place.  He intercepted Mrs.
Dyson as she crossed the yard.  Instead of listening to him
quietly Mrs. Dyson became violent and threatening in her
language.  Peace took out his revolver, and, holding it close
to her head, warned her that he was not to be trifled with.  She
refused to be warned.  Dyson, hearing the loud voices, came out
of his house.  Peace tried to get away down the passage into
Banner Cross Road, but Dyson followed and caught hold of him.  In
the struggle Peace fired one barrel of his revolver wide.  Dyson
seized the hand in which Peace was holding the weapon.  "Then I
knew," said Peace, "I had not a moment to spare.  I made a
desperate effort, wrenched the arm from him and fired again.  All
that was in my head at the time was to get away.  I never did
intend, either there or anywhere else, to take a man's life; but
I was determined that I should not be caught at that time, as the
result, knowing what I had done before, would have been worse
even than had I stayed under the warrant."  If he had intended to
murder Dyson, Peace pointed out that he would have set about it
in quite a different and more secret way; it was as unintentional
a thing as ever was done; Mrs. Dyson had committed the grossest
perjury in saying that no struggle had taken place between her
husband and himself.

It is to be remembered that Peace and Mrs. Dyson were the sole
witnesses of what took place that night between the two men.  In
point of credibility there may be little to choose between them,
but Peace can claim for his account that it was the statement of
a dying, and, to all appearances, sincerely repentant sinner.

Peace then repeated to Mr. Littlewood his confession of the
killing of Constable Cock, and his desire that Habron should be
set free.[11]  As to this part of his career Peace indulged in
some general reflections.  "My great mistake, sir," he said, "and
I can see it now as my end approaches, has been this--in all my
career I have used ball cartridge.  I can see now that in
using ball cartridge I did wrong I ought to have used blank
cartridge; then I would not have taken life."  Peace said that he
hoped he would meet his death like a hero.  "I do not say this in
any kind of bravado.  I do not mean such a hero as some persons
will understand when they read this.  I mean such a hero as my
God might wish me to be.  I am deeply grieved for all I have
done, and would atone for it to the utmost of my power."  To Mr.
Littlewood the moment seemed convenient to suggest that as a
practical means of atonement Peace should reveal to him the names
of the persons with whom he had disposed of the greater part of
his stolen property.  But in spite of much attempted persuasion
by the reverend gentleman Peace explained that he was a man and
meant to be a man to the end.

[11] William Habron was subsequently given a free pardon and
L800 by way of compensation.

Earlier in their interview Peace had expressed to Mr. Littlewood
a hope that after his execution his name would never be mentioned
again, but before they parted he asked Mr. Littlewood, as a
favour, to preach a sermon on him after his death to the good
people of Darnall.  He wished his career held up to them as a
beacon, in order that all who saw might avoid his example, and so
his death be of some service to society.

Before Mr. Littlewood left, Peace asked him to hear him pray. 
Having requested the warders to kneel down, Peace began a prayer
that lasted twenty minutes.  He prayed for himself, his family,
his victims, Mr. Littlewood, society generally, and all classes
of the community.  Mr. Littlewood described the prayer as
earnest, fervent and fluent.  At the end Peace asked Mr.
Littlewood if he ought to see Mrs. Dyson and beg her forgiveness
for having killed her husband.  Mr. Littlewood, believing er-

roneously that Mrs. Dyson had already left the country, told
Peace that he should direct all his attention to asking
forgiveness of his Maker.  At the close of their interview Peace
was lifted into bed and, turning his face to the wall, wept.

Tuesday, February 25, was the day fixed for the, execution of
Peace.  As the time drew near, the convict's confidence in
ultimate salvation increased.  A Dr. Potter of Sheffield had
declared in a sermon that "all hope of Peace's salvation was gone
for ever."  Peace replied curtly, "Well, Dr. Potter may think so,
but I don't."  Though his health had improved, Peace was still
very feeble in body.  But his soul was hopeful and undismayed. 
On the Saturday before his death his brother and sister-in-law, a
nephew and niece visited him for the last time.  He spoke with
some emotion of his approaching end.  He said he should die about
eight o'clock, and that at four o'clock an inquest would be held
on his body; he would then be thrown into his grave without
service or sermon of any kind.  He asked his relatives to plant a
flower on a certain grave in a cemetery in Sheffield on the day
of his execution.  He was very weak, he said, but hoped he should
have strength enough to walk to the scaffold.  He sent messages
to friends and warnings to avoid gambling and drinking.  He
begged his brother to change his manner of life and "become
religious."  His good counsel was not apparently very well
received.  Peace's visitors took a depressing view of their
relative's condition.  They found him "a poor, wretched, haggard
man," and, meeting Mrs. Thompson who was waiting outside the gaol
for news of "dear Jack," wondered how she could have taken up
with such a man.

When, the day before his execution, Peace was visited for the
last time by his wife, his stepson, his daughter, Mrs. Bolsover,
and her husband, he was in much better spirits.  He asked his
visitors to restrain themselves from displays of emotion, as he
felt very happy and did not wish to be disturbed.  He advised
them to sell or exhibit for money certain works of art of his own
devising.  Among them was a design in paper for a monument to be
placed over his grave.  The design is elaborate but well and
ingeniously executed; in the opinion of Frith, the painter, it
showed "the true feeling of an artist."  It is somewhat in the
style of the Albert Memorial, and figures of angels are prominent
in the scheme.  The whole conception is typical of the artist's
sanguine and confident assurance of his ultimate destiny.  A
model boat and a fiddle made out of a hollow bamboo cane he
wished also to be made the means of raising money.  He was
describing with some detail the ceremony of his approaching death
and burial when he was interrupted by a sound of hammering. 
Peace listened for a moment and then said, "That's a noise that
would make some men fall on the floor.  They are working at my
own scaffold."  A warder said that he was mistaken.  "No, I am
not," answered Peace, "I have not worked so long with wood
without knowing the sound of deals; and they don't have deals
inside a prison for anything else than scaffolds."  But the
noise, he said, did not disturb him in the least, as he was quite
prepared to meet his fate.  He would like to have seen his grave
and coffin; he knew that his body would be treated with scant
ceremony after his death.  But what of that?  By that time his
soul would be in Heaven.  He was pleased that one sinner who had
seen him on his way from Pentonville to Sheffield, had written to
tell him that the sight of the convict had brought home to him
the sins of his own past life, and by this means he had found

The time had come to say good-bye for the last time.  Peace asked
his weeping relatives whether they had anything more that they
wished to ask him.  Mrs. Peace reminded him that he had promised
to pray with them at the last.  Peace, ever ready, knelt with
them and prayed for half an hour.  He then shook hands with them,
prayed for and blessed each one singly, and himself gave way to
tears as they left his presence.  To his wife as she departed
Peace gave a funeral card of his own designing.  It ran:

Charles Peace
Who was executed in
Armley Prison
Tuesday February 25th,
1879 Aged 47

For that I don but never

The same day there arrived in the prison one who in his own trade
had something of the personality and assurance of the culprit he
was to execute.  William Marwood--unlike his celebrated victim,
he has his place in the Dictionary of National Biography--is
perhaps the most remarkable of these persons who have held at
different times the office of public executioner.  As the
inventor of the "long drop," he has done a lasting service to
humanity by enabling the death-sentence passed by the judge to be
carried out with the minimum of possible suffering.  Marwood took
a lofty view of the office he held, and refused his assent to the
somewhat hypocritical loathing, with which those who sanction and
profit by his exertions are pleased to regard this servant of the
law.  "I am doing God's work," said Marwood, "according to the
divine command and the law of the British Crown.  I do it simply
as a matter of duty and as a Christian.  I sleep as soundly as a
child and am never disturbed by phantoms.  Where there is guilt
there is bad sleeping, but I am conscious that I try to live a
blameless life.  Detesting idleness, I pass my vacant time in
business (he was a shoemaker at Horncastle, in Lincolnshire) and
work in my shoeshop near the church day after day until such time
as I am required elsewhere.  It would have been better for those
I executed if they had preferred industry to idleness."

Marwood had not the almost patriarchal air of benevolent
respectability which his predecessor Calcraft had acquired during
a short experience as a family butler; but as an executioner that
kindly old gentleman had been a sad bungler in his time compared
with the scientific and expeditious Marwood.  The Horncastle
shoemaker was saving, businesslike, pious and thoughtful.  Like
Peace, he had interests outside his ordinary profession.  He had
at one time propounded a scheme for the abolition of the National
Debt, a man clearly determined to benefit his fellowmen in some
way or other.  A predilection for gin would seem to have been his
only concession to the ordinary weakness of humanity.  And now he
had arrived in Armley Jail to exercise his happy dispatch on the
greatest of the many criminals who passed through his hands, one
who, in his own words, "met death with greater firmness" than any
man on whom he had officiated during seven years of Crown

The day of February the 25th broke bitterly cold.  Like Charles
I. before him, Peace feared lest the extreme cold should make him
appear to tremble on the scaffold.  He had slept calmly till six
o'clock in the morning.  A great part of the two hours before the
coming of the hangman Peace spent in letter-writing.  He wrote
two letters to his wife, in one of which he copied out some
verses he had written in Woking Prison on the death of their
little boy John.  In the second he expressed his satisfaction
that he was to die now and not linger twenty years in prison.  To
his daughter, step-son and son-in-law he wrote letters of
fervent, religious exhortation and sent them tracts and pictures
which he had secured from well-intentioned persons anxious about
his salvation.  To an old friend, George Goodlad, a pianist, who
had apparently lived up to his name, he wrote:  "You chose an
honest industrious way through life, but I chose the one of dis-

honesty, villainy and sin"; let his fate, he said, be a warning.

Peace ate a hearty breakfast and awaited the coming of the
executioner with calm.  He had been troubled with an inconvenient
cough the night before.  "I wonder," he said to one of his
warders, "if Marwood could cure this cough of mine."  He had got
an idea into his head that Marwood would "punish" him when he
came to deal with him on the scaffold, and asked to see the hang-

man a few minutes before the appointed hour.  "I hope you will
not punish me.  I hope you will do your work quickly," he said to
Marwood.  "You shall not suffer pain from my hand," replied that
worthy.  "God bless you," exclaimed Peace, "I hope to meet you
all in heaven.  I am thankful to say my sins are all forgiven." 
And so these two pious men--on the morning of an execution
Marwood always knelt down and asked God's blessing on the work he
had to do--shook hands together and set about their business. 
Firmly and fearlessly Peace submitted himself to the necessary
preparations.  For one moment he faltered as the gallows came in
sight, but recovered himself quickly.

As Marwood was about to cover his face, Peace stopped him with
some irritation of manner and said that he wished to speak to the
gentlemen of the press who had been admitted to the ceremony.  No
one gainsaid him, and he thus addressed the reporters:  "You
gentlemen reporters, I wish you to notice the few words I am
going to say.  You know what my life has been.  It has been
base; but I wish you to notice, for the sake of others, how a man
can die, as I am about to die, in fear of the Lord.  Gentlemen,
my heart says that I feel assured that my sins are forgiven me,
that I am going to the Kingdom of Heaven, or else to the place
prepared for those who rest until the great Judgment day.  I do
not think I have any enemies, but if there are any who would be
so, I wish them well.  Gentlemen, all and all, I wish them to
come to the Kingdom of Heaven when they die, as I am going to
die."  He asked a blessing on the officials of the prison and, in
conclusion, sent his last wishes and respects to his dear
children and their mother.  "I hope," he said, "no one will
disgrace them by taunting them or jeering them on my account, but
to have mercy upon them.  God bless you, my dear children.  Good-
bye, and Heaven bless you.  Amen:  Oh, my Lord God, have mercy
upon me!"

After the cap had been placed over his head Peace asked twice
very sharply, as a man who expected to be obeyed, for a drink of
water.  But this time his request was not compiled with.  He died
instantaneously and was buried in Armley Jail.

Had Peace flourished in 1914 instead of 1874, his end might have
been honourable instead of dishonourable.  The war of to-day has
no doubt saved many a man from a criminal career by turning to
worthy account qualities which, dangerous in crime, are useful in
war.  Absolute fearlessness, agility, resource, cunning and
determination; all these are admirable qualities in the soldier;
and all these Charles Peace possessed in a signal degree.  But
fate denied him opportunity, he became a burglar and died on the
scaffold.  Years of prison life failed, as they did in those
days, to make any impression for good on one resolute in whatever
way he chose to go.  Peace was a born fighter.  A detective who
knew him and had on one occasion come near capturing him in
London, said that he was a fair fighter, that he always gave
fair warning to those on whom he fired, and that, being a dead
shot, the many wide shots which he fired are to be reckoned
proofs of this.  Peace maintained to the last that he had never
intended to kill Dyson.  This statement ex-detective Parrock
believed, and that the fatal shot was fired over Peace's shoulder
as he was making off.  Though habitually sober, Peace was made
intoxicated now and then by the drink, stood him by those whom he
used to amuse with his musical tricks and antics in public-
houses.  At such times he would get fuddled and quarrelsome.  He
was in such a frame of mind on the evening of Dyson's murder. 
His visit to the Vicar of Ecclesall brought him little comfort or
consolation.  It was in this unsatisfactory frame of mind that he
went to Dyson's house.  This much the ex-detective would urge in
his favour.  To his neighbours he was an awe-inspiring but kind
and sympathetic man.  "If you want my true opinion of him," says
Detective Parrock, "he was a burglar to the backbone but not a
murderer at heart.  He deserved the fate that came to him as
little as any who in modern times have met with a like one." 
Those who are in the fighting line are always the most generous
about their adversaries.  Parrock as a potential target for
Peace's revolver, may have erred on the side of generosity, but
there is some truth in what he says.

As Peace himself admitted, his life had been base.  He was well
aware that he had misused such gifts as nature had bestowed on
him.  One must go back to mediaeval times to find the
counterpart of this daring ruffian who, believing in personal God
and devil, refuses until the end to allow either to interfere
with his business in life.  In this respect Charles Peace reminds
us irresistibly of our Angevin kings.

There is only one criminal who vies with Charley Peace in
that genial popular regard which makes Charles "Charley" and John
"Jack," and that is Jack Sheppard.  What Jack was to the
eighteenth century, that Charley was to the nineteenth.  And each
one is in a sense typical of his period.  Lecky has said that the
eighteenth century is richer than any other in the romance of
crime.  I think it may fairly be said that in the nineteenth
century the romance of crime ceased to be.  In the eighteenth
century the scenery and dresses, all the stage setting of crime
make for romance; its literature is quaint and picturesque; there
is something gay and debonair about the whole business.

Sheppard is typical of all this.  There is a certain charm about
the rascal; his humour is undeniable; he is a philosopher, taking
all that comes with easy grace, even his betrayal by his brother
and others who should have been loyal to him.  Jack Sheppard has
the good-humoured carelessness of that most engaging of all
eighteenth century malefactors, Deacon Brodie.  It is quite
otherwise with Charley Peace.  There is little enough gay or
debonair about him.  Compared with Sheppard, Peace is as drab as
the surroundings of mid-Victorian crime are drab compared with
the picturesqueness of eighteenth century England.

Crime in the nineteenth century becomes more scientific in its
methods and in its detection also.  The revolver places a more
hasty, less decorous weapon than the old-fashioned pistol in the
hands of the determined burglar.  The literature of crime, such
as it is, becomes vulgar and prosaic.  Peace has no charm about
him, no gaiety, but he has the virtues of his defects.  He,
unlike Sheppard, shuns company; he works alone, never depending
on accomplices; a "tight cock," as Sheppard would have phrased
it, and not relying on a like quality of tightness in his
fellows.  Sheppard is a slave to his women, Edgeworth Bess and
Mrs. Maggot; Mrs. Peace and Sue Thompson are the slaves of
Peace.  Sheppard loves to stroll openly about the London streets
in his fine suit of black, his ruffled shirt and his silver-
hilted sword.  Peace lies concealed at Peckham beneath the homely
disguise of old Mr. Thompson.  Sheppard is an imp, Peace a
goblin.  But both have that gift of personality which, in their
own peculiar line, lifts them out from the ruck, and makes them
Jack and Charley to those who like to know famous people by
cheery nicknames.

And so we must accept Charles Peace as a remarkable character,
whose unquestioned gifts as a man of action were squandered on a
criminal career; neither better nor worse than a great number of
other persons, whose good fortune it has been to develop similar
qualities under happier surroundings.  There are many more
complete villains than the ordinary criminal, who contrive to go
through life without offending against the law.  Close and
scientific investigation has shown that the average convicted
criminal differs intellectually from the normal person only in a
slightly lower level of intelligence, a condition that may well
be explained by the fact that the convicted criminal has been
found out.  Crime has been happily defined by a recent and most
able investigator into the character of the criminal[12] as "an
unusual act committed by a perfectly normal person."  At the same
time, according to the same authority, there is a type of normal
person who tends to be convicted of crime, and he is
differentiated from his fellows by defective physique and mental
capacity and an increased possession of antisocial qualities.[13]

[12] "The English Convict," a statistical study, by Charles
Goring, M.D.  His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1913.

[13] Murderers--at least those executed for their crimes--have
not for obvious reasons been made the subject of close scientific
observation.  Their mental capacity would in all probability be
found to be rather higher than that of less ambitious

How does Peace answer to the definition?  Though short in
stature, his physical development left little to be desired: he
was active, agile, and enjoyed excellent health at all times. 
For a man of forty-seven he had aged remarkably in appearance. 
That is probably to be accounted for by mental worry.  With two
murders on his conscience we know from Sue Thompson that all she
learnt of his secrets was what escaped from him in his troubled
dreams--Peace may well have shown traces of mental anxiety.  But
in all other respects Charles Peace would seem to have been
physically fit.  In intellectual capacity he was undoubtedly
above the average of the ordinary criminal.  The facts of his
career, his natural gifts, speak for themselves.  Of anti-social
proclivities he no doubt possessed his share at the beginning,
and these were aggravated, as in most cases they were in his day,
by prison life and discipline.

Judged as scientifically as is possible where the human being is
concerned, Peace stands out physically and intellectually well
above the average of his class, perhaps the most naturally gifted
of all those who, without advantages of rank or education, have
tried their hands at crime.  Ordinary crime for the most part
would appear to be little better than the last resort of the
intellectually defective, and a poor game at that.  The only
interesting criminals are those worthy of something better. 
Peace was one of these.  If his life may be said to point a
moral, it is the very simple one that crime is no career for a
man of brains.

The Career of Robert Butler

There is a report of Butler's trial published in Dunedin.  It
gives in full the speeches and the cross-examination of the
witnesses, but not in all cases the evidence-in-chief.  By the
kindness of a friend in New Zealand I obtained a copy of the
depositions taken before the magistrate; with this I have been
able to supplement the report of the trial.  A collection of
newspaper cuttings furnished me with the details of the rest of
Butler's career.



On the evening of March 23, 1905, Mr. William Munday, a highly
respected citizen of the town of Tooringa, in Queensland, was
walking to the neighbouring town of Toowong to attend a masonic
gathering.  It was about eight o'clock, the moon shining
brightly.  Nearing Toowong, Mr. Munday saw a middle-aged man,
bearded and wearing a white overcoat, step out into the moonlight
from under the shadow of a tree.  As Mr. Munday advanced, the man
in the white coat stood directly in his way.  "Out with all you
have, and quick about it," he said.  Instead of complying with
this peremptory summons, Mr. Munday attempted to close with him. 
The man drew back quickly, whipped out a revolver, fired, and
made off as fast as he could.  The bullet, after passing through
Mr. Munday's left arm, had lodged in the stomach.  The
unfortunate gentleman was taken to a neighbouring hospital where,
within a few hours, he was dead.

In the meantime a vigorous search was made for his assailant. 
Late the same night Constable Hennessy, riding a bicycle, saw a
man in a white coat who seemed to answer to the description of
the assassin.  He dismounted, walked up to him and asked him for
a match.  The man put his hand inside his coat.  "What have you
got there?" asked the constable.  "I'll--soon show you," replied
the man in the white coat, producing suddenly a large revolver. 
But Hennessy was too quick for him.  Landing him one under the
jaw, he sent him to the ground and, after a sharp struggle,
secured him.  Constable Hennessy little knew at the time that his
capture in Queensland of the man in the white coat was almost as
notable in the annals of crime as the affray at Blackheath on an
autumn night in 1878, when Constable Robinson grappled
successfully, wounded as he was, with Charles Peace.

The man taken by Hennessy gave the name of James Wharton, and as
James Wharton he was hanged at Brisbane.  But before his death it
was ascertained beyond doubt, though he never admitted it
himself, that Wharton was none other than one Robert Butler,
whose career as a criminal and natural wickedness may well rank
him with Charles Peace in the hierarchy of scoundrels.  Like
Peace, Butler was, in the jargon of crime, a "hatter," a "lone
hand," a solitary who conceived and executed his nefarious
designs alone; like Peace, he supplemented an insignificant
physique by a liberal employment of the revolver; like Peace, he
was something of a musician, the day before his execution he
played hymns for half an hour on the prison organ; like Peace, he
knew when to whine when it suited his purpose; and like Peace,
though not with the same intensity, he could be an uncomfortably
persistent lover, when the fit was on him.  Both men were cynics
in their way and viewed their fellow-men with a measure of
contempt.  But here parallel ends.  Butler was an
intellectual, inferior as a craftsman to Peace, the essentially
practical, unread, naturally gifted artist.  Butler was a man of
books.  He had been schoolmaster, journalist.  He had studied the
lives of great men, and as a criminal, had devoted especial
attention to those of Frederick the Great and Napoleon.  Butler's
defence in the Dunedin murder trial was a feat of skill quite
beyond the power of Peace.  Peace was a religious man after the
fashion of the mediaeval tyrant, Butler an infidel.  Peace,
dragged into the light of a court of justice, cut a sorry figure;
here Butler shone.  Peace escaped a conviction for murder by
letting another suffer in his place; Butler escaped a similar
experience by the sheer ingenuity of his defence.  Peace had the
modesty and reticence of the sincere artist; Butler the
loquacious vanity of the literary or forensic coxcomb.  Lastly,
and it is the supreme difference, Butler was a murderer by
instinct and conviction, as Lacenaire or Ruloff; "a man's life,"
he said, "was of no more importance than a dog's; nature respects
the one no more than the other, a volcanic eruption kills mice
and men with the one hand.  The divine command, `kill, kill and
spare not,' was intended not only for Joshua, but for men of all
time; it is the example of our rulers, our Fredericks and

Butler was of the true Prussian mould.  "In crime," he would say,
"as in war, no half measures.  Let us follow the example of our
rulers whose orders in war run, `Kill, burn and sink,' and what
you cannot carry away, destroy.'"  Here is the gospel of
frightfulness applied almost prophetically to crime.  To Butler
murder is a principle of warfare; to Peace it was never more than
a desperate resort or an act the outcome of ungovernable passion.

Ireland can claim the honour of Butler's birth.  It took place at
Kilkenny about 1845.  At an early age he left his native land
for Australia, and commenced his professional career by being
sentenced under the name of James Wilson--the same initials as
those of James Wharton of Queensland--to twelve months'
imprisonment for vagrancy.  Of the sixteen years he passed in
Victoria he spent thirteen in prison, first for stealing, then in
steady progression for highway robbery and burglary.  Side by
side with the practical and efficient education in crime
furnished by the Victorian prisons of that day, Butler availed
himself of the opportunity to educate his mind.  It was during
this period that he found inspiration and encouragement in the
study of the lives of Frederick and Napoleon, besides acquiring a
knowledge of music and shorthand.

When in 1876 Butler quitted Australia for New Zealand, he was
sufficiently accomplished to obtain employment as a schoolmaster.

At Cromwell, Otago, under the name of "C. J. Donelly, Esq.,"
Butler opened a "Commercial and Preparatory Academy," and in a
prospectus that recalls Mr. Squeers' famous advertisement of
Dotheboys Hall, announced that the programme of the Academy would
include "reading, taught as an art and upon the most approved
principles of elocution, writing, arithmetic, euclid, algebra,
mensuration, trigonometry, book-keeping, geography, grammar,
spelling and dictation) composition, logic and debate, French,
Latin, shorthand, history, music, and general lectures on
astronomy, natural philosophy, geology, and other subjects."  The
simpler principles of these branches of learning were to be
"rendered intelligible, and a firm foundation laid for the
acquirement of future knowledge."  Unfortunately a suspicion of
theft on Butler's part cut short the fulfilment of this really
splendid programme, and Butler left Cromwell hurriedly for the
ampler field of Dunedin.  There, less than a fortnight after
his arrivel{sic}, he was sentenced to four years' hard labour for
several burglaries committed in and about that city.

On the 18th of February, 1880, Butler was released from prison. 
With that consummate hypocrisy which was part of the man, he had
contrived to enlist the sympathies of the Governor of the Dunedin
Jail, who gave him, on his departure, a suit of clothes and a
small sum of money.  A detective of the name of Bain tried to
find him employment.  Butler wished to adopt a literary career. 
He acted as a reporter on the Dunedin Evening Star, and gave
satisfaction to the editor of that newspaper.  An attempt to do
some original work, in the shape of "Prison Sketches," for
another newspaper, was less successful.  Bain had arranged for
the publication of the articles in the Sunday Advertiser, but
when the time came to deliver his manuscript, Butler failed to
appear.  Bain, whose duty it was to keep an eye on Butler, found
him in the street looking wild and haggard.  He said that he had
found the work "too much for his head," that he had torn up what
he had written, that he had nowhere to go, and had been to the
end of the jetty with the intention of drowning himself.  Bain
replied somewhat caustically that he thought it a pity he had not
done so, as nothing would have given him greater joy than going
to the end of the jetty and identifying his body.  "You speak
very plainly," said Butler.  "Yes, and what is more, I mean what
I say," replied Bain.  Butler justified Bain's candour by saying
that if he broke out again, he would be worse than the most
savage tiger ever let loose on the community.  As a means of
obviating such an outbreak, Butler suggested that, intellectual
employment having failed, some form of manual labour should be
found him.  Bain complied with Butler's request, and got him a
job at levelling reclaimed ground in the neighbourhood of
Dunedin.  On Wednesday, March 10, Butler started work, but after
three hours of it relinquished the effort.  Bain saw Butler again
in Dunedin on the evening of Saturday, March 13, and made an
appointment to meet him at half-past eight that night.  Butler
did not keep the appointment.  Bain searched the town for him,
but he was nowhere to be found.

About the same time Butler had some talk with another member of
the Dunedin police force, Inspector Mallard.  They discussed the
crimes of Charles Peace and other notable artists of that kind. 
Butler remarked to Mallard how easy it would be to destroy all
traces of a murder by fire, and asked the inspector whether if he
woke up one morning to find some brutal murder had been
committed, he would not put it down to him.  "No, Butler,"
replied the inspector, "the first thing I should do would be to
look for suspicious circumstances, and most undoubtedly, if they
pointed to you, you would be looked after."

In the early morning of this Saturday, March 13, the house of a
Mr. Stamper, a solicitor of Dunedin, had been broken into, and
some articles of value, among them a pair of opera glasses,
stolen.  The house had been set on fire, and burned to the
ground.  On the morning of the following day, Sunday, the 14th,
Dunedin was horrified by the discovery of a far more terrible
crime, tigerish certainly in its apparent ferocity.  In a house
in Cumberland Street, a young married couple and their little
baby were cruelly murdered and un{sic}{an??} unsuccessful attempt
made to fire the scene of the crime.

About half-past six on Sunday morning a man of the name of Robb,
a carpenter, on getting out of bed, noticed smoke coming from the
house of a neighbor of his, Mr. J. M. Dewar, who occupied a small
one-floored cottage standing by itself in Cumberland Street, a
large and broad thoroughfare on the outskirts of the town. 
Dewar was a butcher by trade, a young man, some eighteen
months married, and father of a baby girl.  Robb, on seeing smoke
coming from Dewar's house, woke his son, who was a member of the
fire brigade.  The latter got up, crossed the street, and going
round to the back door, which he found wide open, entered the
house.  As he went along the passage that separated the two front
rooms, a bedroom and sitting-room, he called to the inmates to
get up.  He received no answer, but as he neared the bedroom he
heard a "gurgling" sound.  Crawling on his hands and knees he
reached the bedroom door, and two feet inside it his right hand
touched something.  It was the body of a woman; she was still
alive, but in a dying condition.  Robb dragged her across the
passage into the sitting-room.  He got some water, and extin-
guished the fire in the bedroom.  On the bed lay the body of
Dewar.  To all appearances he had been killed in his sleep.  By
his side was the body of the baby, suffocated by the smoke.  Near
the bed was an axe belonging to Dewar, stained with blood.  It
was with this weapon, apparently, that Mr. and Mrs. Dewar had
been attacked.  Under the bed was a candlestick belonging also to
the Dewars, which had been used by the murderer in setting fire
to the bed.  The front window of the sitting-room was open, there
were marks of boot nails on the sill, and on the grass in front
of the window a knife was found.  An attempt had been made to
ransack a chest of drawers in the bedroom, but some articles of
jewellery lying in one of the drawers, and a ring on the
dressing-table had been left untouched.  As far as was known, Mr.
and Mrs. Dewar were a perfectly happy and united couple.  Dewar
had been last seen alive about ten o'clock on the Saturday night
getting off a car near his home.  At eleven a neighbour had
noticed a light in the Dewars' house.  About five o'clock on the
Sunday morning another neighbour had been aroused from his
sleep by the sound as of something falling heavily.  It was a
wild and boisterous night.  Thinking the noise might be the
slamming of his stable door, he got up and went out to see that
it was secure.  He then noticed that a light was burning in the
bedroom window of the Dewars' cottage.

Nothing more was known of what had occurred that morning until at
half-past six Robb saw the smoke coming from Dewars' house.  Mrs.
Dewar, who alone could have told something, never recovered
consciousness and died on the day following the crime.  Three
considerable wounds sufficient to cause death had been inflicted
on the unfortunate woman's head, and five of a similar character
on that of her husband.  At the head of the bed, which stood in
the corner of the room, there was a large smear of blood on the
wall just above the door; there were spots of blood all over the
top of the bed, and some smaller ones that had to all appearances
spurted on to the panel of the door nearest to the bed.

The investigation of this shocking crime was placed in the hands
of Detective Bain, whose duty it had been to keep an eye on
Robert Butler, but he did not at first associate his interesting
charge with the commission of the murder.  About half-past six on
Sunday evening Bain happened to go to a place called the Scotia
Hotel, where the landlord informed him that one of his servants,
a girl named Sarah Gillespie, was very anxious to see him.  Her
story was this:  On the morning of Thursday, March 11, Robert
Butler had come to the hotel; he was wearing a dark lavender
check suit and carried a top coat and parcel.  Butler had stayed
in the hotel all Thursday and slept there that night.  He had not
slept in the hotel on the Friday night, and Sarah Gillespie had
not seen him again until he came into the house about five and
twenty minutes to seven on Sunday morning.  The girl noticed
that he was pale and excited, seemed afraid and worried, as if
someone were coming after him.  After giving her some money for
the landlord, he went upstairs, fetched his top coat, a muffler,
and his parcel.  Before leaving he said he would have a pint of
beer, as he had not breakfasted.  He then left, presumably to
catch an early train.

Butler was next seen a few minutes later at a shop near the
hotel, where he bought five tins of salmon, and about the same
time a milk-boy saw him standing on the kerb in Cumberland Street
in a stooping position, his head turned in the direction of
Dewars' house.  A little after ten the same night Butler entered
a hotel at a place called Blueskin, some twelve miles distant
from Dunedin.  He was wearing an overcoat and a light muffler. 
He sat down at a table in the dining-room and seemed weary and
sleepy.  Someone standing at the bar said "What a shocking murder
that was in Cumberland Street!"  Butler started up, looked
steadily from one to the other of the two men who happened to be
in the room, then sat down again and, taking up a book, appeared
to be reading.  More than once he put down the book and kept
shifting uneasily in his chair.  After having some supper he got
up, paid his reckoning, and left the hotel.

At half-past three the following morning, about fifteen miles
from Dunedin, on the road to Waikouaiti, two constables met a man
whom they recognised as Butler from a description that had been
circulated by the police.  The constables arrested and searched
him.  They found on him a pair of opera glasses, the property of
Mr. Stamper, whose house had been burgled and burned down on the
morning of the 13th.  Of this crime Butler acknowledged himself
to be the perpetrator.  Besides the opera glasses the constables
took from Butler two tins of salmon, a purse containing four
shillings and sixpence, a pocket knife, a box of matches, a
piece of candle, and a revolver and cartridges.  The prisoner was
carrying a top coat, and was dressed in a dark coat and grey
trousers, underneath which he was wearing a white shirt, an under
flannel and a Rob Roy Crimean shirt.  One of the constables
noticed that there were marks of blood on his shirt.  Another
singular feature in Butler's attire was the fact that the outer
soles of his boots had been recently removed.  When last seen in
Dunedin Butler had been wearing a moustache; he was now clean

The same evening a remarkable interview took place in the lock-up
at Waikouaiti between Butler and Inspector Mallard.  Mallard, who
had some reason for suspecting Butler, bearing in mind their
recent conversation, told the prisoner that he would be charged
with the murder in Cumberland Street.  For a few seconds,
according to Mallard, the prisoner seemed terribly agitated and
appeared to be choking.  Recovering himself somewhat, he said,
"If for that, you can get no evidence against me; and if I am
hanged for it, I shall be an innocent man, whatever other crimes
I may have committed."  Mallard replied, "There is evidence to
convict you--the fire was put out."  Butler than{sic} said that
he would ask Mallard a question, but, after a pause, decided not
to do so.  Mallard, after examining Butler's clothes, told him
that those were not the clothes in which he had left the Scotia
Hotel.  Butler admitted it, and said he had thrown those away in
the North East Valley.  Mallard alluded to the disappearance of
the prisoner's moustache.  Butler replied that he had cut it off
on the road.  Mallard noticed then the backs of Butler's hands
were scratched, as if by contact with bushes.  Butler seemed
often on the point of asking questions, but would then stop and
say "No, I won't ask you anything."  To the constables who had
arrested him Butler remarked, "You ought to remember me,
because I could have shot you if I had wished."  When Mallard
later in the evening visited Butler again, the prisoner who was
then lying down said, "I want to speak to you.  I want to ask the
press not to publish my career.  Give me fair play.  I suppose I
shall be convicted and you will see I can die like a man."

A few days after Butler's arrest a ranger on the Town Belt, a
hill overlooking Dunedin, found a coat, a hat and silk striped
cravat, and a few days later a pair of trousers folded up and
placed under a bush.  These articles of clothing were identified
as those which Butler had been seen wearing on the Saturday and
Sunday morning.  They were examined.  There were a number of
bloodstains on them, not one of them larger in size than a pea,
some almost invisible.  On the front of the trousers about the
level of the groin there were blood spots on both sides.  There
was blood on the fold of the left breast of the coat and on the
lining of the cuff of the right arm.  The shirt Butler was
wearing at the time of his arrest was examined also.  There were
small spots of blood, about fourteen altogether, on the neck and
shoulder bands, the right armpit, the left sleeve, and on both
wristbands.  Besides the clothes, a salmon tin was found on the
Town Belt, and behind a seat in the Botanical Gardens, from which
a partial view of the Dewars' house in Cumberland Street could be
obtained, two more salmon tins were found, all three similar to
the five purchased by Butler on the Sunday morning, two of which
had been in his possession at the time of his arrest.

Such were the main facts of the case which Butler had to answer
when, a few weeks later, he was put on his trial before the
Supreme Court at Dunedin.  The presiding judge was Mr. Justice
Williams, afterwards Sir Joshua Williams and a member of the
Privy Council.  The Crown Prosecutor, Mr. Haggitt, conducted
the case for the Crown, and Butler defended himself.



To a man of Butler's egregious vanity his trial was a glorious
opportunity for displaying his intellectual gifts, such as they
were.  One who had known him in prison about this time describes
him as a strange compound of vanity and envy, blind to his own
faults and envious of the material advantages enjoyed by others. 
Self-willed and arrogant, he could bully or whine with equal
effect.  Despising men, he believed that if a man did not possess
some requisite quality, he had only to ape it, as few would
distinguish between the real and the sham.

But with all these advantages in the struggle for life, it is
certain that Butler's defence would have been far less effective
had be{sic} been denied all professional aid.  As a matter of
fact, throughout his trial Butler was being advised by three
distinguished members of the New Zealand bar, now judges of the
Supreme Court, who though not appearing for him in court, gave
him the full benefit of their assistance outside it.  At the same
time Butler carried off the thing well.  Where imagination was
required, Butler broke down; he could not write sketches of life
in prison; that was too much for his pedestrian intellect.  But
given the facts of a case, dealing with a transaction of which he
alone knew the real truth, and aided by the advice and guidance
of trained intellects, Butler was unquestionably clever and
shrewd enough to make the best use of such advantages in meeting
the case against him.

Thus equipped for the coming struggle, this high-browed ruffian,
with his semi-intellectual cast of countenance, his jerky
restless posturing, his splay-footed waddle, "like a lame Muscovy
duck," in the graphic words of his gaol companion, stood up to
plead for his life before the Supreme Court at Dunedin.

It may be said at the outset that Butler profited greatly by the
scrupulous fairness shown by the Crown Prosecutor.  Mr. Haggitt
extended to the prisoner a degree of consideration and
forbearance, justified undoubtedly towards an undefended
prisoner.  But, as we have seen, Butler was not in reality
undefended.  At every moment of the trial he was in communication
with his legal advisers, and being instructed by them how to meet
the evidence given against him.  Under these circumstances the
unfailing consideration shown him by the Crown Prosecutor seems
almost excessive.  From the first moment of the trial Butler was
fully alive to the necessities of his situation.  He refrained
from including in his challenges of the jury the gentleman who
was afterwards foreman; he knew he was all right, he said,
because he parted his hair in the middle, a "softy," in fact.  He
did not know in all probability that one gentleman on the jury
had a rooted conviction that the murder of the Dewars was the
work of a criminal lunatic.  There was certainly nothing in
Butler's demeanour or behaviour to suggest homicidal mania.

The case against Butler rested on purely circumstantial evidence.

No new facts of importance were adduced at the trial.  The
stealing of Dewar's wages, which had been paid to him on the
Saturday, was the motive for the murder suggested by the Crown. 
The chief facts pointing to Butler's guilt were: his conversation
with Mallard and Bain previous to the crime; his demeanour after
it; his departure from Dunedin; the removal of his moustache
and the soles of his boots; his change of clothes and the
bloodstains found upon them, added to which was his apparent
inability to account for his movements on the night in question.

Such as the evidence was, Butler did little to shake it in cross-
examination.  His questions were many of them skilful and
pointed, but on more than one occasion the judge intervened to
save him from the danger common to all amateur cross-examiners,
of not knowing when to stop.  He was most successful in dealing
with the medical witnesses.  Butler had explained the bloodstains
on his clothes as smears that had come from scratches on his
hands, caused by contact with bushes.  This explanation the
medical gentlemen with good reason rejected.  But they went
further, and said that these stains might well have been caused
by the spurting and spraying of blood on to the murderer as he
struck his victims.  Butler was able to show by the position of
the bloodstains on the clothes that such an explanation was open
to considerable doubt.

Butler's speech in his defence lasted six hours, and was a
creditable performance.  Its arrangement is somewhat confused and
repetitious, some points are over-elaborated, but on the whole he
deals very successfully with most of the evidence given against
him and exposes the unquestionable weakness of the Crown case. 
At the outset he declared that he had taken his innocence for his
defence.  "I was not willing," he said, "to leave my life in the
hands of a stranger.  I was willing to incur all the
disadvantages which the knowledge of the law might bring upon me.

I was willing, also, to enter on this case without any experience
whatever of that peculiarly acquired art of cross-examination.  I
fear I have done wrong.  If I had had the assistance of able
counsel, much more light would have been thrown on this case
than has been."  As we have seen, Butler enjoyed throughout his
trial the informal assistance of three of the most able counsel
in New Zealand, so that this heroic attitude of conscious
innocence braving all dangers loses most of its force.  Without
such assistance his danger might have been very real.

A great deal of the evidence as to his conduct and demeanour at
the time of the murder Butler met by acknowledging that it was he
who had broken into Mr. Stamper's house on the Saturday morning,
burgled it and set it on fire.  His consciousness of guilt in
this respect was, he said, quite sufficient to account for
anything strange or furtive in his manner at that time.  He was
already known to the police; meeting Bain on the Saturday night,
he felt more than ever sure that he was susspected{sic} of the
robbery at Mr. Stamper's; he therefore decided to leave Dunedin
as soon as possible.  That night, he said, he spent wandering
about the streets half drunk, taking occasional shelter from the
pouring rain, until six o'clock on the Sunday morning, when he
went to the Scotia Hotel.  A more detailed account of his
movements on the night of the Dewars' murder he did not, or would
not, give.

When he comes to the facts of the murder and his theories as to
the nature and motive of the crime--theories which he developed
at rather unnecessary length for the purpose of his own defence--
his speech is interesting.  It will be recollected that on the
discovery of the murder, a knife was found on the grass outside
the house.  This knife was not the property of the Dewars.  In
Butler's speech he emphasised the opinion that this knife had
been brought there by the murderer:  "Horrible though it may be,
my conclusion is that he brought it with the intention of cutting
the throats of his victims, and that, finding they lay in rather
an untoward position, he changed his mind, and, having
carried out the object with which he entered the house, left the
knife and, going back, brought the axe with which he effected his
purpose.  What was the purpose of the murderer?  Was it the
robbery of Dewar's paltry wages?  Was it the act of a tiger
broken loose on the community?  An act of pure wanton devilry? or
was there some more reasonable explanation of this most atrocious

Butler rejected altogether the theory of ordinary theft.  No
thief of ambitious views, he said, would pitch upon the house of
a poor journeyman butcher.  The killing of the family appeared to
him to be the motive: "an enemy hath done this."  The murderer
seems to have had a knowledge of the premises; he enters the
house and does his work swiftly and promptly, and is gone.  "We
cannot know," Butler continues, "all the passages in the lives of
the murdered man or woman.  What can we know of the hundred
spites and jealousies or other causes of malice which might have
caused the crime?  If you say some obscure quarrel, some spite or
jealousy is not likely to have been the cause of so dreadful a
murder, you cannot revert to the robbery theory without admitting
a motive much weaker in all its utter needlessness and vagueness.

The prominent feature of the murder, indeed the only feature, is
its ruthless, unrelenting, determined vindictiveness.  Every blow
seemed to say, `You shall die you shall not live.'"

Whether Butler were the murderer of the Dewars or not, the theory
that represented them as having been killed for the purpose of
robbery has its weak side all the weaker if Butler, a practical
and ambitious criminal, were the guilty man.

In 1882, two years after Butler's trial, there appeared in a New
Zealand newspaper, Society, published in Christchurch, a series
of Prison "Portraits," written evidently by one who had
himself undergone a term of imprisonment.  One of the "Portraits"
was devoted to an account of Butler.  The writer had known Butler
in prison.  According to the story told him by Butler, the latter
had arrived in Dunedin with a quantity of jewellery he had stolen
in Australia.  This jewellery he entrusted to a young woman for
safe keeping.  After serving his first term of two years'
imprisonment in Dunedin, Butler found on his release that the
young woman had married a man of the name of Dewar.  Butler went
to Mrs. Dewar and asked for the return of his jewellery; she
refused to give it up.  On the night of the murder he called at
the house in Cumberland Street and made a last appeal to her, but
in vain.  He determined on revenge.  During his visit to Mrs.
Dewar he had had an opportunity of seeing the axe and observing
the best way to break into the house.  He watched the husband's
return, and decided to kill him as well as his wife on the chance
of obtaining his week's wages.  With the help of the knife which
he had found in the backyard of a hotel he opened the window. 
The husband he killed in his sleep, the woman waked with the
first blow he struck her.  He found the jewellery in a drawer
rolled up in a pair of stockings.  He afterwards hid it in a
well-marked spot some half-hour before his arrest.

A few years after its appearance in Society, this account of
Butler was reproduced in an Auckland newspaper.  Bain, the
detective, wrote a letter questioning the truth of the writer's
statements.  He pointed out that when Butler first came to
Dunedin he had been at liberty only a fortnight before serving
his first term of imprisonment, very little time in which to make
the acquaintance of a woman and dispose of the stolen jewellery. 
He asked why, if Butler had hidden the jewellery just before his
arrest, he had not also hidden the opera-glasses which he
had stolen from Mr. Stamper's house.  Neither of these comments
is very convincing.  A fortnight seems time enough in which a man
of Butler's character might get to know a woman and dispose of
some jewellery; while, if Butler were the murderer of Mr. Dewar
as well as the burglar who had broken into Stamper's house, it
was part of his plan to acknowledge himself guilty of the latter
crime and use it to justify his movements before and after the
murder.  Bain is more convincing when he states at the conclusion
of his letter that he had known Mrs. Dewar from childhood as a
"thoroughly good and true woman," who, as far as he knew, had
never in her life had any acquaintance with Butler.

At the same time, the account given by Butler's fellow-prisoner,
in which the conduct of the murdered woman is represented as
constituting the provocation for the subsequent crime, explains
one peculiar circumstance in connection with the tragedy, the
selection of this journeyman butcher and his wife as the victims
of the murderer.  It explains the theory, urged so persistently
by Butler in his speech to the jury, that the crime was the work
of an enemy of the Dewars, the outcome of some hidden spite, or
obscure quarrel; it explains the apparent ferocity of the murder,
and the improbability of a practical thief selecting such an
unprofitable couple as his prey.  The rummaged chest of drawers
and the fact that some trifling articles of jewellery were left
untouched on the top of them, are consistent with an eager search
by the murderer for some particular object.  Against this theory
of revenge is the fact that Butler was a malignant ruffian and
liar in any case, that, having realised very little in cash by
the burglary at Stamper's house, he would not be particular as to
where he might get a few shillings more, that he had threatened
to do a tigerish deed, and that it is characteristic of his
vanity to try to impute to his crime a higher motive than
mere greed or necessity.

Butler showed himself not averse to speaking of the murder in
Cumberland Street to at least one of those, with whom he came in
contact in his later years.  After he had left New Zealand and
returned to Australia, he was walking in a street in Melbourne
with a friend when they passed a lady dressed in black, carrying
a baby in her arms.  The baby looked at the two men and laughed. 
Butler frowned and walked rapidly away.  His companion chaffed
him, and asked whether it was the widow or the baby that he was
afraid of.  Butler was silent, but after a time asked his
companion to come into some gardens and sit down on one of the
seats, as he had something serious to say to him.  For a while
Butler sat silent.  Then he asked the other if he had ever been
in Dunedin.  "Yes," was the reply.  "Look here," said Butler,
"you are the only man I ever made any kind of confidant of.  You
are a good scholar, though I could teach you a lot."  After this
gracious compliment he went on:  "I was once tried in Dunedin on
the charge of killing a man, woman and child, and although
innocent, the crime was nearly brought home to me.  It was my own
ability that pulled me through.  Had I employed a professional
advocate, I should not have been here to-day talking to you." 
After describing the murder, Butler said:  "Trying to fire the
house was unnecessary, and killing the baby was unnecessary and
cruel.  I respect no man's life, for no man respects mine.  A lot
of men I have never injured have tried to put a rope round my
neck more than once.  I hate society in general, and one or two
individuals in particular.  The man who did that murder in
Dunedin has, if anything, my sympathy, but it seems to me he need
not have killed that child."  His companion was about to speak. 
Butler stopped him.  "Now, don't ever ask me such a silly
question as that," he said.  "What?" asked his friend.  "You were
about to ask me if I did that deed," replied Butler, "and you
know perfectly well that, guilty or innocent, that question would
only be answered in one way."  "I was about to ask nothing of the
kind," said the other, "for you have already told me that you
were innocent."  "Good!" said Butler, "then let that be the end
of the subject, and never refer to it again, except, perhaps, in
your own mind, when you can, if you like, remember that I said
the killing of the child was unnecessary and cruel."

Having developed to the jury his theory of why the crime was
committed, Butler told them that, as far as he was concerned,
there were four points against him on which the Crown relied to
prove his guilt.  Firstly, there was the fact of his being in the
neighbourhood of the crime on the Sunday morning; that, he said,
applied to scores of other people besides himself.  Then there
was his alleged disturbed appearance and guilty demeanour.  The
evidence of that was, he contended, doubtful in any case, and
referable to another cause; as also his leaving Dunedin in the
way and at the time he did.  He scouted the idea that murderers
are compelled by some invisible force to betray their guilt. 
"The doings of men," he urged, "and their success are regulated
by the amount of judgment that they possess, and, without
impugning or denying the existence of Providence, I say this is a
law that holds good in all cases, whether for evil or good. 
Murderers, if they have the sense and ability and discretion to
cover up their crime, will escape, do escape, and have escaped. 
Many people, when they have gravely shaken their heads and said
`Murder will out,' consider they have done a great deal and gone
a long way towards settling the question.  Well, this, like many
other stock formulas of Old World wisdom, is not true.  How
many murders are there that the world has never heard of, and
never will?  How many a murdered man, for instance, lies among
the gum-trees of Victoria, or in the old abandoned mining-shafts
on the diggings, who is missed by nobody, perhaps, but a pining
wife at home, or helpless children, or an old mother?  But who
were their murderers?  Where are they?  God knows, perhaps, but
nobody else, and nobody ever will."  The fact, he said, that he
was alleged to have walked up Cumberland Street on the Sunday
morning and looked in the direction of the Dewars' house was,
unless the causes of superstition and a vague and incomplete
reasoning were to be accepted as proof, evidence rather of his
innocence than his guilt.  He had removed the soles of his boots,
he said, in order to ease his feet in walking; the outer soles
had become worn and ragged, and in lumps under his feet.  He
denied that he had told Bain, the detective, that he would break
out as a desperate tiger let loose on the community; what he had
said was that he was tired of living the life of a prairie dog or
a tiger in the jungle.

Butler was more successful when he came to deal with the
bloodstains on his clothes.  These, he said, were caused by the
blood from the scratches on his hands, which had been observed at
the time of his arrest.  The doctors had rejected this theory,
and said that the spots of blood had been impelled from the axe
or from the heads of the victims as the murderer struck the fatal
blow.  Butler put on the clothes in court, and was successful in
showing that the position and appearance of certain of the blood
spots was not compatible with such a theory.  "I think," he said,
"I am fairly warranted in saying that the evidence of these
gentlemen is, not to put too fine a point on it, worth just
nothing at all."

Butler's concluding words to the jury were brief but
emphatic:  "I stand in a terrible position.  So do you.  See that
in your way of disposing of me you deliver yourselves of your

In the exercise of his forbearance towards an undefended
prisoner, Mr. Haggitt did not address the jury for the Crown.  At
four o'clock the judge commenced his summingDup.  Mr. Justice
Williams impressed on the jury that they must be satisfied,
before they could convict the prisoner, that the circumstances of
the crime and the prisoner's conduct were inconsistent with any
other reasonable hypothesis than his guilt.  There was little or
no evidence that robbery was the motive of the crime.  The
circumstance of the prisoner being out all Saturday night and in
the neighbourhood of the crime on Sunday morning only amounted to
the fact that he had an opportunity shared by a great number of
other persons of committing the murder.  The evidence of his
agitation and demeanour at the time of his arrest must be
accepted with caution.  The evidence of the blood spots was of
crucial importance; there was nothing save this to connect him
directly with the crime.  The jury must be satisfied that the
blood on the clothes corresponded with the blood marks which, in
all probability, would be found on the person who committed the
murder.  In regard to the medical testimony some caution must be
exercised.  Where medical gentlemen had made observations, seen
with their own eyes, the direct inference might be highly
trustworthy, but, when they proceeded to draw further inferences,
they might be in danger of looking at facts through the
spectacles of theory; "we know that people do that in other
things besides science--politics, religion, and so forth." 
Taking the Crown evidence, at its strongest, there was a missing
link; did the evidence of the bloodstains supply it?  These
bloodstains were almost invisible.  Could a person be reasonably
asked to explain how they came where they did?  Could they
be accounted for in no other reasonable way than that the clothes
had been worn by the murderer of the Dewars?

In spite of a summing-up distinctly favourable to the prisoner,
the jury were out three hours.  According to one account of their
proceedings, told to the writer, there was at first a majority of
the jurymen in favour of conviction.  But it was Saturday night;
if they could not come to a decision they were in danger of being
locked up over Sunday.  For this reason the gentleman who held an
obstinate and unshaken belief that the crime was the work of a
homicidal maniac found an unexpected ally in a prominent member
of a church choir who was down to sing a solo in his church on
Sunday, and was anxious not to lose such an opportunity for
distinction.  Whatever the cause, after three hours' deliberation
the jury returned a verdict of "Not Guilty."
Later in the Session Butler pleaded guilty to the burglary at Mr.
Stamper's house, and was sentenced to eighteen years'
imprisonment.  The severity of this sentence was not, the judge
said, intended to mark the strong suspicion under which Butler
laboured of being a murderer as well as a burglar.

The ends of justice had been served by Butler's acquittal.  But
in the light of after events, it is perhaps unfortunate that the
jury did not stretch a point and so save the life of Mr. Munday
of Toowong.  Butler underwent his term of imprisonment in
Littleton Jail.  There his reputation was most unenviable.  He is
described by a fellow prisoner as ill-tempered, malicious,
destructive, but cowardly and treacherous.  He seems to have done
little or no work; he looked after the choir and the library, but
was not above breaking up the one and smashing the other, if the
fit seized him.



In 1896 Butler was released from prison.  The news of his release
was described as falling like a bomb-shell among the peaceful
inhabitants of Dunedin.  In the colony of Victoria, where Butler
had commenced his career, it was received with an apprehension
that was justified by subsequent events.  It was believed that on
his release the New Zealand authorities had shipped Butler off to
Rio.  But it was not long before he made his way once more to
Australia.  From the moment of his arrival in Melbourne he was
shadowed by the police.  One or two mysterious occurrences soon
led to his arrest.  On June 5 he was sentenced to twelve months'
imprisonment under the Criminal Influx Act, which makes it a
penal offence for any convict to enter Victoria for three years
after his release from prison.  Not content with this, the
authorities determined to put Butler on trial on two charges of
burglary and one of highway robbery, committed since his return
to the colony.  To one charge of burglary, that of breaking into
a hairdresser's shop and stealing a wig, some razors and a little
money, Butler pleaded guilty.

But the charge of highway robbery, which bore a singular
resemblance to the final catastrophe in Queensland, he resisted
to the utmost, and showed that his experience in the Supreme
Court at Dunedin had not been lost on him.  At half-past six one
evening in a suburb of Melbourne an elderly gentleman found
himself confronted by a bearded man, wearing a long overcoat and
a boxer hat and flourishing a revolver, who told him abruptly to
"turn out his pockets."  The old man did ashe was told.  The
robber then asked for his watch and chain, saying "Business must
be done."  The old gentleman mildly urged that this was a
dangerous business.  On being assured that the watch was a gold
one, the robber appeared willing to risk the danger, and departed
thoroughly satisfied.  The old gentleman afterwards identified
Butler as the man who had taken his watch.  Another elderly man
swore that he had seen Butler at the time of the robbery in the
possession of a fine gold watch, which he said had been sent him
from home.  But the watch had not been found in Butler's

On June 18 Butler was put on his trial in the Melbourne Criminal
Court before Mr. Justice Holroyd, charged with robbery under
arms.  His appearance in the dock aroused very considerable
interest.  "It was the general verdict," wrote one newspaper,
"that his intellectual head and forehead compared not unfavour-

ably with those of the judge."  He was decently dressed and wore
pince-nez, which he used in the best professional manner as he
referred to the various documents that lay in front of him.  He
went into the witness-box and stated that the evening of the
crime he had spent according to his custom in the Public Library.

For an hour and a half he addressed the jury.  He disputed the
possibility of his identification by his alleged victim.  He was
"an old gentleman of sedentary pursuits and not cast in the
heroic mould."  Such a man would be naturally alarmed and
confused at meeting suddenly an armed robber.  Now, under these
circumstances, could his recognition of a man whose face was
hidden by a beard, his head by a boxer hat, and his body by a
long overcoat, be considered trustworthy?  And such recognition
occurring in the course of a chance encounter in the darkness,
that fruitful mother of error?  The elderly gentleman had
described his moustache as a slight one, but the jury could see
that it was full and overhanging.  He complained that he had been
put up for identification singly, not with other men, according
to the usual custom; the police had said to the prosecutor:  "We
have here a man that we think robbed you, and, if he is not the
man, we shall be disappointed," to which the prosecutor had
replied:  "Yes, and if he is not the man, I shall be disappointed
too."  For the elderly person who had stated that he had seen a
gold watch in Butler's possession the latter had nothing but
scorn.  He was a "lean and slippered pantaloon in Shakespeare's
last stage"; and he, Butler, would have been a lunatic to have
confided in such a man.

The jury acquitted Butler, adding as a rider to their verdict
that there was not sufficient evidence of identification.  The
third charge against Butler was not proceeded with.  He was put
up to receive sentence for the burglary at the hairdresser's
shop.  Butler handed to the judge a written statement which Mr.
Justice Holroyd described as a narrative that might have been
taken from those sensational newspapers written for nursery-
maids, and from which, he said, he could not find that Butler had
ever done one good thing in the whole course of his life.  Of
that life of fifty years Butler had spent thirty-five in prison. 
The judge expressed his regret that a man of Butler's knowledge,
information, vanity, and utter recklessness of what evil will do,
could not be put away somewhere for the rest of his life, and
sentenced him to fifteen years' imprisonment with hard labour. 
"An iniquitous and brutal sentence!" exclaimed the prisoner. 
After a brief altercation with the judge, who said that he could
hardly express the scorn he felt for such a man, Butler was
removed.  The judge subsequentty reduced the sentence to one
of ten years.  Chance or destiny would seem implacable in their
pursuit of Mr. William Munday of Toowong.

Butler after his trial admitted that it was he who had robbed the
old gentleman of his watch, and described to the police the house
in which it was hidden.  When the police went there to search
they found that the house had been pulled down, but among the
debris they discovered a brown paper parcel containing the old
gentleman's gold watch and chain, a five-chambered revolver, a
keen-edged butcher's knife, and a mask.

Butler served his term of imprisonment in Victoria, "an
unmitigated nuisance" to his custodians.  On his release in 1904,
he made, as in Dunedin, an attempt to earn a living by his pen. 
He contributed some articles to a Melbourne evening paper on the
inconveniences of prison discipline, but he was quite unfitted
for any sustained effort as a journalist.  According to his own
account, with the little money he had left he made his way to
Sydney, thence to Brisbane.  He was half-starved, bewildered,
despairing; in his own words, "if a psychological camera could
have been turned on me it would have shown me like a bird
fascinated by a serpent, fascinated and bewildered by the fate in
front, behind, and around me."  Months of suffering and privation
passed, months of tramping hundreds of miles with occasional
breakdowns, months of hunger and sickness; "my actions had become
those of a fool; my mind and will had become a remnant guided or
misguided by unreasoning impulse."

It was under the influence of such an impulse that on March 23
Butler had met and shot Mr. Munday at Toowong.  On May 24 he was
arraigned at Brisbane before the Supreme Court of Queensland. 
But the Butler who stood in the dock of the Brisbane
Criminal Court was very different from the Butler who had
successfully defended himself at Dunedin and Melbourne.  The
spirit had gone out of him; it was rather as a suppliant,
represented by counsel, that he faced the charge of murder.  His
attitude was one of humble and appropriate penitence.  In a weak
and nervous voice he told the story of his hardships since his
release from his Victorian prison; he would only urge that the
shooting of Mr. Munday was accidental, caused by Munday picking
up a stone and attacking him.  When about to be sentenced to
death he expressed great sorrow and contrition for his crime, for
the poor wife and children of his unfortunate victim.  His life,
he said, was a poor thing, but he would gladly give it fifty
times over.

The sentence of death was confirmed by the Executive on June 30. 
To a Freethought advocate who visited him shortly before his
execution, Butler wrote a final confession of faith:  "I shall
have to find my way across the harbour bar without the aid of any
pilot.  In these matters I have for many years carried an exempt
flag, and, as it has not been carried through caprice or igno-

rance, I am compelled to carry it to the last.  There is an
impassable bar of what I honestly believe to be the inexorable
logic of philosophy and facts, history and experience of the
nature of the world, the human race and myself, between me and
the views of the communion of any religious organisation.  So
instead of the `depart Christian soul' of the priest, I only hope
for the comfort and satisfaction of the last friendly good-bye of
any who cares to give it."

From this positive affirmation of unbelief Butler wilted somewhat
at the approach of death.  The day before his execution he spent
half an hour playing hymns on the church organ in the
prison; and on the scaffold, where his agitation rendered him
almost speechless, he expressed his sorrow for what he had done,
and the hope that, if there were a heaven, mercy would be shown

M. Derues

The last word on Derues has been said by M. Georges Claretie in
his excellent monograph, "Derues L'Empoisonneur," Paris.  1907. 
There is a full account of the case in Vol. V. of Fouquier,
"Causes Celebres."



M. Etienne Saint-Faust de Lamotte, a provincial nobleman of
ancient lineage and moderate health, ex-equerry to the King, de-

sired in the year 1774 to dispose of a property in the country,
the estate of Buisson-Souef near Villeneuve-le-Roi, which he had
purchased some ten years before out of money acquired by a
prudent marriage.

With an eye to the main chance M. de Lamotte had in 1760 ran away
with the daughter of a wealthy citizen of Rheims, who was then
staying with her sister in Paris.  They lived together in the
country for some time, and a son was born to them, whom the
father legitimised by subsequently marrying the mother.  For a
few years M. and Mme. de Lamotte dwelt happily together at
Buisson-Souef.  But as their boy grew up they became anxious to
leave the country and return to Paris, where M. de Lamotte hoped
to be able to obtain for his son some position about the Court of
Louis XVI.  And so it was that in May, 1775, M. de Lamotte gave a
power of attorney to his wife in order that she might go to Paris
and negotiate for the sale of Buisson-Souef.  The legal side
of the transaction was placed in the hands of one Jolly, a
proctor at the Chatelet in Paris.

Now the proctor Jolly had a client with a great desire to acquire
a place in the country, M. Derues de Cyrano de Bury, lord of
Candeville, Herchies, and other places.  Here was the very man to
comply with the requirements of the de Lamottes, and such a
pleasing, ready, accommodating gentleman into the bargain!  Very
delicate to all appearances, strangely pale, slight, fragile in
build, with his beardless chin and feminine cast of feature,
there was something cat-like in the soft insinuating smile of
this seemingly most amiable, candid and pious of men.  Always
cheerful and optimistic, it was quite a pleasure to do business
with M. Derues de Cyrano de Bury.  The de Lamottes after one or
two interviews were delighted with their prospective purchaser. 
Everything was speedily settled.  M. Derues and his wife, a lady
belonging to the distinguished family of Nicolai, visited
Buisson-Souef.  They were enchanted with what they saw, and their
hosts were hardly less enchanted with their visitors.  By the end
of December, 1775, the purchase was concluded.  M. Derues was to
give 130,000 livres (about L20,000) for the estate, the
payments to be made by instalments, the first of 12,000 livres to
be paid on the actual signing of the contract of sale, which, it
was agreed, was to be concluded not later than the first of June,
1776.  In the meantime, as an earnest of good faith, M. Derues
gave Mme. de Lamotte a bill for 4,200 livres to fall due on April
1, 1776.

What could be more satisfactory?  That M. Derues was a
substantial person there could be no doubt.  Through his wife he
was entitled to a sum of 250,000 livres as her share of the
property of a wealthy kinsman, one Despeignes-Duplessis, a
country gentleman, who some four years before had been found
murdered in his house under mysterious circumstances.  The
liquidation of the Duplessis inheritance, as soon as the law's
delay could be overcome, would place the Derues in a position of
affluence fitting a Cyrano de Bury and a Nicolai.

At this time M. Derues was in reality far from affluent.  In
point of fact he was insolvent.  Nor was his lineage, nor that of
his wife, in any way distinguished.  He had no right to call
himself de Cyrano de Bury or Lord of Candeville.  His wife's name
was Nicolais, not Nicolai--a very important difference from the
genealogical point of view.  The Duplessis inheritance, though
certainly existent, would seem to have had little more chance of
realisation than the mythical Crawford millions of Madame
Humbert.  And yet, crippled with debt, without a penny in the
world, this daring grocer of the Rue Beaubourg, for such was M.
Derues' present condition in life, could cheerfully and
confidently engage in a transaction as considerable as the
purchase of a large estate for 130,000 livres!  The origin of so
enterprising a gentleman is worthy of attention.

Antoine Francois Derues was born at Chartres in 1744; his
father was a corn merchant.  His parents died when he was three
years old.  For some time after his birth he was assumed to be a
girl; it was not until he was twelve years old that an operation
determined his sex to be masculine.  Apprenticed by his relatives
to a grocer, Derues succeeded so well in the business that he was
able in 1770 to set up on his own account in Paris, and in 1772
he married.  Among the grocer's many friends and acquaintances
this marriage created something of a sensation, for Derues let it
be known that the lady of his choice was of noble birth and an
heiress.  The first statement was untrue.  The lady was one Marie
Louise Nicolais, daughter of a non-commissioned artillery
officer, turned coachbuilder.  But by suppressing the S at
the end of her name, which Derues was careful also to erase in
his marriage contract, the ambitious grocer was able to describe
his wife as connected with the noble house of Nicolai, one of the
most distinguished of the great French families.

There was more truth in the statement that Mme. Derues was an
heiress.  A kinsman of her mother, Beraud by name, had become
the heir to a certain Marquis Desprez.  Beraud was the son of
a small merchant.  His mother had married a second time, the hus-

band being the Marquis Desprez, and through her Beraud had
inherited the Marquis' property.  According to the custom of the
time, Beraud, on coming into his inheritance, took a title
from one of his estates and called himself thenceforth the lord
of Despeignes-Duplessis.  A rude, solitary, brutal man, devoted
to sport, he lived alone in his castle of Candeville, hated by
his neighbours, a terror to poachers.  One day he was found lying
dead in his bedroom; he had been shot in the chest; the assassin
had escaped through an open window.

The mystery of Beraud's murder was never solved.  His estate
of 200,000 livres was divided among three cousins, of whom the
mother of Mme. Derues was one.  Mme. Derues herself was entitled
to a third of his mother's share of the estate, that is, one-
ninth of the whole.  But in 1775 Derues acquired the rest of the
mother's share on condition that he paid her an annual income of
1,200 livres.  Thus on the liquidation of the Duplessis
inheritance Mme. Derues would be entitled nominally to some
66,500 livres, about L11,000 in English money.  But five years
had passed since the death of Despeignes-Duplessis, and the
estate was still in the slow process of legal settlement.  If
Derues were to receive the full third of the Duplessis
inheritance--a very unlikely supposition after four years of
liquidation--66,000 livres would not suffice to pay his
ordinary debts quite apart from the purchase money of Buisson-
Souef.  His financial condition was in the last degree critical. 
Not content with the modest calling of a grocer, Derues had
turned money-lender, a money-lender to spendthrift and
embarrassed noblemen.  Derues dearly loved a lord; he wanted to
become one himself; it delighted him to receive dukes and
marquises at the Rue Beaubourg, even if they came there with the
avowed object of raising the wind.  The smiling grocer, in his
everlasting bonnet and flowered dressing-gown a la J. J.
Rousseau, was ever ready to oblige the needy scion of a noble
house.  What he borrowed at moderate interest from his creditors
he lent at enhanced interest to the quality.  Duns and bailiffs
jostled the dukes and marquises whose presence at the Rue
Beaubourg so impressed the wondering neighbours of the facile

This aristocratic money-lending proved a hopeless trade; it only
plunged Derues deeper and deeper into the mire of financial
disaster.  The noblemen either forgot to pay while they were
alive, or on their death were found to be insolvent.  Derues was
driven to ordering goods and merchandise on credit, and selling
them at a lower price for ready money.  Victims of this treatment
began to press him seriously for their money or their goods. 
Desperately he continued to fence them off with the long expected
windfall of the Duplessis inheritance.

Paris was getting too hot for him.  Gay and irrepressible as he
was, the strain was severe.  If he could only find some retreat
in the country where he might enjoy at once refuge from his
creditors and the rank and consequence of a country gentleman! 
Nothing--no fear, no disappointment, no disaster--could check the
little grocer's ardent and overmastering desire to be a gentleman
indeed, a landed proprietor, a lord or something or other. 
At the beginning of 1775 he had purchased a place near Rueil from
a retired coffeehouse-keeper, paying 1,000 livres on account, but
the non-payment of the rest of the purchase-money had resulted in
the annulment of the contract.  Undefeated, Derues only deter-

mined to fly the higher.  Having failed to pay 9,000 livres for a
modest estate near Rueil, he had no hesitation in pledging
himself to pay 130,000 livres for the lordly domain of Buisson-
Souef.  So great were his pride and joy on the conclusion of the
latter bargain that he amused himself by rehearsing on paper his
future style and title:  "Antoine Francois de Cyrano Derues de
Bury, Seigneur de Buisson-Souef et Valle Profonde."  He is worthy
of Thackeray's pen, this little grocer-snob, with his grand and
ruinous acquaintance with the noble and the great, his spurious
titles, his unwearied climbing of the social ladder.

The confiding, if willing, dupe of aristocratic impecuniosity,
Derues was a past master of the art of duping others.  From the
moment of the purchase of Buisson-Souef all his art was employed
in cajoling the trusting and simple de Lamottes.  Legally
Buisson-Souef was his from the signing of the agreement in
December, 1775.  His first payment was due in April, 1776. 
Instead of making it, Derues went down to Buisson-Souef with his
little girl, and stayed there as the guests of the de Lamottes
for six months.  His good humour and piety won all hearts.  The
village priest especially derived great satisfaction from the
society of so devout a companion.  He entertained his good
friends, the merry little man, by dressing up as a woman, a role
his smooth face and effeminate features well fitted him to play. 
If business were alluded to, the merry gentleman railed at the
delay and chicanery of lawyers; it was that alone that postponed
the liquidation of the Duplessis inheritance; as soon as the
lawyers could be got rid of, the purchase-money of his new estate
would be promptly paid up.  But as time went on and no payment
was forthcoming the de Lamottes began to feel a little uneasy. 
As soon as Derues had departed in November M. de Lamotte decided
to send his wife to Paris to make further inquiries and, if
possible, bring their purchaser up to the scratch.  Mme. de
Lamotte had developed into a stout, indolent woman, of the Mrs.
Bloss type, fond of staying in bed and taking heavy meals.  Her
son, a fat, lethargic youth of fourteen, accompanied his mother.

On hearing of Mme. de Lamotte's contemplated visit to Paris,
Derues was filled with alarm.  If she were living free and
independent in Paris she might find out the truth about the real
state of his affairs, and then good-bye to Buisson-Souef and
landed gentility!  No, if Mme. de Lamotte were to come to Paris,
she must come as the guest of the Derues, a pleasant return for
the hospitality accorded to the grocer at Buisson-Souef.  The
invitation was given and readily accepted; M. de Lamotte still
had enough confidence in and liking for the Derues to be glad of
the opportunity of placing his wife under their roof.  And so it
was that on December 16, 1776, Mme. de Lamotte arrived at Paris
and took up her abode at the house of the Derues in the Rue
Beaubourg Her son she placed at a private school in a
neighbouring street.

To Derues there was now one pressing and immediate problem to be
solved--how to keep Buisson-Souef as his own without paying for
it?  To one less sanguine, less daring, less impudent and
desperate in his need, the problem would have appeared insoluble.

But that was by no means the view of the cheery and resourceful
grocer.  He had a solution ready, well thought out and bearing to
his mind the stamp of probability.  He would make a
fictitious payment of the purchase-money to Mme. de Lamotte.  She
would then disappear, taking her son with her.  Her indiscretion
in having been the mistress of de Lamotte before she became his
wife, would lend colour to his story that she had gone off with a
former lover, taking with her the money which Derues had paid her
for Buisson-Souef.  He would then produce the necessary documents
proving the payment of the purchase-money, and Buisson-Souef
would be his for good and all.

The prime necessity to the success of this plan was the
disappearance, willing or unwilling, of Mme. de Lamotte and her
son.  The former had settled down quite comfortably beneath the
hospitable roof of the Derues, and under the soothing influence
of her host showed little vigour in pressing him for the money
due to herself and her husband.  She had already spent a month in
quietly enjoying Paris and the society of her friends when,
towards the end of January, 1770, her health and that of her son
began to fail.  Mme. de Lamotte was seized with sickness and
internal trouble.  Though Derues wrote to her husband that his
wife was well and their business was on the point of conclusion,
by the 30th of January Mme. de Lamotte had taken to her bed,
nursed and physicked by the ready Derues.  On the 31st the
servant at the Rue Beaubourg was told that she could go to her
home at Montrouge, whither Derues had previously sent his two
children.  Mme. Derues, who was in an interesting condition, was
sent out for an hour by her husband to do some shopping.  Derues
was alone with his patient.

In the evening a friend, one Bertin, came to dine with Derues. 
Bertin was a short, hustling, credulous, breathless gentleman,
always in a hurry, with a great belief in the abilities of M.
Derues.  He found the little man in excellent spirits. 
Bertin asked if he could see Mme. de Lamotte.  Mme. Derues said
that that was impossible, but that her husband had given her some
medicine which was working splendidly.  The young de Lamotte
called to see his mother.  Derues took him into her room; in the
dim light the boy saw her sleeping, and crept out quietly for
fear of disturbing her.  The Derues and their friends sat down to
dinner.  Derues kept jumping up and running into the sick room,
from which a horrible smell began to pervade the house.  But
Derues was radiant at the success of his medicine.  "Was there
ever such a nurse as I am?" he exclaimed.  Bertin remarked that
he thought it was a woman's and not a man's place to nurse a lady
under such distressing circumstances.  Derues protested that it
was an occupation he had always liked.  Next day, February 1, the
servant was still at Montrouge; Mme. Derues was again sent out
shopping; again Derues was alone with his patient.  But she was a
patient no longer; she had become a corpse.  The highly
successful medicine administered to the poor lady by her jolly
and assiduous nurse had indeed worked wonders.

Derues had bought a large leather trunk.  It is possible that to
Derues belongs the distinction of being the first murderer to put
that harmless and necessary article of travel to a criminal use. 
He was engaged in his preparations for coffining Mme. de Lamotte,
when a female creditor knocked insistently at the door.  She
would take no denial.  Clad in his bonnet and gown, Derues was
compelled to admit her.  She saw the large trunk, and suspected a
bolt on the part of her creditor.  Derues reassured her; a lady,
he said, who had been stopping with them was returning to the
country.  The creditor departed.  Later in the day Derues came
out of the house and summoned some porters.  With their help the
heavy trunk was taken to the house of a sculptor, a friend
of Derues, who agreed to keep it in his studio until Derues
could take it down to his place in the country.  Bertin came in
to dinner again that evening, and also the young de Lamotte. 
Derues was gayer than ever, laughing and joking with his guests. 
He told the boy that his mother had quite recovered and gone to
Versailles to see about finding him some post at the Court. 
"We'll go and see her there in a day or two," he said, "I'll let
you know when."

On the following day a smartly dressed, dapper, but very pale
little gentleman, giving the name of Ducoudray, hired a vacant
cellar in a house in the Rue de la Mortellerie.  He had, he said,
some Spanish wine he wanted to store there, and three or four
days later M. Ducoudray deposited in this cellar a large grey
trunk.  A few days after he employed a man to dig a large hole in
the floor of the cellar, giving as his reason for such a
proceeding that "there was no way of keeping wine like burying
it."  While the man worked at the job, his genial employer
beguiled his labours with merry quips and tales, which he
illustrated with delightful mimicry.  The hole dug, the man was
sent about his business.  "I will bury the wine myself," said his
employer, and on one or two occasions M. Ducoudray was seen by
persons living in the house going in and out of his cellar, a
lighted candle in his hand.  One day the pale little gentleman
was observed leaving the cellar, accompanied by a porter carrying
a large trunk, and after that the dwellers in the Rue de la
Mortellerie saw the pale little gentleman no more.

A few days later M. Derues sent down to his place at Buisson-
Souef a large trunk filled with china.  It was received there by
M. de Lamotte.  Little did the trusting gentleman guess that it
was in this very trunk that the body of his dear wife had been
conveyed to its last resting place in the cellar of M.
Ducoudray in the Rue de la Mortellerie.  Nor had M. Mesvrel-
Desvergers, importunate creditor of M. Derues, guessed the
contents of the large trunk that he had met his debtor one day
early in February conveying through the streets of Paris. 
Creditors were always interrupting Derues at inconvenient
moments.  M. Mesvrel-Desvergers had tapped Derues on the
shoulder, reminded him forcibly of his liability towards him, and
spoken darkly of possible imprisonment.  Derues pointed to the
trunk.  It contained, he said, a sample of wine; he was going to
order some more of it, and he would then be in a position to pay
his debt.  But the creditor, still doubting, had M. Derues
followed, and ascertained that he had deposited his sample of
wine at a house in the Rue de la Mortellerie.

On Wednesday, February 12, a M. Beaupre of Commercy arrived at
Versailles with his nephew, a fat boy, in reality some fourteen
years of age, but given out as older.  They hired a room at the
house of a cooper named Pecquet.  M. Beaupre was a very pale
little gentleman, who seemed in excellent spirits, in spite of
the fact that his nephew was clearly anything but well.  Indeed,
so sick and ailing did he appear to be that Mme. Pecquet
suggested that his uncle should call in a doctor.  But M.
Beaupre said that that was quite unnecessary; he had no faith
in doctors; he would give the boy a good purge.  His illness was
due, he said, to a venereal disorder and the drugs which he had
been taking in order to cure it; it was a priest the boy needed
rather than a doctor.  On the Thursday and Friday the boy's
condition showed little improvement; the vomiting continued.  But
on Saturday M. Beaupre declared himself as highly delighted
with the success of his medicine.  The same night the boy was
dead.  The priest, urgently sent for by his devout uncle, arrived
to find a corpse.  On the following day "Louis Anotine
Beaupre, aged twenty-two and a half," was buried at
Versailles, his pious uncle leaving with the priest six livres to
pay for masses for the repose of his erring nephew's soul.

The same evening M. Derues who, according to his own account, had
left Paris with the young de Lamotte in order to take the boy to
his mother in Versailles, returned home to the Rue Beaubourg.  As
usual, Bertin dropped in to dinner.  He found his host full of
merriment, singing in the lightness of his heart.  Indeed, he had
reason to be pleased, for at last, he told his wife and his
friend, Buisson-Souef was his.  He had seen Mme. de Lamotte at
Versailles and paid her the full purchase-money in good, sounding
gold.  And, best joke of all, Mme. de Lamotte had no sooner
settled the business than she had gone off with a former lover,
her son and her money, and would in all probability never be
heard of again.  The gay gentleman laughingly reminded his
hearers that such an escapade on the part of Mme. de Lamotte was
hardly to be wondered at, when they recollected that her son had
been born out of wedlock

To all appearances Mme. de Lamotte had undoubtedly concluded the
sale of Buisson-Souef to Derues and received the price of it
before disappearing with her lover.  Derues had in his possession
a deed of sale signed by Mme. de Lamotte and acknowledging the
payment to her by Derues of 100,000 livres, which he had borrowed
for that purpose from an advocate of the name of Duclos.  As a
fact the loan from Duclos to Derues was fictitious.  A legal
document proving the loan had been drawn up, but the cash which
the notary had demanded to see before executing the document had
been borrowed for a few hours.  Duclos, a provincial advocate,
had acted in good faith, in having been represented to him that
such fictitious transactions were frequently used in Paris
for the purpose of getting over some temporary financial
difficulty.  On the 15th of February the deed of the sale of
Buisson-Souef had been brought by a woman to the office of a
scrivener employed by Derues; it was already signed, but the
woman asked that certain blanks should be filled in and that the
document should be dated.  She was told that the date should be
that of the day on which the parties had signed it.  She gave it
as February 12.  A few days later Derues called at the office and
was told of the lady's visit.  "Ah!" he said, "it was Mme. de
Lamotte herself, the lady who sold me the estate."

In the meantime Derues, through his bustling and ubiquitous
friend Bertin, took good care that the story of Mme. de Lamotte's
sale of Buisson-Souef and subsequent elopement should be spread
sedulously abroad.  By Bertin it was told to M. Jolly, the
proctor in whose hands the de Lamottes had placed the sale of
Buisson-Souef.  It was M. Jolly who had in the first instance
recommended to them his client Derues as a possible purchaser. 
The proctor, who knew Mme. de Lamotte to be a woman devoted to
her husband and her home, was astonished to hear of her
infidelity, more especially as the story told by Derues
represented her as saying in very coarse terms how little she
cared for her husband's honour.  He was surprised, too, that she
should not have consulted him about the conclusion of the
business with Derues, and that Derues himself should have been
able to find so considerable a sum of money as 100,000 livres. 
But, said M. Jolly, if he were satisfied that Mme. de Lamotte had
taken away the money with her, then he would deliver up to Derues
the power of attorney which M. de Lamotte had left with him in
1775, giving his wife authority to carry out the sale of Buisson-
Souef.  Mme. de Lamotte, being a married woman, the sale of
the property to Derues would be legally invalid if the husband's
power of attorney were not in the hands of the purchaser.



To Derues, on the eve of victory, the statement of Jolly in
regard to the power of attorney was a serious reverse.  He had
never thought of such an instrument, or he would have persuaded
Mme. de Lamotte to have gotten permission of it before her
disappearance.  Now he must try to get it from Jolly himself.  On
the 26th of February he once again raised from a friendly notary
a few thousand livres on the Duplessis inheritance, and deposited
the deed of sale of Buisson-Souef as further security.  His
pocket full of gold, he went straight to the office of Jolly.  To
the surprise of the proctor Derues announced that he had come to
pay him 200 livres which he owed him, and apologised for the
delay.  Taking the gold coins from his pockets he filled his
three-cornered hat with considerably more than the sum due, and
held it out invitingly to M. Jolly.  Then he proceeded to tell
him of his dealings with Mme. de Lamotte.  She had offered, he
said, to get the power of attorney for him, but he, trusting in
her good faith, had said that there was no occasion for hurry;
and then, faithless, ungrateful woman that she was, she had gone
off with his money and left him in the lurch.  "But," he added,
"I trust you absolutely, M. Jolly, you have all my business in
your hands, and I shall be a good client in the future.  You have
the power of attorney--you will give it to me?" and he rattled
the coins in his hat.  "I must have it," he went on, "I must have
it at any price at any price," and again the coins danced in
his hat, while his eyes looked knowingly at the proctor.  M.
Jolly saw his meaning, and his surprise turned to indignation. 
He told Derues bluntly that he did not believe his story, that
until he was convinced of its truth he would not part with the
power of attorney, and showed the confounded grocer the door.

Derues hastened home filled with wrath, and took counsel with his
friend Bertin.  Bertin knew something of legal process; they
would try whether the law could not be invoked to compel Jolly to
surrender the power of attorney.  Bertin went off to the Civil
Lieutenant and applied for an order to oblige M. Jolly to give up
the document in question.  An order was made that Jolly must
either surrender it into the hands of Derues or appear before a
referee and show cause why he should not comply with the order. 
Jolly refused still to give it up or allow a copy of it to be
made, and agreed to appear before the referee to justify his
action.  In the meantime Derues, greatly daring, had started for
Buisson-Souef to try what "bluff" could do in this serious crisis
in his adventure.

At Buisson-Souef poor M. de Lamotte waited, puzzled and
distressed, for news from his wife.  On Saturday, 17th, the day
after the return of Derues from Versailles, he heard from Mme.
Derues that his wife had left Paris and gone with her son to
Versailles.  A second letter told him that she had completed the
sale of Buisson-Souef to Derues, and was still at Versailles
trying to obtain some post for the boy.  On February 19 Mme.
Derues wrote again expressing surprise that M. de Lamotte had not
had any letter from his wife and asking if he had received some
oysters which the Derues had sent him.  The distracted husband
was in no mood for oysters.  "Do not send me oysters," he writes,
"I am too ill with worry.  I thank you for all your kindness
to my son.  I love him better than myself, and God grant he will
be good and grateful."  The only reply he received from the
Derues was an assurance that he would see his wife again in a few

The days passed, but Mme. de Lamotte made no sign.  About four
o'clock on the afternoon of February 28, Derues, accompanied by
the parish priest of Villeneuvele-Roi, presented himself before
M. de Lamotte at Buisson-Souef.  For the moment M. de Lamotte was
rejoiced to see the little man; at last he would get news of his
wife.  But he was disappointed.  Derues could tell him only what
he had been told already, that his wife had sold their estate and
gone away with the money.

M. de Lamotte was hardly convinced.  How, he asked Derues, had he
found the 100,000 livres to buy Buisson-Souef, he who had not a
halfpenny a short time ago?  Derues replied that he had borrowed
it from a friend; that there was no use in talking about it; the
place was his now, his alone, and M. de Lamotte had no longer a
right to be there; he was very sorry, poor dear gentleman, that
his wife had gone off and left him without a shilling, but
personally he would always be a friend to him and would allow him
3,000 livres a year for the rest of his life.  In the meantime,
he said, he had already sold forty casks of the last year's
vintage, and would be obliged if M. de Lamotte would see to their
being sent off at once.

By this time the anger and indignation of M. de Lamotte blazed
forth.  He told Derues that his story was a pack of lies, that he
was still master at Buisson-Souef, and not a bottle of wine
should leave it.  "You are torturing me," he exclaimed, "I know
something has happened to my wife and child.  I am coming to
Paris myself, and if it is as I fear, you shall answer for it
with your head!" Derues, undismayed by this outburst, re-

asserted his ownership and departed in defiant mood, leaving on
the premises a butcher of the neighbourhood to look after his

But things were going ill with Derues.  M. de Lamotte meant to
show fight; he would have powerful friends to back him; class
against class, the little grocer would be no match for him.  It
was immediate possession of Buisson-Souef that Derues wanted, not
lawsuits; they were expensive and the results uncertain.  He
spoke freely to his friends of the difficulties of the situation.

What could he do?  The general opinion seemed to be that some
fresh news of Mme. de Lamotte--her reappearance, perhaps--would
be the only effective settlement of the dispute.  He had made
Mme. de Lamotte disappear, why should he not make her reappear? 
He was not the man to stick at trifles.  His powers of female
impersonation, with which he had amused his good friends at
Buisson-Souef, could now be turned to practical account.  On
March 5 he left Paris again.

On the evening of March 7 a gentleman, M. Desportes of Paris,
hired a room at the Hotel Blanc in Lyons.  On the following day
he went out early in the morning, leaving word that, should a
lady whom he was expecting, call to see him, she was to be shown
up to his room.  The same morning a gentleman, resembling M.
Desportes of Paris, bought two lady's dresses at a shop in Lyons.

The same afternoon a lady dressed in black silk, with a hood well
drawn over her eyes, called at the office of M. Pourra, a notary.

The latter was not greatly attracted by his visitor, whose nose
struck him as large for a woman.  She said that she had spent her
youth in Lyons, but her accent was distinctly Parisian.  The lady
gave her name as Madame de Lamotte, and asked for a power of
attorney by which she could give her husband the interest
due to her on a sum of 30,000 livres, part of the purchase-money
of the estate of Buisson-Souef, which she had recently sold.  As
Mme. de Lamotte represented herself as having been sent to M.
Pourra by a respectable merchant for whom he was in the habit of
doing business, he agreed to draw up the necessary document,
accepting her statement that she and her husband had separate
estates.  Mme. de Lamotte said that she would not have time to
wait until the power of attorney was ready, and therefore asked
M. Pourra to send it to the parish priest at Villeneuvele-Roi;
this he promised to do.  Mme. de-Lamotte had called twice during
the day at the Hotel Blanc and asked for M. Desportes of Paris,
but he was not at home.
While Derues, alias Desportes, alias Mme. de Lamotte, was
masquerading in Lyons, events had been moving swiftly and
unfavourably in Paris.  Sick with misgiving and anxiety, M. de
Lamotte had come there to find, if possible, his wife and child. 
By a strange coincidence he alighted at an inn in the Rue de la
Mortellerie, only a few yards from the wine-cellar in which the
corpse of his ill-fated wife lay buried.  He lost no time in
putting his case before the Lieutenant of Police, who placed the
affair in the hands of one of the magistrates of the Chatelet,
then the criminal court of Paris.  At first the magistrate
believed that the case was one of fraud and that Mme. de Lamotte
and her son were being kept somewhere in concealment by Derues. 
But as he investigated the circumstances further, the evidence of
the illness of the mother and son, the date of the disappearance
of Mme. de Lamotte, and her reputed signature to the deed of sale
on February 12, led him to suspect that he was dealing with a
case of murder.

When Derues returned to Paris from Lyons, on March 11, he found
that the police had already visited the house and questioned
his wife, and that he himself was under close surveillance.  A
day or two later the advocate, Duclos, revealed to the magistrate
the fictitious character of the loan of 100,000 livres, which
Derues alleged that he had paid to Mme. de Lamotte as the price
of Buisson-Souef.  When the new power of attorney purporting to
be signed by Mme. de Lamotte arrived from Lyons, and the
signature was compared with that on the deed of sale of Buisson-
Souef to Derues, both were pronounced to be forgeries.  Derues
was arrested and lodged in the Prison of For l'Eveque.

The approach of danger had not dashed the spirits of the little
man, nor was he without partisans in Paris.  Opinion in the city
was divided as to the truth of his account of Mme. de Lamotte's
elopement.  The nobility were on the side of the injured de
Lamotte, but the bourgeoisie accepted the grocer's story and made
merry over the deceived husband.  Interrogated, however, by the
magistrate of the Chatelet, Derues' position became more
difficult.  Under the stress of close questioning the flimsy
fabric of his financial statements fell to pieces like a house of
cards.  He had to admit that he had never paid Mme. de Lamotte
100,000 livres; he had paid her only 25,000 livres in gold;
further pressed he said that the 25,000 livres had been made up
partly in gold, partly in bills; but where the gold had come
from, or on whom he had drawn the bills, he could not explain. 
Still his position was not desperate; and he knew it.  In the
absence of Mme. de Lamotte he could not be charged with fraud or
forgery; and until her body was discovered, it would be
impossible to charge him with murder.

A month passed; Mme. Derues, who had made a belated attempt to
follow her husband's example by impersonating Mme. de Lamotte in
Paris, had been arrested and imprisoned in the Grand
Chatelet; when, on April 18, information was received by the
authorities which determined them to explore the wine-cellar in
the Rue de la Mortellerie.  Whether the woman who had let the
cellar to Derues, or the creditor who had met him taking his cask
of wine there, had informed the investigating magistrate, seems
uncertain.  In any case, the corpse of the unhappy lady was soon
brought to light and Derues confronted with it.  At first he said
that he failed to recognise it as the remains of Mme. de Lamotte,
but he soon abandoned that rather impossible attitude.  He
admitted that he had given some harmless medicine to Mme. de
Lamotte during her illness, and then, to his horror, one morning
had awakened to find her dead.  A fear lest her husband would
accuse him of having caused her death had led him to conceal the
body, and also that of her son who, he now confessed, had died
and been buried by him at Versailles.  On April 23 the body of
the young de Lamotte was exhumed.  Both bodies were examined by
doctors, and they declared themselves satisfied that mother and
son had died "from a bitter and corrosive poison administered in
some kind of drink."  What the poison was they did not venture to
state, but one of their number, in the light of subsequent
investigation, arrived at the conclusion that Derues had used in
both cases corrosive sublimate.  How or where he had obtained the
poison was never discovered.

Justice moved swiftly in Paris in those days.  The preliminary
investigation in Derues' case was ended on April 28.  Two days
later his trial commenced before the tribunal of the Chatelet.

It lasted one day.  The judges had before them the depositions
taken by the examining magistrate.  Both Derues and his wife were
interrogated.  He maintained that he had not poisoned either
Mme. de Lamotte or her son; his only crime, he said, lay in
having concealed their deaths.  Mme; Derues said:  "It is
Buisson-Souef that has ruined us!  I always told my husband that
he was mad to buy these properties--I am sure my husband is not a
poisoner--I trusted my husband and believed every word he said." 
The court condemned Derues to death, but deferred judgment in his
wife's case on the ground of her pregnancy.

And now the frail, cat-like little man had to brace himself to
meet a cruel and protracted execution.  But sanguine to the last,
he still hoped.  An appeal lay from the Chatelet to the
Parliament of Paris.  It was heard on March 5.  Derues was
brought to the Palais de Justice.  The room in which he waited
was filled with curious spectators, who marvelled at his coolness
and impudence.  He recognised among them a Benedictine monk of
his acquaintance.  "My case," he called out to him, "will soon be
over; we'll meet again yet and have a good time together."  One
visitor, wishing not to appear too curious, pretended to be
looking at a picture.  "Come, sir," said Derues, "you haven't
come here to see the pictures, but to see me.  Have a good look
at me.  Why study copies of nature when you can look at such a
remarkable original as I?"  But there were to be no more days of
mirth and gaiety for the jesting grocer.  His appeal was
rejected, and he was ordered for execution on the morrow.

At six o'clock on the morning of May 6 Derues returned to the
Palais de Justice, there to submit to the superfluous torments of
the question ordinary and extraordinary.  Though condemned to
death, torture was to be applied in the hope of wringing from the
prisoner some sort of confession.  The doctors declared him too
delicate to undergo the torture of pouring cold water into him,
which his illustrious predecessor, Mme. de Brinvilliers, had
suffered; he was to endure the less severe torture of the "boot."

His legs were tightly encased in wood, and wedges were then
hammered in until the flesh was crushed and the bones broken. 
But never a word of confession was wrung from the suffering
creature.  Four wedges constituting the ordinary torture he
endured; at the third of the extraordinary he fainted away.  Put
in the front of a fire the warmth restored him.  Again he was
questioned, again he asserted his wife's innocence and his own.

At two o'clock in the afternoon Derues was recovered sufficiently
to be taken to Notre Dame.  There, in front of the Cathedral,
candle in hand and rope round his neck, he made the amende
honorable.  But as the sentence was read aloud to the people
Derues reiterated the assertion of his innocence.  From Notre
Dame he was taken to the Hotel de Ville.  A condemned man had the
right to stop there on his way to execution, to make his will and
last dying declarations.  Derues availed himself of this
opportunity to protest solemnly and emphatically his wife's
absolute innocence of any complicity in whatever he had done.  "I
want above all," he said, "to state that my wife is entirely
innocent.  She knew nothing.  I used fifty cunning devices to
hide everything from her.  I am speaking nothing but the truth,
she is wholly innocent--as for me, I am about to die."  His wife
was allowed to see him; he enjoined her to bring up their
children in the fear of God and love of duty, and to let them
know how he had died.  Once again, as he took up the pen to sign
the record of his last words, he re-asserted her innocence.

Of the last dreadful punishment the offending grocer was to be
spared nothing.  For an aristocrat like Mme. de Brinvilliers
beheading was considered indignity enough.  But Derues must go
through with it all; he must be broken on the wheel and
burnt alive and his ashes scattered to the four winds of heaven;
there was to be no retentum for him, a clause sometimes
inserted in the sentence permitting the executioner to strangle
the broken victim before casting him on to the fire.  He must
endure all to the utmost agony the law could inflict.  It was six
o'clock when Derues arrived at the Place de Greve, crowded to
its capacity, the square itself, the windows of the houses;
places had been bought at high prices, stools, ladders, anything
that would give a good view of the end of the now famous

Pale but calm, Derues faced his audience.  He was stripped of all
but his shirt; lying flat on the scaffold, his face looking up to
the sky, his head resting on a stone, his limbs were fastened to
the wheel.  Then with a heavy bar of iron the executioner broke
them one after another, and each time he struck a fearful cry
came from the culprit.  The customary three final blows on the
stomach were inflicted, but still the little man lived.  Alive
and broken, he was thrown on to the fire.  His burnt ashes,
scattered to the winds, were picked up eagerly by the mob,
reputed, as in England the pieces of the hangman's rope,

Some two months after the execution of her husband Mme. Derues
was delivered in the Conciergerie of a male child; it is hardly
surprising, in face of her experiences during her pregnancy, that
it was born an idiot.  In January, 1778, the judges of the
Parliament, by a majority of one, decided that she should remain
a prisoner in the Conciergerie for another year, while judgment
in her case was reserved.  In the following August she was
charged with having forged the signature of Mme. de Lamotte on
the deeds of sale.  In February, 1779, the two experts in
handwriting to whom the question had been submitted decided
in her favour, and the charge was abandoned.

But Mme. Derues had a far sterner, more implacable and, be it
added, more unscrupulous adversary than the law in M. de Lamotte.

Not content with her husband's death, M. de Lamotte believed the
wife to have been his partner in guilt, and thirsted for revenge.

To accomplish it he even stooped to suborn witnesses, but the
conspiracy was exposed, and so strong became the sympathy with
the accused woman that a young proctor of the Parliament
published a pamphlet in her defence, asking for an immediate
inquiry into the charges made against her, charges that had in no
instance been proved.

At last, in March, 1779, the Parliament decided to finish with
the affair.  In secret session the judges met, examined once more
all the documents in the case, listened to a report on it from
one of their number, interrogated the now weary, hopeless
prisoner, and, by a large majority, condemned her to a punishment
that fell only just short of the supreme penalty.  On the grounds
that she had wilfully and knowingly participated with her husband
in the fraudulent attempt to become possessed of the estate of
Buisson-Souef, and was strongly suspected of having participated
with him in his greater crime, she was sentenced to be publicly
flogged, branded on both shoulders with the letter V (Voleuse)
and imprisoned for life in the Salpetriere Prison.  On March
13, in front of the Conciergerie Mme. Derues underwent the first
part of her punishment.  The same day her hair was cut short, and
she was dressed in the uniform of the prison in which she was to
pass the remainder of her days.

Paris had just begun to forget Mme. Derues when a temporary
interest was-excited in her fortunes by the astonishing
intelligence that, two months after her condemnation, she
had been delivered of a child in her new prison.  Its fatherhood
was never determined, and, taken from her mother, the child died
in fifteen days.  Was its birth the result of some passing love
affair, or some act of drunken violence on the part of her
jailors, or had the wretched woman, fearing a sentence of death,
made an effort to avert once again the supreme penalty?  History
does not relate.

Ten years passed.  A fellow prisoner in the Salpetriere
described Mme. Derues as "scheming, malicious, capable of
anything."  She was accused of being violent, and of wishing to
revenge herself by setting fire to Paris.  At length the
Revolution broke on France, the Bastille fell, and in that same
year an old uncle of Mme. Derues, an ex-soldier of Louis XV.,
living in Brittany, petitioned for his niece's release.  He
protested her innocence, and begged that he might take her to his
home and restore her to her children.  For three years he
persisted vainly in his efforts.  At last, in the year 1792, it
seemed as if they might be crowned with success.  He was told
that the case would be re-examined; that it was possible that the
Parliament had judged unjustly.  This good news came to him in
March.  But in September of that year there took place those
shocking massacres in the Paris prisons, which rank high among
the atrocities of the Revolution.  At four o'clock on the
afternoon of September 4, the slaughterers visited the
Salpetriere Prison, and fifth among their victims fell the
widow of Derues.

Dr. Castaing

There are two reports of the trial of Castaing:  "Proces Com-

plet d'Edme Samuel Castaing," Paris, 1823; "Affaire Castaing,"
Paris, 1823.



Edme Castaing, born at Alencon in 1796, was the youngest of
the three sons of an Inspector-General in the department of Woods
and Forests.  His elder brother had entered the same service as
his father, the other brother was a staff-captain of engineers. 
Without being wealthy, the family, consisting of M. and Mme.
Castaing and four children, was in comfortable circumstances. 
The young Edme was educated at the College of Angers--the Alma
Mater of Barre and Lebiez--where, intelligent and hard working,
he carried off many prizes.  He decided to enter the medical
profession, and at the age of nineteen commenced his studies at
the School of Medicine in Paris.  For two years he worked hard
and well, living within the modest allowance made him by his
father.  At the end of that time this young man of two or three-
and-twenty formed a passionate attachment for a lady, the widow
of a judge, and the mother of three children.  Of the genuine
depth and sincerity of this passion for a woman who must have
been considerably older than himself, there can be no doubt. 
Henceforth the one object in life to Castaing was to make money
enough to relieve the comparative poverty of his adored
mistress, and place her and her children beyond the reach of
want.  In 1821 Castaing became a duly qualified doctor, and by
that time had added to the responsibilities of his mistress and
himself by becoming the father of two children, whom she had
brought into the world.  The lady was exigent, and Castaing found
it difficult to combine his work with a due regard to her claims
on his society.  Nor was work plentiful or lucrative.  To add to
his embarrassments Castaing, in 1818, had backed a bill for a
friend for 600 francs.  To meet it when it fell due two years
later was impossible, and desperate were the efforts made by
Castaing and his mother to put off the day of reckoning.  His
father, displeased with his son's conduct, would do nothing to
help him.  But his mother spared no effort to extricate him from
his difficulties.  She begged a highly placed official to plead
with the insistent creditor, but all in vain.  There seemed no
hope of a further delay when suddenly, in the October of 1822,
Castaing became the possessor of 100,000 francs.  How he became
possessed of this considerable sum of money forms part of a
strange and mysterious story.

Among the friends of Castaing were two young men of about his own
age, Auguste and Hippolyte Ballet.  Auguste, the elder, had the
misfortune a few days after his birth to incur his mother's
lasting dislike.  The nurse had let the child fall from her arms
in the mother's presence, and the shock had endangered Mme.
Ballet's life.  From that moment the mother took a strong aver-

sion to her son; he was left to the charge of servants; his meals
were taken in the kitchen.  As soon as he was five years old he
was put out to board elsewhere, while his brother Hippolyte and
his sister were well cared for at home.  The effect of this
unjust neglect on the character of Auguste Ballet was, as may be
imagined, had; he became indolent and dissipated.  His
brother Hippolyte, on the other hand, had justified the
affectionate care bestowed on his upbringing; he had grown into a
studious, intelligent youth of a refined and attractive
temperament.  Unhappily, early in his life he had developed
consumption, a disease he inherited from his mother.  As he grew
older his health grew steadily worse until, in 1822, his friends
were seriously alarmed at his condition.  It became so much
graver that, in the August of that year, the doctors recommended
him to take the waters at Enghien.  In September he returned to
Paris apparently much better, but on October 2 he was seized with
sudden illness, and three days later he was dead.

A few years before the death of Hippolyte his father and mother
had died almost at the same time.  M. Ballet had left to each of
his sons a fortune of some 260,000 francs.  Though called to the
bar, both Auguste and Hippolyte Ballet were now men of
independent means.  After the death of their parents, whatever
jealousy Auguste may have felt at the unfair preference which his
mother had shown for her younger son, had died down.  At the time
of Hippolyte's death the brothers were on good terms, though the
more prudent Hippolyte disapproved of his elder brother's

Of Hippolyte Ballet Dr. Castaing had become the fast friend. 
Apart from his personal liking for Castaing, it was a source of
comfort to Hippolyte, in his critical state of health, to have as
his friend one whose medical knowledge was always at his service.

About the middle of August, 1822, Hippolyte, on the advice of his
doctors, went to Enghien to take the waters.  There Castaing paid
him frequent visits.  He returned to Paris on September 22, and
seemed to have benefited greatly by the cure.  On Tuesday,
October 1, he saw his sister, Mme. Martignon, and her husband; he
seemed well, but said that he was having leeches applied to
him by his friend Castaing.  On the Wednesday evening his sister
saw him again, and found him well and with a good appetite.  On
the Thursday, after a night disturbed by severe attacks of
vomiting, his condition seemed serious.  His brother-in-law, who
visited him, found that he had taken to his bed, his face was
swollen, his eyes were red.  His sister called in the evening,
but could not see him.  The servants told her that her brother
was a little better but resting, and that he did not wish to be
disturbed; they said that Dr. Castaing had been with him all day.

On Friday Castaing himself called on the Martignons, and told
them that Hippolyte had passed a shockingly bad night.  Madame
Martignon insisted on going to nurse her brother herself, but
Castaing refused positively to let her see him; the sight of her,
he said, would be too agitating to the patient.  Later in the day
Mme. Martignon went to her brother's house.  In order to obey Dr.
Castaing's injunctions, she dressed herself in some of the
clothes of the servant Victoire, in the hope that if she went
into his bedroom thus disguised, Hippolyte would not recognise
her.  But even this subterfuge was forbidden by Castaing, and
Mme. Martignon had to content herself with listening in an
adjoining room for the sound of her brother's voice.  At eight
o'clock that evening the Martignons learnt that Hippolyte was
better, but at ten o'clock they received a message that he was
dying, and that his brother Auguste had been sent for.  Mme.
Martignon was prostrated with grief, but her husband hastened to
his brother-in-law's house.  There he found Castaing, who said
that the death agony of his friend was so dreadful that he had
not the strength to remain in the room with the dying man. 
Another doctor was sent for, but at ten o'clock the
following morning, after protracted suffering, Hippolyte
Ballet passed away.

A post-mortem was held on his body.  It was made by Drs.  Segalas
and Castaing.  They stated that death was due to pleurisy
aggravated by the consumptive condition of the deceased, which,
however serious, was not of itself likely to have been so rapidly
fatal in its consequences.

Hippolyte had died, leaving a fortune of some 240,000 francs.  In
the previous September he had spoken to the notary Lebret, a
former clerk of his father's, of his intention of making a will. 
He had seen that his brother Auguste was squandering his share of
their inheritance; he told Lebret that whatever he might leave to
Auguste should not be placed at his absolute disposal.  To his
servant Victoire, during his last illness, Hippolyte had spoken
of a will he had made which he wished to destroy.  If Hippolyte
had made such a will, did he destroy it before his death?  In any
case, no trace of it was ever found after his death.  He was
presumed to have died intestate, and his fortune was divided,
three-quarters of it going to his brother Auguste, the remaining
quarter to his sister, Mme. Martignon.

On the day of Hippolyte's death Auguste Ballet wrote from his
brother's house to one Prignon:  "With great grief I have to tell
you that I have just lost my brother; I write at the same time to
say that I must have 100,000 francs to-day if possible.  I have
the greatest need of it.  Destroy my letter, and reply at once. 
M. Sandrie will, I am sure, accommodate me.  I am at my poor
brother's house, from which I am writing."  Prignon did as he was
asked, but it was two days before the stockbroker, Sandrie, could
raise the necessary sum.  On October 7 he sold out sufficient of
Auguste's stock to realise 100,000 francs, and the following day
gave Prignon an order on the Bank of France for that amount. 
The same day Prignon took the order to Auguste.  Accompanied by
Castaing and Jean, Auguste's black servant, Auguste and Prignon
drove to the bank.  There the order was cashed.  Prignon's part
of the business was at an end.  He said good-bye to Auguste
outside the bank.  As the latter got into his cabriolet, carrying
the bundle of notes, Prignon heard him say to Castaing:  "There
are the 100,000 francs."

Why had Auguste Ballet, after his brother's death, such urgent
need of 100,000 francs?  If the statements of Auguste made to
other persons are to be believed, he had paid the 100,000 francs
which he had raised through Prignon to Lebret, his father's
former clerk, who would seem to have acted as legal and financial
adviser to his old master's children.  According to Auguste's
story, his sister, Mme. Martignon, had offered Lebret 80,000
francs to preserve a copy of a will made by Hippolyte, leaving
her the bulk of his fortune.  Castaing, however, had ascertained
that Lebret would be willing, if Auguste would outbid his sister
and pay 100,000 francs, to destroy the will so that, Hippolyte
dying intestate, Auguste would take the greater part of his
brother's fortune.  Auguste agreed to accept Lebret's terms,
raised the necessary sum, and handed over the money to Castaing,
who, in turn, gave it to Lebret, who had thereupon destroyed the
copy of the will.  Castaing, according to the evidence of
Auguste's mistress, an actress of the name of Percillie, had
spoken in her presence of having himself destroyed one copy of
Hippolyte's will before his death, and admitted having arranged
with Lebret after Hippolyte's death for the destruction of the
other copy.

How far was the story told by Auguste, and repeated in somewhat
different shape by Castaing to other persons, true?  There is no
doubt that after the visit to the Bank of France with
Prignon on October 8, Auguste and Castaing drove together to
Lebret's office.  The negro servant said that on arriving there
one of them got out of the cab and went up to Lebret's house, but
which of the two he would not at first say positively.  Later he
swore that it was Auguste Ballet.  Whatever happened on that
visit to Lebret's--and it was the theory of the prosecution that
Castaing and not Auguste had gone up to the office--the same
afternoon Auguste Ballet showed his mistress the seals of the
copy of his brother's will which Lebret had destroyed, and told
her that Lebret, all through the business, had refused to deal
directly with him, and would only act through the intermediary of

Did Lebret, as a fact, receive the 100,000 francs?  A close
examination of his finances showed no trace of such a sum. 
Castaing, on the other hand, on October 10, 1822, had given a
stockbroker a sum of 66,000 francs to invest in securities; on
the 11th of the same month he had lent his mother 30,000 francs;
and on the 14th had given his mistress 4,000 francs.  Of how this
large sum of money had come to Castaing at a time when he was
practically insolvent he gave various accounts.  His final
version was that in the will destroyed by Auguste, Hippolyte
Ballet had left him an income for life equivalent to a capital of
100,000 francs, and that Auguste had given him that sum out of
respect for his brother's wishes.  If that explanation were true,
it was certainly strange that shortly after his brother's death
Auguste Ballet should have expressed surprise and suspicion to a
friend on hearing that Castaing had been buying stock to the
value of 8,000 francs.  If he had given Castaing 100,000 francs
for himself, there was no occasion for surprise or suspicion at
his investing 8,000.  That Auguste had paid out 100,000 francs to
some one in October the state of his finances at his death
clearly proved.  According to the theory of the prosecution,
Auguste believed that he had paid that money to Lebret through
the intermediary of Castaing, and not to Castaing himself.  Hence
his surprise at hearing that Castaing, whom he knew to be
impecunious, was investing such a sum as 8,000 francs.

No money had ever reached Lebret.  His honesty and good faith
were demonstrated beyond any shadow of a doubt; no copy of any
will of Hippolyte Ballet had ever been in his possession.  But
Castaing had shown Auguste Ballet a copy of his brother's will,
the seals of which Auguste had shown to his mistress.  In all
probability, and possibly at the instigation of Castaing, Hip-

polyte Ballet had made a will, leaving the greater part of his
property to his sister.  Somehow or other Castaing had got
possession of this will.  On his death Castaing had invented the
story of Mme. Martignon's bribe to Lebret, and so persuaded
Auguste to outbid her.  He had ingeniously kept Auguste and
Lebret apart by representing Lebret as refusing to deal direct
with Auguste, and by these means had secured to his own use the
sum of 100,000 francs, which Auguste believed was being paid to
Lebret as the price of his alleged destruction of his brother's
will.  The plot was ingenious and successful.  To Lebret and the
Martignons Castaing said that Hippolyte had made a will in Mme.
Martignon's favour, but had destroyed it himself some days before
his death.  The Martignons expressed themselves as glad that Hip-

polyte had done so, for they feared lest such a will should have
provoked resentment against them on the part of Auguste.  By
keeping Auguste and Lebret apart, Castaing prevented awkward
explanations.  The only possible danger of discovery lay in
Auguste's incautious admissions to his mistress and friends; but
even had the fact of the destruction of the will come to the
ears of the Martignons, it is unlikely that they would have taken
any steps involving the disgrace of Auguste.

Castaing had enriched himself considerably by the opportune death
of his friend Hippolyte.  It might be made a matter of unfriendly
comment that, on the first day of May preceding that sad event,
Castaing had purchased ten grains of acetate of morphia from a
chemist in Paris, and on September 18, less than a month before
Hippolyte's death, he had purchased another ten grains of acetate
of morphia from the same chemist.  The subject of poisons had
always been a favourite branch of Castaing's medical studies,
especially vegetable poisons; morphia is a vegetable poison.

Castaing's position relative to Auguste Ballet was now a strong
one.  They were accomplices in the unlawful destruction of
Hippolyte's will.  Auguste believed it to be in his friend's
power to ruin him at any time by revealing his dealings with
Lebret.  But, more than that, to Auguste, who believed that his
100,000 francs had gone into Lebret's pocket, Castaing could
represent himself as so far unrewarded for his share in the
business; Lebret had taken all the money, while he had received
no recompense of any kind for the trouble he had taken and the
risk he was encountering on his friend's behalf.  Whatever the
motive, from fear or gratitude, Auguste Ballet was persuaded to
make a will leaving Dr. Edme Samuel Castaing the whole of his
fortune, subject to a few trifling legacies.  But Auguste's
feelings towards his sole legatee were no longer cordial.  To one
or two of his friends he expressed his growing distaste for Cas-

taing's society.

Dr. Castaing can hardly have failed to observe this change.  He
knew Auguste to be reckless and extravagant with his money; he
learnt that he had realised another 100,000 francs out of
his securities, and that he kept the money locked up in a drawer
in his desk.  If Auguste's fortune were dissipated by
extravagance, or he revoked his will, Castaing stood to lose
heavily.  As time went on Castaing felt less and less sure that
he could place much reliance on the favourable disposition or
thrift of Auguste.  The latter had fallen in love with a new
mistress; he began to entertain expensively; even if he should
not change his mind and leave his money away from Castaing, there
might very soon be no money to leave.  At the end of May, 1823,
Castaing consulted a cousin of his, Malassis, a notary's clerk,
as to the validity of a will made by a sick man in favour of his
medical attendant.  He said that he had a patient gravely ill
who, not wishing to leave his money to his sister, whom he
disliked, intended to leave it to him.  Malassis reassured him as
to the validity of such a will, and gave him the necessary
instructions for preparing it.  On May 29 Castaing sent Malassis
the will of Auguste Ballet with the following note, "I send you
the will of M. Ballets examine it and keep it as his
representative."  The will was dated December 1, 1822, and made
Castaing sole legatee.  On the same day that the will was
deposited with Malassis, Castaing and Auguste Ballet started to-

gether on a little two days' trip into the country.  To his
friends Auguste seemed in the best of health and spirits; so much
so that his housekeeper remarked as he left how well he was
looking, and Castaing echoed her remark, saying that he looked
like a prince!

During the afternoon the two friends visited Saint Germain, then
returned to Paris, and at seven o'clock in the evening arrived at
the Tete Noire Hotel at Saint Cloud, where they took a double-
bedded room, Castaing paying five francs in advance.  They spent
the following day, Friday, May 30, in walking about the
neighbourhood, dined at the hotel at seven, went out again
and returned about nine o'clock.  Soon after their return
Castaing ordered some warmed wine to be sent up to the bedroom. 
It was taken up by one of the maid-servants.  Two glasses were
mixed with lemon and sugar which Castaing had brought with him. 
Both the young men drank of the beverage.  Auguste complained
that it was sour, and thought that he had put too much lemon in
it.  He gave his glass to the servant to taste, who also found
the drink sour.  Shortly after she left the room and went
upstairs to the bedside of one of her fellow-servants who was
ill.  Castaing, for no apparent reason, followed her up and
stayed in the room for about five minutes.  Auguste spent a bad
night, suffering from internal pains, and in the morning his legs
were so swollen that he could not put on his boots.

Castaing got up at four o'clock that morning and asked one of the
servants to let him out.  Two hours later he drove up in a
cabriolet to the door of a chemist in Paris, and asked for twelve
grains of tartar emetic, which he wanted to mix in a wash
according to a prescription of Dr. Castaing.  But he did not tell
the chemist that he was Dr. Castaing himself.  An hour later Cas-
taing arrived at the shop of another chemist, Chevalier, with
whom he had already some acquaintance; he had bought acetate of
morphia from him some months before, and had discussed with him
then the effects of vegetable poisons.  On this particular
morning he bought of his assistant thirty-six grains of acetate
of morphia, paying, as a medical man, three francs fifty centimes
for it instead of the usual price of four francs.  Later in the
morning Castaing returned to Saint Cloud, a distance of ten miles
from Paris, and said that he had been out for a long walk.  He
found Auguste ill in bed.  Castaing asked for some cold milk,
which was taken up to the bedroom by one of the servants. 
Shortly after this Castaing went out again.  During his absence
Auguste was seized with violent pains and sickness.  When
Castaing returned he found his friend in the care of the people
of the hotel.  He told them to throw away the matter that had
been vomited, as the smell was offensive, and Auguste told them
to do as his friend directed.  Castaing proposed to send for a
doctor from Paris, but Auguste insisted that a local doctor
should be called in at once.

Accordingly Dr. Pigache of Saint Cloud was summoned.  He arrived
at the hotel about eleven o'clock.  Before seeing the patient
Castaing told the doctor that he believed him to be suffering
from cholera.  Pigache asked to see the matter vomited but was
told that it had been thrown away.  He prescribed a careful diet,
lemonade and a soothing draught.

Dr. Pigache returned at three o'clock, when he found that the
patient had taken some lemonade, but, according to Castaing, had
refused to take the draught.  He called again that afternoon. 
Ballet was much better; he said that he would be quite well if he
could get some sleep, and expressed a wish to return to Paris. 
Dr. Pigache dissuaded him from this and left, saying that he
would come again in the evening.  Castaing said that that would
be unnecessary, and it was agreed that Pigache should see the
patient again at eight o'clock the next morning.  During the
afternoon Castaing sent a letter to Paris to Jean, Auguste's
negro servant, telling him to take the two keys of his master's
desk to his cousin Malassis.  But the negro distrusted Castaing. 
He knew of the will which his master had made in the doctor's
favour.  Rather than compromise himself by any injudicious act,
he brought the keys to Saint Cloud and there handed them over to

When Jean arrived his master complained to him of feeling
very ill.  Jean said that he hoped he would be well enough to go
back to Paris the following day, to which Auguste replied, "I
don't think so.  But if I am lucky enough to get away to-morrow,
I shall leave fifty francs for the poor here."  About eleven
o'clock that night Castaing, in Jean's presence, gave the sick
man a spoonful of the draught prescribed by Dr. Pigache.  Four or
five minutes later Auguste was seized with terrible convulsions,
followed by unconsciousness.  Dr. Pigache was sent for.  He found
Ballet lying on his back unconscious, his throat strained, his
mouth shut and his eyes fixed; the pulse was weak, his body
covered with cold sweat; and every now and then he was seized
with strong convulsions.  The doctor asked Castaing the cause of
the sudden change in Ballet's condition.  Castaing replied that
it had commenced shortly after he had taken a spoonful of the
draught which the doctor had prescribed for him.  Dr. Pigache
bled the patient and applied twenty leeches.  He returned about
six; Ballet was sinking, and Castaing appeared to be greatly
upset.  He told the doctor what an unhappy coincidence it was
that he should have been present at the deathbeds of both
Hippolyte and his brother Auguste; and that the position was the
more distressing for him as he was the sole heir to Auguste's
fortune.  To M. Pelletan, a professor of medicine, who had been
sent for to St. Cloud in the early hours of Sunday morning,
Castaing appeared to be in a state of great grief and agitation;
he was shedding tears.  Pelletan was from the first impressed by
the suspicious nature of the case, and pointed out to Castaing
the awkwardness of his situation as heir to the dying man. 
"You're right," replied Castaing, "my position is dreadful,
horrible.  In my great grief I had never thought of it till now,
but now you make me see it clearly.  Do you think there will be
an investigation?" Pelletan answered that he should be
compelled to ask for a post-mortem.  "Ah!  You will be doing me
the greatest service," said Castaing, "I beg you to insist on a
post-mortem.  You will be acting as a second father to me in
doing so."  The parish priest was sent for to administer extreme
unction to the dying man.  To the parish clerk who accompanied
the priest Castaing said, "I am losing a friend of my childhood,"
and both priest and clerk went away greatly edified by the
sincere sorrow and pious demeanour of the young doctor.  About
mid-day on Sunday, June 1, Auguste Ballet died.

During the afternoon Castaing left the hotel for some hours, and
that same afternoon a young man about twenty-five years of age,
short and fair, left a letter at the house of Malassis.  The
letter was from Castaing and said, "My dear friend, Ballet has
just died, but do nothing before to-morrow, Monday.  I will see
you and tell you, yes or no, whether it is time to act.  I expect
that his brother-in-law, M. Martignon, whose face is pock-marked
and who carries a decoration, will call and see you.  I have said
that I did not know what dispositions Ballet may have made, but
that before his death he had told me to give you two little keys
which I am going to deliver to you myself to-morrow, Monday.  I
have not said that we are cousins, but only that I had seen you
once or twice at Ballet's, with whom you were friendly.  So say
nothing till I have seen you, but whatever you do, don't say you
are a relative of mine."  When he returned to the hotel Castaing
found Martignon, Lebret, and one or two friends of Auguste
already assembled.  It was only that morning that Martignon had
received from Castaing any intimation of his brother-in-law's
critical condition.  From the first Castaing was regarded with
suspicion; the nature of the illness, the secrecy maintained
about it by Castaing, the coincidence of some of the
circumstances with those of the death of Hippolyte, all combined
to excite suspicion.  Asked if Auguste had left a will Castaing
said no; but the next day he admitted its existence, and said
that it was in the hands of Malassis.

Monday, June 2, was the day fixed for the post-mortem; it was
performed in the hotel at Saint Cloud.  Castaing was still in the
hotel under provisional arrest.  While the post-mortem was going
on his agitation was extreme; he kept opening the door of the
room in which he was confined, to hear if possible some news of
the result.  At last M. Pelletan obtained permission to inform
him of the verdict of the doctors.  It was favourable to
Castaing; no trace of death by violence or poison had been

The medical men declared death to be due to an inflammation of
the stomach, which could be attributed to natural causes; that
the inflammation had subsided; that it had been succeeded by
cerebral inflammation, which frequently follows inflammation of
the stomach, and may have been aggravated in this case by
exposure to the sun or by over-indulgence of any kind.



Castaing expected, as a result of the doctors' report, immediate
release.  In this he was disappointed; he was placed under
stricter arrest and taken to Paris, where a preliminary
investigation commenced, lasting five months.  During the early
part of his imprisonment Castaing feigned insanity, going to
disgusting lengths in the hope of convincing those about him of
the reality of his madness.  But after three days of futile
effort he gave up the attempt, and turned his attention to more
practical means of defence.  In the prison at Versailles, whither
he had been removed from Paris, he got on friendly terms with a
prisoner, one Goupil, who was awaiting trial for some unimportant
offence.  To Goupil Castaing described the cruelty of his
position and the causes that had led to his wrongful arrest.  He
admitted his unfortunate possession of the poison, and said that
the 100,000 francs which he had invested he had inherited from an
uncle.  Through Goupil he succeeded in communicating with his
mother in the hope that she would use her influence to stifle
some of the more serious evidence against him.  Through other
prisoners he tried to get at the chemists from whom he had bought
acetate of morphia, and persuade them to say that the preparation
of morphia which he had purchased was harmless.

The trial of Castaing commenced before the Paris Assize Court on
November 10, 1823.  He was charged with the murder of Hippolyte
Ballet, the destruction of a document containing the final
dispositions of Hippolyte's property, and with the murder of
Auguste Ballet.  The three charges were to be tried
simultaneously.  The Act of Accusation in Castaing's case is a
remarkable document, covering a hundred closely-printed pages. 
It is a well-reasoned, graphic and unfair statement of the case
for the prosecution.  It tells the whole story of the crime, and
inserts everything that can possibly prejudice the prisoner in
the eyes of the jury.  As an example, it quotes against Castaing
a letter of his mistress in which, in the course of some quarrel,
she had written to him saying that his mother had said some
"horrible things" (des horreurs) of him; but what those
"horrible things" were was not revealed, nor were they ever
alluded to again in the course of the trial, nor was his
mistress called as a witness, though payments of money by
Castaing to her formed an important part of the evidence against
him.  Again, the evidence of Goupil, his fellow prisoner, as to
the incriminating statements made to him by Castaing is given in
the Act of Accusation, but Goupil himself was not called at the

During the reading of the Act of Accusation by the Clerk of the
Court Castaing listened calmly.  Only when some allusion was made
to his mistress and their children did he betray any sign of
emotion.  As soon as the actual facts of the case were set out he
was all attention, making notes busily.  He is described as
rather attractive in appearance, his face long, his features
regular, his forehead high, his hair, fair in colour, brushed
back from the brows; he wore rather large side-whiskers.  One of
the witnesses at Saint Cloud said that Castaing looked more like
a priest than a doctor; his downcast eyes, gentle voice, quiet
and unassuming demeanour, lent him an air of patience and

The interrogatory of Castaing by the presiding judge lasted all
the afternoon of the first day of the trial and the morning of
the second.  The opening part of it dealt with the murder of
Hippolyte Ballet, and elicited little or nothing that was fresh. 
Beyond the purchase of acetate of morphia previous to Hippolyte's
death, which Castaing reluctantly admitted, there was no serious
evidence against him, and before the end of the trial the
prosecution abandoned that part of the charge.

Questioned by the President as to the destruction of Hippolyte
Ballet's will, Castaing admitted that he had seen a draft of a
will executed by Hippolyte in favour of his sister, but he denied
having told Auguste that Lebret had in his possession a copy
which he was prepared to destroy for 100,000 francs.  Asked to
explain the assertion of Mlle. Percillie, Auguste's
mistress, that statements to this effect had been made in her
presence by both Auguste Ballet and himself, he said that it was
not true; that he had never been to her house.  "What motive," he
was asked, "could Mlle. Percillie have for accusing you?" 
"She hated me," was the reply, "because I had tried to separate
Auguste from her."  Castaing denied that he had driven with
Auguste to Lebret's office on October 8.  Asked to explain his
sudden possession of 100,000 francs at a moment when he was
apparently without a penny, he repeated his statement that
Auguste had given him the capital sum as an equivalent for an
income of 4,000 francs which his brother had intended to leave
him.  "Why, when first asked if you had received anything from
Auguste, did you say you had received nothing?" was the question.

"It was a thoughtless statement," was the answer.  "Why," pursued
the President, "should you not have admitted at once a fact that
went to prove your own good faith?  If, however, this fact be
true, it does not explain the mysterious way in which Auguste
asked Prignon to raise for him 100,000 francs; and unless those
100,000 francs were given to you, it is impossible to account for
them.  It is important to your case that you should give the jury
a satisfactory explanation on this point."  Castaing could only
repeat his previous explanations.

The interrogatory was then directed to the death of Auguste
Ballet.  Castaing said that Auguste Ballet had left him all his
fortune on account of a disagreement with his sister.  Asked why,
after Auguste's death, he had at first denied all knowledge of
the will made in his favour and deposited by him with Malassis,
he could give no satisfactory reason.  Coming to the facts of the
alleged poisoning of Auguste Ballet, the President asked Castaing
why, shortly after the warm wine was brought up on the night
of May 30, he went up to the room where one of the servants of
the hotel was lying sick.  Castaing replied that he was sent for
by the wife of the hotel-keeper.  This the woman denied; she said
that she did not even know that he was a doctor.  "According to
the prosecution," said the judge, "you left the room in order to
avoid drinking your share of the wine."  Castaing said that he
had drunk half a cupful of it.  The judge reminded him that to
one of the witnesses Castaing had said that he had drunk only a

A ridiculous statement made by Castaing to explain the purchase
of morphia and antimony in Paris on May 31 was brought up against
him.  Shortly after his arrest Castaing had said that the cats
and dogs about the hotel had made such a noise on the night of
May 30 that they had disturbed the rest of Auguste, who, in the
early morning, had asked Castaing to get some poison to kill
them.  He had accordingly gone all the way, about ten miles, to
Paris at four in the morning to purchase antimony and morphia to
kill cats and dogs.  All the people of the hotel denied that
there had been any such disturbance on the night in question. 
Castaing now said that he had bought the poisons at Auguste's
request, partly to kill the noisy cats and dogs, and partly for
the purpose of their making experiments on animals.  Asked why he
had not given this second reason before, he said that as Auguste
was not a medical man it would have been damaging to his
reputation to divulge the fact of his wishing to make
unauthorised experiments on animals.  "Why go to Paris for the
poison?" asked the judge, "there was a chemist a few yards from
the hotel.  And when in Paris, why go to two chemists?"  To all
these questions Castaing's answers were such as to lead the
President to express a doubt as to whether they were likely to
convince the jury.  Castaing was obliged to admit that he
had allowed, if not ordered, the evacuations of the sick man to
be thrown away.  He stated that he had thrown away the morphia
and antimony, which he had bought in Paris, in the closets of the
hotel, because, owing to the concatenation of circumstances, he
thought that he would be suspected of murder.  In reply to a
question from one of the jury, Castaing said that he had mixed
the acetate of morphia and tartar emetic together before reaching
Saint Cloud, but why he had done so he could not explain.

The medical evidence at the trial was favourable to the accused. 
Orfila, the famous chemist of that day, said that, though the
symptoms in Auguste Ballet's case might be attributed to
poisoning by acetate of morphia or some other vegetable poison,
at the same time they could be equally well attributed to sudden
illness of a natural kind.  The liquids, taken from the stomach
of Ballet, had yielded on analysis no trace of poison of any
sort.  The convulsive symptoms present in Ballet's case were un-

doubtedly a characteristic result of a severe dose of acetate of
morphia.[14]  Castaing said that he had mixed the acetate of
morphia and tartar emetic together, but in any case no trace of
either poison was found in Auguste's body, and his illness might,
from all appearances, have been occasioned by natural causes. 
Some attempt was made by the prosecution to prove that the
apoplexy to which Hippolyte Ballet had finally succumbed, might
be attributed to a vegetable poison; one of the doctors expressed
an opinion favourable to that conclusion "as a man but not as a
physician."  But the evidence did not go further.

[14] It was asserted some years later by one medical authority in
Palmer's case that it might have been morphia and not strychnine
that had caused the tetanic symptoms which preceded Cook's death.

To the young priest-like doctor the ordeal of his trial was
a severe one.  It lasted eight days.  It was only at midday on
the sixth day that the evidence was concluded.  Not only was
Castaing compelled to submit to a long interrogatory by the
President, but, after each witness had given his or her evidence,
the prisoner was called on to refute or explain any points
unfavourable to him.  This he did briefly, with varying success;
as the trial went on, with increasing embarrassment.  A great
deal of the evidence given against Castaing was hearsay, and
would have been inadmissible in an English court of justice. 
Statements made by Auguste to other persons about Castaing were
freely admitted.  But more serious was the evidence of Mlle.
Percillie, Auguste's mistress.  She swore that on one occasion
in her presence Castaing had reproached Auguste with ingratitude;
he had complained that he had destroyed one copy of Hippolyte
Ballet's will, and for Auguste's sake had procured the
destruction of the other, and that yet, in spite of all this,
Auguste hesitated to entrust him with 100,000 francs.  Asked what
he had to say to this statement Castaing denied its truth.  He
had, he said, only been in Mlle. Percillie's house once, and
then not with Auguste Ballet.  Mlle. Percillie adhered to the
truth of her evidence, and the President left it to the jury to
decide between them.

A Mme. Durand, a patient of Castaing, gave some curious evidence
as to a story told her by the young doctor.  He said that a
friend of his, suffering from lung disease, had been persuaded
into making a will in his sister's favour.  The sister had
offered a bribe of 80,000 francs to her brother's lawyer to
persuade him to make such a will, and paid one of his clerks
3,000 francs for drawing it up.  Castaing, in his friend's
interest, and in order to expose the fraud, invited the clerk to
come and see him.  His friend, hidden in an alcove in the room,
overheard the conversation between Castaing and the clerk,
and so learnt the details of his sister's intrigue.  He at once
destroyed the will and became reconciled with his brother, whom
he had been about to disinherit.  After his death the brother,
out of gratitude, had given Castaing 100,000 francs.

President:  Castaing, did you tell this story to Mme. Durand?

Castaing:  I don't recollect.

Avocat-General:  But Mme. Durand says that you did.

Castaing:  I don't recollect.

President:  You always say that you don't recollect; that is no
answer.  Have you, yes or no, made such a statement to Mme.

Castaing:  I don't recollect; if I had said it, I should
recollect it.

Another lady whom Castaing had attended free of charge swore,
with a good deal of reluctance, that Castaing had told her a
somewhat similar story as accounting for his possession of
100,000 francs.

Witnesses were called for the defence who spoke to the diligence
and good conduct of Castaing as a medical student; and eighteen,
whom he had treated free of expense, testified to his kindness
and generosity.  "All these witnesses," said the President,
"speak to your generosity; but, for that very reason, you must
have made little profit out of your profession, and had little
opportunity for saving anything," to which Castaing replied: 
"These are not the only patients I attended; I have not called
those who paid me for my services."  At the same time Castaing
found it impossible to prove that he had ever made a substantial
living by the exercise of his profession.

One of the medical witnesses called for the defence, M.
Chaussier, had volunteered the remark that the absence of any
trace of poison in the portions of Auguste Ballet's body
submitted to analysis, constituted an absence of the corpus
delicti.  To this the President replied that that was a question
of criminal law, and no concern of his.  But in his speech for
the prosecution the Avocat-General dealt with the point
raised at some length--a point which, if it had held good as a
principle of English law, would have secured the acquittal of so
wicked a poisoner as Palmer.  He quoted from the famous French
lawyer d'Aguesseau:  "The corpus delicti is no other thing than
the delictum itself; but the proofs of the delictum are
infinitely variable according to the nature of things; they may
be general or special, principal or accessory, direct or
indirect; in a word, they form that general effect (ensemble)
which goes to determine the conviction of an honest man."  If
such a contention as M. Chaussier's were correct, said the
Avocat-General, then it would be impossible in a case of
poisoning to convict a prisoner after his victim's death, or, if
his victim survived, to convict him of the attempt to poison.  He
reminded the jury of that paragraph in the Code of Criminal
Procedure which instructed them as to their duties:  "The Law
does not ask you to give the reasons that have convinced you; it
lays down no rules by which you are to decide as to the fullness
or sufficiency of proof . . . it only asks you one question: 
`Have you an inward conviction?'"  "If," he said, "the actual
traces of poison are a material proof of murder by poison, then a
new paragraph must be added to the Criminal Code--`Since,
however, vegetable poisons leave no trace, poisoning by such
means may be committed with impunity.'"  To poisoners he would
say in future:  "Bunglers that you are, don't use arsenic or any
mineral poison; they leave traces; you will be found out.  Use
vegetable poisons; poison your fathers, poison your mothers,
poison all your families, and their inheritance will be yours--
fear nothing; you will go unpunished!  You have committed
murder by poisoning, it is true; but the corpus delicti will
not be there because it can't be there!"  This was a case, he
urged, of circumstantial evidence.  "We have," he said, "gone
through a large number of facts.  Of these there is not one that
does not go directly to the proof of poisoning, and that can only
be explained on the supposition of poisoning; whereas, if the
theory of the defence be admitted, all these facts, from the
first to the last, become meaningless and absurd.  They can only
be refuted by arguments or explanations that are childish and

Castaing was defended by two advocates--Roussel, a schoolfellow
of his, and the famous Berryer, reckoned by some the greatest
French orator since Mirabeau.  Both advocates were allowed to
address the jury.  Roussel insisted on the importance of the
corpus delicti.  "The delictum," he said, "is the effect, the
guilty man merely the cause; it is useless to deal with the cause
if the effect is uncertain," and he cited a case in which a woman
had been sent for trial, charged with murdering her husband; the
moral proof of her guilt seemed conclusive, when suddenly her
husband appeared in court alive and well.  The advocate made a
good deal of the fact that the remains of the draught prescribed
by Dr. Pigache, a spoonful of which Castaing had given to Auguste
Ballet, had been analysed and showed no trace of poison.  Against
this the prosecution set the evidence of the chemist at Saint
Cloud, who had made up the prescription.  He said that the same
day he had made up a second prescription similar to that of Dr.
Pigache, but not made out for Auguste Ballet, which contained, in
addition to the other ingredients, acetate of morphia.  The
original of this prescription he had given to a friend of
Castaing, who had come to his shop and asked him for it a
few days after Ballet's death.  It would seem therefore that
there had been two bottles of medicine, one of which containing
morphia had disappeared.

M. Roussel combatted the suggestion that the family of Castaing
were in a state of indigence.  He showed that his father had an
income of 10,000 francs, while his two brothers were holding good
positions, one as an officer in the army, the other as a
government official.  The mistress of Castaing he represented as
enjoying an income of 5,000 francs.  He protested against the
quantity of hearsay evidence that had been admitted into the
case.  "In England," he said, "when a witness is called, he is
asked `What have you seen?'  If he can only testify to mere talk,
and hearsay, he is not heard."  He quoted the concluding
paragraph of the will of Auguste Ballet as showing his friendly
feeling towards Castaing:  "It is only after careful reflection
that I have made this final disposition of my property, in order
to mark the sincere friendship which I have never for one moment
ceased to feel for MM. Castaing, Briant and Leuchere, in order
to recognise the faithful loyalty of my servants, and deprive M.
and Mme. Martignon, my brother-in-law and sister, of all rights
to which they might be legally entitled on my death, fully
persuaded in soul and conscience that, in doing so, I am giving
to each their just and proper due."  "Is this," asked M. Roussel,
"a document wrested by surprise from a weak man, extorted by
trickery?  Is he not acting in the full exercise of his
faculties?  He forgets no one, and justifies his conduct."

When M. Roussel came to the incident of the noisy cats and dogs
at Saint Cloud, he was as ingenious as the circumstances
permitted:  "A serious charge engrosses public attention; men's
minds are concentrated on the large, broad aspects of the case;
they are in a state of unnatural excitement.  They see only the
greatness, the solemnity of the accusation, and then,
suddenly, in the midst of all that is of such tragic and
surpassing interest, comes this trivial fact about cats and dogs.

It makes an unfavourable impression, because it is dramatically
out of keeping with the tragedy of the story.  But we are not
here to construct a drama.  No, gentlemen, look at it merely as a
trivial incident of ordinary, everyday life, and you will see it
in its proper light."  M. Roussel concluded by saying that
Castaing's most eloquent advocate, if he could have been present,
would have been Auguste Ballet.  "If Providence had permitted him
to enter this court, he would cry out to you, `Save my friend's
life!  His heart is undefiled!  He is innocent!'"

M. Roussel concluded his speech at ten o'clock on Sunday night,
November 16.  The next morning Berryer addressed the jury.  His
speech in defence of Castaing is not considered one of his most
successful efforts.  He gave personal testimony as to the taste
of acetate of morphia.  He said that with the help of his own
chemist he had put a quarter of a grain of the acetate into a
large spoonful of milk, and had found it so insupportably bitter
to the taste that he could not keep it in his mouth.  If, he
contended, Ballet had been poisoned by tartar emetic, then twelve
grains given in milk would have given it an insipid taste, and
vomiting immediately after would have got rid of the poison. 
Later investigations have shown that, in cases of antimonial
poisoning, vomiting does not necessarily get rid of all the
poison, and the convulsions in which Auguste Ballet died are
symptomatic of poisoning either by morphia or antimony.  In
conclusion, Berryer quoted the words addressed by one of the
Kings of France to his judges:  "When God has not vouchsafed
clear proof of a crime, it is a sign that He does not wish that
man should determine it, but leaves its judgment to a higher

The Avocat-General, in reply, made a telling answer to M.
Roussel's attempt to minimise the importance of the cats and
dogs:  "He has spoken of the drama of life, and of its ordinary
everyday incidents.  If there is drama in this case, it is of
Castaing's making.  As to the ordinary incidents of everyday
life, a man buys poison, brings it to the bedside of his sick
friend, saying it is for experiments on cats and dogs, the friend
dies, the other, his sole heir, after foretelling his death,
takes possession of his keys, and proceeds to gather up the
spoils--are these ordinary incidents of every-day life?"

It was nine o'clock at night when the jury retired to consider
their verdict.  They returned into court after two hours'
deliberation.  They found the prisoner "Not Guilty" of the murder
of Hippolyte Ballet, "Guilty" of destroying his will, and
"Guilty" by seven votes to five of the murder of Auguste Ballet. 
Asked if he had anything to say before judgment was given,
Castaing, in a very loud voice, said "No; but I shall know how to
die, though I am the victim of ill-fortune, of fatal circum-

stance.  I shall go to meet my two friends.  I am accused of
having treacherously murdered them.  There is a Providence above
us!  If there is such a thing as an immortal soul, I shall see
Hippolyte and Auguste Ballet again.  This is no empty
declamation; I don't ask for human pity" (raising his hands to
heaven), "I look to God's mercy, and shall go joyfully to the
scaffold.  My conscience is clear.  It will not reproach me even
when I feel" (putting his hands to his neck).  "Alas!  It is
easier to feel what I am feeling than to express what I dare not
express."  (In a feeble voice):  "You have desired my death; you
have it!"  The judges retired to consider the sentence.  The
candles were guttering, the light of the lamps was beginning to
fade; the aspect of the court grim and terrible.  M. Roussel
broke down and burst into tears.  Castaing leant over to his
old schoolfellow:  "Courage, Roussel," he said; "you have always
believed me innocent, and I am innocent.  Embrace for me my
father, my mother, my brothers, my child."  He turned to a group
of young advocates standing near:  "And you, young people, who
have listened to my trial, attend also my execution; I shall be
as firm then as I am now.  All I ask is to die soon.  I should be
ashamed to plead for mercy."  The judges returned.  Castaing was
condemned to death, and ordered to pay 100,000 francs damages to
the family of Auguste Ballet.

Castaing was not ashamed to appeal to the Court of Cassation for
a revision of his trial, but on December 4 his appeal was
rejected.  Two days later he was executed.  He had attempted
suicide by means of poison, which one of his friends had brought
to him in prison, concealed inside a watch.  His courage failed
him at the last, and he met his death in a state of collapse.

It is not often, happily, that a young man of gentle birth and
good education is a double murderer at twenty-six.  And such a
soft, humble, insinuating young man too!--good to his mother,
good to his mistress, fond of his children, kind to his patients.

Yet this gentle creature can deliberately poison his two friends.

Was ever such a contradictory fellow?

Professor Webster

The best report of Webster's trial is that edited by Bemis.  The
following tracts in the British Museum have been consulted by the
writer:  "Appendix to the Webster Trial," Boston, 1850: 
"Thoughts on the Conviction of Webster"; "The Boston Tragedy," by
W. E. Bigelow.

It is not often that the gaunt spectre of murder invades the
cloistered calm of academic life.  Yet such a strange and
unwonted tragedy befell Harvard University in the year 1849, when
John W. Webster, Professor of Chemistry, took the life of Dr.
George Parkman, a distinguished citizen of Boston.  The scene of
the crime, the old Medical School, now a Dental Hospital, is
still standing, or was when the present writer visited Boston in
1907.  It is a large and rather dreary red-brick, three-storied
building, situated in the lower part of the city, flanked on its
west side by the mud flats leading down to the Charles River. 
The first floor consists of two large rooms, separated from each
other by the main entrance hall, which is approached by a flight
of steps leading up from the street level.  Of these two rooms,
the left, as you face the building, is fitted up as a lecture-
room.  In the year 1849 it was the lecture-room of Professor
Webster.  Behind the lecture-room is a laboratory, known as the
upper laboratory, communicating by a private staircase with the
lower laboratory, which occupies the left wing of the ground
floor.  A small passage, entered by a door on the left-hand side
of the front of the building, separated this lower laboratory
from the dissecting-room, an out-house built on to the west
wall of the college, but now demolished.  From this description
it will be seen that any person, provided with the necessary
keys, could enter the college by the side-door near the
dissecting room on the ground floor, and pass up through the
lower and upper laboratory into Professor Webster's lecture-room
without entering any other part of the building.  The Professor
of Chemistry, by locking the doors of his lecture-rooms and the
lower laboratory, could, if he wished, make himself perfectly
secure against intrusion, and come and go by the side-door
without attracting much attention.  These rooms are little
altered at the present time from their arrangement in 1849.  The
lecture-room and laboratory are used for the same purposes to-
day; the lower laboratory, a dismal chamber, now disused and
somewhat rearranged, is still recognisable as the scene of the
Professor's chemical experiments.

On the second floor of the hospital is a museum, once anatomical,
now dental.  One of the principal objects of interest in this
museum is a plaster cast of the jaws of Dr. George Parkman, made
by a well-known dentist of Boston, Dr. Keep, in the year 1846. 
In that year the new medical college was formally opened.  Dr.
Parkman, a wealthy and public-spirited citizen of Boston, had
given the piece of land, on which the college had been erected. 
He had been invited to be present at the opening ceremony.  In
anticipation of being asked to make a speech on this occasion Dr.
Parkman, whose teeth were few and far between, had himself fitted
by Dr. Keep with a complete set of false teeth.  Oliver Wendell
Holmes, then Professor of Anatomy at Harvard, who was present at
the opening of the college, noticed how very nice and white the
doctor's teeth appeared to be.  It was the discovery of the
remains of these same admirable teeth three years later in the
furnace in Professor Webster's lower laboratory that led to
the conviction of Dr. Parkman's murderer.  By a strange
coincidence the doctor met his death in the very college which
his generosity had helped to build.  Though to-day the state of
the college has declined from the medical to the dental, his
memory still lives within its walls by the cast of his jaws
preserved in the dental museum as a relic of a case, in which the
art of dentistry did signal service to the cause of justice.

In his lifetime Dr. Parkman was a well-known figure in the
streets of Boston.  His peculiar personal appearance and
eccentric habits combined to make him something of a character. 
As he walked through the streets he presented a remarkable
appearance.  He was exceptionally tall, longer in the body than
the legs; his lower jaw protruded some half an inch beyond the
upper; he carried his body bent forward from the small of his
back.  He seemed to be always in a hurry; so impetuous was he
that, if his horse did not travel fast enough to please him, he
would get off its back, and, leaving the steed in the middle of
the street, hasten on his way on foot.  A just and generous man,
he was extremely punctilious in matters of business, and uncom-

promising in his resentment of any form of falsehood or deceit. 
It was the force of his resentment in such a case that cost him
his life.

The doctor was unfailingly punctual in taking his meals.  Dr.
Kingsley, during the fourteen years he had acted as his agent,
had always been able to make sure of finding him at home at his
dinner hour, half-past two o'clock.  But on Friday, November 23,
1849, to his surprise and that of his family, Dr. Parkman did not
come home to dinner; and their anxiety was increased when the day
passed, and there was still no sign of the doctor's return. 
Inquiries were made.  From these it appeared that Dr.
Parkman had been last seen alive between one and two o'clock on
the Friday afternoon.  About half-past one he had visited a
grocer's shop in Bridge Street, made some purchases, and left
behind him a paper bag containing a lettuce, which, he said, he
would call for on his way home.  Shortly before two o'clock he
was seen by a workman, at a distance of forty or fifty feet from
the Medical College, going in that direction.  From that moment
all certain trace of him was lost.  His family knew that he had
made an appointment for half-past one that day, but where and
with whom they did not know.  As a matter of fact, Professor John
W. Webster had appointed that hour to receive Dr. Parkman in his
lecture-room in the Medical College.

John W. Webster was at this time Professor of Chemistry and
Mineralogy in Harvard University, a Doctor of Medicine and a
Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the London
Geological Society and the St. Petersburg Mineralogical Society. 
He was the author of several works on geology and chemistry, a
man now close on sixty years of age.  His countenance was genial,
his manner mild and unassuming; he was clean shaven, wore
spectacles, and looked younger than his years.

Professor Webster was popular with a large circle of friends.  To
those who liked him he was a man of pleasing and attractive
manners, artistic in his tastes--he was especially fond of
music--not a very profound or remarkable chemist, but a pleasant
social companion.  His temper was hasty and irritable.  Spoilt in
his boyhood as an only child, he was self-willed and self-
indulgent.  His wife and daughters were better liked than he.  By
unfriendly criticics{sic} the Professor was thought to be
selfish, fonder of the good things of the table and a good
cigar than was consistent with his duty to his family or the
smallness of his income.  His father, a successful apothecary at
Boston, had died in 1833, leaving John, his only son, a fortune
of some L10,000.  In rather less than ten years Webster had
run through the whole of his inheritance.  He had built himself a
costly mansion in Cambridge, spent a large sum of money in
collecting minerals, and delighted to exercise lavish
hospitality.  By living consistently beyond his means he found
himself at length entirely dependent on his professional
earnings.  These were small.  His salary as Professor was fixed
at L240 a year;[15] the rest of his income he derived from the
sale of tickets for his lectures at the Medical College.  That
income was insufficient to meet his wants.

[15] I have given these sums of money in their English
equivalents in order to give the reader an idea of the smallness
of the sum which brought about the tragedy.

As early as 1842 he had borrowed L80 from his friend Dr.
Parkman.  It was to Parkman's good offices that he owed his
appointment as a Professor at Harvard; they had entered the
University as under-graduates in the same year.  Up to 1847
Webster had repaid Parkman twenty pounds of his debt; but, in
that year he found it necessary to raise a further loan of
L490, which was subscribed by a few friends, among them
Parkman himself.  As a security for the repayment of this loan,
the professor executed a mortgage on his valuable collection of
minerals in favour of Parkman.  In the April of 1848 the
Professor's financial difficulties became so serious that he was
threatened with an execution in his house.  In this predicament
he went to a Mr. Shaw, Dr. Parkman's brother-in-law, and begged a
loan of L240, offering him as security a bill of sale on the
collection of minerals, which he had already mortgaged to
Parkman.  Shaw accepted the security, and lent the money. 
Shaw would seem to have had a good deal of sympathy with
Webster's embarrassments; he considered the Professor's income
very inadequate to his position, and showed himself quite ready
at a later period to waive his debt altogether.

Dr. Parkman was a less easy-going creditor.  Forbearing and
patient as long as he was dealt with fairly, he was merciless
where he thought he detected trickery or evasion.  His
forbearance and his patience were utterly exhausted, his anger
and indignation strongly aroused, when he learnt from Shaw that
Webster had given him as security for his debt a bill of sale on
the collection of minerals, already mortgaged to himself.  From
the moment of the discovery of this act of dishonesty on the part
of Webster, Parkman pursued his debtor with unrelenting severity.

He threatened him with an action at law; he said openly that he
was neither an honourable, honest, nor upright man; he tried to
appropriate to the payment of his debt the fees for lectures
which Mr. Pettee, Webster's agent, collected on the Professor's
behalf.  He even visited Webster in his lecture-room and sat
glaring at him in the front row of seats, while the Professor was
striving under these somewhat unfavourable conditions to impart
instruction to his pupils--a proceeding which the Doctor's odd
cast of features must have aggravated in no small degree.

It was early in November that Parkman adopted these aggressive
tactics.  On the 19th of that month Webster and the janitor of
the College, Ephraim Littlefield, were working in the upper
laboratory.  It was dark; they had lit candles.  Webster was
reading a chemical book.  As he looked up from the book he saw
Parkman standing in the doorway leading from the lecture-room. 
"Dr. Webster, are you ready for me to-night?" asked Parkman. 
"No," replied the other, "I am not ready to-night."  After a
little further conversation in regard to the mortgage, Parkman
departed with the ominous remark, "Doctor, something must be done

Unfortunately the Professor was not in a position to do anything.

He had no means sufficient to meet his creditor's demands; and
that creditor was unrelenting.  On the 22nd Parkman rode into
Cambridge, where Webster lived, to press him further, but failed
to find him.  Webster's patience, none too great at any time, was
being sorely tried.  To whom could he turn?  What further
resource was open to him?  There was none.  He determined to see
his creditor once more.  At 8 o'clock on the morning of Friday
the 23rd, Webster called at Dr. Parkman's house and made the
appointment for their meeting at the Medical College at half-past
one, to which the Doctor had been seen hastening just before his
disappearance.  At nine o'clock the same morning Pettee, the
agent, had called on the Professor at the College and paid him by
cheque a balance of L28 due on his lecture tickets, informing
him at the same time that, owing to the trouble with Dr. Parkman,
he must decline to receive any further sums of money on his
behalf.  Webster replied that Parkman was a nervous, excitable
man, subject to mental aberrations, but he added, "You will have
no further trouble with Dr. Parkman, for I have settled with
him."  It is difficult to see how the Professor could have
settled, or proposed to settle, with his creditor on that day.  A
balance of L28 at his bank, and the L18 which Mr. Pettee
had paid to him that morning, represented the sum of Professor
Webster's fortune on Friday, November 23, 1849.

Since the afternoon of that day the search for the missing
Parkman had been unremitting.  On the Saturday his friends
communicated with the police.  On Sunday hand-bills were issued
stating the fact of the Doctor's disappearance, and on
Monday, the 26th, a description and the offer of a considerable
reward for the discovery of his body were circulated both in and
out of the city.  Two days later a further reward was offered. 
But these efforts were fruitless.  The only person who gave any
information beyond that afforded by those who had seen the Doctor
in the streets on the morning of his disappearance, was Professor
Webster.  About four o'clock on the Sunday afternoon the
Professor called at the house of the Revd. Francis Parkman, the
Doctor's brother.  They were intimate friends.  Webster had for a
time attended Parkman's chapel; and Mr. Parkman had baptised the
Professor's grand-daughter.  On this Sunday afternoon Mr. Parkman
could not help remarking Webster's peculiar manner.  With a bare
greeting and no expression of condolence with the family's
distress, his visitor entered abruptly and nervously on the
object of his errand.  He had called, he said, to tell Mr.
Parkman that he had seen his brother at the Medical College on
Friday afternoon, that he had paid him L90 which he owed him,
and that the Doctor had in the course of their interview taken
out a paper and dashed his pen through it, presumably as an
acknowledgment of the liquidation of the Professor's debt. 
Having communicated this intelligence to the somewhat astonished
gentleman, Webster left him as abruptly as he had come.

Another relative of Dr. Parkman, his nephew, Mr. Parkman Blake,
in the course of inquiries as to his uncle's fate, thought it
right to see Webster.  Accordingly he went to the college on
Monday, the 26th, about eleven o'clock in the morning.  Though
not one of his lecture days, the janitor Littlefield informed him
that the Professor was in his room.  The door of the lecture--

room, however, was found to be locked, and it was only after
considerable delay that Mr. Blake gained admittance.  As he
descended the steps to the floor of the lecture-room Webster,
dressed in a working suit of blue overalls and wearing on his
head a smoking cap, came in from the back door.  Instead of
advancing to greet his visitor, he stood fixed to the spot, and
waited, as if defensively, for Mr. Blake to speak.  In answer to
Mr. Blake's questions Webster described his interview with Dr.
Parkman on the Friday afternoon.  He gave a very similar account
of it to that he had already given to Mr. Francis Parkman.  He
added that at the end of their interview he had asked the Doctor
for the return of the mortgage, to which the latter had replied,
"I haven't it with me, but I will see it is properly cancelled." 
Mr. Blake asked Webster if he could recollect in what form of
money it was that he had paid Dr. Parkman.  Webster answered that
he could only recollect a bill of L20 on the New Zealand Bank:
pressed on this point, he seemed to rather avoid any further
inquiries.  Mr. Blake left him, dissatisfied with the result of
his visit.

One particular in Webster's statement was unquestionably strange,
if not incredible.  He had, he said, paid Parkman a sum of
L90, which he had given him personally, and represented the
Doctor as having at their interview promised to cancel the
mortgage on the collection of minerals which Webster had given as
security for the loan of L490 that had been subscribed by
Parkman and four of his friends.  Now L120 of this loan was
still owing.  If Webster's statement were true, Parkman had a
perfect right to cancel Webster's personal debt to himself; but
he had no right to cancel entirely the mortgage on the minerals,
so long as money due to others on that mortgage was yet unpaid. 
Was it conceivable that one so strict and scrupulous in all
monetary transactions as Parkman would have settled his own
personal claim, and then sacrificed in so discreditable a
manner the claims of others, for the satisfaction of which he had
made himself responsible?

There was yet another singular circumstance.  On Saturday, the
24th, the day after his settlement with Parkman, Webster paid
into his own account at the Charles River Bank the cheque for
L18, lecture fees, handed over to him by the agent Pettee just
before Dr. Parkman's visit on the Friday.  This sum had not ap-

parently gone towards the making up of the L90, which Webster
said that he had paid to Parkman that day.  The means by which
Webster had been enabled to settle this debt became more
mysterious than ever.

On Tuesday, November 27, the Professor received three other
visitors in his lecture-room.  These were police officers who, in
the course of their search for the missing man, felt it their
duty to examine, however perfunctorily, the Medical College. 
With apologies to the Professor, they passed through his lecture
room to the laboratory at the back, and from thence, down the
private stairs, past a privy, into the lower laboratory.  As they
passed the privy one of the officers asked what place it was. 
"Dr. Webster's private lavatory," replied the janitor, who was
conducting them.  At that moment Webster's voice called them away
to examine the store-room in the lower laboratory, and after a
cursory examination the officers departed.

The janitor, Ephraim Littlefield, did not take the opportunity
afforded him by the visit of the police officers to impart to
them the feelings of uneasiness; which the conduct of Professor
Webster during the last three days had excited in his breast. 
There were circumstances in the Professor's behaviour which could
not fail to attract the attention of a man, whose business
throughout the day was to dust and sweep the College, light the
fires and overlook generally the order and cleanliness of
the building.

Littlefield, it will be remembered, had seen Dr. Parkman on the
Monday before his disappearance, when he visited Webster at the
College, and been present at the interview, in the course of
which the Doctor told Webster that "something must be done." 
That Monday morning Webster asked Littlefield a number of
questions about the dissecting-room vault, which was situated
just outside the door of the lower laboratory.  He asked how it
was built, whether a light could be put into it, and how it was
reached for the purpose of repair.  On the following Thursday,
the day before Parkman's disappearance, the Professor told
Littlefield to get him a pint of blood from the Massachusetts
Hospital; he said that he wanted it for an experiment.  On the
morning of Friday, the day of Parkman's disappearance,
Littlefield informed the Professor that he had been unsuccessful
in his efforts to get the blood, as they had not been bleeding
anyone lately at the hospital.  The same morning Littlefield
found to his surprise a sledge-hammer behind the door of the
Professor's back room; he presumed that it had been left there by
masons, and took it down to the lower laboratory.  This sledge-
hammer Littlefield never saw again.  About a quarter to two that
afternoon Littlefield, standing at the front door, after his
dinner, saw Dr. Parkman coming towards the College.  At two
o'clock Littlefield went up to Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes' room,
immediately above Professor Webster's, to help the Doctor to
clear his table after his lecture, which was the last delivered
that day.  About a quarter of an hour later he let Dr. Holmes
out, locked the front door and began to clear out the stoves in
the other lecture-rooms.  When he reached Webster's he was
surprised to find that both doors, that of the lecture room and
that of the lower laboratory, were either locked or bolted. 
He could hear nothing but the running of water in one of the
sinks.  About half-past five Littlefield saw the Professor coming
down the back stairs with a lighted candle in his hand.  Webster
blew out the candle and left the building.  Late that night
Littlefield again tried the Professor's doors; they were still
fastened.  The janitor was surprised at this, as he had never
known such a thing to happen before.

On Saturday, the 24th, though not lecturing that day, the
Professor came to the College in the morning.  He told
Littlefield to light the stove in the lower laboratory.  When
Littlefield made to pass from the lecture-room into the
Professor's private room at the back, and so down by the private
stairs to the lower laboratory, the Professor stopped him and
told him to go round by the door in front of the building.  The
whole of that day and Sunday, the Professor's doors remained
fast.  On Sunday evening at sunset Littlefield, who was talking
with a friend in North Grove Street, the street that faces the
College, was accosted by Webster.  The Professor asked him if he
recollected Parkman's visit to the College on Friday, the 23rd,
and, on his replying in the affirmative, the Professor described
to him their interview and the repayment of his debt. 
Littlefield was struck during their conversation by the
uneasiness of the Professor's bearing; contrary to his habit he
seemed unable to look him in the face, his manner was confused,
his face pale.

During the whole of Monday, except for a visit from Mr. Parkman
Blake, Professor Webster was again locked alone in his
laboratory.  Neither that night, nor early Tuesday morning, could
Littlefield get into the Professor's rooms to perform his
customary duties.  On Tuesday the Professor lectured at twelve
o'clock, and later received the visit of the police officers that
has been described already.  At four o'clock that afternoon,
the Professor's bell rang.  Littlefield answered it.  The Pro-

fessor asked the janitor whether he had bought his turkey for
Thanksgiving Day, which was on the following Thursday. 
Littlefield said that he had not done so yet.  Webster then
handed him an order on his provision dealer.  "Take that," he
said, "and get a nice turkey; perhaps I shall want you to do some
odd jobs for me."  Littlefield thanked him, and said that he
would be glad to do anything for him that he could.  The janitor
was the more surprised at Webster's generosity on this occasion,
as this turkey was the first present he had received at the
Professor's hands during the seven years he had worked in the
College.  Littlefield saw the Professor again about half-past six
that evening as the latter was leaving the College.  The janitor
asked him if he wanted any more fires lighted in his rooms,
because owing to the holidays there were to be no further
lectures that week.  Webster said that he did not, and asked Lit-

tlefield whether he were a freemason.  The janitor said "Yes,"
and with that they parted.

Littlefield was curious.  The mysterious activity of the
Professor of Chemistry seemed to him more than unusual.  His
perplexity was increased on the following day.  Though on account
of the holidays all work had been suspended at the College for
the remainder of the week, Webster was again busy in his room
early Wednesday morning.  Littlefield could hear him moving
about.  In vain did the janitor look through the keyhole, bore a
hole in the door, peep under it; all he could get was a sight of
the Professor's feet moving about the laboratory.  Perplexity
gave way to apprehension when in the course of the afternoon
Littlefield discovered that the outer wall of the lower
laboratory was so hot that he could hardly bear to place his hand
on it.  On the outer side of this wall was a furnace
sometimes used by the Professor in his chemical experiments.  How
came it to be so heated?  The Professor had told Littlefield on
Tuesday that he should not be requiring any fires during the
remainder of the week.

The janitor determined to resolve his suspicions.  He climbed up
to the back windows of the lower laboratory, found one of them
unfastened, and let himself in.  But, beyond evidences of the
considerable fires that had been kept burning during the last few
days, Littlefield saw nothing to excite peculiar attention. 
Still he was uneasy.  Those he met in the street kept on telling
him that Dr. Parkman would be found in the Medical College.  He
felt that he himself was beginning to be suspected of having some
share in the mystery, whilst in his own mind he became more
certain every day that the real solution lay within the walls of
Professor Webster's laboratory.  His attention had fixed itself
particularly on the lavatory at the foot of the stairs connecting
the upper and lower laboratories.  This room he found to be
locked and the key, a large one, had disappeared.  He recollected
that when the police officers had paid their visit to the col-

lege, the Professor had diverted their attention as they were
about to inspect this room.  The only method by which, unknown to
the Professor and without breaking open the door, Littlefield
could examine the vault of this retiring room was by going down
to the basement floor of the college and digging a hole through
the wall into the vault itself.  This he determined to do.

On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, Littlefield commenced operations
with a hatchet and a chisel.  Progress was slow, as that evening
he had been invited to attend a festal gathering.  On Friday the
janitor, before resuming work, acquainted two of the Professors
of the college with his proposed investigation, and received
their sanction.  As Webster, however, was going constantly
in and out of his rooms, he could make little further progress
that day.  The Professor had come into town early in the morning.

Before going to the college he purchased some fish-hooks and gave
orders for the making of a strong tin box with firm handles, a
foot and a half square and a little more than a foot in depth;
during the rest of the day he had been busy in his rooms until he
left the college about four o'clock.  Not till then was the
watchful janitor able to resume his labours.  Armed with a crow-

bar, he worked vigorously until he succeeded in penetrating the
wall sufficiently to admit a light into the vault of the
lavatory.  The first objects which the light revealed to his
eyes, were the pelvis of a man and two parts of a human leg.

Leaving his wife in charge of the remains, Littlefield went
immediately to the house of Professor Bigelow, and informed him
of the result of his search.  They returned to the college some
twenty minutes later, accompanied by the City Marshal.  The human
remains--a pelvis, a thigh and a leg--were taken out of the
vault, and on a further search some pieces of bone were removed
from one of the furnaces in the lower laboratory.  The City
Marshal at once dispatched three of his officers to Cambridge, to
the house of Professor Webster.

To his immediate circle of friends and relations the conduct of
the Professor during this eventful week had betrayed no unwonted
discomposure or disturbance of mind.  His evenings had been spent
either at the house of friends, or at his own, playing whist, or
reading Milton's "Allegro" and "Penseroso" to his wife and daugh-

ters.  On Friday evening, about eight o'clock, as the Professor
was saying good-bye to a friend on the steps of his house at
Cambridge, the three police officers drove up to the door and
asked him to accompany them to the Medical College.  It was
proposed, they said, to make a further search there that evening,
and his presence was considered advisable.  Webster assented
immediately, put on his boots, his hat and coat, and got into the
hired coach.  As they drove towards the city, Webster spoke to
the officers of Parkman's disappearance, and suggested that they
should stop at the house of a lady who, he said, could give them
some peculiar information on that subject.  As they entered
Boston, he remarked that they were taking the wrong direction for
reaching the college.  One of the officers replied that the
driver might be "green," but that he would find his way to the
college in time.  At length the coach stopped.  One of the offi-

cers alighted, and invited his companions to follow him into the
office of the Leverett Street Jail.  They obeyed.  The Professor
asked what it all meant; he was informed that he must consider
himself in custody, charged with the murder of Dr. George
Parkman.  Webster, somewhat taken aback, desired that word should
be sent to his family, but was dissuaded from his purpose for the
time being.  He was searched, and among other articles taken from
him was a key some four or five inches long; it was the missing
lavatory key.  Whilst one of the officers withdrew to make out a
mittimus, the Professor asked one of the others if they had found
Dr. Parkman.  The officer begged him not to question him.  "You
might tell me something about it," pleaded Webster.  "Where did
they find him?  Did they find the whole body?  Oh, my children! 
What will they do?  What will they think of me?  Where did you
get the information?"  The officers asked him if anybody had
access to his apartments but himself.  "Nobody," he replied, "but
the porter who makes the fire."  Then, after a pause, he ex-

claimed:  "That villain!  I am a ruined man."  He was walking up
and down wringing his hands, when one of the officers saw
him put one hand into his waistcoat pocket, and raise it to his
lips.  A few moments later the unhappy man was seized with
violent spasms.  He was unable to stand, and was laid down in one
of the cells.  From this distressing state he was roused shortly
before eleven, to be taken to the college.  He was quite
incapable of walking, and had to be supported by two of the
officers.  He was present there while his rooms were searched;
but his state was painful in the extreme.  He asked for water,
but trembled so convulsively that he could only snap at the
tumbler like a dog; his limbs were rigid; tears and sweat poured
down his cheeks.  On the way back to the jail, one of the
officers, moved by his condition, expressed his pity for him. 
"Do you pity me?  Are you sorry for me?  What for?" asked
Webster.  "To see you so excited," replied the officer.  "Oh!
that's it," said the Professor.

The whole night through the prisoner lay without moving, and not
until the following afternoon were his limbs relaxed sufficiently
to allow of his sitting up.  As his condition improved, he grew
more confident.  "That is no more Dr. Parkman's body," he said,
"than mine.  How in the world it came there I don't know," and he
added:  "I never liked the looks of Littlefield the janitor; I
opposed his coming there all I could."

In the meantime a further examination of the Professor's rooms on
Saturday had resulted in the discovery, in a tea-chest in the
lower laboratory, of a thorax, the left thigh of a leg, and a
hunting knife embedded in tan and covered over with minerals;
some portions of bone and teeth were found mixed with the slag
and cinders of one of the furnaces; also some fish-hooks and a
quantity of twine, the latter identical with a piece of twine
that had been tied round the thigh found in the chest.

Two days later the Professor furnished unwittingly some
additional evidence against himself.  On the Monday evening after
his arrest he wrote from prison to one of his daughters the
following letter:

"MY DEAREST MARIANNE,--I wrote Mama yesterday; I had a good sleep
last night, and dreamt of you all.  I got my clothes off, for the
first time, and awoke in the morning quite hungry.  It was a long
time before my first breakfast from Parker's came; and it was
relished, I can assure you.  At one o'clock I was notified that I
must appear at the court room.  All was arranged with great
regard to my comfort, and went off better than I had anticipated.

On my return I had a bit of turkey and rice from Parker's.  They
send much more than I can eat, and I have directed the steward to
distribute the surplus to any poor ones here.

"If you will send me a small canister of tea, I can make my own. 
A little pepper I may want some day.  I would send the dirty
clothes, but they were taken to dry.  Tell Mama NOT TO OPEN
the little bundle I gave her the other day, but to keep it just
as she received it.  With many kisses to you all.  Good night!--
From your affectionate


"P.S.--My tongue troubles me yet very much, and I must have
bitten it in my distress the other night; it is painful and
swollen, affecting my speech.  Had Mama better send for Nancy?  I
think so; or Aunt Amelia."

"Couple of coloured neck handkerchiefs, one Madras."

This letter, which shows an anxiety about his personal comfort
singular in one so tragically situated, passed through the hands
of the keeper of the jail.  He was struck by the words
underlined," NOT TO OPEN," in regard to the small bundle
confided to Mrs. Webster.  He called the attention of the police
to this phrase.  They sent immediately an officer armed with a
search warrant to the Professor's house.  He received from Mrs.
Webster among other papers a package which, on being opened, was
found to contain the two notes given by Webster to Parkman as
acknowledgments of his indebtedness to him in 1842 and 1847, and
a paper showing the amount of his debts to Parkman in 1847. 
There were daubs and erasures made across these documents, and
across one was written twice over the word "paid."  All these
evidences of payments and cancellations appeared on examination
to be in the handwriting of the Professor.

After an inquest lasting nine days the coroner's jury declared
the remains found in the college to be those of Dr. George
Parkman, and that the deceased had met his death at the hands of
Professor J. W. Webster.  The prisoner waived his right to a
magisterial investigation, and on January 26, 1850, the Grand
Jury returned a true bill.  But it was not until March 17 that
the Professor's trial opened before the Supreme Court of
Massachusetts.  The proceedings were conducted with that dignity
and propriety which we look for in the courts of that State.  The
principal features in the defence were an attempt to impugn the
testimony of the janitor Littlefield, and to question the
possibility of the identification of the remains of Parkman's
teeth.  There was a further attempt to prove that the deceased
had been seen by a number of persons in the streets of Boston on
the Friday afternoon, after his visit to the Medical College. 
The witness Littlefield was unshaken by a severe cross-
examination.  The very reluctance with which Dr. Keep gave his
fatal evidence, and the support given to his conclusions by
distinguished testimony told strongly in favour of the absolute
trustworthiness of his statements.  The evidence called to
prove that the murdered man had been seen alive late on Friday
afternoon was highly inconclusive.

Contrary to the advice of his counsel, Webster addressed the jury
himself.  He complained of the conduct of his case, and
enumerated various points that his counsel had omitted to make,
which he conceived to be in his favour.  The value of his
statements may be judged by the fact that he called God to
witness that he had not written any one of the anonymous letters,
purporting to give a true account of the doctor's fate, which had
been received by the police at the time of Parkman's disap-

pearance.  After his condemnation Webster confessed to the
authorship of at least one of them.

The jury retired at eight o'clock on the eleventh day of the
trial.  They would seem to have approached their duty in a most
solemn and devout spirit, and it was with the greatest reluctance
and after some searching of heart that they brought themselves to
find the prisoner guilty of wilful murder.  On hearing their
verdict, the Professor sank into a seat, and, dropping his head,
rubbed his eyes behind his spectacles as if wiping away tears. 
On the following morning the Chief Justice sentenced him to death
after a well-meaning speech of quite unnecessary length and
elaboration, at the conclusion of which the condemned man wept

A petition for a writ of error having been dismissed, the
Professor in July addressed a petition for clemency to the
Council of the State.  Dr. Putnam, who had been attending Webster
in the jail, read to the Council a confession which he had
persuaded the prisoner to make.  According to this statement
Webster had, on the Friday afternoon, struck Parkman on the head
with a heavy wooden stick in a wild moment of rage, induced by
the violent taunts and threats of his creditor.  Appalled by his
deed, he had in panic locked himself in his room, and
proceeded with desperate haste to dismember the body; he had
placed it for that purpose in the sink in his back room, through
which was running a constant stream of water that carried away
the blood.  Some portions of the body he had burnt in the
furnace; those in the lavatory and the tea-chest he had concealed
there, until he should have had an opportunity of getting rid of

In this statement Professor Webster denied all premeditation. 
Dr. Putnam asked him solemnly whether he had not, immediately
before the crime, meditated at any time on the advantages that
would accrue to him from Parkman's death.  Webster replied
"Never, before God!"  He had, he protested, no idea of doing
Parkman an injury until the bitter tongue of the latter provoked
him.  "I am irritable and violent," he said, "a quickness and
brief violence of temper has been the besetting sin of my life. 
I was an only child, much indulged, and I have never secured the
control over my passions that I ought to have acquired early; and
the consequence is--all this!"  He denied having told Parkman
that he was going to settle with him that afternoon, and said
that he had asked him to come to the college with the sole object
of pleading with him for further indulgence.  He explained his
convulsive seizure at the time of his arrest by his having taken
a dose of strychnine, which he had carried in his pocket since
the crime.  In spite of these statements and the prayers of the
unfortunate man's wife and daughters, who, until his confession
to Dr. Putnam, had believed implicity in his innocence, the
Council decided that the law must take its course, and fixed
August 30 as the day of execution.

The Professor resigned himself to his fate.  He sent for
Littlefield and his wife, and expressed his regret for any
injustice he had done them:  "All you said was true.  You have
misrepresented nothing."  Asked by the sheriff whether he
was to understand from some of his expressions that he
contemplated an attempt at suicide, "Why should I?" he replied,
"all the proceedings in my case have been just . . . and it is
just that I should die upon the scaffold in accordance with that
sentence."  "Everybody is right," he said to the keeper of the
jail, "and I am wrong.  And I feel that, if the yielding up of my
life to the injured law will atone, even in part, for the crime I
have committed, that is a consolation."

In a letter to the Reverend Francis Parkman he expressed deep
contrition for his guilt.  He added one sentence which may
perhaps fairly express the measure of premeditation that
accompanied his crime.  "I had never," he wrote, "until the two
or three last interviews with your brother, felt towards him
anything but gratitude for his many acts of kindness and

Professor Webster met his death with fortitude and resignation. 
That he deserved his fate few will be inclined to deny.  The
attempt to procure blood, the questions about the dissecting-room
vault, the appointment made with Parkman at the college, the
statement to Pettee, all point to some degree of premeditation,
or at least would make it appear that the murder of Parkman had
been considered by him as a possible eventuality.  His accusation
of Littlefield deprives him of a good deal of sympathy.  On the
other hand, the age and position of Webster, the aggravating
persistency of Parkman, his threats and denunciations, coupled
with his own shortness of temper, make it conceivable that he may
have killed his victim on a sudden and overmastering provocation,
in which case he had better at once have acknowledged his crime
instead of making a repulsive attempt to conceal it.  But for the
evidence of Dr. Keep he would possibly have escaped punishment
altogether.  Save for the portions of his false teeth, there was
not sufficient evidence to identify the remains found in the
college as those of Parkman.  Without these teeth the proof of
the corpus delicti would have been incomplete, and so afforded
Webster a fair chance of acquittal.

The Mysterious Mr. Holmes

"The Holmes-Pitezel Case," by F. B. Geyer, 1896; "Holmes' Own
Story," Philadelphia, 1895; and "Celebrated Criminal Cases of
America," by T. S. Duke, San Francisco, are the authorities for
this account of the case.



In the year 1894 Mr. Smith, a carpenter, of Philadelphia, had
patented a new saw-set.  Wishing to make some money out of his
invention, Mr. Smith was attracted by the sign:


which he saw stretched across the window of a two-storied house,
1,316 Callowhill Street.  He entered the house and made the
acquaintance of Mr. Perry, a tall, dark, bony man, to whom he
explained the merits of his invention.  Perry listened with
interest, and asked for a model.  In the meantime he suggested
that Smith should do some carpenter's work for him in the house. 
Smith agreed, and on August 22, while at work there saw a man
enter the house and go up with Perry to a room on the second

A few days later Smith called at Callowhill Street to ask Perry
about the sale of the patent.  He waited half an hour in the shop
below, called out to Perry who, he thought, might be in the
rooms above, received no answer and went away.  Next day,
September 4, Smith returned, found the place just as he had left
it the day before; called Perry again, but again got no answer. 
Surprised, he went upstairs, and in the back room of the second
story the morning sunshine, streaming through the window, showed
him the dead body of a man, his face charred beyond recognition,
lying with his feet to the window and his head to the door. 
There was evidence of some sort of explosion: a broken bottle
that had contained an inflammable substance, a broken pipe filled
with tobacco, and a burnt match lay by the side of the body.

The general appearance of the dead man answered to that of B. F.
Perry.  A medical examination of the body showed that death had
been sudden, that there had been paralysis of the involuntary
muscles, and that the stomach, besides showing symptoms of
alcoholic irritation, emitted a strong odour of chloroform.  An
inquest was held, and a verdict returned that B. F. Perry had
died of congestion of the lungs caused by the inhalation of flame
or chloroform.  After lying in the mortuary for eleven days the
body was buried.

In the meantime the Philadelphia branch of the Fidelity Mutual
Life Association had received a letter from one Jephtha D. Howe,
an attorney at St. Louis, stating that the deceased B. F. Perry
was Benjamin F. Pitezel of that city, who had been insured in
their office for a sum of ten thousand dollars.  The insurance
had been effected in Chicago in the November of 1893.  Mr. Howe
proposed to come to Philadelphia with some members of the Pitezel
family to identify the remains.  Referring to their Chicago
branch, the insurance company found that the only person who
would seem to have known Pitezel when in that city, was a certain
H. H. Holmes, living at Wilmette, Illinois.  They got into
communication with Mr. Holmes, and forwarded to him a cutting
from a newspaper, which stated erroneously that the death of B.
F. Perry had taken place in Chicago.

On September 18 they received a letter from Mr. Holmes, in which
he offered what assistance he could toward the identification of
B. F. Perry as B. F. Pitezel.  He gave the name of a dentist in
Chicago who would be able to recognise teeth which he had made
for Pitezel, and himself furnished a description of the man,
especially of a malformation of the knee and a warty growth on
the back of the neck by which he could be further identified. 
Mr. Holmes offered, if his expenses were paid, to come to Chicago
to view the body.  Two days later he wrote again saying that he
had seen by other papers that Perry's death had taken place in
Philadelphia and not in Chicago, and that as he had to be in
Baltimore in a day or two, he would run over to Philadelphia and
visit the office of the Fidelity Life Association.

On September 20 the assiduous Mr. Holmes called at the office of
the Association in Philadelphia, inquired anxiously about the
nature and cause of Perry's death, gave again a description of
him and, on learning that Mr. Howe, the attorney from St. Louis,
was about to come to Philadelphia to represent the widow, Mrs.
Pitezel, and complete the identification, said that he would
return to give the company any further help he could in the
matter.  The following day Mr. Jephtha D. Howe, attorney of St.
Louis, arrived in Philadelphia, accompanied by Alice Pitezel, a
daughter of the deceased.  Howe explained that Pitezel had taken
the name of Perry owing to financial difficulties.  The company
said that they accepted the fact that Perry and Pitezel were one
and the same man, but were not convinced that the body was
Pitezel's body.  The visit of Holmes was mentioned.  Howe
said that he did not know Mr. Holmes, but would be willing to
meet him.  At this moment Holmes arrived at the office.  He was
introduced to Howe as a stranger, and recognised as a friend by
Alice Pitezel, a shy, awkward girl of fourteen or fifteen years
of age.  It was then arranged that all the parties should meet
again next day to identify, if possible, the body, which had been
disinterred for that purpose.

The unpleasant duty of identifying the rapidly decomposing
remains was greatly curtailed by the readiness of Mr. Holmes. 
When the party met on the 22nd at the Potter's Field, where the
body had been disinterred and laid out, the doctor present was
unable to find the distinctive marks which would show Perry and
Pitezel to have been the same man.  Holmes at once stepped into
the breach, took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, put on the
rubber gloves, and taking a surgeon's knife from his pocket, cut
off the wart at the back of the neck, showed the injury to the
leg, and revealed also a bruised thumb-nail which had been
another distinctive mark of Pitezel.  The body was then covered
up all but the teeth; the girl Alice was brought in, and she said
that the teeth appeared to be like those of her father.  The
insurance company declared themselves satisfied, and handed to
Mr. Howe a cheque for 9,175 dollars, and to Mr. Holmes ten
dollars for his expenses.  Smith, the carpenter, had been present
at the proceedings at the Potter's Field.  For a moment he
thought he detected a likeness in Mr. Holmes to the man who had
visited Perry at Callowhill Street on August 22 and gone upstairs
with him, but he did not feel sure enough of the fact to make any
mention of it.

In the prison at St. Louis there languished in the year 1894 one
Marion Hedgspeth, serving a sentence of twenty years'
imprisonment for an audacious train robbery.  On the night
of November 30, 1891, the "'Friscow express from St. Louis had
been boarded by four ruffians, the express car blown open with
dynamite, and 10,000 dollars carried off.  Hedgspeth and another
man were tried for the robbery, and sentenced to twenty years'
imprisonment.  On October 9, 1894, Hegspeth{sic} made a statement
to the Governor of the St. Louis prison, which he said he wished
to be communicated to the Fidelity Mutual Life Association.  In
the previous July Hedgspeth said that he had met in the prison a
man of the name of H. M. Howard, who was charged with fraud, but
had been released on bail later in the month.  While in prison
Howard told Hedgspeth that he had devised a scheme for swindling
an insurance company of 10,000 dollars, and promised Hedgspeth
that, if he would recommend him a lawyer suitable for such an
enterprise, he should have 500 dollars as his share of the
proceeds.  Hedgspeth recommended Jephtha D. Howe.  The latter
entered with enthusiasm into the scheme, and told Hedgspeth that
he thought Mr. Howard "one of the smoothest and slickest" men he
had ever known.  A corpse was to be found answering to Pitezel's
description, and to be so treated as to appear to have been the
victim of an accidental explosion, while Pitezel himself would
disappear to Germany.  From Howe Hedgspeth learnt that the
swindle had been carried out successfully, but he had never
received from Howard the 500 dollars promised him.  Consequently,
he had but little compunction in divulging the plot to the

It was realised at once that H. M. Howard and H. H. Holmes were
the same person, and that Jephtha D. Howe and Mr. Holmes were not
the strangers to each other that they had affected to be when
they met in Philadelphia.  Though somewhat doubtful of the truth
of Hedgspeth's statement, the insurance company decided to
set Pinkerton's detectives on the track of Mr. H. H. Holmes. 
After more than a month's search he was traced to his father's
house at Gilmanton, N. H., and arrested in Boston on November 17.

Inquiry showed that, early in 1894, Holmes and Pitezel had
acquired some real property at Fort Worth in Texas and commenced
building operations, but had soon after left Texas under a cloud,
arising from the theft of a horse and other dubious transactions.

Holmes had obtained the property at Fort Worth from a Miss Minnie
Williams, and transferred it to Pitezel.  Pitezel was a drunken
"crook," of mean intelligence, a mesmeric subject entirely under
the influence of Holmes, who claimed to have considerable
hypnotic powers.  Pitezel had a wife living at St. Louis and five
children, three girls--Dessie, Alice, and Nellie--a boy, Howard,
and a baby in arms.  At the time of Holmes' arrest Mrs. Pitezel,
with her eldest daughter, Dessie, and her little baby, was living
at a house rented by Holmes at Burlington, Vermont.  She also was
arrested on a charge of complicity in the insurance fraud and
brought to Boston.

Two days after his arrest Holmes, who dreaded being sent back to
Texas on a charge of horse-stealing, for which in that State the
punishment is apt to be rough and ready, made a statement to the
police, in which he acknowledged the fraud practised by him and
Pitezel on the insurance company.  The body substituted for
Pitezel had been obtained, said Holmes, from a doctor in New
York, packed in a trunk and sent to Philadelphia, but he declined
for the present to give the doctor's name.  Pitezel, he said, had
gone with three of his children--Alice, Nellie and Howard--to
South America.  This fact, however, Holmes had not communicated
to Mrs. Pitezel.  When she arrived at Boston, the poor woman was
in great distress of mind.  Questioned by the officers, she
attempted to deny any complicity in the fraud, but her real
anxiety was to get news of her husband and her three children. 
Alice she had not seen since the girl had gone to Philadelphia to
identify the supposed remains of her father.  Shortly after this
Holmes had come to Mrs. Pitezel at St. Louis, and taken away
Nellie and Howard to join Alice, who, he said, was in the care of
a widow lady at Ovington, Kentucky.  Since then Mrs. Pitezel had
seen nothing of the children or her husband.  At Holmes'
direction she had gone to Detroit, Toronto, Ogdensberg and,
lastly, to Burlington in the hope of meeting either Pitezel or
the children, but in vain.  She believed that her husband had
deserted her; her only desire was to recover her children.

On November 20 Holmes and Mrs. Pitezel were transferred from
Boston to Philadelphia, and there, along with Benjamin Pitezel
and Jephtha D. Howe, were charged with defrauding the Fidelity
Life Association of 10,000 dollars.  Soon after his arrival in
Philadelphia Holmes, who was never averse to talking, was asked
by an inspector of the insurance company who it was that had
helped him to double up the body sent from New York and pack it
into the trunk.  He replied that he had done it alone, having
learned the trick when studying medicine in Michigan.  The
inspector recollected that the body when removed from Callowhill
Street had been straight and rigid.  He asked Holmes what trick
he had learnt in the course of his medical studies by which it
was possible to re-stiffen a body once the rigor mortis had
been broken.  To this Holmes made no reply.  But he realised his
mistake, and a few weeks later volunteered a second statement. 
He now said that Pitezel, in a fit of depression, aggravated by
his drinking habits, had committed suicide on the third story of
the house in Callowhill Street.  There Holmes had found his
body,carried it down on to the floor below, and arranged it
in the manner agreed upon for deceiving the insurance company. 
Pitezel, he said, had taken his life by lying on the floor and
allowing chloroform to run slowly into his mouth through a rubber
tube placed on a chair.  The three children, Holmes now stated,
had gone to England with a friend of his, Miss Minnie Williams.

Miss Minnie Williams was the lady, from whom Holmes was said to
have acquired the property in Texas which he and Pitezel had set
about developing.  There was quite a tragedy, according to
Holmes, connected with the life of Miss Williams.  She had come
to Holmes in 1893, as secretary, at a drug store which he was
then keeping in Chicago.  Their relations had become more
intimate, and later in the year Miss Williams wrote to her
sister, Nannie, saying that she was going to be married, and
inviting her to the wedding.  Nannie arrived, but unfortunately a
violent quarrel broke out between the two sisters, and Holmes
came home to find that Minnie in her rage had killed her sister. 
He had helped her out of the trouble by dropping Nannie's body
into the Chicago lake.  After such a distressing occurrence Miss
Williams was only too glad of the opportunity of leaving America
with the Pitezel children.  In the meantime Holmes, under the
name of Bond, and Pitezel, under that of Lyman, had proceeded to
deal with Miss Williams' property in Texas.

For women Holmes would always appear to have possessed some power
of attraction, a power of which he availed himself generously. 
Holmes, whose real name was Herman W. Mudgett, was thirty-four
years of age at the time of his arrest.  As a boy he had spent
his life farming in Vermont, after which he had taken up medicine
and acquired some kind of medical degree.  In the course of his
training Holmes and a fellow student, finding a body that
bore a striking resemblance to the latter; obtained 1,000 dollars
from an insurance company by a fraud similar to that in which
Holmes had engaged subsequently with Pitezel.  After spending
some time on the staff of a lunatic asylum in Pennsylvania,
Holmes set up as a druggist in Chicago.  His affairs in this city
prospered, and he was enabled to erect, at the corner of Wallace
and Sixty-Third Streets, the four-storied building known later as
"Holmes Castle."  It was a singular structure.  The lower part
consisted of a shop and offices.  Holmes occupied the second
floor, and had a laboratory on the third.  In his office was a
vault, air proof and sound proof.  In the bathroom a trap-door,
covered by a rug, opened on to a secret staircase leading down to
the cellar, and a similar staircase connected the cellar with the
laboratory.  In the cellar was a large grate.  To this building
Miss Minnie Williams had invited her sister to come for her
wedding with Holmes, and it was in this building, according to
Holmes, that the tragedy of Nannie's untimely death occurred.

In hoping to become Holmes' wife, Miss Minnie Williams was not to
enjoy an exclusive privilege.  At the time of his arrest Holmes
had three wives, each ignorant of the others' existence.  He had
married the first in 1878, under the name of Mudgett, and was
visiting her at Burlington, Vermont, when the Pinkerton
detectives first got on his track.  The second he had married at
Chicago, under the name of Howard, and the third at Denver as
recently as January, 1894, under the name of Holmes.  The third
Mrs. Holmes had been with him when he came to Philadelphia to
identify Pitezel's body.  The appearance of Holmes was
commonplace, but he was a man of plausible and ingratiating
address, apparent candour, and able in case of necessity to "let
loose," as he phrased it, "the fount of emotion."

The year 1895 opened to find the much enduring Holmes still a
prisoner in Philadelphia.  The authorities seemed in no haste to
indict him for fraud; their interest was concentrated rather in
endeavouring to find the whereabouts of Miss Williams and her
children, and of one Edward Hatch, whom Holmes had described as
helping him in arranging for their departure.  The "great
humiliation" of being a prisoner was very distressing to Holmes.

"I only know the sky has lost its blue,
The days are weary and the night is drear."

These struck him as two beautiful lines very appropriate to his
situation.  He made a New Year's resolve to give up meat during
his close confinement.  The visits of his third wife brought him
some comfort.  He was "agreeably surprised" to find that, as an
unconvicted prisoner, he could order in his own meals and receive
newspapers and periodicals.  But he was hurt at an unfriendly
suggestion on the part of the authorities that Pitezel had not
died by his own hand, and that Edward Hatch was but a figment of
his rich imagination.  He would like to have been released on
bail, but in the same unfriendly spirit was informed that, if he
were, he would be detained on a charge of murder.  And so the
months dragged on.  Holmes, studious, patient, injured, the
authorities puzzled, suspicions, baffled--still no news of Miss
Williams or the three children.  It was not until June 3 that
Holmes was put on his trial for fraud, and the following day
pleaded guilty.  Sentence was postponed.

The same day Holmes was sent for to the office of the District
Attorney, who thus addressed him:  "It is strongly suspected,
Holmes, that you have not only murdered Pitezel, but that you
have killed the children.  The best way to remove this
suspicion is to produce the children at once.  Now, where are
they?"  Unfriendly as was this approach, Holmes met it calmly,
reiterated his previous statement that the children had gone with
Miss Williams to England, and gave her address in London, 80
Veder or Vadar Street, where, he said, Miss Williams had opened a
massage establishment.  He offered to draw up and insert a cipher
advertisement in the New York Herald, by means of which, he
said, Miss Williams and he had agreed to communicate, and almost
tearfully he added, "Why should I kill innocent children?"

Asked to give the name of any person who had seen Miss Williams
and the children in the course of their journeyings in America,
he resented the disbelief implied in such a question, and strong
was his manly indignation when one of the gentlemen present
expressed his opinion that the story was a lie from beginning to
end.  This rude estimate of Holmes' veracity was, however, in
some degree confirmed when a cipher advertisement published in
the New York Herald according to Holmes' directions, produced
no reply from Miss Williams, and inquiry showed that no such
street as Veder or Vadar Street was to be found in London.

In spite of these disappointments, Holmes' quiet confidence in
his own good faith continued unshaken.  When the hapless Mrs.
Pitezel was released, he wrote her a long letter.  "Knowing me as
you do," he said, "can you imagine me killing little and innocent
children, especially without any motive?"  But even Mrs. Pitezel
was not wholly reassured.  She recollected how Holmes had taken
her just before his arrest to a house he had rented at
Burlington, Vermont, how he had written asking her to carry a
package of nitro-glycerine from the bottom to the top of the
house, and how one day she had found him busily removing the
boards in the cellar.


The District Attorney and the Insurance Company were not in
agreement as to the fate of the Pitezel children.  The former
still inclined to the hope and belief that they were in England
with Miss Williams, but the insurance company took a more
sinister view.  No trace of them existed except a tin box found
among Holmes' effects, containing letters they had written to
their mother and grandparents from Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and
Detroit, which had been given to Holmes to dispatch but had never
reached their destination.  The box contained letters from Mrs.
Pitezel to her children, which Holmes had presumably intercepted.

It was decided to make a final attempt to resolve all doubts by
sending an experienced detective over the route taken by the
children in America.  He was to make exhaustive inquiries in each
city with a view to tracing the visits of Holmes or the three
children.  For this purpose a detective of the name of Geyer was
chosen.  The record of his search is a remarkable story of
patient and persistent investigation.

Alice Pitezel had not seen her mother since she had gone with
Holmes to identify her father's remains in Philadelphia.  From
there Holmes had taken her to Indianapolis.  In the meantime he
had visited Mrs. Pitezel at St. Louis, and taken away with him
the girl, Nellie, and the boy, Howard, alleging as his reason for
doing so that they and Alice were to join their father, whose
temporary effacement was necessary to carry out successfully the
fraud on the insurance company, to which Mrs. Pitezel had been
from the first an unwilling party.  Holmes, Nellie and Howard had
joined Alice at Indianapolis, and from there all four were
believed to have gone to Cincinnati.  It was here, accordingly,
on June 27, 1895, that Geyer commenced his search.

After calling at a number of hotels, Geyer found that on Friday,
September 28, 1894, a man, giving the name of Alexander E. Cook,
and three children had stayed at a hotel called the Atlantic
House.  Geyer recollected that Holmes, when later on he had sent
Mrs. Pitezel to the house in Burlington, had described her as
Mrs. A. E. Cook and, though not positive, the hotel clerk thought
that he recognised in the photographs of Holmes and he three
children, which Geyer showed him, the four visitors to the hotel.

They had left the Atlantic House the next day, and on that same
day, the 29th, Geyer found that Mr. A. E. Cook and three children
had registered at the Bristol Hotel, where they had stayed until
Sunday the 30th.

Knowing Holmes' habit of renting houses, Geyer did not confine
his enquiries to the hotels.  He visited a number of estate
agents and learnt that a man and a boy, identified as Holmes and
Howard Pitezel, had occupied a house No. 305 Poplar Street.  The
man had given the name of A. C. Hayes.  He had taken the house on
Friday the 28th, and on the 29th had driven up to it with the boy
in a furniture wagon.  A curious neighbour, interested in the
advent of a newcomer, saw the wagon arrive, and was somewhat
astonished to observe that the only furniture taken into the
house was a large iron cylinder stove.  She was still further
surprised when, on the following day, Mr. Hayes told her that he
was not going after all to occupy the house, and made her a pres-

ent of the cylinder stove.

From Cincinnati Geyer went to Indianapolis.  Here inquiry showed
that on September 30 three children had been brought by a man
identified as Holmes to the Hotel English, and registered in
the name of Canning.  This was the maiden name of Mrs. Pitezel. 
The children had stayed at the hotel one night.  After that Geyer
seemed to lose track of them until he was reminded of a hotel
then closed, called the Circle House.  With some difficulty he
got a sight of the books of the hotel, and found that the three
Canning children had arrived there on October 1 and stayed until
the 10th.  From the former proprietor of the hotel he learnt that
Holmes had described himself as the children's uncle, and had
said that Howard was a bad boy, whom he was trying to place in
some institution.  The children seldom went out; they would sit
in their room drawing or writing, often they were found crying;
they seemed homesick and unhappy.

There are letters of the children written from Indianapolis to
their mothers, letters found in Holmes' possession, which had
never reached her.  In these letters they ask their mother why
she does not write to them.  She had written, but her letters
were in Holmes' possession.  Alice writes that she is reading
"Uncle Tom's Cabin."  She has read so much that her eyes hurt;
they have bought a crystal pen for five cents which gives them
some amusement; they had been to the Zoo in Cincinnati the Sunday
before:  "I expect this Sunday will pass away slower than I don't
know--Howard is two (sic) dirty to be seen out on the street
to-day."  Sometimes they go and watch a man who paints "genuine
oil paintings" in a shoe store, which are given away with every
dollar purchase of shoes--"he can paint a picture in one and a
half minutes, ain't that quick!"  Howard was getting a little
troublesome.  "I don't like to tell you," writes Alice, "but you
ask me, so I will have to.  Howard won't mind me at all.  He
wanted a book and I got `Life of General Sheridan,' and it is
awful nice, but now he don't read it at all hardly."  Poor
Howard!  One morning, says Alice, Mr. Holmes told him to
stay in and wait for him, as he was coming to take him out, but
Howard was disobedient, and when Mr. Holmes arrived he had gone
out.  Better for Howard had he never returned!  "We have written
two or three letters to you," Alice tells her mother, "and I
guess you will begin to get them now.  She will not get them. 
Mr. Holmes is so very particular that the insurance company shall
get no clue to the whereabouts of any member of the Pitezel

Geyer knew that from Indianapolis Holmes had gone to Detroit.  He
ascertained that two girls, "Etta and Nellie Canning," had
registered on October 12 at the New Western Hotel in that city,
and from there had moved on the 15th to a boarding-house in
Congress Street.  From Detroit Alice had written to her
grandparents.  It was cold and wet, she wrote; she and Etta had
colds and chapped hands:  "We have to stay in all the time.  All
that Nell and I can do is to draw, and I get so tired sitting
that I could get up and fly almost.  I wish I could see you all. 
I am getting so homesick that I don't know what to do.  I suppose
Wharton (their baby brother) walks by this time, don't he?  I
would like to have him here, he would pass away the time a good
deal."  As a fact little Wharton, his mother and sister Dessie,
were at this very moment in Detroit, within ten minutes' walk of
the hotel at which Holmes had registered "Etta and Nellie

On October 14 there had arrived in that city a weary, anxious-
looking woman, with a girl and a little baby.  They took a room
at Geis's Hotel, registering as Mrs. Adams and daughter.  Mrs.
Adams seemed in great distress of mind, and never left her room.

The housekeeper, being shown their photographs, identified the
woman and the girl as Mrs. Pitezel and her eldest daughter
Dessie.  As the same time there had been staying at another
hotel in Detroit a Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, whose photographs showed
them to be the Mr. Holmes in question and his third wife.  These
three parties--the two children, Mrs. Pitezel and her baby, and
the third Mrs. Holmes--were all ignorant of each other's presence
in Detroit; and under the secret guidance of Mr. Holmes the three
parties (still unaware of their proximity to each other, left
Detroit for Canada, arriving in Toronto on or about October 18,
and registering at three separate hotels.  The only one who had
not to all appearances reached Toronto was the boy Howard.

In Toronto "Alice and Nellie Canning" stayed at the Albion Hotel.

They arrived there on October 19, and left on the 25th.  During
their stay a man, identified as Holmes, had called every morning
for the two children, and taken them out; but they had come back
alone, usually in time for supper.  On the 25th he had called and
taken them out, but they had not returned to supper.  After that
date Geyer could find no trace of them.  Bearing in mind Holmes'
custom of renting houses, he compiled a list of all the house
agents in Toronto, and laboriously applied to each one for
information.  The process was a slow one, and the result seemed
likely to be disappointing.

To aid his search Geyer decided to call in the assistance of the
Press.  The newspapers readily published long accounts of the
case and portraits of Holmes and the children.  At last, after
eight days of patient and untiring investigation, after following
up more than one false clue, Geyer received a report that there
was a house--No. 16 St. Vincent Street--which had been rented in
the previous October by a man answering to the description of
Holmes.  The information came from an old Scottish gentleman
living next door.  Geyer hastened to see him.  The old gentleman
said that the man who had occupied No. 16 in October had
told him that he had taken the house for his widowed sister, and
he recognised the photograph of Alice Pitezel as one of the two
girls accompanying him.  The only furniture the man had taken
into the house was a bed, a mattress and a trunk.  During his
stay at No. 16 this man had called on his neighbour about four
o'clock one afternoon and borrowed a spade, saying that he wanted
to dig a place in the cellar where his widowed sister could keep
potatoes; he had returned the spade the following morning.  The
lady to whom the house belonged recognised Holmes' portrait as
that of the man to whom she had let No. 16.

At last Geyer seemed to be on the right track.  He hurried back
to St. Vincent Street, borrowed from the old gentleman at No. 18
the very spade which he had lent to Holmes in the previous
October, and got the permission of the present occupier of No. 16
to make a search.  In the centre of the kitchen Geyer found a
trap-door leading down into a small cellar.  In one corner of the
cellar he saw that the earth had been recently dug up.  With the
help of the spade the loose earth was removed, and at a depth of
some three feet, in a state of advanced decomposition, lay the
remains of what appeared to be two children.  A little toy wooden
egg with a snake inside it, belonging to the Pitezel children,
had been found by the tenant who had taken the house after
Holmes; a later tenant had found stuffed into the chimney, but
not burnt, some clothing that answered the description of that
worn by Alice and Etta Pitezel; and by the teeth and hair of the
two corpses Mrs. Pitezel was able to identify them as those of
her two daughters.  The very day that Alice and Etta had met
their deaths at St. Vincent Street, their mother had been staying
near them at a hotel in the same city, and later on the same day
Holmes had persuaded her to leave Toronto for Ogdensburg.  He
said that they were being watched by detectives, and so it
would be impossible for her husband to come to see her there.

But the problem was not yet wholly solved.  What had become of
Howard?  So far Geyer's search had shown that Holmes had rented
three houses, one in Cincinnati, one in Detroit, and one in
Toronto.  Howard had been with his sisters at the hotels in
Indianapolis, and in Detroit the house agents had said that, when
Holmes had rented a house there, he had been accompanied by a
boy.  Yet an exhaustive search of that house had revealed no
trace of him.  Geyer returned to Detroit and again questioned the
house agents; on being pressed their recollection of the boy who
had accompanied Holmes seemed very vague and uncertain.  This
served only to justify a conclusion at which Geyer had already
arrived, that Howard had never reached Detroit, but had
disappeared in Indianapolis.  Alice's letters, written from
there, had described how Holmes had wanted to take Howard out one
day and how the boy had refused to stay in and wait for him.  In
the same way Holmes had called for the two girls at the Albion
Hotel in Toronto on October 25 and taken them out with him, after
which they had never been seen alive except by the old gentleman
at No. 18 St. Vincent Street.

If Geyer could discover that Holmes had not departed in
Indianapolis from his usual custom of renting houses, he might be
on the high way to solving the mystery of Howard's fate. 
Accordingly he returned to Indianapolis.

In the meantime, Holmes, in his prison at Philadelphia, learnt of
the discovery at Toronto.  "On the morning of the 16th of July,"
he writes in his journal, "my newspaper was delivered to me about
8.30 a.m., and I had hardly opened it before I saw in large
headlines the announcement of the finding of the children in
Toronto.  For the moment it seemed so impossible that I was
inclined to think it was one of the frequent newspaper
excitements that had attended the earlier part of the case, but,
in attempting to gain some accurate comprehension of what was
stated in the article, I became convinced that at least certain
bodies had been found there, and upon comparing the date when the
house was hired I knew it to be the same as when the children had
been in Toronto; and thus being forced to realise the awfulness
of what had probably happened, I gave up trying to read the
article, and saw instead the two little faces as they had looked
when I hurriedly left them--felt the innocent child's kiss so
timidly given, and heard again their earnest words of farewell,
and realised that I had received another burden to carry to my
grave with me, equal, if not worse, than the horrors of Nannie
Williams' death."

Questioned by the district attorney, Holmes met this fresh
evidence by evoking once again the mythical Edward Hatch and
suggesting that Miss Minnie Williams, in a "hellish wish for
vengeance" because of Holmes' fancied desertion, and in order to
make it appear probable that he, and not she, had murdered her
sister, had prompted Hatch to commit the horrid deed.  Holmes
asked to be allowed to go to Toronto that he might collect any
evidence which he could find there in his favour.  The district
attorney refused his request; he had determined to try Holmes in
Philadelphia.  "What more could, be said?" writes Holmes. 
Indeed, under the circumstances, and in the unaccountable absence
of Edward Hatch and Minnie Williams, there was little more to be

Detective Geyer reopened his search in Indianapolis by obtaining
a list of advertisements of houses to let in the city in 1894. 
Nine hundred of these were followed up in vain.  He then turned
his attention to the small towns lying around Indianapolis
with no happier result.  Geyer wrote in something of despair to
his superiors:  "By Monday we will have searched every outlying
town except Irvington.  After Irvington, I scarcely know where we
shall go."  Thither he went on August 27, exactly two months from
the day on which his quest had begun.  As he entered the town he
noticed the advertisement of an estate agent.  He called at the
office and found a "pleasant-faced old gentleman," who greeted
him amiably.  Once again Geyer opened his now soiled and ragged
packet of photographs, and asked the gentleman if in October,
1894, he had let a house to a man who said that he wanted one for
a widowed sister.  He showed him the portrait of Holmes.

The old man put on his glasses and looked at the photograph for
some time.  Yes, he said, he did remember that he had given the
keys of a cottage in October, 1894, to a man of Holmes'
appearance, and he recollected the man the more distinctly for
the uncivil abruptness with which he had asked for the keys; "I
felt," he said, "he should have had more respect for my grey

From the old gentleman's office Geyer hastened to the cottage,
and made at once for the cellar.  There he could find no sign of
recent disturbance.  But beneath the floor of a piazza adjoining
the house he found the remains of a trunk, answering to the
description of that which the Pitezel children had had with them,
and in an outhouse he discovered the inevitable stove, Holmes'
one indispensable piece of furniture.  It was stained with blood
on the top.  A neighbour had seen Holmes in the same October
drive up to the house in the furniture wagon accompanied by a
boy, and later in the day Holmes had asked him to come over to
the cottage and help him to put up a stove.  The neighbour asked
him why he did not use gas; Holmes replied that he did not
think gas was healthy for children.  While the two men were
putting up the stove, the little boy stood by and watched them. 
After further search there were discovered in the cellar chimney
some bones, teeth, a pelvis and the baked remains of a stomach,
liver and spleen.

Medical examination showed them to be the remains of a child
between seven and ten years of age.  A spinning top, a scarf-pin,
a pair of shoes and some articles of clothing that had belonged
to the little Pitezels, had been found in the house at different
times, and were handed over to Geyer.

His search was ended.  On September 1 he returned to

Holmes was put on his trial on October 28, 1895, before the Court
of Oyer and Terminer in Philadelphia, charged with the murder of
Benjamin Pitezel.  In the course of the trial the district
attorney offered to put in evidence showing that Holmes had also
murdered the three children of Pitezel, contending that such
evidence was admissible on the ground that the murders of the
children and their father were parts of the same transaction. 
The judge refused to admit the evidence, though expressing a
doubt as to its inadmissibility.  The defence did not dispute the
identity of the body found in Callowhill Street, but contended
that Pitezel had committed suicide.  The medical evidence
negatived such a theory.  The position of the body, its condition
when discovered, were entirely inconsistent with self-
destruction, and the absence of irritation in the stomach showed
that the chloroform found there must have been poured into it
after death.  In all probability, Holmes had chloroformed Pitezel
when he was drunk or asleep.  He had taken the chloroform to
Callowhill Street as a proposed ingredient in a solution for
cleaning clothes, which he and Pitezel were to patent.  It
was no doubt with the help of the same drug that he had done to
death the little children, and failing the nitro-glycerine, with
that drug he had intended to put Mrs. Pitezel and her two
remaining children out of the way at the house in Burlington; for
after his trial there was found there, hidden away in the cellar,
a bottle containing eight or ten ounces of chloroform.

Though assisted by counsel, Holmes took an active part in his
defence.  He betrayed no feeling at the sight of Mrs. Pitezel,
the greater part of whose family he had destroyed, but the
appearance of his third wife as a witness he made an opportunity
for "letting loose the fount of emotion," taking care to inform
his counsel beforehand that he intended to perform this touching
feat.  He was convicted and sentenced to death on November 2.

Previous to the trial of Holmes the police had made an exhaustive
investigation of the mysterious building in Chicago known as
"Holmes' Castle."  The result was sufficiently sinister.  In the
stove in the cellar charred human bones were found, and in the
middle of the room stood a large dissecting table stained with
blood.  On digging up the cellar floor some human ribs, sections
of vertebrae and teeth were discovered buried in quicklime, and
in other parts of the "castle" the police found more charred
bones, some metal buttons, a trunk, and a piece of a watch chain.

The trunk and piece of watch chain were identified as having
belonged to Miss Minnie Williams.

Inquiry showed that Miss Williams had entered Holmes' employment
as a typist in 1893, and had lived with him at the castle.  In
the latter part of the year she had invited her sister, Nannie,
to be present at her wedding with Holmes.  Nannie had come to
Chicago for that purpose, and since then the two sisters had
never been seen alive.  In February in the following year
Pitezel, under the name of Lyman, had deposited at Fort Worth,
Texas, a deed according to which a man named Bond had transferred
to him property in that city which had belonged to Miss Williams,
and shortly after, Holmes, under the name of Pratt, joined him at
Fort Worth, whereupon the two commenced building on Miss
Williams' land.

Other mysterious cases besides those of the Williams sisters
revealed the Bluebeard-like character of this latterday castle of
Mr. Holmes.  In 1887 a man of the name of Connor entered Holmes'
employment.  He brought with him to the castle a handsome,
intelligent wife and a little girl of eight or nine years of age.

After a short time Connor quarrelled with his wife and went away,
leaving Mrs. Connor and the little girl with Holmes.  After 1892
Mrs. Connor and her daughter had disappeared, but in August,
1895, the police found in the castle some clothes identified as
theirs, and the janitor, Quinlan, admitted having seen the dead
body of Mrs. Connor in the castle.  Holmes, questioned in his
prison in Philadelphia, said that Mrs. Connor had died under an
operation, but that he did not know what had become of the little

In the year of Mrs. Connor's disappearance, a typist named Emily
Cigrand, who had been employed in a hospital in which Benjamin
Pitezel had been a patient, was recommended by the latter to
Holmes.  She entered his employment, and she and Holmes soon
became intimate, passing as "Mr. and Mrs. Gordon."  Emily Cigrand
had been in the habit of writing regularly to her parents in
Indiana, but after December 6, 1892, they had never heard from
her again, nor could any further trace of her be found.

A man who worked for Holmes as a handy man at the castle
stated to the police that in 1892 Holmes had given him a skeleton
of a man to mount, and in January, 1893, showed him in the
laboratory another male skeleton with some flesh still on it,
which also he asked him to mount.  As there was a set of surgical
instruments in the laboratory and also a tank filled with a fluid
preparation for removing flesh, the handy man thought that Holmes
was engaged in some kind of surgical work.

About a month before his execution, when Holmes' appeals from his
sentence had failed and death appeared imminent, he sold to the
newspapers for 7,500 dollars a confession in which he claimed to
have committed twenty-seven murders in the course of his career. 
The day after it appeared he declared the whole confession to be
a "fake."  He was tired, he said, of being accused by the
newspapers of having committed every mysterious murder that had
occurred during the last ten years.  When it was pointed out to
him that the account given in his confession of the murder of the
Pitezel children was clearly untrue, he replied, "Of course, it
is not true, but the newspapers wanted a sensation and they have
got it."  The confession was certainly sensational enough to
satisfy the most exacting of penny-a-liners, and a lasting
tribute to Holmes' undoubted power of extravagant romancing.

According to his story, some of his twenty-seven victims had met
their death by poison, some by more violent methods, some had
died a lingering death in the air-tight and sound-proof vault of
the castle.  Most of these he mentioned by name, but some of
these were proved afterwards to be alive.  Holmes had actually
perpetrated, in all probability, about ten murders.  But, given
further time and opportunity, there is no reason why this peri-

patetic assassin should not have attained to the
considerable figure with which he credited himself in his
bogus confession.

Holmes was executed in Philadelphia on May 7, 1896.  He seemed to
meet his fate with indifference.

The motive of Holmes in murdering Pitezel and three of his
children and in planning to murder his wife and remaining
children, originated in all probability in a quarrel that
occurred between Pitezel and himself in the July of 1894. 
Pitezel had tired apparently of Holmes and his doings, and wanted
to break off the connection.  But he must have known enough of
Holmes' past to make him a dangerous enemy.  It was Pitezel who
had introduced to Holmes Emily Cigrand, the typist, who had
disappeared so mysteriously in the castle; Pitezel had been his
partner in the fraudulent appropriation of Miss Minnie Williams'
property in Texas; it is more than likely, therefore, that
Pitezel knew something of the fate of Miss Williams and her
sister.  By reviving, with Pitezel's help, his old plan for
defrauding insurance companies, Holmes saw the opportunity of
making 10,000 dollars, which he needed sorely, and at the same
time removing his inconvenient and now lukewarm associate. 
Having killed Pitezel and received the insurance money, Holmes
appropriated to his own use the greater part of the 10,000
dollars, giving Mrs. Pitezel in return for her share of the
plunder a bogus bill for 5,000 dollars.  Having robbed Mrs.
Pitezel of both her husband and her money, to this thoroughgoing
criminal there seemed only one satisfactory way of escaping
detection, and that was to exterminate her and the whole of her

Had Holmes not confided his scheme of the insurance fraud to
Hedgspeth in St. Louis prison and then broken faith with him,
there is no reason why the fraud should ever have been
discovered.  The subsequent murders had been so cunningly
contrived that, had the Insurance Company not put the
Pinkerton detectives on his track, Holmes would in all
probability have ended by successfully disposing of Mrs. Pitezel,
Dessie, and the baby at the house in Burlington, Vermont, and the
entire Pitezel family would have disappeared as completely as his
other victims.

Holmes admitted afterwards that his one mistake had been his
confiding to Hedgspeth his plans for defrauding an insurance
company--a mistake, the unfortunate results of which might have
been avoided, if he had kept faith with the train robber and
given him the 500 dollars which he had promised.

The case of Holmes illustrates the practical as well as the
purely ethical value of "honour among thieves," and shows how a
comparatively insignificant misdeed may ruin a great and
comprehensive plan of crime.  To dare to attempt the
extermination of a family of seven persons, and to succeed so
nearly in effecting it, could be the work of no tyro, no beginner
like J. B. Troppmann.  It was the act of one who having already
succeeded in putting out of the way a number of other persons un-

detected, might well and justifiably believe that he was born for
greater and more compendious achievements in robbery and murder
than any who had gone before him.  One can almost subscribe to
America's claim that Holmes is the "greatest criminal" of a
century boasting no mean record in such persons.

In the remarkable character of his achievements as an assassin we
are apt to lose sight of Holmes' singular skill and daring as a
liar and a bigamist.  As an instance of the former may be cited
his audacious explanation to his family, when they heard of his
having married a second time.  He said that he had met with a
serious accident to his head, and that when he left the hospital,
found that he had entirely lost his memory; that, while in
this state of oblivion, he had married again and then, when
his memory returned, realised to his horror his unfortunate
position.  Plausibility would seem to have been one of Holmes'
most useful gifts; men and women alike--particularly the latter--
he seems to have deceived with ease.  His appearance was
commonplace, in no way suggesting the conventional criminal, his
manner courteous, ingratiating and seemingly candid, and like so
many scoundrels, he could play consummately the man of sentiment.

The weak spot in Holmes' armour as an enemy of society was a
dangerous tendency to loquacity, the defect no doubt of his
qualities of plausible and insinuating address and ever ready

The Widow Gras

Report of the trial of the woman Gras and Gaudry in the Gazette
des Tribunaux.  The case is dealt with also by Mace in his
"Femmes Criminelles."



Jenny Amenaide Brecourt was born in Paris in the year 1837. 
Her father was a printer, her mother sold vegetables.  The
parents neglected the child, but a lady of title took pity on
her, and when she was five years old adopted her.  Even as a
little girl she was haughty and imperious.  At the age of eight
she refused to play with another child on the ground of her
companion's social inferiority.  "The daughter of a Baroness,"
she said, "cannot play with the daughter of a wine-merchant." 
When she was eleven years old, her parents took her away from her
protectress and sent her into the streets to sell gingerbread--a
dangerous experience for a child of tender years.  After six
years of street life, Amenaide sought out her benefactress and
begged her to take her back.  The Baroness consented, and found
her employment in a silk manufactory.  One day the girl, now
eighteen years old, attended the wedding of one of her companions
in the factory.  She returned home after the ceremony thoughtful.

She said that she wanted to get married.  The Baroness did not
take her statement seriously, and on the grocer calling one
day, said in jest to Amenaide, "You want a husband, there's one."

But Amenaide was in earnest.  She accepted the suggestion and, to
the Baroness' surprise, insisted on taking the grocer as her
husband.  Reluctantly the good lady gave her consent, and in 1855
Amenaide Brecourt became the wife of the grocer Gras.

A union, so hasty and ill-considered, was not likely to be of
long duration.  With the help of the worthy Baroness the newly
married couple started a grocery business.  But Amenaide was too
economical for her husband and mother-in-law.  Quarrels ensued,
recriminations.  In a spirit of unamiable prophecy husband and
wife foretold each other's future.  "You will die in a hospital,"
said the wife.  "You will land your carcase in prison," retorted
the husband.  In both instances they were correct in their
anticipations.  One day the husband disappeared.  For a short
time Amenaide returned to her long-suffering protectress, and
then she too disappeared.

When she is heard of again, Amenaide Brecourt has become
Jeanne de la Cour.  Jeanne de la Cour is a courtesan.  She has
tried commerce, acting, literature, journalism, and failed at
them all.  Henceforth men are to make her fortune for her.  Such
charms as she may possess, such allurements as she can offer, she
is ready to employ without heart or feeling to accomplish her
end.  Without real passion, she has an almost abnormal, erotic
sensibility, which serves in its stead.  She cares only for one
person, her sister.  To her Jeanne de la Cour unfolded her
philosophy of life.  While pretending to love men, she is going
to make them suffer.  They are to be her playthings, she knows
how to snare them:  "All is dust and lies.  So much the worse for
the men who get in my way.  Men are mere stepping-stones to me. 
As soon as they begin to fail or are played out, I put them
scornfully aside.  Society is a vast chess-board, men the
pawns, some white, some black; I move them as I please, and break
them when they bore me."

The early years of Jeanne de la Cour's career as a Phryne were
hardly more successful than her attempts at literature, acting
and journalism.  True to her philosophy, she had driven one
lover, a German, to suicide, and brought another to his death by
over-doses of cantharides.  On learning of the death of the
first, she reflected patriotically, "One German the less in
Paris!"  That of the second elicited the matter-of-fact comment,
"It was bound to happen; he had no moderation."  A third admirer,
who died in a hospital, was dismissed as "a fool who, in spite of
all, still respects women."  But, in ruining her lovers, she had
ruined her own health.  In 1865 she was compelled to enter a
private asylum.  There she is described as "dark in complexion,
with dark expressive eyes, very pale, and of a nervous
temperament, agreeable, and pretty."  She was suffering at the
time of her admission from hysterical seizures, accompanied by
insane exaltation, convulsions and loss of speech.  In speaking
of her humble parents she said, "I don't know such people"; her
manner was bombastic, and she was fond of posing as a fine lady.

After a few months Jeanne de la Cour was discharged from the
asylum as cured, and on the advice of her doctors went to Vittel.

There she assumed the rank of Baroness and recommenced her
career, but this time in a more reasonable and businesslike
manner.  Her comments, written to her sister, on her fellow
guests at the hotel are caustic.  She mocks at some respectable
married women who are trying to convert her to Catholicism.  To
others who refuse her recognition, she makes herself so
mischievous and objectionable that in self-defence they are
frightened into acknowledging her.  Admirers among men she has
many, ex-ministers, prefects.  It was at Vittel that
occurred the incident of the wounded pigeon.  There had been some
pigeon-shooting.  One of the wounded birds flew into the room of
the Baroness de la Cour.  She took pity on it, tended it, taught
it not to be afraid of her and to stay in her room.  So touching
was her conduct considered by some of those who heard it, that
she was nicknamed "the Charmer."  But she is well aware, she
writes to her sister, that with the true ingratitude of the male,
the pigeon will leave her as soon as it needs her help no longer.

However, for the moment, "disfigured as it is, beautiful or
ugly," she loves it.  "Don't forget," she writes, "that a woman
who is practical and foreseeing, she too enjoys her pigeon
shooting, but the birds are her lovers."

Shortly after she left Vittel an event occurred which afforded
Jeanne de la Cour the prospect of acquiring that settled position
in life which, "practical and foreseeing," she now regarded as
indispensable to her future welfare.  Her husband, Gras, died, as
she had foretold, in the Charity Hospital.  The widow was free. 
If she could bring down her bird, it was now in her power to make
it hers for life.  Henceforth all her efforts were directed to
that end.  She was reaching her fortieth year, her hair was
turning grey, her charms were waning.  Poverty, degradation, a
miserable old age, a return to the wretched surroundings of her
childhood, such she knew to be the fate of many of her kind. 
There was nothing to be hoped for from the generosity of men. 
Her lovers were leaving her.  Blackmail, speculation on the
Bourse, even the desperate expedient of a supposititious child,
all these she tried as means of acquiring a competence.  But for-

tune was shy of the widow.  There was need for dispatch.  The
time was drawing near when it might be man's unkind privilege to
put her scornfully aside as a thing spent and done with.  She
must bring down her bird, and that quickly.  It was at this
critical point in the widow's career, in the year 1873, that she
met at a public ball for the first time Georges de Saint

[16] For obvious reasons I have suppressed the real name of the
widow's lover.

Georges de Saint Pierre was twenty years of age when he made the
acquaintance of the Widow Gras.  He had lost his mother at an
early age, and since then lived with relatives in the country. 
He was a young man of independent means, idle, of a simple,
confiding and affectionate disposition.  Four months after his
first meeting with the widow they met again.  The end of the year
1873 saw the commencement of an intimacy, which to all
appearances was characterised by a more lasting and sincere
affection than is usually associated with unions of this kind. 
There can be no doubt that during the three years the Widow Gras
was the mistress of Georges de Saint Pierre, she had succeeded in
subjugating entirely the senses and the affection of her young
lover.  In spite of the twenty years between them, Georges de
Saint Pierre idolised his middle-aged mistress.  She was astute
enough to play not only the lover, but the mother to this
motherless youth.  After three years of intimacy he writes to
her:  "It is enough for me that you love me, because I don't
weary you, and I, I love you with all my heart.  I cannot bear to
leave you.  We will live happily together.  You will always love
me truly, and as for me, my loving care will ever protect you.  I
don't know what would become of me if I did not feel that your
love watched over me."  The confidence of Georges in the widow
was absolute.  When, in 1876, he spent six months in Egypt, he
made her free of his rooms in Paris, she was at liberty to go
there when she liked; he trusted her entirely, idolised her. 
Whatever her faults, he was blind to them.  "Your form," he
writes, "is ever before my eyes; I wish I could enshrine
your pure heart in gold and crystal."

The widow's conquest, to all appearances, was complete.  But
Georges was very young.  He had a family anxious for his future;
they knew of his liaison; they would be hopeful, no doubt, of
one day breaking it off and of marrying him to some desirable
young person.  From the widow's point of view the situation
lacked finality.  How was that to be secured?

One day, toward the end of the year 1876, after the return of
Georges from Egypt, the widow happened to be at the house of a
friend, a ballet dancer.  She saw her friend lead into the room a
young man; he was sightless, and her friend with tender care
guided him to a seat on the sofa.  The widow was touched by the
spectacle.  When they were alone, she inquired of her friend the
reason of her solicitude for the young man.  "I love this victim
of nature," she replied, "and look after him with every care.  He
is young, rich, without family, and is going to marry me.  Like
you, I am just on forty; my hair is turning grey, my youth
vanishing.  I shall soon be cast adrift on the sea, a wreck. 
This boy is the providential spar to which I am going to cling
that I may reach land in safety."  "You mean, then," said the
widow, "that you will soon be beyond the reach of want?"  "Yes,"
answered the friend, "I needn't worry any more about the future."

"I congratulate you," said the widow, "and what is more, your
lover will never see you grow old."

To be cast adrift on the sea and to have found a providential
spar!  The widow was greatly impressed by her friend's rare good
fortune.  Indeed, her experience gave the widow furiously to
think, as she revolved in her brain various expedients by which
Georges de Saint Pierre might become the "providential spar" in
her own impending wreck.  The picture of the blind young man
tenderly cared for, dependent utterly on the ministrations of his
devoted wife, fixed itself in the widow's mind; there was
something inexpressibly pathetic in the picture, whilst its
practical significance had its sinister appeal to one in her

At this point in the story there appears on the scene a character
as remarkable in his way as the widow herself, remarkable at
least for his share in the drama that is to follow.  Nathalis
Gaudry, of humble parentage, rude and uncultivated, had been a
playmate of the widow when she was a child in her parents' house.

They had grown up together, but, after Gaudry entered the army,
had lost sight of each other.  Gaudry served through the Italian
war of 1859, gaining a medal for valour.  In 1864 he had married.

Eleven years later his wife died, leaving him with two children. 
He came to Paris and obtained employment in an oil refinery at
Saint Denis.  His character was excellent; he was a good workman,
honest, hard-working, his record unblemished.  When he returned
to Paris, Gaudry renewed his friendship with the companion of his
youth.  But Jeanne Brecourt was now Jeanne de la Cour, living
in refinement and some luxury, moving in a sphere altogether
remote from and unapproachable by the humble workman in an oil
refinery.  He could do no more than worship from afar this
strange being, to him wonderfully seductive in her charm and

On her side the widow was quite friendly toward her homely
admirer.  She refused to marry him, as he would have wished, but
she did her best without success to marry him to others of her
acquaintance.  Neither a sempstress nor an inferior actress could
she persuade, for all her zeal, to unite themselves with a hand
in an oil mill, a widower with two children.  It is typical
of the widow's nervous energy that she should have
undertaken so hopeless a task.  In the meantime she made use of
her admirer.  On Sundays he helped her in her apartment, carried
coals, bottled wine, scrubbed the floors, and made himself
generally useful.  He was supposed by those about the house to be
her brother.  Occasionally, in the absence of a maid, the widow
allowed him to attend on her personally, even to assist her in
her toilette and perform for her such offices as one woman would
perform for another.  The man soon came to be madly in love with
the woman; his passion, excited but not gratified, enslaved and
consumed him.  To some of his fellow-workmen who saw him moody
and pre-occupied, he confessed that he ardently desired to marry
a friend of his childhood, not a working woman but a lady.

Such was the situation and state of mind of Nathalis Gaudry when,
in November, 1876, he received a letter from the widow, in which
she wrote, "Come at once.  I want you on a matter of business. 
Tell your employer it is a family affair; I will make up your
wages."  In obedience to this message Gaudry was absent from the
distillery from the 17th to the 23rd of November.

The "matter of business" about which the widow wished to consult
with Gaudry turned out to be a scheme of revenge.  She told him
that she had been basely defrauded by a man to whom she had
entrusted money.  She desired to be revenged on him, and could
think of no better way than to strike at his dearest affections
by seriously injuring his son.  This she proposed to do with the
help of a knuckle-duster, which she produced and gave to Gaudry. 
Armed with this formidable weapon, Gaudry was to strike her
enemy's son so forcibly in the pit of the stomach as to disable
him for life.  The widow offered to point out to Gaudry the young
man whom he was to attack.  She took him outside the young man's
club and showed him his victim.  He was Georges de Saint

The good fortune of her friend, the ballet-dancer, had proved a
veritable toxin in the intellectual system of the Widow Gras. The
poison of envy, disappointment, suspicion, apprehension had
entered into her soul.  Of what use to her was a lover, however
generous and faithful, who was free to take her up and lay her
aside at will?  But such was her situation relative to Georges de
Saint Pierre.  She remembered that the wounded pigeon, as long as
it was dependent on her kind offices, had been-compelled to stay
by her side; recovered, it had flown away.  Only a pigeon, maimed
beyond hope of recovery, could she be sure of compelling to be
hers for all time, tied to her by its helpless infirmity, too
suffering and disfigured to be lured from its captivity.  And so,
in accordance with her philosophy of life, the widow, by a blow
in the pit of the stomach with a knuckle-duster, was to bring
down her bird which henceforth would be tended and cared for by
"the Charmer" to her own satisfaction and the admiration of all

For some reason, the natural reluctance of Gaudry, or perhaps a
feeling of compunction in the heart of the widow, this plan was
not put into immediate execution.  Possibly she hesitated before
adopting a plan more cruel, more efficacious.  Her hesitation did
not last long.

With the dawn of the year 1877 the vigilant apprehension of the
widow was roused by the tone of M. de Saint Pierre's letters.  He
wrote from his home in the country, "I cannot bear leaving you,
and I don't mean to.  We will live together."  But he adds that
he is depressed by difficulties with his family, "not about money
or business but of a kind he can only communicate to her
verbally."  To the widow it was clear that these difficulties
must relate to the subject of marriage.  The character of Georges
was not a strong one; sooner or later he might yield to the
importunities of his family; her reign would be ended, a modest
and insufficient pension the utmost she could hope for.  She had
passed the meridian of her life as a charmer of men, her health
was giving way, she was greedy, ambitious, acquisitive.  In
January she asked her nephew, who worked as a gilder, to get her
some vitriol for cleaning her copper.  He complied with her

During Jeanne de la Cour's brief and unsuccessful appearance as
an actress she had taken part in a play with the rather cumbrous
title, Who Puts out the Eyes must Pay for Them.  The widow may
have forgotten this event; its occurrence so many years before
may have been merely a sinister coincidence.  But the incident of
the ballet-dancer and her sightless lover was fresh in her mind.

Early in January the widow wrote to Georges, who was in the
country, and asked him to take her to the masked ball at the
Opera on the 13th.  Her lover was rather surprised at her
request, nor did he wish to appear with her at so public a
gathering.  "I don't understand," he writes, "why you are so
anxious to go to the Opera.  I can't see any real reason for your
wanting to tire yourself out at such a disreputable gathering. 
However, if you are happy and well, and promise to be careful, I
will take you.  I would be the last person, my dear little wife,
to deny you anything that would give you pleasure."  But for some
reason Georges was unhappy, depressed.  Some undefined
presentiment of evil seems to have oppressed him.  His brother
noticed his pre-occupation.

He himself alludes to it in writing to his mistress:  "I am
depressed this evening.  For a very little I could break down
altogether and give way to tears.  You can't imagine what horrid
thoughts possess me.  If I felt your love close to me, I should
be less sad."  Against his better inclination Georges promised to
take the widow to the ball on the 13th.  He was to come to
Paris on the night of the 12th.



On the afternoon of January 11, Gaudry called to see the widow. 
There had been an accident at the distillery that morning, and
work was suspended for three days.  The widow showed Gaudry the
bottle containing the vitriol which her nephew had procured for
her use.  She was ill, suffering, she said; the only thing that
could make her well again would be the execution of her revenge
on the son of the man who had defrauded her so wickedly:  "Make
him suffer, here are the means, and I swear I will be yours." 
She dropped a little of the vitriol on to the floor to show its
virulent effect.  At first Gaudry was shocked, horrified.  He
protested that he was a soldier, that he could not do such a
deed; he suggested that he should provoke the young man to a duel
and kill him.  "That is no use," said the widow, always sensitive
to social distinctions; "he is not of your class, he would refuse
to fight with you."  Mad with desire for the woman, his senses
irritated and excited, the ultimate gratification of his passion
held alluringly before him, the honest soldier consented to play
the cowardly ruffian.  The trick was done.  The widow explained
to her accomplice his method of proceeding.  The building in the
Rue de Boulogne, in which the widow had her apartment, stood at
the end of a drive some twenty-seven and a half yards long and
five and a half yards wide.  About half-way up the drive, on
either side, there were two small houses, or pavilions, standing
by themselves and occupied by single gentlemen.  The whole was
shut off from the street by a large gate, generally kept
closed, in which a smaller gate served to admit persons going in
or out.  According to the widow's plan, the young man, her
enemy's son, was to take her to the ball at the Opera on the
night of January 13.  Gaudry was to wait in her apartment until
their return.  When he heard the bell ring, which communicated
with the outer gate, he was to come down, take his place in the
shadow of one of the pavilions on either side of the drive, and
from the cover of this position fling in the face of the young
man the vitriol which she had given him.  The widow herself,
under the pretence of closing the smaller gate, would be well
behind the victim, and take care to leave the gate open so that
Gaudry could make his escape.

In spite of his reluctance, his sense of foreboding, Georges de
Saint Pierre came to Paris on the night of the 12th, which he
spent at the widow's apartment.  He went to his own rooms on the
morning of the 13th.

This eventful day, which, to quote Iago, was either to "make or
fordo quite" the widow, found her as calm, cool and deliberate in
the execution of her purpose as the Ancient himself.  Gaudry came
to her apartment about five o'clock in the afternoon.  The widow
showed him the vitriol and gave him final directions.  She would,
she said, return from the ball about three o'clock in the
morning.  Gaudry was then sent away till ten o'clock, as Georges
was dining with her.  He returned at half-past ten and found the
widow dressing, arraying herself in a pink domino and a blonde
wig.  She was in excellent spirits.  When Georges came to fetch
her, she put Gaudry into an alcove in the drawing-room which was
curtained off from the rest of the room.  Always thoughtful, she
had placed a stool there that he might rest himself.  Gaudry
could hear her laughing and joking with her lover.  She
reproached him playfully with hindering her in her dressing. 
To keep him quiet, she gave him a book to read, Montaigne's
"Essays."  Georges opened it and read the thirty-fifth chapter of
the second book, the essay on "Three Good Women," which tells how
three brave women of antiquity endured death or suffering in
order to share their husbands' fate.  Curiously enough, the essay
concludes with these words, almost prophetic for the unhappy
reader:  "I am enforced to live, and sometimes to live is
magnanimity."  Whilst Georges went to fetch a cab, the widow
released Gaudry from his place of concealment, exhorted him to
have courage, and promised him, if he succeeded, the
accomplishment of his desire.  And so the gay couple departed for
the ball.  There the widow's high spirits, her complete
enjoyment, were remarked by more than one of her acquaintances;
she danced one dance with her lover, and with another young man
made an engagement for the following week.

Meanwhile, at the Rue de Boulogne, Gaudry sat and waited in the
widow's bedroom.  From the window he could see the gate and the
lights of the cab that was to bring the revellers home.  The
hours passed slowly.  He tried to read the volume of Montaigne
where Georges had left it open, but the words conveyed little to
him, and he fell asleep.  Between two and three o'clock in the
morning he was waked by the noise of wheels.  They had returned. 
He hurried downstairs and took up his position in the shadow of
one of the pavilions.  As Georges de Saint Pierre walked up the
drive alone, for the widow had stayed behind to fasten the gate,
he thought he saw the figure of a man in the darkness.  The next
moment he was blinded by the burning liquid flung in his face. 
The widow had brought down her pigeon.

At first she would seem to have succeeded perfectly in her
attempt.  Georges was injured for life, the sight of one eye
gone, that of the other threatened, his face sadly
disfigured.  Neither he nor anyone else suspected the real author
of the crime.  It was believed that the unfortunate man had been
mistaken for some other person, and made by accident the victim
of an act of vengeance directed against another.  Georges was
indeed all the widow's now, lodged in her own house to nurse and
care for.  She undertook the duty with every appearance of
affectionate devotion.  The unhappy patient was consumed with
gratitude for her untiring solicitude; thirty nights she spent by
his bedside.  His belief in her was absolute.  It was his own
wish that she alone should nurse him.  His family were kept away,
any attempts his relatives or friends made to see or communicate
with him frustrated by the zealous widow.

It was this uncompromising attitude on her part toward the
friends of Georges, and a rumour which reached the ears of one of
them that she intended as soon as possible to take her patient
away to Italy, that sounded the first note of danger to her peace
of mind.  This friend happened to be acquainted with the son of
one of the Deputy Public Prosecutors in Paris.  To that official
he confided his belief that there were suspicious circumstances
in the case of Georges de Saint Pierre.  The judicial authorities
were informed and the case placed in the hands of an examining
magistrate.  On February 2, nearly a month after the crime, the
magistrate, accompanied by Mace, then a commissary of police,
afterwards head of the Detective Department, paid a visit to the
Rue de Boulogne.  Their reception was not cordial.  It was only
after they had made known their official character that they got
audience of the widow.  She entered the room, carrying in her
hand a surgical spray, with which she played nervously while the
men of the law asked to see her charge.  She replied that it was
impossible.  Mace placed himself in front of the door by which
she had entered, and told her that her attitude was not
seemly.  "Leave that spray alone," he said; "it might shoot over
us, and then perhaps we should be sprinkled as M. de Saint Pierre
was."  From that moment, writes Mace, issue was joined between
the widow and himself.

The magistrate insisted on seeing the patient.  He sat by his
bedside.  M. de Saint Pierre told him that, having no enemies, he
was sure he had been the victim of some mistake, and that, as he
claimed no damages for his injuries, he did not wish his
misfortune to be made public.  He wanted to be left alone with
his brave and devoted nurse, and to be spared the nervous
excitement of a meeting with his family.  He intended, he added,
to leave Paris shortly for change of scene and air.  The widow
cut short the interview on the ground that her patient was tired.

It was inhuman, she said, to make him suffer so.  The magistrate,
before leaving, asked her whither she intended taking her
patient.  She replied, "To Italy."  That, said the magistrate,
would be impossible until his inquiry was closed.  In the
meantime she might take him to any place within the Department of
the Seine; but she must be prepared to be under the surveillance
of M. Mace, who would have the right to enter her house
whenever he should think it expedient.  With this disconcerting
intelligence the men of the law took leave of the widow.

She was no longer to be left in undisturbed possession of her
prize.  Her movements were watched by two detectives.  She was
seen to go to the bachelor lodgings of Georges and take away a
portable desk, which contained money and correspondence.  More
mysterious, however, was a visit she paid to the Charonne
Cemetery, where she had an interview with an unknown, who was
dressed in the clothes of a workman.  She left the cemetery
alone, and the detectives lost track of her companion.  This
meeting took place on February 11.  Shortly after the widow left
Paris with Georges de Saint Pierre for the suburb of Courbevoie.

Mace had elicited certain facts from the porter at the Rue de
Boulogne and other witnesses, which confirmed his suspicion that
the widow had played a sinister part in her lover's misfortune. 
Her insistence that he should take her to the ball on January 13;
the fact that, contrary to the ordinary politeness of a
gentleman, he was walking in front of her at the time of the
attack; and that someone must have been holding the gate open to
enable the assailant to escape it was a heavy gate, which, if
left to itself after being opened, would swing too quickly on its
hinges and shut of its own accord--these facts were sufficient to
excite suspicion.  The disappearance, too, of the man calling
himself her brother, who had been seen at her apartment on the
afternoon of the 13th, coupled with the mysterious interview in
the cemetery, suggested the possibility of a crime in which the
widow had had the help of an accomplice.  To facilitate
investigation it was necessary to separate the widow from her
lover.  The examining magistrate, having ascertained from a
medical report that such a separation would not be hurtful to the
patient, ordered the widow to be sent back to Paris, and the
family of M. de Saint Pierre to take her place.  The change was
made on March 6.  On leaving Courbevoie the widow was taken to
the office of Mace.  There the commissary informed her that
she must consider herself under provisional arrest.  "But who,"
she asked indignantly, "is to look after my Georges?"  "His
family," was the curt reply.  The widow, walking up and down the
room like a panther, stormed and threatened.  When she had in
some degree recovered herself, Mace asked her certain
questions.  Why had she insisted on her lover going to the ball? 
She had done nothing of the kind.  How was it his assailant
had got away so quickly by the open gate?  She did not know. 
What was the name and address of her reputed brother?  She was
not going to deliver an honest father of a family into the
clutches of the police.  What was the meaning of her visit to the
Charonne Cemetery?  She went there to pray, not to keep
assignations.  "And if you want to know," she exclaimed, "I have
had typhoid fever, which makes me often forget things.  So I
shall say nothing more--nothing--nothing."

Taken before the examining magistrate, her attitude continued to
be defiant and arrogant.  "Your cleverest policemen," she told
the magistrate, "will never find any evidence against me.  Think
well before you send me to prison.  I am not the woman to live
long among thieves and prostitutes."  Before deciding finally
whether the widow should be thrown into such uncongenial society,
the magistrate ordered Mace to search her apartment in the Rue
de Boulogne.

On entering the apartment the widow asked that all the windows
should be opened.  "Let in the air," she said; "the police are
coming in; they make a nasty smell."  She was invited to sit-down
while the officers made their search.  Her letters and papers
were carefully examined; they presented a strange mixture of
order and disorder.  Carefully kept account books of her personal
expenses were mixed up with billets dous, paints and pomades,
moneylenders' circulars, bella-donna and cantharides.  But most
astounding of all were the contents of the widows' prie-Dieu. 
In this devotional article of furniture were stored all the
inmost secrets of her profligate career.  Affectionate letters
from the elderly gentleman on whom she had imposed a
supposititious child lay side by side with a black-edged card, on
which was written the last message of a young lover who had
killed himself on her account.  "Jeanne, in the flush of my youth
I die because of you, but I forgive you.--M."  With these genuine
outpourings of misplaced affection were mingled the indecent
verses of a more vulgar admirer, and little jars of hashish.  The
widow, unmoved by this rude exposure of her way of life, only
broke her silence to ask Mace the current prices on the Stock

One discovery, however, disturbed her equanimity.  In the drawer
of a cupboard, hidden under some linen, Mace found a leather
case containing a sheaf of partially-burnt letters.  As he was
about to open it the widow protested that it was the property of
M. de Saint Pierre.  Regardless of her protest, Mace opened
the case, and, looking through the letters, saw that they were
addressed to M. de Saint Pierre and were plainly of an intimate
character.  "I found them on the floor near the stove in the
dining-room," said the widow, "and I kept them.  I admit it was a
wrong thing to do, but Georges will forgive me when he knows why
I did it."  From his better acquaintance with her character
Mace surmised that an action admitted by the widow to be
"wrong" was in all probability something worse.  Without delay he
took the prisoner back to his office, and himself left for
Courbevoie, there to enlighten, if possible, her unhappy victim
as to the real character of his enchantress.

The interview was a painful one.  The lover refused to hear a
word against his mistress.  "Jeanne is my Antigone," he said. 
"She has lavished on me all her care, her tenderness, her love,
and she believes in God."  Mace told him of her past, of the
revelations contained in the prie-Dieu of this true believer,
but he could make no impression.  "I forgive her past, I accept
her present, and please understand me, no one has the power to
separate me from her."  It was only when Mace placed in
his hands the bundle of burnt letters, that he might feel what he
could not see, and read him some passages from them, that the
unhappy man realised the full extent of his mistress' treachery. 
Feeling himself dangerously ill, dying perhaps, M. de Saint
Pierre had told the widow to bring from his rooms to the Rue de
Boulogne the contents of his private desk.  It contained some
letters compromising to a woman's honour.  These he was anxious
to destroy before it was too late.  As he went through the
papers, his eyes bandaged, he gave them to the widow to throw
into the stove.  He could hear the fire burning and feel its
warmth.  He heard the widow take up the tongs.  He asked her why
she did so.  She answered that it was to keep the burning papers
inside the stove.  Now from Mace he learnt the real truth. 
She had used the tongs to take out some of the letters half
burnt, letters which in her possession might be one day useful
instruments for levying blackmail on her lover.  "To blind me,"
exclaimed M. de Saint Pierre, "to torture me, and then profit by
my condition to lie to me, to betray me--it's infamous--
infamous!"  His dream was shattered.  Mace had succeeded in
his task; the disenchantment of M. de Saint Pierre was complete. 
That night the fastidious widow joined the thieves and
prostitutes in the St. Lazare Prison.

It was all very well to imprison the widow, but her participation
in the outrage on M. de Saint Pierre was by no means established.

The reputed brother, who had been in the habit of attending on
her at the Rue de Boulogne, still eluded the searches of the
police.  In silence lay the widow's only hope of baffling her
enemies.  Unfortunately for the widow, confinement told on her
nerves.  She became anxious, excited.  Her very ignorance of what
was going on around her, her lover's silence made her
apprehensive; she began to fear the worst.  At length--the widow
always had an itch for writing--she determined to communicate at
all costs with Gaudry and invoke his aid.  She wrote appealing to
him to come forward and admit that he was the man the police were
seeking, for sheltering whom she had been thrown into prison. 
She drew a harrowing picture of her sufferings in jail.  She had
refused food and been forcibly fed; she would like to dash her
head against the walls.  If any misfortune overtake Gaudry, she
promises to adopt his son and leave him a third of her property. 
She persuaded a fellow-prisoner; an Italian dancer undergoing six
months' imprisonment for theft, who was on the point of being
released, to take the letter and promise to deliver it to Gaudry
at Saint Denis.  On her release the dancer told her lover of her
promise.  He refused to allow her to mix herself up in such a
case, and destroyed the letter.  Then the dancer blabbed to
others, until her story reached the ears of the police.  Mace
sent for her.  At first she could remember only that the name
Nathalis occurred in the letter, but after visiting accidentally
the Cathedral at Saint Denis, she recollected that this Nathalis
lived there, and worked in an oil factory.  It was easy after
this for the police to trace Gaudry.  He was arrested.  At his
house, letters from the widow were found, warning him not to come
to her apartment, and appointing to meet him in Charonne
Cemetery.  Gaudry made a full confession.  It was his passion for
the widow, and a promise on her part to marry him, which, he
said, had induced him to perpetrate so abominable a crime.  He
was sent to the Mazas Prison.

In the meantime the Widow Gras was getting more and more
desperate.  Her complete ignorance tormented her.  At last she
gave up all hope, and twice attempted suicide with powdered glass
and verdigris.  On May 12 the examining magistrate
confronted her with Gaudry.  The man told his story, the widow
feigned surprise that the "friend of her childhood" should malign
her so cruelly.  But to her desperate appeals Gaudry would only
reply, "It is too late!"  They were sent for trial.

The trial of the widow and her accomplice opened before the Paris
Assize Court on July 23, 1877, and lasted three days.  The widow
was defended by Lachaud, one of the greatest criminal advocates
of France, the defender of Madame Lafarge, La Pommerais, Tropp-

mann, and Marshal Bazaine.  M. Demange (famous later for his
defence of Dreyfus) appeared for Gaudry.  The case had aroused
considerable interest.  Among those present at the trial were
Halevy, the dramatist, and Mounet-Sully and Coquelin, from the
Comedie Francaise.  Fernand Rodays thus described the widow
in the Figaro:  "She looks more than her age, of moderate
height, well made, neither blatant nor ill at ease, with nothing
of the air of a woman of the town.  Her hands are small.  Her
bust is flat, and her back round, her hair quite white.  Beneath
her brows glitter two jet-black eyes--the eyes of a tigress, that
seem to breathe hatred and revenge."

Gaudry was interrogated first.  Asked by the President the motive
of his crime, he answered, "I was mad for Madame Gras; I would
have done anything she told me.  I had known her as a child, I
had been brought up with her.  Then I saw her again.  I loved
her, I was mad for her, I couldn't resist it.  Her wish was law
to me."

Asked if Gaudry had spoken the truth, the widow said that he
lied.  The President asked what could be his motive for accusing
her unjustly.  The widow was silent.  Lachaud begged her to
answer.  "I cannot," she faltered.  The President invited her to
sit down.  After a pause the widow seemed to recover her

President:  Was Gaudry at your house while you were at the

Widow:  No, no!  He daren't look me in the face and say so.

President:  But he is looking at you now.

Widow:  No, he daren't!  (She fixes her eyes on Gaudry, who
lowers his head.)

President:  I, whose duty it is to interrogate you, look you in
the face and repeat my question:  Was Gaudry at your house at
half-past ten that night?

Widow:  No.

President:  You hear her, Gaudry?

Gaudry:  Yes, Monsieur, but I was there.

Widow:  It is absolutely impossible!  Can anyone believe me
guilty of such a thing.

President:  Woman Gras, you prefer to feign indignation and
deny everything.  You have the right.  I will read your
examination before the examining magistrate.  I see M. Lachaud
makes a gesture, but I must beg the counsel for the defence not
to impart unnecessary passion into these proceedings.

Lachaud:  My gesture was merely meant to express that the woman
Gras is on her trial, and that under the circumstances her
indignation is natural.

President:  Very good.

The appearance in the witness box of the widow's unhappy victim
evoked sympathy.  He gave his evidence quietly, without
resentment or indignation.  As he told his story the widow, whose
eyes were fixed on him all the time, murmured:  "Georges! 
Georges!  Defend me!  Defend me!"  "I state the facts," he

The prisoners could only defend themselves by trying to throw on
each other the guilt of the crime.  M. Demange represented Gaudry
as acting under the influence of his passion for the Widow Gras. 
Lachaud, on the other hand, attributed the crime solely to
Gaudry's jealousy of the widow's lover, and contended that he was
the sole author of the outrage.

The jury by their verdict assigned to the widow the greater share
of responsibility.  She was found guilty in the full degree, but
to Gaudry were accorded extenuating circumstances.  The widow was
condemned to fifteen years' penal servitude, her accomplice to
five years' imprisonment.

It is dreadful to think how very near the Widow Gras came to
accomplishing successfully her diabolical crime.  A little less
percipitancy on her part, and she might have secured the fruits
of her cruelty.  Her undoubted powers of fascination, in spite of
the fiendishness of her real character, are doubly proved by the
devotion of her lover and the guilt of her accomplice.  At the
same time, with that strange contradiction inherent in human
nature, the Jekyll and Hyde elements which, in varying degree,
are present in all men and women, the Widow Gras had a genuine
love for her young sister.  Her hatred of men was reasoned,
deliberate, merciless and implacable.  There is something almost
sadic in the combination in her character of erotic sensibility
with extreme cruelty.

Vitalis and Marie Boyer

I found the story of this case in a brochure published in Paris
as one of a series of modern causes celebres.  I have
compared it with the reports of the trial in the Gazette des

In the May of 1874, in the town of Montpellier, M. Boyer, a
retired merchant, some forty-six years of age, lay dying.  For
some months previous to his death he had been confined to his
bed, crippled by rheumatic gout.  As the hour of his death drew
near, M. Boyer was filled with a great longing to see his
daughter, Marie, a girl of fifteen, and embrace her for the last
time.  The girl was being educated in a convent at Marseilles. 
One of M. Boyer's friends offered to go there to fetch her.  On
arriving at the convent, he was told that Marie had become
greatly attracted by the prospect of a religious life.  "You are
happy," the Mother Superior had written to her mother, "very
happy never to have allowed the impure breath of the world to
have soiled this little flower.  She loves you and her father
more than one can say."  Her father's friend found the girl
dressed in the costume of a novice, and was told that she had
expressed her desire to take, one day, her final vows.  He
informed Marie of her father's dying state, of his earnest wish
to see her for the last time, and told her that he had come to
take her to his bedside.  "Take me away from here?" she
exclaimed.  The Mother Superior, surprised at her apparent
reluctance to go, impressed on her the duty of acceding to
her father's wish.  To the astonishment of both, Marie refused to
leave the convent.  If she could save her father's life, she
said, she would go, but, as that was impossible and she dreaded
going out into the world again, she would stay and pray for her
father in the chapel of the convent, where her prayers would be
quite as effective as by his bedside.  In vain the friend and the
Mother Superior tried to bend her resolution.

Happily M. Boyer died before he could learn of his daughter's
singular refusal.  But it had made an unfavourable impression on
the friend's mind.  He looked on Marie as a girl without real
feeling, an egoist, her religion purely superficial, hiding a
cold and selfish disposition; he felt some doubt as to the future
development of her character.

M. Boyer left a widow, a dark handsome woman, forty years of age.

Some twenty years before his death, Marie Salat had come to live
with M. Boyer as a domestic servant.  He fell in love with her,
she became his mistress, and a few months before the birth of
Marie, M. Boyer made her his wife.  Madame Boyer was at heart a
woman of ardent and voluptuous passions that only wanted
opportunity to become careless in their gratification.  Her
husband's long illness gave her such an opportunity.  At the time
of his death she was carrying on an intrigue with a bookseller's
assistant, Leon Vitalis, a young man of twenty-one.  Her bed-
ridden husband, ignorant of her infidelity, accepted gratefully
the help of Vitalis, whom his wife described as a relative, in
the regulation of his affairs.  At length the unsuspecting Boyer
died.  The night of his death Madame Boyer spent with her lover.

The mother had never felt any great affection for her only child.

During her husband's lifetime she was glad to have Marie out
of the way at the convent.  But the death of M. Boyer changed the
situation.  He had left almost the whole of his fortune, about
100,000 francs, to his daughter, appointing her mother her legal
guardian with a right to the enjoyment of the income on the cap-

ital until Marie should come of age.  Madame Boyer had not
hitherto taken her daughter's religious devotion very seriously. 
But now that the greater part of her husband's fortune was left
to Marie, she realised that, should her daughter persist in her
intention of taking the veil, that fortune would in a very few
years pass into the hands of the sisterhood.  Without delay
Madame Boyer exercised her authority, and withdrew Marie from the
convent.  The girl quitted it with every demonstration of genuine

Marie Boyer when she left the convent was growing into a tall and
attractive woman, her figure slight and elegant, her hair and
eyes dark, dainty and charming in her manner.  Removed from the
influences of convent life, her religious devotion became a thing
of the past.  In her new surroundings she gave herself up to the
enjoyments of music and the theatre.  She realised that she was a
pretty girl, whose beauty well repaid the hours she now spent in
the adornment of her person.  The charms of Marie were not lost
on Leon Vitalis.  Mean and significant in appearance, Vitalis
would seem to have been one of those men who, without any great
physical recommendation, have the knack of making themselves
attractive to women.  After her husband's death Madame Boyer had
yielded herself completely to his influence and her own undoubted
passion for him.  She had given him the money with which to
purchase a business of his own as a second-hand bookseller.  This
trade the enterprising and greedy young man combined with money-
lending and he clandestine sale of improper books and
photographs.  To such a man the coming of Marie Boyer was a
significant event.  She was younger, more attractive than her
mother; in a very few years the whole of her father's fortune
would be hers.  Slowly Vitalis set himself to win the girl's
affections.  The mother's suspicions were aroused; her jealousy
was excited.  She sent Marie to complete her education at a
convent school in Lyons.  This was in the April of 1875.  By this
time Marie and Vitalis had become friendly enough to arrange to
correspond clandestinely during the girl's absence from home. 
Marie was so far ignorant of the relations of Vitalis with her

Her daughter sent away, Madame Boyer surrendered herself with
complete abandonment to her passion for her lover.  At Castelnau,
close to Montpellier, she bought a small country house.  There
she could give full rein to her desire.  To the scandal of the
occasional passer-by she and her lover would bathe in a stream
that passed through the property, and sport together on the
grass.  Indoors there were always books from Vitalis' collection
to stimulate their lascivious appetites.  This life of pastoral
impropriety lasted until the middle of August, when Marie Boyer
came home from Lyons.

Vitalis would have concealed from the young girl as long as he
could the nature of his relations with Madame Boyer, but his
mistress by her own deliberate conduct made all concealment
impossible.  Whether from the utter recklessness of her passion
for Vitalis, or a desire to kill in her daughter's heart any
attachment which she may have felt towards her lover, the mother
paraded openly before her daughter the intimacy of her relations
with Vitalis, and with the help of the literature with which the
young bookseller supplied her, set about corrupting her child's
mind to her own depraved level.  The effect of her extraordinary
conduct was, however, the opposite to what she had intended. 
The mind of the young girl was corrupted; she was familiarised
with vice.  But in her heart she did not blame Vitalis for what
she saw and suffered; she pitied, she excused him.  It was her
mother whom she grew to hate, with a hate all the more determined
for the cold passionless exterior beneath which it was concealed.

Madame Boyer's deliberate display of her passion for Vitalis
served only to aggravate and intensify in Marie Boyer an
unnatural jealousy that was fast growing up between mother and

Marie did not return to the school at Lyons.  In the winter of
1875, Madame Boyer gave up the country house and, with her
daughter, settled in one of the suburbs of Montpellier.  In the
January of 1876 a theft occurred in her household which obliged
Madame Boyer to communicate with the police.  Spendthrift and
incompetent in the management of her affairs, she was hoarding
and suspicious about money itself.  Cash and bonds she would hide
away in unexpected places, such as books, dresses, even a soup
tureen.  One of her most ingenious hiding places was a portrait
of her late husband, behind which she concealed some bearer bonds
in landed security, amounting to about 11,000 francs.  One day in
January these bonds disappeared.  She suspected a theft, and
informed the police.  Three days later she withdrew her
complaint, and no more was heard of the matter.  As Marie and
Vitalis were the only persons who could have known her secret,
the inference is obvious.  When, later in the year, Vitalis
announced his intention of going to Paris on business, his
mistress expressed to him the hope that he would "have a good
time" with her bonds.  Vitalis left for Paris.  But there was now
a distinct understanding between Marie and himself.  Vitalis had
declared himself her lover and asked her to marry him.  The
following letter, written to him by Marie Boyer in the
October of 1876, shows her attitude toward his proposal:

"I thank you very sincerely for your letter, which has given me
very great-pleasure, because it tells me that you are well.  It
sets my mind at rest, for my feelings towards you are the same as
ever.  I don't say they are those of love, for I don't know
myself; I don't know what such feelings are.  But I feel a real
affection for you which may well turn to love.  How should I not
hold in affectionate remembrance one who has done everything for
me?  But love does not come to order.  So I can't and don't wish
to give any positive answer about our marriage--all depends on
circumstances.  I don't want any promise from you, I want you to
be as free as I am.  I am not fickle, you know me well enough for
that.  So don't ask me to give you any promise.  You may find my
letter a little cold.  But I know too much of life to pledge
myself lightly.  I assure you I think on it often.  Sometimes I
blush when I think what marriage means."

Madame Boyer, displeased at the theft, had let her lover go
without any great reluctance.  No sooner had he gone than she
began to miss him.  Life seemed dull without him.  Mother and
daughter were united at least in their common regret at the
absence of the young bookseller.  To vary the monotony of
existence, to find if possible a husband for her daughter, Madame
Boyer decided to leave Montpellier for Marseilles, and there
start some kind of business.  The daughter, who foresaw greater
amusement and pleasure in the life of a large city, assented
willingly.  On October 6, 1876, they arrived at Marseilles, and
soon after Madame bought at a price considerably higher than
their value, two shops adjoining one another in the Rue de
la Republique.  One was a cheese shop, the other a milliner's.

The mother arranged that she should look after the cheese shop,
while her daughter presided over the milliner's.  The two shops
were next door to one another.  Behind the milliner's was a
drawing-room, behind the cheese shop a kitchen; these two rooms
communicated with each other by a large dark room at the back of
the building.  In the kitchen was a trap-door leading to a
cellar.  The two women shared a bedroom in an adjoining house.

Vitalis had opposed the scheme of his mistress to start shop-
keeping in Marseilles.  He knew how unfitted she was to undertake
a business of any kind.  But neither mother nor daughter would
relinquish the plan.  It remained therefore to make the best of
it.  Vitalis saw that he must get the business into his own
hands; and to do that, to obtain full control of Madame Boyer's
affairs, he must continue to play the lover to her.  To the
satisfaction of the two women, he announced his intention of
coming to Marseilles in the New Year of 1877.  It was arranged
that he should pass as a nephew of Madame Boyer, the cousin of
Marie.  He arrived at Marseilles on January 1, and received a
cordial welcome.  Of the domestic arrangements that ensued, it is
sufficient to say that they were calculated to whet the jealousy
and inflame the hatred that Marie felt towards her mother, who
now persisted as before in parading before her daughter the
intimacy of her relations with Vitalis.

In these circumstances Vitalis succeeded in extracting from his
mistress a power of attorney, giving him authority to deal with
her affairs and sell the two businesses, which were turning out
unprofitable.  This done, he told Marie, whose growing attachment
to him, strange as it may seem, had turned to love, that now at
last they could be free.  He would sell the two shops, and
with the money released by the sale they could go away to-

gether.  Suddenly Madame Boyer fell ill, and was confined to her
bed.  Left to themselves, the growing passion of Marie Boyer for
Vitalis culminated in her surrender.  But for the sick mother the
happiness of the lovers was complete.  If only her illness were
more serious, more likely to be fatal in its result!  "If only
God would take her!" said Vitalis.  "Yes," replied her daughter,
"she has caused us so much suffering!"

To Madame Boyer her illness had brought hours of torment, and at
last remorse.  She realised the duplicity of her lover, she knew
that he meant to desert her for her daughter, she saw what wrong
she had done that daughter, she suspected even that Marie and
Vitalis were poisoning her.  Irreligious till now, her thoughts
turned to religion.  As soon as she could leave her bed she would
go to Mass and make atonement for her sin; she would recover her
power of attorney, get rid of Vitalis for good and all, and send
her daughter back to a convent.  But it was too late.  Nemesis
was swift to overtake the hapless woman.  Try as he might,
Vitalis had found it impossible to sell the shops at anything but
a worthless figure.  He had no money of his own, with which to
take Marie away.  He knew that her mother had resolved on his
instant dismissal.

As soon as Madame Boyer was recovered sufficiently to leave her
bed, she turned on her former lover, denounced his treachery,
accused him of robbing and swindling her, and bade him go without
delay.  To Vitalis dismissal meant ruin, to Marie it meant the
loss of her lover.  During her illness the two young people had
wished Madame Boyer dead, but she had recovered.  Providence or
Nature having refused to assist Vitalis, he resolved to fall back
on art.  He gave up a whole night's rest to the consideration of
the question.  As a result of his deliberations he suggested
to the girl of seventeen the murder of her mother.  "This must
end," said Vitalis.  "Yes, it must," replied Marie.  Vitalis
asked her if she had any objection to such a crime.  Marie
hesitated, the victim was her mother.  Vitalis reminded her what
sort of a mother she had been to her.  The girl said that she was
terrified at the sight of blood; Vitalis promised that her mother
should be strangled.  At length Marie consented.  That night on
some slight pretext Madame Boyer broke out into violent
reproaches against her daughter.  She little knew that every
reproach she uttered served only to harden in her daughter's
heart her unnatural resolve.

On the morning of March 19 Madame Boyer rose early to go to Mass.

Before she went out, she reminded Vitalis that this was his last
day in her service, that when she returned she would expect to
find him gone.  It was after seven when she left the house.  The
lovers had no time to lose; the deed must be done immediately on
the mother's return.  They arranged that Vitalis should get rid
of the shop-boy, and that, as soon as he had gone, Marie should
shut and lock the front doors of the two shops.  At one o'clock
Madame Boyer came back.  She expressed her astonishment and
disgust that Vitalis still lingered, and threatened to send for
the police to turn him out.  Vitalis told the shop-boy that he
could go away for a few hours; they had some family affairs to
settle.  The boy departed.  Madame Boyer, tired after her long
morning in the town, was resting on a sofa in the sitting-room,
at the back of the milliner's shop.  Vitalis entered the room,
and after a few heated words, struck her a violent blow in the
chest.  She fell back on the sofa, calling to her daughter to
come to her assistance.  The daughter sought to drown her
mother's cries by banging the doors, and opening and shutting
drawers.  Vitalis, who was now trying to throttle his
victim, called to Marie to shut the front doors of the two shops.

To do so Marie had to pass through the sitting-room, and was a
witness to the unsuccessful efforts of Vitalis to strangle her
mother.  Having closed the doors, she retired into the milliner's
shop to await the issue.  After a few moments her lover called to
her for the large cheese knife; he had caught up a kitchen knife,
but in his struggles it had slipped from his grasp.  Quickly
Marie fetched the knife and returned to the sitting-room.  There
a desperate struggle was taking place between the man and woman. 
At one moment it seemed as if Madame Boyer would get the better
of Vitalis, whom nature had not endowed greatly for work of this
kind.  Marie came to his aid.  She kicked and beat her mother,
until at last the wretched creature released her hold and sank
back exhausted.  With the cheese knife, which her daughter had
fetched, Vitalis killed Madame Boyer.

They were murderers now, the young lovers.  What to do with the
body?  The boy would be coming back soon.  The cellar under the
kitchen seemed the obvious place of concealment.  With the help
of a cord the body was lowered into the cellar, and Marie washed
the floor of the sitting-room.  The boy came back.  He asked
where Madame Boyer was.  Vitalis told him that she was getting
ready to return to Montpellier the same evening, and that he had
arranged to go with her, but that he had no intention of doing
so; he would accompany her to the station, he said, and then at
the last moment, just as the train was starting, slip away and
let her go on her journey alone.  To the boy, who knew enough of
the inner history of the household to enjoy the piquancy of the
situation, such a trick seemed quite amusing.  He went away
picturing in his mind the scene at the railway station and its
humorous possibilities.

At seven o'clock Vitalis and Marie Boyer were alone once more
with the murdered woman.  They had the whole night before them. 
Vitalis had already considered the matter of the disposal of the
body.  He had bought a pick and spade.  He intended to bury his
former mistress in the soil under the cellar.  After that had
been done, he and Marie would sell the business for what it would
fetch, and go to Brussels--an admirable plan, which two
unforeseen circumstances defeated.  The Rue de la Republique
was built on a rock, blasted out for the purpose.  The shop-boy
had gone to the station that evening to enjoy the joke which, he
believed, was to be played on his mistress.

When Vitalis tried to dig a grave into the ground beneath the
cellar he realised the full horror of the disappointment.  What
was to be done?  They must throw the body into the sea.  But how
to get it there?  The crime of Billoir, an old soldier, who the
year before in Paris had killed his mistress in a fit of anger
and cut up her body, was fresh in the recollection of Vitalis. 
The guilty couple decided to dismember the body of Madame Boyer
and so disfigure her face as to render it unrecognisable.  In the
presence of Marie, Vitalis did this, and the two lovers set out
at midnight to discover some place convenient for the reception
of the remains.  They found the harbour too busy for their
purpose, and decided to wait until the morrow, when they would go
farther afield.  They returned home and retired for the night,
occupying the bed in which Madame Boyer had slept the night

On the morning of the 20th the lovers rose early, and a curious
neighbour, looking through the keyhole, saw them counting
joyously money and valuables, as they took them from Madame
Boyer's cash-box.  When the shop-boy arrived, he asked Vitalis
for news of Madame Boyer.  Vitalis told him that he had gone
with her to the station, that she had taken the train to
Montpellier, and that, in accordance with his plan, he had given
her the slip just as the train was starting.  This the boy knew
to be false: he had been to the station himself to enjoy the fun,
and had seen neither Vitalis nor Madame Boyer.  He began to
suspect some mystery.  In the evening, when the shops had been
closed, and he had been sent about his business, he waited and
watched.  In a short time he saw Vitalis and Marie Boyer leave
the house, the former dragging a hand-cart containing two large
parcels, while Marie walked by his side.  They travelled some
distance with their burden, leaving the city behind them, hoping
to find some deserted spot along the coast where they could
conceal the evidence of their crime.  Their nerves were shaken by
meeting with a custom-house officer, who asked them what it was
they had in the cart.  Vitalis answered that it was a traveller's
luggage, and the officer let them pass on.  But soon after,
afraid to risk another such experience, the guilty couple turned
out the parcels into a ditch, covered them with stones and sand,
and hurried home.

The next day, the shop-boy and the inquisitive neighbour having
consulted together, went to the Commissary of Police and told him
of the mysterious disappearance of Madame Boyer.  The Commissary
promised to investigate the matter, and had just dismissed his
informants when word was brought to him of the discovery, in a
ditch outside Marseilles, of two parcels containing human
remains.  He called back the boy and took him to view the body at
the Morgue.  The boy was able, by the clothes, to identify the
body as that of his late mistress.  The Commissary went straight
to the shops in the Rue de la Republique, where he found the
young lovers preparing for flight.  At first they denied all
knowledge of the crime, and said that Madame Boyer had gone to
Montpellier.  They were arrested, and it was not long before they
both confessed their guilt to the examining magistrate.

Vitalis and Marie Boyer were tried before the Assize Court at Aix
on July 2, 1877.  Vitalis is described as mean and insignificant
in appearance, thin, round-backed, of a bilious complexion; Marie
Boyer as a pretty, dark girl, her features cold in expression,
dainty and elegant.  At her trial she seemed to be still so
greatly under the influence of Vitalis that during her
interrogatory the President sent him out of court.  To the
examining magistrate Marie Boyer, in describing her mother's mur-
der, had written, "I cannot think how I came to take part in it. 
I, who wouldn't have stayed in the presence of a corpse for all
the money in the world."  Vitalis was condemned to death, and was
executed on August 17.  He died fearful and penitent,
acknowledging his miserable career to be a warning to misguided
youth.  Extenuating circumstances were accorded to Marie Boyer,
and she was sentenced to penal servitude for life.  Her conduct
in prison was so repentant and exemplary that she was released in

M. Proal, a distinguished French judge, and the author of some
important works on crime, acted as the examining magistrate in
the case of Vitalis and Marie Boyer.  He thus sums up his
impression of the two criminals:  "Here is an instance of how
greed and baseness on the one side, lust and jealousy on the
other, bring about by degrees a change in the characters of
criminals, and, after some hesitation, the suggestion and
accomplishment of parricide, Is it necessary to seek an
explanation of the crime in any psychic abnormality which is
negatived to all appearances by the antecedents of the guilty
pair?  Is it necessary to ask it of anatomy or physiology? 
Is not the crime the result of moral degradation gradually
asserting itself in two individuals, whose moral and intellectual
faculties are the same as those of other men, but who fall, step
by step, into vice and crime?  It is by a succession of wrongful
acts that a man first reaches the frontier of crime and then at
length crosses it."

The Fenayrou Case

There is an account of this case in Bataille "Causes Criminelles
et Mondaines" (1882), and in Mace's book, "Femmes
Criminelles."  It is alluded to in "Souvenirs d'un President
d'Assises," by Berard des Glajeux.
The murder of the chemist Aubert by Marin Fenayrou and his wife
Gabrielle was perpetrated near Paris in the year 1882.  In its
beginning the story is commonplace enough.  Fenayrou was the son
of a small chemist in the South of France, and had come to Paris
from the Aveyron Department to follow his father's vocation.  He
obtained a situation as apprentice in the Rue de la Ferme des
Mathurins in the shop of a M. Gibon.  On the death of M. Gibon
his widow thought she saw in Fenayrou a man capable of carrying
on her late husband's business.  She gave her daughter in
marriage to her apprentice, and installed him in the shop.  The
ungrateful son-in-law, sure of his wife and his business and
contrary to his express promise, turned the old lady out of the
house.  This occurred in the year 1870, Fenayrou being then
thirty years of age, his wife, Gabrielle, seventeen.

They were an ill-assorted and unattractive couple.  The man, a
compound of coarse brutality and shrewd cunning, was at heart
lazy and selfish, the woman a spoilt child, in whom a real want
of feeling was supplied by a shallow sentimentalism.  Vain of the
superior refinement conferred on her by a good middle-class
education, she despised and soon came to loathe her coarse
husband, and lapsed into a condition of disappointment and
discontent that was only relieved superficially by an
extravagant devotion to religious exercises.

It was in 1875, when the disillusionment of Mme. Fenayrou was
complete, that her husband received into his shop a pupil, a
youth of twenty-one, Louis Aubert.  He was the son of a Norman
tradesman.  The ambitious father had wished his son to enter the
church, but the son preferred to be a chemist.  He was a shrewd,
hard-working fellow, with an eye to the main chance and a taste
for pleasures that cost him nothing, jovial, but vulgar and self-
satisfied, the kind of man who, having enjoyed the favours of
woman, treats her with arrogance and contempt, till from loving
she comes to loathe him--a characteristic example, according to
M. Bourget, of le faux homme a femmes.  Such was Aubert,
Fenayrou's pupil.  He was soon to become something more than

Fenayrou as chemist had not answered to the expectations of his
mother-in-law.  His innate laziness and love of coarse pleasures
had asserted themselves.  At first his wife had shared in the
enjoyments, but as time went on and after the birth of their two
children, things became less prosperous.  She was left at home
while Fenayrou spent his time in drinking bocks of beer, betting
and attending race-meetings.  It was necessary, under these
circumstances, that someone should attend to the business of the
shop.  In Aubert Fenayrou found a ready and willing assistant.

From 1876 to 1880, save for an occasional absence for military
service, Aubert lived with the Fenayrous, managing the business
and making love to the bored and neglected wife, who after a few
months became his mistress.  Did Fenayrou know of this intrigue
or not?  That is a crucial question in the case.  If he did not,
it was not for want of warning from certain of his friends
and neighbours, to whom the intrigue was a matter of common
knowledge.  Did he refuse to believe in his wife's guilt? or,
dependent as he was for his living on the exertions of his
assistant, did he deliberately ignore it, relying on his wife's
attractions to keep the assiduous Aubert at work in the shop?  In
any case Aubert's arrogance, which had increased with the
consciousness of his importance to the husband and his conquest
of the wife, led in August of 1880, to a rupture.  Aubert left
the Fenayrous and bought a business of his own on the Boulevard

Before his departure Aubert had tried to persuade Mme. Gibon to
sell up her son-in-law by claiming from him the unpaid purchase-
money for her husband's shop.  He represented Fenayrou as an idle
gambler, and hinted that he would find her a new purchaser.  Such
an underhand proceeding was likely to provoke resentment if it
should come to the ears of Fenayrou.  During the two years that
elapsed between his departure from Fenayrou's house and his
murder, Aubert had prospered in his shop on the Boulevard
Malesherbes, whilst the fortunes of the Fenayrous had steadily

At the end of the year 1881 Fenayrou sold his shop and went with
his family to live on one of the outer boulevards, that of
Gouvion-Saint-Cyr.  He had obtained a post in a shady mining
company, in which he had persuaded his mother-in-law to invest
20,000 francs.  He had attempted also to make money by selling
fradulent imitations of a famous table-water.  For this offence,
at the beginning of 1882, he was condemned by the Correctional
Tribunal of Paris to three months' imprisonment and 1,000 francs

In March of 1882 the situation of the Fenayrous was parlous, that
of Aubert still prosperous.

Since Aubert's departure Mme. Fenayrou had entertained
another lover, a gentleman on the staff of a sporting newspaper,
one of Fenayrou's turf acquaintances.  This gentleman had found
her a cold mistress, preferring the ideal to the real.  As a
murderess Madame Fenayrou overcame this weakness.

If we are to believe Fenayrou's story, the most critical day in
his life was March 22, 1882, for it was on that day, according to
his account, that he learnt for the first time of his wife's
intrigue with Aubert.  Horrified and enraged at the discovery, he
took from her her nuptial wreath, her wedding-ring, her
jewellery, removed from its frame her picture in charcoal which
hung in the drawing-room, and told her, paralysed with terror,
that the only means of saving her life was to help him to murder
her lover.

Two months later, with her assistance, this outraged husband
accomplished his purpose with diabolical deliberation.  He must
have been well aware that, had he acted on the natural impulse of
the moment and revenged himself then and there on Aubert, he
would have committed what is regarded by a French jury as the
most venial of crimes, and would have escaped with little or no
punishment.  He preferred, for reasons of his own, to set about
the commission of a deliberate and cold-blooded murder that bears
the stamp of a more sinister motive than the vengeance of a
wronged husband.

The only step he took after the alleged confession of his wife on
March 22 was to go to a commissary of police and ask him to
recover from Aubert certain letters of his wife's that were in
his possession.  This the commissary refused to do.  Mme. Gibon,
the mother-in-law, was sent to Aubert to try to recover the
letters, but Aubert declined to give them up, and wrote to Mme.

"Madame, to my displeasure I have had a visit this morning from
your mother, who has come to my home and made a most unnecessary
scene and reproached me with facts so serious that I must beg you
to see me without delay.  It concerns your honour and
mine. . . .  I have no fear of being confronted with your husband
and yourself.  I am ready, when you wish, to justify
myself. . . .  Please do all you can to prevent a repetition of
your mother's visit or I shall have to call in the police."

It is clear that the Fenayrous attached the utmost importance to
the recovery of this correspondence, which disappeared with
Aubert's death.  Was the prime motive of the murder the recovery
and destruction of these letters?  Was Aubert possessed of some
knowledge concerning the Fenayrous that placed them at his mercy?

It would seem so.  To a friend who had warned him of the danger
to which his intimacy with Gabrielle Fenayrou exposed him, Aubert
had replied, "Bah!  I've nothing to fear.  I hold them in my
power."  The nature of the hold which Aubert boasted that he
possessed over these two persons remains the unsolved mystery of
the case, "that limit of investigation," in the words of a French
judge, "one finds in most great cases, beyond which justice
strays into the unknown."

That such a hold existed, Aubert's own statement and the
desperate attempts made by the Fenayrous to get back these
letters, would seem to prove beyond question.  Had Aubert
consented to return them, would he have saved his life?  It seems
probable.  As it was, he was doomed.  Fenayrou hated him.  They
had had a row on a race-course, in the course of which Aubert had
humiliated his former master.  More than this, Aubert had boasted
openly of his relations with Mme. Fenayrou, and the fact had
reached the ears of the husband.  Fenayrou believed also, though
erroneously, that Aubert had informed against him in the matter
of the table-water fraud.  Whether his knowledge of Aubert's
relations with his wife was recent or of long standing, he had
other grounds of hate against his former pupil.  He himself had
failed in life, but he saw his rival prosperous, arrogant in his
prosperity, threatening, dangerous to his peace of mind; he
envied and feared as well as hated him.  Cruel, cunning and
sinister, Fenayrou spent the next two months in the meditation of
a revenge that was not only to remove the man he feared, but was
to give him a truly fiendish opportunity of satisfying his
ferocious hatred.

And the wife what of her share in the business?  Had she also
come to hate Aubert?  Or did she seek to expiate her guilt by
assisting her husband in the punishment of her seducer?   A
witness at the trial described Mme. Fenayrou as "a soft paste"
that could be moulded equally well to vice or virtue, a woman
destitute of real feeling or strength of will, who, under the
direction of her husband, carried out implicitly, precisely and
carefully her part in an atrocious murder, whose only effort to
prevent the commission of such a deed was to slip away into a
church a few minutes before she was to meet the man she was
decoying to his death, and pray that his murder might be averted.

Her religious sense, like the images in the hat of Louis XI., was
a source of comfort and consolation in the doing of evil, but
powerless to restrain her from the act itself, in the presence of
a will stronger than her own.  At the time of his death Aubert
contemplated marriage, and had advertised for a wife.  If Mme.
Fenayrou was aware of this, it may have served to stimulate her
resentment against her lover, but there seems little reason to
doubt that, left to herself, she would never have had the will or
the energy to give that resentment practical expression.  It
required the dictation of the vindictive and malevolent Fenayrou
to crystallise her hatred of Aubert into a deliberate
participation in his murder.

Eight or nine miles north-west of Paris lies the small town of
Chatou, a pleasant country resort for tired Parisians.  Here
Madeleine Brohan, the famous actress, had inhabited a small
villa, a two-storied building.  At the beginning of 1882 it was
to let.  In the April of that year a person of the name of "Hess"
agreed to take it at a quarterly rent of 1,200 francs, and paid
300 in advance.  "Hess" was no other than Fenayrou--the villa
that had belonged to Madeleine Brohan the scene chosen for
Aubert's murder.  Fenayrou was determined to spare no expense in
the execution of his design: it was to cost him some 3,000 francs
before he had finished with it.

As to the actual manner of his betrayer's death, the outraged
husband found it difficult to make up his mind.  It was not to be
prompt, nor was unnecessary suffering to be avoided.  At first he
favoured a pair of "infernal" opera-glasses that concealed a
couple of steel points which, by means of a spring, would dart
out into the eyes of anyone using them and destroy their sight. 
This rather elaborate and uncertain machine was abandoned later
in favour of a trap for catching wolves.  This was to be placed
under the table, and seize in its huge iron teeth the legs of the
victim.  In the end simplicity, in the shape of a hammer and
sword-stick, won the day.  An assistant was taken in the person
of Lucien Fenayrou, a brother of Marin.

This humble and obliging individual, a maker of children's toys,
regarded his brother the chemist with something like veneration
as the gentleman and man of education of the family.  Fifty
francs must have seemed to him an almost superfluous inducement
to assist in the execution of what appeared to be an act of
legitimate vengeance, an affair of family honour in which the
wife and brother of the injured husband were in duty bound to
participate.  Mme. Fenayrou, with characteristic superstition,
chose the day of her boy's first communion to broach the subject
of the murder to Lucien.  By what was perhaps more than
coincidence, Ascension Day, May 18, was selected as the day for
the crime itself.  There were practical reasons also.  It was a
Thursday and a public holiday.  On Thursdays the Fenayrou
children spent the day with their grandmother, and at holiday
time there was a special midnight train from Chatou to Paris that
would enable the murderers to return to town after the commission
of their crime.  A goat chaise and twenty-six feet of gas piping
had been purchased by Fenayrou and taken down to the villa.

Nothing remained but to secure the presence of the victim.  At
the direction of her husband Mme. Fenayrou wrote to Aubert on May
14, a letter in which she protested her undying love for him, and
expressed a desire to resume their previous relations.  Aubert
demurred at first, but, as she became more pressing, yielded at
length to her suggestion.  If it cost him nothing, Aubert was the
last man to decline an invitation of the kind.  A trip to Chatou
was arranged for Ascension Day, May 18, by the train leaving
Paris from the St. Lazare Station, at half-past eight in the

On the afternoon of that day Fenayrou, his wife and his brother
sent the children to their grandmother and left Paris for Chatou
at three o'clock.  Arrived there, they went to the villa,
Fenayrou carrying the twenty-six feet of gas-piping wound round
him like some huge hunting-horn.  He spent the afternoon in
beating out the piping till it was flat, and in making a gag.  He
tried to take up the flooring in the kitchen, but this plan for
the concealment of the body was abandoned in favour of the
river.  As soon as these preparations, in which he was assisted
by his two relatives, had been completed, Fenayrou placed a
candle, some matches and the sword-stick on the drawing-room
table and returned to Paris.

The three conspirators dined together heartily in the Avenue de
Clichy--soup, fish, entree, sweet and cheese, washed down by a
bottle of claret and a pint of burgundy, coffee to follow, with a
glass of chartreuse for Madame.  To the waiter the party seemed
in the best of spirits.  Dinner ended, the two men returned to
Chatou by the 7.35 train, leaving Gabrielle to follow an hour
later with Aubert.  Fenayrou had taken three second-class return
tickets for his wife, his brother and himself, and a single for
their visitor.  It was during the interval between the departure
of her husband and her meeting with Aubert that Mme. Fenayrou
went into the church of St. Louis d'Antin and prayed.

At half-past eight she met Aubert at the St. Lazare Station, gave
him his ticket and the two set out for Chatou--a strange journey
Mme. Fenayrou was asked what they talked about in the railway
carriage.  "Mere nothings," she replied.  Aubert abused her
mother; for her own part, she was very agitated--tres
emotionnee.  It was about half-past nine when they reached
their destination.  The sight of the little villa pleased Aubert.

"Ah!" he said, "this is good.  I should like a house like this
and twenty thousand francs a year!"  As he entered the hall,
surprised at the darkness, he exclaimed:  "The devil! it's
precious dark! `tu sais, Gabrielle, que je ne suis pas un
heros d'aventure.'"  The woman pushed him into the drawing-
room.  He struck a match on his trousers.  Fenayrou, who had been
lurking in the darkness in his shirt sleeves, made a blow at him
with the hammer, but it was ineffectual.  A struggle ensued.  The
room was plunged in darkness.  Gabrielle waited outside. 
After a little, her husband called for a light; she came in and
lit a candle on the mantelpiece.  Fenayrou was getting the worst
of the encounter.  She ran to his help, and dragged off his
opponent.  Fenayrou was free.  He struck again with the hammer. 
Aubert fell, and for some ten minutes Fenayrou stood over the
battered and bleeding man abusing and insulting him, exulting in
his vengeance.  Then he stabbed him twice with the sword-stick,
and so ended the business.

The murderers had to wait till past eleven to get rid of the
body, as the streets were full of holiday-makers.  When all was
quiet they put it into the goat chaise, wrapped round with the
gas-piping, and wheeled it on to the Chatou bridge.  To prevent
noise they let the body down by a rope into the water.  It was
heavier than they thought, and fell with a loud splash into the
river.  "Hullo!" exclaimed a night-fisherman, who was mending his
tackle not far from the bridge, "there go those butchers again,
chucking their filth into the Seine!"

As soon as they had taken the chaise back to the villa, the three
assassins hurried to the station to catch the last train. 
Arriving there a little before their time, they went into a
neighbouring cafe.  Fenayrou had three bocks, Lucien one, and
Madame another glass of chartreuse.  So home to Paris.  Lucien
reached his house about two in the morning.  "Well," asked his
wife, "did you have a good day?"  "Splendid," was the reply.

Eleven days passed.  Fenayrou paid a visit to the villa to clean
it and put it in order.  Otherwise he went about his business as
usual, attending race meetings, indulging in a picnic and a visit
to the Salon.  On May 27 a man named Bailly, who, by a strange
coincidence, was known by the nickname of "the Chemist," walking
by the river, had his attention called by a bargeman to a corpse
that was floating on the water.  He fished it out.  It was
that of Aubert.  In spite of a gag tired over his mouth the water
had got into the body, and, notwithstanding the weight of the
lead piping, it had risen to the surface.

As soon as the police had been informed of the disappearance of
Aubert, their suspicions had fallen on the Fenayrous in
consequence of the request which Marin Fenayrou had made to the
commissary of police to aid him in the recovery from Aubert of
his wife's letters.  But there had been nothing further in their
conduct to provoke suspicion.  When, however, the body was dis-

covered and at the same time an anonymous letter received
denouncing the Fenayrous as the murderers of Aubert, the police
decided on their arrest.  On the morning of June 8 M. Mace,
then head of the Detective Department, called at their house.  He
found Fenayrou in a dressing-gown.  This righteous avenger of his
wife's seduction denied his guilt, like any common criminal, but
M. Mace handed him over to one of his men, to be taken
immediately to Versailles.  He himself took charge of Madame,
and, in the first-class carriage full of people, in which they
travelled together to Versailles, she whispered to the detective
a full confession of the crime.

Mace has left us an account of this singular railway journey. 
It was two o'clock in the afternoon.  In the carriage were five
ladies and a young man who was reading La Vie Parisienne.  Mme.
Fenayrou was silent and thoughtful.  "You're thinking of your
present position?" asked the detective.  "No, I'm thinking of my
mother and my dear children."  "They don't seem to care much
about their father," remarked Mace.  "Perhaps not."  "Why?"
asked M. Mace.  "Because of his violent temper," was the
reply.  After some further conversation and the departure at
Courbevoie of the young man with La Vie Parisienne, Mme.
Fenayrou asked abruptly:  "Do you think my husband guilty?" 
"I'm sure of it."  "So does Aubert's sister."  "Certainly," an-

swered M. Mace; "she looks on the crime as one of revenge." 
"But my brother-in-law," urged the woman, "could have had no
motive for vengeance against Aubert."  Mace answered coldly
that he would have to explain how he had employed his time on
Ascension Day.  "You see criminals everywhere," answered Madame.

After the train had left St. Cloud, where the other occupants of
the carriage had alighted, the detective and his prisoner were
alone, free of interruption till Versailles should be reached. 
Hitherto they had spoken in whispers; now Mace seized the
opportunity to urge the woman to unbosom herself to him, to
reveal her part in the crime.  She burst into tears.  There was
an interval of silence; then she thanked Mace for the kindness
and consideration he had shown her.  "You wish me," she asked,
"to betray my husband?"  "Without any design or intention on your
part," discreetly answered the detective; "but by the sole force
of circumstances you are placed in such a position that you
cannot help betraying him."

Whether convinced or not of this tyranny of circumstance, Mme.
Fenayrou obeyed her mentor, and calmly, coldly, without regret or
remorse, told him the story of the assassination.  Towards the
end of her narration she softened a little.  "I know I am a
criminal," she exclaimed.  "Since this morning I have done
nothing but lie.  I am sick of it; it makes me suffer too much. 
Don't tell my husband until this evening that I have confessed;
there's no need, for, after what I have told you, you can easily
expose his falsehoods and so get at the truth."

That evening the three prisoners--Lucien had been arrested at the
same time as the other two--were brought to Chatou.  Identified
by the gardener as the lessee of the villa, Fenayrou
abandoned his protestations of innocence and admitted his guilt. 
The crime was then and there reconstituted in the presence of the
examining magistrate.  With the help of a gendarme, who imper-

sonated Aubert, Fenayrou repeated the incidents of the murder. 
The goat-chaise was wheeled to the bridge, and there in the
presence of an indignant crowd, the murderer showed how the body
had been lowered into the river.

After a magisterial investigation lasting two months, which
failed to shed any new light on the more mysterious elements in
the case, Fenayrou, his wife and brother were indicted on August
19 before the Assize Court for the Seine-et-Oise Department,
sitting at Versailles.

The attitude of the three culprits was hardly such as to provoke
the sympathies of even a French jury.  Fenayrou seemed to be
giving a clumsy and unconvincing performance of the role of
the wronged husband; his heavy figure clothed in an ill-fitting
suit of "blue dittos," his ill-kempt red beard and bock-stained
moustache did not help him in his impersonation.  Mme. Fenayrou,
pale, colourless, insignificant, was cold and impenetrable.  She
described the murder of her lover "as if she were giving her cook
a household recipe for making apricot Jam."  Lucien was humble
and lachrymose.

In his interrogatory of the husband the President, M. Berard
des Glajeux, showed himself frankly sceptical as to the
ingenuousness of Fenayrou's motives in assassinating Aubert. 
"Now, what was the motive of this horrible crime?" he asked. 
"Revenge," answered Fenayrou.

President:  But consider the care you took to hide the body and
destroy all trace of your guilt; that is not the way in which a
husband sets out to avenge his honour; these are the methods
of the assassin!  With your wife's help you could have caught
Aubert in flagrante delicto and killed him on the spot, and the
law would have absolved you.  Instead of which you decoy him into
a hideous snare.  Public opinion suggests that jealousy of your
former assistant's success, and mortification at your own
failure, were the real motives.  Or was it not perhaps that you
had been in the habit of rendering somewhat dubious services to
some of your promiscuous clients?

Fenayrou:  Nothing of the kind, I swear it!

President:  Do not protest too much.  Remember that among your
acquaintances you were suspected of cheating at cards.  As a
chemist you had been convinced of fraud.  Perhaps Aubert knew
something against you.  Some act of poisoning, or abortion, in
which you had been concerned?  Many witnesses have believed this.

Your mother-in-law is said to have remarked, "My son-in-law will
end in jail."

Fenayrou (bursting into tears):  This is too dreadful.

President:  And Dr. Durand, an old friend of Aubert, remembers
the deceased saying to him, "One has nothing to fear from people
one holds in one's hands."

Fenayrou:  I don't know what he meant.

President:  Or, considering the cruelty, cowardice, the cold
calculation displayed in the commission of the crime, shall we
say this was a woman's not a man's revenge.  You have said your
wife acted as your slave--was it not the other way about?

Fenayrou:  No; it was my revenge, mine alone.

The view that regarded Mme. Fenayrou as a soft, malleable paste
was not the view of the President.

"Why," he asked the woman, "did you commit this horrible murder,
decoy your lover to his death?"  "Because I had repented," was
the answer; "I had wronged my husband, and since he had been
condemned for fraud, I loved him the more for being unfortunate. 
And then I feared for my children."

President:  Is that really the case?

Mme. Fenayrou:  Certainly it is.

President:  Then your whole existence has been one of lies and
hypocrisy.  Whilst you were deceiving your husband and teaching
your children to despise him you were covering him with caresses.

You have played false to both husband and lover--to Aubert in
decoying him to his death, to your husband by denouncing him
directly you were arrested.  You have betrayed everybody.  The
only person you have not betrayed is yourself.  What sort of a
woman are you?  As you and Aubert went into the drawing-room on
the evening of the murder you said loudly, "This is the way," so
that your husband, hearing your voice outside, should not strike
you by mistake in the darkness.  If Lucien had not told us that
you attacked Aubert whilst he was struggling with your husband,
we should never have known it, for you would never have admitted
it, and your husband has all along refused to implicate
you. . . .  You have said that you had ceased to care for your
lover: he had ceased to care for you.  He was prosperous, happy,
about to marry: you hated him, and you showed your hate when,
during the murder, you flung yourself upon him and cried,
"Wretch!"  Is that the behaviour of a woman who represents
herself to have been the timid slave of her husband?  No.  This
crime is the revenge of a cowardly and pitiless woman, who writes
down in her account book the expenses of the trip to Chatou and,
after the murder, picnics merrily in the green fields.  It was
you who steeled your husband to the task.

How far the President was justified in thus inverting the parts
played by the husband and wife in the crime must be a matter
of opinion.  In his volume of Souvenirs M. Berard des
Glajeux modifies considerably the view which he perhaps felt it
his duty to express in his interrogatory of Gabrielle Fenayrou. 
He describes her as soft and flexible by nature, the repentant
slave of her husband, seeking to atone for her wrong to him by
helping him in his revenge.  The one feature in the character of
Mme. Fenayrou that seems most clearly demonstrated is its
absolute insensibility under any circumstances whatsoever.

The submissive Lucien had little to say for himself, nor could
any motive for joining in the murder beyond a readiness to oblige
his brother be suggested.  In his Souvenirs M. Berard des
Glajeux states that to-day it would seem to be clearly
established that Lucien acted blindly at the bidding of his
sister-in-law, "qu'il avait beaucoup aimee et qui n'avait pas
ete cruelle a son egard."

The evidence recapitulated for the most part the facts already
set out.  The description of Mme. Fenayrou by the gentleman on
the sporting newspaper who had succeeded Aubert in her affections
is, under the circumstances, interesting:  "She was sad,
melancholy; I questioned her, and she told me she was married to
a coarse man who neglected her, failed to understand her, and had
never loved her.  I became her lover but, except on a few
occasions, our relations were those of good friends.  She was a
woman with few material wants, affectionate, expansive, an
idealist, one who had suffered much and sought from without a
happiness her marriage had never brought her.  I believe her to
have been the blind tool of her husband."

From motives of delicacy the evidence of this gentleman was read
in his presence; he was not examined orally.  His eulogy of his
mistress is loyal.  Against it may be set the words of the
Procureur de la Republique, M. Delegorgue:  "Never has a more
thorough-paced, a more hideous monster been seated in the dock of
an assize court.  This woman is the personification of falsehood,
depravity, cowardice and treachery.  She is worthy of the supreme
penalty."  The jury were not of this opinion.  They preferred to
regard Mme. Fenayrou as playing a secondary part to that of her
husband.  They accorded in both her case and that of Lucien ex-

tenuating circumstances.  The woman was sentenced to penal
servitude for life, Lucien to seven years.  Fenayrou, for whose
conduct the jury could find no extenuation, was condemned to

It is the custom in certain assize towns for the President, after
pronouncing sentence, to visit a prisoner who had been ordered
for execution.  M. Berard des Glajeux describes his visit to
Fenayrou at Versailles.  He was already in prison dress, sobbing.

His iron nature, which during five days had never flinched, had
broken down; but it was not for himself he wept, but for his
wife, his children, his brother; of his own fate he took no
account.  At the same moment his wife was in the lodge of the
courthouse waiting for the cab that was to take her to her
prison.  Freed from the anxieties of the trial, knowing her life
to be spared, without so much as a thought for the husband whom
she had never loved, she had tidied herself up, and now, with all
the ease of a woman, whose misfortunes have not destroyed her
self-possession, was doing the honours of the jail.  It was she
who received her judge.

But Fenayrou was not to die.  The Court of Cassation, to which he
had made the usual appeal after condemnation, decided that the
proceedings at Versailles had been vitiated by the fact that the
evidence of Gabrielle Fenayrou's second lover had not been taken
ORALLY, within the requirements of the criminal code;
consequently a new trial was ordered before the Paris Assize
Court.  This second trial, which commenced on October 12, saved
Fenayrou's head.  The Parisian jury showed themselves more
lenient than their colleagues at Versailles.  Not only was
Fenayrou accorded extenuating circumstances, but Lucien was
acquitted altogether.  The only person to whom these new
proceedings brought no benefit was Mme. Fenayrou, whose sentence
remained unaltered.

Marin Fenayrou was sent to New Caledonia to serve his punishment.

There he was allowed to open a dispensary, but, proving
dishonest, he lost his license and became a ferryman--a very
Charon for terrestrial passengers.  He died in New Caledonia of
cancer of the liver.

Gabrielle Fenayrou made an exemplary prisoner, so exemplary that,
owing to her good conduct and a certain ascendancy she exercised
over her fellow-prisoners, she was made forewoman of one of the
workshops.  Whilst holding this position she had the honour of
receiving, among those entrusted to her charge, another
Gabrielle, murderess, Gabrielle Bompard, the history of whose
crime is next to be related.

Eyraud and Bompard

There are accounts of this case in Bataille "Causes Criminelles
et Mondaines," 1890, and in Volume X. of Fouquier "Causes
Celebres."  "L'Affaire Gouffe" by Dr. Lacassagne, Lyons,
1891, and Goron "L'Amour Criminel" may be consulted.

ON July 27, in the year 1889, the Parisian police were informed
of the disappearance of one Gouffe, a bailiff.  He had been
last seen by two friends on the Boulevard Montmartre at about ten
minutes past seven on the evening of the 26th, a Friday.  Since
then nothing had been heard of him, either at his office in the
Rue Montmartre, or at his private house in the Rue Rougemont. 
This was surprising in the case of a man of regular habits even
in his irregularities, robust health, and cheerful spirits.

Gouffe was a widower, forty-two years of age.  He had three
daughters who lived happily with him in the Rue Rougemont.  He
did a good trade as bailiff and process-server, and at times had
considerable sums of money in his possession.  These he would
never leave behind him at his office, but carry home at the end
of the day's work, except on Fridays.  Friday nights Gouffe
always spent away from home.  As the society he sought on these
nights was of a promiscuous character, he was in the habit of
leaving at his office any large sum of money that had come into
his hands during the day.

About nine o'clock on this particular Friday night, July 26, the
hall-porter at Gouffe's office in the Rue Montmartre heard
someone, whom he had taken at first to be the bailiff himself,
enter the hall and go upstairs to the office, where he
remained a few minutes.  As he descended the stairs the porter
came out of his lodge and, seeing it was a stranger, accosted
him.  But the man hurried away without giving the porter time to
see his face.

When the office was examined the next day everything was found in
perfect order, and a sum of 14,000 francs, hidden away behind
some papers, untouched.  The safe had not been tampered with;
there was, in short, nothing unusual about the room except ten
long matches that were lying half burnt on the floor.

On hearing of the bailiff's disappearance and the mysterious
visitor to his office, the police, who were convinced that
Gouffe had been the victim of some criminal design, inquired
closely into his habits, his friends, his associates, men and
women.  But the one man who could have breathed the name that
would have set the police on the track of the real culprits was,
for reasons of his own, silent.  The police examined many
persons, but without arriving at any useful result.

However, on August 15, in a thicket at the foot of a slope
running down from the road that passes through the district of
Millery, about ten miles from Lyons, a roadmender, attracted by a
peculiar smell, discovered the remains of what appeared to be a
human body.  They were wrapped in a cloth, but so decomposed as
to make identification almost impossible.  M. Goron, at that time
head of the Parisian detective police, believed them to be the
remains of Gouffe, but a relative of the missing man, whom he
sent to Lyons, failed to identify them.  Two days after the
discovery of the corpse, there were found near Millery the broken
fragments of a trunk, the lock of which fitted a key that had
been picked up near the body.  A label on the trunk showed that
it had been dispatched from Paris to Lyons on July 27, 188--, but
the final figure of the date was obliterated.  Reference to
the books of the railway company showed that on July 27, 1889,
the day following the disappearance of Gouffe, a trunk similar
in size and weight to that found near Millery had been sent from
Paris to Lyons.

The judicial authorities at Lyons scouted the idea that either
the corpse or the trunk found at Millery had any connection with
the disappearance of Gouffe.  When M. Goron, bent on following
up what he believed to be important clues, went himself to Lyons
he found that the remains, after being photographed, had been
interred in the common burying-ground.  The young doctor who had
made the autopsy produced triumphantly some hair taken from the
head of the corpse and showed M. Goron that whilst Gouffe's
hair was admittedly auburn and cut short, this was black, and had
evidently been worn long.  M. Goron, after looking carefully at
the hair, asked for some distilled water.  He put the lock of
hair into it and, after a few minutes' immersion, cleansed of the
blood, grease and dust that had caked them together, the hairs
appeared clearly to be short and auburn.  The doctor admitted his

Fortified by this success, Goron was able to procure the
exhumation of the body.  A fresh autopsy was performed by Dr.
Lacassagne, the eminent medical jurist of the Lyons School of
Medicine.  He was able to pronounce with certainty that the
remains were those of the bailiff, Gouffe.  An injury to the
right ankle, a weakness of the right leg, the absence of a
particular tooth and other admitted peculiarities in Gouffe's
physical conformation, were present in the corpse, placing its
identity beyond question.  This second post-mortem revealed
furthermore an injury to the thyroid cartilage of the larynx that
had been inflicted beyond any doubt whatever, declared Dr.
Lacassagne, before death.

There was little reason to doubt that Gouffe had been the
victim of murder by strangulation.

But by whom had the crime been committed?  It was now the end of
November.  Four months had passed since the bailiff's murder, and
the police had no clue to its perpetrators.  At one time a friend
of Gouffe's had been suspected and placed under arrest, but he
was released for want of evidence.

One day toward the close of November, in the course of a
conversation with M. Goron, a witness who had known Gouffe
surprised him by saying abruptly, "There's another man who
disappeared about the same time as Gouffe."  M. Goron pricked
up his ears.  The witness explained that he had not mentioned the
fact before, as he had not connected it with his friend's
disappearance; the man's name, he said, was Eyraud, Michel
Eyraud, M. Goron made some inquires as to this Michel Eyraud.  He
learnt that he was a married man, forty-six years of age, once a
distiller at Sevres, recently commission-agent to a bankrupt
firm, that he had left France suddenly, about the time of the
disappearance of Gouffe, and that he had a mistress, one
Gabrielle Bompard, who had disappeared with him.  Instinctively
M. Goron connected this fugitive couple with the fate of the
murdered bailiff.

Confirmation of his suspicions was to come from London.  The
remains of the trunk found at Millery had been skilfully put
together and exposed at the Morgue in Paris, whilst the Gouffe
family had offered a reward of 500 francs to anybody who could in
any way identify the trunk.  Beyond producing a large crop of
anonymous letters, in one of which the crime was attributed to
General Boulanger, then in Jersey, these measures seemed likely
to prove fruitless.  But one day in December, from the keeper of
a boarding-house in Gower Street, M. Goron received a letter
informing him that the writer believed that Eyraud and
Gabrielle Bompard had stayed recently at his house, and that on
July 14 the woman, whom he knew only as "Gabrielle," had left for
France, crossing by Newhaven and Dieppe, and taking with her a
large and almost empty trunk, which she had purchased in London. 
Inquires made by the French detectives established the
correctness of this correspondent's information.  An assistant at
a trunk shop in the Euston Road was able to identify the trunk--
brought over from Paris for the purpose--as one purchased in his
shop on July 12 by a Frenchman answering to the description of
Michel Eyraud.  The wife of the boarding-house keeper recollected
having expressed to Gabrielle her surprise that she should buy
such an enormous piece of luggage when she had only one dress to
put into it.  "Oh that's all right," answered Gabrielle
smilingly, "we shall have plenty to fill it with in Paris!" 
Gabrielle had gone to Paris with the trunk on July 14, come back
to London on the 17th, and on the 20th she and Eyraud returned
together to Paris From these facts it seemed more than probable
that these two were the assassins so eagerly sought for by the
police, and it seemed clear also that the murder had been done in
Paris.  But what had become of this couple, in what street, in
what house in Paris had the crime been committed?  These were
questions the police were powerless to answer.

The year 1889 came to an end, the murderers were still at large. 
But on January 21, 1890, M. Goron found lying on his table a
large letter bearing the New York postmark.  He opened it, and to
his astonishment read at the end the signature "Michel Eyraud." 
It was a curious letter, but undoubtedly genuine.  In it Eyraud
protested against the suspicions directed against himself; they
were, he wrote, merely unfortunate coincidences.  Gouffe had
been his friend; he had had no share whatever in his death;
his only misfortune had been his association with "that serpent,
Gabrielle Bompard."  He had certainly bought a large trunk for
her, but she told him that she had sold it.  They had gone to
America together, he to avoid financial difficulties in which he
had been involved by the dishonesty of the Jews.  There Gabrielle
had deserted him for another man.  He concluded a very long
letter by declaring his belief in Gabrielle's innocence--"the
great trouble with her is that she is such a liar and also has a
dozen lovers after her."  He promised that, as soon as he learnt
that Gabrielle had returned to Paris, he would, of his own free
will, place himself in the hands of M. Goron.

He was to have an early opportunity of redeeming his pledge, for
on the day following the receipt of his letter a short, well-made
woman, dressed neatly in black, with dyed hair, greyish-blue
eyes, good teeth, a disproportionately large head and a lively
and intelligent expression of face, presented herself at the
Prefecture of Police and asked for an interview with the Prefect.

Requested to give her name, she replied, with a smile, "Gabrielle
Bompard."  She was accompanied by a middle-aged gentleman, who
appeared to be devoted to her.  Gabrielle Bompard and her friend
were taken to the private room of M. Loze, the Prefect of
Police.  There, in a half-amused way, without the least concern,
sitting at times on the edge of the Prefect's writing-table,
Gabrielle Bompard told how she had been the unwilling accomplice
of her lover, Eyraud, in the murder of the bailiff, Gouffe. 
The crime, she stated, had been committed in No. 3 in the Rue
Tronson-Ducoudray, but she had not been present; she knew nothing
of it but what had been told her by Eyraud.  After the murder she
had accompanied him to America; there they had met the middle-
aged gentleman, her companion.  Eyraud had proposed that
they should murder and rob him, but she had divulged the plot to
the gentleman and asked him to take her away.  It was acting on
his advice that she had returned to France, determined to give
her evidence to the judicial authorities in Paris.  The middle-
aged gentleman declared himself ready to vouch for the truth of a
great part of this interesting narrative.  There they both
imagined apparently that the affair would be ended.  They were
extremely surprised when the Prefect, after listening to their
statements, sent for a detective-inspector who showed Gabrielle
Bompard a warrant for her arrest.  After an affecting parting, at
least on the part of the middle-aged gentleman, Gabrielle Bompard
was taken to prison.  There she soon recovered her spirits, which
had at no time been very gravely depressed by her critical situ-


According to Eyraud's letters, if anyone knew anything about
Gouffe's murder, it was Gabrielle Bompard; according to the
woman's statement, it was Eyraud, and Eyraud alone, who had
committed it.  As they were both liars--the woman perhaps the
greater liar of the two--their statements are not to be taken as
other than forlorn attempts to shift the blame on to each other's

Before extracting from their various avowals, which grew more
complete as time went on, the story of the crime, let us follow
Eyraud in his flight from justice, which terminated in the May of
1890 by his arrest in Havana.

Immediately after the arrest of Gabrielle, two French detectives
set out for America to trace and run down if possible her
deserted lover.  For more than a month they traversed Canada and
the United States in search of their prey.  The track of the
fugitive was marked from New York to San Francisco by acts of
thieving and swindling.  At the former city he had made the
acquaintance of a wealthy Turk, from whom, under the pretence of
wishing to be photographed in it, he had borrowed a magnificent
oriental robe.  The photograph was taken, but Eyraud forgot to
return the costly robe.

At another time he was lodging in the same house as a young
American actor, called in the French accounts of the incident
"Sir Stout."  To "Sir Stout" Eyraud would appear to have given a
most convincing performance of the betrayed husband; his wife, he
said, had deserted him for another man; he raved and stormed au-

dibly in his bedroom, deploring his fate and vowing vengeance. 
These noisy representations so impressed "Sir Stout" that, on the
outraged husband declaring himself to be a Mexican for the moment
without funds, the benevolent comedian lent him eighty dollars,
which, it is almost needless to add, he never saw again.  In
narrating this incident to the French detectives, "Sir Stout"
describes Eyraud's performance as great, surpassing even those of

Similar stories of theft and debauchery met the detectives at
every turn, but, helped in a great measure by the publicity the
American newspapers gave to the movements of his pursuers, Eyraud
was able to elude them, and in March they returned to France to
concert further plans for his capture.

Eyraud had gone to Mexico.  From there he had written a letter to
M. Rochefort's newspaper, L'Intransigeant, in which he declared
Gouffe to have been murdered by Gabrielle and an unknown. 
But, when official inquiries were made in Mexico as to his
whereabouts, the bird had flown.

At Havana, in Cuba, there lived a French dressmaker and clothes-
merchant named Puchen.  In the month of February a stranger,
ragged and unkempt, but evidently a fellow-countryman,
visited her shop and offered to sell her a superb Turkish
costume.  The contrast between the wretchedness of the vendor and
the magnificence of his wares struck Madame Puchen at the time. 
But her surprise was converted into suspicion when she read in
the American newspapers a description of the Turkish garment
stolen by Michel Eyraud, the reputed assassin of the bailiff
Gouffe.  It was one morning in the middle of May that Mme.
Puchen read the description of the robe that had been offered her
in February by her strange visitor.  To her astonishment, about
two o'clock the same afternoon, she saw the stranger standing
before her door.  She beckoned to him, and asked him if he still
had his Turkish robe with him; he seemed confused, and said that
he had sold it.  The conversation drifted on to ordinary topics;
the stranger described some of his recent adventures in Mexico. 
"Oh!" exclaimed the dressmaker, "they say Eyraud, the murderer,
is in Mexico!  Did you come across him?  Were you in Paris at the
time of the murder?"  The stranger answered in the negative, but
his face betrayed his uneasiness.  "Do you know you're rather
like him?" said the woman, in a half-joking way.  The stranger
laughed, and shortly after went out, saying he would return.  He
did return on May 15, bringing with him a number of the
Republique Illustree that contained an almost
unrecognisable portrait of Eyraud.  He said he had picked it up
in a cafe.  "What a blackguard he looks!" he exclaimed as he
threw the paper on the table.  But the dressmaker's suspicions
were not allayed by the stranger's uncomplimentary reference to
the murderer.  As soon as he had gone, she went to the French
Consul and told him her story.

By one of those singular coincidences that are inadmissable in
fiction or drama, but occur at times in real life, there happened
to be in Havana, of all places, a man who had been employed
by Eyraud at the time that he had owned a distillery at
Sevres.  The Consul, on hearing the statement of Mme. Puchen,
sent for this man and told him that a person believed to be
Eyraud was in Havana.  As the man left the Consulate, whom should
he meet in the street but Eyraud himself!  The fugitive had been
watching the movements of Mme. Puchen; he had suspected, after
the interview, that the woman would denounce him to the
authorities.  He now saw that disguise was useless.  He greeted
his ex-employe, took him into a cafe, there admitted his
identity and begged him not to betray him.  It was midnight when
they left the cafe.  Eyraud, repenting of his confidence, and no
doubt anxious to rid himself of a dangerous witness, took his
friend into an ill-lighted and deserted street; but the friend,
conscious of his delicate situation, hailed a passing cab and
made off as quickly as he could.

Next day, the 20th, the search for Eyraud was set about in
earnest.  The Spanish authorities, informed of his presence in
Havana, directed the police to spare no effort to lay hands on
him.  The Hotel Roma, at which he had been staying, was visited;
but Eyraud, scenting danger, had gone to an hotel opposite the
railway station.  His things were packed ready for flight on the
following morning.  How was he to pass the night?  True to his
instincts, a house of ill-fame, at which he had been entertained
already, seemed the safest and most pleasant refuge; but, when,
seedy and shabby, he presented himself at the door, he was sent
back into the street.  It was past one in the morning.  The
lonely murderer wandered aimlessly in the streets, restless,
nervous, a prey to apprehension, not knowing where to go.  Again
the man from Sevres met him.  "It's all up with me!" said
Eyraud, and disappeared in the darkness.  At two in the morning a
police officer, who had been patrolling the town in search
of the criminal, saw, in the distance, a man walking to and fro,
seemingly uncertain which way to turn.  Hearing footsteps the man
turned round and walked resolutely past the policeman, saying
good-night in Spanish.  "Who are you?  What's your address?" the
officer asked abruptly.  "Gorski, Hotel Roma!" was the answer. 
This was enough for the officer.  Eyraud was know{sic} to have
passed as "Gorski," the Hotel Roma had already been searched as
one of his hiding-places.  To seize and handcuff "Gorski" was the
work of a moment.  An examination of the luggage left by the so-
called Gorski at his last hotel and a determined attempt at
suicide made by their prisoner during the night proved
conclusively that to the Spanish police was the credit of having
laid by the heels, ten months after the commission of the crime,
Michel Eyraud, one of the assassins of the bailiff Gouffe.

On June 16 Eyraud was delivered over to the French police.  He
reached France on the 20th, and on July 1 made his first
appearance before the examining magistrate.

It will be well at this point in the narrative to describe how
Eyraud and Gabrielle Bompard came to be associated together in
crime.  Gabrielle Bompard was twenty-two years of age at the time
of her arrest, the fourth child of a merchant of Lille, a strong,
hardworking, respectable man.  Her mother, a delicate woman, had
died of lung disease when Gabrielle was thirteen.  Even as a
child lying and vicious, thinking only of men and clothes,
Gabrielle, after being expelled as incorrigible from four
educational establishments, stayed at a fifth for some three
years.  There she astonished those in authority over her by her
precocious propensity for vice, her treacherous and lying
disposition, and a lewdness of tongue rare in one of her age
and comparative inexperience.  At eighteen she returned to
her father's house, only to quit it for a lover whom, she
alleged, had hypnotised and then seduced her.  Gabrielle was
singularly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion.  Her father
implored the family doctor to endeavour to persuade her, while in
the hypnotic state, to reform her deplorable conduct.  The doctor
did his best but with no success.  He declared Gabrielle to be a
neuropath, who had not found in her home such influences as would
have tended to overcome her vicious instincts.  Perhaps the
doctor was inclined to sympathise rather too readily with his
patient, if we are to accept the report of those distinguished
medical gentlemen who, at a later date, examined carefully into
the mental and physical characteristics of Gabrielle Bompard.

This girl of twenty had developed into a supreme instance of the
"unmoral" woman, the conscienceless egoist, morally colour-blind,
vain, lewd, the intelligence quick and alert but having no
influence whatever on conduct.  One instance will suffice to show
the sinister levity, the utter absence of all moral sense in this
strange creature.

After the murder of Gouffe, Gabrielle spent the night alone
with the trunk containing the bailiff's corpse.  Asked by M.
Goron what were her sensations during this ghastly vigil,
she replied with a smile, "You'd never guess what a funny
idea come into my head!  You see it was not very pleasant
for me being thus tete-a-tete with a corpse, I couldn't sleep.
So I thought what fun it would be to go into the street and pick up
some respectable gentleman from the provinces.  I'd bring him up to
the room, and just as he was beginning to enjoy himself say,
`Would you like to see a bailiff?' open the trunk suddenly and,
before he could recover from his horror, run out into the street
and fetch the police.  Just think what a fool the respectable
gentleman would have looked when the officers came!"

Such callousness is almost unsurpassed in the annals of criminal
insensibility.  Nero fiddling over burning Rome, Thurtell fresh
from the murder of Weare, inviting Hunt, the singer and his
accomplice, to "tip them a stave" after supper, Edwards, the
Camberwell murderer, reading with gusto to friends the report of
a fashionable divorce case, post from the murder of a young
married couple and their baby--even examples such as these pale
before the levity of the "little demon," as the French detectives
christened Gabrielle.

Such was Gabrielle Bompard when, on July 26, exactly one year to
a day before the murder of Gouffe, she met in Paris Michel
Eyraud.  These two were made for each other.  If Gabrielle were
unmoral, Eyraud was immoral.  Forty-six at the time of
Gouffe's murder, he was sufficiently practised in vice to
appreciate and enjoy the flagrantly vicious propensities of the
young Gabrielle.  All his life Eyraud had spent his substance in
debauchery.  His passions were violent and at times
uncontrollable, but unlike many remarkable men of a similar
temperament, this strong animalism was not in his case
accompanied by a capacity for vigorous intellectual exertion or a
great power of work.  "Understand this," said Eyraud to one of
the detectives who brought him back to France, "I have never done
any work, and I never will do any work."  To him work was
derogatory; better anything than that.  Unfortunately it could
not be avoided altogether, but with Eyraud such work as he was
compelled at different times to endure was only a means for
procuring money for his degraded pleasures, and when honest work
became too troublesome, dishonesty served in its stead.  When he
met Gabrielle he was almost at the end of his tether, bankrupt
and discredited.  At a pinch he might squeeze a little money
out of his wife, with whom he continued to live in spite of his
open infidelities.

Save for such help as he could get from her small dowry, he was
without resources.  A deserter from the army during the Mexican
war in 1869, he had since then engaged in various commercial
enterprises, all of which had failed, chiefly through his own
extravagance, violence and dishonesty.  Gabrielle was quick to
empty his pockets of what little remained in them.  The proceeds
of her own immorality, which Eyraud was quite ready to share,
soon proved insufficient to replenish them.  Confronted with
ruin, Eyraud and Gompard hit on a plan by which the woman should
decoy some would-be admirer to a convenient trysting-place. 
There, dead or alive, the victim was to be made the means of
supplying their wants.

On further reflection dead seemed more expedient than alive,
extortion from a living victim too risky an enterprise.  Their
plans were carefully prepared.  Gabrielle was to hire a ground-
floor apartment, so that any noise, such as footsteps or the fall
of a body, would not be heard by persons living underneath.

At the beginning of July, 1889, Eyraud and Bompard were in
London.  There they bought at a West End draper's a red and white
silk girdle, and at a shop in Gower Street a large travelling
trunk.  They bought, also in London, about thirteen feet of
cording, a pulley and, on returning to Paris on July 20, some
twenty feet of packing-cloth, which Gabrielle, sitting at her
window on the fine summer evenings, sewed up into a large bag.

The necessary ground-floor apartment had been found at No. 3 Rue
Tronson-Ducoudray.  Here Gabrielle installed herself on July 24. 
The bedroom was convenient for the assassins' purpose, the bed
standing in an alcove separated by curtains from the rest of the
room.  To the beam forming the crosspiece at the entrance
into the alcove Eyraud fixed a pulley.  Through the pulley ran a
rope, having at one end of it a swivel, so that a man, hiding
behind the curtains could, by pulling the rope strongly, haul up
anything that might be attached to the swivel at the other end. 
It was with the help of this simple piece of mechanism and a good
long pull from Eyraud that the impecunious couple hoped to refill
their pockets.

The victim was chosen on the 25th.  Eyraud had already known of
Gouffe's existence, but on that day, Thursday, in a
conversation with a common friend, Eyraud learnt that the bailiff
Gouffe was rich, that he was in the habit of having
considerable sums of money in his care, and that on Friday nights
Gouffe made it his habit to sleep from home.  There was no
time to lose.  The next day Gabrielle accosted Gouffe as he
was going to his dejeuner and, after some little conversation
agreed to meet him at eight o'clock that evening.

The afternoon was spent in preparing for the bailiff's reception
in the Rue Tronson-Ducoudray.  A lounge-chair was so arranged
that it stood with its back to the alcove, within which the
pulley and rope had been fixed by Eyraud.  Gouffe was to sit
on the chair, Gabrielle on his knee.  Gabrielle was then
playfully to slip round his neck, in the form of a noose, the
cord of her dressing gown and, unseen by him, attach one end of
it to the swivel of the rope held by Eyraud.  Her accomplice had
only to give a strong pull and the bailiff's course was run.[17]

[17] One writer on the case has suggested that the story of the
murder by rope and pulley was invented by Eyraud and Bompard to
mitigate the full extent of their guilt, and that the bailiff was
strangled while in bed with the woman.  But the purchase of the
necessary materials in London would seem to imply a more
practical motive for the use of rope and pulley.

At six o'clock Eyraud and Bompard dined together, after
which Eyraud returned to the apartment, whilst Bompard went to
meet Gouffe near the Madeline Church.  What occurred
afterwards at No. 3 Rue Tronson-Ducoudray is best described in
the statement made by Eyraud at his trial.

"At a quarter past eight there was a ring at the bell.  I hid
myself behind the curtain.  Gouffe came in.  `You've a nice
little nest here,' he said.  `Yes, a fancy of mine,' replied
Gabrielle, `Eyraud knows nothing about it.'  `Oh, you're tired of
him,' asked Gouffe.  `Yes,' she replied, `that's all over.' 
Gabrielle drew Gouffe down on to the chair.  She showed him
the cord of her dressing-gown and said that a wealthy admirer had
given it to her.  `Very elegant,' said Gouffe, `but I didn't
come here to see that.'

"She then sat on his knee and, as if in play, slipped the cord
round his neck; then putting her hand behind him, she fixed the
end of the cord into the swivel, and said to him laughingly,
`What a nice necktie it makes!'  That was the signal.  Eyraud
pulled the cord vigorously and, in two minutes, Gouffe had
ceased to live."

Eyraud took from the dead man his watch and ring, 150 francs and
his keys.  With these he hurried to Gouffe's office and made a
fevered search for money.  It was fruitless.  In his trembling
haste the murderer missed a sum of 14,000 francs that was lying
behind some papers, and returned, baffled and despairing, to his
mistress and the corpse.  The crime had been a ghastly failure. 
Fortified by brandy and champagne, and with the help of the
woman, Eyraud stripped the body, put it into the bag that had
been sewn by Gabrielle, and pushed the bag into the trunk. 
Leaving his mistress to spend the night with their hateful
luggage, Eyraud returned home and, in his own words, "worn out by
the excitement of the day, slept heavily."

The next day Eyraud, after saying good-bye to his wife and
daughter, left with Gabrielle for Lyons.  On the 28th they got
rid at Millery of the body of Gouffe and the trunk in which it
had travelled; his boots and clothes they threw into the sea at
Marseilles.  There Eyraud borrowed 500 francs from his brother. 
Gabrielle raised 2,000 francs in Paris, where they spent August
18 and 19, after which they left for England, and from England
sailed for America.  During their short stay in Paris Eyraud had
the audacity to call at the apartment in the Rue Tronson-
Ducoudray for his hat, which he had left behind; in the hurry of
the crime he had taken away Gouffe's by mistake.

Eyraud had been brought back to Paris from Cuba at the end of
June, 1890.  Soon after his return, in the room in which
Gouffe had been done to death and in the presence of the
examining magistrate, M. Goron, and some fifteen other persons,
Eyraud was confronted with his accomplice.  Each denied
vehemently, with hatred and passion, the other's story.  Neither
denied the murder, but each tried to represent the other as the
more guilty of the two.  Eyraud said that the suggestion and plan
of the crime had come from Gabrielle; that she had placed around
Gouffe's neck the cord that throttled him.  Gabrielle
attributed the inception of the murder to Eyraud, and said that
he had strangled the bailiff with his own hands.

Eyraud, since his return, had seemed indifferent to his own fate;
whatever it might be, he wished that his mistress should share
it.  He had no objection to going to the guillotine as long as he
was sure that Gabrielle would accompany him.  She sought to
escape such a consummation by representing herself as a mere
instrument in Eyraud's hands.  It was even urged in her defence
that, in committing the crime, she had acted under the
influence of hypnotic suggestion on the part of her accomplice. 
Three doctors appointed by the examining magistrate to report on
her mental state came unanimously to the conclusion that, though
undoubtedly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion, there was no
ground for thinking that she had been acting under such influence
when she participated in the murder of Gouffe.  Intellectually
the medical gentlemen found her alert and sane enough, but
morally blind.

The trial of Eyraud and Bompard took place before the Paris
Assize Court on December 16, 1890.  It had been delayed owing to
the proceedings of an enterprising journalist.  The names of the
jurymen who were to be called on to serve at the assize had been
published.  The journalist conceived the brilliant idea of
interviewing some of these gentlemen.

He succeeded in seeing four of them, but in his article which
appeared in the Matin newspaper said that he had seen twenty-
one.  Nine of them, he stated, had declared themselves in favour
of Gabrielle Bompard, but in some of these he had discerned a
certain "eroticism of the pupil of the eye" to which he
attributed their leniency.  A month's imprisonment was the reward
of these flights of journalistic imagination.

A further scandal in connection with the trial was caused by the
lavish distribution of tickets of admission to all sorts and
kinds of persons by the presiding judge, M. Robert, whose
occasional levities in the course of the proceedings are
melancholy reading.  As a result of his indulgence a circular was
issued shortly after the trial by M. Fallieres, then Minister
of Justice, limiting the powers of presidents of assize in
admitting visitors into the reserved part of the court.

The proceedings at the trial added little to the known facts
of the case.  Both Eyraud and Bompard continued to endeavour to
shift the blame on to each other's shoulders.  A curious feature
of the trial was the appearance for the defence of a M.
Liegeois, a professor of law at Nancy.  To the dismay of the
Court, he took advantage of a clause in the Code of Criminal
Instruction which permits a witness to give his evidence without
interruption, to deliver an address lasting four hours on
hypnotic suggestion.  He undertook to prove that, not only
Gabrielle Bompard, but Troppmann, Madame Weiss, and Gabrielle
Fenayrou also, had committed murder under the influence of
suggestion.[18]  In replying to this rather fantastic defence,
the Procureur-General, M. Quesnay de Beaurepaire, quoted a
statement of Dr. Brouardel, the eminent medical jurist who had
been called for the prosecution, that "there exists no instance
of a crime, or attempted crime committed under the influence of
hypnotic suggestion."  As to the influence of Eyraud over
Bompard, M. de Beaurepaire said:  "The one outstanding fact that
has been eternally true for six thousand years is that the
stronger will can possess the weaker: that is no peculiar part of
the history of hypnotism; it belongs to the history of the world.

Dr. Liegeois himself, in coming to this court to-day, has
fallen a victim to the suggestion of the young advocate who has
persuaded him to come here to air his theories."  The Court
wisely declined to allow an attempt to be made to hypnotise the
woman Bompard in the presence of her judges, and M. Henri
Robert, her advocate, in his appeal to the jury, threw over
altogether any idea of hypnotic suggestion, resting his plea on
the moral weakness and irresponsibility of his client.

[18] Moll in his "Hypnotism" (London, 1909) states that, after
Gabrielle Bompard's release M. Liegeois succeeded in putting
her into a hypnotic state, in which she re-acted the scene in
which the crime was originally suggested to her.  The value of
such experiments with a woman as mischievous and untruthful as
Gabrielle Bompard must be very doubtful.  No trustworthy instance
seems to be recorded in which a crime has been committed under,
or brought about by, hypnotic or post-hypnotic suggestion,
though, according to Moll, "the possibility of such a crime
cannot be unconditionally denied."

In sheer wickedness there seems little enough to choose between
Eyraud and Bompard.  But, in asking a verdict without extenuating
circumstances against the woman, the Procureur-General was
by no means insistent.  He could not, he said, ask for less, his
duty would not permit it:  "But I am ready to confess that my
feelings as a man suffer by the duty imposed on me as a
magistrate.  On one occasion, at the outset of my career, it fell
to my lot to ask from a jury the head of a woman.  I felt then
the same kind of distress of mind I feel to-day.  The jury
rejected my demand; they accorded extenuating circumstances;
though defeated, I left the court a happier man.  What are you
going to do to-day, gentlemen?  It rests with you.  What I cannot
ask of you, you have the right to accord.  But when the supreme
moment comes to return your verdict, remember that you have sworn
to judge firmly and fearlessly."  The jury accorded extenuating
circumstances to the woman, but refused them to the man.  After a
trial lasting four days Eyraud was sentenced to death, Bompard to
twenty years penal servitude.

At first Eyraud appeared to accept his fate with resignation.  He
wrote to his daughter that he was tired of life, and that his
death was the best thing that could happen for her mother and
herself.  But, as time went on and the efforts of his advocate to
obtain a commutation of his sentence held out some hope of
reprieve, Eyraud became more reluctant to quit the world.

"There are grounds for a successful appeal," he wrote, "I am
pretty certain that my sentence will be commuted. . . .  You ask
me what I do?  Nothing much.  I can't write; the pens are so
bad.  I read part of the time, smoke pipes, and sleep a great
deal.  Sometimes I play cards, and talk a little.  I have a room
as large as yours at Sevres.  I walk up and down it, thinking
of you all."

But his hopes were to be disappointed.  The Court of Cassation
rejected his appeal.  A petition was addressed to President
Carnot, but, with a firmness that has not characterised some of
his successors in office, he refused to commute the sentence.

On the morning of February 3, 1891, Eyraud noticed that the
warders, who usually went off duty at six o'clock, remained at
their posts.  An hour later the Governor of the Roquette prison
entered his cell, and informed him that the time had come for the
execution of the sentence.  Eyraud received the intelligence
quietly.  The only excitement he betrayed was a sudden outburst
of violent animosity against M. Constans, then Minister of the
Interior.  Eyraud had been a Boulangist, and so may have
nourished some resentment against the Minister who, by his
adroitness, had helped to bring about the General's ruin. 
Whatever his precise motive, he suddenly exclaimed that M.
Constans was his murderer:  "It's he who is having me
guillotined; he's got what he wanted; I suppose now he'll
decorate Gabrielle!"  He died with the name of the hated Minister
on his lips.

{not ocr'd}

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