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Title: Remarkable Rogues - The Careers of Some Notable Criminals of Europe and America; Second Edition
Author: Kingston, Charles
Language: English
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The Careers of Some Notable Criminals of Europe and America



With Eight Illustrations

London: John Lane The Bodley Head Ltd.
New York: John Lane Company, MCMXXI.

Second Edition

Printed in Great Britain at the Devonshire Press, Torquay.



  CHAPTER I      A RUSSIAN DELILAH                            1

          II     AN INFAMOUS FEMALE POISONER                 17

          III    BELLE STAR, THE GIRL BUSHRANGER             31

          IV     THE WOMAN WITH THE FATAL EYES               47


          VI     THE MONTE CARLO TRUNK MURDERESS             79

          VII    MARTHA KUPFER, SWINDLER                     95


          IX     THE MURDER OF MADAME HOUET                 125

          X      THE BOOTMAKER'S ROYAL WOOING               135

          XI     THE BOGUS SIR RICHARD DOUGLAS              147

          XII    THE ENTERPRISING MRS. CHADWICK             159

          XIII   THE MILLION DOLLAR RANCH GIRL              169

          XIV    JAMES GREENACRE                            181

          XV     CATHERINE WILSON                           197

          XVI    PIERRE VOIRBO                              213

          XVII   EMANUEL BARTHÉLEMY                         229

          XVIII  WILLIAM PARSONS                            243

          XIX    ADAM WORTH                                 259

          XX     THE SECRET PRINCESS OF POSEN               275


                                                    FACING PAGE

  MARIE TARNOWSKA ON TRIAL                   _Frontispiece_


  "MADAME RACHEL"                                            64

  MRS. CHADWICK                                             160

  JAMES GREENACRE AND SARAH GALE                            182

  WILLIAM PARSONS                                           244

  ADAM WORTH                                                260


That interest in crime and the criminal is universal no one will deny.
In a cruder age it was the custom to organize parties to witness the
public execution of notable scoundrels--Monckton Milnes (Lord Houghton)
took Thackeray and, I believe, Dickens, to see Courvoisier's--but
nowadays we are more decorous, although on occasion several thousand
persons can assemble outside a prison and stare at a blank wall during
a private hanging inside. Most of us, however, are content to behold
crime through the eyes of our favourite journal and it is impossible to
complain that the press does not cater fully for us in this respect.
That crime retains its fascination for high and low is proved almost
every time there is a sensational trial at the Central Criminal Court,
for the attendance invariably includes distinguished politicians,
authors, artists and representatives of that nebulous class termed
"Society." It is, however, no longer possible for a special box to
be erected at the Old Bailey to enable members of the Royal Family
to watch a man on trial for his life, and it is now bad form for a
"popular judge" to surround himself with princes and peers and audibly
keep them _au fait_ with the evidence. These things have passed away
and we have "headlines" and contents-bills in their place. We are,
in fact, more respectable if less robust, but sin and sinners will
intrigue us to the end of Time.

James Greenacre, was the subject of more than one pamphlet biography,
but I have preferred to go to the copious reports of his trial for my
material, and I consulted similar sources whenever possible before
writing the chapters dealing with Marie Tarnowska, Mrs. Leroy
Chadwick, Jeanne Daniloff, three of my German criminals and several
others. Greenacre's trial and execution were conducted on typical early
nineteenth century lines, and that loathsome scoundrel was nearly
elevated to the pinnacle of a hero by indiscriminate publicity. The
competition to be present in Court when he was in the dock was so
keen that a pound a head was charged for admission to the gallery on
each day and even at that price the queue was always greater than the
accommodation. After his conviction he was visited in prison by scores
of "noblemen and gentlemen," and while in a contemporary account of the
execution--which I quote--the reporter omits the names of those eminent
persons who attended it, it is significant that the number of private
carriages, according to another journalist, should have exceeded fifty.

I obtained from an American detective who knew Adam Worth many of the
details of that rogue's doings, and it is to an American newspaper of
the late sixties that I am indebted for particulars of Belle Star's
career. Marie Tarnowska told her own story to Madame A. Vivanti
Chartres, who sympathetically transferred the countess's _apologia_ to
paper and published it. As a human document it is very interesting but
it is not convincing, and the very full report of her trial at Venice
published in the press of this country is the only reliable guide to
an understanding of the case. M. Canler, the famous French detective,
first related in narrative form the incidents which lead to the three
arrests of the murderers of Madame Houet, and I consulted the French
and English papers for the history of Pierre Voirbo's crime. "Madame
Rachel" was tried three times and there were several special reports
at the disposal of the author, but she does not seem to have attracted
much notice since her death and an account of her life will be new to
most of my readers.




One day in a Russian country-house a girl of sixteen was presented to
three men--a prince, a baron, and a count, and as she greeted them with
youthful enthusiasm and _camaraderie_ she was quite unconscious of the
fact that each of the three had asked her father for her hand.

In the land of the steppes, girls develop quickly, and although Marie
was very young in years she was a fully-matured beauty, tall, with fine
features, a beautiful complexion, a divine voice, and enough charm for
half a dozen ordinary women.

No wonder the men were in love with her--she captured all hearts with
her beautiful face and her musical voice--and when she had to be told
of the proposals her father informed her that she could choose between
the prince and the baron, for he disapproved of the count.

"I should love to be a princess," Marie cried romantically.

Old Count O'Rourke, a typical Russian nobleman, who was descended from
an Irish soldier, was gratified.

"I am happy to hear you say so," he exclaimed, and kissed her.

A year later Marie eloped with the count, the one man of the three she
had been warned against.

It was the beginning of a series of tragedies for the extraordinary
girl, who became an even more extraordinary woman. Her father promptly
closed his doors against her once she was the Countess Tarnowska. Marie
declared that she did not care, adding that her husband was the most
perfect lover in the world and she was the happiest wife that ever
lived. But within six months she had changed her mind.

"God help me!" she murmured to a consoling friend. "I did not know
there could be so much sorrow in the world." For in that short time she
had discovered that Vassili Tarnowska was a libertine and that she was
only one of many women he had professed to love.

From that moment Marie became a different creature. Always
high-spirited and highly-strung, she only required a feeling of
injustice to influence her to take to the path that leads to perdition.

Her husband neglected her, and she could not bear to be alone. Other
men flocked round her and talked lyrically of her exquisite beauty. The
neglected wife eagerly welcomed these compliments. Of course she and
her husband, as members of the Russian aristocracy, had to maintain
outwardly an appearance of perfect amity, but they were rapidly
drifting apart, and tragedy was hovering over them all the time.

What would have happened had Marie found a strong and loving husband
one can only conjecture. That she was born with a "kink" in her
brain is evident. She has since confessed to that, and more than one
specialist has recorded that she inherited disease as well as life from
her parents and that she was not always responsible for her actions.
But it has to be admitted that when she began to carve out a career
for herself independently of her husband and children she permitted no
scruple, no sense of honour, and no decency to interfere with her in
her mad pursuit of pleasure.

The first of her victims was her husband's brother. Peter Tarnowska was
a quiet, intellectual youth with a great reverence for womenfolk. He
admired his sister-in-law, and was under the impression that Vassili
was devoted to her. His amazement was, therefore, all the greater when,
happening to call unexpectedly, he saw Marie with tear-stained eyes
sitting in desolate loneliness. As a result of that interview Peter
Tarnowska knew that he had found his ideal, but, of course, he was too
late. She was another man's, and that man was his brother.

Vassili Tarnowska, who prided himself on his taste, was in the habit of
haunting night restaurants with beauties of questionable antecedents,
and he was presiding at a banquet in a restaurant in Kieff when he was
startled to see his wife enter with a man. She was beautifully dressed,
and she looked so happy that he thought her the loveliest woman there.
The realization made him jealous, and Tarnowska, who did not want his
wife until others showed their appreciation of her beauty and wit, now
came back to her, and at once was the most jealous of husbands.

Had Marie been wise she would have seized the opportunity to atone for
the past and make her future happiness certain. She had two pretty
children, and Tarnowska was evidently determined to do his duty by them
all, but the countess had already gone too far to wish to withdraw.
She had lovers; here a doctor, there an officer of the Imperial Guard;
and there was always a flattering number of candidates for the honour
of escorting her to the theatre or restaurant. She was convinced that
respectability was synonymous with dullness, and, accordingly, when the
count expressed his penitence and desired a reconciliation he was too
late. Marie had no room for him now in her overcrowded heart.

They lived together, of course, and entertained on the lavish scale
which brought so many Russian families to poverty in the pre-revolution
period. Marie was the most popular of hostesses, for she possessed
that happy faculty of making each of her guests feel that the
entertainment was got up solely in his or her honour.

Months of riotous pleasure passed. Vassili Tarnowska's jealousy became
a mania. He suspected every man he saw in his home, and his wife's
flippant and contemptuous answers to his questions exasperated him.
The beauty found it impossible to forgive or forget the fact that the
husband she had once considered the most chivalrous man in all the
world had been the only male to neglect her for other women.

They were at breakfast one morning when Tarnowska was handed a
telegram. Suddenly he leaned across the table and screamed a question
to her.

"What have you been doing to my brother Peter?" he cried.

Marie could not speak.

"Read that," said the count, as he thrust the telegram into her shaking

"Peter hanged himself last night." She read the message aloud in
a voice that grated on him. "He was a foolish boy," she remarked
indifferently. "I had forgotten his existence."

The tragic fate of Peter Tarnowska was still being talked about when
Alexis Bozevsky became the lover of the countess. He was the type of
man who looks and acts like the hero of a melodrama. He was tall, with
a superb figure, a moustache that seems to have been irresistible, a
_bonhomie_ men and women were hypnotized by, and he was, undoubtedly, a
past master in the art of pleasing romantically-minded ladies.

He penned a couple of letters to Marie, which won her for him, body
and soul. She ran the most terrible risks on his behalf once she was
in love with him, and the woman who was a queen amongst men now gladly
became the slave of this handsome officer of the Imperial Guard.

The story of their love is brief and tragic and very melodramatic. It
is difficult to believe that it all happened so recently as 1907. The
jealous husband, the handsome lover, the cigarette-smoking Russian
countess with the beautiful face and dark eyes--all belong to the
stage; yet the Tarnowskas and Alexis Bozevsky were real personages, and
two of them are living to-day.

For some time Marie's latest conquest was unnoticed by her husband, who
hoped that his brother's suicide would reform her. When he stumbled
upon the truth he simultaneously resolved to kill Bozevsky in a duel.
The first encounter between the jealous husband and the handsome lover
took place in the house of the former. Tarnowska was armed, but he
would not shoot a defenceless foe, and he flung on the table a revolver
for his enemy.

"We will settle it here," he said, with the laugh of a madman.

Bozevsky was terrified by that laugh, and fled from the apartment
to tell Marie what had happened. They agreed on a course of action,
knowing that there was no room in the world for both the count and the
officer, and they felt that they were helpless to avert the approaching

A few days later Count Tarnowska, very pale and very self-possessed,
entered the police station at Kieff.

"I have shot Alexis Bozevsky," he said calmly. "I found him dining with
my wife at the Grand Hotel. I am your prisoner."

The astounded and agitated inspector did not detain him. Tarnowska was
of too high a rank, and, besides, he suspected that the count was not
quite right in his head. But Tarnowska had spoken the truth. Bozevsky
was not dead, but he was dying, and Marie had left her home and had
deserted her children in order to nurse him.

Bozevsky lingered for a few days, and Marie scarcely ever left his
side. She knew that never again would she go back to her husband.
The attack on Bozevsky outside the Grand Hotel precluded that. She
spent hours praying for the recovery of the young officer whom she
passionately loved, and often he would lie with a wan smile on his
strained face whilst she pictured their happy future together. At these
interviews Dr. Stahl, who was attending the wounded man, was always
present. He was pale and weak-looking, obviously the victim of drugs,
and Marie ignored him because she knew that he was in love with her too!

For Stahl had introduced Marie to the mysteries of drug-taking, to
which she was now addicted. This accounts for a lot. At her trial she
was described as a "human vampire," yet at times she had been the most
devoted of mothers and the most generous of friends. But she lacked a
brake to steady her when she began to descend, and she went from one
wickedness to another until the final catastrophe.

When the young officer died Marie Tarnowska's heart died too. She could
never love again, and she never did, but she could pretend to. In her
desolation she rushed off into the country; she travelled and tried to
forget. Her husband and her children were lost to her; she had been
told that she would never be allowed to see them again. The sentence
hardly affected her, for she could not think of anything or anybody now
that the world was very lonely and her life empty.

Hitherto Marie Tarnowska had never known what it was to lack money. She
had spent freely without any thought of the morrow. She had no idea of
the value of money. In the past it had always been there for her to
take. But now that her husband no longer acknowledged her existence
her sources of supply were cut off, and it was the soulless proprietor
of a second-rate hotel who drew her attention to the fact that even
beautiful countesses must pay their way or suffer the humiliations
attendant on poverty.

It was a bitter awakening. Marie Tarnowska became terrified. She could
not earn her living; she must beg or borrow, or kill herself; and she
had no desire to die.

She was walking to a telegraph office to send a message to her father
explaining her position and imploring him to respond, when she heard
her name pronounced by some one behind her. Turning, she recognized
Donat Prilukoff, one of the wealthiest lawyers in Moscow. He had been a
visitor at her house in the days of her glory, and Marie had been aware
that he was in love with her.

Prilukoff was rich! Marie recollected that too! She had disliked him in
the past, but she was poor now and beggars cannot be choosers.

"My dear friend," she murmured, and tears came into her fascinating

Prilukoff guessed how her affairs stood, and came to the rescue, but
she could not forget her antipathy to the lawyer. A new passion had
arisen in her, however, a passion for money, and henceforth she meant
never to feel the want of it again, even if she had to pretend to love

They became inseparable, the Moscow lawyer and the beautiful
adventuress who had broken so many hearts and her own life.

"What has become of Dr. Stahl?" Marie asked shortly after their reunion.

Prilukoff laughed carelessly.

"He shot himself through the heart the other day," he said, in a
callous tone. "They sent for me, and he died with your name on his
lips, Marie."

She was "Marie" now to the man she had christened "The Scorpion" when
she was rich and at the height of her popularity.

Prilukoff, middle-aged and unromantic-looking, was fiercely in
love with the countess. At all their previous meetings he had been
thrust into the background by the clever, handsome young men who had
worshipped at Marie Tarnowska's shrine, but now he had her to himself.
Every day she accepted money from him. Her creditors having discovered
her address, presented their bills with unveiled threats.

Prilukoff saved the situation each time. He paid out thousands of
pounds, and Marie Tarnowska hated him the more she was indebted to him.
Had he ill-treated her she might have showered kisses on his feet, but
he was recklessly generous, and she despised and hated him. She was
that sort of woman.

It was necessary, of course, that they should move about, for it would
have damaged Prilukoff's reputation as a sound family lawyer whom
elderly ladies could trust with their investments if it was known that
he was supplying a notorious woman with funds.

Marie gladly went to Italy, leaving the lawyer to attend to his
business, but he was with her again within seventy-two hours.

"I cannot bear to let you out of my sight," he said. "The business must
take care of itself."

"But what about money?" asked Marie nervously. It was all she thought
of now. "I owe a thousand pounds to my dressmaker, and----"

Prilukoff produced a roll of notes.

"Don't be afraid," he said, "there is always plenty to be had."

She was completely in Prilukoff's power when she renewed her
acquaintanceship with an old friend, Count Paul Kamarowsky, a colonel
in the Russian Army, and a wealthy man. The count had just lost his
wife, and he was endeavouring to escape from loneliness by wandering
about Europe with his little daughter. Marie, therefore, came into
his life again at a very critical time, and she had no difficulty in
making him fall in love with her. He was ready to be tricked, and with
Prilukoff's help she proceeded to swindle him.

Marie had had no intention of obtaining money from Kamarowsky until
the Moscow lawyer had startled and terrified her by confessing that he
was practically penniless. He had not only spent his means on her, but
he had stolen over forty thousand pounds from his clients in order to
satisfy her extravagant whims. When Marie, regarding him with horror,
suggested that he should return to Moscow, he gripped her by the wrist.

"I've ruined myself for you," he cried hoarsely. "Once I was the most
respected lawyer in Moscow, now I am a common thief, and if I return
I shall be arrested. Marie, you must be mine. I love you. I have
sacrificed everything for you. You must never desert me. If you do----"

She saw the threat in his eyes, but did not hear his words.

Events now followed one another in rapid succession. Prilukoff had
to be careful to keep out of the way of the police, whilst Countess
Tarnowska, who would have given anything to be rid of him, had to see
him every day and discuss ways and means of obtaining supplies of hard

Prilukoff, who discerned that Kamarowsky was in love with Marie,
conceived a scheme by which they eventually extracted a large sum from
him. Scarcely had the swindle been accomplished than Marie heard that
her husband had divorced her. She was free to marry again, and she had
already pledged her word to the swindling lawyer to take his name, but
Count Paul Kamarowsky, rich, of noble family, and likely to make a
devoted husband, was going to propose to her!

The count did so that very night, and Marie accepted him, extracting a
promise that he would keep their engagement a secret. She was terrified
lest Prilukoff should tell Paul that she was his, and so she played
with the two men, keeping them apart and persuading each that he was
the chosen bridegroom, though well aware that she was in the power of
Prilukoff and that she dare not disobey him.

Marie was not in love. As I have said, her capacity for love had ceased
to exist with the death of Alexis Bozevsky, but she wanted Kamarowsky's
fortune, and she would obtain it only by conspiring with Donat
Prilukoff, the dishonest lawyer, her master.

As though the situation was not sufficiently complicated, a third
lover now came on the scene. This was Nicholas Naumoff, a youngster of
twenty, the only son of the governor of Orel. Nicholas and Kamarowsky
were devoted friends, and when the count introduced him to Marie he
succumbed on the spot to the charmer.

With three lovers, one of whom held her in the hollow of his hand,
Marie Tarnowska had a breathlessly exciting time. In the old days she
would have enjoyed the situation, but now she hungered and thirsted
for gold, and it was of money only that she thought whenever she asked
herself what she should do.

The lawyer from Moscow haunted her. How she wished that he would die
and leave her to marry the rich Count Kamarowsky, the man who could
take her back into society and open the doors now closed to her!
Marriage with Prilukoff would mean the perpetuation of her disgrace,
and she would inevitably sink lower; yet she dare not move without his
permission, and whenever he came to her she had to do his bidding.

It was a cruel trick of Fate's to put her in such a position. Countess
Tarnowska, who had once driven men crazy by her capriciousness, the
beauty who could pick and choose her lovers--and did so--was now at the
beck and call of an ugly lawyer with an ugly record! She shed bitter
tears, and was only comforted when Prilukoff whispered that there was
a way of getting Kamarowsky's fortune and never knowing again the
terrors of poverty.

Meanwhile, Paul Kamarowsky suggested that they should prepare for their
wedding. Marie, who only dreamt of the time when she would be his,
had to plead for a postponement, knowing that if she fixed the date
Prilukoff would do something desperate. But despite her dislike for the
lawyer she complained to him that Kamarowsky had not yet referred to
financial matters.

Prilukoff, confident that Marie could not escape his clutches,
propounded a plan whereby Kamarowsky was to be induced to make his will
in her favour and also insure his life for £25,000 on her behalf. The
trick was simplicity itself.

Prilukoff allowed Marie to dine with Kamarowsky in an hotel at Venice,
where they were all staying, and in the middle of the dinner a waiter
handed the woman a letter. Marie started and went crimson when she
read it, and her companion, insisting on seeing what had disturbed
his fiancée, read the note, which purported to have been written by
a well-known Russian prince offering to settle his fortune on her
and insure his life for £25,000 if only she would return to Russia
and marry him. Prilukoff had, of course, written the letter, and
Marie Tarnowska acted her part so realistically that the next day
Kamarowsky's will and insurance on his life were facts, and she was
heiress to both!

But once Kamarowsky had appointed the Russian beauty the sole inheritor
of his property in the event of his death the conspirators wasted
no time arranging for his murder. They both wanted his money badly.
Marie, realizing that she could never marry him without Prilukoff's
permission--a permission which would never be granted--entered into the
conspiracy with a callousness and an abandon that were inhuman. She was
only twenty-seven, but she could plot in cold blood to take the life
of one who had been and was extremely generous to her.

Of course Marie herself would not do the deed, and Prilukoff, whose
nerve had long since gone, was quite incapable of actually killing
anyone. He could arrange the details and hand the knife or revolver to
the selected assassin, but beyond that he could not go.

However, they were thorough and remorseless plotters. Kamarowsky was in
their way. His death would make Marie a rich woman and Prilukoff a rich
man, because then he could make her marry him. The count, therefore,
must be removed. But who was to kill him? That was a question that was
answered within a few hours by the arrival of Nicholas Naumoff.

The young man found Marie in her hotel at Venice, and there and then it
flashed across her mind that he was the very person to kill Kamarowsky
and at one stroke turn her poverty into riches, for Prilukoff having no
more clients to rob, Kamarowsky must be murdered.

She was too clever, of course, to take him into her confidence,
although Naumoff was so infatuated that he would have obeyed any
command she was pleased to give him. But Marie Tarnowska had a
wholesome fear of the law, and, whilst she was willing to consign her
young friend to a living grave, she had not the slightest desire to
experience the discomforts of a prison herself.

It turned out that Naumoff had called to ask her to marry him. His
proposal inwardly amused Marie, for he was so young and she was so
old--in experience. But she listened gravely to him, and when he had
finished she kissed him on the forehead and whispered in a voice broken
with sobs that she had prayed for this day and now that it had come she
could not, dare not, aspire to happiness because a certain man stood
between them and would prevent their marriage.

The ardent youth naturally demanded to know who it was who was driving
her to madness. She answered under pressure that he was Count Paul
Kamarowsky, Naumoff's dearest friend.

He was so surprised that he tried to persuade Marie that she was
mistaken. Somehow Naumoff had not regarded Kamarowsky as an aspirant
to her hand. He was so old compared with him, and love was, in his
opinion, the prerogative of youth.

"Watch him," said Marie, who had been secretly engaged to the count for
some months, "and you will be convinced that he persecutes me. I have
to be polite to him, but, Nicholas, dear, I should be happy if I never
saw him again."

Naumoff watched as bidden, and of course he saw Kamarowsky wait
attentively on the woman to whom he was engaged. Quite innocent of
the fact that he was giving cause for offence to his young friend,
Kamarowsky seldom went out unaccompanied by Marie; and, when he was not
looking and Nicholas was near her, she would make a little grimace of
disgust to indicate that the count's presence was distasteful to her.

Naumoff, who had again proposed to Marie and been accepted, was nearly
driven out of his mind by jealousy. He had pledged his word of honour
not to reveal his engagement to Kamarowsky, who was also similarly
placed by a promise to the beauty. Only Prilukoff, who remained in the
background, knew the true state of affairs, and he was too worried by
fear of the police to be able to enjoy the comedy.

But that comedy quickly developed into one of the most amazing
tragedies of modern times, for Naumoff, hot-headed and irresponsible
when under the influence of the Russian Delilah, decided to kill the
man Marie described as her persecutor, the lover by whose death she
stood to gain a fortune.

It was in the month of September, 1907, that the decision was come to.
As soon as she heard it Marie found it convenient to take a trip to
Vienna and wait there for the tragedy which would give her Kamarowsky's
large fortune and enable her to collect £25,000 from the insurance
companies. Prilukoff also vanished, having arranged to return to Marie
when she had entered into her inheritance.

So that she might not be suspected of participation in the crime the
woman wrote a letter to the Chief of Police at Venice, warning him
that there was a feud between Nicholas Naumoff and Paul Kamarowsky and
that in all probability they would have recourse to fire-arms. Acting
on this letter the police watched Kamarowsky's apartments, and by a
strange coincidence arrested a man who came from them at the moment
Naumoff fired the shots which aroused the house. The prisoner, however,
was released when it was seen he was not the person they wanted.

When Naumoff, mad with jealousy, called on Paul one morning, the count
warmly welcomed him, though owing to the early hour he had to receive
him in bed. But the moment he saw Naumoff's expression he guessed
something was wrong. Before he could speak, however, the young man drew
his revolver and fired two shots at close range into Kamarowsky's body.
The injured man managed to rise to his feet and ask why his dearest
friend had turned against him. Naumoff babbled out something about
Marie Tarnowska, and the count understood.

"You have been fooled," he muttered, for he was rapidly losing blood.
"Ah, there is some one on the stairs. Quick, I will help you to escape
by the window. Some day you will understand. Nicholas, I--I loved you
as a son. I never thought it would come to this. Quick--this way."


Kamarowsky actually assisted his murderer to escape, but Naumoff did
not evade the police for long, and when he was locked in a cell he knew
that not only had Countess Marie Tarnowska been arrested, but that
Prilukoff, the swindler, was also in custody.

The count was taken at once to a hospital, and a famous surgeon
stitched up his wounds.

"He will live," he said. "No vital part has been touched."

It seemed as though the Tarnowska tragedy was to end in a trial for
attempted murder only, but Fate was relentless, for the chief surgeon
who had pronounced Kamarowsky's life to be safe suddenly went mad in
the hospital ward and ordered the stitches to be removed from the
healing wound. A few hours afterwards Kamarowsky died in agony, and the
last words of his delirium were a message of love for Marie, the woman
who had planned his death and who had tricked his best friend into
committing the crime.

The three accomplices spent over two years in prison before being
arraigned, and the trial was a protracted affair in spite of the
fullest confessions by the prisoners. Sensations were innumerable
during the proceedings and there were many emotional scenes, and on
May 20th, 1910, the Venice jury brought in a verdict of guilty, adding
a rider to the effect that the countess and Naumoff were suffering
from partial mental decay. Prilukoff was sentenced to ten years'
solitary confinement; Marie Tarnowska to eight years' and four months'
imprisonment, and Naumoff to three years and one month, the time
already spent in gaol to be included.

As for Marie Tarnowska, the beauty who had ruined many lives, she
went to her punishment as if in a trance. All her scheming, all her
heartlessness and greed only brought her in the end to a convict's garb
and years of unceasing and humiliating labour. And from the cell she
passed to obscurity.



Gesina Gottfried was, as a girl, plump and pretty, bright and pert, and
the young men of the town in Germany in which she was born never let
her know what loneliness meant. She had, of course, numerous suitors;
and, while the social position of her parents was a poor one, she did
not hesitate to declare that she would only marry a man likely to
make money and give her the luxuries for which she craved. This was
regarded as a good joke by her acquaintances, for in those days the
status of women in Germany was even lower than it is to-day, and they
were regarded, after they had lost their youth and their looks, as on
a level with the beasts of the field--it was no uncommon sight to see
women harnessed to the plough--and they were expected to toil all day

However, pretty Gesina was humoured, and, after taking stock of all
her lovers, her choice alighted upon one named Miltenberg. He had a
small business of his own, was reputed to possess a considerable sum
in the savings bank, and bore the reputation of being ambitious, and,
therefore, certain to make more money. Gesina's parents cordially
approved of her decision, and at the age of seventeen the girl became a
wife. Within three years she was the mother of two fine children, and
the small world in which the Miltenbergs lived envied them.

But the truth was that the marriage had proved a miserable fiasco.
The young bride had not taken long to discover that her husband was
an improvident drunkard, who was heavily in debt and who lived on the
verge of the gaol. Whenever she remonstrated he treated her cruelly,
and it was only Gesina's pride that prevented her denouncing him. But
she was compelled to conceal her grief because she would not give her
jealous girl friends and former rivals an opportunity to jeer at her,
for she had boasted often that she was going to be a lady and that when
she was married she would have a servant of her own. They had derided
her then, and she would not tell them now that she had made a mistake
in marrying Miltenberg, the drunkard and wife-beater.

So the girl who had dreamed of being a lady and had actually become
a drudge was terrified every time she heard her husband enter the
house. Food was scarce, but the cries of her children did not arouse
a mother's love. She turned upon them and exhausted her rage by
ill-treating them; yet Gesina was able to keep up appearances and her
parents did not guess the real state of affairs.

About four years after her marriage Gesina paid a visit to her mother.
She found her engaged in a war against the mice that were infesting the
kitchen, her principal weapon being white powder which she had bought
from the local chemist.

As Gesina sat and watched the bodies of the poisoned mice it seemed to
her a pity that brutal husbands could not be as easily got rid of, and
her thoughts dwelling for a long time on this injustice she finally
abstracted some of the white powder when her mother was upstairs.

Gesina reached home that night with the precious powder, half an
hour before her husband returned from one of the vilest cafés in the
town. She was trembling with excitement and her pale cheeks were
now flushed, and she looked something like the girl Miltenberg had
married four years earlier. But he was too far gone to notice anything,
and beyond the customary threats his only remark was to growl his
appreciation of the glass of beer with which Gesina unexpectedly
presented him. The beer was not yet poisoned, for Gesina had decided
to give him one more chance. It was, of course, a hopeless one, as it
was not possible that he would reform unexpectedly and never strike her

The drunken boor was sitting at the table clutching the glass when a
knock came to the door, and a moment later Gesina had admitted a mutual
friend, Gottfried, a young man who had shown for some time that he
admired her. Locked within the ill-used wife's breast was the secret of
her strange love for this weak youth, and now the sight of him inflamed
her, as she knew that she had the means to free herself from the brute
whose name she bore. Gottfried's coming there that night meant sentence
of death on Miltenberg, and without any compunction the woman dropped
some of the arsenic into his glass.

The doctor who attended Miltenberg during his brief fatal illness was
aware of the fellow's dissipated life, and he readily certified that
death was due to natural causes.

Gesina was now in a position to marry Gottfried, and there was yet a
chance that she might be rich and happy.

Without troubling about mourning she renewed her acquaintance with
Gottfried, who had by now, however, grown tired of her. Perhaps he had
read her character that night he had called and sat beside Miltenberg
whilst the latter drank the poisoned beer. Perhaps he had a suspicion
of the truth, and was afraid lest he should meet with the same fate.
But the poisoner ignored his coldness towards her. She had determined
to marry him, and marry her he must.

She forced a proposal from him, and then an unexpected obstacle arose
in the opposition of her parents. Gesina was astounded; Gottfried
secretly delighted. He was always docile and submissive when in her
company, but once he was out of her sight he hated her. She was too
self-willed and masterful for him, and he was a genuinely happy man
when he was informed that her parents considered him too obscure and
contemptible to be worthy the honour of their daughter's hand.

In vain Gesina argued, implored and threatened. The old people would
not give way. They told her that it was her duty to look after her
children and not bother about a second husband, and as they had the
law on their side Gesina would only fling herself out of the house and
return to her own squalid one to ponder over her grievances.

A woman of her sort could come to only one decision, and that was
to send her father and mother to their graves with the aid of the
white powder which had proved so effective in the case of her brutal
husband. She accordingly pretended to forget Gottfried, and sought a
reconciliation with her parents, who, to celebrate the reunion, gave a
pork supper in her honour. Gesina, who was particularly fond of this
favourite dish, did full justice to it, although before sitting down to
the table she had put arsenic in the beer her parents were to drink!
When they were taken to their room in agony she calmly continued to
eat, and she was so callous that when they died she shed no tears.

With three victims to her account Gesina went to see Gottfried. He
affected to be overjoyed at meeting her again, and, fortified by the
knowledge that the opposition of her parents rendered a ceremony
of marriage between them impossible, spontaneously invited her to
have dinner with him. But Gesina took away his appetite at the very
beginning of the meal by informing him that her parents had suddenly
died, and that there was now no reason why he should not fulfil his
promise and make her his wife.

Gottfried went pale with terror, and so great was his agitation that
she noticed it at once, and taxed him with trying to deceive her. The
unhappy coward protested that she was doing him an injustice.

"I am grieved to hear of their death," he stammered, perspiration
breaking out on his forehead. "I had a great respect for them, and your
tragic news has upset me."

Gesina laughed contemptuously.

"Considering that they always treated you like dirt, you needn't wear
mourning for them," she retorted. "Don't be a fool, Hermann. All I want
to know is when we can be married? I'm tired of living alone."

The last sentence put an idea into his head. It reminded him that she
had two children. In faltering tones he suggested that it would be
inadvisable to marry. He swore that he had nothing saved, and that it
would be too heavy a burden for him to provide for a wife who would
bring with her another man's two children.

If Gesina had not been satisfied that she had the means of removing
everybody who stood in her way she would have been extremely angry
with Gottfried, but now she only became pensive, and a little later
proceeded to discuss his objection in detail.

"You don't object to me, I suppose?" she asked, holding her clasped
hands under her chin.

He protested with many oaths that he loved her to distraction, but that
the children were so many barriers to their marriage because he was
really poor.

"Very well," she observed, before changing the subject, "I will wait
until the children are not a burden to anybody."

A fortnight later she met him again.

"My children are dead," she said simply. "They had convulsions a week
ago, and quickly passed away. I am now quite alone in the world."

The man regarded her with horror. It is most likely that he was the
only person who suspected that these unexplained deaths were no
mysteries to her. But he could not have thought for a moment that she
was a fivefold murderess!

Gottfried was an ignorant and superstitious man, and he knew nothing
about poisons. All the deaths caused by Gesina's "white powder" had
been duly certified by respectable local practitioners, and he had not
the courage to create a scandal by voicing his suspicions regarding the
two children.

There was something fascinating about Gesina, and Gottfried's will
power always vanished when he was with her. But nevertheless, he made a
brave struggle to resist her, and, although he agreed to an engagement,
he never had the slightest intention of becoming her husband.

Gesina pretended to be satisfied with his promise, and even when, as
the occasion arose, he put forward the flimsiest of excuses to postpone
the ceremony, she was ever contented and apparently happy. A few months
went by, and there were no more sudden deaths among her relatives.
Gottfried's fears left him and he began to think of her as he had in
the days when she was a young bride.

Yet he stopped short at marriage, and beyond an engagement would not
go. As the young woman very seldom referred to the former he was very
pleased to take her to the cafés and to the theatres, and generally
have a good time in her society. But he totally misunderstood the
character of the creature who called herself his sweetheart. Gesina was
content because she had already devised a method by which she knew that
she would accomplish her object. She had not poisoned five human beings
without learning a lot, and she was now an expert. She knew exactly
how to kill and how to cause an illness without fatal results, and she
decided to dose Gottfried until she had so weakened him in body and
mind that he would be mentally as well as physically at her mercy.

The infatuated fool never suspected anything, and when his mysterious
illness began he did not draw any inferences from the fact that Gesina
often sat by his side while he was drinking. Of course the vile
creature had used every opportunity to administer arsenic in small
quantities, and she had many, because she insisted upon nursing him.

It was a most scientific and crafty murder, because as Gottfried
grew weaker he got more affectionate, and she gave him the poison so
cleverly, and worked upon his feelings so astutely, that he came to
regard her as his devoted nurse! He would allow no one else to come
near him or give him his medicine, and every day his passion for her
increased, and he shed tears when she was not with him. Gesina, after
coaxing him to take poisoned soup, would sit by his bed and cheer him
by painting their future together in rosy colours. She would not hear
of a fatal issue to his illness, and what with her gaiety and her
optimism the patient thought her an angel.

But despite her "nursing" he grew worse every day, until it was obvious
that he was going to die. By this time he was too weak to be able to
think of anything except his love for Gesina, and at last he asked her
as a favour to marry him on his death-bed.

Within an hour of his proposal, Gesina, dressed in black, called
upon a clergyman, and told a heart-rending story of a dying lover
who had implored her to ease his last hours by consenting to be his
wife. The minister of religion was touched, and instantly agreed to
marry them. He repaired at once to the death-chamber, and there the
dying man and the murderess joined hands and were made man and wife.
Within twenty-four hours, however, Gesina was a widow again, for
Gottfried passed away as the result of an extra strong dose which she
administered twenty minutes after she had become Frau Gottfried.

She did not lose anything by the marriage even if she did not gain
much. Gottfried left a few hundred pounds, and to this sum she
succeeded. Her principal motive for marrying him was vanity. So many
persons had talked sneeringly of her long engagement to Gottfried that
Gesina knew it would surprise and mortify the gossipers if she did
really become his wife, and to gratify this whim she slowly poisoned

But her successes were so numerous, that she took to poisoning people
as a hobby. The "white powder" was her infallible remedy for removing
objectionable men and women. She did not fear the doctors, and she
laughed at their ignorance. Most of them were quacks, and none of
them were a match for the quick-witted woman, who seemed to flourish
on murder. She might dwell in an atmosphere of death, yet there were
always men to court her, and the good-looking widow had several

The third opportunity to marry, which she decided to accept, came
from a prosperous merchant, who was fascinated by the young face and
the glib tongue of the poisoner. He met Gesina for the first time at
Gottfried's funeral, and he had accompanied her home with a few other
friends to comfort her, and after that he frequently called, until it
was obvious that Gesina liked him. That unlucky merchant was, however,
indirectly responsible for one of Gesina's most brutal crimes ere he,
too, fell a victim to her devilish arts.

One night the merchant was chatting with the widow, when a tall, stout
soldier staggered into the room the worse for drink. Gesina and the
merchant started to their feet, and the latter would have turned upon
the drunkard had not the woman recognized her brother, whom she had
not seen for years. During those years Wilhelm had not improved; he
was, in fact, after the stamp of her first husband, Miltenberg, a
drunkard and a bully, and he now insisted upon being made welcome,
behaved rudely, insulted Gesina's lover, and was only pacified by
offerings of unlimited beer. When he had drunk sufficient he announced
his intention of remaining in the house, and there was every reason to
suspect that he intended to cadge and bully her out of her small means
before taking his departure.

But the "white powder" solved the problem. Gesina woke him up in
the middle of the night with a glass of beer in her hand, which he
delightedly drank, and thanked her with brotherly affection. At nine
o'clock he was a corpse, and when Gesina knocked on his door and called
out the time she received no answer. She had not expected one.

The merchant, who had been thoroughly disgusted with the soldier's
behaviour, could scarcely express conventional regret when he heard the
news, and he gained Gesina's gratitude by paying the funeral expenses.
Out of gratitude Gesina fixed the date for their marriage, but a week
before the ceremony was to be performed her lover fell ill.

His days on earth were now numbered. Gesina, averse to becoming his
wife, had poisoned him, but in the same way as she had done Gottfried.
She dosed him into a state of utter helplessness, and when he was
prostrate she induced him to make a will in her favour. This was the
day before he died. The doctor was never even suspicious, and her lover
was buried. Then she retained a clever lawyer to collect his effects,
turn them into hard cash, and remit the money to her. A few relatives
protested, but Gesina and the lawyer settled them, and the murderess
entered with intense satisfaction into possession of three thousand
pounds, a large sum to her.

A year subsequent to this crime she was again engaged, and once more
she slowly poisoned her fiancé and he made her his heir. When his will
had been drawn up she administered the final dose, and, having allowed
a few days to elapse, proceeded to inquire into the extent of her

Greatly to her anger and astonishment, she discovered that she had been
hoaxed. Her victim had left nothing except debts, and she had wasted
valuable arsenic upon him. To add insult to injury, rumours spread that
Gesina had inherited a large fortune, and several persons who had lent
her money began to press for repayment.

Besides being a murderess, Gesina was very mean. She could borrow from
the poorest of her acquaintances, but she would not repay them even
when she had a considerable amount to her credit. She loved money, and
nothing pleased her better than to add to her store of gold coins. She
was in the habit of carrying five hundred pounds about with her in
notes and gold, and she gradually acquired a collection of jewellery.

It is difficult to write of her as a human being. One can hardly
imagine that she ever existed, and yet all the details of her career I
have given are on the official records of the German Criminal Courts.

Gesina with the blue eyes and the merry laugh went through life
scattering death on each side of her. She could crack a joke with a man
who was dying at her hands. She could dress in black and shed tears
over a coffin, and at the same time debate with herself as to her next
victim. She poisoned innocent and inoffensive persons just to keep
her hand in. When she had over a thousand pounds she murdered a woman
because she had asked for the return of a loan of five pounds.

The last-named affair occurred after the murder of the lover who had
tricked her in death. Gesina's friend lived in Hamburg, and, having
fallen upon evil times, and hearing that her old acquaintance was now
a rich widow, she wrote asking to be repaid the money she had lent
her. Gesina sent an affectionate letter in return, inviting Katrine to
visit her, when she would not only pay her the debt, but add a present
for her past kindness. It is only necessary for me to add that Katrine
never returned to Hamburg for my readers to realize what happened to
her when she became Gesina's guest.

But on account of her numerous crimes Gesina was compelled to change
her residence frequently, and when she bought a house in Bremen it was
the sixth German town in which she had settled.

The house she took was capable of accommodating several families, and
she considered it a safe investment for her "earnings." But somehow
things went wrong. She was an expert poisoner, but she was not good at
business, and eventually she had to raise a mortgage on her property at
a ruinous rate of interest.

Gesina's ambition had always been to appear better off than her
neighbours, and now, in order to gratify her vanity, she forgot her old
passion for hoarding money. She lived luxuriously and dressed well,
and, realizing that her mind was beginning to be reflected in her face,
she took to paint and powder to conceal her true character. Youth had
fled from her, although she was young in years. She was thin, scraggy,
and unpleasing to the eye, but Gesina acquired the art of making up,
and she was able to pose as a young-looking widow who had known sorrow
without having been hardened by it.

For two years she played her part so well that she escaped detection.
The "pretty widow" became a well-known character in Bremen, and it was
often rumoured that she was about to be married again. But somehow an
accident always happened at the critical moment. Either it was the
wrong man, and then Gesina simply poisoned him, or else the right man
became uneasy and backed out of the engagement, and the murderess felt
that she dare not protest too much lest she should expose herself and
her past to inquiry. Anyhow, she was still a widow when the mortgagees
foreclosed and took possession of her apartment house.

Gesina was now really poor. All her savings had gone, and with them her
credit. She was actually in danger of starvation, and her condition was
so forlorn that when the new owner of the house--he had purchased it
from the mortgagees--came to turn her out and install his own family,
he was so touched by her distress--and she looked so pathetically
pretty as she sobbed in the darkened room--that he gave her the
position of his housekeeper.

Herr Rumf was one of the most respected tradesmen in Bremen. A master
wheelwright, he employed several hands, and was considered a generous
employer. His wife and children adored him, and he was just the sort of
man to be affected by a forlorn widow's grief, for he was large-hearted
and easily roused to deeds of generosity.

Gesina was not long in Rumf's employment before she planned out a
regular campaign of murder. She resolved to murder her employer's wife,
and thus regain her ownership of the house, in addition to becoming the
mistress of his fortune, for once she was his wife she meant to dispose
of him as she had Gottfried and the infatuated merchant. As for Rumf,
he unconsciously became a willing party to the plot. His own wife,
aged by the cares of a large family, was not exactly an exhilarating
companion, and he was charmed of an evening on his return from his
shop by Gesina's ready wit and her stories of fashionable persons she
pretended to have known when she was better off.

When Frau Rumf gave birth to a child it was Gesina who attended her,
and who at night waited on Rumf, and banished his melancholia. He, too,
began to cherish dangerous thoughts, and when his wife's illness took
a turn for the worse, following the unexpected death of her infant, he
was not nearly as distressed as he would have been had he never made
the acquaintance of the widow who had "come down in the world," as she
often assured him.

The unfortunate wife died, and Gesina was given the charge of the five
little children. Herr Rumf could not neglect his business. It was of
far more importance to him than his family; and, while he observed all
the conventions in mourning for his wife, he was too good a German to
allow her decease to interfere with money-making. Gesina, therefore,
reigned over his household; and, recalling what Gottfried had said
about children being an obstacle to matrimony, she poisoned all five in
the most fiendishly cruel manner.

The amazing thing is that Rumf never suspected that the seven tragedies
in his household were not mere accidents of fortune. He was suspected
of aiding and abetting the murderess, but as he very nearly became one
of her victims he was not prosecuted, especially as he actually brought
her career to an end.

His last child had just been interred when Herr Rumf himself had a
breakdown. For some days he had found it impossible to retain food,
and he was wasting away, when he ordered one of the pigs he kept to be
killed and a portion of the meat cooked for him. As Gesina was then
visiting some friends the meal was prepared by a servant, and to Rumf's
extreme delight he found that it agreed with him. It was the first food
he had eaten for a fortnight that he was able to digest.

Pleased at the discovery, he had a goodly piece of the pig placed in
the larder for future use, being determined to live on pork until he
found something else to agree with him. Nearly every day he took a look
at the meat, just to see that it was all right, and it was only by
accident that Gesina did not get to know of this. Rumf had forgotten
to tell her of his wonderful discovery, and when she came across the
spare rib of pork in the larder she guessed who it was for, without
realizing all that it meant to Rumf, and decided that it would provide
a safe medium for administering another dose of arsenic to him.
She accordingly sprinkled it with the white powder, not knowing how
affectionately her employer regarded that particular piece of meat, and
ignorant of the fact that he scarcely thought of anything else from
morning until night.

One day Rumf came home earlier than he was expected. Gesina was
gossiping with a neighbour, and did not see him enter the house. The
wheelwright went to the larder to have a peep at his beloved pork, and
he noticed immediately that it had been shifted. He picked it up to
replace it, and then he saw the white powder. At once he remembered
having seen similar powder before. It was in a salad which Gesina had
prepared for him just before the beginning of his illness.

Without scarcely pausing to think, he wrapped the meat up in a cloth,
and carried it to the police, who had it examined.

When the doctor reported that the white powder was arsenic Gesina was
arrested. She instantly confessed in the most brazen-faced manner,
recounting her exploits from the day she had murdered her first husband
down to the attempt on Rumf's life, and, knowing that she would be
shown no mercy, she reviled her gaolers, and defied them to do their

Her trial and condemnation in 1828 followed as a matter of course, but
Gesina went to her death with a mincing gait, and a sneer for mankind
in general. She expressed only one regret, and that was that the
notoriety her evil deeds had earned for her had resulted in the public
becoming aware that her teeth were false!



When the American Civil War came to an end it set free from discipline
thousands of rough, lawless men, many of whom subsequently adopted
crime as a profession. Amongst them was the father of Belle Star. He
was a tall, powerfully-built man, with rugged features and gorilla-like
arms, a crack shot and a fearless horseman, and during the four years
Star had fought on behalf of the Southern against the Northern States
he had revelled in the conflict. Peace had no charms for him, and when
the rival parties settled their differences he decided to make war on
both. In other words, he took to the bush with half a dozen tried and
trusted comrades, and for several years the gang, which steadily grew
in numbers, terrorised the country-side.

Belle, his only child, was born near a battlefield and within sound of
the booming of the guns. The mother did not long survive her birth,
but, although nearly always on the march, Belle was well looked after.
She was a pretty, fairy-like child, with blue eyes and an engaging
manner, and she was the pet of the camp. The Southern soldiers called
her their mascot, and before she was five she could handle a pistol,
and by the time she was ten she was expert in the use of the lasso,
carbine, bowie knife, and revolver.

When Star turned bushranger Belle was only twelve, but she was already
well qualified to be a prominent member of his gang. Only her father
excelled her as a shot, and in horsemanship she was without a rival.
Wild and apparently untamable steeds that Star himself dare not mount
became docile as soon as Belle took them in hand. Animals loved her;
men feared and respected her.

She grew into a beauty, slim and fragile-looking, yet in reality very
strong, intelligent, audacious and clever. When she was only fifteen
she was once left in charge of the headquarters of the outlaws for a
whole day whilst they rode to a certain town and held up the bank.
During their absence a tramp attempted to rob the camp, but although he
took Belle by surprise she soon had him on the defensive, and instead
of killing her she killed him with her small white hands, slowly
forcing the thief backwards with her hands around his throat; then
down on his knees, and, finally, left him a corpse at her feet. On the
return of the outlaws she told her father what had happened, and he
there and then named Belle as his successor in the leadership of the
gang, and every man present swore to obey her when her turn came to
reign over them.

Reared amid bloodshed, taught every day to regard human life as
anything but sacred, and educated to believe that it was no sin to rob,
it is not astonishing that at the age of eighteen Belle, for all her
beauty, was a thorough-paced criminal. She had already shot down at
least half a dozen men; like her father she feared nothing, and flying
along on a swift horse she was capable of hitting any human target
within sight.

More than once her marksmanship had saved the gang from being
surrounded and overpowered, and during the last two years of her
father's life it was really her brain that guided the band of outlaws.

But the inevitable day came when Star, the terror of Texas, was slain
in a running fight, and Belle succeeded to the vacant leadership.

Only those who knew what she really was could have taken her seriously
in her new capacity. She was eighteen, with refined, delicate features,
lovely blue eyes, a pair of rosy lips, and a slim figure. By now the
gang consisted of twenty men, all veterans in vice and crime, big,
brawny, evil and coarse. Not one of them would have hesitated to cut
the throat of his own mother, yet Belle during her reign held them in
the hollow of her hand.

They never dared to disobey her. There was never any talk of mutiny, as
there had been in her father's lifetime, and animated by this perfect
loyalty the gang went on from success to success, and Belle Star,
the greatest of all female bushrangers, kept in subjection scores of
villages and towns.

One of the first acts of the bloodthirsty spitfire was to "avenge," as
she called it, the death of her father. Star had sent to their last
account at least forty men and women, but Belle would have it that his
death had been undeserved, and that because he had never robbed the
very poor the Sheriff had no right to shoot him for trying to evade
arrest. So she marked down the Sheriff for execution, and with six
of her followers set out for the lonely farm belonging to the county

Despite the fact that she knew that the Sheriff was keeping a sharp
watch for her, Belle did not hesitate to wreak vengeance on him.
It was in the early hours of a June morning that she and her six
followers rode out of the camp, and for five hours they travelled, only
stopping when within half a mile of the Sheriff's residence. Then they
dismounted, carefully tethered their horses in a wood, and did the
remainder of the journey on foot, Belle leading the way, revolver in

It was a lovely day, and as the Sheriff inspected his farm workers,
a score of sturdy men devoted to his interests, he could hardly have
suspected danger. He was fully protected and well armed in case of
attack, and, feeling secure, he wandered aimlessly towards the most
remote corners of his property. He was idly sauntering in the direction
of a tool-shed, when two men sprang at him, and before he could utter a
sound had him on his back, gagged and bound.

Half an hour later the Sheriff was led before Belle Star, who was
standing under an old tree waiting for him. There was very little
beauty in her face now. Her eyes shone like a tigress', and her small
white hands were clenched.

Belle was smelling blood and gloating in the coming murder of the man
who had executed justice upon her father.

The outlaw chieftainess called it a "trial," but the Sheriff was doomed
from the first. As they were out of earshot she allowed the gag to be
removed from his mouth, and then he was mockingly asked if he could
suggest any reason why he should not be suspended from the tree under
which they had assembled.

The Sheriff was a brave man, and he knew that his fate was sealed. He
did not, therefore, make any plea for mercy, but in the curtest tones
told Belle that he was merely one more victim of hers, but that in
time his murder would be avenged. He was proceeding to taunt her with
her disgraceful life, when she flushed angrily, and ordered him to be
strung up.

Her commands were obeyed, and Belle's last act was to scribble on a
piece of paper, "Executed by Belle Star," and pin it to his coat,
before she rode away with her six ruffians.

The murder of the Sheriff aroused the country, and it seemed that
Belle's career must be a short one. Rewards were offered for her death
or capture amounting to more than ten thousand dollars.

All classes organized to hunt down the notorious female criminal.
Respectable citizens enrolled themselves as patrols to guard their
homes, and for miles around there was not a town or village without
its special defence. But Belle had her own system of obtaining
information, and she learnt early all about the preparations that were
being made to capture her, laughing and derisively boasting that she
would outwit all her foes.

It was her fearlessness and audacity allied to success that held the
gang in subjection. Belle could do no wrong. When any of them attempted
a job on their own account they invariably failed. Thus when Belle
injured her arm, and had to travel two hundred miles disguised in
order to see a doctor, four of her followers thought they would rob a
jewellery establishment and keep the "swag" for themselves. They found
courage in drink, and proceeded to attack the shop, but everything went
wrong from the start. They were surprised by a patrol, and a fight
ensued, in the course of which two of them were shot dead. The others
escaped, and reached the camp in an exhausted condition, and when Belle
returned she punished them by making them do all the dirty work of the
camp for a month, and fined the discomfited scoundrels by refusing to
allow them to participate in the results of the next expedition.

That a young girl could dominate a gang of bloodthirsty ruffians in
this manner would be incredible if the story of Belle Star's life was
not fully authenticated.

With her usual cunning Belle waited until the enthusiasm of the
numerous Defence Committees was cooled by inaction before resuming
hostilities. For several weeks nothing was seen of her gang, and
rumours began to circulate that she had fled with her followers to a
less highly organized district, having realized that the good people of
Texas were too clever for her.

Disguised as a man, Belle would visit various towns, and in the market
places and hotels listen to legends about herself. She would laugh the
loudest when the leading citizens eloquently depicted her fate if they
got her into their hands. She had a sense of humour, and she could
stroll into a local Court and watch petty thieves being sentenced, and
applaud moral sentiments uttered by the presiding judge, who could not
know that the notorious female bushranger was sitting a few feet away
from him!

But her greatest exploit, apart from her many crimes, was the winning
of two races on the same day in full view of thousands of spectators.
It happened that a town which had often suffered from her depredations
decided to hold a special race meeting, and amongst several prizes
two large sums of money were offered to the winners of two particular
races, one being for male and the other for female jockeys.

Belle, realising that she was an expert rider, determined to enter for
both events, and as the one for men took place an hour before that for
the ladies, she assumed male attire, and as a handsome young man rode
on to the racecourse. After giving a false name she was permitted to
take her place at the post, and as her horse was the fleetest, and she
was the most skilful jockey, victory followed as a matter of course.

She received the stakes from the local mayor, made a speech of thanks,
and then retired. When she reappeared she was dressed as a country
girl, and this time she was leading another horse.

She looked so simple and sweet that the stewards were only too
delighted to accept her entry for the race for female jockeys, and loud
was the applause when the young beauty came in an easy first. Once more
Belle attended before the élite of the town to receive a considerable
sum of money, and she was cheered to the echo by the huge crowd,
amongst whom there were hundreds of men who had sworn to capture Belle
Star alive or dead.

The funds proved very useful to the gang, but, better than that, the
men were so surprised and delighted by her double exploit that they
became more slavish in their devotion to her. Belle was supreme. She
knew now that if she led them into the very jaws of hell they would not
draw back or complain.

Owing to her father's depredations having created a reign of terror
amongst the country banks, a rule had been made requiring all
cashiers to keep a fully loaded revolver on their desks, whilst if
any suspicious stranger entered the premises one of the other clerks
was to cover him unostentatiously with a revolver, and shoot at the
first sign of danger. This innovation having reduced considerably the
number of bank "hold-ups," it created a belief that it had succeeded in
frightening away Belle Star's gang, but Belle proved that that was a
great mistake.

Adopting her usual disguise of a young farmer, Belle went alone to
Galveston to pick up gossip, and she was fortunate enough to overhear
at one of the principal hotels a conversation between two merchants
which revealed the interesting fact that a week later the National Bank
was due to receive a consignment in gold amounting to one hundred and
twenty-five thousand dollars.

That was the sort of thing that fired Belle's imagination, and although
she knew that the National Bank was well guarded, and that the manager
and cashier transacted business fully armed, she resolved to capture
that consignment of gold.

She returned to her headquarters to give final instructions to her
followers, and then she went back to Galveston, but this time she had
assumed the character of a little old woman with a thin voice and a
hesitating manner. She "fluttered" in the approved fashion of nervous
old ladies, and more than one polite citizen of Galveston hastened to
help her across the road when they saw her shrinking from lumbering
cart horses.

It was exactly ten minutes before closing time when Belle timidly
entered the National Bank and presented a cheque, which she asked
the cashier to change for her. She looked so pathetic in her black
clothes, and was so apologetic and yet friendly, that the cashier
felt quite sorry when he had to tell her that he could not oblige her
for the simple reason that the cheque was drawn on the bank's branch
at Austin, the capital of Texas. Perhaps some of his politeness was
inspired by a glance at the signature on the cheque, which was that of
a well-known United States diplomat.

The poor old lady looked greatly distressed, and when at last she fully
understood that she was not to have the money she showed signs of
collapsing. The cashier and one of the clerks hastened to come to her
assistance, and they assisted her into the manager's office, where she
sank on to a chair, and huskily whispered that she would be all right
in a few moments.

Manager, cashier and clerk were glancing at one another when they
were startled to hear the command--"Hands up!" The next moment the
"little old lady" was covering them with her revolver, whilst six of
the outlaws under her command entered the building, closed the door
of the bank, and made all the officials prisoners. Then they visited
the vaults and the strong-room, and, having waited until darkness had
fallen, took the gold out and packed it in the van brought for the
purpose, eventually riding away leisurely.

It was not until the early hours of the following morning that the
trussed-up and gagged bank staff were discovered and released. By then
Belle Star was far away, and for the next two days the gang were busy
changing their quarters in case they had been tracked to their camp.
This single exploit made them all rich, but, of course, there was no
limit to their greed, and no sooner was it accomplished than Belle
began to plan others equally daring.

But she had a woman's vanity, and she brooded over insults and taunts
which a man would have ignored, and she sometimes risked her own
safety and that of her followers to avenge a petty slight.

She once happened to be in a populous town near Austin, when she heard
the local judge declare that he knew Belle Star by sight and that he
would shortly arrest her, and have her publicly whipped before handing
her over to the Lynchers. The girl brigand and the judge were actually
seated next to one another at the table d'hôte dinner at the hotel when
he said this.

Belle smiled at his delusion, but when he proceeded to speak of her in
opprobrious terms and gave her credit for more crimes than murder and
robbery her anger nearly led her into revealing her identity. But she
maintained control of herself, and after a little reflection decided to
wait until the following morning before punishing the boastful judge.

Next morning after breakfast--she had registered as a man, and, of
course wore male clothes--she mounted her horse in front of the hotel,
and then sent a servant to tell the judge that a stranger wished to
speak to him. At this time of day everybody was at work, and the hotel
staff were busy indoors and in the stables. When the judge appeared he
and Belle were practically alone, as she knew, and without hesitating
she blandly informed him that she was Belle Star, and then raised her
whip and lashed him in the face.

The judge was so astounded that he was unable to escape her until she
had lacerated him considerably, and, half blind and smarting from pain,
his shrieks for help were unanswered until Belle had reached a place of

It is a well-known fact that when a woman deliberately embraces crime
as a profession she is generally more brutal and merciless than the
average male criminal. It was so with Belle Star. The fair-haired girl
with the sunny smile and the lovely lips could in cold blood sentence
to death a young man whose only offence was that he had tried to defend
his property and his life.

Belle, too, was in the habit of accepting her own suspicions as full
proof. Once a well-laid scheme came to naught because at the last
moment the owner of the shop that had been marked down for attack awoke
to a realization of his danger and secured reinforcements. The outlaws
were driven off, and Belle, savagely discontented and disappointed,
came to the conclusion that her plans had been betrayed by a young farm
hand who had been in her pay as a spy.

She, therefore, sent two of her followers to arrest him, but the
suspect gave them no trouble, for he came willingly. Then Belle coldly
told him of his offence. He swore he was innocent, but she cut him
short by drawing her revolver and putting a bullet in his brain, and
the gang buried the suspected traitor with as much nonchalance as they
would have interred a dog.

It is impossible, however, to relate all her exploits. She personally
led onslaughts on banks, stores, private houses, and public buildings.

She had a solution for every problem and a way out of every difficulty.
When one of her men was arrested and was in imminent danger of death,
Belle, finding that the judge could not be kidnapped, proceeded to
make a prisoner of his wife, and the judge subsequently found a note
pinned to his pillow, informing him that unless the captured outlaw
was allowed to go free the lady would be murdered. He was given only
twenty-four hours to save her, but, as the town was in a ferment over
the excesses of the gang, the judge, guessing that he dare not acquit
the prisoner, had to connive at his escape in order to prevent the
murder of his wife. He had a bad time of it when his fellow-citizens
heard how they had been cheated of their prey, and he was compelled to
resign, but as his wife was returned safe and unharmed he was not sorry
that he had placated the outlaw.

Belle had plenty of friends who worked secretly for her. They did not
take any part in the raids, but they were very useful in supplying
information and warnings, and more than once the gang escaped, thanks
to the timely advice of these spies. Thus when Belle was heading an
expedition to rob a bank, she looked for and found a certain mark
on the bark of a particular tree within a couple of miles of the
town. That told her that the bank had obtained the protection of the
authorities, and would be more than a match for the outlaws. She
proceeded no farther, and she afterwards learned that the proprietor of
the bank had planned to capture the gang. Their disappointment when she
and her followers never turned up at all was a source of amusement to
her, and compensated for the collapse of her plans.

For a long time, however, the Government would not take any action
against the marauders, maintaining that the local authorities ought
to be able to deal with them. But, when within the space of a month
five banks and six shops were burgled and nine innocent lives were
lost, the Government realized that this was no local problem but a
national affair after all. Belle Star was terrorizing the country in no
unmistakable manner. Her word was law, and the State was ignored.

Hundreds of small farmers paid her weekly tributes to save them from
being robbed of their all, and things came to such a pass that some
mean-spirited persons actually proposed that each town should pay
ransom money to Belle if she would only promise to keep away!

When the troops took the field against her Belle's days were numbered,
although she refused to admit this, and she issued proclamations
inviting the soldiers to come on. Certainly the initial encounters
ended favourably for Belle. She added to her recruits, provided them
with plenty of ammunition, and, setting an example of fearlessness, led
them against the soldiers, and drove them off.

She had by now her headquarters in the midst of a forest, and it
was possible for travellers to pass within a few yards of the huts
without knowing that they were there. Beyond the huts was a miniature
fortress which commanded the approach to the forest, and, as it could
be attacked from one side only, it was easy for half a dozen desperate
men, all expert marksmen, to hold hundreds at bay.

Despite the fact that a regiment of soldiers was searching for her and
her gang, Belle refused to lie low. Her raids continued, and when a spy
of hers appealed for help she promptly responded, although it involved
great risks. This spy, a woman employed as a cook in an hotel, had a
husband who had been arrested for a trivial offence, but as he had a
bad record it was certain that if the judge discovered it he would give
the fellow a long sentence.

As the prisoner had come from New York, the police of the latter city
were asked for particulars of his career, and they responded by sending
a list of his previous convictions to the judge at Galveston.

But the damaging papers arrived on a Friday night, and before the
judge could see them Belle personally entered the post office, held up
the staff, examined the correspondence, and, having found the bulging
packet from the New York Chief of Police, took it away and destroyed
it. The result was that the spy's husband was treated as a first
offender, and let off with a nominal fine.

The day after this exploit Belle was riding alone near her camp, when
she was attacked by two soldiers, who suspected her identity. They
followed, thinking that they could capture the famous brigand easily.
But Belle's object was to separate them, and when the man on the
swifter horse outdistanced his comrade Belle turned in her saddle and,
despite the pace at which she was going, killed him with her first
shot. His corpse had scarcely struck the ground when a second bullet
ended the career of the other soldier.

These exploits gained for her a great deal of sympathy. The Texans were
essentially a sporting race, and they argued that if a regiment of
soldiers could not overcome a slip of a girl and a score of brigands
then they deserved to be beaten. This was extraordinary, in view of the
fact that Belle had robbed and pillaged all alike. The very poor she
had spared for the reason that they were not worth robbing, but it was
accounted a virtue unto her, and numerous acts of benevolence by her
enhanced her reputation.

The fact was that Belle was as cunning as she was unscrupulous. She
distributed money and provisions amongst the poor and worthless not
because she had any pity for them, but because it was the cheapest way
of obtaining the support at critical moments of a large portion of the
population. Every gaolbird looked up to Belle as a subject does to a
Sovereign, and they respected her all the more when they knew that
she admitted to membership of her gang only the best experts in the
criminal line.

At least four pitched battles were fought between the outlaws and the
Government soldiers before the final encounter. Belle seemed to bear a
charmed life. She always headed her colleagues and took the greatest
risks, and when she emerged without a scratch from the fiercest
encounters her ignorant and superstitious followers began to believe
that she was not mortal. They had often seen her ride at a troop of
armed soldiers and coolly pick off the officers, while all the time a
perfect hail of bullets had sung around her fair head without touching

Whenever the battle was going against the outlaws it was Belle who
revived their drooping courage, and she twice turned defeat into
victory by her marvellous shooting. The outwitted and beaten commanders
were compelled to send for reinforcements, and, so variable is human
nature, when a hundred weary and dust-strained troopers entered Austin,
the town they had come to save, they were jeered at by the ungrateful
inhabitants, who had learnt that in a pitched battle with Belle Star's
outlaws the soldiers had been worsted.

Belle's end was fittingly dramatic. She was celebrating a run of
success against banks and shops with a feast when news came that two
hundred and fifty soldiers under the command of a major were advancing
to storm the fort. Instantly she sprang to her feet and ordered every
man to his place.

She was sobered in a moment by the news, which was as unexpected as it
was unpleasant; and there were several of her followers who had drunk
too much to be of use. In vain did Belle shake and curse them and
even implore them to wake up. They could only stagger forward a few
paces and collapse. One man, in a fit of drunken hilarity and bravado,
began to fire indiscriminately, thereby revealing the hiding-place
of the outlaws, and Belle was so enraged that she brained him with
her carbine. There was no time to remove the corpse, for the soldiers
could be heard approaching now, and Belle, realizing that this time it
was going to be a fight to a finish, put herself at the head of her
garrison, and prepared to conquer or die.

The outlaws were well entrenched, and had a plentiful supply of
ammunition, but they were up against equally desperate men now. At
last, seeing that if they remained in the fort those who were not
killed outright would be captured, Belle personally led a sortie
against the enemy, hoping to escape in the confusion. The men followed
her gladly, remembering their previous victories, but most of them were
still fuddled by drink, and in the circumstances could not be expected
to show to advantage.

Belle was the only one to fight at her best. She displayed amazing
courage, time after time heading attacks on the troopers, who were so
flustered as to show signs of panic. But the commander rallied them,
and as by now the troopers regarded Belle Star as a demon and not as a
human being they pressed forward to destroy her without being affected
by her sex or age. When things were going against her she collected
a few of her followers, and made one last desperate attempt to break
through the ring of soldiers, but her luck failed her, and she fell
riddled with bullets. It was the death she had always desired.



Jeanne Daniloff was reared in an atmosphere of mystery, intrigue and
squalor. Her father was one of the many victims of Russian tyranny,
and he had been forced to wander about Europe, going from one cheap
boarding-house to another, accompanied by a wife who resented his lack
of worldly success, and by a daughter who, as she grew older, rebelled
against the squalid isolation of the life they were leading.

But Jeanne was not the sort of girl to accept her fate quietly. She
had inherited her father's fanaticism, though she never applied it
to political purposes, and also her mother's temper, and, becoming
tired of the frequent quarrels between her parents, she eloped to
Paris with an old gentleman. Jeanne was not sixteen, well developed,
hardly a beauty, but possessed of a pair of remarkable eyes. She was
well described later as "The woman with the fatal eyes." Jeanne was
not destined to live many years, and yet during her brief career she
hypnotized to their ruin three men, all of whom were, presumably,
persons of education and position.

The ambitious, fiery-natured Russian girl meant to have a good time.
Jeanne Daniloff was a curious mixture of pride and self-abasement.
She hated poverty and she loved love. In her opinion the world ought
to have been populated only by handsome men able to provide her with
every luxury, with a sprinkling of women to flatter her by their
jealousy. Warm-hearted and warm-blooded, reared in poverty and trouble,
Jeanne Daniloff was born to play a tragic rôle on the stage of life.

Her first escapade did not last longer than six months and by the
time her elderly friend had deserted her Jeanne was an orphan. At
that moment her fate was trembling in the balance, and she might have
been left in her loneliness to sink to the lowest depths had not her
grandmother, who had always loved the reckless and irresponsible
girl, offered her a home. Jeanne accepted, and went to live at Nice,
encouraged, no doubt, by the knowledge that Nice had many carnivals,
and was a resort of the rich.

Her grandmother, who kept a boarding-house, was soon cured of
her delusion that Jeanne would help her in the conduct of her
establishment. Household work was not to the liking of the young girl,
who thought only of dresses and dances and men, and while the old lady
was left to look after her boarders Jeanne spent the days reading
novels and the nights dancing. She became a well-known figure at the
numerous dancing halls in Nice, and most men forgot her rather plain
features once they came under the spell of her "fatal eyes." Jeanne had
only to look at a man to bring him to her feet. Once she realized her
power she revelled in it, and, despite her aptitude for doing nothing,
she managed to educate herself to hold her own in the best society,
into which she sometimes strayed.

There is always at least one critical turning point in the careers of
women of the Daniloff type, and Jeanne's came unexpectedly at a ball at
Nice. She was chatting with a couple of friends between dances when the
master of ceremonies begged to be allowed to present a newcomer to her.
A few moments later Jeanne Daniloff was face to face with a tall, pale
young man with a weak mouth and a nervous manner. Jeanne looked at him
with her fatal eyes, and he was her slave.

Weiss was a lieutenant in the French Army, of good family, and with a
future. In that crowd of adventurers and witlings he was a somebody,
and when the following day he called on Jeanne at her grandmother's
boarding-house he thrilled her with a proposal of marriage. It was not
unexpected. Jeanne must have known that she had fascinated him, but she
was nevertheless pleased at the prospect of becoming Madame Weiss, and
in her usual manner she flung herself impetuously into the arms of her

Her happiness was short-lived, however. Weiss's mother, when she heard
of her son's intention, made it her business to interview Jeanne.
Madame Weiss was not to be fascinated by the "fatal eyes," and she
summed up the character of the boarding-house siren in terms that left
no doubt in her son's mind that she would never consent to the union.
As according to the law of France the young officer could not marry
without his mother's permission the brief engagement between him and
Jeanne came to an end.

The Russian girl quickly recovered her spirits and once again abandoned
herself to the gaieties of Nice. The prospect of losing her turned
Weiss's love into a burning passion. He attended balls just to catch a
glimpse of her; and it maddened him to see her smiling into the faces
of men he imagined to be his rivals. Daily he pestered his mother to
give her consent, but she held out against him, and at last Weiss had
to resort to desperate measures.

With his promotion to the rank of captain he received orders to go to
Oran in Algiers. The night before he was due to leave Nice he sought
out Jeanne and implored her to elope with him. Of course he was in
complete ignorance of the fact that the girl had already had that
"affair" with that elderly gentleman which had terminated in Paris.
Young Weiss used all the eloquence of which he was capable, unable
to realize that he was addressing one to whom elopement appealed
irresistibly because it was an adventure.

They left together for Oran, and shortly after their arrival set up
housekeeping under the soft, alluring skies of Algiers. The humid
climate suited Jeanne. The mysticism and romantic beauty of North
Africa captivated her; she revelled in the colour, the movement and
the variety of the native towns and villages. As the reputed wife of
Captain Weiss she mixed in the best society, and Jeanne was soon a
popular hostess, whilst her fascination for men was as remarkable as
ever it had been.

Meanwhile, the much-in-love Weiss had not ceased to pester his mother,
and she, feeling that it would be foolish to resist any longer, gave
her consent, and Captain Weiss and Jeanne Daniloff were married.

The ceremony had a curious effect upon Jeanne. She became deeply
religious. Every morning she read the Bible, and her prayers were never
neglected. She took to visiting the poor and her charity was boundless.
Her husband was delighted. He was her most devoted admirer, and as he
possessed qualities which made him an ideal husband she ought to have
been very happy.

For a time Jeanne mastered herself sufficiently to appreciate him and
to show her devotion by living only for him. His abilities had by now
been recognized by the French Government, which had permitted him to
retire from the army and take a well-paid civil appointment in the
Algerian service. There was, therefore, no lack of money, and when in
course of time Jeanne was the mother of two fine children, a son and a
daughter, she seemed to be the happiest wife and mother in Oran.

She had the means to give dinner-parties and garden-parties, and the
very best people were amongst her intimate friends. It was, indeed, a
decided change from the boarding-house at Nice and the cheap dancing

Soon after the birth of her second child--in the early part of
1889--Captain Weiss bought a charming house and grounds at Ain-Fezza,
near Oran. It was an ideal residence, and everyone envied Madame Weiss
her home, her children and her husband. She had the reputation of being
a most devout Christian and a good wife and mother.

The Paris elopement seemed to belong to another world. The reckless
pleasure-seeking Jeanne Daniloff might never have existed, yet the time
was fast approaching when her real self was to come to the surface
again. Nothing could have prevented her being herself. She could not
help her own nature. The daughter of the Russian revolutionaries, a
veritable child of storm, could not maintain the character she had
earned in Oran; and when all appeared well with her she plunged into a
murderous intrigue which cost her everything--home, children, husband
and life!

In the year 1889 an engineer of the name of Felix Roques came to
Ain-Fezza to work on the Algerian Railways. He had not been long in the
place when he was compelled to listen to glowing accounts of Madame
Weiss, in which her piety and love for her family were dilated upon.
Roques's curiosity was aroused. It seemed impossible that the world
should contain so perfect a creature as they told him Madame Weiss was.
At this time Jeanne was only twenty-one, and in the full possession of
her powers, physical and mental.

Felix Roques had no difficulty in making her acquaintance. In common
with the principal employés of the company that was constructing the
railway, he was invited to a garden-party at Madame Weiss's, and there
he was introduced to her by her husband. For some extraordinary reason
the sight of Felix Roques aroused in Madame Weiss's breast all those
doubtful passions which had lain dormant since her flight from Nice.
In a moment she was Jeanne Daniloff again. She fell straightway in love
with the handsome engineer. Home, husband, children and reputation
became as nothing to her. She dropped the mask and was the wild
child of nature again. All the blood of her fanatical, revolutionary
ancestors coursed through her veins, warmed by the balmy African sun.

She was really in love at last. That was what she told herself. She
had married Captain Weiss to escape from the dreary boarding-house and
the commonplace persons her grandmother catered for. She had tolerated
him because he gave her social position, and she had accepted boredom
because she wished to be with her children. But now she was in love,
and Felix Roques, whose features were regular without making him
startlingly handsome, fell under the spell of the fateful eyes, and was
never the same man again.

The lovers had many secret meetings, and even when they met at parties
could not conceal their affection. Friends warned Weiss; but he only
laughed at them. Was not his wife the most religious woman in Oran? Had
he not the evidence of his own senses that she was devoted to him and
to their little boy and girl? "You are talking nonsense, my friend,"
he would answer calmly, and go about his duties, and once, to show his
confidence in his wife, asked Felix Roques to take her to an evening
party because business would detain him at his office.

The time came, however, when Madame Weiss and Felix Roques decided
that it was impossible for either of them to be content with simple
dalliance. The hypnotized engineer declared that Jeanne must give
herself completely to him.

The suggestion was met with a pleased laugh. Jeanne liked a strong,
determined lover, and not a milksop of a husband who let her have her
own way in everything. I will give her own description of this scene
with her lover. It reveals the temperament of the woman in a remarkable

"I loved Monsieur Roques as the master of my thoughts, of my
intelligence, of my body, of every fibre of my being, as a master
whom I worshipped, and in whose presence I myself ceased to exist,"
she wrote. "When he asked me for the first time to appoint him an
assignation we were walking with some other people. Instead of saying
yes or no I took out a coin and said to him, 'I don't wish to take on
myself the responsibility of a decision; you know that if once we begin
to love it will be no light thing for me. I shall lead you far, perhaps
farther than you think. If it comes down heads it shall be yes; if
tails, no.' He looked very astonished; he blushed very deeply and said,
'So be it.' I spun the coin; it came down heads, and I was his."

The astounding nature of this female criminal is proved by the fact
that to celebrate her downfall she had a ring engraved with the date,
November 13, 1889!

Once she was committed to him her love became a mania. She wrote to him
daily, and at night, when she had superintended the putting to bed of
her children, she would sit down beside their cot and scribble pages of
ecstatic praise of the young engineer.

Some of those letters have been preserved, and I will give one or two

"Dearest," she wrote a fortnight after she had betrayed her husband,
"you do not know how I hold to life now. Does it not promise to me in
the future days of radiant happiness, intimacy, affection growing daily
stronger, with you, my beloved, you to whom I am proud to belong, you
for whom I am capable of any sacrifice, any act of devotion? How I love
you, Felix! Take all the kisses I can give you and many more. I embrace
you with all the strength of my being.--Your wife, Jeanne."

Several months passed, and everybody in the district except Weiss knew
of the intimacy between his wife and Roques. The infatuated man refused
to believe a word against her, and his wife rewarded him by eventually
coming to the conclusion that he was in her way, and that she must
"remove" him in order to attain to the fullest happiness with Felix

The guilty couple often discussed the possibility of murdering Weiss
without having to pay the penalty. Like everybody else they had been
fascinated by the lurid English drama known as "The Maybrick Case."
They had read full details of the "removing" of James Maybrick by
arsenic, and the very complete French reports of the sensational
Liverpool trial introduced Jeanne Weiss to many of the mysteries of
arsenical poisoning. She knew that there were ways of obtaining poison
without having to name that dread word, and when the fatal step was
resolved on she voted for Fowler's solution as the medium.

A remarkable correspondence led up to the opening act of the drama.
She sent Roques a letter, in which she said, "I am beset with sad and
depressing thoughts. What I am about to do is very ugly."

Later she wrote, "I prefer Fowler's solution to begin with. It is
agreed, Felix. You shall be obeyed. Have I ever hesitated before
anything except the desertion of my children? Crimes against the law
don't trouble me at all. It is only crimes against Nature that revolt
me. I am a worshipper of Nature."

Another remarkable reference to the forthcoming attempt on her
husband's life must be quoted, "I have been playing the Danse Macabre
as a duet. My nerves must be affected, for it produced a gloomy effect
upon me. I thought of death and of those who are about to die. Can it
be that this feeling will return to me? But it is so sweet to think
that I am working for our nest."

The last letter she penned before the actual poisoning began was an
outburst of love and hysteria.

"Oh, Felix, love me, for the hideousness of my task glares at me. I
want to close my heart and my soul and my eyes. I want to banish the
recollection of what he has done for me, for I worship you. I feel
such a currency of complete intimacy between you and me that words
seem unnecessary. We read each other's thoughts as in an open book. To
arrest this current would be to arrest my life. I may shudder at what
I am doing after it is done, but go back I cannot. Comfort and sustain
me; help me to get over the inevitable moments of depression, bind me
under your yoke. Make me drunk with your caresses, for therein lies
your own power. I will be yours, whatever happens. So long as you give
me your orders I will carry them out. But it seems to me I am doing
wrong. I love you terribly."

Weiss became ill in October, 1890, mysteriously ill, for the local
doctor was greatly puzzled. The patient's young wife--she was only
twenty-two--nursed him with apparent devotion. She would allow no one
else to give him his food, and, of course, her reason for this was the
fact that no one else could be relied upon to mix arsenic with it!

When friends of the family called Jeanne's distress touched their
hearts. She was implored not to risk a breakdown herself by overdoing
the day and night nursing of her ailing husband, and they advised her
to employ professional help. With a wan smile Jeanne announced her
determination to nurse him tenderly herself, and sacrifice her own
life if necessary for him. There had been adverse rumours concerning
Jeanne Weiss in Oran and the neighbourhood, but in the face of this
unexampled devotion to her husband they seemed to be the inventions of
unscrupulous enemies.

The doctor grew more puzzled. Just when his patient seemed to be
improving he would have a relapse, and there was a curious ill-luck
about the ministrations of Madame Weiss. He did not see that Jeanne was
only acting the part of the distressed and anxious wife. It was her
pale face and tearful manner that kept his eyes closed to the truth.

It happened, however, that Weiss had a secretary, Guerry, whose wife
was a friend of Mademoiselle Castaing, the postmistress at Ain-Fezza, a
lady whose bump of curiosity was abnormally developed, for she was in
the habit of passing her time by opening the letters that came through
her office, and reading the contents.

Mademoiselle, in fact, knew more about the intrigue between Madame
Weiss and Felix Roques than anyone else, and it was only by exercising
the rarest self-control that she refrained from publishing far and wide
the news that Roques had gone to Spain to be out of the way when Weiss
died, and that Madame Weiss was to join him later in Madrid with her
children. She knew also that months before Jeanne had refused to elope
with Roques, because that would have meant parting from her children,
the custody of whom would be given to her deserted husband by the
Court. It was because she wished to keep her children that she decided
to murder her husband instead of simply leaving him.

Guerry, the secretary, was devoted to his employer. When Weiss became
worse he reported the fact to Madame Guerry, and that lady sniffed
meaningly and finally blurted out the gossip she had heard from the

Instantly the secretary's suspicions were aroused. He felt certain that
Jeanne was poisoning her husband, and when on October 9 his wife hinted
that Madame Weiss had posted an important letter addressed to Felix
Roques at Madrid, and that the letter was still lying in Mademoiselle
Castaing's post office, he promptly went down to see the lady whose
curiosity was the direct means of saving a wronged man's life.

It was, of course, against the regulations for the postmistress to
discuss her duties with outsiders, and Guerry, unwilling to put her
in an embarrassing position, cut the Gordian knot by stealing Madame
Weiss's letter. When he got home he read it, and a more remarkable
document was never penned.

"You may as well know what a fearful time I am going through at this
moment--in what a nightmare I live," Jeanne wrote. "Monsieur has been
in bed four days, and the best half of my stock is used up. He fights
it--fights it by his sheer vitality and instinct of self-preservation,
so that he seems to absorb emetics and never drains a cup or a glass
to its dregs. The doctor, who came yesterday, could find no disease.
'He's a madman, a hypochondriac,' he said. 'Since he seems to want to
be sick, give him some ipecacuanha, and don't worry. There's nothing
seriously the matter with him.'

"The constant sickness obliges me to administer the remedy in very
small doses. I can't go beyond twenty drops without bringing on
vomiting. Yesterday from five in the morning until four in the
afternoon I have done nothing but empty basins, clean sheets, wash his
face, and hold him down in the bed during his paroxysms of sickness.
At night when I have got away for a moment I have put my head on
Mademoiselle Castaing's shoulder and sobbed like a child. I am afraid,
afraid that I haven't got enough of the remedy left, and that I shan't
be able to bring it off. Couldn't you send me some by parcel post to
the railway station of Ain-Fezza? Can't you send four or five pairs
of children's socks with the bottle? I'll take care to get rid of the
wrapper. Hide the bottle carefully.

"I'm getting thinner every day. I don't look well, and I am afraid
when I see you I shan't please you. Did you get the photograph?

"Forgive my handwriting, but I am horribly nervous. I adore you."

The secretary handed the letter to the Public Prosecutor at Oran, and
immediately Jeanne Weiss was arrested. The police were only just in
time. Another day's delay and Weiss must have died, for the doctors
had to work desperately before they could report that he was mending.
When she was put in prison Jeanne tried to commit suicide, but a strong
emetic preserved her life. Then followed a genuine illness, and for six
months she was in the prison infirmary.

She had been allowed to take her infant with her, but it sickened in
goal and died, greatly to her distress, for although Jeanne could plot
to receive arsenic with which to poison her husband, and could ask
her lover to hide the bottle in children's socks, she was devoted to
her babies. A curious contradiction, yet it was because of this that,
instead of deserting Weiss, she chose rather to poison him.

A perusal of Madame Weiss's papers left no doubt in the minds of the
authorities that Felix Roques was her guilty accomplice, and the
services of the Spanish police were utilized to effect his arrest in
Madrid. Roques, however, had no intention of facing the music, and he
contrived to smuggle a revolver into the Spanish goal, and with it
he blew out his brains. The young Russian woman was left, therefore,
to answer alone the serious charge of having attempted to murder her

The trial did not take place until the last week in May, 1891, when
Jeanne Weiss was just twenty-three. She had, indeed, lived her life.
In experience and intrigue she was an old woman, and it was hard
to credit the story of her career as laid before judge and jury by
the prosecutor. During her incarceration she had composed a sort of
autobiography in which she attempted to put all the responsibility on
Felix Roques, and when tired of that she persuaded herself that her
husband had forgiven her, and that he would save her from punishment
by giving evidence on her behalf. It was sheer invention, but it
enabled her to enter the Court without a tremor, and feel hopeful of an

The trial was conducted with all the emotion of which a French Court
can be capable, and had it not been for the proofs in the prisoner's
own handwriting her youth and her "fatal eyes" might have saved her
from conviction. Jeanne's chief hope was that the sight of her distress
might reawaken the love her husband first bore for her, the love that
had once caused him to quarrel with his own mother. But Weiss had been
sickened to the soul by the realization of her treachery. He could not
look upon her without shuddering with horror, and from the moment he
had been convinced that she had tried to murder him he declined to give
her his name. Henceforth she was Jeanne Daniloff, and not Madame Weiss,
and he would not permit anyone to speak of her as his wife.

Jeanne, who had decided to commit suicide if she was convicted, came
into Court with a handkerchief which she constantly pressed against her
face. No one knew that in the corner of it was a piece of cigarette
paper which contained a dose of strychnine. This was to be her last
resource if the verdict of the jury went against her.

The critical moment came when Weiss stepped into the witness-box.
Now that Felix Roques was dead Weiss was the only person who could
tell the inner history of the intrigue. Jeanne hoped that he would
suppress everything likely to damage her, and all the time he was being
questioned she kept her eyes on him.

But it was too late. Weiss was an older and a wiser, if sadder man now.
Jeanne's eyes were no longer capable of hypnotizing him, and he simply
told the truth. When he was given permission to leave the box he
turned abruptly towards the jury and addressed them.

"I desire, gentlemen," he said, "to make the following declaration: I
speak that I may reply to certain calumnies that have appeared in the
press. I have never forgiven Jeanne Daniloff. I do not, and I never
will, forgive her. Henceforth she is nothing to me. Whatever her fate,
I stay near my children. I only wish never to hear her name again."

That statement sealed the doom of the accused. She uttered a gasp of
terror, and would have fallen had not the wardress clutched her, and
although the trial continued for several hours longer she scarcely
understood what was happening.

It was at four o'clock in the morning when the jury returned a verdict
of guilty, "with extenuating circumstances," and but for the latter the
convict would have been sentenced to death.

The fatal eyes had, in fact, saved her; but Jeanne Weiss had no desire
for life. To her, death was far more preferable than existence within
prison walls, and when the judge's sentence was still ringing in her
ears she bit her handkerchief as though trying to steady her nerves,
though in reality she was swallowing the dose of strychnine she had
concealed in the hem. A request to the wardress for a glass of water
was instantly complied with, and Jeanne then washed the fatal poison
down. A few moments later she was shrieking in agony.

They carried her into an adjoining room, and a doctor administered an
emetic, but already the deadly dose was accomplishing its task. Jeanne
Weiss was dying, and those who had assisted to bring her to justice
stood around her as she passed into another world.

The manner of her going was in keeping with her character. Wild,
turbulent, passionate, fierce and unscrupulous, Jeanne Daniloff was a
revolutionary, one who rebelled against the laws of mankind. She took
her own life gladly, and her last words were references to her children
and to the man for whom she had sacrificed so much.

She appeared anxious to spare her children the disgrace of having a
convict for a mother, but it was really her husband's repudiation and
the knowledge of her lover's death that had inspired her to revise the
sentence of the Court and execute herself.




Anybody who has sufficient self-assurance to set up as a "beauty
specialist" will never want for clients as long as there are
middle-aged and ugly women in existence and vanity continues to be one
of the most common weaknesses of humanity. But when Rachel Leverson,
an unscrupulous London Jewess, claimed to have discovered a process
by which she could make members of her own sex beautiful for ever she
struck out into a new line, and one that proved eminently successful
until the police intervened.

Madame Rachel, as she called herself, had no pretensions to good looks.
She was, to tell the truth, repulsive in appearance, being stout, with
a greasy skin, irregular features, eyes that repelled, and a manner
that was generally familiar and always irritating. But just as men will
buy a hair-restorer from a bald-headed barber so will women flock to an
ugly creature to learn the secret of beauty. Madame Rachel was ugly in
mind as well as in body; she was rapacious and unscrupulous, and yet
for years she prospered as a "beauty doctor."

It was a very risky business that Madame Rachel brought into existence,
but, despite her audacious frauds, it was not without difficulty that
she was convicted in a court of law and punished for her crimes.

Before starting as a "beauty specialist" Rachel Leverson had tried
fortune-telling, but the profits had been too small and clients too
few, and she quickly retired from it to strike out on new lines, and
she did not have to wait very long before her bank balance justified
her enterprise.

The woman's headquarters were in a house at the corner of Maddox
Street and New Bond Street, and were, therefore, right in the heart of
fashionable London.

Her methods were a mixture of quackery, blackmail, subserviency and
bullying, and, realizing that most people do not value anything which
is not costly, she charged enormous fees. Whenever she quoted them she
did so in a reluctant manner, as if to suggest that she personally got
nothing out of the business, and was, in fact, really a philanthropist.
Of course, she relied principally on her knowledge of the weaknesses of
her sex, and those would-be clients whose financial position obviously
precluded them from adding to her profits she skilfully used to
advertise her merits.

On one occasion the widow of a Civil Servant, a lady in the fifties,
who had lost her good looks many years earlier in the hot suns of
India, applied to Madame Rachel to be made beautiful for ever, being
unaware that the Jewess charged a hundred guineas for the preliminary
treatment only and that she required a thousand guineas for the full
course. But as the lady was in society Madame Rachel did not drive
her away with contumely, as she had persons of low degree. She merely
surveyed her caller, and then announced that she could not accept less
than five hundred guineas "on account."

[Illustration: "MADAME RACHEL"]

"You should understand," said Madame Rachel, leaning back in an
arm-chair, and speaking in an impressive manner, "that the process
I have discovered is known only to myself, and that it is a very
expensive one to work. I have to charge high fees not only for that
reason, but to make sure that only ladies of rank and fortune will
patronize me. _Ladies_ will keep my secret, I know. If they didn't I
should be out of work"--here she laughed--"in a month. I am sorry that
you cannot afford the course of treatment, for I am sure that it would
do all you require. Still, it can't be helped."

The widow went off to tell her acquaintances, and, incidentally, to
get half a dozen friends to lend her sufficient money to undergo the
expensive treatment. In return she promised that as soon as she had
discovered the secret process she would reveal it to them, and then
they could make themselves beautiful without having to spend another
penny or consult the beauty doctor.

A week later the widow paid Madame Rachel the five hundred guineas,
and at once began the treatment. It continued for a month, during
which time the victim drank all sorts of medicines, had innumerable
baths, sat in dark rooms for hours, and painted her skin with vile
concoctions. Instead of becoming more beautiful, she got even uglier,
and at last she came to the conclusion that she was being trifled
with. As soon as she realized this she demanded the return of her five
hundred guineas.

Madame Rachel, who had hitherto acted the part of the sleek,
half-obsequious, half-familiar friend, burst into a roar of laughter
when the request was made, and, towering over the widow, with her
greasy face distorted with passion, and her heavy thick hands clenched,
she cursed, threatened and jeered.

"I will not give you more than a minute to leave my premises," she
shouted, in conclusion, and she looked capable of murdering her
dissatisfied client. "I suppose you think that because I am an
unprotected woman trying to earn an honest living that you can bluff
me? I have spent the whole of your fee on the treatment and haven't
made a penny profit, and now--"

"That's a lie," cried the courageous widow. "Don't shout at me, woman.
I am going straight to my solicitor to instruct him to issue a writ
against you."

Madame Rachel laughed horribly.

"Splendid," she cried, clapping her hands. "Nothing would please me
better. I should revel in such a law case, and so would your friends.
Wouldn't they laugh when they heard that the ugliest woman in England
was so stupidly vain as not to know that only a miracle could make her
beautiful! How they will jeer at you! You'll be the laughing stock of
London! I can imagine how the papers will report the case. And the
headlines! It will be a treat to listen to the cross-examination by
my counsel, who will know all that has passed between you and me. Oh,
by all means go to your solicitor, and as a personal favour I implore
you to bring an action against me. It would be the best possible
advertisement for my business."

The widow went, but the writ never came, for on second thoughts she
decided that it would be better to forego the luxury of revenge than to
hold herself up to ridicule. Madame Rachel had anticipated this, and
it was the real reason why she dealt only with persons of good social
position who would not dare to invite publicity.

Another victim was the wife of a man who was a prominent member of the
Conservative Party. She had heard a lot about Madame Rachel, and she
decided to seek her advice as to the best method of improving her skin,
which was unpleasantly sallow. The swindler pretended that she had an
infallible remedy for this, and when the statesman's wife called she
did not hesitate to guarantee a cure, provided her instructions were
followed. Madame Rachel advised daily baths and the use of certain
cosmetics, and for these a very stiff fee was paid in advance. Three
times a week the lady came to the establishment to undergo the
treatment, and Madame Rachel was always in attendance, with a huge
smile and plenty of flattery.

It happened that in the course of conversation Madame Rachel had
learned from her client that she was taking the treatment unknown
to her husband because she wished to give him a pleasant surprise.
Husband and wife were as deeply in love with one another as they had
been on their wedding day, and the lady lived only to please him,
and she thought that if she suddenly presented herself before him
with a beautiful skin he would be enchanted. The information greatly
interested the swindler, whose greedy eyes had noticed that the lady
wore on her fingers diamond rings which could not have cost less than a
thousand pounds.

During the first week of the treatment, which mainly consisted of
taking baths, the client wore her rings all the time. But Madame Rachel
pretended that they hampered her process, and so she insisted upon the
lady discarding them with her clothes before entering the bath. The
request was complied with--the "beauty specialist" had a wonderful
power over her customers--and as a result the "patient" never saw her
rings again. When she missed them after returning from the bath, she
immediately rang the bell and complained to the maid. The next moment
Madame Rachel burst into the room in a rage and began to pour a stream
of filthy abuse upon her client, who saw at once that the "beauty
specialist" was the thief, and taxed her with the crime. Instead of
repudiating the accusation, she retorted by declaring that unless the
lady went at once and gave no more trouble she would declare that she
had been to her house to meet a gentleman by appointment who was not
her husband.

"You never told your husband that you've been coming here," she
screamed triumphantly, noticing the look of dismay and fright on her
client's face. "It's been a secret to him. What would he say if I
told him, and my assistants confirmed me, that you'd been keeping
clandestine appointments with a lover? Go and let me hear no more of
your alleged losses, or it'll be the worse for you."

That lady was not very wise, for she did not tell her husband at once
how she had been tricked. Had she consulted him immediately he would
have taken steps to recover the jewellery, but it was too late to do
anything when she admitted how she had allowed herself to be robbed.

All the time there was a steady flow of clients who paid enormous
fees and solemnly went through the farcial programme which Madame
Rachel guaranteed would confer everlasting beauty upon them. They were
mainly middle-aged widows and old maids, who fancied that certain
distinguished men of their acquaintance had grown "interested" in
them, and would propose if only they were a little more attractive or
appeared just a few years younger. When clients were without eligible
male friends the "beauty specialist" undertook to supply them with
husbands for a consideration. Indeed, there was nothing she would not
promise in return for a substantial sum of money.

Her strongest protection was the knowledge that her patrons feared
ridicule more than the loss of their money. Dissatisfied clients
occasionally created scenes at the beauty shop, and then Madame
Rachel treated them to language which sent them scampering from her
premises. But the majority took their disappointment quietly, not even
registering a protest when after months of "treatment" they found
themselves worse than when they had started.

Meanwhile, the money rolled in, and Madame Rachel, who had once told
fortunes in vile public-houses at a penny a time, now sported a
carriage and pair, and was frequently seen in the most fashionable
restaurants. When strangers saw her they invariably inquired as to
the identity of the vulgar creature, and the usual answer was, "She's
the famous Madame Rachel, who is the greatest beauty specialist in the
world. She has accomplished miracles, I am told." Thus was her fame

But suddenly the number of patrons began to diminish perceptibly,
greatly to the alarm of the swindler, whose great ambition was to
provide such handsome dowries for her two daughters as would win for
them titled husbands. She had already saved thousands of pounds, but
she required much more for her purpose, and it was quite by accident
she discovered how to improve upon her swindle.

A certain woman of thirty, plain and uncouth, came to her to be
changed into a beauty. She had the money to pay for the process, and
Madame Rachel took her in hand. Alice Maynard was one of those women
who never attract men, and she was fully conscious of the fact. When
she confided her griefs to the "sympathetic" sharper she was at once
promised a husband with a title on the condition that she would reward
her benefactress for her trouble. Miss Maynard cheerfully promised
anything, and from time to time handed over various sums, ranging from
ten guineas to a hundred.

When informed that the woman's savings were exhausted Madame Rachel
introduced her to a man who called himself the "Hon. George Sylvester."
He proposed at once, was accepted, and married the girl shortly
afterwards. Then the "Hon. George," having borrowed fifty pounds
from his bride, disappeared, and it was only when the weeping woman
consulted a book on the peerage with a view to communicating with her
husband's relatives that she discovered that there was no titled family
of the name of Sylvester. Later a solicitor elicited the information
for her that the man she had married was a bookmaker's tout, who had
escorted other ladies to the altar, and for whom the police were

Alice Maynard, broken-hearted and ashamed, retired to the country, to
die within a few months, leaving Madame Rachel in peaceful possession
of the seven hundred pounds she had had from her. Madame had paid the
"Hon. George Sylvester" five pounds to pose as the son of a peer and
marry the forlorn young lady, and, as she anticipated, it proved a
cheap method for getting rid of her.

The success, from Madame Rachel's point of view, of this affair caused
her to develop it on a larger scale, and very soon another victim
presented herself for the purpose of being plucked. As this deluded
creature seemed likely to yield thousands of pounds, the "beauty
specialist" prepared to reap a rich harvest.

One evening a thin, spare, scraggy little woman with yellow hair,
obviously dyed, painted face and eyebrows, and the affected giggle of
a schoolgirl, called at the beauty shop in Bond Street. She introduced
herself as Mrs. Borradaile, the widow of Colonel Borradaile, and she
asked that she might be made beautiful for ever, because, although
fifty, she had the heart of a child, and she wished to marry again, if

Even Madame Rachel, with all her experience, had the greatest
difficulty in preventing herself from laughing at this human
caricature, but as Mrs. Borradaile made no secret of her strong
financial position she entered seriously into negotiations. Her first
question was about the amount the widow wished to spend, and the answer
was that she did not want to pay more than a hundred pounds.

Madame Rachel pretended to be satisfied, and there and then she
accepted ten pounds on account, a sum she had often before refused with
scorn. But she knew that Mrs. Borradaile could be bled if properly
treated, and she proved the correctness of this view by getting from
her in the course of the first month four hundred guineas.

The widow was crazy to become beautiful, and, when chance enabled the
swindler to get Mrs. Borradaile completely in her power, the rest was
easy. The two women were discussing the treatment in Madame Rachel's
private room when a maid entered with a card.

Madame Rachel read the name on it with surprise.

"Lord Ranelagh!" she exclaimed, and her astonishment was genuine, for
she did not know the peer. "I wonder why he has come! It can't be that
he wishes to be a client."

Mrs. Borradaile was greatly impressed by the rank of the visitor,
and during the quarter of an hour the "beauty specialist" was absent
from the room she thought of nothing else except the exclusiveness of
her visiting-list. Evidently the woman's oft-repeated claim to be in
society was true.

Mrs. Borradaile knew nothing of Lord Ranelagh's reputation. He was an
idler of doubtful habits, who, with advancing years, could not lose the
delusion that he was a lady-killer. He spent his time running after
women, and his call on Madame Rachel was simply inspired by curiosity.
He did not know the woman, but he wanted to hear something of her
wonderful method, rightly guessing that he would not be repulsed on
account of his social position.

Madame Rachel received him with flattering cordiality, and invited him
to come again. The peer accepted the invitation, and in that moment the
"beauty specialist," who knew how to take advantage of an opportunity,
evolved quite a brilliant scheme for the discomfiture of the widow who
was waiting her return.

Affecting enthusiasm and surprise, she sank into the chair beside Mrs.
Borradaile, looked at her meaningly, seized her hand, and pressed it
between her own.

"I congratulate you, my dear," she whispered, to Mrs. Borradaile's
unfeigned amazement. "You have achieved a wonderful conquest."

"I--I don't understand," Mrs. Borradaile stammered, thinking that
Madame Rachel had gone mad.

"Lord Ranelagh!" she replied, with another pressure of her hot, fat
hands. "He really came to see you. He's been following you to my
establishment every day, and he called just now to inquire about you."
She giggled, and her large black eyes twinkled. "Lord Ranelagh is the
wealthiest bachelor peer in England," she whispered. "I congratulate
you, Mrs. Borradaile, for when the treatment is finished, and you have
satisfied his lordship's standard of beauty, he will make you Lady
Ranelagh. He told me so in confidence, and you must never let a soul
know that I've imparted the secret to you. What a great future is

From that moment Mrs. Borradaile was Madame Rachel's body and soul. The
foolish woman actually agreed to pay three thousand pounds to be made
beautiful, and she paid six hundred pounds on account. She was too vain
to entertain the slightest doubts as to Madame Rachel's truthfulness,
and when she was introduced to Lord Ranelagh at her own request, and
a few commonplace remarks passed between them, she was absolutely
convinced that the peer had fallen in love with her, and that when the
"beauty specialist" had finished with her she would become the "Right
Hon. Lady Ranelagh."

It was a very remarkable "courtship," and it is sometimes difficult
to believe, judging by her part in it, that Mrs. Borradaile was quite
sane, although later she recovered sufficiently to start the criminal
proceedings that brought the "beauty shop" to an end. But during the
period when she was daily undergoing baths and using up a large amount
of cosmetics she swallowed every story the adventuress told her, and
allowed herself to be led by the nose.

No courtship being complete without love-letters, the ingenious Madame
Rachel had not the heart to deprive Mrs. Borradaile of the pleasure
of hearing from her lover. It was true that Lord Ranelagh had no
intention of marrying Mrs. Borradaile, for he was only interested in
her because he was curious to see whether the "beauty doctor" could
succeed in transforming the ugly little widow into a handsome woman.
However, Madame Rachel had her own way of producing love-letters, and
she showered them upon Mrs. Borradaile, who believed that they all came
from the peer who had fallen in love with her at first sight.

Many of the letters were published in the papers subsequently, and
created astonishment and mirth. It was never actually proved who wrote
them, because Madame Rachel always insisted upon taking the originals
from the widow, though allowing her to keep copies.

One specimen of the curious correspondence will suffice to show the
sort of stuff Mrs. Borradaile was willing to swallow. The term "granny"
applies to Madame Rachel, who bestowed this endearing term upon herself:

    "My only-dearly beloved Mary,

    "The little perfume-box and the pencil-case belonged to my
    sainted mother. She died with them in her hand. When she was
    a schoolgirl it was my father's first gift to her. Granny
    has given the watch and locket to me again. Your coronet is
    finished, my love. Granny said you had answered my last letter,
    but you have forgotten to send it. I forgot yesterday was Ash
    Wednesday. Let old granny arrange the time, as we have little
    to spare.

    "My dearest one, what is the matter with the old woman? She
    seems out of sorts. We must manage to keep her in good temper
    for our own sakes, because she has to manage all for us, and I
    should not have had the joy of your love had it not been for
    her. Darling love, Mary, my sweet one, all will be well in a
    few hours. The dispatches have arrived. I will let you know
    when I hear from you, my heart's love. Bear up, my fond one. I
    shall be at your feet--those pretty feet that I love--and you
    may kick your ugly old donkey. Two letters, naughty little pet,
    and you have not answered one.

        "With fond and devoted love,
            "Yours, until death,

All the letters, inspired, it is certain, by Madame Rachel, were in
this strain, and each one contained a warning not to offend her.

The letters the peer was alleged to have written also dropped hints
that the woman's monetary demands were to be met without hesitation,
and by way of compensation he was made to promise a fortune as well
as a title for his bride. Sometimes Lord Ranelagh's letter requested
Mrs. Borradaile to settle certain debts he owed Madame Rachel, and so
artfully interspersed were his epistles with criticisms of her that
Mrs. Borradaile never guessed that they were all forgeries, and very
likely had been dictated by "granny" herself to her daughters.

Madame Rachel's constant advice to Mrs. Borradaile was to persevere
with the treatment, and to start to collect jewellery, because Lord
Ranelagh loved diamonds and pearls. The coronet mentioned in the letter
quoted never had any existence, although the swindler was given eight
hundred pounds to pay for it. She told Mrs. Borradaile that she was
minding it for her, and the deluded woman accepted her assurance that
it was quite safe.

The beauty shop in New Bond Street became Mrs. Borradaile's second
home, because Madame Rachel insisted that she should not do anything
without consulting her. The widow was a gold mine to the adventuress.
She parted with her money readily and cheerfully. Once Madame Rachel
required two hundred guineas for a certain purpose, and, as she did not
wish to draw a cheque on her own account, she told Mrs. Borradaile that
she must purchase a carriage for her wedding, and have the Ranelagh
arms painted upon it. The simple-minded and trusting widow did as she
was told, but, of course, the carriage was never bought, Madame Rachel
utilizing the cheque for her own needs.

It was the same with her trousseau. Mrs. Borradaile chose it, and gave
Madame Rachel the money to settle with the tradespeople. Certain of the
articles, having been delivered, had to be paid for, but the creature
promptly pawned them all because they were of no use to her.

In the course of some months Mrs. Borradaile had bought and paid for
jewellery, clothes, some choice pieces of furniture, a coronet and
a carriage, and she was under the impression that Madame Rachel was
minding them all for her. That was not surprising, seeing that when the
swindler informed her that she and Lord Ranelagh were to be married by
proxy she unhesitatingly accepted that extraordinary way of becoming a
peeress. But Mrs. Borradaile was so delighted to think that some one
had fallen in love with her that she was eager to believe anything.

However, a worm will turn, and when Madame Rachel had bled Mrs.
Borradaile of nearly four thousand pounds as well as securing
promises in writing to pay as much again, the widow suddenly woke up
and consulted her solicitor. That hardheaded man of the world had
no difficulty in proving to her that she had been the victim of a
scandalous swindle, and he counselled an appeal to the law. Accordingly
Madame Rachel was arrested on a charge of having obtained money by
false pretences, and was committed for trial at the Old Bailey.

The trial was a notable one, and attracted crowds to the court. Lord
Ranelagh was given a seat on the bench, and when called as a witness he
denied having met Mrs. Borradaile, and laughed at the idea that he had
written the letters, copies of which were exhibited by the prosecution.
Counsel for the defence cross-examined severely, and Mrs. Borradaile
had a rough time at their hands, and as Madame Rachel noticed that
the case was going favourably for her she began to assume a haughty
attitude, reclining in the dock like a tragedy queen, and sniffing
scornfully whenever any damaging statement was made by a witness for
the other side.

Considering the overwhelming nature of the evidence for the prosecution
it was a remarkable feat on the part of Madame Rachel's counsel that
they should succeed in preventing the jury coming to a decision. The
twelve good men and true took five hours to argue the case amongst
themselves, and then had to announce that they were unable to agree.

Madame Rachel's smile of triumph when the trial was declared abortive
was remarkable, and when the judge ordered a new trial at the next
sessions, and assented to admitting the prisoner to bail, two sureties
at five thousand pounds each, the "beauty specialist" had no difficulty
in obtaining the necessary backing.

Her freedom, however, was destined to be short, for the second
trial--which took place on September 21-25, 1868--ended disastrously
for her.

The prosecution, represented by Mr. Sergeant Ballantine and Montague
Williams and Douglas Straight, advanced no new facts, relying upon a
repetition of the proof they had given at the first trial. But Madame
Rachel's clever array of lawyers--Digby Seymour, Q.C., headed a legal
team of four--were unable to hoodwink a jury again. On this occasion
the twelve men had no difficulty in arriving at an adverse decision,
unanimously finding the prisoner guilty after an extraordinary
summing-up by Mr. Commissioner Kerr. She was white to the lips and
shaking with fear when she stood up to receive sentence of five years'
penal servitude, and she could not leave the dock without the aid of
the wardresses. The last the packed court saw of the ugly old hag was a
deathly white face and a pair of black eyes gleaming unnaturally.

She served her time, and soon after her release, with amazing
impudence, started business again as a "beauty specialist." Undeterred
by previous experience, she sought for another victim of the Borradaile
type, and, finding one, swindled her with cynical effrontery until the
dupe turned against her. Then followed another trial for obtaining
money and jewels by false pretences, and again the sentence was five
years' penal servitude. Madame Rachel was convicted on April 11th,
1878, and she died in prison.



When a young woman deliberately embarks upon a career of crime she is
certain of a fair amount of success, provided she is pretty enough to
attract men to her side. A beauty, however black her record may be,
need never want for male assistance. If she is clever and designing
she can, as a rule, lay her plans with such discretion that if arrest
follows she is able to plead that she was merely the tool of a
designing man.

The trick has succeeded nine times out of ten. Juries naturally pity
the "weaker sex," and at the Old Bailey I have seen women let off with
a few months' imprisonment whilst their really less culpable partners
in wrongdoing have been sent to penal servitude for no other reason
than that they were of the masculine gender. Thus, it will be admitted
that the female criminal has at least one advantage over her male

But Marie Goold never was a beauty. As a young girl she was
plain-looking and her manner repelled. She made no friends, and the
passage of time did not bring any improvement in her appearance. She
was clever and resourceful, however, and when a desire to mix in
fashionable circles and to acquire riches quickly determined her to
turn criminal she relied solely on her brains and not on her face. Yet
she married three times, and on each occasion above her own position,
and from first to last she always had at least one man in tow who was
completely dominated by her and obeyed her implicitly.

Her first marriage was the result of pique on her part. There was a
youth in her native village--she was born in France--who for some
quaint reason fell in love with her. He may have admired her vitriolic
tongue and her fearlessness, but the fact remains that he proposed.
Marie Girodin refused him, but the youth did not tell his parents of
his failure, and they, in their anxiety to save him, began a campaign
of calumny against the "charmer." It was a fatal move on their part,
for Marie, just to spite them, married their son and then discarded
him, because she decided that he could be of no use to her. He was
wretched and unhappy, but so hypnotized by his wife that when she
returned to him after a long absence he was almost delirious with joy,
and promptly handed over his savings. Marie had been in Paris and
London in the meantime, but she only remained at home for three months.
Her husband died suddenly, and the widow immediately went abroad again.
It was perhaps merely a coincidence that the young man expired just
when Marie had made up her mind that she would accept the gallant
English army officer who had been courting her under the impression
that she was free.

Once more Marie ventured on the matrimonial sea. Her second marriage
was an improvement on the first, and for a while she was content to
spend money and enjoy herself. The captain's means, however, would not
stand the strain, and Marie left for a Continental tour by herself. She
stopped for a couple of days at Nice and then departed; and when she
had gone two thousand pounds' worth of jewellery disappeared with her.
There was no proof of her guilt, and she was not molested, but Marie's
poverty ceased abruptly, and for a few months she was able to indulge

Then the captain died, for Marie had, curiously enough, grown very
tired of him too. His ideas of honour and honesty had disturbed her.
She knew that he sternly disapproved of theft and forgery, and to
obtaining money by false pretences--one of her little hobbies--the
captain was fanatically opposed. Therefore, his death came as a welcome
release to her. Black suited her, and if money was scarce she had a
collection of jewellery which was her precaution against a "rainy day."

She was now nearer thirty than twenty, and it required all the art of
which she was capable to make herself presentable. Her face was thin
and marked, her eyes were black and repellent, and her skin sallow.
People shrank from her until she began to talk, for then her rippling
voice poured forth stories of adventures in which names of famous men
and women in France and Great Britain appeared with her own.

Strangers were impressed by her. She never asserted that she was on
intimate terms with Presidents and Cabinet Ministers, but she inferred
it, and the credulous crowded round her. Once she got them interested
she held them. She was clever enough to be able to do that.

But talking did not produce money, and Marie, who owed thousands, began
to feel a draught. She did not ask for loans. Such a procedure would
be tantamount to suicide, but she resorted to trickery to replenish
her purse. Thus she flattered and coaxed an English lady into giving
her the position of secretary-companion. Marie protested that she only
wanted companionship herself, and that she would not accept a salary,
as she had plenty of money lying at her bankers. The English woman,
captivated by her chatter, agreed, and a few weeks later was lamenting
the loss of six hundred pounds which had "gone astray" while she and
her "companion-secretary" were travelling to San Sebastian.

The day after the disaster Marie told her that she had been summoned
to Paris to consult her lawyers about some property left to her by
her husband. She parted from her employer with tears in her eyes, but
she did not go to the French capital. She fixed upon Marseilles, and,
taking up her headquarters in the leading hotel there, had a riotous
time on the money she had stolen from the English lady.

The six hundred pounds and Marie were soon separated, and once more she
was penniless. She still had her jewellery, but she was loath to sell
it, and in desperation she set on foot various swindles. They all came
to nothing, and at last, feeling that the police were watching her,
she became panic-stricken, and fled to London. They could not harm her
there, as she was, by virtue of her second marriage, a British subject.

In London she was friendless, while hotel managers were hard-hearted
and would allow no credit. Poor Marie was compelled to work, and,
of course, she hated the prospect, but necessity compelled her to
dispose of her jewellery, and with the money to start a dressmaker's
establishment. She found a coy-looking shop in an unobtrusive street in
the West End of London, and with a small and select stock began her new

The woman, a criminal to the finger-tips, utterly unscrupulous and
merciless, had no intention of settling down to the drudgery of a
dressmaker's life. She regarded her establishment as a spider must
regard his web. Money was not to be earned legitimately, but by
trickery. Money and more money was all Marie thought of, and, with the
aid of her crafty tongue, she extracted various sums from trusting and
sympathetic clients.

She could ingratiate herself into the confidences of middle-aged
English ladies who were losing their attractions by grossly flattering
them, and, because she was no rival so far as looks were concerned,
they became friends of hers rather than clients.

Her first exploit in London was a great success. A well-to-do woman
of fifty, who had been fascinated by "Madame's" promise to keep her
young, called to see her, and found the dressmaker in tears. The usual
question ensued, and then Marie whispered that the broker's men were in
the next room, and that she was ruined. The sympathetic customer paid
the amount which Marie said was owing, and as the whole story was a lie
the "dressmaker" was sixty pounds to the good.

Hitherto Marie's criminal activities had centred on obtaining money by
means of fraud. Her first two husbands may have died under suspicious
circumstances, but it was only suspicion after all, and it was not
until she was a British subject and a resident in the West End of
London that she soared to greater criminal heights.

The widow began to think of marrying again. A husband would be
decidedly useful in London. The English were inclined to regard her
with suspicion because she had no man attached to her, and Marie
meant to abandon the dressmaking business because the comparatively
small sums which she obtained from confiding customers were of little
use to her. She wanted thousands now, for she had become a confirmed
gambler, and the luck as a rule went against her. She therefore, as a
preliminary, commenced a campaign to find a husband, and she had not to
wait long for success.

It was said at the time of the final catastrophe that Marie first met
Vere Goold when the latter called to pay an account for a relative, but
there was no confirmation of this, and there is reason to believe that
she made his acquaintance at a restaurant in the West End.

Vere Goold was an Irishman of good family, who devoted his time to
absorbing intoxicating liquors. A man of education and some ability,
drink and drugs had robbed him of all his will power. He had been
sent to London by friends and relations who were anxious for him to
reform, and they made him a small allowance, hoping that he would find
it impossible to live on it, and would, therefore, seek some form of

Goold, however, was content to take the part of the shabby genteel
"loafer," and for some years he was well known in most of the
taprooms in the West End. When he was in funds he was in the habit of
entertaining acquaintances in one of the cheap Soho restaurants, but
these rare appearances in the rôle of host were invariably marked by
ejection from the particular restaurant. Now and then he paid a small
fine at Marlborough Street for being "drunk and disorderly," but on
the whole Vere Goold had only one enemy, and that was himself. He
was otherwise quite inoffensive until he came into the life of the

The moment she decided to become Vere Goold's wife there was no way of
escape for him. The woman was a human snake, and he was the frightened,
timid rabbit. She dosed him with liquor and did all the thinking for
him. When she led him to the nearest register office he plaintively
said "Yes" to everything, and it took his drink-soddened mind some
hours to realize that he was a married man, the husband of Marie, the
woman with the evil face and the tongue of honey.

Marie Goold was delighted with her third husband. She compiled a list
of his relatives, most of them of good social position, and, what was
more important, she discovered there was a baronetcy in the family, and
that if only certain persons died her husband would succeed to it and
she would become Lady Goold! Ambition and vanity caused her to make her
husband assume the baronetcy. By now the dressmaking business had been
disposed of, and the married couple had about a hundred pounds between
them. Marie voted for a protracted honeymoon on the Continent, and, to
lend distinction to their adventures, it was as Sir Vere and Lady Goold
that they left London for Paris, "her ladyship" plentifully stocked
with clothes which she had obtained from the wholesale houses without
troubling to pay for them.

But when their funds vanished they experienced many vicissitudes of
fortune, and Vere Goold, who waited on his wife like a slave, came in
for much abuse. He would listen meekly to her upbraidings, and then
wander forth, hoping to meet an acquaintance on the boulevards whom he
might "tap" for a few francs. They were turned out of several hotels
and boarding-houses. Once Goold borrowed a little money and gave it
to Marie. She promptly took a room at an hotel, and as the manager
insisted upon cash down, even for their meals, she let her husband go
without food, whilst she enjoyed the excellent cuisine of the hotel.

They experienced occasional bursts of sunshine when Marie succeeded in
extracting loans from confiding hotel acquaintances, but the inevitable
sequel to these minor triumphs was flight to escape prosecution for
fraud. The helpless husband followed her about like a tame dog, and
when she told him that she had found a way out of all their troubles he
believed her, and declared his acquiescence in everything she said and

I have mentioned that Marie Goold was a gambler, and in the darkest
hour she remembered Monte Carlo. She was positive that she knew the way
to break the bank. Given a little capital, she was confident that she
would make them both rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

The adventuress craved for big money now. For years she had lived by
her wits, and the result was misery, mental and physical. She had
swindled scores of acquaintances, and it was hardly safe for her to
appear in London, Paris and other cities. She knew that the police
of several countries had her name on their books, and for all her
cleverness she had nothing to show except a weak-minded drunkard of a
husband and her own ill-nourished condition. But she felt certain that
Monte Carlo would prove their salvation. It was her last hope. She had
expended all other sources of income, and now everything would depend
on her cleverness as a gambler and the system she had invented.

For ten days they were held up in Paris owing to lack of funds, but
Vere Goold wrote pitiful letters to friends in England, and a few of
them responded, while Marie, making the most of her assumed title of
"Lady Goold," obtained on approval a diamond ring from a jeweller. She
was to have it on approval for twenty-four hours, and then, if she
decided to keep it, was to pay cash down. But before the twenty-four
hours elapsed the ring was pawned and she and the "baronet" were in the
express for the Riviera, exulting over the good time coming. She had
worked out an infallible system with which she could smash the bank,
and henceforth they were--so she assured him--to have no difficulty in
living up to their "baronetcy."

Marie was so anxious to keep as much of her small store of money as
possible for the tables in the Casino that she became economically
minded, and, instead of going to an hotel, took apartments in a Villa.
She sent for her niece to act as a sort of housekeeper, because she
would have to spend her days in the gaming-rooms. The niece, who was
only twenty-four, was delighted to accept the invitation. She had not
experienced much pleasure in her life, and the prospect of a season at
Monte Carlo enchanted her.

It is not difficult to guess Marie Goold's experiences as a would-be
breaker of the bank at Monte Carlo. The "infallible system," which had
worked out so well on paper, proved a delusion and a snare, and Marie
returned from the Casino in a towering rage with everybody. For hours
her husband had patiently waited outside the Casino to accompany her
home. He was not allowed to enter by his strong-minded wife, who had
ordered him to hang about outside until she was tired of playing. Vere
Goold would have willingly allowed her to use him as a door mat, and he
was quite content to take her to the Casino and remain in the grounds
until she was ready for him. He had a vague idea that his clever wife
would overcome all difficulties, for he believed her to be a genius.

Four visits to the Casino resulted in Marie being penniless again.
The position was desperate. They had obtained the rooms at the Villa
Menesimy without the formality of rent in advance or references, the
landlord having been overwhelmed by the honour of "Sir Vere and Lady
Goold's" acquaintance. Nevertheless, at the end of the month he would
demand what was owing, and the sum was so small that inability to pay
it would arouse his suspicions, and then they would have to fly from
Monte Carlo, and Marie would be unable to test her system further. But
she refused to admit that her system was faulty. Her reverses she put
down to sheer bad luck.

Marie had to search Monte Carlo for a likely victim to provide funds.
In this way precious hours were wasted. She told her husband that she
ought to be at the Casino coining money instead of lunching as cheaply
as possible in expensive hotels and restaurants, but it was necessary
for the vulture to go after her prey, and the loss of time could not be

She achieved her object with characteristic cunning. One afternoon she
"accidentally" stumbled against a lady in the hall of an hotel, and
instantly apologized very humbly. From apology to general conversation
was an easy step, and the stranger was fascinated by Marie's ready
tongue. When they had made their names known to one another, "Lady
Goold" begged to be allowed to present her husband "Sir Vere," to
Madame Levin, and the latter, who was the widow of a wealthy Stockholm
merchant, gladly accorded permission. She had social ambitions, and she
welcomed "Sir Vere and Lady Goold" with more than ordinary cordiality.
Marie, fashionably dressed and with her sallow cheeks lightened by a
skilful use of powder, deferred in the most alluring manner to the rich
widow. That she was wealthy was obvious from her display of jewellery,
for Madame Levin carried thousands of pounds worth with her and frankly
invited the admiration of strangers.

Marie Goold thought that Madame Levin would prove a source of income,
and she was, therefore, surprised and exasperated when she discovered
that the lady was close-fisted. Instead of obtaining hundreds it took
Marie a fortnight to borrow forty pounds from her rich friend, and
in return for that small loan she had to bow and scrape to her, and
agree with everything she said. In fact, the clever adventuress had to
subordinate her own opinions to the clumsily-expressed and frequently
irritating statements to which the widow gave vent.

Her experiences leading up to the borrowing of that forty pounds should
have convinced her that Madame Levin would prove a worrying creditor.
The loan eventually passed into the keeping of the owner of the Casino,
and Marie once again had to try and "raise the wind."

It maddened her to think that Monte Carlo was crowded with wealthy
persons of both sexes on whom she was unable to practise any of her
money-raising tricks, simply because they would not have anything to do
with her. "Sir Vere and Lady Goold" were for some unexplained reason at
a discount, and squabbles and hysteria were of frequent occurrence at
the Villa Menesimy when Marie came back from the gaming-tables without
a sou.

Then Madame Levin began to press for repayment, and when her debtor
pleaded temporary embarrassment owing to non-receipt of a large
remittance from her husband's agent in London she showed her teeth.
Clearly Madame Levin regarded forty pounds as a very large sum, and
she pestered "Lady Goold" every time they met. The adventuress was at
her wit's end. She had to look pleasant and chat amiably with the rich
widow, and ignore her insults, and yet she longed to get her white
hands round the throat of her persecutor. She hated the Stockholm widow
with a ferocity that was akin to madness, for Madame Levin was angrily
demanding payment of the debt while Marie was actually in want of money
to buy the necessaries of life.

The two women had a violent quarrel, and Marie must have unconsciously
revealed something of her real self, for Madame Levin became afraid of
her. Perhaps she saw murder in the evil eyes of the adventuress. She
had been told already that Marie Goold was not entitled to the prefix
"Lady," and from a trustworthy source she had ascertained that they
were a couple of needy adventurers with a very shady and shadowy past.

After that Madame Levin seldom saw her, though she continued to write
angry letters asking for the return of her money. Marie Goold ignored
these appeals and threats. She was too absorbed in her own immediate
difficulties now. Even poor Vere Goold, that helpless incompetent, was
feeling the strain. For some days he was actually obliged to keep sober
owing to the shortage of ready money.

Every day made matters worse. The Casino was not mentioned, and the
Goolds were living in dire poverty, chained to the Villa Menesimy by
their penniless condition. Then it was that the wolfish woman thought
out the second great plan which she declared could save them.

She did not condescend to take her husband into her fullest confidence,
but she gave him an outline of her latest plans. He agreed, of course.
It was too late now for this weak-minded sot to try and emancipate his
soul from the thraldom of his domineering wife, and as usual he was
content to leave everything to her.

The first move was to get Marie's niece to spend a couple of days
away from the apartments in the Villa Menesimy. This was accomplished
easily. Then Marie called on Madame Levin with a smile and an apology,
and asked her to come to the Villa Menesimy on the following Sunday to
have tea with herself and her husband, and receive the forty pounds to
which she was entitled.

Madame Levin hesitated. She disliked Vere Goold, the victim of drink
and drugs, and she was afraid of Mrs. Goold, who was obviously a person
who would stick at nothing. But when Marie emphasized her willingness
to settle her debt the widow forgot her fears. She had arranged to
leave Monte Carlo within a few days, and she was anxious to recover her
forty pounds before she took her departure.

The Sunday came, and at half-past four Madame Levin entered the
apartments the Goolds occupied at the Villa Menesimy. She was never
seen alive again, for Marie Goold in inviting her to tea did so to take
her life. Vere Goold, his faculties paralysed by drugs, opened the door
to Madame Levin, and presently Marie emerged from the kitchen to greet
her and to explain laughingly that her niece had been called away,
and that she was compelled to prepare the tea herself. She placed a
chair for her visitor, and returned to the kitchen, whilst Vere Goold,
his whole body trembling, sat facing Madame Levin, trying to make

The widow forgot her doubts and fears, and chatted brightly to the
accompaniment of the pleasant jingle of tea-things from the kitchen.
Goold mumbled answers to her remarks, but the widow thought that his
nervousness and distracted condition were due to drink and drugs, and
she did her best to put him at his ease.

The noise in the kitchen ceased abruptly, but Madame Levin did not turn
her head. She talked on of her home in Stockholm and of her future
plans, and her voice was the only one heard as Marie Goold crept from
the kitchen with a formidable-looking poker in her right hand. Madame
Levin's back was towards the kitchen door, and she never heard the
footfalls of her murderess.

Vere Goold sprang to his feet as the poker was raised by his wife and
brought down with terrific force upon the head of the unfortunate
visitor. She collapsed without a sound, and then Marie finished her off
with a knife, her husband looking on dazed and stupefied.

She roused him with an oath, and, realizing that they were both in
danger, he worked as she commanded. They had a big trunk in the
bedroom, and this was hauled out. A large carpet-bag was found which
could hold the head and legs of the murdered woman, and the rest of the
corpse was packed in the trunk.

Late that night the niece returned, and she noticed at once that the
carpet and curtains of the sitting-room were splashed with blood, but
her aunt anticipated questions by informing her that her uncle had had
a fit, during which he had vomited blood.

The next evening--the murder took place on Sunday, August 4, 1907--the
guilty couple prepared for flight. They could not leave the trunk
and the carpet-bag behind them, and they took both with them, Goold
carrying the latter. The trunk was conveyed in a cab to the railway
station, and tickets taken for Marseilles.

They arrived at their destination in the early hours of Tuesday
morning, and Goold immediately ordered the trunk to be labelled
"Charing Cross, London," and despatched there. Then with his wife he
went to an hotel for rest and refreshment.

It was now the duty of the goods clerk at Marseilles Station to attend
to the trunk, but when he came near it he was surprised by a fearful
odour. Closer examination proved that blood was oozing from beneath
the lid. Pons--that was the clerk's name--went at once to the hotel
and saw the Goolds. They explained that the trunk was filled with
poultry, hence the blood, but the railway official was not satisfied,
and he called at a police station, where the inspector instructed him
to inform the Goolds that the trunk would not be allowed to leave
Marseilles until it had been opened and the contents examined in their

Pons's first visit to the hotel had aroused doubts in Marie's mind,
and she told her husband to get ready to steal out of Marseilles. He
quickly obeyed, and they were actually emerging from the hotel when
the goods clerk arrived for the second time. He conveyed to them the
decision of the police, and Marie, conscious that they were in a tight
corner, staked her life on bluff.

"Very well," she said haughtily, "we will take a cab and drive to the
station, and when you have opened the trunk you can apologize for
having been so impertinent as to doubt my word." The cab was called,
and Marie and her husband with the large carpet-bag got in, but the
woman's heart must have sunk when Pons entered after them, as though
they were under arrest already.

The cab rattled along, and no one spoke until Mrs. Goold clutched the
clerk's arm and whispered to him that she would be willing to pay ten
thousand francs if he would let them go. Pons sat immovable. He was not
to be bribed, and the attempt to do so proved that his suspicions were

The examination of the contents of the trunk and carpet-bag indicated
that a brutal murder had been committed, and before the two prisoners
had time to confess the police identified the victim, and unravelled
the whole story. Marie and her husband were accordingly sent back to
Monte Carlo to stand their trial.

The woman was the chief figure in Court, her husband always presenting
a shivering, weak-kneed appearance in the dock. Marie Goold was clearly
the person who had murdered Madame Levin, and the sentence in her case
was death. Her husband was consigned to penal servitude for life.

After a sensational trial they were removed to the French prison at
Cayenne, and there in July, 1908, Marie Goold died of typhoid fever.
Fourteen months later Vere Goold, driven insane by remorse and the
deprivation of drink and drugs, committed suicide.

The fate of the niece was pathetic. She was so upset by her association
with the murderers that despite every attention she faded away, dying
before she attained her twenty-seventh birthday.



The European War produced many German criminals, but the most
resourceful of them all was Martha Kupfer, a middle-aged widow with
a plausible manner and a pretty daughter, whose only capital was a
profound knowledge of the weaknesses of her compatriots, out of which
she made over £200,000 before she was arrested. She obtained this
fortune in less than a couple of years, and there is every reason to
believe that had she not grown careless she would never have been

Anybody who is conversant with the German people must be aware that
they worship three gods--Food, Money and Decorations. Every Hun
before the war would have sold his soul for a medal, and although the
ex-Kaiser cheapened the Iron Cross and similar gew-gaws by his lavish
and ridiculous bestowal of them, they are still prized in Prussia.

When the Allies proclaimed a blockade of Germany, they incidentally
turned the thoughts of all true Huns to food, not only because they are
the heaviest, grossest and coarsest eaters in Europe, but because the
rising prices clearly indicated an easy way to wealth for speculators.
Money and food, therefore, were supreme, and decorations were
temporarily forgotten.

An elderly Bavarian four years ago, summed up the situation neatly:
"There are two things a German cannot escape--Death and the Iron
Cross." He got six months in gaol for his humour.

Frau Kupfer, a stoutish little woman with a smiling face and large
blue eyes, was one of the many who pondered over the situation. She
was poor, and struggling hard to make both ends meet, and she listened
with envy and attention to the various stories her neighbours told of
the fortunes dealers in food were accumulating. They all wished they
had the opportunity to share in their profits, and they spoke wistfully
of money invested in banks and insurance companies which were paying
miserably small dividends whilst corn dealers and grocers were turning
their capital over in less than a month!

As the woman watched the bloated faces grow red and the dull eyes
light up with greed, she realized that if only she could persuade them
to believe that she had the power to buy and import provisions on
wholesale lines and retail them at exorbitant prices to the community
they would gladly entrust her with their savings, and she and her
daughter would have a good time and never want again.

This was in the early part of 1915, when Martha Kupfer was living in a
poverty-stricken flat in Leipzig. She thought the matter over for some
days, and at last decided to enter upon a swindling career. She was
certain that she had found a royal road to riches, and believing that
she would do better in the metropolis she made preparations to live in

But she had first to raise at least a hundred pounds to pay her
expenses. It would not do to begin without capital, for if she looked
poor she would not be able to influence the well-to-do, and she had,
therefore, to try her hand in her native town. Frau Kupfer's first
exploit was characteristic. She went to the widow of a doctor whom
she knew to have a considerable sum in the bank, and she told her a
wonderful story of how Wertheim, the great Berlin merchant, had sent
for her to act as buyer for his grocery department because she had
special facilities for getting the Danish farmers to sell cheaply to
her. She added that she was to have half the profits, and she finally
persuaded the old lady to part with five hundred pounds by promising
that every month she would receive from her interest amounting to fifty
pounds! This was at the rate of 120 per cent per annum! The doctor's
widow was too good a German to be able to resist the temptation. She
handed over the money, and Frau Kupfer and her daughter went to Berlin
to start the great campaign.

Thanks to the capital provided by the credulous widow, Frau Kupfer
was in a position to rent an expensive flat close to the one-time
palatial building known as the British Embassy. Then she did a little
shopping, and the outcome of this was that her neighbours--and Germans
are renowned for their curiosity--began to babble excitedly about the
fashionably-dressed widow and her daughter, who were obviously persons
of great wealth.

Frau Kupfer and Gertrude wore the latest gowns, and their hats were
wonderful. Every morning a beautifully-appointed motor-car took them
for drives, and the two servants--being patriotic, she restricted
herself to a couple--exhibited to their friends, when their mistress
was out, cards bearing the names of some of the greatest personages in
Berlin. Princesses, countesses, generals, admirals, and hosts of the
nobility, learned professors, and several millionaire business men and
their wives appeared to be on calling terms with the new-comers.

Meanwhile, Frau Kupfer and Gertrude went their own way, seeking no
acquaintances, but always charming and good-tempered and charitable.

The fact was that Frau Kupfer knew that to attract people one must
appear not to want them. They must come to the gilded parlour of
their own accord, but until she was quite ready to swindle them
she must pretend not to be anxious to extend her "large circle of
acquaintances." It seems unnecessary to add that the cards which so
impressed the servants were fakes.

Curiously enough, it was a doctor who started the ball rolling in
Berlin. About this time the Berlin newspapers were full of fictitious
stories of German victories on land and sea. Twice already it had been
reported that Zeppelins had wiped London out of existence, and the
daily boast of the papers was that Great Britain had ceased to rule the
waves, her ships having been destroyed by the gallant German Navy.

But while the Huns believed anything they wished to believe these
flattering reports did not make bread and meat more plentiful, and
the food difficulties were increasing instead of diminishing. Only a
few persons wondered how it was that London could have been rebuilt
between the first and second Zeppelin raids. The majority accepted
each lie with delightful simplicity. But only the rich experienced
no privations, and Frau Kupfer and pretty Fraulein Gertrude were
apparently very well off, for they, at any rate, did not want for the
necessaries or the luxuries of life.

One morning, however, Frau Kupfer pretended that she had a headache,
and she summoned by telephone a Dr. Richter, a physician who has one of
the largest and most fashionable practices in Berlin. Now the doctor,
being a near neighbour of the Kupfers, had heard the rumours of their
wealth, and he obeyed the summons with alacrity. He found Frau Kupfer
charming and amiable, apologizing a dozen times for giving him so much
trouble, and murmuring that she was suffering from overwork.

The doctor was sympathetic, and when Gertrude brought him some
refreshment he was only too eager to linger over it as his patient
chattered. He was curious to discover the secret of her wealth, and as
she talked volubly Frau Kupfer "unconsciously" gave him the desired

"My agents in Denmark," she said, with a wan smile, "are angry with me
because I can't take all the food they have bought on my account. You
see, _Herr Doctor_, I lived for many years in Denmark, and when the war
broke out and those terrible English began their blockade it occurred
to me that I could help my beloved country by importing food from
Denmark, especially as I have unique facilities, owing to the largest
farmers being related to me. I didn't mean to make money, but I find
that the shops in Berlin are so anxious to buy that they will pay any
price. I can turn my capital over ten times a month.

"It seems that there are enormous profits waiting to be picked up, but
I haven't the necessary capital. I am quite content, but my agents
think I am foolish not to raise another hundred thousand pounds and
make as much a month by using it. You have no idea the money that can
be coined, but, of course, one must know how to work it." She laid a
hand on the doctor's arm and looked at him appealingly. "I have spoken
candidly, because I know I can trust you, _Herr Doctor_," she added,
in a musical undertone. "You won't tell your friends, will you? I am
only a widow, and I don't want to be bothered. I am quite content with
the present profits, they will enable me to complete my darling child's
education and give her a large dowry when she marries."

The doctor hastened to assure her that her secret was safe with him.
Then he took his departure, and it happened that his next patient
was Countess von Hohn, the wife of General Count von Hohn, an
aide-de-camp to the Kaiser, and a first cousin of Prince von Bülow,
the ex-Chancellor. To her the doctor revealed the great secret,
knowing that the countess loved money better than life itself. As he
anticipated he fired her imagination, and she instantly commanded him
to bring about a meeting between herself and the wonderful Frau Kupfer.

"I have twenty thousand pounds lying idle at my banker's," she said,
and in her excitement she forgot that she was ill, and began to walk up
and down the apartment. "Frau Kupfer, you say, can turn it into forty
thousand within three months? I must see her at once. _Herr Doctor_,
send your wife to call on her, and after that, when she's at your
house, you can ring me up on the telephone, and I will hasten round. If
this war goes on against Germany, it behoves us to have something to
fall back upon. Everybody knows that dealers in provisions are amassing
fortunes. Why shouldn't I have some of the profits too?"

Of course there was no difficulty in effecting an introduction to
Frau Kupfer. The two met at Dr. Richter's house at afternoon tea, and
Countess von Hohn made herself very charming to the widow, whose dress
and jewellery must have cost a small fortune. Indeed, they became so
cordial that, although this was their first meeting, the countess
willingly accepted an invitation to call at Frau Kupfer's flat the
following afternoon.

When she arrived she was shown into the magnificently furnished
drawing-room, and there she was purposely left alone for a few minutes.
During that time the inquisitive, money-mad woman searched the room for
signs of wealth. There were many to be found.

On the mantelpiece was a letter from the manager of the Deutsche Bank
acknowledging a deposit of sixty thousand pounds; on a costly desk was
a letter from another bank informing Frau Kupfer that their Copenhagen
correspondents had advised them to place to her credit one hundred
and eleven pounds. Other papers and letters were in the same strain,
and when the countess had mastered their contents she was positively
trembling with anxiety to get a finger in the financial pie belonging
to her newly-made friend.

It was against all etiquette for the countess to be left unattended in
the drawing-room, but when Frau Kupfer, clothed in a glorious tea-gown,
fluttered in and began to apologize most profusely and extravagantly
for her neglect and rudeness, the countess, who would in any other
circumstances have been furious, hastened to reassure her.

"These are war-times, Frau Kupfer," she said, with a smile, "and we can
afford to dispense with etiquette. I assure you I have not been sorry
for the opportunity to inspect your beautiful furniture and pictures."

Martha Kupfer smiled in acknowledgment, but she knew what her visitor
had been doing. One glance had told her that the letters on the table
and the mantelpiece had been touched. They were not in the same
position that she had left them in. Her little ruse had succeeded, for
she had purposely baited the room with these letters and given the
countess plenty of time to read them.

Tea was served, and a short time was spent in conversation, in which
Gertrude Kupfer discreetly joined, but at the right moment she made an
excuse and went out.

The countess was relieved. She had been unable to touch any of the
expensive cakes owing to her anxiety to get to business. The moment
Gertrude had gone she mentioned the subject uppermost in her mind.

"My dear Frau Kupfer," she said, in her most winning manner, "I want
you to promise not to be angry with me if I ask you to let me invest
twenty thousand pounds in your little provision enterprise."

Frau Kupfer started and looked embarrassed.

"I feel as if we had known one another for years; you can trust me,"
she added, appealingly.

But the swindler did not speak, and the countess proceeded:

"I am sure you need capital. Why not let me help?"

Suddenly Frau Kupfer looked up at her.

"You are right, countess," she said, with a charming blush. "It would
be selfish of me to deny my friends a share of the profits. I will take
your money, and you shall have ten per cent on it every month. I am
making that and more.

"Do you know that I can import bacon, for which the people of Berlin
pay eight shillings a pound for less than a shilling a pound? The
profits on flour are bigger, and I can get a hundred per cent on soap
and candles, and practically everything of which the English are
trying to deprive us. I have a contract to supply three palaces of the
Kaiser's with provisions for a year. You see, I am protected in high
quarters. Of course, His Majesty is paying the highest price for the
very best, and on that contract alone I shall make thirty shillings
profit on every pound I spend. I liked you countess, from the moment
we met. You shall have a share. It is a pity you have not more money
saved, because that would mean a bigger return. However, you can
reinvest your dividends."

Within forty-eight hours the twenty thousand pounds which the Countess
von Hohn had received by the sale of her British and French securities
was in the hands of Frau Kupfer.

I should mention that six weeks before the war started the German
Foreign Minister notified all those who could be trusted to keep the
secret that they had better realize their investments in Great Britain,
France and Russia. As the countess' husband was one of the inner set,
he got the information early, and was able to save his own and his
wife's fortune.

This unexpected windfall delighted Frau Kupfer and Gertrude. The first
thing they did was to send fifty pounds' "interest" to the doctor's
widow at Leipzig, and the second to take a larger and better flat,
retaining their original residence, however, and using it mainly as a
hiding-place for the choicest provisions.

Frau Kupfer paid her two maids lavishly and fed them luxuriously, and
they were hers body and soul in a city where famine threatened to stalk
abroad. It was easy, therefore, to stock the flat with preserves,
bacon, ham, wines, cigars, cigarettes and soap, besides a huge amount
of clothing.

The stock was replenished from time to time, while now that their
headquarters were at one of the finest flats in Berlin, Frau Kupfer and
Gertrude were able to proceed from financial triumph to social triumph.

Countess von Hohn was promptly paid her first dividend of two thousand
pounds a month after she had invested her money, but she promptly sent
the cheque back with a request that it might be added to her capital.

Frau Kupfer must have screamed with laughter when she read this proof
of how complete was her power over her first great dupe. She was,
indeed, succeeding beyond her wildest dreams.

The widow at Leipzig also helped considerably, for she wrote to a rich
and highly placed friend in Berlin about her luck, and that friend
promptly called on Frau Kupfer, and begged to be permitted to invest
in the great food trust. She found the woman entertaining half a
dozen ladies, all of whom bore names that were household words in the
country, and when she rather pettishly complained of being bothered
she did not resent her manner, but became more supplicating than ever,
and eventually went away poorer by a thousand pounds, which she had

Frau Kupfer was now fairly launched on a career of gigantic swindling.
It was no longer necessary to pretend that she had tens of thousands of
pounds at her bankers. It was a fact. The money simply poured in upon
her every day.

All sorts and conditions of people clamoured to be allowed to join the
secret food trust. They quite understood that everything had to be
done quietly. The common people, who had no inkling of the tremendous
profits that were being made by speculators in food, must be kept in
ignorance lest they should complain, and the horrible Socialist papers
make trouble for the profiteers.

Besides, as Frau Kupfer said, they must not forget that they were
all partners in a scheme that was daily contravening the Government
regulations as to maximum prices.

Thus the times were in her favour. The war dominated everybody's
thoughts, and food was so scarce that it ceased to be a question of
prices. All were willing to pay provided they obtained the provisions,
and so with the necessity for secrecy and the blind, unquestioning
obedience and trustfulness of her clients, Frau Kupfer's position
seemed impregnable.

Six months after her arrival in Berlin Frau Kupfer launched out as a
woman of fashion and means. She went everywhere. The nobility received
her, and she was the constant companion of aristocratic dames, who gave
her and her daughter seats in their boxes at the theatre.

No one could rival them in the art of dressing. It was the talk
of fashionable Berlin that Frau Kupfer and Gertrude paid eighteen
shillings a pair for stockings, and never wore them twice, and
that they had the most expensive wardrobe in Germany. The swindler
maintained the deception by giving dinners, for which the élite
scrambled to obtain invitations. The very rarest dishes and vintages
were provided for her guests, and despite food restrictions Frau Kupfer
could entertain as though there was not a war on and the British
blockade a myth.

There might be food riots in Berlin, Leipzig, Hamburg and scores
of other places, but the friends of the swindler never wanted for
anything, and Frau Kupfer's dinners were her best protection against
exposure. She was a charming hostess, and her sympathetic interest in
the relatives of her guests who were in the trenches was enchanting.

One of her most profitable deals arose out of her pretended interest in
the son of a retired general who was introduced to her by the Countess
von Hohn. General von Demidoff, a German of Polish extraction, was
known to be a rich man. He had served for fifty years in the army, and
had spent at least half that time enriching himself at the expense of
the troops under him.

But although he must have had plenty of cash he did not succumb to Frau
Kupfer's scheme as quickly as she expected. General von Demidoff--he
won the coveted "von" in the Franco-Prussian War--was an old man, and
he was reluctant to engage in hazardous speculation, but he was greatly
pleased with Frau Kupfer and her daughter.

The arch-swindler never even hinted that he should take shares in the
secret food trust, and as he got many luxurious dinners at her expense
he was only too glad to number her amongst his acquaintances. They
often met at the theatre or at the house of a mutual friend, and it was
even rumoured that the old man was keen on the wealthy widow; but this
was only an invention. Frau Kupfer had no desire for matrimony. She
was aware that marriage would inevitably lead to the discovery of her
colossal frauds.

But when Frau Kupfer began to talk about the general's son, and to ask
permission to send him parcels of dainties, which she knew he could not
obtain for himself, he thought that a woman with such a kind heart must
be amongst the best of her sex, and although he took a month to make up
his mind he finally decided to entrust ten thousand pounds to her for
investment in her business.

When he called on her with this intention he found her reclining
gracefully on a sofa reading, in the _Lokalanzeiger_, an account of the
victory of the Crown Prince's Army at Verdun. Her eyes were shining
with enthusiasm, and she was all smiles when General von Demidoff was

For quite ten minutes she would not permit a word of business to pass
his lips. He had to have a drink first--she had his favourite beverage
ready in a few seconds--and then there was a variety of sandwiches for
his delectation. The old soldier was always ready to eat, and he was
feeling particularly pleased with himself, when he suddenly told his
hostess that he wished to hand her ten thousand pounds for investment.

He made the announcement as though he were conferring a favour on her,
and his amazement was all the greater when with a charming smile she
coyly refused to accept his offer, explaining that she had all the
capital she required, and that the "dear general" had better leave his
money where it was.

He went away profoundly puzzled, little realizing that Frau Kupfer
was actually gasping for money. She had run through tens of thousands
of pounds. Certain wealthy investors had, much to her disappointment,
decided not to reinvest their dividends, and had kept her cheques.
Tradespeople, hit by the defalcations of other customers, had insisted
upon being paid, and as her weekly expenses were never less than two
hundred pounds it had not taken her long to get through a fortune.

Yet with admirable fortitude and a wonderful discernment of human
nature, she had refused General von Demidoff's offer, although she was
in grave financial and personal danger. But she knew her man. She was
aware that he would tell the story to all his friends--and the general
mixed only in the very best society--and, better than that, she was
willing to stake her life, as she had done her liberty, that within a
few days he would be back again with twenty thousand pounds at least,
which he would literally thrust into her hands, and insist upon her

I have given this story in detail because it is typical of the methods
of Germany's greatest war swindler. It is taken from the account of the
preliminary examination before the judge in Berlin, who at first would
scarcely be brought to believe that the general had actually returned
to Frau Kupfer's flat, and had compelled her to accept twenty-five
thousand pounds for investment in her food trust.

The money came as a godsend, and once more the precious pair of
swindlers were rejoicing. Of course, the mother was the brains of the
movement. Gertrude Kupfer had nothing to do except to look pretty and
wear the most costly clothes.

There were very few young men worth attracting to the flat for her
mother to rob, though now and then she was able to relieve monetary
pressure by bringing along a wounded officer of family and position who
could be tempted to invest a few hundred pounds. Frau Kupfer, however,
thought only in thousands, even if she was willing to take any money,
however small in amount.

For over eighteen months the merry game continued. The great war
increased in intenseness, and the world was topsy-turvy, but Frau
Kupfer and Gertrude indulged in every extravagant pleasure, and
swindled high and low alike. Some one had to pay for those champagne
dinners, and for the clothes they wore. Gertrude Kupfer alone averaged
fifty pounds a week on her wardrobe.

Frau Kupfer gave many lavish entertainments to wounded soldiers.
Once she took the whole seating capacity of a theatre and filled the
building with soldiers, and while mother and daughter were at the
zenith of success they must have given tea-parties to thousands of

The money dribbled through their fingers like water, and fresh dupes
had to be found almost daily to pay the interest due to the original
investors. The smallest interest promised had been one hundred per cent
per annum, and for many months the widow managed to remit the amount
owing. It was a wonderful feat considering the circumstances, but she
stopped at nothing, and she even swindled the maidservants out of their

One of her brightest ideas was to patronize the small tradespeople, and
thus bring them under her influence. In due course they succumbed, and
sums from ten to two hundred pounds were obtained from them.

Nothing worried Germany's "Madame Humbert." Berlin was thronged
with wounded; the papers were beginning to give hints of defeats;
and it was admitted that a complete victory for the Fatherland was
out of the question--but Frau Kupfer was unperturbed. She was merry
and light-hearted, and she lived so well that her naturally plump
face and stout figure expanded, and she was a living testimony to
the ineffectiveness of the British blockade. Her circle of friends
continued to grow. Her dinner-parties were all the more appreciated.
She was one of the most sought after persons in Berlin society, and
in the hour of her triumph she never thought of the dark, underground
dungeons that are so numerous in Germany. It seemed as though she could
never know defeat, no matter what happened to her country.

Christmas Day, 1916, found Berlin a city of gloom, save for the
gorgeous flat where Frau Kupfer was entertaining a score of high-born
society dames and a few elderly men to a sumptuous repast. It proved to
be the last of a long series, for she was taken ill after the dinner,
and for the next three weeks was too ill to leave her room, and in
those three weeks the Berlin police discovered all about the great
swindle. An accident led to the catastrophe.

I have mentioned that Frau Kupfer had two flats, and that she used
the smaller one as a storing place for provisions for her own use. One
evening a vigilant-eyed policeman, who was feeling hungry, noticed
that several large parcels were being delivered at a certain flat near
the Wilhelmstrasse. He had been warned to keep a look-out for food
hoarders, and he came to the conclusion that this was an attempt to
evade the regulations. He therefore forced his way past the carters
into the flat, and, having ordered the terrified maid to clear out,
examined the place for himself. It did not take him long to discover
enough provisions to stock a grocer's shop. There were scores of hams,
thousands of preserves neatly stacked against the walls, boxes of
cigars, cigarettes, cases of wine, and plenty of flour, sugar, sweets,
etc. I fancy the policeman indulged in a good meal before he reported
to Police President von Jagow what he had found.

That night Frau Kupfer and her daughter were arrested on a charge of
contravening the food regulations, and with their arrest the bubble
burst. The "investors," first uneasy, grew alarmed, and began to talk.
A few days later they all knew that they had been swindled.

Inside two years Frau Kupfer had robbed them of two hundred thousand
pounds, all of which she had managed to dissipate, leaving nothing for
them. The Food Trust had had no existence save in her imagination.
Mother and daughter are now in damp cells in the Moabit Prison, and
when Frau Kupfer leaves that ghastly prison house she will be in her
coffin, for in Germany swindling is considered ten times a greater
offence than murder, however brutal that murder may have been, and the
greatest of Hun food swindlers will spend the remainder of her life in

Gertrude Kupfer, however, will be released in a few years because
it has been held that she acted entirely under the influence of her
mother, and was in no way an originator of the swindle.



There have been many matrimonial agency swindlers, but when Madame
Guerin, the plump little Frenchwoman with the pleasant and engaging
manner, entered that "profession" she introduced new methods into
that old form of fraud. She did not hanker after a lot of clients,
preferring to find a nice, gullible man with money, scientifically
relieve him of it, and then pass on to the next. Her career proved
short and exciting, and only by an accident did it fail to wind up with
a tragedy. But that was not her fault, for she showed that to obtain a
fortune she was capable of running any risk.

It was at Versailles, in the shadow of the old palace, that Madame
Guerin, with the assistance of a friend, who was known as Cesbron, but
who was really her husband, started her matrimonial agency.

It was no ordinary affair worked from a cheap suite of offices with all
the usual appliances of a modern business. Madame Guerin could not be
as sordid as that. She was human and sympathetic, and her personality
was electric. She had reached that time of life when men found her
society agreeable, because a flirtation could not be taken seriously by
her. She let them understand that she knew that most men wanted young
and pretty wives with fortunes, and that she was in a position to help
them to find their ideal.

Her "business premises" took the shape of a pleasant, secluded Villa,
beautifully furnished and delightfully managed. It was an honour to be
invited to an intimate little dinner at her home, and her invitations
were very seldom declined. When it was tactfully whispered that the
fair tenant was in the habit of bringing very eligible girls and
handsome bachelors together, she quickly found the sort of clients she

One of her first victims was a man of good family, who held a
remunerative Government post. He was just the type of man who would
rather die than enter into negotiations with the average matrimonial
agent, but over a recherché meal at the Villa there seemed to be no
loss of dignity in half-carelessly discussing his desire to marry a
girl of beauty and fortune.

It was then that Madame Guerin revealed talents of a high order as a
swindler. She never lost her pose of the smart society woman who was
entertaining a friend and talking about his future amid the soft lights
and the restful furniture.

When the Government official mentioned that he had about three hundred
a year in addition to his salary of about the same amount, Madame
Guerin decided that there must be a way of separating him from some of
his fortune by persuading him that she was going to add to it.

"I know a very pretty girl," she said languidly, "a dear girl, too,
and one who is anxious to marry. She is an orphan, and is bothered by
fortune-hunters. She would like to become a gentleman's wife, and as
she has five thousand a year derived from first-class securities, it
seems to me, my friend, that she would just about suit you."

Five thousand a year! It made his mouth water.

"Where can I meet this delightful lady?" he asked anxiously.

"As she is my dearest friend I could invite her here," she answered,
after a moment's pause. "Her name is Miss Northcliffe."

"She is English then?" said the official, but there was no disapproval
in his tone.

"Her mother was French," said Madame Guerin, who had all the time been
watching his face. "Her father was an eminent doctor in London. Miss
Northcliffe loves France, and she has often told me she would love to
be married to a Frenchman and live all her life in Paris."

The bait took, for the fish rose to it greedily. Thereupon Madame
Guerin, feeling she had "landed" him, dropped her pose as hostess and
became a matrimonial agent. Of course her expenses would be heavy
in connection with the visit of Miss Northcliffe. She would have to
furnish a suite of rooms specially for the great English heiress. Then,
as he would gain five thousand pounds a year by the introduction, it
would not be out of place if he paid something in advance. Madame
Guerin guaranteed success, and so forth. He believed every word.

"You and my dear girl friend will be thrown together for days," she
said, in a confidential tone. "I'll invite no one else here, and it'll
be your own fault if you don't win her. But you must send me one of
your photographs to-night, and I will show it to her the moment she
arrives. She is a very impressionable, impulsive girl, and I am certain
she will fall in love with your picture."

Most men will believe a woman's flattery, and in the case of this
French official he swallowed Madame Guerin's with avidity. It seemed to
him he was on the road to riches, and he scarcely hesitated to send not
only the photograph but a preliminary fee of a hundred pounds.

If he was disturbed by doubts during the succeeding days, they were set
at rest when an invitation arrived to meet Miss Northcliffe at dinner
at the cosy Villa. He was, as he admitted afterwards, almost crazy
with delight. The heiress was a reality. Madame Guerin had not been
"pulling his leg" after all. Had she asked him for a thousand pounds
there and then he would probably have paid it without a murmur.

The dinner was a brilliant success from start to finish. Never before
had he met such a charming, unaffected girl. A typical English beauty
with fair hair, a peach-like skin and dark grey eyes, who dressed
exquisitely, and spoke French with a fascinating accent. Her reserve,
too, was perfectly enchanting. She did not gush or chatter, and during
the greater part of the dinner she hardly uttered a word, but towards
the end she became animated.

"She said she would wait until she had made up her mind about you
before becoming friendly," whispered Madame Guerin at the first

He thrilled with pleasure and turned to resume his conversation with
Miss Northcliffe; and when he left the Villa close on midnight his
brain was in a whirl.

Miss Northcliffe had plainly shown her preference for him, and he was
in love with her. He was an expert on old engravings and modern poetry,
and she had, wonderful to relate, revealed a knowledge of those two
subjects which, though not profound, proved that she would be an ideal
collaborator when they were married.

And then her dress! It was a dream, an exquisite creation that might
have been made out of angels' wings. The pearl necklace the English
heiress had worn was worth twenty thousand pounds. At least, Madame
Guerin said so, and she ought to know, because she had some famous
pearls herself. He lay awake most of the night exulting over his good
fortune, and early the following morning rushed off to Versailles to
take Miss Northcliffe for a motor drive.

A week later Madame Guerin suggested that he should propose, but she
warned him that the girl was suspicious of fortune-hunters and that he
must prove to her that he was not a needy vagabond marrying to be kept.

He laughed at the notion, but he took it seriously all the same, and
when Miss Northcliffe modestly and blushingly accepted his offer of
marriage he impulsively asked to be tested as to his means.

But Miss Northcliffe preferred to leave that to her dear friend and
guardian, Madame Guerin, and the latter thereupon suggested that he
should realize a couple of thousand pounds and settle it right away
on Miss Northcliffe, who was, of course, equally willing to supply
evidence that her fortune was not a myth.

The infatuated man declined to doubt his fiancée for a moment, and the
two thousand pounds were in the possession of Madame Guerin two days
later. She received the money with a congratulatory smile, and told him
to call again the following Sunday and fix the date for the wedding.

There were four days to Sunday, and how he passed them he never knew.
Certainly he was a very inefficient public servant during that time,
for his mind was concentrated on the beauty and fortune of the lovely
English girl who was about to become his wife. When Sunday came round
he was up at dawn, and two hours before he was due to start for
Versailles he was hatted and gloved.

The Villa looked very inviting as he walked up to it and pulled the
old-fashioned bell. A long pause ensued, and then the fat cook opened
the door and breathlessly informed him that Madame was resting in her
room but would be down in a few minutes. He expressed his regrets,
but when he was in the drawing-room he began to feel that there was
something wrong. The atmosphere depressed him, and he had to reprove
himself audibly for being morbid to prevent a fit of pessimism
overwhelming him.

He was staring through the window when Madame Guerin entered, very
pale and dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief. In great alarm he
rushed to her side. What had happened? Where was Miss Northcliffe? Was
she ill? A dozen questions tumbled over one another, and all the time
the plump little widow tried to control her sobs.

"Oh, monsieur," she exclaimed, with a piteous expression, "how shall
I break the news? I am distracted, desolate! Miss Northcliffe--she
has gone--disappeared. I know not where. She may be kidnapped or she
may have run away. I am too distracted to be able to think. It is all
dreadful and--" A flood of tears completed the sentence.

In vain he implored her to tell him plainly what had happened. The
result was that he left the Villa aware that he had lost his two
thousand pounds and dimly suspicious of Madame Guerin, although she
had sworn that Miss Northcliffe had taken away every penny of it, and,
indeed, owed a goodly sum to her.

Further reflection convinced him that he had been swindled, and he
began to think of appealing to the police, but at forty-five one does
not do things in a hurry, and he was not the person to court ridicule.
He had walked into the trap open-eyed, and if his colleagues in the
Government service heard the story of the "English heiress" they would
make his life a misery with their vulgar chaff. So beyond another visit
to the Versailles Villa to inquire if Miss Northcliffe had returned he
took no steps to recover his losses.

The next exploit was even more subtle. Some one introduced a well-to-do
Parisian of the name of Lalère to Madame Guerin along with the
information that he was on the look-out for a wealthy wife. As Monsieur
Lalère had a comfortable bank balance of his own she enthusiastically
agreed to provide him with a bride, and when she learnt that he was
partial to an English girl her delight was boundless.

On this occasion the Versailles Villa was not utilized as the stage for
the little comedy. She decided to vary her methods, and she started by
going to London and putting up at a fashionable hotel. The two thousand
pounds extracted from the Government official came in very handy, as
even in London one can live quite a long time in an expensive hotel on
that amount.

Shortly after her arrival Lalère came at her invitation. Madame Guerin
was, of course, fashionably dressed and apparently busy all day calling
upon the leading members of the English aristocracy. She could not
give him more than a few minutes one afternoon, and when he expressed
disappointment she promised to do her best when she had fulfilled her
social obligations. She mentioned glibly that she was dining that night
with Mrs. Asquith, whose husband was then Chancellor of the Exchequer,
and that the day after she was lunching with "the Crewes."

The Frenchman was greatly impressed by these lies, and he therefore
appreciated all the more her spontaneous invitation to him to accompany
her to the opera the following Monday evening. It seemed that a friend
of hers had been called out of town and that her stall was vacant.
Madame Guerin added that she hoped to be able to introduce Lalère to
some English heiresses between the acts.

Monday night found Madame Guerin and Monsieur Lalère seated in the
stalls at the Covent Garden Theatre. Just before the curtain went
up the woman indicated a private box wherein three young ladies,
beautifully dressed, were sitting.

"Three friends of mine and all rich, monsieur," she said
confidentially. "You can have your choice. Let me know the one you
prefer. They will be guided entirely by my advice."

Of course after that Lalère had no eyes for the stage, and some of the
greatest singers in the world failed to engage his attention. His
eyes were always wandering to the box where the three English beauties
were, and he studied their appearances carefully. Eventually his choice
alighted upon the girl in the centre, whose name was, Madame Guerin
informed him, Miss Northcliffe.

Thus once more the mysterious Miss Northcliffe appeared on the scene,
and again she found a Frenchman who was mesmerized by her beauty and
her reputed fortune. All the acting that night at Covent Garden was not
behind the footlights. Both Madame Guerin and Miss Northcliffe could
have given points to many of the professionals.

That the girl who acted as the matrimonial agent's decoy was clever and
educated there can be no doubt. She could speak French fluently, and
she had a first-rate knowledge of the world. She had been able to talk
intelligently to the authority on old engravings and modern poetry,
and now she charmed Lalère by her acquaintance with the subjects that
interested him.

The sequel was that Lalère paid Madame Guerin fifteen hundred pounds on
the understanding that she was to bring about a match between himself
and Miss Northcliffe. But no sooner had he parted with the money
than the "heiress" vanished, greatly to Madame Guerin's distress and
Lalère's annoyance; and all he had to show for his expenditure was a
cynical and bitter contempt for women-folk in general.

Success made Madame Guerin avaricious. She began to crave for a large
fortune, and she believed that she was clever enough to gain it at
one stroke. Experience had proved that it was easy enough to open a
man's purse with a story of a rich bride, and her victims took their
disappointment so calmly that there was no danger of retribution.
Perhaps the sight of wealthy London fired her imagination. Anyhow, she
immediately began to look round for a suitable dupe there.

It was, however, necessary to have her husband's help. As she pretended
to be a widow, she called him her friend, and it was as Monsieur
Cesbron that she introduced him to her friends and acquaintances.
Hitherto Cesbron had wisely kept in the background, an admiring
spectator from afar of his wife's astuteness, and no doubt he shared in
the little windfalls from the Government official and Lalère.

He was not averse to taking a leading part in the next big swindle,
and it was Cesbron who found the very man for their purpose. Through a
friend he had heard that in the West End of London there was a doctor
who had saved a considerable sum of money, and who was in every way a
very eligible bachelor.

The initial difficulty was how to make themselves known to him, but
Madame Guerin solved the problem by planning a pretty little scheme.
She might have called on the doctor in the guise of a patient, but she
decided not to do this lest he discovered there was nothing the matter
with her.

Her final plan was to pretend that she had invented a new method of
sterilizing milk, and that she wished to have a doctor's opinion of its

Madame Guerin underrated her abilities, for, as events proved, she
need not have bothered about the "invention." The doctor was pleased
to make the acquaintance of the charming widow, and she soon had every
opportunity for dragging in references to her rich young lady friends
who were anxious to find husbands.

The medical man was incredulous at first, then curious, and eventually
impressed. Madame Guerin did not look like a swindler or talk in the
manner of a professional matrimonial agent. She was too human for that,
and there was nothing of the hard-headed business woman about her.

The doctor readily agreed to join her at a dinner-party and meet the
young heiresses, and choose which of them he would care to marry.

The meeting took place at an hotel, and on this occasion Miss
Northcliffe failed to win his approval. A young lady whose name was
given as Miss Smith gained his vote.

Miss Smith was a beauty, vivacious, clever, and fascinating. When he
was persuaded to believe that she had a large fortune, the doctor
considered himself the luckiest man in the world.

The girl, one of Madame Guerin's cutest confederates, was equally as
good an actress as Miss Northcliffe, and, shrewd man of the world as
the doctor was, she had no difficulty in persuading him that he had
captured her maiden fancy.

Now, as I have said, the doctor was not a penniless adventurer.
He was a prosperous professional man, with a good position and a
consoling balance at his bankers, the _Crédit Lyonnais_. Apart from
the somewhat unconventional means by which they had become acquainted,
the engagement was, on the surface, nothing remarkable. Miss Smith was
obviously well educated, and fit to preside over the doctor's home.
They were, therefore, of equal social position.

Madame Guerin was, of course, the brains of the affair, and only the
"spade work" was left to her husband. It was she who decided when she
and Miss Smith should leave London on the plea that they had to keep
engagements in France, and it was she who instructed Miss Smith to
agree to her fiancé's request that she should name the day.

The two women left for Paris the day before Cesbron, but they only
stopped a day at the capital before they proceeded to the Villa the
swindler had rented in the vicinity of Fontainebleau. It was situated
in a very lonely spot, and Madame Guerin and Cesbron had taken it
because they had decided to murder the doctor and obtain his fortune.

They had already endeavoured to get the doctor to transfer his account
to the Paris bank which they said looked after Miss Smith's immense
fortune; but he declined to effect the change. However, they were not
disheartened. If they were equal to killing the doctor they were also
capable of forging a claim to his money at the _Crédit Lyonnais_.

The marriage was fixed to take place in the second week in November,
1906, and early in the same month Madame Guerin invited the doctor
to spend a few days at her Villa before he became the husband of the
heiress. He was very busy just then, but, of course, he was most
anxious to see his friends, and he accepted the invitation, and in due
course arrived at the isolated house.

If he had not been absorbed in his forthcoming marriage, the doctor
would hardly have found the place attractive at that time of the year.
Of course, Madame Guerin was always interesting, and she was a perfect
hostess. There were good points about her friend Cesbron, too, and,
with the excitement of the engagement, the flattery of his hostess, and
the attentions of Cesbron, the doctor was never dull.

He could never be expected to believe that the woman with the plump,
smiling face and the sympathetic eyes had planned his murder, or that
Cesbron, her husband, was merely waiting for the proper moment to
"remove" him.

One afternoon Madame Guerin and the doctor were chatting in the front
room, when Cesbron drove up in a cart with a huge, iron-bound trunk.

"Is our friend going to be married too?" he asked jocularly.

Madame Guerin's eyes glinted, but her lips parted in a smile.

"Oh, he is always buying clothes," she said indifferently, "and he
likes to keep them clean and dry when travelling. He told me yesterday
he had ordered a new trunk. It is a hobby of his."

The truth was that that trunk had been purchased to hold the doctor's

There was quite a little party at the Villa that night, and all the
time the huge box was waiting in the next room for its victim. The
visitor had no suspicion that anything was wrong. He knew by now that
Madame Guerin would expect a commission for having introduced him
to the great heiress, but he thought none the less of her for that.
Cesbron, too, was respectful and attentive, and all appeared to be
looking forward with intense satisfaction to the marriage celebration.
Miss Smith was not, of course, at the Villa. She was now in Paris
selecting her trousseau, and her fiancé had to be content with a
charming little love-letter which came to him every morning.

The day before the one fixed for the tragedy Cesbron and the doctor
happened to be in the little garden, when the former playfully started
a discussion as to their respective physical conditions, and before
long the two men had agreed to a friendly wrestling match to see which
of them was the stronger.

To Cesbron's surprise and annoyance, he discovered that the doctor was
by far the better of the two. This put him out, for it meant that he
would have to resort to fire-arms to achieve his object--the murder of
the guest.

Cesbron did not like using a revolver. It made a lot of noise, and,
lonely as the Villa was, there was always the danger that some one
might be passing at the moment of the crime. However, the risk had
to be taken. He knew now for certain that he was quite incapable of
seizing the doctor by the throat and strangling him, and that if it
came to a fight he would be no match for his opponent.

On November 9, 1906, the doctor was alone writing a letter in the
drawing-room. The house was very quiet, and he was under the impression
that Madame Guerin and Cesbron had gone out. At this time of the year
it was dark at half-past four, and the doctor wrote leisurely, pausing
occasionally to improve a phrase before committing it to writing.

Suddenly an explosion seemed to take place in the room, and
simultaneously he felt something sting him. The next moment he knew
that a bullet had passed into his neck behind his left ear, cutting
through the tongue and soft palate, and breaking several teeth.

But the wound was not sufficient to prevent his rising and confronting
Cesbron, who was standing near the door with a smoking revolver in
his hand. Only for a fraction of a second did the two men pause. Then
the injured man made a dash at Cesbron, who, recalling his playful
encounter of the day before, took to flight, well aware that he would
be helpless if the doctor got his fingers round his throat.

When Cesbron sped into the darkness the doctor made his way out of the
house and into the garden, stumbling towards the gate. To his surprise
this was locked. Evidently the conspirators had not forgotten anything.

There was nothing for him to do now but to try and climb over the wall,
and he succeeded in getting his head above the top, but immediately it
was silhouetted against the sky another shot was fired, and for the
second time he was hit. He fell back into the garden, where, thanks
to the darkness and the shelter of the bushes, he was able to remain
concealed until the morning, when he crawled to the police station at
Fontainebleau, and told the story of the attack on him at the Villa.

The police took the doctor to the local hospital, and then went in
search of Madame Guerin who, when arrested, thought to avenge herself
by swearing that the doctor was her accomplice. She lied so skilfully
that she persuaded the police to detain him for a time, but in the
long run the truth was discovered, and it was proved that the doctor
was merely another of her dupes.

A strange feature of the case was the disappearance of Cesbron. The
police and detective force of France searched for him everywhere, but
he was never seen, and the same lack of success was experienced when
the authorities became anxious to make the acquaintance of the English
heiresses, Miss Smith and Miss Northcliffe. Not a trace of them could
be found, and this was very fortunate for Madame Guerin, because, when
she was brought up for trial in July, 1907, she could pose as a poor
woman who was being prosecuted whilst her partners were allowed to go
free owing to the incompetence of the authorities.

The jury took a lenient view of her swindles, ignoring the charge of
attempted murder, because it was undoubtedly Cesbron who had fired
the two shots at the doctor, and without his presence in the dock it
was impossible to tell exactly what part the female prisoner took in
the final tragedy. But that she was a very dangerous adventuress and
swindler was obvious, and everybody was surprised when the judge passed
sentence of three years' imprisonment only.

Her face lit up with joy. She had been afraid that it would have been
at least ten years. Three years! Why, it was worth running such a bogus
matrimonial agency if that was the only punishment.

It is the French custom to sentence any accused person who fails to
answer the charge in person, and Cesbron was ordered two years' hard
labour. He did not, however, oblige the prosecution by appearing and
undergoing his punishment, and from that day to this nothing has been
seen or heard of him.



The annals of French crime are rich in dramatic and extraordinary
episodes, but none can excel in breathless interest the story of
the murder of Madame Houet and the discovery and punishment of her
murderers twelve years after her tragic death.

Madame Houet was a widow with a fortune estimated to exceed two hundred
and fifty thousand francs, who lived with her son in a little house
in the Rue St. Jacques, Paris. Her only daughter was married to a
wine merchant named Robert, who was reputed to be well off. The old
lady's son was a big, powerful fellow, whose weak brain prevented him
earning more than a precarious livelihood, a fact which annoyed his
penurious parent. She scraped and saved and half-starved herself to be
able to add a few coins daily to her store. In the circumstances, it
is not astonishing that amongst her neighbours she should have had the
reputation of being worth a great deal more than she actually was.

The gossips never tired of discussing her hidden wealth, and everybody
was prepared to hear of her murder for the sake of her hoard. Even her
son-in-law was ignorant of the extent of her savings--the old lady
would never discuss the subject with him or anyone else--and, after
making allowances for the exaggerations of the neighbours, he came to
the conclusion that his wife's share of her inheritance would not be
less than a quarter of a million francs. There were times, too, when
he comforted himself with the assurance that his wife's brother would
not live very long. More than one doctor had hinted that the weak brain
would soon affect the body, and that he would suddenly collapse and die.

These thoughts induced the wine merchant to sell his business and
retire. Robert had always wanted to live the life of a gentleman, as he
termed it. He was fond of the theatre and the restaurants, and he had a
mania for tempting fortune on the racecourse and on the roulette table.
So when he observed signs of decline in his mother-in-law--and his
wife often wept as she told him that the old lady was fading away--he
found a purchaser for his shop, pocketed the proceeds, and went the
pace, confident that before he had spent his capital he would be in
possession of Madame Houet's cash.

But Madame Houet was tougher than he thought, and easily outlasted the
twenty-five thousand francs Robert had received for his shop. For a
few months Monsieur and Madame Robert were seen everywhere, and they
became familiar figures in the fashionable restaurants and theatres.
When he came to his last thousand-franc note Robert determined to risk
it all on a visit to a gambling den. He carried out his intention, and
returned home at three in the morning penniless.

He was now not only without resources, but heavily in debt. As the
husband of Madame Houet's heiress he had been given extended credit,
but the ex-wine merchant knew that if he failed to keep his agreements
his creditors would complain to his mother-in-law.

But could he hold his creditors back until the old lady died? Several
times a week he called on her and noticed with increasing alarm that
she was daily improving in health. Her appetite was prodigious, as
he discovered every time he took her out to lunch. Driven desperate,
the penniless man tried forgery, and by imitating his mother-in-law's
signature on the back of a bill induced the merchant who had purchased
his business to advance him twelve thousand five hundred francs for
three months.

The weeks passed all too swiftly, and when only a fortnight remained of
the three months the forger's position was worse than ever. Fourteen
days more and the forged bill would be presented and dishonoured, and
Madame Houet would repudiate the signature. Robert went for long walks
every night to think over the situation, and eventually he found a

"I have urgent business to attend to," he told his wife one morning,
"and I am afraid I shall have to be often away from your side. Why not
pay that long-promised visit to your aunt in Marseilles? I should be
happier if I knew you were with her."

His wife agreed, and for a month was out of Paris, and during that
month the tragedy occurred.

Robert had decided to murder his mother-in-law so that his wife might
receive at once her share of the estate. He knew that the old lady had
recently made her will bequeathing her fortune in equal shares to her
son and her daughter, and, therefore, there was no danger of Julia
losing her inheritance. The ex-wine merchant, however, was not capable
of carrying out the plan unaided, and he sought an acquaintance,
Bastien, a jobbing carpenter, who promised to help in the murder for a
fee of twenty thousand francs, to be paid within thirty days of Madame
Robert's receipt of her legacy. The terms were agreed to, and they
began to make their plans.

There was a big garden attached to a house in the Rue Vaugirard, and
Robert rented both for a month, and the night before the murder he and
Bastien dug a grave for their intended victim, who at the time they
were working was busy counting her savings with a view to sending the
money to the bank in the morning. The widow may have been a miser, but
she had a great deal of common sense, and she never kept large sums in
her home.

Curiously enough, she and her son had of late begun to quarrel
fiercely. She had accused him of being lazy, and he had flung
reproaches at her, and it was known in the Rue St. Jacques that the
Houets were constantly at loggerheads.

"There'll be a tragedy in that house," said the landlord of the inn at
the corner. "The police ought to be told. It is not safe to leave the
old woman alone with that crazy son of hers."

When the ill-feeling between the mother and son was at its height,
Bastien, Robert's confederate, drove up to her residence in a cab,
and on being admitted to her presence announced that he came with
an invitation to spend the day with her son-in-law. Madame eagerly
accepted, for the three meals at his expense would enable her to add at
least a franc to her store.

On the journey to the Rue Vaugirard the widow commented on the fact
that her strange companion held a coil of rope in his hands.

"Yes," he said, with an impudent grin, "I bought it for a special job.
I hope it will prove strong enough."

Again he grinned meaningly; but the old woman was, of course,
unconscious of the fact that the "special job" he referred to was her
murder by strangulation.

The cab stopped outside the gate at the end of the garden and some
distance from the house. With remarkable agility Madame Houet
descended, and when Bastien had opened the entrance to the garden
passed in. She had not proceeded a dozen paces, however, nor had she
had time to notice the newly-made grave, when two strong hands shot
out and gripped her by the throat, and before she could utter a sound
Bastien's rope was around her neck, and she was swiftly strangled.
The next ten minutes was spent by the men filling in the grave, and
when that task was over they adjourned to the house and steadied their
nerves by imbibing copious draughts of wine.

"The fortune is mine!" Robert cried exultingly. "Bastien, my friend,
we have nothing to fear. You have only to keep your mouth shut, and
the police are helpless, and ten years hence, even if they discover
proofs of our guilt, they won't be able to touch us. That is the law
of France. A murderer must be convicted within ten years of the last
arrest for the crime or else he goes free without any penalty."

"And the money?" asked Bastien sharply.

"I have been told that it takes about a month to wind up the affairs
of a dead woman," said the ex-wine merchant. "My wife will have her
mother's fortune by then. Call four weeks from to-day and I will hand
you your well-earned reward."

They shook hands on it and parted. Nothing remained except to wait, and
that was easy enough.

The instant Madame Houet was missed her son was arrested. On the face
of it there seemed to be every justification for that procedure, and
the detectives felt that they had the murderer in their power. That
the widow had been murdered they had no doubt, and it was only when
they were searching for her body that they arrested Robert and Bastien.
Following the capture of the latter the son was released, it being
admitted that he could have had nothing to do with the disappearance of
his mother. It was, however, quite another matter to find the corpse.
Madame Houet had simply vanished, and, although the detectives built up
a strong case against the two accused, they were compelled to release
them because they were unable to produce the body.

It was proved that Bastien had called for the widow and had driven away
with her, and it was known that he had fetched her at the instigation
of Robert. The two men agreed that they had seen Madame Houet on the
day of her disappearance, but swore that she had left them with the
intention of going home. The cleverest members of the detective force
traced the men's movements on the fatal day, but failed to discover the
garden in the Rue Vaugirard, for Robert had, of course, never gone near
it since the hasty burial, and, apparently, there was no one to give
information to the police about the strange man who had paid the rent
for it for a month and had not occupied it for more than a day and that
day September 13th, 1821.

When Robert and his confederate walked out of their cells they
entered a café and had lunch, and they confined their conversation to
denunciations of the authorities for having kept them in gaol so long.
Before they separated, however, Robert fixed an appointment with his
fellow-assassin to call for the twenty thousand francs and they went
their way, animated by feelings of triumph, the ex-wine merchant,
especially, scarcely able to suppress his joy.

There is a well-known proverb which says that "A little learning is a
dangerous thing," and Robert, the murderer, discovered its truth when
he sent his wife to claim half her mother's fortune. He had carefully
studied the laws relating to murder, and, confident that the police
would never find Madame Houet's body, he had willingly accepted the
inconveniences of being constantly under suspicion because he believed
that the ten years required by the law would soon pass and place
him beyond danger. After the tenth year if the corpse and his guilt
were brought to light he would not be prosecuted. It was a curious
regulation, but it just suited Robert, and he hummed gaily to himself
while awaiting his wife's return.

She came back with a long face and whispered the bad news.

"The gentlemen in the Government office told me," she said, between her
tears of disappointment, "that under the law they cannot distribute my
mother's money until ten years have passed, when, if her body isn't
found, she becomes legally dead. At present, according to the law,
she is considered to be alive, and, therefore, her estate cannot be

The ex-wine merchant nearly collapsed, and it was some time before he
induced his wife to complain that she was practically destitute and
extract an allowance of thirty francs a week on account from the State.
For that she had to sign a bond guaranteeing to repay the money to her
mother if the latter should appear on the scene again.

By dint of desperate appeals to relatives Robert succeeded in getting
the money to take up the forged bill, but he had now another danger
to face--Bastien, the jobbing carpenter, who, he knew, would make a
terrible row when told of the failure to get hold of the widow's money.

The carpenter came with an expectant expression, and left infuriated.
Vainly had Robert explained. Bastien bluntly informed him that he did
not believe a word.

"You are trying to defraud me!" he had shrieked, shaking his fist and
sending Madame Robert into hysterics. "I will be even with you yet, and
if to-morrow you have not the money ready, I--" He ceased abruptly and
shuffled out of the house.

He did not come back for a fortnight. Then ensued a repetition of the
first scene, terminated by Robert handing him two hundred and fifty

It was a couple of months before Bastien believed his explanation of
his poverty, but the two murderers continued to quarrel whenever they
met. Robert was again hopelessly in debt, and could hardly raise a few
francs to give to his fellow-assassin, who was blackmailing him daily.
Eventually things became so bad that Bastien in desperation committed
a burglary for which he was arrested and sent to penal servitude for
seven years.

Then fresh information reached the authorities and Robert was arrested
again, whilst Bastien was brought from prison and taken with the
ex-wine merchant before the magistrate. They were severely examined,
but despite many contradictions and lies they had to be discharged
again, Bastien returning to gaol, and Robert to the miserable rooms
he called his home. This second arrest, however, meant that still ten
years would have to elapse before Madame Houet was considered dead in
law and her assassins free from punishment.

When Bastien had served his sentence for burglary he began to blackmail
Robert systematically, until another robbery landed him in gaol again.
As the years went by he grew jealous of the liberty enjoyed by Robert,
and, becoming garrulous, eventually confided in an old convict with
whom he worked exactly nine years and eight months from the day of his
second arrest. His fellow-prisoner had twelve years to serve, and was,
accordingly, not to be feared, but the very week he heard Bastien's
story of the tragedy in the Rue Vaugirard he saved a warder's life by
an act of bravery, and was rewarded by a free pardon in March, 1833.

The pardon, however, did not include employment, and the ex-convict
found the world hard and unsympathetic. No one would have anything
to do with a man whose record included a murder and several violent
assaults, and he was starving when it occurred to him that he might
be able to make something out of Bastien's confession. He, thereupon,
called on the chief of police, and offered to tell him where the body
of the widow was provided he was given five hundred francs when his
statement had been tested.

The chief willingly promised the sum mentioned, for it was a continual
source of exasperation to him that two such villains as Robert and
Bastien should have outwitted him and his legion of trained detectives.

The ex-convict recounted what Bastien had told him, and for the third
time Robert and Bastien were charged together. They were not so
confident now, for something seemed to tell them that they were not
going to escape again.

It is the French custom to have the accused present at any important
discovery bearing upon their case, and Robert and Bastien were,
accordingly, handcuffed and taken to the garden at the back of the
house in the Rue Vaugirard. Half a dozen detectives were provided
with spades, and, whilst the prisoners looked on, they dug as if for
their lives. But they met with no reward, and Robert, who had remained
motionless throughout, was regarding them with a sneering smile when
one of the detectives suddenly turned on him.

"Get out of the way, man!" he cried contemptuously. "One would think
that the widow Houet had gripped you by the feet."

On hearing this Robert started as though he had been shot, and it
did not surprise the officials in the least when the skeleton of the
murdered woman was found exactly under the spot where he had been
standing. It was plain that he had hoped to keep the officers away from
it and that his ruse would cause them to leave the garden without the
corpse. Had they done so, he and Bastien would have had to be released.

The skeleton was in an almost perfect state of preservation and there
was not the slightest difficulty in identifying it, for the rope was
still around the neck and on one of the fingers of the left hand was a
gold ring.

The ex-wine merchant and his confederate were tried before the Paris
Criminal Court and found guilty of murder. For some extraordinary
reason, however, the jury added "extenuating circumstances" to their
verdict and this took away from the judge the power to inflict death.
They were, however, consigned to a living death in one of the French
convict settlements, and there they existed for a few miserable years
before dying of inanition, overwork, and monotony.

Practically the whole of Madame Houet's fortune was inherited by her
son, who died in an asylum, and eventually the money which had been the
motive for a terrible crime passed into the coffers of the state, the
widow's son leaving no heirs.



When the Essen doctor advised Maria Hussmann, Frederick Krupp's "lady
housekeeper," to try a course of thermal baths at Aix-la-Chapelle she
was only too glad to do so. Maria was a typical German woman, heavy,
solid, and, as she was in the late thirties, fond of boasting of her
respectability. She styled herself "a noble lady," and she was in the
habit of explaining to her acquaintances that she only "condescended"
to manage Herr Krupp's domestic staff for him, having been tempted by
an enormous salary, the latter being a tribute to her excellence and
her social position. She always carried herself with great dignity, and
Krupp, who had a comic admiration for what in Germany passes for good
breeding, was rather proud of his employée's pride.

Of course, he readily granted her permission to make the journey to
the favourite resort, and to stay there for at least a month. Maria,
therefore, packed up her trunks, and started for Aix-la-Chapelle. The
woman had a fairly large sum of money saved, and, anxious to meet the
best people, she put up at a first-class hotel, and placed herself
under the care of a physician with a European reputation. In this
way she acquired position at once in the hotel, and while carefully
suppressing the fact that she was the Cannon King's housekeeper she
let it be known that she derived her means from him.

Everybody thereupon assumed that she was a relation of Krupp's, and
after that expressed no surprise that she should be so rich.

The tall woman with the red face, who looked so grotesque in her
fashionable clothes, was most assiduous in following her doctor's
orders, and she was soon a well-known figure amongst the patients,
who came from all parts of the world. When the scores of impecunious
German officers heard that she was actually related to the millionaire
Krupp they crowded round her, and the widow took their admiration as
due entirely to her personal charm! Every day she had more invitations
to lunch than she could accept, and there was keen competition for the
honour of escorting her to the theatre or opera. This was, indeed,
life, and, large as was Frederick Krupp's monthly cheque, she began to
look forward to the time when she would be independent of it, and would
have an officer husband--the ambition of every German woman--and a home
of her own to manage.

Then suddenly she met, purely by accident, a man who raised her
ambitions even higher. Hitherto she had considered it bliss to hear a
young officer of the Prussian Guards whisper insincerities into her
ear, but once she became acquainted with a future King she forgot all
other men.

It was a very hot afternoon in mid-August, 1897, when Maria, walking
slowly between an avenue of trees, slipped on a piece of orange-peel,
and she would have met with a serious accident had not a gentleman
caught her in time. The shock, however, gravely affected her, and
her rescuer had to escort her to a friendly seat to give her time to
recover. There he waited politely until she signified that she was
better, and it was only then that she took notice of him. She saw
a man above medium height with a saturnine countenance, dark eyes
and a black moustache. She noticed that the expression of his mouth
hovered between a sneer and a scowl, and somehow his grey suit and
light Homburg hat failed to give a touch of relief to an exterior not
at all pleasing. However, Maria was too great a "perfect lady" not to
feel grateful for the service he had rendered her, and she thanked him,
ending up by revealing her identity.

"I am charmed, madame," said the stranger, speaking in French. "My
name is--but, no, I must respect my incognito. I am Count d'Este. You
can know me by that." A profound bow followed, and the next moment the
count had disappeared.

Marie went back to her hotel with the words "incognito" and "count"
ringing in her ears. She was sure that the stranger had been impressed
by her, and she was equally certain that he was a great man, for
only monarchs and their heirs talked of travelling "incognito." He
was undoubtedly something better than a count, although Maria had an
exaggerated veneration for any title of nobility.

Of course, the "lady housekeeper from Essen" procured an _Almanach
de Gotha_ at the hotel, but as it was not illustrated, she could not
identify the mysterious gentleman, and she might have given up the
task had she not met him again at the same place the following day. On
this occasion he came straight up to her, and in the most charming and
natural manner entered into conversation, carefully inquiring first if
she had suffered any ill-consequences from the previous day's mishap,
and expressing the greatest delight when she declared that she was
quite well again.

They parted after half an hour, the count in a sad voice informing
her that owing to fear of being recognized and his incognito not
being respected he could not ask her to be his guest at a restaurant.
The remark fired her curiosity, and she went at once to the public
library, and within a quarter of an hour was surrounded by a score of
books on the royal families of Europe. It took her, however, nearly
two hours to solve the mystery, and it was a bound volume of the Paris
_Figaro_ that gave her the clue she was seeking.

"He's the Archduke Francis Ferdinand," she whispered to herself,
and her body vibrated. "The heir to the throne! And we're such good
friends! Now I'll have no difficulty in being received into the society
that I've always longed to enter."

When she reached her hotel there was a retired German colonel waiting
to take her for a promenade, and at any other time Maria would have
given half her fortune to be seen in his company, but now she almost
condescendingly begged him to excuse her, and as she lumbered up the
stairs the colonel could only stand in the hall, stare after her, and
mutter curses expressive of his surprise and anger. He had planned to
marry the wealthy relative of Frederick Krupp, and so save himself
from bankruptcy. But Frau Hussmann had no use for common colonels now.
She could think only of her august friend, the heir to the throne of
Austria; no one else mattered.

It was her intention to keep her discovery to herself, but when on the
third day she found the "count" obviously waiting for her she could not
restrain herself when after five minutes' promenading together she had
yet to hear a word from him. The "count" was in one of his melancholy
moods, but since seeing him last she had read in several papers
how addicted he was to pessimism, and she had already come to the
conclusion that her mission in life was to save him from melancholia,
and give him a new interest in life.

"Your Imperial and Royal Highness"--she began.

But he started convulsively, and laid a warning hand on her arm.

"Ah, I see you have discovered my secret," he said with a most anxious
expression. "Trust a woman's wit to get to the truth. You pierced my
incognito, madame. But I am not angry. It is proof that you take an
interest in an unhappy man. I thank you for it."

"Unhappy?" she echoed in amazement. "Your Royal Highness----"

"My name is Franz--to my friends," he said, looking at her steadily,
"and we are friends, are we not?"

Maria could scarcely speak, so excited was she by the honour. The
Archduke Francis Ferdinand was so natural and such a delightful
companion! That very day he told her how his uncle, the Emperor, was
trying to force him to marry an archduchess he did not love, and he
recounted scenes in the Hofburg at Vienna which simply enthralled
Krupp's lady housekeeper, who felt that she was, indeed, taking a peep
into the most exclusive Court in Europe.

"I can go nowhere without being pestered," said the melancholy
archduke. "I have no real friends. The Czar and the Kaiser only invite
me to their palaces to introduce me to princesses. I am considered
merely a pawn on the chessboard of Europe, and they never seem to
think that I have a heart like other men, and that I long for a sweet,
sympathetic wife."

He pressed her hand and looked into her eyes, and Maria Hussmann had
difficulty in keeping on her feet, so overcome was she by emotion as
she walked in that shady avenue and knew that she was being made love
to by the future Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary.

"You understand now why I am in Aix-la-Chapelle," he resumed after a
pause. "I can experience a little liberty here, and by paying cash for
everything I have no need to reveal my identity. Of course I dare not
draw cheques on my bankers, for that would give me away completely.
Oh, madame, I am thankful that I came here, for I have never been so
happy since I met you."

The courtship was not a long one: indeed, it was much too short for the
romantic woman. Nearly every afternoon she met the archduke, and he
always had some fresh story to tell her of the Hofburg--the Kaiser's
secret visits there, the drawing up of important treaties at midnight,
the "removing" of political enemies, and the real meaning of various
public actions of the emperor's. Incidentally he enlightened Marie as
to the real character of Frederick Krupp. He was, of course, very sorry
to have to draw the line at the millionaire, he said, even if Madame
was a relative of the Cannon King's; but Marie hastened to dissociate
herself from her "relation," explaining that she had a fortune
independent of him, and that if ever she married she would not want to
see too much of the Kaiser's friend.

A fortnight after the accident the archduke formally asked Marie to
be his wife. She had been expecting the proposal for days, but she
was surprised almost into hysterics when he actually made the offer.
It seemed too good to be true. Aix-la-Chapelle was then crowded with
beauties of all sorts and conditions. Some of the loveliest heiresses
in Europe were to be seen daily in the town. The archduke had only
to reveal himself to be flattered and courted by them, and yet he
had chosen her! It was undoubtedly the greatest compliment she could
possibly receive.

In the faintest of tones she said "Yes," and the archduke bowed over
her hand, and impressed a respectful kiss upon it. "Just like one would
expect from a prince," said the lady housekeeper later when describing
that moment of blissful triumph.

"Of course, we'll be married at once," said Franz Ferdinand, who was
the most attentive and enthusiastic of lovers. "Until you are my wife
I shall not know a moment's peace, for if the Emperor got to know of my
matrimonial plans he would have you kidnapped, Maria, and I should be
left to mourn your loss."

The idea of the Emperor abducting this sixteen stone of solid German
flesh would have struck anyone but Maria as comic. She, however, was
too great an admirer of herself and too romantic to see anything absurd
in the idea.

"I am ready for you at any time, Franz," she said in a flutter. "You
know I am yours for ever now."

How delightful it was to meet the archduke every day after dusk and
discuss the question of immediate marriage! They made plans, only to
unmake them at their next meeting. Once for a period of three days
Krupp's housekeeper had to live without seeing her fiancé, but, as he
explained on his return to Aix-la-Chapelle, he had been unexpectedly
recalled to Vienna to take part in a Council of State at the Hofburg.

"Again the Emperor talked of my marrying one of my cousins," he said
with a scowl. "He little realizes that I am about to wed the girl of
my heart, and one whom I mean to make my Empress when the right time

Once more they fell to discussing the best place to get married in.
Various Continental cities were mentioned, but rejected, and eventually
the archduke's suggestion that they should travel to London at once,
go through the marriage ceremony at a register office, and then in
the presence of a priest, and afterwards return to Aix-la-Chapelle,
was adopted. From there Francis Ferdinand was to inform his uncle as
to what had happened, and prepare for his entry into Austria with his
bride by his side.

"Once you are mine, even the Emperor will not be able to separate us,"
he assured her confidently, "and you can always rely upon my love and
protection. I am sure the Austrians and Hungarians will take my lovely
bride to their hearts."

With the venue settled upon there was only one thing more to do, and
that was for the archduke to send for "a few thousand marks" for the
expenses of their wedding and subsequent honeymoon. He spoke so glibly
of his immense fortune that poor Maria did not dare to refer to the
fifty thousand marks she had in the bank at Essen. However, he spared
her any embarrassment by laughingly advising her to take whatever
money she had out of the German banks in case "the Emperor, my uncle,
should try to deprive you of it." Maria accordingly sent instructions
to her bankers, and shortly she had two thousand five hundred pounds in
her possession, but only for a short time, for she handed it over to
"Franz" for safe keeping on his suggestion.

The portly housekeeper and the melancholy archduke stole out of
Aix-la-Chapelle late one night, and, travelling by a circuitous
route, reached London two days later. They were both dead tired, but
nevertheless very happy, and for the time being the Austrian heir
seemed to have become another man. He could laugh and joke and talk
rapturously of the love he bore his bride, and he was all impatience
for their brief journey to the register office in the neighbourhood of
the Strand.

London was crowded at the time. In the previous June Queen Victoria had
celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, and if all the royalties had departed
there were sufficient notable sight-seers from all corners of the earth
to make the great city more than usually interesting.

"It is the best time for us," said the archduke, beaming upon Maria
as they prepared to leave the hotel for the register office. "These
Londoners have had so much royalty in their midst lately that they
won't trouble to bother about me."

The dingy register office seemed to Maria Hussmann a veritable
Fairyland setting for her romance when she stood beside Francis
Ferdinand, and the wheezy official turned them into man and wife in
the most matter-of-fact manner. She regretted that they had to give
false names, but she was well aware that that small fraud would not
invalidate the marriage.

A couple of clerks, called in, and rewarded with half a sovereign each,
officiated as witnesses, and then Maria and her princely husband went
out into the sunshine and tried to realize that the wonderful event had

They had a merry little lunch for two at the Savoy Hotel, and in the
afternoon they went for a drive through London. At night they had a
box at one of the principal theatres, and Francis Ferdinand talked of
taking her down to Windsor to see the Queen.

"Her Majesty has a womanly heart, and she will sympathize with us," he
declared. How Maria's heart beat when she listened to him talking so
familiarly of the crowned heads of Europe! "She'll stand by us, and
she's the most powerful woman in the world. I know Wilhelm will bluster
and Nicholas shed tears over my supposed loss of dignity, but I don't

Maria had agreed to keep their marriage a secret until her husband had
chosen the right moment to break the news to his uncle, the Emperor
Francis Joseph, and what with daily drives, visits to the theatres,
and exciting plans for a tour of the Courts of Europe, she let a whole
week go by in London without having broken her promise. Yet she wished
that she could tell some of the people at the _Savoy_, especially
those fashionable dames who were in the habit of regarding her with
unfavourable looks. It would make them treat her respectfully. It was
all very well for Francis Ferdinand to wish for privacy, but she was
crazy with anxiety to astonish Europe with news of her exploit.

She must have dropped hints in the hearing of her maid, for between
lunch and afternoon tea at the _Savoy_ one mild September day she found
a pleasant-mannered gentleman beside her, who opened a conversation,
and deftly extracted a statement from her concerning her husband. This
person happened to be a journalist, and, the same day, the wires were
busy conveying the startling information that the heir to the throne of
Austria had married Maria Hussmann, Frederick Krupp's lady housekeeper!

Meanwhile the bridegroom had also read the statement in a London
paper, and without a trace of annoyance had questioned his wife. Maria
confessed that she had been unable to resist the temptation to proclaim
her pride and happiness, and he did not reprove her harshly. It was
only human, after all, he said, for girls do not marry archdukes every
day, so he kissed her and went downstairs, and she never saw him again.

A third person read about the affair with, perhaps, more interest than
anybody else, and he was the real Francis Ferdinand. He was staying at
his palace in Hungary, and the announcement of his marriage tickled
even his dormant sense of humour. Three years were to elapse before he
was to become the husband of the Countess Sophy Chotek, later Duchess
of Hohenberg, and seventeen ere their double murder was to precipitate
the greatest of all wars.

There was no difficulty in exposing the fraud, but when a detective
from Scotland Yard called at the hotel he found only a weeping bride.
Her husband had disappeared, and she was desolate. The truth was broken
to her, and a benevolent lady in London made arrangements for her to
return to Essen. The authorities had no use for her now. Their energies
were concentrated on discovering the retreat of the impostor.

His history was a peculiar one. Johann Schmidt--his real name--was the
son of a Berlin bookmaker, who after numerous terms of imprisonment
had become an inmate of a criminal lunatic asylum. He escaped from this
prison by impersonating one of the doctors, and, having made his way to
Aix-la-Chapelle, wooed and won the impressionable lady housekeeper from

The impostor was not, however, brought to trial, as Maria would not
prosecute him. All she wished was to be allowed to bury herself in
obscurity. But she was scarcely more annoyed than the Chauvinistic
German journalists that her husband was not the real Simon Pure.

"No wonder he could pose so successfully as Francis Ferdinand," one of
them wrote, "he was for six years in a lunatic asylum."



The most remarkable fact about Richard Douglas, professional swindler,
was that he kept a record of every one of his crimes, as well as a
profit-and-loss balance-sheet, which he drew up at the end of each
year. His diary was an astonishing document, and had it not been for
the craft and obvious guilt of the impostor it might have been used as
evidence to prove that he was not quite right in his head. Douglas,
however, was too resourceful a thief to be a lunatic, and for some
years he victimized all classes in London, where he posed as a baronet
and committed depredations upon the trusting and unsuspicious.

The impostor was a man of venerable aspect, with kindly blue eyes and
a soft, ingratiating manner. He was born with the name of Douglas, but
as his father was a small tradesman in a Surrey village Richard thought
he had better disown him, and when he had failed many times to earn an
honest living he blazoned forth as "Sir Richard Douglas of Orpington
House, Kent," and made his two elder sons partners in his criminal

He was an insinuating rascal, and the tradespeople whom he interviewed
were easily taken in by his plausible tongue. When he went to a
well-known jeweller in Bond Street to select a "present for my wife,
Lady Douglas," he had not the slightest difficulty in persuading the
merchant to let him have a five hundred guinea diamond necklace on
approval. Most swindlers would have been content to disappear with the
necklace and realize its value, but "Sir Richard" was more ambitious
and greedy, for he was back again in the shop the same afternoon, and,
greatly to the gratification of the jeweller, announced that "her
ladyship" had been fascinated by the necklace, and that he wished to
pay for it there and then.

The impostor drew a cheque for six hundred pounds, and, remarking that
his own bank would be closed before he could get to it, induced the
jeweller to give him a receipt for the necklace and seventy-five pounds
in cash. Of course, the cheque came back marked "No account," and not
for many a long day did he see his customer again.

While the "baronet" was busy on swindles of this nature his two sons
were equally active. They lacked, of course, the suave polish of their
father, but they were bright, intelligent youths, and they could pose
as army officers anxious to spend the generous allowance their father,
"Sir Richard Douglas," made them. The credulous traders willingly
cashed cheques for the young Douglases, and were left eventually
with bits of paper as their only souvenirs of their simplicity and

A few months' swindling provided Douglas with sufficient capital to
rent an expensive house at Ascot, which became his headquarters, and
it was to it that he would retire every week-end from the stress and
strain of London. Every Monday morning, however, he would be driven
in his carriage to the station to catch the train to London, and to
start another week's "work." He dressed for each swindle, and played
many characters. On one occasion after having entertained some of the
leading people at Ascot to dinner he returned to town the following
morning, donned the attire of a broken-down clergyman, and cajoled a
large sum from the credulous by a story of ill-health and poverty and
a starving wife and children. But generally he was the well-dressed man
of the world, and boldly swindled tradespeople under the name of "Sir
Richard Douglas."

He had, of course, many narrow escapes. Once he absent-mindedly
entered a jeweller's shop--diamonds and gold and silver articles
specially appealed to him, because they were easily convertible into
hard cash--which he had defrauded only a fortnight earlier. The moment
the proprietor saw him he identified him as the man who had given a
worthless cheque in exchange for a diamond ring worth a hundred and
fifty guineas, but he pretended not to recognize the self-styled
"baronet," and he entered into negotiations with "Sir Richard," who
was plainly on the warpath again. Now Douglas had that morning told
his elder son, Philip, to hang about in the vicinity of the shop, so
that when he emerged from it he might unostentatiously pass on to him
the spoils, as the impostor intended to steal a few rings, as well as
obtain others by false pretences. The wary jeweller, however, was so
unusually alert that "Sir Richard" realized the situation.

He was in a tight corner now, for in addition to the presence of the
proprietor of the shop a brawny assistant was keeping guard at the
door. The "baronet," however, exhibited no sign of fear or mental
distress. He just casually glanced out of the window, and raised his
handkerchief to his left cheek and brushed it lightly. It was a signal
to his son on the other side of the road, and it meant that he was in

Philip Douglas was a real chip of the old block, and in a moment he
devised a plan to save his venerable parent. Walking briskly into the
shop where "Sir Richard" was the only customer--of course, the impostor
always selected the least busiest part of the day for his frauds--he
peremptorily laid his hand on his father's arm, and in curt tones
expressed his delight at having at last captured him.

"It's a bit of luck for you that I was passing and recognized this
fellow," he said to the astonished jeweller. "Do you know that he
is one of the greatest swindlers in London? I have been looking for
him for over a year. Take my advice and see if he has robbed you of

Immediately the door was locked, and the "detective" and the other two
men stood round the pale-faced and trembling culprit, who at that very
moment held in his hands a diamond tiara which was worth a thousand
pounds. But he was so terrified now that he seemed not to know where he
was and what he was doing.

The jeweller was so excited at the prospect of getting even with the
man who had swindled him a fortnight before that he instantly preferred
a charge against "Sir Richard," and, furthermore, at the suggestion of
the "detective" added another one, accusing him of trying to obtain the
tiara by false pretences. This was just what both the rogues wanted.

"Then you will be good enough to make a parcel of that tiara," said
the "detective," with an air of authority which was irresistible. "You
will carefully seal it too. I shall have to hand it over to my superior
officer to be used as evidence at the trial. Of course I will give you
a receipt for it."

The jeweller hastened to obey, and ten minutes later Philip Douglas
left the shop and stepped into a four-wheeler with his father and the
diamond tiara. The "detective" shouted out the address of a police
station, nodded curtly to the jeweller, and drove off. That night at
Ascot the family gloated over the acquisition of a prize which would
bring them in six hundred pounds at least, and leave a big profit for
the receiver of stolen goods.

But the biggest _coup_ of all was achieved by the "baronet" posing as
a messenger. It happened that he was chatting with the manager of a
diamond merchants shop when the latter observed that Lady Chesterfield
had given them an order to reset a collection of very valuable stones
which she had just received under the will of a relative. They were
reputed to be worth twenty thousand pounds, and that afternoon the
manager was to call at her ladyship's town house to receive the
precious parcel. On hearing this "Sir Richard" brought the interview to
an end, murmured that he was due back at his country seat to entertain
a Cabinet Minister and his wife, and having got outside rushed to the
nearest post office, obtained Lady Chesterfield's address, and drove to
it. His respectable appearance was in his favour, and he was admitted
at once, but her ladyship's secretary would not hear of handing over
the diamonds until "the manager" established his identity. It was a
critical moment, and had Douglas not been an accomplished swindler
he would have bolted, but he held his ground, and by sheer personal
magnetism won the secretary over. He had a good memory, and he was able
to recall many of the statements the manager had made to him, retailing
intimate details of previous transactions with Lady Chesterfield which
convinced the secretary that he was what he represented himself to be.

Within a week the whole of the stones were in the possession of
a well-known Continental "fence," whose place of business was
in Amsterdam, and the Douglas banking account was increased by
nine thousand pounds. Every morning for weeks the happy family at
Ascot enjoyed the newspaper references to the great mystery, and
congratulated themselves that the secretary's and the manager's
descriptions of the swindler resembled anybody but the bogus "baronet."

Continual success so impressed the impostor that he came to the
conclusion that he was under the special protection of Providence.
He began a diary, and the entries that followed were both amusing
and amazing. Some are worth reproducing, for the police subsequently
captured two of these astonishing compilations, which gave a complete
history of his swindles and impostures.

"Jan. 5th. Phaeton and horse seized. Fear exposure at Ascot, and chance
up there. Fear we must cut."

"Jan. 7th. All day ill. Row about stable. Forcible possession taken of
it. Row all day with one person or another. Fearful how things will
end. Three boys at home idle, all ordering things."

"Jan. 18th. Went to boys' to dinner. Champagne. Very merry. Providence
not quite deserted us."

When he raised three hundred pounds in two days by means of worthless
cheques he celebrated the "triumph" by writing in his diary:

"My labours ended for the week. Over three hundred to the good. Paid
off local tradesmen--genuine cheques. Gave notice to cook. Must get
some one who understands serving fish. Looking forward to a quiet
week-end. Must read Bible regularly."

He was really fond of reading the Bible, and he spent his leisure at
his home in studying it and keeping his diary up to date. When his sons
went off to the races he would potter about in the garden, apparently
the most respectable and virtuous man in the kingdom.

But every Monday morning Douglas would descend upon London, and when
the diaries were bulging with records of swindles of all descriptions,
and almost every tradesman in the West End was on his guard, he turned
for a time to begging-letter writing, at which he proved himself an
adept. He was the starving widow with eight children; the lonely widow
of an Indian officer; the one-legged and one-armed hero of half a dozen
campaigns; the old woman who had worked for the poor all her life, and
was now in poverty herself; and a dozen other characters. These rôles
produced plenty of money, not large sums, but enough to pay expenses
at Ascot and pass the time until "Sir Richard Douglas" and his greater
misdeeds were forgotten by the public if not by his victims.

On one occasion he resumed his clerical garb, and went round collecting
subscriptions for an aged missionary and his wife. By working ten hours
a day for a fortnight he collected several hundred pounds, and he even
persuaded two bishops to contribute through their chaplains, although
as a rule bishops are very careful to make inquiries before patronizing
anything of this sort. Douglas' sympathetic air, however, clinched
the matter, and by showing the bishops' subscriptions he was able
subsequently to swindle scores of persons who would not otherwise have
been taken in.

By now the police were on the look out for the bogus baronet who
had ruined more than one shopkeeper by his frauds. But Douglas was
a quick-change artist, and his keen eyes were ever on the watch. He
walked freely about London, and he always spotted the detectives, and
decamped before they recognized him. Some of the best sleuths were put
on his track, but he fooled them all.

He was once tracked to a house where he was trying to persuade the
occupant, a rich old lady, to buy a tract of land in Scotland which
he did not own, and it seemed certain that the impostor would be
captured, but, scenting danger, he ran upstairs into a room, where he
found some female clothes, and shortly afterwards he walked through the
kitchen--where a policeman was keeping guard--and out of the house by
the side door. The policeman explained later that he thought "she was
the cook going for her afternoon out."

This escape, however, was so narrow that the "baronet" returned at once
to Ascot, and lay low for a month. Meanwhile, his sons had been making
the money fly. Thousands of pounds went to the bookmakers at Ascot
and other racecourses, and all three of them were engaged to girls
with expensive tastes, which had to be satisfied. No wonder the old
hypocrite recorded in his diary:

"It is sad to think of the extravagance of youth. If we misuse the
money Providence has given us we will experience poverty. I have spoken
seriously to the boys, but they will not heed me. Note. Special hopes
for the success of the A.T. scheme."

The latter was, however, not successful, for it was an attempt at a
religious swindle which failed owing to the activities of the police.

Another failure was his short-lived matrimonial agency, which was to be
stocked with three "baronets," who were supposed to be on the look out
for wives. The "baronets" were to be impersonated by his sons. It came
to an abrupt termination by the theft of the preliminary prospectus by
a servant, who had to be bought off later at a cost of five hundred
pounds, an item of expenditure which nearly broke the old man's heart,
according to his diary.

These and other matters contrived to make "Sir Richard" nervy. His
sons were devoting more time to pleasure than to business, and the
knowledge that the authorities were doubling their efforts to catch him
was ever-disturbing. But he could not remain inactive, for his brain
was always teeming with plans for swindles, and he entered details of
several in his diary, some of which he put into execution.

Amongst his acquaintances in London was a widow of fortune. She was
in the late fifties, but despite that was not averse to marrying
again, especially a man with a title, and "Sir Richard's" advances
were not repulsed. Mrs. MacCormack had been left ten thousand a year
by her husband, and the lady maintained a costly establishment in the
neighbourhood of London. Douglas was fascinated by her money. He knew
that once she was his wife he would be able to get complete control of
her and her fortune. She would obey him implicitly, and he could live
at his ease, make his sons handsome allowances, and thoroughly enjoy

He therefore proposed to Mrs. MacCormack, who accepted "Sir Richard"
with an emotion akin to enthusiasm, and immediately began to prepare to
go through the marriage ceremony a second time. But Douglas insisted
upon the engagement being kept a secret, pointing out that it was only
for her sake that he did so.

"You will be accused of marrying me for my title, dear," he said in a
sympathetic tone, "and that would hurt me terribly. Thank God, no one
can accuse me of marrying for money. Your fortune may be large, but I
think that it does not exceed the rent-roll of my Scottish estates."

Mrs. MacCormack was touched by his kindly forethought, and really kept
the secret, although she was anxious to impress her acquaintances with
the fact that she was about to become "Lady Douglas."

It was settled that the marriage should take place at St. George's,
Hanover Square, and "Sir Richard" told the widow that the Archbishop
of Canterbury and the Bishop of London had promised to assist at the
ceremony if their engagements permitted. At the last moment it happened
that both these prelates were detained elsewhere, at least Douglas said
so, and to the rector was given the honour of officiating.

On the morning of the ceremony "Sir Richard" dressed himself with
extreme care in the room he had taken at the fashionable West End
hotel. It was eleven o'clock when he descended, and he was due at St.
George's at twelve. A carriage was to take him there with his best man,
who was his eldest son Philip, and the young rogue was posing for the
occasion as a friend and not a relative of the bridegroom-baronet.

Now, Philip Douglas, who was keenly interested in his father's
matrimonial adventure, had out of mere curiosity made a few inquiries
about Mrs. MacCormack, and he learnt that it was really true that she
had ten thousand pounds a year, but on the day of the ceremony he
discovered by sheer accident that under the provisions of her late
husband's will she was to be deprived of every penny if she married
again. So at half-past eleven Philip Douglas dashed into the hotel,
seized his father by the arm, and drew him into a corner. There he
confided to the old sinner the information that he was going to marry
a woman, ancient and ugly, who would be penniless the moment the knot
was tied. "Sir Richard" gasped, and then burst forth into imprecations
against the widow for her "deceit." With tears in his eyes he said she
had not been honest with him, and when he had regained his composure
he and his son drove away to catch the train back to Ascot. Mrs.
MacCormack arrived in due course at St. George's, Hanover Square, but
the "baronet" never appeared, and she reached home in tears and feeling
that she was the laughing-stock of London. Douglas entered all the
details of the misadventure in his diary, and he severely censured the
widow for not having been "honest" enough to tell him the truth.

For some reason, however, the "baronet" went to pieces after the
abandonment of his wedding. Money suddenly became scarce, and creditors
more persistent. A sheaf of debts contracted by his sons took him by
surprise, but they had to be paid, and Douglas was left with only a few
pounds in hand.

In the midst of the crisis he remembered having heard about a
benevolent clergyman of the name of Hamilton, who had a large fortune,
which he was in the habit of sharing with the poor. Douglas decided
that he would get a slice of it, and to achieve his purpose he became
a clergyman again. This time he was supposed to be an elderly priest
who had fallen upon evil times, and to play the part properly he took
lodgings in a slum house owned by a friend and humble confederate.
From there he wrote to Mr. Hamilton asking him to call upon a sick and
poverty-stricken fellow-clergyman, who had no friends and no hope left
in this world.

The appeal was cunningly worded, and the setting of the stage for the
comedy was perfect. Douglas knew that if only Mr. Hamilton called he
would be able to work upon his feelings to the extent of two hundred
pounds at least. Anxiously he waited for a reply, and his joy was
great when the owner of the house informed him that a clergyman was

The sham priest instantly returned to bed, and assuming a pained look
prepared to receive the visitor. He heard the knock at the front door,
and braced himself for the interview. Presently footsteps sounded on
the stairs, and then the door opened and a clergyman entered, whose
expression seemed to indicate a generous and credulous disposition.

Douglas was murmuring a prayer when the clergyman came to his side and
looked down at him. Then he opened his eyes.

"You--you are the saintly Mr. Hamilton?" he asked in a quavering voice.

"No," was the startling answer. "I am Inspector Allen, and I hold a
warrant for your arrest, Sir Richard."

It was a neat capture. The impostor was unable to extricate himself,
and at the ensuing Sessions he and his sons were sentenced to
imprisonment, and after that catastrophe nothing more was heard of the
venerable swindler until a newspaper recorded his death in 1858.



There had been a sensational forgery in a certain Canadian town, and
when the police announced that they had captured the criminal a huge
crowd sought entrance to the Court where the case was to be tried.
Those who managed to squeeze themselves in were astonished when they
saw a slim, fair-haired girl, with dark, alluring eyes, standing in the
dock, for Lydia Bigley, aged sixteen, was the forger!

The magistrates could hardly believe the evidence for the prosecution.
It seemed incredible that such a beautiful girl could be an expert
forger, but the police had accumulated all the facts, and there could
be no doubt that the demure maiden who looked so modest, and who
occasionally favoured the bench with a sweeping glance from beneath her
long eyelashes, was the person who had tried to raise five thousand
dollars by imitating a wealthy acquaintance's signature on a cheque.

The large-hearted men who judged Lydia did not intend to send her to
gaol if they could help it, and after a brief consultation amongst
themselves they acquitted her on the ground that she must have been
insane when she committed the crime with which she had been charged.

It was a remarkable decision, and it did more credit to the
magistrates' hearts than to their heads, but Lydia's magnetic eyes
may have had something to do with Lydia's first escape from prison.
For years afterwards those fascinating orbs were busy at work. There
were to be greater triumphs in store for her ere she was run to earth.
The girl developed into an extraordinary woman. When she stepped out
of the dock with an alluring smile her brain was busy evolving a
method by which she could live luxuriously without having to work, and
she deliberately chose a life of crime. For a year or two, however,
she contented herself with blackmail. It was always easy for her to
persuade some rich man that she had lost her heart to him, then get him
into a compromising position, and afterwards proceed to levy blackmail
as the price of her silence. The money so obtained did not provide her
with more than her current expenses, and she was anxious to launch out
as a society woman.

She did not, of course, confine herself to Canada. The rich country
of the United States presented a promising field to her, and in turn
she visited many of the principal cities, where she posed in turn as
the daughter of a British general, the widow of an earl, the niece of
a former American president, and so on until she had at one time or
another claimed close relationship with many of the mighty ones of the

[Illustration: MRS. CHADWICK]

All this, however, only prepared her for the great and final swindle,
and a very brief career as a "society clairvoyante" in an Ohio town
was merely an incident. Lydia was much more ambitious now. It took an
immense amount of hard cash to coax fashionable dresses and fascinating
hats out of the shops, and she simply loved both. In the hour of her
desperation, when two former victims declined to part with any more
cash, and her clairvoyance business was closed by the police, she
remembered her first exploit in criminality, and decided to chance
her luck again as a forger. But she was not going to be content with
a small sum now. She was the most popular woman in the district where
she temporarily resided. She set the fashion, and was determined to
live up to her proud position.

Up to this time Lydia had not found a man sufficiently rich to make it
worth her while to marry. She had had numerous affairs with married
men, and not a few bachelors had actually proposed to her, but there
was something against every one of them, and it was not until she met
handsome and popular and well-to-do Dr. Leroy Chadwick, of Cleveland,
that she consented to change her name. But if she had been dangerous
as Lydia Bigley, she was doubly so as Mrs. Leroy Chadwick, because
her status as the wife of the respected practitioner gave her almost
unlimited opportunities for swindling, and she took full advantage of

Her extravagance knew no bounds. She bought on credit thousands of
pounds worth of jewellery and furs. If she met a girl she liked she
would take her to Europe for a pleasure trip. Once she brought four
young ladies with her to London, Paris, and the principal Italian and
German cities. The trip cost four thousand pounds, but it was none of
her cheapest experiments in trying to get rid of money. For instance,
she and her husband occupied a large house standing in its own grounds,
which she insisted upon refurnishing, regardless of expense. A little
later she decided to have it redecorated throughout, and she agreed to
pay a fantastic price to the contractors on the understanding that they
began and finished the work while she was watching a performance at the
local theatre! They managed to keep their word, and Mrs. Chadwick's
house became for the time being a show place.

Another of her fads was a habit of giving costly presents on the
slightest provocation. To impress a local piano dealer with her
importance she walked into his showroom one day and counted the number
of instruments he happened to have in stock. There were twenty-seven
of them all told, and Mrs. Chadwick promptly gave him a list of
twenty-seven of her friends, and told him to deliver one of his pianos
to each with her compliments. Although somewhat taken aback at such
an order, and hearing that Mrs. Leroy Chadwick always paid for her
eccentricity, the piano dealer dared not doubt her word, and promised
to deliver the instruments. Again she ordered a dozen costly clocks,
one of which was made of gold, works and all. She kept the latter for
herself, and gave away the others. Her servants came in for many of her
gifts, and she decked out her cook with so many costly clothes that the
good dame grew too big for her job, and gave notice on the ground that
the work was undignified, and tended to ruin her wardrobe!

Of course, these ventures in extravagance could not have been
accomplished without a considerable amount of ready money. American
tradesmen are not all "mugs," and no matter how beautiful Lydia
Chadwick may have been, had she not been in a position to pay her
tradesmen, they would have spoiled her little schemes by pressing for
the settlement of their accounts.

Dr. Chadwick could not, however, keep pace with her expenditure, and
she fell back upon forgery, and now she began her greatest exploit,
which, before it landed her in the dock of an unsympathetic criminal
Court, enabled her to handle nearly a million dollars.

One day she drove in a costly carriage, with coachman and footman in
attendance, to the bank, and with impressive dignity walked in and
requested the manager to advance the modest sum of fifty thousand
pounds. Naturally the official asked for security. Mrs. Chadwick yawned
and opened her purse bag.

"I presume you have heard of my uncle, Mr. Andrew Carnegie?" she asked

The banker declared that he knew a great deal about the millionaire,
whose name will for ever be associated with Pittsburg iron and free

"Well, then," said the lady, with her nose in the air, "here are two
notes signed by him. You can see they are worth £150,000. Perhaps you
consider them sufficient security for such a paltry sum as I want you
to lend me for a few weeks."

They were, of course, ample security, but the manager, a shrewd
business man, determined to take no risks. He, therefore, politely
hinted that while he would not dare to doubt the genuineness of the
signature of the famous millionaire, "just for form's sake," he would
like to have a responsible person swear that the writing was Mr.
Carnegie's. He rather expected Mrs. Chadwick to be offended, but she
merely told him that the gentleman who had delivered the notes to her
that morning was still in town. "And as he is Mr. Carnegie's New York
lawyer I think he ought to know his handwriting."

The lawyer was fetched, and he not only identified the signatures,
but added the overwhelming testimony that he had been present himself
when Mr. Carnegie had drawn up and signed the notes. After that there
was nothing to be done but to credit Mrs. Chadwick with fifty thousand
pounds, and deposit the precious securities in the safe.

A month later the whole of the money had evaporated. Clamouring
tradesmen had had to be satisfied, advances from money-lenders
liquidated, and scores of persons to be impressed by large orders for
various goods, for which cash was paid. Meanwhile the Carnegie notes
rested securely in the strong room of the bank, for it was some time
ere the manager was to know that they were worthless forgeries, and
that Mrs. Chadwick did not know Mr. Carnegie, neither had she ever seen
him in her life!

Mrs. Chadwick certainly displayed a very masculine ability in her
criminal exploits. It was a stroke of genius to carry a bunch of
important-looking papers to one of the leading banks, and hire a
special safe by the year, for the rent of which she obtained a
receipt. Armed with this she was able to persuade quite a number of
rich and fashionable Americans that she had a million pounds worth of
securities in the safe which she did not wish to dispose of because the
markets were low, and to sell out would have been to invite a heavy
loss. She varied her story as occasion demanded, one of her favourite
yarns being that the securities were bequeathed to her on the condition
that she did not sell them outright. She could, however, promise very
large interest to those who trusted her, and it was an offer to pay
twenty per cent that induced one millionaire to hand her his cheque
for two hundred thousand dollars and not ask for anything more than a
written receipt.

Her swindle was, of course, only a copy of the Humbert fraud, and,
considering that she put it into operation a year after the sentence
on the famous Madame Humbert, it is extraordinary that she should have
been able to find victims. The only explanation that has been advanced
is that of hypnotism. Mrs. Chadwick had undoubtedly "hypnotic eyes,"
but it is doubtful if they alone charmed nearly a million out of some
of the most astute business men the land of dollars has produced.

But her story of a vast fortune in a bank safe was generally believed.
When she informed a keen-witted New York millionaire that if he
advanced her twenty-five thousand dollars she would repay him twice as
much within the year--the safe, she declared, was to be opened on a
certain date, and the contents distributed as she decided--he actually
took her word, and parted with the money he was never to see again. And
this did not happen long ago. The date of the transaction was 1904,
and that same man must have read all about Madame Humbert's trial and
conviction less than twelve months previously.

It is not necessary to give further particulars of this "safe" fraud.
Mrs. Chadwick simply took the cash, and had a "high old time," and
day and night her mansion was filled with guests. Her tradespeople
were delighted. The fact that she paid them cash, and that most of
them were too wary to take "shares" in the "safe" exploit, proved that
some people at any rate ultimately benefited by the woman's amazing

One of her most fiendish exploits was to invite a well-known financier
to dine with her and a few friends. This gentleman had declined to
advance money on the strength of the mythical securities, and she
had resolved to get even with him. She therefore retained friendly
relations with him and unsuspectingly he accepted her invitation. When
he arrived Mrs. Chadwick's only other guest was a pretty young girl,
the daughter of a New York physician.

The dinner was a pleasant affair, but towards the close the financier
became sleepy, greatly to his surprise, as he did not suspect that
his hostess had purposely drugged both him and her only other guest.
Anyhow, in the early morning, when he woke up, he found himself
stretched on the floor, and a moment later Mrs. Chadwick appeared,
and tearfully explained that in his "excited condition"--she meant
intoxicated, but refrained from using that vulgar word--he had grossly
insulted her girl friend. The long and the short of it was that he had
to pay ten thousand dollars in blackmail, and of this sum the woman
gave her girl confederate two hundred.

But at last the morning dawned when a certain victim of hers set out
for the Wade National Bank in Cleveland, and presented the manager's
receipt for the hire of the safe, together with the key and a written
order from Mrs. Chadwick that the bearer was to be permitted to open
the safe and take from it the valuable securities she had deposited
there. Her emissary was a creditor to the extent of eighty thousand
dollars, and he was naturally very anxious to recoup himself for his
outlay. Mrs. Chadwick had instructed him to select sufficient stocks
and shares to realize his account plus twenty thousand dollars for
interest, and then to send the rest to a firm of stockbrokers in New
York with instructions to realize.

It must have been a very dramatic moment when the credulous creditor
turned the key in the lock and the safe door opened on its hinges,
and he must have felt pleased with himself when he saw the pile of
important-looking documents which seemed to him to be valuable share
certificates. But a moment later he realized that he had been grossly
swindled, for the papers proved to be worthless.

The bubble had burst! Mrs. Chadwick was from that moment known as the
Madame Humbert of America. How her creditors howled! How they were
chaffed and ridiculed! A few would not reveal themselves once they
guessed that there could be no redress. Nevertheless, stern measures
were adopted, and a warrant was issued for the impostor's arrest.

Mrs. Chadwick had taken up her quarters in an expensive hotel in the
early part of December, 1904. She intended to pass Christmas there, and
the management had already consulted her as to her ideas of a really
Christmasy entertainment. She was paying one hundred dollars a week
for her rooms, and she had arrived with a fortune in jewels, and half
a dozen personal servants. She was the uncrowned queen of the hotel,
where the other visitors stood in groups and discussed her wonderful
personality in awed accents.

She was destined, however, to spend that Christmas in gaol. One evening
when Mrs. Chadwick, resplendent in a marvellous Parisian creation,
and wearing jewels which must have cost fifty thousand dollars at
least, was chatting at the dinner-table, the manager came to her
and respectfully intimated that a couple of gentlemen wished to see
her. She graciously answered that she would receive them in her
drawing-room. Visitors were every-day occurrences with her, and these,
she thought, were local celebrities, who had come to enlist her support
for their Christmas charities.

Without the slightest suspicion that anything was wrong she entered
her luxurious drawing-room, and with a smile inquired the strangers'
business. Now American detectives have a habit of being brutally frank,
and they lost no time in informing her that she was their prisoner,
and that the charge against her was that of having obtained nearly a
million dollars by fraud.

The news stunned her, and for a moment or two she stood motionless.
Then she collapsed in a faint, and it was some time before the two
detectives could get her downstairs and into the waiting cab.

Mrs. Chadwick had started her criminal career with a triumph over
the soft-hearted Canadian magistrates who had so obligingly decided
that she was too pretty to be evil, and, recalling that triumph, she
resolved to fight for her liberty with her eyes and not her tongue.
When she was brought into the dock she fainted again, knowing that
she looked quite bewitching when in that state, and that her forlorn
condition must wring pity from even her worst enemies. But her
programme did not work out as she expected it would. Instead of a host
of sympathetic men crowding round her and proffering good-natured
advice, she was roughly brought to by a couple of hard-featured
wardresses. Then she was installed in the dock again, and compelled to
listen to the story of her life as told by a prosecuting lawyer, who
was quite unaffected by Mrs. Chadwick's "magnetic eyes." He mercilessly
raked up her past, recounted how she had ruined scores of men and
women, how she had been one of the most dangerous blackmailers in
America, and how she had adopted Madame Humbert's "safe" swindle, with
disastrous results for scores of impressionable men.

It was a formidable indictment, and the recital of it blotted out
at once the beauty of the prisoner. She was shown to be an utterly
unscrupulous impostor, a woman who had declared war against society,
and who had repaid her husband's love by making his name a byword
throughout the land.

She had, of course, a clever lawyer to plead for her, and every
possible effort was made to secure an acquittal, but there was no
question of insanity now. She was too clever to be an imbecile, and
the judge had not the slightest hesitation in giving her ten years'

When she had been convicted, and before she tottered from the dock
into the oblivion of the gaol, the interesting fact was mentioned that
she had been in the habit of wearing a belt containing ten thousand
dollars, with the object of taking to flight if her liberty was ever
threatened. The celerity with which the police had acted, however,
resulted in the capture of this little "nest egg" for her creditors,
although it is to be feared that each of them received a very small
proportion of the amount he lost through his faith in the word of
the greatest female impostor since Madame Humbert was convicted. It
should be recorded that her husband had nothing whatever to do with her
frauds. He was, in fact, one of her victims and when he married her he
had no idea that she was then an ex-convict.

After the failure of her attempt to secure a new trial Mrs. Chadwick
was sent to the Ohio State Penitentiary at Columbus, and there she died
on Oct. 10th, 1907, at the age of forty-eight.



One summer day a beautiful Mexican girl was sitting motionless on
horseback gazing across the ranch of which her adopted father was
the owner, when a young man, tall, of good appearance, and pleasant
address, came up and respectfully raised his cap. The girl instantly
smiled a welcome, for in that remote region strangers were few, and it
was the custom of the country to welcome and entertain them. But this
young man had no desire to be taken to the ranch house. He wanted to
have a chat with the beauty, and as he was handsome and ingratiating
the impressionable girl readily consented to give him half an hour of
her time.

James Addison Beavis, for that was the stranger's name, told a
wonderful story to the dark-eyed damsel, who listened as if spellbound.

"This is not the first time I have seen you," he said in a pleasing,
confidential manner that was delightfully intimate and brotherly. "I
have often watched you galloping about on the ranch, but I wanted to be
quite certain that you are the person I have been looking for for years
before I spoke."

"Looking for me!" she exclaimed in wonderment.

"Yes," he said quickly, and dropped his voice. "Do you know that your
real name is Peralta, and that with my help you will soon be the owner
of lands in Arizona and New Mexico worth one hundred million dollars?"

She gasped. Could it be possible? She was half-Spanish, half-Mexican,
and therefore hot-tempered and romantic, and it was easy for her
to persuade herself that she was something better than the adopted
daughter of a Mexican ranch-owner, who had taken her into his house out
of pure charity. Dolores felt that she had been meant for something

Beavis, who was a cute man of the world, and possessed of an eloquent
tongue, sat beside her on the trunk of an old tree, and explained why
it was that a huge tract of land was awaiting an owner, land which
would make its eventual possessor a multi-millionaire. He said that
hundreds of years ago a Spanish king had made over the rich lands of
Peralta to a certain Spanish nobleman, whose descendants had enjoyed
the revenues, until, owing to various misfortunes, there seemed to be
a lack of heirs. The property had then been taken charge of by the
United States Government, and its revenues had been, and still were,
accumulating, but he had been inspired to make an independent research,
and he could now prove by legal documents that Dolores was the only
living descendant of the last owner of the huge estate. He promised to
produce the necessary birth and marriage certificates which established
his contention that Dolores Peralta was the legal proprietor of an
estate half the size of Great Britain.

Dolores herself had only a vague idea as to how she had become an
orphan, but the fascinating and persuasive Beavis had the whole story
at his finger-ends. He declared that when she was an infant her
parents had been drowned whilst crossing a river, and that Dolores
had been rescued by an Indian squaw, who had later on abandoned her.
After passing through various hands she had come into the keeping of
the Mexican who had adopted her, and with him she had spent the last
fifteen of her eighteen years, passing as his daughter, and generally
understood to be his heir.

But now that she was told by Beavis that she had only to trust her
affairs to him to become worth £20,000,000, the ranch seemed but a poor
and sordid affair and unworthy of her. She wanted to obtain her rights
and to take her place in society, and the more she listened to Beavis
the more inclined she was to give him not only charge of her affairs,
but also the keeping of her heart. For Beavis was an expert talker, and
Dolores was not the only victim of his honeyed tongue.

They made a compact there and then that Beavis was to go ahead with
the task of obtaining the property for her. Dolores had, of course,
no money to advance for expenses, but this did not worry Beavis. He
went to New York, and obtained an interview with Mackay, the famous
millionaire, who earned the name of "The Silver King." Mr. Mackay was
so impressed that he advanced sufficient capital to enable Beavis to
proceed to Spain to prosecute his inquiries.

Of course, the whole affair was a barefaced swindle. There was
certainly a Peralta estate awaiting a claimant and it was worth twenty
million pounds, but Dolores, the girl of the ranch, was not a Peralta
at all. Beavis, however, meant to get that huge fortune, even if he had
to share it with the girl. It was in his opinion a stake well worth
risking much for. He was an expert forger, and his knowledge of human
nature was immense. Besides that he had the great gift of patience, and
he was willing to spend years if necessary perfecting his plans before
putting them into execution.

It was easy enough for him to forge birth, marriage and death
certificates, as well as a deed of gift conveying the property to
the Peralta family, but he wanted something else besides documents.
Dolores, who was in reality of obscure birth, looked the aristocrat to
the life. She was undeniably beautiful, and her carriage was the last
word in haughty aloofness, though the girl was a charming companion
when with those she liked. Beavis had found her delightful, and whilst
he was prosecuting his inquiries in Spain he never forgot the beauty of
the lonely ranch.

Day after day he toured the curiosity shops of Madrid, delving into
dusty cellars and examining everything, picture, paper, or curio, which
bore the stamp of age. Only Beavis would have devoted so much time to a
single detail when practically his case was ready, but his perseverance
was rewarded when he came upon two ancient miniatures which were
strikingly like Dolores. They represented two Spanish ladies who had
existed a hundred years earlier, and they might have been mother
and daughter, judging by their resemblance to one another, but they
interested the impostor for the reason that their features were exact
replicas of Dolores'.

From the moment they became Beavis' by purchase he called them
miniatures of two of Dolores' ancestors, and he exhibited them as her
great-great-grandmother and a remote aunt. They were Peraltas, and
bore the Peralta cast of countenance--at least Beavis said so, and he
professed to be the only living authority on a famous Spanish family
which had come upon evil days.

Every week he heard from Dolores, and it ought to have been obvious to
him that the girl was thinking less of the twenty millions than she
was of her "gallant knight errant." She was really more concerned with
his welfare than with the prospect of becoming the richest woman in
the world. Beavis smiled as he read her somewhat artless compositions.
It was the money he was after, and he was too clever an adventurer
and impostor to have any time for love-making, although Dolores was
undoubtedly a beauty.

Thanks to the financial help of "The Silver King," Beavis was able
to do his work thoroughly in Spain before returning to the United
States, and when he arrived in New York he brought with him a pile of
documents bearing on the Peralta family. The two miniatures occupied
a prominent place, and the forged deed of gift, so skilfully executed
that Beavis confidently handed it over to experts for examination,
was also to the fore. Those who had heard of Beavis' activities were
greatly excited, for it is not often that a claimant comes forward to
an estate worth in American money one hundred million dollars.

But before he came into Court on behalf of Dolores there was one
important thing to be done. Beavis had devoted years of labour to the
task. He was going to risk a year's imprisonment, and he considered it
only right that, to make assurance doubly sure as far as his reward was
concerned, Dolores should become his wife.

It was a casual remark in a New York restaurant that decided him
to propose to her. A friend, who was a world-renowned handwriting
expert, and who had pronounced the forged deed of gift to be genuine,
laughingly tried to estimate the number of proposals the heiress would
have when it was known who and what she was. That night Beavis took the
train to the town nearest the ranch, where by arrangement Dolores met
him to hear all about his adventures.

The meeting was a strange one. Beavis was full of the subject which
engrossed him day and night, and he wanted to go at once into details,
but Dolores seemed to be uninterested in everything and everybody
except him. She wished to know how he was, and if he was well and
happy, and as she sat beside him her dark eyes constantly travelled in
his direction, and there were tears in them sometimes.

Dolores was, as a matter of fact, desperately in love with Beavis.
At the back of her brain there was a shrewd suspicion that there was
no Peralta estate, and that she was only his partner in a gigantic
swindle, but she loved him, and that was sufficient for her. It was
of no importance if the Peralta property was a myth. Beavis had won
her heart, and she had spent months of anxiety, fostered by a growing
jealousy, because she feared that in the luxurious cities of Europe
he would meet a girl who would make him forget the wild beauty of the

Beavis quickly realized the situation, and with a merry laugh and a
few compliments asked her to marry him. He was not prepared for her
answer. No sooner had he spoken than she flung herself at his feet, and
passionately announced her intention of devoting the rest of her life
to his welfare.

It was a real love romance within a sordid, miserable fraud. Beavis,
who prided himself upon his knowledge of men and women, could not
understand the love he had aroused in the breast of this veritable
child of nature. He, who would have sold himself body and soul for
money, was astounded that Dolores should be happier as his fiancée than
as the prospective owner of twenty million pounds. She would look bored
when he spoke of their future splendour when they came into the Peralta
money, but if he referred, however obliquely, to her as his wife her
face would light up and her manner change at once into that of a happy,
delighted girl.

The old ranch-owner offered no objection to the match, and the marriage
promptly took place in a remote town, none of those present being aware
that this ceremony was to be the prelude to one of the biggest law
cases in the history of the United States. Beavis was not in love with
his bride. He wanted her money, but Dolores was enchantingly happy, and
had she not known that she would have displeased her husband by the
suggestion she would have asked him to retire from the Peralta case
and let them find and make their own happiness in a little ranch away
from the poverty and crimes of cities. But to Beavis nothing mattered
except the Peralta millions, and the day after the marriage ceremony he
took his lovely bride to New York, where they established themselves
in one of the leading hotels, there to await the opening of the suit
before the Court of Claims.

The smooth and persuasive tongue of the bridegroom and the beauty and
naturalness of the bride carried all before them in New York. Beavis
had certainly done his work well, but when level-headed lawyers,
suspicious by nature, met Mrs. Beavis they immediately capitulated.
There is no other explanation of the extraordinary number of adherents
they made for their cause.

They entertained lavishly, using the money which their guests had
subscribed for the presentation of Dolores' case before the Courts.
It might have been supposed that the ranch girl would have been at
a disadvantage in such society, coming as she did from the heart of
prairie-land, but because she insisted upon being herself she scored
social triumph after social triumph.

The impostor was, of course, the happiest man in New York. It seemed
impossible that he should fail. In fact, everybody agreed that the
trial would be the most formal of affairs. His cleverness and Dolores'
beauty were irresistible, and he would have to be a hard-headed,
unfeeling judge who could resist the appeal her eyes made.

Backed by some of the leading business people in New York, his case,
presented by a firm of lawyers justly renowned for its ability, and
with his wife to cheer him on, Beavis went into Court certain that he
would leave it one of the richest men in America. Dolores and he sat
side by side whilst counsel argued before the judges and endeavoured
to prove that the adopted daughter of the Mexican ranch-owner was
the descendant of the Counts of Peralta, who had originally come
from Spain. Beavis gave his evidence with confidence and, of course,
courage. When a man is playing for such a stake as twenty millions he
requires both in abundance.

The end of the first day of the case foreshadowed an easy victory.
Beavis was overjoyed, and Dolores was happy just because he was. By
now, however, she had seen enough of the documents to guess that the
whole claim was bogus. She was the daughter of nameless parents, and,
no matter what the Court decided, she would never know who her forbears
really were. It did not matter much to her, yet because she loved the
impostor she became even more anxious for success than he was, and she
knew that if anything went wrong it would break her heart.

Had the estate not been so enormous the United States Court of Claims
would not have so doggedly resisted Beavis' claim, but the officials
realized that it would be best for all concerned if the question of
ownership was decided once and for all. Because of that they took the
precaution to despatch an expert in pedigrees and old documents to
Madrid, to go over the ground that Beavis had covered and to inquire
especially into the history of the all-important deed of gift.

The claimant was not aware of this, if he had been it might have
disturbed the serenity with which he faced the Court. But everything
was going his way, and there was always his lovely and devoted wife to
whisper that they were winning and that their suspense would soon be

It is doubtful if there has ever been a case where an impostor has
failed by such a narrow margin as Beavis did. The Government officials
had been receiving regular reports from their emissary in Spain,
and each one strengthened rather than weakened the claimant's case;
accordingly, the presiding judge was actually drawing up a judgment in
favour of Dolores when at the eleventh hour a report came from Madrid
which pointed to the fact that the Government agent had discovered that
Beavis' deed of gift was a barefaced forgery.

Once that was known there was, of course, no chance for the impostor.
It naturally followed that the history of all the other documents
presented by Beavis was inquired into, and then the system of
wholesale forgery came to light. Step by step his progress in his
greatest imposture was traced. His numerous birth, death and marriage
certificates were shown to be worthless; the dealer who had sold the
miniatures to him was produced, and gave damaging evidence, and the
impostor was left without a leg to stand upon.

The case came to a dramatic finish, the judge announcing unexpectedly
that it was dismissed. The Court gasped. Beavis pretended to be
astonished, and he glanced around with a smiling face, but his eyes
were searching for detectives, and he identified two in the men who now
stood by the door of the Court. They posed as ushers, but the impostor
realized that their business was never to let him out of their sight
until they had clapped him into a cell.

Poor Dolores was most affected by his arrest, which Beavis chose to
regard as an official blunder and one which he would soon put right.
The girl who loved him, however, knew that it would be a long time ere
he was free again. He would have to pay the penalty for his gigantic
imposture, and as she thought of the years of separation her tears

As in the case of the claim to the Peralta estate, Beavis bore himself
well at the criminal trial. It was, of course, easy for the prosecution
to prove his guilt, and the leading citizens who had backed him felt
particularly foolish when they understood how they had been tricked.
It was, perhaps, only human that Dolores should find herself without
a friend when the judge sentenced her husband to a long term of
imprisonment. The society that had fawned upon and flattered her now
gave her the cold shoulder. But the lonely wife did not mind. She had
determined to work hard and wait patiently until the man she loved
returned to her.

Some years ago when an English nobleman was sentenced to five years'
penal servitude his wife took up her residence as near as possible to
the gaol in which he was incarcerated. Dolores Beavis went one better.
She toiled so that she might have the means to start her husband in
business when he came out of gaol; and to achieve her object she
underwent toil and trouble and insult.

When, later, he was removed to another gaol she would give up her
employment and follow on foot, afraid to spend any of her savings
on railways, and denying herself sufficient food in order that the
precious "nest-egg" might not be diminished.

Beavis knew what she was doing for him, and the knowledge of it changed
his nature. Money ceased to be his god. He had not appreciated Dolores
when he had her all to himself, but whilst he sat in his lonely cell
and remembered that she was outside the gloomy gaol working herself to
the bone for him his nature softened, and he fell in love with her.
Better men have inspired less devotion; fewer have known such love as
Dolores bestowed upon the man to whom she had surrendered her heart.

Once Beavis, maddened by inaction, determined to escape, and he managed
to communicate his intention to his wife. She implored him not to make
the attempt, which would be certain to fail, and which would therefore
result in an addition to his term of imprisonment. He took her advice,
and a day later found that one of the party of convicts who had planned
a simultaneous dash for freedom was a spy in the pay of the governor
of the prison, so that there never had been the slightest chance of

But even the longest sentence must come to an end, and after a period
of separation which had seemed like eternity to both of them Beavis
walked out of the prison gates a free man. The first person he saw was
Dolores, dressed simply in black and looking more beautiful than ever.
Without a word they went away arm in arm to begin life anew.

Beavis had a sense of humour, and he must have realized the funny
side of the scene when Dolores proudly told him that she had scraped
together the large sum of forty-eight dollars! To the man who had once
refused to think of anything under a million this was a descent from
the sublime to the ridiculous, yet the impostor, who had paid for his
sins, could find himself regarding her fortune with enthusiasm, and
he could spend hours debating as to the best way to lay it out with
advantage to themselves.

It was Dolores who decided their future. She had been brought up on a
ranch and away from the crowded centres, so she voted for a small farm
in a remote corner of the great United States, and Beavis willingly
submitted. The Peralta estate and its twenty million pounds seemed like
a dream now, and he would not have troubled to devote even an hour to a
similar scheme even if it promised to produce twice as much.

Thus it was his wife's love that saved James Addison Beavis from
himself, and made his name unfamiliar to the police. His one great
adventure in crime had met with disaster, and ever afterwards he was
content with the fortune the labour of his hands earned for him.



According to his own description of himself, James Greenacre was a
very respectable grocer, a lenient creditor, and one of the most
popular residents in the parish of Camberwell; and to prove the latter
statement he pointed to the fact that he had been elected one of the
overseers of the parish by a substantial majority.

But the plain truth is that, during the greater part of the
fifty-two years which comprised his span of life, Greenacre was a
hypocritical scoundrel who preached virtue and practised vice and whose
egregious vanity found an outlet in seconding the notoriety-seeking
eccentricities of politicians of the Daniel Whittle Harvey type.
Greenacre presided at Harvey's meetings when the latter was Radical
candidate for Southwark, and there is a certain grim humour in the
fact that three years after Greenacre was executed for murder his
political confrère was appointed commissioner of the metropolitan
police. Greenacre was prospering when an offence against the inland
revenue entailed unpremeditated emigration to America, and after a
brief sojourn in New York and Boston he returned to London in 1835 and
began the manufacture of "an infallible remedy for throat and chest
disorders." He was struggling to make this venture pay when he met
Hannah Browne.

Greenacre had regained his reputation for solvency when he astonished
his numerous friends by hinting that he would not mind undergoing the
ordeal of matrimony if a woman with plenty of money could be found for
him. He said that, as he was a rich man, it would be only fair if the
other party to the contract brought a fair fortune into the common
pool. In fact, with him marriage was a business deal and nothing else,
and he made no secret of his opinion.

[Illustration: JAMES GREENACRE.


There were plenty of girls and matrons in Camberwell who would not have
objected to becoming Mrs. James Greenacre, but they all lacked the
necessary qualification for the partner of the prosperous quack and
politician, and their dreams of wealth soon faded. Greenacre, however,
kept a sharp lookout, and one evening he casually made the acquaintance
of a widow named Hannah Browne. She was between thirty-five and forty
and ever since childhood had toiled laboriously. Even a short spell of
married life had brought her no relief, for the late Mr. Browne had had
an incurable objection to work, and his unfortunate wife had been the
breadwinner for both of them. But Mrs. Browne was apparently a cheerful
and free-from-care person when she was introduced to the avaricious
rascal. If she was not exactly a beauty, she had features which were
pleasing, and she possessed sufficient womanly tact to make the most
of Greenacre's weak points. She flattered him as much as she could;
dwelt on his popularity and his fearlessness as a politician--he was a
stentor of the street-corner--and, doubtless, predicted that one day he
would be a Member of Parliament. He swallowed the flattery, large as
the doses were; but, while he liked Mrs. Browne for the sensible woman
that she was, he did not forget the qualification he demanded from
the person who aspired to become his wife. He had been particularly
touched, however, by her references to his fame as a politician, for
Greenacre was a self-styled champion of the people, and in Camberwell
his voice was often raised in denunciation of those eminent
statesmen with whose views he did not agree. It was a time of general
unrest in home affairs, and four years previously the great Reform
Bill of 1832 had started the movement which eventually was to give the
electors the complete control of Parliament.

Mrs. Browne resolved to marry the grocer and share his savings, and to
impress Greenacre she invented a story of house property which she, a
helpless widow, found difficult to manage. She told him she had been
left some houses by Mr. Browne and that these with her savings made her
fairly well off. Greenacre succumbed to the temptation; proposed and
was accepted.

It was now late autumn, Christmas was approaching, and Hannah Browne
complained of feeling lonely. Her only relative, a brother, who lived
near Tottenham Court Road, had his own interests, and she was without a
real friend. The widow's object was to get the marriage ceremony over
as quickly as possible, for every day's delay increased the danger of
Greenacre's discovery of her lies. She was confident that once she was
his wife she would be all right. He might be angry; perhaps threaten
her; but his standing in Camberwell would compel him to accept her as
his wife and give her the shelter of his house, and she and Time would
do the rest. Anyhow, the risk was small compared with the benefits to
be gained by a successful issue to her plot. She had had enough of hard
work, poverty and loneliness. So all through the courtship she lied
and lied, and the mercenary rogue believed her because he wanted those
houses and meant to have them at any price.

Urged by him Hannah Browne named a day for the wedding--the last
Wednesday of the year, 1836--and to celebrate her decision Greenacre
invited her to dine with him on Christmas Eve at his own house. He
promised her that his housekeeper, Sarah Gale, would prepare a meal
which would do credit to the occasion, and Hannah gladly accepted,
delighted as she was at the success of her scheme to secure a
well-to-do husband.

What would her brother and his family say now? She glowed with
gratification when she pictured their amazement when she told them that
she was the wife of a prosperous trader and property-owner! The years
of humiliation would be wiped out by her second marriage. Her first had
been a failure, but the second would more than compensate for it.

In the early part of the day before Christmas she met several
acquaintances, in whom she confided her secret, bubbling over with
pride as she told it. They congratulated her and passed on, probably
not giving the subject another thought. Hannah Browne had always been
ambitious, and her tale of a rich husband was received with disbelief.
Nevertheless, those casual meetings on Christmas Eve proved of more
than ordinary interest some three months later. She had already
intimated to her brother that James Greenacre was to be her husband,
and the grocer had met his future brother-in-law once. Greenacre,
however, was in a far better position than Gay, and did not trouble to
cultivate his acquaintance. On his part, Gay was only too pleased to
learn that some one was willing to take his sister off his hands, and
he felt indebted to Greenacre and did not resent his indifference to
him after their first meeting.

But something very important happened between the fixing of the date of
the ceremony and the dinner at Carpenters Buildings, Camberwell, and
that was the discovery by Greenacre that Hannah Browne was actually
penniless. It came to him with all the force of a knock-down blow, and
he perspired as he thought how near he had been to entering into a
contract to provide another man's daughter with board and lodging for
life. He trembled as he estimated how much that would have cost him;
but when his surprise and nervousness went a fierce hatred of the
deceiver took possession of his small and mean soul.

Hannah Browne had lied to him. She was penniless; indeed, she had been
compelled to borrow small sums of money from casual acquaintances on
the security of her forthcoming marriage to him. The respectable grocer
and popular overseer went black with rage. His housekeeper, who had
contemplated the marriage with dismay because it was certain that it
would lead to the disinheritance of her child, of whom her employer
was the father, fed his anger with the fuel of innuendo and jeers. She
blackened Hannah's character, declared that the widow would make him
the laughing-stock of Camberwell, and, if he declined to marry her,
would most likely either try blackmail or sue him for damages.

The ambitious street-corner politician winced at the prospect of the
public ridicule her disclosures would earn for him; the greedy grocer
shrank from having to pay out real red gold for breach of promise.

"She's coming to dinner to-night," whispered Sarah Gale, the tight
mouth and the small glittering eyes telling their own story of
insensate hatred of the woman who had been selected to supplant her.

Greenacre looked into the face of his temptress, and instantly realized
that if he wanted an accomplice in any crime here was one whom he could
trust, even with his life.

"I don't want to see her," he said, turning away from the woman.
"When she calls send her away. She'll guess by that that I've found
everything out."

"She will not go away quietly," said Sarah Gale. "And if I give her a
message like that she'll force her way in. What'll the neighbours say
if they find a woman screaming outside your house on Christmas Eve?
Better let her in. You can give her a good talking to. She deserves
something for them lies she's been telling you."

He would have laughed to scorn the suggestion that he was a criminal,
if the accusation had been made at that moment. Perhaps, he had been
guilty in the past of giving short weight to his customers, and now and
then in his anxiety to strike a bargain he may not have dealt fairly
with his friends, but these were venial sins, and he believed himself
to be a thoroughly respectable citizen; yet greed of gold was going to
turn him into a calculating and cold-blooded criminal that very night.

When Hannah Browne arrived wearing her best clothes she was admitted
by Sarah Gale, who must have smiled grimly when she saw the visitor's
pleased expression.

The table was already prepared, and nothing remained but to serve up
the banquet. But Greenacre, who had intended not to speak until after
dinner, was unable to restrain himself, and Hannah had not been two
minutes in the room when he burst into a torrent of angry words.

The widow started to her feet, listened for a few moments in silence,
and then laughed mockingly. Now that the truth was known she only
jeered at him, boasting of her success in having thrown dust in his
eyes for so long. She answered him with threat for threat, and swore
that she would make him keep his promise to marry her. Greenacre was
provoked to madness, and, losing control of himself, he picked up
a rolling-pin, and in a fury struck her with it. As she dropped to
the floor Sarah Gale stole into the room on tiptoe, and, coming to
the murderer's side, stood looking down at the corpse, elated by the
knowledge that Greenacre would never be able to get rid of her now;
in fact would be in her power all his life. He could not speak or
move. The blood on the floor hypnotized him. He was a murderer, and if
he were caught he would be hanged by the neck until he was dead. He
shuddered convulsively at the thought.

The woman touched him on the shoulder.

"Why should anyone know?" she said, in a whisper that sounded like
a croak. "Let us get rid of the body. Hannah had no real friends.
There'll be no one to make awkward inquiries."

Her voice roused him and he pulled himself together. The fear of
the hangman was the greatest terror of all, and now dread of the
consequences transformed him into a cunning, calculating villain.

With the help of Sarah Gale he divided the body into three parts--head,
trunk and legs. Each meant a separate journey to a different part of
London, for he believed that if he hid the remains in three places far
apart from each other discovery and identification would be impossible.
One or possibly two of the ghastly parcels might be unearthed, but it
was out of the question that all three would be found and put together.
For several hours the guilty couple laboured to remove all traces of
the crime, and Christmas Day dawned with the parcels ready for disposal.

Wrapping the head in a silk handkerchief, he journeyed by omnibus into
the city; from there he went to Stepney, and, reaching the Regent's
Canal, he took a walk along the bank until he came to a more than
usually deserted spot. Here he flung the head into the water, taking
care to retain the silk handkerchief, for even in the hour of danger
and stress he could remember that it had cost him several shillings.

No murderer ever spent a more ghastly Christmas than James Greenacre
did, but he was by now quite callous. The second journey enabled him to
dispose of the legs by flinging them into a ditch in Coldharbour Lane,
not very far from his house. The disposal of the trunk, however, was
the most difficult of all. It made a very heavy parcel, and Greenacre,
with extraordinary daring, did not pack it in a box and attempt to get
rid of it that way. He wrapped it up in cloth and paper, and, carrying
it himself into the street, found a passing carter, who gave him a lift
until he was a couple of miles from Camberwell. Then the murderer took
a cab, and, after two or three incidents which would have unnerved most
men, he reached a lonely spot in Kilburn which he considered would make
an ideal hiding-place.

The threefold task completed he returned home quite satisfied with
himself. If the worst happened and the three parcels were found, the
finder of the trunk at Kilburn would never dream of inquiring at
Stepney for the head, or at Camberwell for the legs. He argued that
the public would make three mysteries out of the three parts and never
think of associating all with one crime.

Greenacre began the new year with a feeling of relief and security.
His mistress, Sarah Gale, instead of being able to hold a threat over
him, found herself compelled to keep silent for her own sake as well
as his. She was his accomplice, and, therefore, equally guilty in the
eyes of the law. Thus she had the best of reasons for forgetting the
Christmas Eve tragedy, and the respectable grocer, quite unperturbed,
went to reside in another London suburb and continued to deal out
his "amalgamated candy" to the credulous and eloquently describe its
healing qualities.

Despite his first mistake, however, Greenacre had not abandoned the
idea of marriage, and he speculated in an advertisement in the "Times,"
taking precautions to disguise his real intentions. He advertised to
the effect that he required a partner with at least three hundred
pounds to help him to place on the market a new washing-machine, of
which he was the sole inventor. Of course it was a lie. Greenacre
wished to get into correspondence with a woman of means, and, in his
opinion, this was the surest way, for any female who answered his
advertisement would possess at least three hundred pounds, and the
chances were that the majority of correspondents would make a more
detailed reference to the means they possessed.

A lady with considerable savings did reply to the advertisement, and
Greenacre promptly changed his letters from business communications
into ardent protestations of respect and admiration. Encouraged by the
lady's failure to resent the freedom of his language, he boldly asked
her to marry him, but, fortunately for herself, she promptly rejected
his offer.

But, meanwhile, something had occurred elsewhere which was to have a
fatal result for the murderer. On December 28th, 1836, the trunk of
Hannah Browne's body had been found at Kilburn. There was nothing to
identify it, and it was ordered to be preserved for a certain time in
case anyone with a missing friend or relation should come forward and
recognize it. The only clue--and that a very tiny one--was that the
remains were wrapped in a blue cotton frock, which had evidently been
worn by a child.

Ten days afterwards a lock-keeper on the Regent's Canal pulled the head
of a woman out of the water. A preliminary examination showed that it
bore bruises which must have been inflicted before death. The most
important discovery, however, was that the head had been roughly sawn
from the body. Now, the trunk found at Kilburn bore similar traces
of sawing, and that drew the attention of the Stepney police to the
coincidence. They took the head to Kilburn, and there it was seen that
it fitted the trunk exactly. It was now possible to have the body
identified, but, although scores of persons came and viewed the legless
corpse, it remained unnamed.

Two months were to pass before the body was to be completed. A
basket-maker was cutting osiers in Coldharbour Lane when he saw
a parcel floating in the ditch at his feet. He recovered it and
examined the contents--two legs. These he conveyed to the police, who
immediately placed them in the mortuary where the rest of Mrs. Browne's
remains were.

In this way Greenacre's plans were confounded. He had staked everything
against the possibility of the three parts ever finding their way into
the same room, but within three months of the crime the complete body
lay awaiting identification.

The police were not a highly-organized force in the year that
witnessed the death of William IV and the accession of Queen Victoria.
Out-of-date methods prevailed, and the most celebrated of the
detectives were now old men, the remnants of a system that was soon to
be swept away. But the treble discovery aroused the authorities. The
mangled remains of the poor woman were proof positive that there was a
dangerous beast at large in London, and the police concentrated their
efforts on the task of finding someone who could identify the corpse,
certain that once the woman's name was known the arrest of her murderer
would follow speedily.

However, the days went, and failure seemed certain when Gay, Hannah
Browne's brother, called to view the body. He had not seen his sister
for over three months, and he was getting anxious about her. At first
sight of the corpse he declared that it was his sister's and that when
he had last seen her she was going to dine with James Greenacre on
Christmas Eve.

"Did she keep that appointment?" asked the officer in charge of the

"No, she didn't," answered Gay. "At least, Mr. Greenacre came to me
late on Christmas Eve and said that Hannah had not turned up. He
explained that she probably had been afraid to call and dine with him
because he had found her out in some lies."

"Then this Mr. Greenacre will be unable to help us to trace her
movements last Christmas Eve?" said the detective.

"I suppose so," said the brother of the murdered woman. "He and Hannah
quarrelled. He thought she had a lot of money, and when he learnt that
she was penniless he told her he'd never see her again."

Gay's conduct hitherto had not been creditable. He had accepted with
complacence Greenacre's account of his quarrel with his sister and
had not troubled to confirm it by a little independent investigation,
and his feeble excuse was that he was afraid that if he took too much
interest in Hannah she would insist on his keeping her, and, as he
found it difficult to provide for his own and his family's wants, he
did not wish to be saddled with additional expense.

The detectives now turned their attention to James Greenacre, and
several interesting facts instantly came to light. The people next
door said that they had been disturbed on Christmas Eve by the sound
of a scuffle in Greenacre's house, and the latter's unexpected removal
had caused some talk. Then the tenants who had taken his old house had
commented on the smell of brimstone when first looking over it. In
their opinion it had been thoroughly fumigated, and this was confirmed
by a woman who had seen Mrs. Gale giving the house a most drastic
cleaning a few days after Christmas, an unusual devotion to work which
had excited remarks.

There was no hurry on the part of the detectives to arrest Greenacre.
They believed that he did not know that suspicion had fastened on him.
His demeanour was one of unruffled confidence, and the semi-public life
he led favoured those whose duty it was to shadow him and rendered it
easy for them to carry out their instructions. But Greenacre was fully
aware of their designs on his liberty, and with considerable cleverness
he nearly succeeded in outwitting them, for the unruffled grocer by day
spent his nights preparing for flight, and he was arrested only a few
hours before he was on the point of leaving England for America. He
had booked his passage, and already some of his luggage was on board
the ship, but it was quickly recovered by the police, and a thorough
examination was made of his property.

The investigation produced a plentiful crop of clues. Several
incriminating articles were found, the principal one being the missing
part of the blue cotton frock which had been used to cover the trunk
of Hannah Browne's body. In addition to this and other unmistakable
evidence, his sudden resolve to leave the country told against him.
He was not the man to realize property at a heavy loss and decamp to
America without a very strong reason. It was proved that when he had
heard of the identification of the body of his victim he had hastily
sold his property and his business, binding the purchasers to secrecy
so that he might get away unobserved.

Greenacre did not waste time in denying that he was with Hannah Browne
on the night she died. He knew that the evidence against him was very
strong, and he thought it wiser to concoct a story of an accidental
death, due to horseplay--an explanation, which was, of course,
instantly rejected. Then he offered another version, which made the
woman's death the result of an accidental blow by himself which was
never meant to be fatal. This admission gradually led up to the truth,
and then the whole story, as told here, was disclosed.

The most remarkable feature of Greenacre's conduct after his arrest
was his concern for the woman who had been his mistress as well as
his housekeeper. She was the mother of his four-year-old son, but,
hitherto, Greenacre had treated neither with especial kindness, and it
was her arrest which developed his latent love for her. When he was
informed that she, too, had been taken into custody and would be placed
in the dock with him to answer the capital charge, he swore that she
was entirely innocent. When he was disbelieved he raved and carried on
like a madman, expressing his willingness to take all the blame for the
crime if the woman was set free; but the authorities were adamant. On
no consideration would they agree to release Sarah Gale; the woman was
held a prisoner; and when she and Greenacre met again they stood side
by side in the dock.

The trial was one-sided, Greenacre's statement concerning the death
of Hannah Browne constituting, in reality, a confession. The defence,
such as it was, struggled feebly to win the sympathies of the jury. The
male prisoner's alleged respectability was dwelt upon by his counsel,
who endeavoured to prove that a man of his character and disposition
could not have been guilty of such a horrible crime. As Greenacre,
however, had admitted that he had dissected and disposed of the body
this plea was rejected, for only the most hardened of criminals could
have cut a human body up and carted it in sections about London. In
the circumstances, he never had a chance of escaping, and the verdict
of the jury was everybody's opinion, including that of the presiding
judges, Tindal, Coleridge and Coltman.

The woman was found guilty of murder, too, but the law was satisfied
with the execution of the actual murderer, and Sarah Gale's punishment
was transportation beyond the seas for life. Undoubtedly she took a
very prominent part in the crime, and but for her readiness to aid and
abet Greenacre the latter would not have murdered the woman who had
tried to trick him into marriage and paid for her failure with her life.

James Greenacre was executed publicly on May 2nd, 1837, and a
contemporary account of the scene makes it difficult to believe that
thirty-one years were to pass before such a spectacle became impossible.

    "The Old Bailey and every spot which could command a view
    of the spot were crowded to excess," wrote an anonymous
    journalist. "From the hour of twelve on Monday night up to the
    moment the execution took place, the Old Bailey presented one
    living mass of human beings. Every house which commanded a
    view of the spot was filled by well-dressed men and women, who
    paid from five shillings to ten shillings for a seat. A great
    number of gentlemen were admitted within the walls of Newgate,
    by orders of the sheriffs, anxious to witness the last moments
    of the convict. During the whole of Monday night the area in
    front of Newgate was a crowded scene of bustle and confusion,
    and the public-houses and the coffee-shops were never closed.
    The local officers connected with the watch had plenty of
    business on their hands in consequence of the thefts that were
    committed, and the broils and pugilistic encounters of many
    a nocturnal adventurer. Divers windows were broken and many
    heads felt the force of a constable's truncheon. The language
    of the vast multitude was vile in the highest degree, and songs
    of a libidinous nature were chanted. At one period of the
    night the mob bid open defiance to the whole posse of watchmen
    and constables, and not only rescued thieves, but broke the
    watch-house windows. Vehicles of every description drove up
    in quick succession. The passengers, seemingly having their
    curiosity gratified by the gloomy aspect of the walls, retired
    to make way for another train. Occasionally a carriage full of
    gentlemen, and, we believe, in some instances accompanied by
    ladies, mingled for a moment amidst the eager crowd.... All
    who had procured places in the windows commanding a view of
    the place of execution made sure of their seats by occupying
    them several hours before the dismal preparations commenced.
    There was not at any time of the night less than two thousand
    persons in the street. Several persons remained all night
    clinging to the lamp-posts. The occupier of any house that had
    still a seat undisposed of informed the public of the vacancy
    by announcing the fact on large placards posted on the walls,
    and forthwith the rush of competitors was greater than on any
    former occasion."

Inside the gaol the condemned man was being exhibited to the
curiosity-mongers who had sufficient influence with the sheriffs to
obtain the right to inspect and torment the convict, and an hour before
his death Greenacre was cross-examined by an amateur theologian and
caused "great grief" to the company by hinting that Christ was not

The contemporary report continues:

    "The culprit having been pinioned, Mr. Cope handed him over,
    with the death-warrant, to the sheriffs to see execution done
    upon him. About five minutes before eight the procession
    was formed and began to move towards the gallows.... On his
    appearance outside he was greeted with a storm of terrific
    yells and hisses, mingled with groans, cheers and other
    expressions of reproach, revenge, hatred and contumely.... As
    the body hung quivering in mortal agonies, the eyes of the
    assembled thousands were riveted upon the swaying corpse with a
    kind of satisfaction, and all seemed pleased with the removal
    of such a blood-stained murderer from the land."

In the condemned cell Greenacre wrote a euphemistic autobiography and
"An Essay on the Human Mind"--both these productions were added to
the archives at Newgate--and between outbursts of piety and blasphemy
he boasted of his popularity with the fair sex--he said he had been
married four times--and seemed to be concerned for the future of Sarah
Gale. She survived him by fifty-one years, eventually dying in 1888 in
Australia, a venerable, white-haired matron who had outlived her sins.



Amongst female poisoners Catherine Wilson takes a leading place. She
had an active career as a professional murderess extending to ten
years, perhaps even longer than that, but we do know that she committed
murder in 1853, and she was not brought to justice and executed until
1862. A very long career, indeed, for a woman whose ignorance was only
equalled by her cunning, and whose gaunt and unfavourable exterior was
in keeping with a black heart and a diseased brain.

The first time the public heard the name of this poisoner was in the
month of April, 1862, when she stood in the dock in Marylebone Police
Court, and was charged with having attempted to murder a Mrs. Connell
by administering poison to her.

Mrs. Connell had been living apart from her husband, and, having found
a lonely and companionless life irksome to her, she began to long for
a reconciliation with the man who had wooed and won her not so many
years previously. Of course, to effect this it was necessary to find
a sympathetic woman who would be able to approach Mr. Connell and
delicately and tactfully sound him as to his views regarding a reunion
with his wife. For some unexplained reason Mrs. Connell asked Catherine
Wilson to act as intermediary, and to prepare her for the task Mrs.
Connell invited the widow to have tea with her. She opened her heart to
her guest, did not conceal the fact that she had a little money of her
own, and volunteered other information, while the hard-faced creature
with the eyes of a tigress sat opposite and planned her death.

The conversation was abruptly ended by a cry of pain from Mrs. Connell.
She had not noticed that although Mrs. Wilson was only a guest she
had poured out the last cup of tea for her, and she thought that her
illness was the result of worry and overstrain.

Of course Mrs. Wilson instantly became sympathetically attentive. The
hard eyes even moistened as she helped Mrs. Connell upstairs and laid
her gently and tenderly on her bed. Then she ran off to the nearest
chemist's shop and brought back a bottle of medicine, but when Mrs.
Connell took some of it her sufferings became intensified. Catherine
Wilson soothingly offered some more of the "medicine" she had brought
from the chemist's, and Mrs. Connell, writhing in her agony, again
tried to drink it, but spilt a little of it on the bed-clothes. The
"medicine" was so strong that it actually burnt holes in the linen!

Mrs. Connell did not die, though she suffered a great deal, and at one
time nearly succumbed.

The matter was too serious to be allowed to rest, and, as she had
been told by Mrs. Wilson that it was the chemist's fault for giving
her such medicine, she called on him for an explanation. The chemist,
astounded and angered by the charge, quickly proved that the medicine
he had sold was perfectly harmless, and when the police were sent for
he demonstrated conclusively that if anything noxious had been added to
the contents of the bottle the only person who could have done it was
the woman who had conveyed it from his shop to Mrs. Connell.

After that there was only one thing to do, and that was to arrest
Catherine Wilson, who had disappeared a few days previously. Her flight
was in itself almost a confession, and for six weeks she managed to
evade the detectives who were searching for her, but by chance she was
recognized by an officer when he was off duty, and he took her into

After several appearances at the Marylebone Police Court she was
committed for trial, and, under close supervision, she calmly awaited
the day of the great ordeal.

And while she is in prison we can trace her history up to the spring of

It was towards the close of the summer of 1853 that a widower of the
name of Mawer advertised for a housekeeper. He lived in the pleasant
town of Boston, in Lincolnshire, was prosperous, and he would have been
quite happy but for gout, an enemy with which he was daily fighting,
using as his principal weapon a poison--colchicum--which, taken in
small doses, is often prescribed by doctors. In large quantities it is,
of course, fatal.

Catherine Wilson was one of the applicants for the post, and she was
successful in obtaining it. She called herself a widow, and, perhaps,
there had been a husband once who may have been her first victim. Mr.
Mawer, however, thought her a respectable, hardworking woman, and she
certainly proved unremitting in her attentions to him.

Within a few months they were intimate friends, and the housekeeper
was so assiduous and helpful that Mr. Mawer's gout became much better.
He told Catherine Wilson that it was entirely due to her, and to prove
his gratitude he informed her that he had drawn up a will bequeathing
everything to her. It was a fatal disclosure, for had he not disclosed
to her his testamentary dispositions there can be little doubt but
that he would have lived much longer than he did. The poisoner began
her fell work at once, tempted by the prospect of gain, and as she had
the poison already in the house there was no way of escape for the
unfortunate man.

In October, 1854, he died, poisoned with colchicum, as the doctor
discovered; but, as Mr. Mawer was known to have used that poison to
counteract the gout, no suspicion was attached to the "heartbroken"

Mr. Mawer's fortune was not as large as the woman had imagined it to
be. Still, it amounted to a few hundred pounds, and the murderess, who
had good reasons for not wishing to remain too long in Boston, packed
up and came to London.

She did not come alone, for when she took lodgings at the house of a
Mrs. Soames, at 27 Alfred Street, Bedford Square, she was accompanied
by a man of the name of Dixon, whom she described as her husband. And
packed away in her trunk was a large packet of colchicum, which had
been left over after Mr. Mawer had been disposed of. There was enough
of the poison to kill half a dozen persons. Perhaps if Mr. Dixon had
been aware of that he might not have been so anxious to caress this
human tigress.

But Catherine Wilson soon discovered that she had very little use for
Dixon. He did not make enough money to please her, and when the last
of Mr. Mawer's legacy had been spent she began to look about her for a
fresh victim. Dixon was clearly in the way, particularly so since that
Saturday night when he had returned home intoxicated and had struck
her. The wretched man had no money, and Wilson had grown tired of him.
Besides, their landlady, Mrs. Soames was by now Wilson's intimate
friend, and she had learned that Mrs. Soames was by no means dependent
on letting lodgings and that she had moneyed relatives and friends.
Before she could attack Mrs. Soames it was necessary Dixon should be

One day Dixon was taken ill, a curious wasting illness accompanied by
terrible pains in the chest. Wilson hastened to assure everybody she
knew that her "husband" had always suffered from consumption, although,
as she had to confess, outwardly he appeared to be very strong and
healthy. After administering a few small doses of colchicum the monster
finished off with a strong dose, and then the "widow" tearfully
implored the doctor not to cut her "dear one" up because during his
lifetime he had expressed a horror of that "indignity."

But the doctor would not give a death certificate without a post-mortem
examination, for, Mrs. Wilson having insisted that the cause of
Dixon's death was galloping consumption, the medical man was curious.
His curiosity deepened when on opening the body he found the lungs
absolutely perfect. Consumption then was not the reason. But what was?
The doctors were puzzled, yet in some extraordinary manner Catherine
Wilson wriggled out of danger, and Dixon was buried. No one accused
her, and even if the doctor had his suspicions he never gave a hint of

The "widow" went about in mourning, and as she was quite alone in the
world now Mrs. Soames was sweeter and more sympathetic than ever,
and night after night the two women sat in the cosy little room Mrs.
Wilson rented, and there exchanged confidences. The poisoner had a long
series of skilful lies ready to impress her friend, but Mrs. Soames,
who had nothing to conceal, disclosed the story of her life, and added
particulars of her friends and relations.

When she told Mrs. Wilson after breakfast one morning that she was
going out to receive from her step-brother a legacy which had been left
her by an aunt the poisoner once again experienced that irresistible
desire to take human life. But here there seemed to be no reason why
she should run the risk of committing a cold-blooded crime. By killing
Mrs. Soames she could not become possessed of her property, for
the landlady had children, and she also had several male relatives
who would have interfered at once had Mrs. Soames died and made a
comparative stranger her sole heir.

Mrs. Soames was paid the money and returned home, where her married
daughter had tea ready for her. They drank it alone, but as they were
finishing Mrs. Wilson came to the door and asked the landlady to come
upstairs with her. The request was complied with at once.

What happened at the interview we can only conjecture. Probably Mrs.
Wilson first congratulated Mrs. Soames on the receipt of the legacy.
Then she may have invited her to join her in a drink to her continued
prosperity. Whatever did happen it is certain that from the time of
that secret interview Mrs. Soames was never the same woman again.

The landlady could not get up next morning at her usual time. This was
remarkable, because she was noted for her early rising, and she was not
happy unless superintending the work of her house. Mrs. Wilson was, of
course, deeply concerned for her friend, and she asked the daughter to
be permitted to look after her mother.

Without waiting for permission the depraved creature appointed herself
the only nurse, and she would not allow anyone else to give the patient
her medicines. All the special food, too, passed through her hands, and
when compelled by sheer exhaustion to take a little rest Wilson did not
return to her own bedroom, but snatched a couple of hours sleep in an
arm-chair in Mrs. Soames's room.

On the fourth day of her illness Mrs. Soames had ceased to vomit, and
was not suffering any pain. Catherine Wilson pretended to be delighted,
though really she was puzzled by the marvellous recovery the landlady
had made. By sheer luck she had managed to resist the poison her
"nurse" had been giving her. Of course she did not suspect this, nor
could she gather from the concerned look on Wilson's face that the
truth was that the murderess of Mr. Mawer and Dixon was going to give
her a large dose of colchicum that very day and kill her.

Bending over the patient, Wilson offered her another dose of medicine,
and the trusting woman took it with gratitude, for she had told her
"friend" that her recovery was due to her nursing. But within a few
minutes the landlady was screaming in agony again, and an hour later
Catherine Wilson was silently weeping by the window while the doctor,
who had been summoned in haste, announced that Mrs. Soames was dead.

The same doctor had attended Dixon, and although the symptoms were
similar in both cases he did not suspect Catherine Wilson of murder.
Mr. Whidburn--that was his name--was studiously correct, and, as in
the case of Dixon, he refused to give a medical certificate without
a post-mortem examination. He made the examination himself, and then
certified that death had occurred from natural causes. Mrs. Soames's
nearest relation received the certificate, and the murderess was safe.
She surprised the family, however, by a demand for the payment of ten
pounds which she said her late landlady owed her, and when she adduced
proof in the shape of a signed promise to pay by Mrs. Soames the money
was handed over. Nothing was said as to anything Mrs. Wilson may have
owed Mrs. Soames. Later it was known that she had borrowed a fairly
large sum from the kind-hearted landlady, and it was suspected with
good cause that the promissory note for ten pounds was a forgery. But
these were of no importance when later the gravest of all charges was
made against the poisoner.

The death of Mrs. Soames resulted in another change of address for
Catherine Wilson, and she went some distance away from Bedford Square,
engaging rooms in Loughborough Road, Brixton.

The poisoner was well off, and did not stint herself, and it was
assumed by her new acquaintance that the late Mr. Wilson had dowered
her with sufficient goods to enable her to live independently of the

It may be noted here that a few weeks before the death of Mrs. Soames,
Wilson had spent nearly a fortnight shopping with a friend from the
North, Mrs. Atkinson. One day Mrs. Atkinson had had the misfortune to
lose a purse containing fifty-one pounds. It was a terrible blow, and
Mrs. Wilson was so grieved for her that she offered to lend her all
the spare cash she had. The offer was refused--as Wilson had known it
would be--and Mrs. Atkinson had returned home without having breathed a
word against her old friend. But when Catherine Wilson came back after
seeing Mrs. Atkinson off from King's Cross she was in funds, and the
following day she made an extensive purchase of clothes for herself.
Picking the pocket of her best friend was the smallest of sins to a
woman who could take human life without a moment's hesitation.

It was the custom of Mrs. Atkinson to come to London once a year, and
generally during the month of October. She and her husband lived in
Kirkby Lonsdale, in Cumberland. Mr. Atkinson was a tailor, while his
wife ran a millinery and dressmaking establishment on her own account.
Strict attention to business and frugal living were the sources of the
prosperity of the Atkinsons, and, on her annual visits to London Mrs.
Atkinson never came provided with less than a hundred pounds with which
to buy stock. She carried the notes concealed about her person, and, of
course, her severe loss in 1859 made her more careful than ever when
she came to London in the October of 1860.

Mrs. Atkinson's visit to the Metropolis was exceedingly well-timed
from Wilson's point of view. All the money she had obtained during
the previous twelve months had vanished, and she was behind with her
rent. Her new landlady, fiercely practical, was demanding payment every
day, and her affairs were so bad that, beyond the paltry breakfast she
extracted from the landlady, she often saw no food during a whole day.
It would not have done to have disclosed the true state of affairs to
her friend from the North. That might have frightened her away. She
invited her to stay with her, and then she told her landlady that her
prosperous friend would lend her the money to pay all her debts. In the
circumstances the landlady was only too pleased to see Mrs. Atkinson
in her house. Mrs. Atkinson left Kirkby Lonsdale in perfect health,
and looking forward with zest to her stay in London. A keen business
woman, she, nevertheless, knew how to combine business with pleasure,
and, having said good-bye to her husband, she departed in excellent
spirits. Mrs. Wilson met her at the terminus, and after a substantial
tea--for which, of course, the visitor paid--they went by omnibus to
Loughborough Road, Brixton, and, as the landlady afterwards testified,
Mrs. Atkinson arrived there in the best of health, light-hearted and
jolly. She must have been a sharp contrast to Catherine Wilson, whose
countenance was repulsive, and whose manner was the secretive one of
the poisoner.

The women went about everywhere together, Mrs. Atkinson paying all
expenses. On this occasion the visitor had brought a hundred and ten
pounds in notes with her, for business had been good and her customers
were increasing. The hungry eyes of Catherine Wilson gleamed at the
sight of the notes, and her bony fingers longed to clutch them. Every
day saw the number of notes grow gradually less as Mrs. Atkinson was
buying stock, and the poisoner knew that unless she hurried there
would not be enough money left to make it worth her while to add to her
list of crimes.

On the fourth day Mr. Atkinson was busy in his shop at Kirkby Lonsdale
when a telegram was handed to him. He read it anxiously--for telegrams
were a novelty--and nearly collapsed under the blow. The message was
from Loughborough Road, Brixton, London, S.W., and it said that his
wife was dangerously ill. Flinging all business on one side the unhappy
man hastened to London, arriving only in time to watch her die. She was
unconscious when he entered the room, and passed away without a word to

The broken-hearted husband was stunned by the blow, and his poor wife's
"friend" was prostrated. Mrs. Wilson, he was informed, had taken to her
bed upon being informed of her dearest friend's death, and her grief
was so intense that she was with difficulty induced to give a brief
account of Mrs. Atkinson's last day on earth.

The doctor assured Mr. Atkinson that no one could be more surprised
than he was at the fatal termination of Mrs. Atkinson's illness. An
extensive practice had brought him into contact with death in many
shapes, but there was nothing like this in all his experience. He
advised a post-mortem examination to ascertain the cause of death, and
the husband of the murdered woman seemed inclined to sanction that
course when Catherine Wilson came forward with a pathetic story of a
dying request from Mrs. Atkinson that she, her best friend, would see
to it that her body was not "cut up."

In the most natural manner the poisoner told her lie, and Mr. Atkinson,
to whom every word of his wife was sacred, withheld his approval, and
no examination took place.

Now, Mr. Atkinson was well aware that his wife had brought a hundred
and ten pounds to London with her, and he searched for the notes
amongst her effects. When he failed to discover a single one he turned
to Mrs. Wilson for an explanation. Had his wife paid all the money
away? It was most unlikely that she had. But he was even more astounded
when Mrs. Wilson informed him that his wife had arrived in London with
only her return ticket and a few shillings.

"Didn't she write and tell you what happened?" said the poisoner, who
was dressed in black, and carried a pocket handkerchief with which she
dabbed her eyes every other moment.

"No, I didn't get a single letter from her," said Mr. Atkinson. "I was
a bit surprised, but I thought she was too busy to write."

Catherine Wilson knew this, for she had destroyed two letters which
Mrs. Atkinson had written to her husband, the unfortunate woman having
entrusted them to her to post. She now pretended to fathom the reason
for Mrs. Atkinson's silence.

"She was so tender-hearted, Mr. Atkinson," she said, with a catch in
her voice, "that she wouldn't tell you the bad news. I'm sorry to say
that she was robbed of all her money at Rugby."

"Rugby!" exclaimed Mr. Atkinson, in astonishment. "What was she doing
at Rugby? I don't understand you."

"She was taken ill in the train," said the woman, lying glibly, "and
when it stopped at Rugby she got out. Soon afterwards she became faint
again, and when she recovered she found she had been robbed. Then she
came on here and told me, and I've been lending her money to get about.
She was hoping the money would be recovered before she had to tell
you. Oh, she was goodness itself, and I have lost my dearest and only

She sank into a chair, sobbing as though her heart was breaking, and
Mr. Atkinson, who had been seized with a suspicion, engendered by a
memory of the loss of the purse containing fifty-one pounds the year
before, dismissed his thoughts as unfair to the woman who was mourning
so whole-heartedly over the loss of the wife he loved. He did not dwell
any longer on the disappearance of the notes. After all, his wife was
dead, and all the money in the world could not bring her back to him.

He journeyed home again, and Catherine Wilson waited only for a week
to go by before she paid her debts, added to her wardrobe, and proudly
exhibited a diamond ring which she said Mr. Atkinson had given her as
a small token of his gratitude for her care of his wife. It had been
the property of the late Mrs. Atkinson, but the poisoner had stolen it
before the body of her victim was cold.

It may well be asked how Catherine Wilson could commit so many
cold-blooded murders unchecked. It seems to us that it ought to have
been impossible for a healthy woman to die in agony and yet be buried
without a coroner's inquest. But that is what happened sixty-one years
ago, and we must be thankful that nowadays a person of the Catherine
Wilson type would have an extremely brief career.

The cases described do not comprise all her crimes. There were two
other persons she attacked with her poisons who happily escaped with
their lives, and there was an old lady in Boston who died in such
circumstances that it is practically certain Catherine Wilson poisoned
her. She had been friendly with her, and her sudden death benefited
Wilson to the extent of over a hundred pounds.

Such is the history of the woman who was arrested for attempting to
poison Mrs. Connell. The period between committal for trial and the
proceedings at the Old Bailey was a protracted one, but the prisoner
maintained a sullen demeanour whilst under the care of the prison

Occasionally she protested her innocence, but she was crafty enough
not to say much, and when she entered the dock at the Central Criminal
Court she was still a human enigma to all who had come in contact with

That she appeared confident of a favourable verdict was obvious, and it
had to be admitted that whilst the prosecution had plenty of surmise
and suspicion they had very little legal proof. The defence relied
almost entirely on the absence of motive and the fact that no one had
actually seen the prisoner place the poison in Mrs. Connell's medicine.
There were a great many suspicious circumstances which the prosecution
rightly demanded an explanation of, but the prisoner's counsel pointed
out that his client must be assumed to be innocent until her guilt was
proved. It was no part of his duty to incriminate her or assist the
prosecution. The judge summed up in a way which indicated that in his
opinion the prosecution had not established beyond all doubt the guilt
of the prisoner, and the jury, realizing that if they made a mistake
and sent an innocent woman to the gallows they could not undo it,
decided to be on the safe side. They, therefore, returned a verdict of
"Not Guilty," and Catherine Wilson, poisoner, forger and thief, left
the dock with a smile on her hard face and a glint of triumph in her

How she must have laughed in secret at her victory! What fools she
must have thought the twelve good men and true were! Her character was
vindicated, and she was safe. She was to suffer a severe shock, however.

A few days later an amiable-looking man stopped her just as she was
leaving her lodgings.

"Excuse me," he said politely, one hand in his pocket wherein lay an
important legal document, "but are you Mrs. Catherine Wilson?"

"Yes," said the poisoner, who feared no one after her Old Bailey
triumph. "What do you want with me?"

"I am a police officer," he answered, producing the paper, "and I must
ask you to accompany me to the station. I have a warrant for your
arrest on a charge of murder."

"Murder?" she gasped, terrified for a moment. Then she laughed. "Whose
murder?" She might well ask that question seeing that there were
several with which she could have been charged.

"That of Mrs. Soames, of 27 Alfred Street, Bedford Square," he
answered, glancing at the warrant.

The police had not been idle during that long remand following the
mysterious poisoning of Mrs. Connell. They had delved completely into
Catherine Wilson's past, and when they had compiled a list of her
crimes the authorities decided that they would arrest her again and
charge her with Mrs. Soames's death. They could have added others, but,
knowing with whom they were dealing, they thought it better to keep the
cases of Mr. Mawer and Mrs. Atkinson in reserve. Should her first trial
for murder result in acquittal they would charge her with having caused
the death of Mrs. Atkinson, and so on, until they had removed this
danger to society.

But the prosecution made no mistake this time, and Catherine Wilson was
in the coils from the moment she listened to the outline of the case
against her at the Police Court.

Further facts were brought forward at the Old Bailey, and so skilfully
did the authorities present their case that when the jury returned
their verdict of guilty, and Mr. Justice Byles was passing sentence, he
could say: "The result upon my mind is that I have no more doubt that
you committed the crime than if I had seen it committed with my own

With a smile of contempt the poisoner left the dock and when she was
led forth to die in public, and twenty thousand persons watched her
last moments, she presented the same cool, sneering manner, absolutely
indifferent to her fate, quite unafraid of death, and without a word of
sorrow or repentance for her terrible crimes.



The case of Pierre Voirbo, the murderer of Désiré Bodasse, an old
man who had been his friend, is one of the most remarkable of French
crimes. It established the reputation of Macé, the famous detective,
who devoted a book to explaining how he succeeded in tracing the
murderer from the first clue--a pair of human legs--to the last, when,
by a simple experiment, he located the very spot where the murder had
been committed. If Macé had not been an exceedingly clever man Voirbo
must have escaped, for he took every precaution to cover up his tracks,
and was undoubtedly assisted by luck. But the strong arm of the law
triumphed in the end.

Voirbo was by trade a tailor, and by inclination a devotee of pleasure.
He worked when he felt inclined, and if he could borrow or steal he
preferred either as a source of income to the small profits derived
from the making and repairing of clothes. He frequented low-class
cafés, and gambled whenever he could, and, in addition, he had a
pretty taste in wines. Yet for all his laziness and dissipation it was
often remarked that Pierre Voirbo seemed never to be without money. He
neglected his work until customers became few and far between, but he
was never behindhand with his rent, and he could afford to employ an
old woman to keep his rooms tidy.

The time came, however, when Voirbo thought of marriage. The hero
of many conquests, he had not really been attracted by the opposite
sex until he met a good-looking girl with a dowry of fifteen thousand
francs. Then he found the good looks and the dowry irresistible
attractions. He considered himself not wanting in appearance and
ability, though he was actually below the medium height, had black
hair and eyes, and a thin, cruel mouth. Eyes and mouth bore witness
to his dissipation, but the girl evidently was blinded by love, for
she agreed to marry Voirbo. When her parents were told they gave their
consent on the condition that the bridegroom-to-be brought into the
marriage settlements at least ten thousand francs. Voirbo instantly
expressed his ability to provide that amount, and he was thereupon
formally acknowledged to be the girl's fiancé by her parents, who did
not know that, so far from being in possession of ten thousand francs,
the tailor owed many thousands already, and had not a hundred francs
to call his own. Voirbo, however, believed that he would be able to
raise the money. Penury had sharpened his wits and endowed him with

A vague idea now occurred to him of borrowing the money, exhibiting it
to the girl's parents, and then returning it when he got his hands on
his wife's _dot_. It was a pretty scheme, but its weak point was that,
owing to his reputation, there was no one in the country who would lend
him a franc, and after a little consideration he abandoned the scheme.

But he was determined to have the girl's marriage _dot_ no matter what
the cost. Fifteen thousand francs meant a fortune to him. It would last
a long time, and when it was gone it would be quite easy to desert his
bride, and seek another elsewhere. It was, indeed, a pretty plan he
conceived, though he knew that the first obstacle--raising that sum of
ten thousand francs--would prove the most difficult of all.

Amongst his friends was an old man, Désiré Bodasse, a worker in
tapestry, who had been Voirbo's companion in more than one midnight
spree. Bodasse, however, had never opened his purse to pay. It was
Voirbo who always paid for their food and drink, the spindle-legged
little man, with the dry cough, chuckling to himself as he saw the
young fool throw his money away. Bodasse boasted that for every franc
he spent he saved three, and he naturally despised anyone who spent his
money on others. Voirbo, however, had taken a fancy to Bodasse, and
was very often seen in his society, while everybody marvelled at the
strange partnership between two men who were so dissimilar.

It was to Désiré Bodasse that Voirbo went with the story that he must
raise ten thousand francs at once. The younger man painted a glowing
picture of the wealth of his future wife exaggerating her fifteen
thousand francs until it became a _dot_ four times as great. Bodasse
listened with a thin smile on his thinner face, and when Voirbo's
outburst was over congratulated him sarcastically.

The tailor ignored the sarcasm, and, after a pause, boldly asked
Bodasse to lend him ten thousand francs. He knew that the old fellow
had that sum and more in the box under his bed, for Bodasse had been
saving for years, and was a rich man, and, Voirbo argued, the time
had come when Bodasse could show that he was not ungrateful for the
entertainment he had enjoyed for years at his expense.

The worker in tapestry, however, was not the man to part with his
money. It was all he lived for; it was all he thought about; and in
a few curt words he gave Voirbo to understand that if his marriage
depended on the success of his application he had better forget all
about it at once. In short, he would not lend him ten francs, much less
ten thousand.

There was no one else to whom he could apply, and Bodasse's refusal
filled Voirbo with dismay, but he had to pretend to be indifferent
after the first shock of disappointment was over, and an hour later
both men appeared to have forgotten the incident when they sat in a
café and drank wine to one another's health. But Voirbo's brain was on
fire. He had regarded the capture of the girl's fifteen thousand francs
as a certainty, and he could not bear to admit to himself that he was
going to lose her fortune after all. Where could he raise ten thousand
francs? Besides his ostensible occupation of tailor he was one of the
numerous agents of the Paris secret police. He had used his official
position in the past to blackmail inoffensive citizens, but he knew
that it would take him more than a year to raise ten thousand francs by
that method.

Bodasse, unconscious of his companion's thoughts, continued to drink at
Voirbo's expense, while the latter was rapidly summing up to himself
the risks he would have to run if he murdered the man sitting opposite
him. He knew all about Bodasse's life--the fellow's miserly habits;
his lack of friends because he had been afraid that if he made many
they might cost him money; his unpopularity in the neighbourhood in
which he lived, and the well-known fact that his greatest wish was to
be left alone. Voirbo recalled, too, that Bodasse was in the habit of
disappearing from human sight for weeks at a time, when he either shut
himself up in his room or went into the country. In the former case he
was wont to provide himself with sufficient food to last out his spell
of seclusion, and if letters came they were pushed under his door so
that he might not be disturbed by having to open it. With murder in
his heart, Voirbo thought over this, and came to the only possible
conclusion--the murder of Désiré Bodasse would be about the easiest
crime to commit and the chances of escape would favour him.

The bottle of wine finished, Voirbo suggested an adjournment to his
rooms, where he had often provided Bodasse with food. The old miser
agreed with alacrity, and shortly afterwards they were in an apartment
at the top of a high house. From outside the murmur of traffic faintly
reached their ears, and from the stairs came occasional voices, but,
for all that, the two men were quite alone, and Bodasse was absolutely
at the mercy of the younger and stronger man.

The temptation was irresistible. Voirbo looked at the small body and
wizened face, the thin, scraggy neck and the lustreless eyes. Life
seemed to be half-way out of his body already, and it would be easy to
let the other half out too. Bodasse was sitting with his back towards
Voirbo, who had risen and was walking irresolutely about the room.

Suddenly the fellow found the courage to put his thoughts into acts.
A heavy flat-iron, such as tailors use, was lying handy. He picked it
up, poised it for a moment, and then brought it down upon the old man's
head with a fearful crash, which sent him in a heap on the floor. There
he finished him by cutting his throat. The first act in the drama was

Until the murder was done Voirbo had not thought of locking the door,
but now he ran to it and turned the key. There were at least a dozen
persons in the building at the time, for it was let out in apartments,
but Voirbo, with extraordinary self-possession, proceeded to make
arrangements for disposing of the body. He could not carry it out as it
was, and, therefore, like many other murderers, he decided to divide it
into several pieces. The head is, of course, the most important part of
the body, because it is the easiest to identify. Get rid of the head
and identification is rendered a hundred times more difficult. Voirbo
gave it his special attention, and he disposed of it by filling the
eyes and mouth with lead and dropping it into the Seine. The rest of
the body was carted away in pieces, but on his second journey he had
a very narrow escape, and disaster would have resulted early on had
he not formed his plans with the utmost thoroughness. He undoubtedly
proved himself efficient in small matters as well as in large, as his
unexpected meeting with the police showed.

With a hamper and a large parcel, both containing portions of the
murdered man's body, he left the house one dark December night, with
the intention of pitching them into the Seine at a spot where there
would be no one to notice him. The hamper and the parcel were heavy,
cumbrous and conspicuous, but Voirbo knew that on such a night there
would be few pedestrians, and any who noticed him would think that he
had been doing his Christmas shopping, and was taking the Christmas
dinner and some presents home to his family. Owing to the weight of his
double burden progress was slow, but Voirbo was not nervous. Nobody
gave him a second glance, and he had the satisfaction of meeting more
than one late shopper carrying big parcels too.

But just as he was congratulating himself on complete success he was
horrified to see two policemen coming straight towards him. His legs
trembled, and for a moment he thought of dropping hamper and parcel and
taking to flight, but before he could make up his mind the two officers
of the law had stopped in front of him, and one was actually resting a
hand on the hamper.

"Who are you, and what's inside your parcels?" said one of the
policemen suspiciously.

There had been numerous robberies in the district lately, and the
police had received special instructions to keep a sharp look out for
midnight marauders. In fact, these two officers were looking for a
burglar or a street robber. They never thought of aiming as high as a

With difficulty Voirbo found his voice.

"I--I couldn't get a cab at the station, messieurs," he said, with a
smile, "and so I've been compelled to carry home my purchases. This
parcel contains two hams. You can feel how heavy it is! The hamper--see
the label. It arrived for me by train."

The officers examined the label on the hamper. It apparently had
been addressed at a distant suburb and consigned to Paris. The label
certainly looked genuine enough, and the explanation of hams in the
parcel accounted for its unusual weight.

The policemen consulted in whispers. They had been impressed by
Voirbo's frankness, and eventually they permitted him to pass on. Had
they examined the contents of either hamper or parcel they would have
been able to arrest there and then as cruel a murderer as France has
ever known. It was characteristic of Voirbo's cleverness that he should
have labelled the hamper before emerging into the open with it.

Gradually he got rid of the rest of the body, the last expedition being
to the well of an apartment house close by, where he left the legs of
his victim.

As an agent of the secret police Voirbo was conversant with police
methods, and also had access to their offices. He knew that he would
be one of the first to hear if the authorities had been advised of
either Bodasse's disappearance or the discovery of any portion of his
body. For some days after the crime he frequented the police offices,
and what he saw there convinced him that he could never be brought to
account for his crime. Discovery was impossible, and he was quite safe.

But so thorough was he in his methods that he did not stop at disposing
of the body and robbing his victim. It was necessary to make the
people in the house where Bodasse had lived believe that the old
tapestry worker was still alive, though invisible behind the locked
door. Accordingly, Voirbo, having filled his pockets with Bodasse's
savings--they amounted to about thirty thousand francs, mainly in the
form of Italian bonds payable to bearer--proceeded to impersonate his

For days and nights after Bodasse was murdered the woman who lived
in the room underneath heard footsteps over her and, well aware that
Désiré Bodasse never received visitors, told her friends that the old
man, though he had not been seen for some days, was hiding in his room
as usual. Whenever letters came for him they were pushed under the
door, and, of course, opened and read by Voirbo. The murderer, however,
would not remain in the room all night, and when darkness fell he left,
having first placed a lighted candle near the window so that anyone who
looked up would say that Bodasse was at home. Each candle burned for
three hours before spluttering feebly out.

Every night for a fortnight the lighted candle was seen and commented
on, and, furthermore, the shadow of a man's head was occasionally seen
across the blind. The neighbours gossipped about him, telling one
another that Monsieur Bodasse was at home. No one expected to see him
in the flesh for weeks, for it was understood that he had given way to
one of his fits of solitude and would resent a call.

Voirbo, confident, triumphant, careless, and revelling in his own
cleverness, went to his prospective father-in-law and told him that he
was now ready to produce the ten thousand francs which he required as
evidence of his position. This promise he carried out, and, the girl's
_dot_ being brought into the common fund, the marriage was fixed to
take place a few days later.

"My rich friend, Père Bodasse, will attend me," he said proudly to
the family into which he was marrying. He spoke, of course, after the
murder of the old man. "He is a bit of a miser, but I expect a handsome
present from him."

They little knew he had already murdered and robbed Bodasse.

The family, impressed by Voirbo's fortune, expressed themselves as most
anxious to make the acquaintance of Monsieur Bodasse, and they were
looking forward to that honour when, on the day of the wedding, Voirbo
told them that Bodasse had meanly run off to the country to avoid
buying him a wedding present.

"He will not get himself a new coat, the old miser!" he added in angry
contempt. "And that is why he is not here. He knows his clothes are too
shabby. I have spent much money on him in the past, but never again."

It was, however, a small incident, and in no way spoilt the happiness
of all concerned. There was a banquet at an hotel, and afterwards the
married couple left for a short honeymoon. They were not to return to
Voirbo's apartments, for he had given them up and had taken a house

With his wife's fortune he had now over forty thousand francs and
the newly married couple set up housekeeping on an ambitious scale,
because Voirbo declared that he could earn quite a large income from
his trade, so, when the honeymoon finished, realizing that it would be
risky to parade his prosperity, he settled down to work. He had taken
measures to conceal the stolen property, and, secure and confident, he
lived from day to day, expecting that in time Bodasse's disappearance
would lead to an inquiry, but utterly fearless of the consequences
to himself. And all the time his young and pretty girl-wife never
suspected that there was anything wrong.

The third week of that new year--1870--was drawing to a close when
Voirbo heard that the legs he had thrown into the well belonging to the
restaurant in the Rue Princesse had been found. He received the news
calmly, and offered no comment until he was told that Macé, then in
charge of the police department of the quarter where the remains had
been discovered, was commissioned to unravel the mystery. Now Voirbo
knew Macé, and had never had a good opinion of his ability.

"He'll never solve it," he said, with a laugh that reflected his own

He felt that he was lucky not to have one of the leading detectives
on the case. He feared the proved, tried men who had unravelled the
dark mysteries of the past. But as for Macé, well, he was young and
inexperienced, and Voirbo was prepared to make him a present not
only of the legs, but of the rest of the body, if it could be found.
Nevertheless, curiosity, mingled with some anxiety, induced Voirbo to
pay a visit to Macé's office. He was, of course, able to stroll in
whenever he liked, because he was in the police service himself, and,
naturally, his interest in the mystery of the Rue Princesse excited no
suspicion. There was nothing remarkable about his inquiries. All Paris
was roused by the discovery of the legs, and Voirbo was as anxious as
anyone to hear the latest news.

On the occasion of his first visit he was told the result of the
medical examination, and how he must have grinned in secret when he
was informed that two doctors, experts in the art of identifying human
remains, had given it as their opinion that the legs belonged to a
woman. Their thinness, the size of the feet, and the fact that they
were clothed in stockings, gave rise to this mistake, which caused the
police to spend a long time looking for the body of a woman.

The one clue they had was the letter "B" marked between two crosses.
That was all the detectives had to go upon, and for days the police
inquired if anyone had missed a girl whose Christian or surname began
with B. And Pierre Voirbo continued to laugh at them!

Macé worked day and night on the mystery. During the previous three
months eighty-four women had been reported as missing, and after the
most careful examination into each case the detective selected three as
being most likely to help in the solution of the puzzle. Great was his
amazement to discover all three alive and well!

Meanwhile other parts of the body of Bodasse were picked up, though,
as Macé was searching for a woman, all these parts were not assumed
to belong to the legs. Half a dozen mysteries seemed likely to be
manufactured out of one, when Macé had the good fortune to think of
submitting the legs to another expert. It was only by chance that he
did this, but when Dr. Tardieu unhesitatingly affirmed the legs to be
those of a man the detective realized that he had been working on the
wrong lines altogether.

The fixing of the sex was a most important and valuable matter,
although even now the mystery seemed quite unfathomable. Macé, however,
was determined that the murderer should be brought to justice. He meant
to devote all his time and ability to the task.

His first examination of the cloth in which the legs had been wrapped
before being cast into the well had convinced him that the parcels had
been made up by a tailor. They bore certain marks, and the string used
as well as the cloth confirmed him in this opinion. He started at the
house in the Rue Princesse, making diligent inquiries as to whether a
tailor had ever resided there, but was informed that a tailor had never
been one of the tenants. The detective was not satisfied, and he got
the old woman who acted as concierge to chat to him about the tenants,
past and present.

The woman, glad of an audience, entered into a minute account of the
habits of the scores of men and women she had met in that house. Most
men would have been bored to distraction, and would have ended the
interview abruptly, but Macé listened patiently, only interrupting when
the old woman casually mentioned a girl of the name of Dard, whose
claim on fame was that, although she was now on the variety stage, she
at one time lived in the house as a humble seamstress.

The detective looked up at the mention of the word "seamstress." Here,
then, was somebody who had worked for a tailor. It was but a slight
clue, yet it might be worth something.

The old woman gabbled on.

"She gave me a lot of trouble, monsieur," she said, in a croaking
voice. "Some one was always bringing her work, and their dirty boots
meant that I had to wash down the stairs after them. There was one man,
too, who always carried water from the well upstairs for her. He used
to spill it, making more work for me."

"What was the name of the man?" asked the officer quietly.

The woman did not know; but before he left the Rue Princesse the
detective had established the facts, that Pierre Voirbo was the man's
name, and that he had lived close by, and was a tailor by trade.

All trivial clues, and based on conjecture, but Macé considered
them worth his trouble. He felt that he was getting on, and
when he discovered that Pierre Voirbo had had a friend named
Bodasse--Mademoiselle Dard told him this--who had not been seen for
a long time, he congratulated himself, recalling the initial on the

But there yet remained the difficulty of identification. Step by
step he delved into Voirbo's life, and simultaneously set going the
inquiries that ended in the finding of an old lady who was Bodasse's
aunt. She was instantly taken to the Morgue to view the stocking
with the initial on it, and, greatly to the delight of the police,
immediately identified it as belonging to her nephew. She had the best
of reasons for her statement, for she had marked the stockings herself.
It appeared that, as Bodasse suffered from cold legs, he had had the
upper part of a woman's stockings joined to the feet of a man's socks.
This accounted in a measure for the mistake of the doctors who had
certified the human legs to be those of a woman.

The aunt said that she had not seen her nephew for a month, but had
not felt alarmed on this account. She was used to his ways, and she
illustrated them by relating how once when Bodasse had been unwell he
had entered a hospital under a false name so that he might receive care
and attention free of cost to himself.

Madame, however, was of further use, as she was able to describe the
appearance of Bodasse's friend, Pierre Voirbo. She gave information as
to his habits, and Macé quickly had the story of the marriage, the ten
thousand francs, the change of address, and all else of importance that
concerned Voirbo at his finger-ends. There only remained now the task
of proving that Désiré Bodasse had disappeared on a certain date, and
the detective went to the apartment house where Bodasse had lived.

Here he met with a most unexpected rebuff. The concierge actually
informed him that Monsieur Bodasse was at home at that very moment!
The night before she had seen a light in his room, and had noticed
his shadow across the blind. If her word was doubted, she added the
indisputable evidence that that very morning she had seen Bodasse in
the street!

The witness was undeniably respectable, and Macé had to accept her
word, and, now that Bodasse was not the victim, he had to pursue his
investigations elsewhere; but before he left he deposited a letter with
the concierge to be handed over to the old miser when he returned.

But Macé never forgot Pierre Voirbo. The man might be innocent, but
there was suspicion enough to justify his being kept in sight. Even if
Bodasse was not the man whose legs they had found in the well, it was
just possible that Voirbo had got rid of the miser for the sake of his
savings. For that reason he was shadowed, and, when, after a long wait
and no sign of Bodasse's return, the police determined to break into
his room they discovered that whoever had inhabited it recently it had
not been the tenant, for a robbery had taken place.

The mystery became complicated, and yet simpler. Who was the mysterious
person who had walked about Bodasse's room, and who had come every
night to light the candle? The bed had not been slept in for weeks. It
was, therefore, obvious that the thief had not remained there all night.

Macé had one answer only, and that was Pierre Voirbo. The fellow had
a very bad record, and his association with the secret police did not
earn for him any prestige in the eyes of the law. He was a dissipated
loafer, ready to betray friend and foe alike, and Macé was well aware
that Voirbo was quite equal to murdering Bodasse for much less than ten
thousand francs.

Yet the detective hesitated and it was only after tracing Italian
securities belonging to the murdered man to Voirbo's possession that
Macé decided to arrest him. Time had been lost in investigating certain
clues suggested by Voirbo himself, but there could be little doubt now
that they had been merely blinds to distract suspicion from himself.
Voirbo must have realized that his position was growing worse every
day. He had begun by affecting to despise Macé, but by now he knew that
the young officer had proved himself to be a past-master in the art of

By a coincidence the very morning appointed by Macé for Voirbo's arrest
saw the suspected man walk into the detective's office, apparently
quite unconscious of his fate. He had come, as usual, to offer his
opinion on the great mystery, and to accuse more innocent men. Macé
kept him waiting for half an hour, and when he eventually turned to
speak to him Voirbo dropped a card from his pocket-book. Macé picked
it up for him, and as he did so saw at a single glance that Voirbo had
booked a passage on a ship leaving France, and had given a false name.

Ten minutes later Voirbo was under arrest. He swore that he was
innocent, and reviled Macé horribly. But the detective was unmoved,
although there was much to be accomplished before legal proof was

A visit was paid to Voirbo's wife, an innocent girl, whose heart was
broken when she learned the truth. She produced the box where her and
her husband's marriage _dots_ were kept. Macé opened it, and showed
that it was empty. He had robbed his wife as well as Bodasse.

The officer, however, was determined to find the securities Voirbo had
stolen from Bodasse's room, and he began a thorough search. When he
reached the cellar he found two casks of wine. A strict examination of
these revealed a piece of black string tied to a bung above the head of
one of the casks. Macé drew it out, and at the end found a thin metal
cylinder, neatly soldered. Inside were the missing securities.

Another experiment remained. Voirbo was taken by the police to the room
where it was suspected the crime had been committed. Here Macé had him
forcibly seated in a chair, and in his presence the detective tested
the slope of the floor by pouring water on it. The water instantly
dribbled towards the bed, finally settling in a particular spot. The
boards were taken up, and congealed blood found.

Macé had argued that during the murder of Bodasse much blood had been
spilt, and that some of it must have sunk between the boards at a point
where the slope had brought it to a standstill. Voirbo had washed the
top of the boards, but had forgotten to wash underneath.

This simple experiment had such an effect upon Voirbo that he instantly
confessed to the crime, telling everything without reservation. He did
not, however, go to the guillotine, for before his trial, and after one
abortive attempt to escape, he cut his throat in prison. The knife with
which he took his own life was smuggled into the gaol concealed in a
loaf, and although Macé strove valiantly to discover the person who had
sent it to Voirbo he never succeeded.



Emanuel Barthélemy was a villain of the melodramatic type. Throughout
his stormy and adventurous life he appeared to be fully conscious of
the fact that he was acting a part. He was theatrical in everything
he did; yet the touch of realism was seldom lacking, and he lived and
died without fear. He was tall, strongly-built, with a large head,
thick hair, an expressive cast of countenance; dark, flashing eyes,
and a mouth that was eloquent of the villain's vile, savage temper.
Barthélemy was a revolutionary by profession, utterly unprincipled;
killing because he loved it as a sport, and the times in which he lived
provided him with numerous opportunities to gratify his propensity for
murder. His luck was extraordinary until he ran counter to the English
law, and, although he escaped the death penalty once in England, on
the second occasion he stood his trial for murder he was sentenced and

Barthélemy was a Frenchman, and in the early part of the nineteenth
century he took part in many revolutions in France. Louis XVIII, who
had been restored to his kingdom by the victory of Waterloo, was
finding it difficult to maintain his dynasty, and Barthélemy was one
of those who objected to his reign. His objection took the extreme
form of shooting dead an unfortunate gendarme in cold blood. This was
Barthélemy's first big venture, and he was sentenced to the galleys for
life as a punishment, being lucky to escape with his life. But the
murderer did not serve his sentence. In 1830 the political party he
favoured succeeded in gaining the upper-hand, and Barthélemy's callous
crime was duly considered to be a "political offence," and accordingly
he was released, along with thousands of genuine victims of the
ruthlessness of the Bourbons.

This was, indeed, a matter for much satisfaction and enjoyment, and
Barthélemy, nothing daunted, threw himself into the fray again. He
became a sort of unofficial police spy, and for years haunted the cafés
where out-at-elbow politicians talked treason and other things.

When a new Chief of Police was appointed the spy lost his situation,
and was compelled to join an active organization which was opposed
to the ambitions of Louis Napoleon, but in 1848 there was again a
revolution, and Louis Napoleon became Napoleon III. The new emperor
treated his defeated opponents with ferocious cruelty, and with
hundreds of other refugees Barthélemy fled to England to live in exile
for the remainder of his life.

From the moment of his arrival in London he took a leading part in the
counsels of the French colony. The refugees never abandoned their hope
that Napoleon III would be driven from the throne of France. Day after
day in poverty they fed on hope and ambition, and Barthélemy was ever
the loudest and most swashbuckling of the optimists. It was observed
that he was never without funds, although he came of a poor and humble
family, but he was so outspoken against the new order of things in
his native country that those who whispered that he was a paid spy in
Napoleon's service were laughed to scorn.

In the course of time some of the refugees formed a small colony near
Englefield Green, Egham, Middlesex, where they established a sort of
country-house for the more respectable of the French exiles--men who
really desired to serve their country, and who believed that Napoleon
III was ruining it.

By some means Barthélemy found his way into the house at Egham, though
his aggressive manner and somewhat uncouth ways were abhorrent to the
majority, who were for the most part ex-officers of the French Army and
Navy. However, his whole-souled hatred of the Emperor of the French was
a passport to their society, and they tolerated him until he became

Barthélemy was by nature and instinct a bully, and his favourite
"argument" when anyone had the temerity to persist in contradicting him
was a blow from his heavy fist. He had a powerful voice, too, and few
persons could talk louder and longer than he, but, like all bullies, it
was the easiest thing in the world for him to lose his temper.

His readiness to murder on sight, however, made him a hero in the eyes
of the riff-raff amongst the refugees, but the better class regarded
him with distrust, and only put up with his "eccentricities" because
the movement was short of men.

Amongst the colony at Egham there was an ex-naval officer of the name
of Cournet. He had served his country well without enriching himself,
and in character and disposition he was the reverse of Barthélemy,
though Cournet, when provoked, was fierce and short-tempered. Still,
he was, as a rule, polite and courteous, and he never originated
a quarrel. The numerous revolutions in France had involved him as
principal in no fewer than fourteen duels, and on every occasion he
had hit his man. He was, therefore, a duellist of renown, and his
reputation amongst the exiles was second to none. Barthélemy did not
like this, and he resolved to depose Cournet from his leadership. To
do this he had to force a duel upon the ex-officer, and one night at
Egham, when Cournet was in his mildest humour, Barthélemy sprang to
his feet and swore that the older man had grossly insulted him. In the
circumstances he considered that Cournet ought to give him the "usual
satisfaction one gentleman owes to another," and that meant a duel.
But Barthélemy had forgotten one thing. He had challenged Cournet,
who, accordingly, had the right to name the weapons. Now, Cournet was
an expert with the pistol, and Barthélemy considered himself equally
expert with the sword. As the challenged party, however, Cournet
selected pistols, and Barthélemy had to abide by his choice.

The duel was fixed for the following day, and Barthélemy passed a night
of terror. He saw himself an easy target for the ex-officer's pistol.
In fact, he was perfectly certain that he was going to his death, and
he did not want to die.

His partisans meanwhile published abroad amongst the French colony in
London the news of the quarrel. It divided them into two camps, each
clamorous for its champion's superiority. Bets were made as to the
result, and at about the time the duel was to take place a crowd of
refugees assembled in Leicester Square to hear the result, just as in
the past the race for the Derby has caused crowds to assemble outside
the offices of sporting papers to await the name of the winner.

The duel was to determine who was the unofficial leader of the
Frenchmen driven into exile by Napoleon III. Cournet's friends,
however, were never uneasy as to the result. They knew that their
man would and must win, but, unfortunately for their principal, they
forgot to take measures to prevent his opponent fighting unfairly.
Barthélemy and his intimates actually tampered with his pistol, the
weapon which had won for him fourteen similar contests. To lessen the
chances of discovery they arranged that Cournet's pistol should go off
the moment the trigger was touched, but not in the direction intended
by its owner, and then when Barthélemy presented his weapon at his
opponent it would misfire, proving that his pistol was defective too.
The misfiring, however, would not forfeit his turn to shoot, and at
the second attempt Barthélemy would have no difficulty in making the
pistol do his bidding. These were the final arrangements, and they were
carried out without a single flaw.

The duellists assembled on Englefield Green, and Cournet won the right
to the first shot. To his astonishment and anger the charge in his
pistol exploded, and the bullet went harmlessly into the air. The
ex-officer was not, however, afraid. He stood rigid whilst Barthélemy
levelled his weapon. It misfired, and Barthélemy had to devote a little
time to setting it right. Then he remembered that the episode provided
him with a chance for a theatrical display. In the best manner of the
stage hero he offered to forego his shot if Cournet would consent to
continue the duel with swords. The ex-officer instantly rejected the
offer, pointing out that if Barthélemy missed he would be entitled
to another shot, and then, he grimly added, he would not miss again.
Barthélemy knew quite well that his opponent spoke only the barest
truth, and without another moment's delay he levelled his pistol and
shot Cournet dead.

It was murder, and murder of the most brutal and disgraceful type, but
none of the seconds realized that. From first to last they had treated
the English law against duelling with the utmost contempt, although
they knew that according to the law of the land they were all murderers.

But they regarded themselves as a French colony owning the laws
of France only, and, leaving poor Cournet lying stark and stiff,
the seconds and Barthélemy went off to London with the intention
of celebrating the victory in the Soho Cafés frequented by their
fellow-countrymen. However, they were not at liberty for long, for at
Waterloo Station they were met by detectives who took them into custody.

That was in 1852, not many years after the abolition of duelling in
England, and, in the circumstances, it was considered wiser by the
authorities to place Barthélemy only on trial for the murder of Cournet.

When the case came on at Kingston-on-Thames all the facts mentioned
above were cited by the prosecution. It was clearly proved that the
contest had not been a duel at all, but a cold-blooded murder on the
part of the prisoner and his accomplices. The tampered pistols were
produced, and the whole of Barthélemy's villainy laid bare; indeed,
Counsel for the prosecution had the easiest of tasks. When the jury
retired there was considerable surprise in Court, for no sensible
person having heard the evidence should have wished for time to
consider his verdict.

The Surrey jury, however, were evidently of opinion that the case
"wasn't so simple as it looked," and they spent some time in their
private room, eventually returning to astound a packed Court by
declaring their verdict to be one of manslaughter. Of course, there
was no help for it, and instead of the scaffold Barthélemy received a
nominal sentence, and was free again shortly afterwards.

The verdict of the jury--which in plain language meant that, in their
opinion, the duel had been fairly fought--greatly enhanced Barthélemy's
reputation amongst his countrymen. The better-disposed, however,
avoided him, but in the purlieus of Soho it was considered an honour to
stand the "hero" of Englefield Green a drink, or, when funds permitted,
to offer him dinner. Barthélemy was undisputed king of the bullies now,
and he thoroughly enjoyed his triumph. For some months he was lionized,
and he did considerable entertaining in return, providing plenty of
food and wine, particularly the latter.

It was said that his object was to make certain men speak freely and
without thinking, and it was remarkable how well informed the Paris
secret police were of the movements and doings of the principal members
of the French colony in London about this time. But if Barthélemy was
suspected of being their agent there was no proof against him, and
the majority of those who knew him unreservedly accepted him as a
pure-minded and high-souled patriot.

But gradually Barthélemy's funds ran out, and his borrowing powers
showed signs of appreciable decline. The aggressive theatricalism of
his manner remained, and he began to be something of a lady-killer. But
most of the time he was vulgarly hard-up, and he detested poverty.

Some time in the year 1854 he came into the life of a tall, handsome
girl who spoke French with an English accent. Who this girl was has
never been discovered. She came on to the stage, as it were, with
Barthélemy to take part in a tragedy that was to cost the villain his
life, and when the drama was over she was never seen again, although
the police of half a dozen countries devoted weeks to searching for her.

The girl was undoubtedly pretty, and she fell in love with Barthélemy,
and, according to him, she told him a moving and pathetic story of
neglect and ill-treatment by her own father. Her father, she declared,
was Mr. George Moore, a well-to-do mineral water manufacturer, who
lived at 73, Warren Street, Fitzroy Square, in the dull and dreary
neighbourhood of Tottenham Court Road. She said he had promised to make
her a comfortable allowance, but had failed to keep his word, and she
implored Barthélemy to see that justice was done her.

Whether the murderer's statement was an invention or not we have no
means of knowing, but he did call on Mr. Moore, and he took the girl
with him, and the visit culminated in a terrible tragedy.

When the servant opened the door to the visitors she noticed that the
lady wore a thick mantle and was heavily veiled. They passed upstairs
to Mr. Moore's private room and were cordially received, for afterwards
three siphons of lemonade were found on a table with three glasses. It
may be mentioned that in addition to Mr. Moore and his female servant
the only other resident in the house was a young grandchild of the

For a few minutes Mr. Moore and his visitors chatted amicably--it was
never known what passed between them--Barthélemy gave his version, but
he was, amongst other things, a professional liar, and his word cannot
be accepted. Mr. Moore undoubtedly received them in the friendliest
manner, and he must have had a good reason for doing so. Who was
the mysterious girl heavily veiled? What part did she take in the
conversation that led up to the double murder?

Barthélemy's version was that he politely requested Mr. Moore to deal
fairly by his own daughter, whom he intended to make his wife. Of
course, as is the custom in France, the Frenchman pointed out that
the bride must have a dowry. It was essential to the success of the
matrimonial adventure that the wife should be in a position to support
her husband. In this case the husband-to-be was the type that does not
like work.

Perhaps Barthélemy's statement was true except in one particular. The
mysterious lady may not have been the daughter of the manufacturer, but
it is credible that Barthélemy may have planned the whole affair in
order to blackmail Mr. Moore. No doubt he induced the girl to pose as
the injured daughter, and it is conceivable that he coached her into
acting the part of the grief-stricken woman whose mother was betrayed
and deserted.

Mr. Moore listened to the demand for a settlement on the girl who
said she was his daughter and then curtly declined to pay a penny.
Barthélemy threatened him with loss of reputation and its twin,
respectability. What would his friends think of him? The older man
laughed contemptuously. He was not going to yield to a pair of
blackmailers, and he told them to clear out of his house as quickly as

All three by now would be on their feet, Barthélemy and Mr. Moore face
to face, the former's eyes flashing, his pose theatrical; and the girl
in the background watching, her face hidden by the heavy folds of her
veil. The two men would be exchanging angry words, their tempers rising
every moment until it would seem that they must be overheard by anybody
in the street. But the blackmailer did not wish matters to go as far
as that, and he suddenly ended the altercation by smashing Mr. Moore's
head in with a blow from a loaded stick.

The unfortunate merchant collapsed in a heap on the floor, but he was
by no means unconscious, and he shouted for help until his servant
realized that her master was in danger. Throwing open the front door,
she screamed in terror until the whole street was roused. A policeman
came running towards her, and she gasped out what she knew.

It was obvious that the murderer would not attempt to leave by the
front door, and as the only other means of exit was by way of the
backyard and over certain walls the officer--Collard by name--who had
served in the army and was a very brave man, without thinking of the
risk or waiting for assistance, dashed round to the back of the house
to intercept the Frenchman and his female companion. A small crowd
guarded the front of the building, all of them valiantly prepared to
take any risk because there were fifty of them to share it.

Meanwhile Barthélemy, realizing that he had killed Moore, and that the
whole neighbourhood was roused, sought desperately for a way of escape.
In the crisis he thought only of himself, and, without a word to the
girl, he rushed from the room, darted downstairs and into the yard,
climbed a wall at the back and jumped over, to find himself in the arms
of the policeman.

The two men rolled and struggled in the road, the officer undismayed by
Barthélemy's superiority in height and strength. Collard more than held
his own, but Barthélemy, as in the case of his duel with Cournet, was
not going to fight fairly. He drew his pistol the moment he was able to
release one hand, and with the greatest deliberation fired twice into
the body of his opponent.

There were several eye-witnesses of the crime, but no one appears to
have attempted to detain the murderer, and Barthélemy would have got
away if, just as Collard had fallen back with a groan, more police had
not arrived on the scene. The Frenchman was speedily overcome by them
and disarmed.

It had been a breathlessly exciting time from beginning to end, and it
was not until Barthélemy was being taken to prison that it occurred to
his captors to search for his female companion. She had not left the
house by the front door, for there had been some one on guard there all
the time, and now the police entered, expecting to find her hiding in
one of the rooms at the top. Every possible exit was closed before the
search began, but despite the protracted efforts of the officers of the
law to locate her she was not found. In the room where the interview
with Mr. Moore had taken place they discovered lying near the body of
the murdered man a woman's mantle, the very one which she had worn when
admitted by the servant, as the latter confirmed.

How had she escaped? If she had gone by the back way she could not have
failed to attract the attention of the crowd which had assembled when
Collard had tackled Barthélemy. Besides it was almost impossible for a
girl to climb the wall unaided.

The authorities quickly discounted the theory of escape by the back,
and in the end it was generally believed that the girl had come
prepared for the tragedy, and that she had dressed herself in such a
way that by discarding her outer garment she would look absolutely
different from the person who had entered with Barthélemy. She must,
therefore, have slipped off her cloak, and mingled with the crowd in
the hall, unobserved in the general excitement.

It was a most extraordinary feature of the case that the girl was never
seen again. Not a trace of her could be found, and the united exertions
of the English and Continental police failed to furnish a clue to her
identity. It was conjectured that the girl had left England within a
dozen hours of Barthélemy's arrest. As the only person who could have
told the story of Mr. Moore's murder and the reasons which led up to
it, she would have been a most valuable witness, but, as she did not
come forward, the tragedy remained enveloped in mystery.

Collard, the brave policeman, was in a dying condition when taken to
the hospital, and as his end was approaching it was deemed advisable
that he should give his version of the struggle in the presence of
Barthélemy. The prisoner was conveyed to the hospital where Collard,
barely conscious, denounced him as his assassin.

The Frenchman stood with arms folded, and steadily surveyed Collard's
face. It was merely a pose, of course, but it was a carefully prepared
one, for Barthélemy never admitted that the unlucky officer had any
ground for disliking him! He described the firing of his revolver as an
accident, and declared that when a man is trying to make his escape he
is justified in using any weapon to further his ends.

The policeman briefly told how he had tried to arrest Barthélemy, and
when the statement had been taken down in writing and read over to the
dying man Barthélemy was removed.

Collard died a couple of hours later, and when his death was notified
the authorities decided to place Barthélemy on trial for the murder of
the policeman, and not for the crime of having killed Mr. Moore. The
reason for this was that no one except the girl who had vanished had
seen the murder of Mr. Moore, whereas there were several persons who
had been spectators of the second murder.

The police now began to investigate Barthélemy's life, and by the time
the prisoner came to stand his trial at the Old Bailey were certain
that the motive for the murder of Mr. Moore was robbery and nothing
else. The mineral water manufacturer was in the habit of keeping a
fairly large sum of money in the house, and Barthélemy had evidently
brought his female companion with the object of using her as a bait
to draw Mr. Moore's attention away from himself. If the merchant
should become engrossed in the girl Barthélemy would be able to slip
out of the room unobserved and commit the theft. This was what he
intended should happen, but apparently Mr. Moore's suspicions had
been unexpectedly aroused before Barthélemy could act, and in a vain
effort to save himself, and also to obtain the plunder, Barthélemy had
committed murder, only to find himself compelled to take a second human
life. This was the official version of a tragic interview, but, as it
was based entirely on conjecture, it was not universally accepted.

To say that Emanuel Barthélemy enjoyed his trial for murder at the
Old Bailey is not an exaggeration. He revelled in the role of first
villain in a piece which drew all London. As the hero of the duel at
Egham and the subsequent trial at Kingston, he was already something
of a celebrity. His achievements in France as a revolutionary were the
subject of common gossip, and that they did not belie the character of
the man was obvious from the attitude of studied bravado he maintained
throughout the trial. He always referred to the double murder as "the
affair," and while he politely expressed regret that "the affair"
should have caused inconvenience to the policeman Collard, yet he could
not in justice to himself, admit that there was anything in his conduct
deserving of censure. He had only fired in self-defence, and no one
ought to blame him for that.

The decision of the authorities to make the murder of Collard the
only charge provided the defence with their one chance. Counsel for
the prisoner ingeniously argued that at the worst Barthélemy had been
guilty of manslaughter only. He had fired at Collard with the object of
facilitating his escape. There had been no quarrel between the prisoner
and his victim; they were perfect strangers, and the policeman's death
was really an accident, as Barthélemy had only intended to injure him.

Barthélemy held his head high all through the trial, and there
was plenty of the "flashing eye" business and gesture of contempt
interludes to enliven the proceedings. He took up the attitude of one
who does not fear death, and, considering that this was his third
trial for murder and that he had escaped twice, he had some reason for
assuming that he was not meant to die upon the scaffold.

The Old Bailey jury, however, proved somewhat more sophisticated than
the Kingston jury, and, without hesitation, they rejected the subtle
theories of counsel for the defence. The fact could never be obscured
that Collard had been murdered by Barthélemy, and their immediate and
unanimous verdict was that the prisoner was guilty. The usual sentence
of death followed, and Barthélemy received it with a mocking bow. He
did not care, and he was not afraid.

He knew that there was no chance of a reprieve, and while he awaited
execution he conducted himself quietly, giving no trouble to the
prison authorities. He declared himself an atheist and declined to
receive a priest of his own nationality. When the chaplain managed to
speak a few words of admonition he answered with a laugh:

"I don't want God to save my soul. If there is a God let him save my
body by opening the prison doors. That's all I ask."

As the time grew shorter, however, Barthélemy became anxious about
something, but it was not his soul. Sending for the Governor he
declared that the only cause of uneasiness was a fear lest after his
death his clothes should be exhibited at Madame Tussaud's! The Governor
reassured him by promising him that they would not, and once more the
convict's mind was at rest, and he faced eternity calmly.

Calcraft was the executioner, and Barthélemy made his acquaintance with
a cynical smile.

"I have one thing to ask of you--do it quickly," he said, on the
morning of his execution, January 22nd, 1855.

The grim-visaged executioner nodded. Barthélemy was undoubtedly a type
of murderer not often met with even by a man with Calcraft's experience.

When the Frenchman stepped on to the scaffold he surveyed the crowd
with a cool stare, slightly contemptuous of their interest and
excitement. In his opinion death was not worth all this display. He was
treating it with the indifference it merited.

"Now I shall know the secret," he said, as the rope was placed around
his neck. A few minutes later he was dead.



The so-called "gentleman criminal" has flourished in all ages and in
all climes, and there have been many remarkable scoundrels who have
utilized their social position to rob their fellows. One of the most
notorious was William Parsons, the son of a baronet, and the nephew
of a duchess, who was educated at Eton, served as an officer both in
the army and navy, and, after a career during which he experimented in
every kind of fraud, ended on the gallows.

Parsons began early in life to plunder and swindle, and his first
victim was his own brother. When the two boys set out for Eton each
possessed a five-guinea piece, given them by their aunt, the Duchess
of Northumberland, and when William had spent his he stole his
brother's. The theft was discovered, and the thief received such a
severe thrashing that he had to keep to his bed for a fortnight. It was
a punishment which would have convinced most persons that "the way of
transgressors is hard," but Parsons quickly forgot when the pain had
gone and began to thieve again. The head master of Eton received many
complaints from boys whose pockets had been picked. Gold and silver
watches and other jewellery disappeared as if by magic, and despite
the precautions taken to shadow Parsons the thefts continued. He was
thrashed again and again, but all to no effect, and, finally, it was
decided to remove him.

He had an uncle living at Epsom, named Captain Dutton, and to him he
was sent. There was no publicity about the "removal"--which was really
expulsion--for Sir William Parsons, the boy's father, was highly
esteemed, and everything was done to spare his feelings. Captain
Dutton received the young prodigal with much kindness, generously
ascribing his escapades at the great public school to a boy's natural
propensities for fun. "Boys will be boys," said the officer, and
prepared to give his headstrong nephew the run of his house.

It was understood in the family that Parsons was to inherit the estate
of his uncle, who was by no means a poor man. But Parsons was not one
to wait for dead men's shoes.

From the moment he arrived at Epsom he plunged into every kind of
vice. The gallant captain had an account at a jeweller's, and Parsons,
learning this, ordered an immense quantity of plate, which he disposed
of in London for a tenth of its value. If any money was left lying
about the house the young thief's fingers immediately closed round it.
In vain his uncle censured and forgave. Parsons was irreclaimable, and
eventually Captain Dutton kicked him into the street, and closed his
door against him for ever.

[Illustration: WILLIAM PARSONS]

A family conference was now held, and it came to the conclusion
that Parsons had better be sent to sea, and accordingly he took a
voyage in H.M.S. _Drake_ to the West Indies, holding the rank of a
midshipman. As he was so well related, he was given a good time by his
fellow-officers, and although there were rumours concerning him on
board he managed to return home with his name still on the books of the
ship, and without being in irons. This was, undoubtedly, a remarkable
accomplishment for him. But long before his return he had decided that
he did not care for the cramped life of a sailor. He wanted to live
in the very best style, and have his fling in the gayest circles in
London. He had already acquired a fondness for gambling, and on his
arrival in England from the West Indies he took all his savings to a
gambling hell in London, and in a few hours lost every penny.

He did not despair, for he was aware that there was an idea in his
family that he had reformed. His period of service in the navy had
convinced his relations that he had indeed turned over a new leaf.
The Duchess of Northumberland was staying at her London mansion, and
Parsons, utterly penniless, paid her a visit, hoping to induce his
good-natured aunt to come to his financial rescue. With apparent
contrition he apologized for the indiscretions of his youth, and swore
that he now found virtue more attractive than vice. It ended, of
course, in an appeal for funds, and the duchess handed him five hundred
pounds so that he might appear in society as befitted his relationship
to her. That night the five hundred pounds became nearly two thousand
as the result of the most daring gambling on Parsons' part. He took the
most reckless chances, and every time came out on top. He was naturally
wildly delighted. Here was the quickest and easiest road to fortune,
and he persuaded himself that in a few weeks he would be worth many
thousands of pounds. But the sequel was absurdly conventional. Parson
was cleaned out within a couple of days.

Each time he became "dead broke" he called on the Duchess of
Northumberland, but with each succeeding visit her presents of money
became uncomfortably less, and he had to supplement her grants in aid
by purloining various small articles of jewellery which he found on
her dressing-table. The duchess, however, possessed so much jewellery
that the thefts passed unnoticed until one evening, whilst chatting
confidentially with her in her boudoir, he slipped into his pocket
a miniature set in gold, which her Grace valued highly--so highly,
indeed, that when she discovered her loss she offered a reward of five
hundred pounds for its recovery. It was a purely sentimental valuation,
but it placed Parsons in a most awkward position. Five hundred pounds
would have been a godsend to him, and yet he dared not surrender the
miniature, for he was well aware that his aunt would never forgive the
theft, and, accordingly the young thief was compelled to sell it to a
jeweller of doubtful reputation, who gave him fifty pounds for it.

Having for the time being exhausted his resources in London, Parsons
was driven to the desperate expedient of going home. The family seat
was just outside the town of Nottingham, but he found it so dull that
he became a regular frequenter of the assembly rooms at Buxton. A few
minor thefts provided funds for a week, and the son of the well-known
Nottinghamshire baronet was received everywhere. No one thought of
suspecting him of being a thief, and when he stole a pair of shoes with
gold buckles, and disposed of the gold to a jeweller in Nottingham,
Sir William averted exposure when the gold buckles were traced to his
son by negotiating in private with the original owner. For the sake of
the heart-broken father the victim of the theft did not prosecute, and
young Parsons was bundled off to London, Sir William having no further
use for him.

Perhaps if Parsons had not been saved from punishment so often he
would not have adopted crime as a profession. But to a person of his
temperament the game must have appeared to be worth more than the
proverbial candle, because when he won he was paid, and when he lost
there was always a kind-hearted relative or friend to pay for him. He
was not at all embarrassed by his narrow escape at Nottingham. It was
only a minor episode in a career in which he had come unscathed out of
many tight corners.

On his return to London he happened to meet a lady some ten years older
than himself, but whose burden of years was eased by the possession of
a considerable fortune. She was not bad-looking, and being without near
relatives she was an easy victim to the unscrupulous fortune-hunter.
When Parsons was introduced to her as the son of Sir William Parsons,
and the nephew of the Duchess of Northumberland, the socially-ambitious
lady simply "threw herself at him."

She longed to shine in high society, and the moment Parsons understood
her weakness he played up to it for all he was worth. He promised to
introduce her to his aunt, and swore that her Grace would instantly
fall in love with her and chaperon her, for, of course, anyone who
entered the charmed portals of society vouched for by the Duchess of
Northumberland would encounter no difficulties in her way.

The lady accepted all his statements without demur, but she proved
somewhat coy whenever money was mentioned, and Parsons had to ask her
to marry him before she would consent to advance him a portion of her

They became engaged in secret, Parsons pointing out that it must
be kept quiet until he had time to approach his aunt, the duchess,
diplomatically and break the news to her, for the lady was the daughter
of a man who had made his money in trade, and in those days that was
considered a bar to entry into society. She was satisfied with his
explanation, and she poured thousands of pounds into her "lover's"
keeping to hold in trust for her. At the same time he was making love
to a girl whom he had met at his aunt's house, and he actually bought
her presents with the money he had extracted from the too-confiding
lady who fondly imagined that she would soon be his wife.

When he had robbed her of every penny it was possible to obtain without
arousing the suspicions of her guardians, Parsons, realizing that it
would be better for his health and comfort to vanish from London for
some months, returned to the navy and secured an appointment on H.M.S.

There were a gallant set of officers on board, not too well endowed
with this world's goods, but quite willing to hazard what they
possessed at the gaming-table. Well aware of this, Parsons, who deemed
it only proper to combine business with pleasure, took with him some
marked cards and loaded dice. Every evening the officers played, and
from the very beginning Parsons won. Cynically contemptuous of the
intelligence of his opponents, he did not condescend to the usual trick
of allowing them to win now and then. He simply took all he could get
until it became painfully obvious that the only man on board who never
lost was William Parsons, and it was generally agreed that there could
be only one reason for that.

The captain accordingly took Parsons aside and informed him that they
all had decided not to play with him in future. The scoundrel shrugged
his shoulders, but, of course, had to accept the decision, for the
captain was the autocrat of the ship. But worse was to follow, for
before the voyage was at an end the officers added to their first
decision another one which prevented anyone addressing Parsons except
when duty compelled.

The studied contempt of his brother-officers did not affect him. He had
long since lost all sense of decency, and his only anxiety was that
there might be unnecessary delay before he reached land again.

Once more he found himself in London, and determined never to enter
the navy again. The standard of honour at sea was too high for him,
and the blunt sailors had a way of expressing their opinions which was
decidedly uncomfortable.

He plunged again into the life of a gambler, but with all his
experience could not win except on those rare occasions when he was
able to persuade the company to play with the dice or cards he
produced. Whenever this occurred he swept the board, but he was by now
too well known, and it happened that it was only in the semi-public
gambling saloon where trickery was impossible that he was allowed to
play, because his fellow-gamblers knew that the dice could not be
loaded or the cards marked.

One night he lost five thousand pounds to an army officer, and as he
had only fifteen hundred pounds on him paid that amount on account. The
officer, who was somewhat the worse for drink, shortly afterwards left
the house, and Parsons followed him, robbed him of the money, returned,
and lost it again at cards. It was a favourite trick of his to rob
those he paid, and the astonishing thing about it all is that he was
never detected.

Gamblers were fond of drinking and few of them were sober by midnight.
Parsons, however, kept his wits about him, for he owed so much that
he could not afford to handicap himself as the others did. And yet
when he won a considerable sum he never had the sense to stop. On
three occasions his winnings exceeded two thousand pounds, and within
twenty-four hours he was penniless again.

Meanwhile he could live fairly comfortable on credit as it was known
that the Duchess of Northumberland had named him for a large sum in her
will, and it was expected that her Grace's decease would free him from
all his liabilities.

Now, Parsons had been disinherited once--by his uncle, Captain Dutton,
of Epsom--and that ought to have been a warning to him, but he never
learned even from his misfortunes, and he was destined to receive
nothing from his aunt.

It all came about owing to the sudden necessity for him to pay a visit
abroad. London was swarming with his creditors, and to avoid them he
went to Jamaica. But money was scarce there, too, and he found the
local traders had a not unnatural preference for cash when it came to
bargaining, and Parsons accordingly forged a letter, purporting to be
signed by his aunt, guaranteeing to be responsible for any sum up to
seventy pounds which her nephew might borrow.

When he had raised the sum mentioned, Parsons decamped, and some time
afterwards the duchess was rendered furious by a demand from the
Jamaican merchant for repayment. She disowned the forgery at once, and
cut Parsons' name out of her will. She had intended to bequeath him
twenty-five thousand pounds, and now she transferred the legacy to
his sister, well aware that her family would take every precaution to
prevent the "black sheep" touching any of it.

But the disinherited rascal was unperturbed, and it seemed that he had
checkmated misfortune when he met and married within a very short time
a young lady with a fortune in her own right of twelve thousand pounds,
with more to come.

The newly-married couple set up in a luxuriously-furnished house in
Poland Street, in the West End of London, and Parsons, anxious to
obtain a better standing in society, purchased a commission in a crack
regiment. He did not, however, lose his fondness for the gaming-tables,
and when his wife let him have four thousand pounds he gaily informed
her a fortnight afterwards that he was without a penny. She came to
the rescue by allowing him to mortgage her securities, which he did
thoroughly, actually raising money twice on the same documents.

Parsons had purchased a commission in the army without any intention
of ever doing any fighting, but greatly to his annoyance his regiment
was ordered to Flanders, where there was every chance of his making
the acquaintance of powder and shot. His family were delighted, hoping
that active service would "steady" him. But the seasoned criminal
disappointed them again, and in Flanders he perpetrated frauds
specially suited to the situation he found himself in.

When it was necessary to reclothe the whole of his regiment, Parsons
was fortunate enough to secure the contract, and on behalf of the
regiment he bought a great quantity of cloth. By some means he managed
to get it all to London, and there he disposed of it at about half the
rate he had bought it at, and in a few days had spent all the money in
riotous living.

This offence was, however, of too serious a nature to pass unnoticed,
and in due course it was reported to the Commander-in-Chief. The Duke
of Cumberland, who was then the head of the British Army, dismissed him
from the service and confiscated the sum of money he had paid for his
commission, ordering it to be devoted to replacing part of the losses
sustained by his innumerable frauds.

It is astonishing that more drastic measures were not adopted, but no
doubt the wealthy and powerful Northumberland family brought all their
influence to bear. Besides, Sir William Parsons, the thief's father,
was well known in Court circles, and it may have been that it was on
his account that the career of his son was not brought to a swift
conclusion at the hands of the common hangman.

Now that he was a cashiered officer he could no longer, of course,
associate with decent people. His companions from henceforth were
dishonest servants and professional criminals. The lowest class
gambling-houses began to know him well, and he was addressed
affectionately by individuals who would not have been tolerated by his
father's domestics.

Mrs. Parsons had not unnaturally returned home to her parents, who had
informed her husband that if he attempted to molest her they would
shoot him like a dog, and, as Parsons knew that there was no more
money to be had from her, he was only too glad to be saved the trouble
and expense of keeping her.

But he was not the man to live meanly, and he formed many plans, the
success of which would set him up again as a gentleman of means and
leisure. Every decent door was closed against him, and he had to depend
now wholly and solely on fraud to provide him with food and shelter.

Parsons took another house and furnished it entirely on credit. The
plate was massive and costly, and of such value that the goldsmith
who supplied it was the first of the tradesmen to get anxious about
the payment of his account. But when, shortly after delivering it, he
nervously called at the house in Panton Square, he was surprised to
find it uninhabited. There was no sign of life about it, and inquiries
confirmed his impression that the owner had gone away for a time. But
he could see that the furniture remained, and, therefore, he was not
greatly perturbed. The gentry were fond of going into the country, and
as Parsons had boasted of his estate in Nottinghamshire the goldsmith
returned to his shop satisfied that he would be paid one day.

Other creditors rang at the front door, and failed to gain admission,
and when their suspicions were aroused they kept a watch on the house,
but they never caught a glimpse of their debtor. Yet Parsons was
actually living there. He used to enter and leave by a small door in
the stable-yard, and he seldom went out unprovided with a piece of
plate or some other portable article which was destined to find its way
into a pawnbroker's shop.

The comedy was brought to a sudden termination by the impatience of the
landlord, who was desirous of seeing his rent. The law, which kept the
other creditors at bay, permitted him to force an entrance, but when
he did he discovered that he was too late. Parsons had disposed of the
furniture, leaving only the heavy curtains to act--in every sense of
the word--as a blind. The creditors never received a single penny.

By now Parsons had a friend, a certain man named Wilson, who had been
a footman until dishonesty led to his dismissal. Wilson had served for
some years in a family of position, and he had managed to pick up some
of their mannerisms, which he imagined justified him in thinking that
he could pose as a gentleman himself. He was tall and good-looking, and
could talk glibly of several well-known personages as though they were
personal friends, whereas the truth was that he had only waited on them.

In conjunction with this scoundrel, Parsons devised a scheme whereby he
would be able to recover some of the twenty-five thousand pounds which
he had lost by the forgery of his aunt's name. The money was now bound
to come to his sister, who was generally referred to as the "wealthy
Miss Parsons," and, as at the time we are speaking of marriage gave the
husband instant possession of his wife's fortune, Parsons suggested
that Wilson should carry off his sister, forcibly marry her, and then
pay over ten thousand pounds of his wife's fortune to him.

It was a pretty idea, and the ex-footman entered into it with
enthusiasm. He knew that Miss Parsons' entire fortune was considerably
more than twenty-five thousand pounds, and he would have paid double
William Parsons' commission if the latter had insisted on more generous

The preliminary plans were settled in an old public-house in the
Haymarket, not far from the lodgings occupied by the girl, who did not
suspect that her own brother wished to sell her to a debased ruffian.
Elopements were common enough in those days, and the forcible abduction
of an heiress was considered legitimate sport in certain circles.
William knew his sister's movements, and there seemed no reason to
fear failure when he bought over Miss Parsons' maid with a promise
to pay her five hundred pounds when the marriage had taken place. The
sum offered was an immense fortune to a lady's maid, and she eagerly
accepted the bribe.

All that remained now was to hire the coach and the swiftest horses,
arrange for the unscrupulous clergyman to be ready at an out-of-the-way
spot, and then to take the unsuspecting girl to her doom.

From first to last Parsons exhibited much cunning in this affair, and
had it not been for the carelessness of his confederate his plan might
have succeeded.

But Wilson lost his head when Parsons persuaded him to believe that
marriage to his wealthy sister was certain. The ex-footman could
not keep his mouth closed, and he drew attention to himself by his
extravagant purchases for the great event. He was buying half a dozen
expensive "ruffled shirts" in a West End shop one day when, in the
presence of several customers, he boasted of his forthcoming marriage
to "the great heiress, Miss Parsons."

The small audience stared when they heard this, and envied the
well-dressed "gentleman" his good fortune, but, unhappily for him,
just as he was speaking a lady had entered who knew him. She overheard
his reference to Miss Parsons, and she glanced at him with more than
ordinary interest. Great was her astonishment when she recognized her
ex-footman, Wilson, the man she had discharged for dishonesty.

Steps were instantly taken to acquaint Miss Parsons with the statements
Wilson was making about her, and she thought it prudent to change her
lodgings, and to hire an ex-pugilist to follow and protect her wherever
she went. But there was no danger from the moment Wilson had made that
very stupid and incautious remark for the conspirators got frightened
and separated, though not before Parsons had savagely attacked Wilson
for his indiscretion. The result of the attack was the disfigurement
of the footman's face for the rest of his life.

Although he was now always short of ready money, Parsons took good care
to see that his wardrobe was in first-rate condition. He never dressed
shabbily, always appearing as a man of fashion. London, however, was
not so remunerative as it had been: his character was too well known,
and the set he mixed in was too poor to be worth the robbing. He,
therefore, decided on a sort of provincial tour, and he went down to
Bath with the intention of finding a vain and silly girl with money,
who would be attracted by his appearance and his titled relations.

The baronet's son speedily found a victim in the daughter of a
well-to-do doctor. He represented himself to be a bachelor--of
course, the truth was that his wife was still alive--anxious to marry
and settle down in quiet luxury, as befitted his birth. The girl
readily responded to his honeyed words, and in her father's house the
engagement took place, and was approved of by the doctor, who had heard
of Sir William Parsons, Bart., of Nottingham.

Parsons began to borrow. In hundreds at first and then in thousands,
and very soon the girl's private fortune of three thousand pounds,
which she had inherited from her mother, had been lent to Parsons, and
lost by him in the gaming-houses.

Her father advanced more, and when he had drained the family dry
Parsons announced that he was called away to see his father to arrange
for his marriage, and he took his departure from Bath with the cordial
good wishes of the doctor and his daughter, who were destined neither
to see him nor their money again.

From Bath he went to Clifton. It was then a small village where a few
of the wealthy Bristol merchants had country-houses. He arrived in the
early summer, and speedily got an introduction to a rich shipowner who
had two daughters. Parsons discovered that the two girls were wildly
jealous of each other, and he thereupon made each one the object of
his attentions without letting either know that she had a rival. There
was plenty of money in the family, but on the first occasion Parsons
delicately hinted that a loan of two hundred pounds would be acceptable
the hard-headed old merchant only advised him to write to his father,
offering to bear the expense of the communication.

This was not what Parsons wanted, and he determined to use the girls
to extract the money from their father, whom he termed "the old
miser." Accordingly, he took the elder girl out for a walk, and boldly
explained that he was temporarily without means owing to a family
lawsuit, and he hinted that if she wished to marry him she must help to
relieve his pecuniary embarrassment. The girl promised to do her best,
and, confident that she would keep her promise not to divulge to her
father or sister what he had said, he met the younger girl, and put his
situation before her in similar terms.

A few days later he found that the two girls were actually vying with
one another as to which of them could find the most money for her
lover, unaware that they were both referring to the same individual.

By some extraordinary means they got over five thousand pounds for
him, and Parsons supplemented it with a forged order purporting to be
signed by the girl's father, ordering his manager to pay the bearer
a thousand pounds. Parsons presented the order in person, received
the money, packed his belongings, and the same night left for London.
When the fraud was discovered the old man was for instant exposure,
but on reflection, and persuaded by his daughters, he decided that
the disgrace and ridicule that would follow for them when Parsons
was arrested was too big a price to pay for revenge, and they never
published the story of their foolishness and gullibility.

But Parsons' end was approaching. His good fortune could not last for
ever, and he met his match in a country girl, who resented his advances
after she had found him with another woman and refused to act as his
accomplice in the passing of counterfeit banknotes. She denounced him
in a temper, and he was arrested. It was characteristic of the fellow
that when in prison awaiting trial he should rob a fellow-prisoner of
his small stock of cash.

For the offence of possessing imitation banknotes Parsons was
transported, but he managed to earn the good graces of the governor of
the colony whither he was sent, and he was back again in England within
two years, paying the expenses of his journey by an audacious robbery
at the expense of the official who had sheltered him in his house.

And now having tried nearly every variety and form of crime, and being
without funds, Parsons turned highwayman as a last desperate resource.

It was the most precarious of all professions, but there was ever the
temptation of netting a large sum of money. His first essay resulted
in a gain of about eighty pounds, and his second ten pounds less. The
money was not much use to Parsons, and he would have abandoned the
profession there and then had he not heard that a certain nobleman
intended to carry a thousand pounds from London to a house a few miles
to the north of Turnham Green.

Parsons resolved to waylay the coach and capture the money, but his
plans were upset by his own arrest, and after five months in prison at
Newgate he was executed on February 11th, 1750, the king rejecting a
petition presented to him by the prisoner's powerful and influential



When the American Civil War was going none too well for the Northern
States, President Lincoln, who was determined not to introduce
conscription until he was absolutely compelled to, offered a special
bounty of one thousand dollars (about £200) to every fit man who would
volunteer to serve "for the duration of the war." We all know now that
even the generous bounty failed to solve the recruiting problem, and
that conscription had eventually to be resorted to, but for a time that
thousand dollar offer elicited numerous responses, and amongst the men
it brought into the army was a young clerk of the name of Adam Worth.

Worth was just under twenty, smooth-tongued, clever, self-willed, born
to command, and, if physically small, his muscles were as strong as
fine steel, while the dark, glittering eyes and the prominent nose
were traces of his German-Jewish ancestry. He received his thousand
dollars, donned the uniform of the Northern Army, and then deserted, to
re-enlist later in another regiment and receive another bounty.

Such was the beginning of the greatest and most successful criminal
career the world has ever known. In his school days Adam Worth had
been cheated by another and a bigger boy offering him a new penny for
two old ones. When the child was told of the loss he had sustained he
resolved he would never be "done" again, and he certainly recovered
those two pennies millions of times before he died.

Does crime pay? Those who really know are certain that it does not,
but there are a few who doubt. Well, here is the story of a man who
stole in all quite £500,000, and who must have averaged close on twenty
thousand pounds a year during his active life. We shall see what
happened to him.

Satisfied for a while with the second bounty, Adam Worth took part in
several of the later battles of the great Civil War. There is no record
that he distinguished himself, but, on the other hand, he performed
his duties satisfactorily, and participated in the rejoicings which
followed the triumph of the North. Along with thousands of others, he
was discharged from the army when hostilities ceased, and as one of
the men who had fought for his country was assured of remunerative
employment. But Adam Worth's ideas of money were too big to be
honest, and he quickly drifted into the society of thieves. He turned
pickpocket, and achieved some very neat thefts. Then he took part in
a robbery from a bank. He directed the operations, and their success
confirmed what most of his associates were slowly realizing--that Adam
Worth and success went hand in hand. Gradually they began to treat him
with respect; afterwards they looked up to him as their leader. New
methods were needed, and Worth supplied them.

"It's just as easy to steal a hundred thousand dollars as a tenth of
that sum," he said to his criminal associates. "The risk is just as
great. We'll, therefore, go out for big money always."

[Illustration: ADAM WORTH]

He introduced the system of utilizing the proceeds, or part of them,
of one robbery to help to bring off the next. Hitherto the average
thief was accustomed to spend his ill-gotten gains in dissipation, and
then look about for a way of filling his empty pockets. Adam Worth
changed all that. He realized that crime must be capitalized if it was
to be successful and to pay large dividends. One robbery, for example,
brought in about ten thousand dollars, and he distributed only half
of this amongst his followers, the balance being held in reserve for
another bank burglary, and the reserve was frequently added to.

Worth's foresight was justified immediately. He had despatched
confederates all over the United States to seek out likely banks to
rob; and, when one of them reported that the Boyston Bank, in Boston,
was just the thing they were looking for, Worth journeyed from New York
to inspect. He was delighted with what he saw, for it seemed to him
the bank was built purposely for him. With proper care it would be the
easiest job of his life, and he saw to it that every care was taken to
ensure success.

Next door to the Boyston Bank was a barber's shop. It did a good
business, and had Worth not possessed considerable monetary reserves
he would never have been able to induce the proprietor to sell out.
The crook, however, offered him a generous sum down "on the nail,"
explaining that he was the representative of a New York company which
was going to introduce into Boston a patent bitters which would
sweep all other patent bitters out of the market. The money and
the explanation were accepted, and within a few days the necessary
alterations had been made.

The shop window was packed with bottles--which prevented anyone
seeing into the shop--and a wooden partition at the end of the shop
effectively screened that part from observation should a stray
"customer" appear. One of the gang, dressed as a shop assistant, was
always on view during the day, but at night he assisted Adam Worth and
two other men to dig a tunnel under the shop and into the bank next
door. For a week they worked, taking particular care that no trace
of their operations could be seen. The excavated earth was carefully
piled up behind the wooden partition and watched as though it was gold.
Thousands of Bostonians passed the window of the New Patent Bitters Co.
unconscious of the fact that one of the most sensational bank robberies
of the century was being carried out, for when the gang had finished
their tunnel they entered the vaults of the bank, broke open three
safes, and gathered a rich harvest of gold and silver and notes, worth
in all close on one million dollars.

The four burglars at once fled to New York, and there they divided the
spoils, later scattering when they heard that the Boston police were
after them. One of the thieves went to Ireland, another to Canada,
Worth and the fourth member of the gang, Bullard, sailed for England to
open up a new and sensational chapter in the story of crime.

Of course, they could not go by their own names. Bullard called himself
Charles Wells, and Adam Worth took the name of Harry Raymond. He made
it notorious before he finished with it.

The two American crooks put up at one of the best hotels in Liverpool,
intending to take things lazily for a few weeks, but Adam Worth's
restless nature would not permit him to keep his hands off other
people's property even when he was possessed of forty thousand
pounds--his share, after expenses had been paid, of the raid on the
bank at Boston. His confederate fell in love with a barmaid at the
hotel, and spent most of his time in her company, leaving Worth to
wander about the city, ever on the look out for a likely crib to crack.

It was typical of the man that he should regard Charles Bullard's
love-making with contempt, because it caused him to neglect business.
Bullard could see no reason why they should take any more risks until
their money was gone, but Worth looked upon crime as a profession
which must be pursued day after day, no matter how large the profits.
Anyhow, he left Bullard to himself. Whenever possible Worth preferred
to work on his own, for that meant more for him.

At last he found what he wanted. There was a pawnbroker's shop in one
of the principal streets of the city which, judging by its window
display, must be bulging with jewellery. Adam Worth decided to burgle
it, and to secure a wax impression of the key of the front door he
called three times within a fortnight to pawn certain articles. He
was disguised, of course, for he had to engage the pawnbroker in
conversation in order to get an opportunity to press the bit of wax
concealed in his left palm against the key, which the pawnbroker
sometimes left lying on his counter. On the occasion of his third
visit Worth secured the right impression and it cost the unfortunate
tradesman twenty-five thousand pounds, for that was the value of the
goods missing when he arrived at his establishment one morning and
found that it had been entered the previous night.

Worth now decided to visit London. Liverpool was not big enough for
a man of his capacity, and, in addition, he was growing rather tired
of Bullard, who had married the beautiful barmaid. He advised the
newly-married pair to make Paris their headquarters, and they took
his advice. Then Worth came to London and rented a costly flat in the
centre of Piccadilly. He had now over sixty thousand pounds in hand,
all of which he devoted to his profession.

His flat became a regular meeting-place for all the noted thieves of
England and the Continent, as well as those select crooks who came from
America to interview the greatest of them all. Worth had his own staff
of well-trained servants, all of whom could be trusted, and with his
large funds he was always in a position to finance any big job. Thieves
came to him for advice and help. Was there a bank official to be
bribed or a skeleton key to be made? Adam Worth solved both problems.
Did a particular job require the services of an expert burglar or
forger? Adam Worth had a large supply of either on hand. He knew where
to find the right man for every job, and in return for his services he
received a goodly percentage of the profits.

The London police were amazed at the long series of burglaries which
began with Adam Worth's arrival in London. Each one of them was carried
out so neatly that they were plainly the work of a master. But who was
the master? Could it be possible that the American gentleman who lived
such an open life in the very centre of fashionable London was actually
the leader of a gang of burglars? If he was, surely one of his gang
would betray him? The police could obtain no proof, and Adam Worth kept
them so busy investigating his depredations that they had very little
time to devote to his personality.

He planned the robbery of the French mail between Boulogne and
Folkestone that resulted in a loss to the Post Office of thirty
thousand pounds. Adam Worth provided keys to fit the vans and the boxes
containing the registered parcels, and on another occasion actually
sent a couple of expert train thieves down to Dover with an exact
duplicate of the registered mail bag, everything being on a par with
the original, even to the minute figures on the seal. That robbery
brought in about twenty thousand pounds, and it was only one of many.
Indeed, every case Adam Worth touched turned to gold. Everybody who
knew him regarded him as their mascot, and his own personality did the

He was generous to his followers in good and bad times. When any of
them were down on their luck they came to Worth, and were helped
with presents of money running into hundreds of pounds. In this way
he bought them body and soul, keeping a register of their names and
abilities, and calling them up for active service when he required them.

All this went on from that luxurious flat in Piccadilly. Now and then
Adam Worth took a trip abroad, intending to rest, but he always came
back to London with more money than he had gone away with. It was quite
impossible for him to resist temptation.

Amongst Worth's most trusted followers was an American, Charles Becker,
the very greatest forger who ever lived, not even excepting the famous
"Jim the Penman." Worth retained Becker as his principal forger, and at
his London headquarters the master criminal got Becker and three other
men together, where a great campaign was planned. Coutts's Bank was
selected as the principal victim, and Becker, with marvellous skill,
forged a number of letters of credit purporting to be issued by the
London bank.

Worth supplied the four men with plenty of money to begin their tour,
advancing sufficient cash until they could pass their letters of
credit, when they would return the money with interest. The gang got
as far as Smyrna without mishap, and all seemed to be going well. But
one evening when they were gambling at their hotel they were pounced
upon by the local police and taken to prison. They had no chance at
their trial, and they were sentenced to seven years' penal servitude,
and lodged in a horrible prison at Constantinople to serve their time.
But Charles Becker, not to mention the others, was too valuable to Adam
Worth to be allowed to pass seven long years in a Turkish prison. Worth
disappeared from Piccadilly for a time, turning up in Constantinople
in the guise of an American millionaire making the grand tour. A few
months passed, and Adam Worth's friends were still on the worse side
of the prison walls, but the master-criminal was only taking his own
time to achieve success. Had he hurried he might have bungled his
plans. Turkish officials are easy to bribe, but the right ones must be
selected, and everything must be done with dignified slowness.

Worth had thousands of pounds in his trunk, and these he distributed
judiciously amongst the heads of the police and the principal official
of the prison.

When his task was completed he departed from Constantinople, and the
same evening three out of the four members of his gang escaped from
prison. The fourth man happened to be weak and ill, and he could not
get away in time. The three convicts endured many hardships following
their escape. They had to go into Asia in order to reach Europe by a
roundabout route, but while travelling through Asia Minor they had
the misfortune to fall into the hands of bandits, who held them to
ransom, although it was apparent that they were penniless convicts.
The brigands, however, permitted one of them, Joe Elliott, to go to
England and communicate with their friends, and a month was allowed for
the payment of the ransoms. Of course, Elliott went straight to Adam
Worth's flat in Piccadilly, and when he told his story Worth drew a
cheque for a couple of thousand pounds, and sent Elliott with the cash
to release his comrades. A few weeks later they were all back in London
again to take a "breather" before resuming their attacks on the banks.

All this leads up to the theft of the famous Gainsborough picture, "The
Duchess of Devonshire," for if Charles Becker had not escaped from the
Turkish prison the circumstances would not have arisen which inspired
Adam Worth to steal it. Becker, soon after his return to London, forged
a series of cheques, the proceeds of which were taken to the Continent
to be exchanged for French and German banknotes. But one of the men
commissioned by Worth to act as his agent in the disposal of the notes
was arrested and brought back to England to face the serious charge
of forgery. This person, who passed under the name of Thompson, was an
intimate friend of his chiefs, and Worth swore that he would get him
released on bail pending his trial. Of course, the American crook would
then have decamped, and if necessary Adam Worth would have recompensed
the man who went bail for the money he would forfeit.

But the English law requires a householder of good reputation to bail
a prisoner, and Worth was not in a position to command the services
of one. There was nothing to do but to see if he could not compel a
wealthy and well-known Londoner to bail out Thompson.

He was racking his brains for a way out of the impasse when happening
to be walking down Bond Street with an English thief, Jack Phillips,
known to his intimates as "Junka" they were impeded by a crowd of
fashionable folk who were entering an art gallery. The two thieves
inquired what was the attraction which had filled Bond Street with
carriages, and they were told that the famous Gainsborough was on
view in Messrs. Agnew's art gallery, they having bought it a few days
previously for the sum of ten thousand guineas.

"Why, that's the very thing, Junka," whispered Worth, with glittering
eyes. "We'll steal the picture and offer to return it to Agnew's if
they will stand bail for Thompson. They won't dare refuse, for they'll
realize that we could easily destroy the picture if they did."

Phillips argued, for the plan struck him as preposterous, but Worth
insisted, and he brought Joe Elliott, the man who had been captured
with the other escaped convicts by the Turkish bandits, into the

Three nights later there was a fog, and Phillips, Elliott, and Worth
went to Bond Street, where Phillips, who was very tall, stood under
the window of the room where the picture was, and Adam Worth, who
was small and wiry, climbed on to his shoulders, and in a few moments
was in the gallery. It was the work of a couple of minutes to cut the
picture from its frame, roll it up, and pass it down to Phillips, while
Joe Elliott kept guard fifty yards away to notify the movements of the
policeman on duty.

The programme was carried out without the slightest hitch, and the next
morning London and the world was provided with one of its greatest
sensations. That was May 26, 1876, and despite the efforts of the best
brains of Scotland Yard, backed by a huge reward, Messrs. Agnew did
not see their valuable picture again for twenty-six years. Then Adam
Worth, a prematurely aged man, broken in health and penniless, returned
the picture through the Pinkertons for part of the original reward. He
wanted the money to provide his two children with a home and to ensure
a little peace for himself before he died.

But a great deal happened between that May morning in 1876 and Adam
Worth's sudden death in 1902. The theft of the picture proved useless,
because Thompson, the prisoner, was released and allowed to leave the
country owing to a flaw in the indictment. He had been extradited on
the wrong charge and had, therefore, to be set at liberty. When he
heard this Worth had the canvas concealed in the false bottom of a
trunk and taken to America, and during the ensuing quarter of a century
it rested in furniture depositories in Boston, New York and Brooklyn.
There it remained whilst Adam Worth rose to the greatest heights a
professional criminal has ever reached, and there it was when he fell
into the depths.

Two years after the theft of the Gainsborough, Worth, with several
trusted followers, robbed the express train between Calais and Paris
of bonds worth thirty thousand pounds. The money was needed, as by
now Worth had bought a beautiful steam yacht, which he called the
_Shamrock_, and in addition to maintaining it and a crew of twenty
men, he turned racehorse owner and took out a licence to race in
England. He was at his zenith now, and hundreds of persons who met the
well-dressed, spruce little man with the engaging personality never
suspected for a moment that they were in the presence of the King of

Adam Worth adapted himself to any circumstances that arose, but behind
the smooth face there was an evil soul, always planning attacks on
society, always on the lookout to thieve and burgle and forge. And the
stately yacht rode at anchor in the harbour at Cowes, and its owner
raced his horses, gave dinner-parties, went to the opera, and lived the
life of a man whose wealth frees him from many of the sordid cares of

The marvel of it is that it lasted as long as it did. Adam Worth was
always taking risks. Frequently he would go for a pleasure trip in his
yacht and every port he touched had reason to regret the visit, for it
meant that some one lost thousands of pounds. Each visit was celebrated
with a burglary or a successful raid on a local bank by means of a
forged cheque.

His feats were many, and it is difficult to know which of them to
select here, for volumes could be written about the master-criminal.
On one occasion he was carrying twenty thousand pounds' worth of
diamonds--stolen, of course--to America to sell, when a number of
thefts were committed on board the ship. Worth was innocent, for he
never stooped to robbing cabins, but he was afraid lest he should be
searched and his stolen goods found upon him. He, therefore, left the
ship at the earliest possible moment, and boarded a train for a distant
part of America. But even then he left nothing to chance, and he
concealed his booty in the carriage, deciding it was too dangerous to
carry about.

Sure enough he was arrested and, when he had proved his innocence of
complicity in the thefts aboard ship, was released. Then he set to
work to track down the carriage in which he had hidden his diamonds,
and after some trouble found it in a siding. Late that night he forced
his way into the carriage, and recovered the valuables. It is safe to
say that not another thief in the world would have carried out such a
programme so successfully.

But it was in the diamond fields of South Africa that Adam Worth,
alias, Harry Raymond, was at his best. He was driven to visit Africa by
the uncomfortable fact that the English police were watching him very
closely; indeed, they had gone so far as to place a detective outside
his house day and night to report every visitor. This was unbearable,
and Worth, who required more money, sent for an old friend, Charles
King, and together they travelled to Cape Town.

Worth was after a really big thing this time, and he told his companion
that he was not going to be satisfied with anything under one hundred
thousand pounds. His first plan was to take what he wanted by simply
turning highwayman. He discovered that every week a consignment of
diamonds was sent from the De Beer mines in a coach, which was driven
by an armed Boer, assisted by a guard. Along with King and another
man, Worth delivered the attack, but the old Boer driver was not to be
cowed, and he drove them off with his rifle.

The failure of the plan sent King out of the country in a panic, and
the other man decamped too. But Adam Worth was not dismayed. He knew
that if he persevered he must win in the long run, and now, although
he would have to act entirely on his own, he became convinced that
there was another and a better way to rob the weekly parcel of valuable

As has been described, the diamonds were brought from the mines to the
Cape Town post office in a coach, but they were not kept in the post
office longer than it took to make a note of the address, for every
week the steamer was waiting in the harbour to convey the precious
packet to England. It was, however, absolutely necessary to the success
of Worth's plans for that parcel to remain at least one night in the
post office in Cape Town. How could he manage that? It was a stiff
problem to tackle.

He provided himself with the duplicates of the post office keys,
particularly of the safes in which the registered letters were kept.
This in itself was a great achievement, but it would take too long to
tell the full story of how he ingratiated himself with the postmaster
and secured the wax impressions. That was only half the work. It was
more important that he should prevent the coach reaching Cape Town in
time for the steamer. Worth went over the route taken by the coach, and
he was delighted to find a spot where it had to cross a deep stream
by means of a ferry. This was the crook's opportunity. He hid in the
neighbourhood until it was dark, and then he cut the rope which held
the ferry to the bank. When the coach arrived from the diamond fields
the ferry had floated a long way down the stream, and when it was
recovered and the stream crossed the driver must have known that only
by a miracle could he catch the mail that week. The miracle did not
happen, and the steamer had already sailed when the coach arrived.

The parcel of diamonds had to be left in the safe at the post office,
to which Adam Worth had a perfect key, and when he had first opened the
safe he had seen twenty thousands pounds' worth and more of valuables,
and had refused to touch them. What was the use of twenty thousand
pounds to a man who wanted five times that amount, and who could obtain
it by waiting a few days?

The authorities did not regard the delay to the coach as serious, and
no extra guard was placed upon the safe in which the parcel reposed,
and at the proper time Worth had only to enter the building, open the
safe, and take out a collection of diamonds worth a hundred and fifty
thousand pounds. It was a theft which can be described as a masterpiece
in its own line.

Once in possession of the diamonds Adam Worth was in no hurry to
convert them into cash. He knew that everybody leaving the country
would be under suspicion, and so he trekked inland, posing as a
merchant in ostrich feathers. Before he left Cape Town he buried the
diamonds, and it was many weeks ere he and a confederate--who came
from America purposely to help to smuggle the diamonds out of the
country--returned to recover them. When it was deemed safe Worth and
his friend took them to Australia and eventually to England.

This "scoop" did not lessen Worth's appetite for plunder. Other
burglaries were quickly organized, and Charles Becker was busily
employed forging cheques on banks in England and France. One of these
resulted in a friend of Worth's being arrested and convicted, and Worth
himself avenged his confederate by robbing the banker who had given
evidence of so much money as to bring about his ruin.

But the day came when Adam Worth was caught. He and another thief were
robbing the registered mail in Belgium when Worth's comrade made a
stupid mistake, and his chief was arrested. He received a sentence of
seven years' penal servitude, and he served the time, although he was
twice offered his freedom if he would reveal the whereabouts of the
Gainsborough he had stolen several years previously. Worth, however,
would not trust the word of those who made the offers, and it was
not until he emerged from prison, wrecked in health and financially
crippled, that he turned to the Pinkertons, the famous American
detective agency, and consented on terms to surrender the famous

He was then approaching the sixties, and there can be no doubt that
he had lost his nerve. For nearly forty years he had warred against
society with only one defeat, but that defeat finished him. With the
money the Agnews paid for the return of the picture, "Little Adam "--as
he was affectionately known to his friends--provided his family with a

All his life he had been devoted to his relatives, and he worshipped
his wife and children. They never knew that he was a professional
criminal, and even to-day they are unaware of the real character of the
husband and parent beside whose grave they mourned nineteen years ago.

Adam Worth had his good points, for his motto was that thieves should
be honest amongst themselves. He never resorted to violence, and he
never betrayed a friend, and we know that he was good to his family
according to his own lights. He was a danger to society, however, and
all we can wonder at now is that he was permitted to plunder it with
impunity for so many years. But genius will overcome any difficulty,
and the genius of Adam Worth was something which raise his doings out
of the commonplace.

Yet, when all is said and done, the King of Crooks realized before he
died that crime does not pay.



A pretty, fair-haired girl, who looked not more than eighteen, sat
in a forlorn attitude in the park near the Imperial Palace at Posen.
Passers-by glanced at her curiously, and whenever she lifted her soft
blue eyes they saw that they were wet with tears. When a stranger
paused as if to address her the girl instantly froze, and there was
something about her small mouth that caused him to change his mind.

Presently, however, a tall, elderly man of distinguished appearance
came strolling towards her, and simultaneously the girl's tears began
to fall faster than ever. Sobs were choking her when he came opposite
her, and he would have had to be hard-hearted to have passed on without
noticing her. But Count Renenski, millionaire, patriot and statesman,
had a generous disposition, and the sight of beauty in distress claimed
his sympathy at once. With a courteous bow he asked if he could be of
assistance, and the girl, surveying him through her tears, made room
for him on the seat. She was so timid and frightened and appealing
that she seemed like a gazelle, and the count, a noted philanthropist,
thought he had never seen so dainty a vision.

"I am Count Renenski," he said kindly. "Won't you let me help you? I do
not suppose you have ever heard of me before, but I think I can be of

She laid one small hand on his arm.

"You have a face that tells me I can trust you," she murmured, her
form still trembling, "and I will tell you all, but first you must
swear not to reveal what I am going to say."

He gave the promise readily, his curiosity piqued by her tragic manner
of expressing herself.

"I feel safe with you," she whispered in a caressing voice. "God has
been good to me this morning. I have found a friend, count. When I
tell you that my name is Anna Schnieder it will convey nothing to you,
because that is only the name I was given to conceal my true position.
I was comparatively happy until two years ago. Until then I thought I
was merely the daughter of an honest shoemaker and his wife, though I
was puzzled that they were able to give me a first-class education.
Then I discovered that some one was providing everything for me. Judge
of my astonishment when by accident I learned that that some one was
His Majesty the German Emperor."

The count stiffened perceptibly, and his eyes distended. He was one of
the leaders of the National Polish party which demanded to be freed
from the intolerable tyranny of Germany. He had been one of the Polish
aristocrats who had refused to attend the Kaiser's receptions in Posen,
the capital of Prussian Poland, and he was keenly interested in all
that referred to the man he and his countrymen loathed.

"Yes, go on," he said under his breath. "You can confide in me. I never
betray a trust."

"I am sure you never have," she said, giving him another appealing
glance. "But to proceed. I am naturally quick-witted, and I was able to
put two and two together. I began to recall incidents of my childhood,
and after a while I got my foster-mother--for that is all she is--to
answer certain questions. Within an hour I knew the truth. I, Anna
Schnieder, was in reality Her Royal Highness Princess Anna of Prussia,
the daughter of His Majesty the Emperor."

Count Renenski started to his feet. Was the girl fooling him? He
sharply scrutinized her features, but she bore it bravely. There was
certainly something aristocratic about her. He sank on to the seat
again, and indicated he was listening.

"The year before the Kaiser married the Kaiserin he was in Posen"--the
count ejaculated that he remembered it--"and there he met and fell in
love with a Polish girl of the name of Vera Savanoff."

"The Savanoffs!" cried the count in amazement. "Why, I knew the family
well. And there was a girl too--several girls, in fact. I have often
wondered what became of them. But proceed, mademoiselle," he added with
a courteous inclination of the head. "I will not interrupt you again."

Encouraged by his attention, the girl proceeded to amplify her
story. She told of a mysterious marriage in a Polish church--long
since destroyed--between the then Prince William of Prussia and Vera
Savanoff, and how after the ceremony the girl had disappeared. She
had been taken to a castle in the Black Forest, and there the Kaiser
had visited her regularly for five years. Then a child had been born,
and that child was christened Anna Schnieder. Meanwhile William had
married a Princess of the Blood Royal, and was the father of a family,
but no one suspected that in the sight of God the Kaiser had only one
legal wife, and that she was Vera Savanoff. When after the birth of
her daughter poor Vera died mysteriously the Kaiser suddenly lost all
interest in his first romance, and Anna hinted that William II connived
at her death.

It was an amazing story, and would have been unbelievable had she not
produced proofs. The count was still trying to understand it all when
she thrust into his hands a bundle of papers which she had carried
concealed under her blouse.

"These are some of the proofs," she said frankly. "I know it is
difficult to credit my story--sometimes I can hardly believe it myself."

The papers included a certificate of marriage between Prince William
of Prussia and Vera Savanoff, signed by the officiating priest, but
without witnesses' signatures. Another certificate showed when Anna
Schnieder had come into the world. But the most important documents
were two letters from the Crown Prince of Germany couched in intimate
terms. One of them contained the sentence, "I am sorry Father treated
you so badly. Surely he must know it was not your fault."

The letters completely convinced the count of the genuineness of the
fair damsel's amazing and romantic story. He knew the handwriting
of the Crown Prince of Germany very well, for he had lately been in
correspondence on the subject of the treatment of Polish conscripts in
the Prussian Army. The prince, who was then doing all he could to gain
popularity, and so weaken his father's position, had planned to win the
sympathies of the Poles by a pretence of affection for them, and Count
Renenski, as an influential aristocrat, had been selected by him as the
person most likely to further his objects.

When he had once more reaffirmed his promise not to reveal what she had
told him, Anna consented to accompany him to his residence. She hastily
dried her eyes, and her recovery was marvellously quick, for she was
all smiles five minutes later as they were leaving the park. She had
insisted upon the count taking care of the papers for her.

"I am only a weak girl," she said with delightful humility, "and when
the Kaiser learns that I know who I am he will set his agents to work
to try to get hold of my papers. But I am so happy now that I have
found a brave friend."

The count owned a magnificent castle in Posen, where, as he was a
bachelor, his widowed sister kept house for him. The lady received Anna
graciously, and Anna on her part was relieved to find that the count's
relative was a small, inoffensive creature, who evidently thought
that her brother could do no wrong. When she saw him pay the utmost
deference to the young lady he regarded as a princess, she followed
suit, and Anna became a sort of uncrowned queen of the mansion.

It was not surprising that the count, who was over sixty, should soon
begin to feel tenderly disposed towards his protegé. She was heart and
soul a Pole, she told him.

"I want to vindicate my mother's fair name," she cried, "and she was a
daughter of Poland, the land I love."

When the count asked her to marry him she gave a tearful consent, but
only on the condition that when she had the right to call him husband
he would help her to prove to the world that she was the legitimate
daughter of the German Emperor. Count Renenski willingly agreed,
because he saw in the affair a chance to discredit the Kaiser.

It was arranged that the count should settle a sum equivalent to
fifty thousand pounds on his bride, and he instructed his lawyers
accordingly. He also gave her jewellery worth thousands of pounds,
much of it family heirlooms, and he placed a thousand pounds to her
credit at a bank in Posen. He declared that the most fascinating of
sights was Anna in the act of drawing a cheque, for she revelled in the
unusual luxury, and her joy was childlike and beautifully innocent and

The wedding was fixed for the tenth of July, 1910, and a week before
Anna went to stay with a female cousin of the count's at a house twenty
miles from Posen. It was arranged that they were not to meet again
until she arrived in the state carriage belonging to the family at the
ancient church where the ceremony was to be performed.

But Count Renenski never saw her again. On the eighth of July she told
her hostess that she was going to drive into Posen to do some shopping,
and as the old lady was indisposed she went alone. That night she took
train to a remote German village, and with her travelled the family
jewels of the Renenskis and the sum of three thousand pounds, most of
which she had borrowed from the count's cousin.

It was some little time before the disappointed and enraged nobleman
would confess that he had been swindled by as clever a German
adventuress as had ever appeared in Poland, but it is doubtful if he
ever learnt that Anna Schnieder had purposely planted herself on that
seat in the park to wait until he came along, or that she had looked
up his history and had discovered amongst other things that he was in
the habit of taking a morning constitutional, and, knowing how generous
and impulsive he was, had invented a yarn about an ill-treated Polish
mother and a brutal German father, and, as the count's hatred of the
Kaiser was common knowledge, she had not found it difficult to fool him.

He came to the conclusion that all the papers she had shown him were
forgeries, but, as a matter of fact, only the certificates came under
that head, for the letters from the Crown Prince were genuine enough,
though the words he had used bore quite a different interpretation
to that which Renenski had given them. Anna had been at one time
a waitress in a certain Bonn beer-house where she had made the
acquaintance of the Crown Prince, and had become one of his earliest
friends. He had taken her about the country, and had even affronted
Berlin society by appearing with her in a box at the Apollo Theatre,
and drawing attention to both of them by shouting at the performers.
The scandal had been reported to the Kaiser, who had ordered
Police-President von Jagow to make short work of Anna, and the police
had accordingly forcibly carried her away from the hotel where she was
stopping, and had threatened her with imprisonment if ever she went
near the prince again.

Anna had, of course, written to the Crown Prince, and he had in
response sent her the two letters which she found so useful in her
career as a brazen-faced adventuress. For the prince had regaled her
with many stories of his father's escapades in the days when the
present ex-Kaiser was a very young man, and Anna, being clever and
unscrupulous, had treasured up memories of these anecdotes with a view
to making use of them later.

Count Renenski made a guarded complaint to Berlin, and when the matter
was referred back to Posen, and the German Chief of Police there
called upon him to obtain fuller particulars, the count, having in
the meantime remembered that he had pledged his word in writing to
Anna that on their marriage he would start an anti-Prussian campaign,
thought it more discreet to withdraw the charge, although by so doing
he lost the only chance he had of recovering the very valuable Renenski
family jewels.

By now Anna was at Homburg in the guise of a wealthy German baroness
who had just lost her husband. She spent the count's money freely,
and her jewellery was the talk of the place. She certainly looked
exquisitely lovely in black, and her dainty youthfulness made her a
welcome addition to the society of the famous German resort. It was
impossible to imagine for a moment that such an innocent-looking being
could utter a lie, and, as she had plenty of ready cash, there was
never any suspicion that she was an adventuress.

Men were such fools where a pretty face was concerned! How she laughed
as she recalled the count's love-making! But sometimes she sighed, too,
because she knew that he would have made a good husband. Anna, however,
had a husband already, a great, lumbering person with an enormous
appetite, who followed the occupation of a brewer's drayman!

That was the reason why she had fled from Posen before the marriage
day. She had often had reason to curse the mischance that had caused
her when a village maiden to accept Ernst Rippelmayer, but she had
not then known what she was capable of, and Rippelmayer owned his own
cottage, and was considered a safe and steady man.

It happened that amongst the hotel guests was a Colonel Bernstorff, a
distant relative of the late German Ambassador to the United States.
He paid Anna some attention, because, having only a small income, he
was desperately in need of financial reinforcements, having wasted the
fortune his first wife had brought him.

In order to impress Anna, or the Baroness von Hotenfeld, as she called
herself, he pretended to be very well off, and whenever she accompanied
him to any entertainment he spent money with the freedom of a man who
has more than he knows what to do with. They soon proceeded from the
formally polite stage to the confidential, and before the Homburg
season was over it was understood that they were engaged.

For various reasons Colonel Bernstorff could not marry at once, but
it was agreed that six months later they should become man and wife.
This suited Anna all right, and when she parted from him she went on
to Crefeld, where she intended to see if she could swindle some of the
officers of the garrison out of a big amount. She wanted it badly, for
she had been afraid to ask the colonel for a loan, because she had no
desire to give him a chance to break their engagement. Bernstorff
belonged to a well-known German family. He was a member of several
exclusive Berlin clubs, and he had the entrée to the Royal Palaces.
She knew that when they were married she would be presented at Court,
and once that happened there was no reason why she should not, with
the secret aid of her old friend, the Crown Prince, become quite a
personage in society.

But meanwhile she must "raise the wind" somehow, and so to Crefeld
she went, where at the time a battalion of the Prussian Guards was
stationed. It included amongst its officers several rich young noodles,
and it was to lay siege to the latter that Anna, with her most
fascinating gowns, started for the town.

She undoubtedly had an alluring manner, and shortly after her arrival
her apartments were frequented by several of the officers. Anna, still
maintaining her bogus rank of baroness, provided all sorts of gambling
games, in which she declined to take part, declaring that she had never
played for money in her life. Occasionally she would back the luck
of a young officer, and when he won she was rewarded with a pair of
gloves or some similar trifle. Anna would accept the gift with as much
gratitude and delight as though it were a thousand guinea bracelet, but
all the time she was waiting to achieve her object. The officer she
was "shadowing" had just come of age, and she knew that he had a large
amount at his bankers which he was doing his best to get rid of.

One night he lost all his ready money--a considerable sum--and as he
was anxious to go on Anna lent him a thousand marks (fifty pounds) with
which to continue. But his luck was terrible, and eventually he rose
from the table thousands to the bad. It was nothing to him, however,
and after a touching interview with "adorable Anna," as he called her,
he was assisted to his carriage by his servant. Next day he called and
left a cheque for the amount the impostor had lent him.

The adventuress had been waiting for this, and she cleverly altered the
carelessly-drawn cheque from a thousand marks to one hundred thousand.
It was promptly honoured by the Berlin bank, and as soon as Anna had
the whole amount she prepared for flight. But an hour before her train
was due to leave she was arrested at the station. The Berlin bank had
on second thoughts telegraphed to the officer asking for confirmation
of the cheque. He had replied denying that he had recently drawn one
for such a large amount, and Anna's capture followed.

It was not very difficult for the police to find proof of many of her
swindles. She had imposed upon scores of tradespeople, and had obtained
a lot of money by false pretences from elderly and infatuated Huns. A
very heavy indictment was presented against her, but it was for the
forgery of the cheque that the judge sentenced her to three years'
penal servitude.

Anna was stunned by her misadventure. She had hitherto been so
successful as an impostor that it seemed as if she was immune from
failure, but now she was a convict, destined to pass three long
years in a horrible German prison, and when she heard that she was
to be sent to the women's convict establishment at West Gradenz she
nearly collapsed, for it was one of the worst, the severe discipline
frequently driving weak-minded convicts insane. There was no appeal,
however, and one grey October morning she found herself handcuffed to
another convict, and passing through the gloomy portals of the ghastly
prison. It was a rule that each new-comer should be inspected by the
governor, and Anna was in due course brought before that all-powerful
official, the man who was to have the power of life and death over her
until she had served her sentence.

She had been roughly thrust into a bare hall with white-washed walls,
and she was staring ferociously at the hard earth floor when her
companion whispered that the governor was there. Then she started
up, and was petrified when she realized that the governor was Colonel

He recognized her instantly, but with admirable self-control gave no
sign. His appointment to this important post had been unexpected, and
he had striven to obtain it so that he might be able to marry his
fascinating sweetheart at once. And now she was a convict in his charge!

He tried to ignore her, but somehow she had completely won his heart,
and a few days after her arrival he made a pretext for seeing her
alone in his office. By now Anna, who had guessed that he would not
be able to resist her, had compiled a moving story of persecution at
the hands of her father, the Kaiser, and when the governor asked for
an explanation she confessed, amid sobs, that she was the victim of a
political intrigue. Except for certain additions occasioned by the new
situation, it was the story she had duped Count Renenski with.

The governor was persuaded to believe her, despite the fact that he
had in the prison archives the papers relating to her conviction, and
he used all his family's influence to get her a pardon. When this was
granted he married her, and, resigning his position, took her for a
long tour, Anna declaring that they need not bother about money, as
she would shortly receive a million from her real father, the Kaiser.
But the honeymoon lasted only three weeks, for Anna was arrested
on a charge of bigamy, and it was only when Colonel Bernstorff was
confronted by her real husband that he admitted he had made a fool of
himself. He thereupon abandoned the impostor to her fate, and she was
eventually sent back to complete her original sentence, plus one of
five years, for bigamy, and when the war ended she was still in the
gloomy prison of West Gradenz.


  Ain-Fezza, 51.

  Allen, Inspector, 157.

  _Almanack de Gotha_, 137.

  America, Greenacre attempts to escape to, 191.

  American Civil War, 259.

  American Criminals, 31, 159, 259.

  American "Humbert Safe" Swindle, 164-167.

  Apollo Theatre, Berlin, 280.

  "Archduke Francis Ferdinand," 138.

  Atkinson, Murder of Mrs., 204-207.

  Ballantine, Mr. Sergeant, 76.

  Barthélemy, Emanuel, 229-242.

  Barthélemy's fatal duel with Cournet, 232.

  Barthélemy's trial and acquittal at Kingston, 234.

  Bastien, Murderer, 127.

  Bastien blackmails Robert, 131.

  Bastien, First arrest of, 129.

  Bastien, Second arrest of, 132.

  Bastien, Third arrest of, 133.

  "Beauty Specialist, The," 63.

  Beavis, James Addison, 169-179.

  Becker, Charles, 265.

  Begging-letter Writer, Ingenious, 152.

  Bernstorff, Colonel, 282.

  Bigley, Lydia, (see Mrs. Chadwick).

  Bodasse, Murder of Désiré, 217.

  Bonds, Great robbery of, 268.

  Borradaile, Mrs., 70.

  Boyston Bank, Boston, Robbery at, 261.

  Bozevsky, Alexis, 4.

  Bremen, Gesina Gottfried's crimes in, 27-29.

  Bride, The deserted, 156.

  Browne, Murder of Hannah, 186.

  Bullard, Charles, 262.

  Bülow, Prince von, 99.

  Bushranger, The Girl, 31-45.

  Carnegie, Andrew, 162.

  Carpenter's Buildings, Camberwell, 184.

  Castaing, Mdlle., 56.

  Cesbron, 111.

  Cesbron attempts to murder London doctor, 123.

  Chadwick, Mrs. Leroy, 159-168.

  Chadwick, Arrest and conviction of Mrs., 167-168.

  Chotek, Countess Sophy, 145.

  Cleveland, Mrs. Chadwick's marriage in, 161.

  Coleridge, Mr. Justice J. T., 193.

  Collard, Murder of P.C., 238.

  Coltman, Mr. Justice, 193.

  Connell, Attempted poisoning of Mrs., 197.

  Cope, Mr., 195.

  "Count d'Este," 137.

  Cournet's duel with Barthélemy, 232.

  Covent Garden Theatre, 117.

  Cumberland, Duke of, 251.

  Daniloff, Jeanne, 47-61.

  Daniloff, Jeanne, marries Captain Weiss, 50.

  Demidoff, General von, 104.

  Deutsche Bank, 100.

  Diamond Robbery, Great, 272.

  Diary of Crime, A, 152.

  Dixon, Murder of, 201.

  Douglas, Philip, 149.

  Douglas, Richard, 147-157.

  "Duchess of Devonshire, the," Recovery of, 273.

  "Duchess of Devonshire, the," Theft of, 267-8.

  Dutton, Captain, 244.

  Elliott, Joe, 266.

  English Criminals, 63, 79, 147, 169, 181, 197, 243.

  Eton, Parsons thefts at, 243.

  Execution, Greenacre's, 194.

  French Criminals, 79, 111, 125, 213, 229.

  French mail, Robbery of, 264.

  Gainsborough's masterpiece, Recovery of, 273.

  Gainsborough's masterpiece, Theft of, 267-8.

  Gale, Sarah, 183.

  Gale, Death of Sarah, 195.

  Galveston, Robbery at National Bank, 37.

  Gay, Hannah Browne's brother, 190.

  German Criminals, 17, 95, 135, 275.

  Girodin, Marie (see Goold, Marie).

  Goold, Marie (murderess), 79-93.

  Goold, Vere, 83.

  Gottfried, Gesina, 17-30.

  Gottfried, Murder of, 23.

  Greenacre, James, 181-195.

  Greenacre's execution, 194.

  Guerin, Madame, 111-124.

  Guerry, M., 56.

  Guerry, Madame, 56.

  Harvey, Daniel Whittle, 181.

  Hohn, Countess von, 99.

  Hotenfeld, Baroness von, 282.

  Houet, The murder of Madame, 125-134.

  Hussmann, Maria, 135.

  Kamarowsky, Count Paul, 8.

  Kamarowsky, Murder of Count Paul, 14.

  Kerr, Commissioner, 77.

  Kilburn, Human remains found in, 189.

  King, Charles, Worth's partner, 270.

  Kingston-on-Thames, Barthélemy's trial at, 234.

  Krupp, Frederick, 135.

  Kupfer, Gertrude, 97.

  Kupfer, Martha, 95-109.

  Lalère, M., 116.

  Leverson, Rachel, alias "Madam Rachel," 63-77.

  Levin, Murder of Madame, 91.

  Lincoln, President, 259.

  Liverpool, Adam Worth in, 262.

  London, Adam Worth in, 263.

  London doctor, Attempted murder of, 123.

  MacCormack, Mrs., and "Sir" R. Douglas, 154.

  Macé solves murder mystery, 222-227.

  Mackay, the Silver King, 171.

  "Madame Rachel," 63-77.

  Madame Tussaud's, Barthélemy and, 242.

  Marylebone Police Court, 197.

  Matrimonial agency swindles, 111-124.

  Mawer, Murder of Mr., 200.

  "Maybrick Case, The," 54.

  Maynard, Alice, 69.

  Mexican Land Swindle, 170-177.

  Miltenberg, Herr, 17.

  "Miss Northcliffe," bogus heiress, 112.

  "Miss Smith," bogus heiress, 120.

  Moabit Prison, 109.

  Monte Carlo, The Goolds at, 86.

  Monte Carlo Trunk Murderess, 79-93.

  Moore, George, Murder of, 237.

  Murder of Hannah Browne, 186.

  Murder of Madame Houet, 129.

  Napoleon III, 230.

  Naumoff, Nicholas, 10.

  New York Bank victimised by Mrs. Chadwick, 163.

  Northumberland, Duchess of, 243.

  O'Rourke, 1.

  Oran (Algiers), 49.

  Parsons as cardsharper, 248.

  Parsons, Execution of William, 257.

  Parsons, William, 243-257.

  Parsons, Plot to abduct Miss, 253.

  Parsons, Sir William, 244.

  Peralta, Dolores, 170.

  Phillips, Jack, 267.

  Pons and Goolds' trunk, 92.

  Posen, Imperial palace at, 275.

  Prilukoff, Donat, 7.

  Ranelagh, Lord, 71.

  Raymond, Harry, (see Worth, Adam).

  Reform Bill (1832), 183.

  Regent's Canal, Woman's head found in, 189.

  Renenski, Count, 275.

  Richter, Dr., 98.

  Robert, M., 125.

  Robert, First arrest of, 129.

  Robert, Second arrest of, 132.

  Robert, Third arrest of, 133.

  Roques, Felix, 51.

  Rumf, Herr, 28.

  Rumf, Murder of Frau, 29.

  Safe, Mrs. Chadwick's remarkable, 164.

  St. George's, Hanover Square, 155.

  Savanoff, Vera, 277.

  Schnieder, Anna, 276.

  Seymour, Q.C., Digby, 76.

  Soames, Murder of Mrs., 203.

  Stahl, Dr., 6.

  Star, Belle, 31-45.

  Straight, Douglas, 76.

  Suicide of Dr. Stahl, 7.

  Suicide of Felix Roques, 58.

  Suicide of Jeanne Daniloff, 60.

  Suicide of Peter Tarnowska, 4.

  Suicide of Pierre Voirbo, 228.

  "Sylvester, Hon. George," 69.

  Tarnowska, Marie, 1-15.

  Tarnowska, Peter, 2, 4.

  Tarnowska, Vassili, 2.

  Tindal, Mr. Justice, 193.

  Voirbo, Pierre, 213-228.

  Weiss, Madame, (see Daniloff, Jeanne).

  Weiss, Captain, 49.

  Wells, Charles, (see Bullard, Charles).

  Wertheim, Berlin merchant, 96.

  West Gradenz, Prison at, 284.

  Whidburn, Dr., 203.

  William of Prussia, Prince, 278.

  Williams, Montague, 76.

  Wilson, Catherine, 197-211.

  Wilson, Acquittal of Catherine, 209.

  Wilson, Conviction of Catherine, 210.

  Wilson, Execution of Catherine, 211.

  Wilson, Parsons' accomplice, 254

  Worth, Adam, 279.

  Worth, death of Adam, 273.

  Worth, in Cape Town, Adam, 270.

      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcribers' note:

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unpaired
quotation marks were retained.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained.

This book spelled "Belle Starr" as "Belle Star".

The text always uses the surname "Tarnowska", but for men, it should be

Page 10: "complicated" was misprinted as "compliothed" in this copy of
the original book, but was printed correctly in another copy.

Page 44: "dust-strained" was printed that way.

Page 144: "bookmaker" was printed that way.

Page 288: "Diamond Robbery, Great" was misprinted as "Diamond Robert,

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