Page:010 Once a week Volume X Dec 1863 to Jun 64.pdf/291

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March 5, 1864.]
283
ONCE A WEEK.

where I met you, and I must ask you to come with me to the station."

"Where you met me!" exclaimed Mr. Durand. "Why, I never left this house from yesterday evening until less than two hours ago."

"Well, sir, I know better. But, if you didn't, you can easily get the landlord and the servants to come to the station and prove it. Will you order a fly? People won't see you then, and it will hold the landlord and the chambermaid too."

His prisoner became very much agitated, and was scarcely able to articulate the order that a fly should be got ready at once. The landlord consented to accompany his guest willingly enough, to depose that he had not left the hotel from the preceding night until the time he had stated; and all three were driven out to the station-house. Here in the meantime a young man and woman had come in to relate that a little before dusk the evening before, the young woman, while walking up and down a lane outside the rails which inclosed the grounds belonging to the Grange, was spoken to by a young gentleman, who asked her the name of the person who owned the house he could see through the trees, and if the family who occupied it were numerous. While he was speaking to her, her sweetheart joined them; and as the latter did not like to see a stranger speaking to the young woman, he had taken particular notice of him, so that he would know him again in an instant. Their names and addresses were written down, and a brief note of their statement; and they wore in the act of leaving the station when the fly drove up, containing Mr. Durand, the landlord of the Thorold Arms, and the policeman. They stopped to see these get out of the fly, and, on seeing Mr. Durand, they simultaneously exclaimed that he was the man they met the evening before, near the Grange. This Durand denied; but they were so positive that their assertion, taken in conjunction with that of the policeman, was considered by the superintendent to justify him in retaining the prisoner in custody, notwithstanding his denials and the support they received from the landlord.

Not to repeat the same thing twice over, I may pass by the other circumstances which were discovered, which left no doubt that Mr. Thorold had been murdered, merely stating *hat the coroner's jury, after the numerous adjournments which is common with them when they get an exciting case, agreed to a verdict of Wilful Murder against Jesse Durand, and he was committed to take his trial at the assizes. The statement made at the trial by the counsel for the prosecution, and confirmed by the evidence, was substantially as follows:—

On the day previous to his death, Mr. Thorold had visited several of his tenants, as was his custom once every year previous to receiving their rents, to examine for himself what repairs were required; and among other places he used to visit on the same day was a hamlet on an estate he had about fifteen miles from the Grange. It had been his practice for several years, when visiting this hamlet, to spend the evening and night with an old clergyman there, who held the post of chaplain to the Thorold family, for which he received a yearly stipend of £100, though it was many years since he had been called upon to perform any duties in return. Instead of doing so on this occasion, Mr. Thorold returned home after calling on the tenants on the home estate, and told the bailiff, as he was leaving him, that he should put off his visit to the other estate till the weather was more settled. This was the last business he transacted. The next morning he was found, at the early hour at which his servant was accustomed to take him his water for shaving, lying on his bed, dead, but partly dressed; the appearance of his bed, however, showed that it had been lain in. The medical man who arrived shortly afterwards pronounced that his death had been caused by the inhalation of chloroform; but this was not till after the discovery, made by a housemaid, of a handkerchief belonging to Miss Thorold, which was still damp, and emitted a peculiar odour, which he at once recognised to be that of chloroform. This was lying beside an easy chair in Miss Thorold's bedroom; and no mention would have been made of it by the woman who picked it up, if it had not been for the fact that in trying to recognise the scent which issued from it she had fallen on the floor insensible. From the position of the bedclothes beneath the body, the medical man (who seems to have been unusually observant in his search for any little evidences which might assist him in forming an opinion as to the circumstances of the death) came to the conclusion that the deceased must have been placed on the edge of the bed by some person who had not strength to lay him completely on it, or whoso strength had been exhausted on reaching it, and who had therefore been obliged to go round to the opposite side and drag the body on far enough to induce a careless observer to suppose that the deceased had sat upon it and then fallen backwards. That the deceased had not voluntarily inhaled the stupefying vapour was shown by the absence of any bottle containing it, or anything saturated with it in his bedroom; while the fact that it was the agent used in producing