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American Detective Fiction    Prior to July 1891

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  Published in
Galesville [WI] Transcript, October 18, 1861.
 
The Criminal Witness

A Lawyer’s Story

  stolen a hundred dollars from a Mrs. Naseby; and as the case went on I found that this Mrs. Naseby was a wealthy widow living in town, and the girl’s mistress. The poor girl declared her innocence in the wildest terms, but circumstances were hard against her. A hundred dollars in banknotes had been stolen from her mistress’ room, and she was the only one that had access there.

At this juncture, when the mistress was upon the stand, a genteel young man came and caught me by the arm. He was a fine looking man, and big tears stood in his eyes.

“They tell me you are a good lawyer,” he whispered.

“I am a lawyer,” I answered.

“Then do save her! You certainly can do it, for she is innocent.”

“Is she your sister?”

“No, sir,” he added, “but—but—”

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    In the spring of 1841, I was called to Jackson, Alabama, to attend court, having been engaged to defend a young man who had been accused of robbing the mail. I arrived early in the morning and immediately had a long interview with my client. The stolen bag had been recovered, as well as the letters from which the money had been rifled. These letters were given me for examination, and I returned them to the prosecuting attorney. Having got through my private preliminaries about noon, and as the case would not come off before the next day, I went into court in the afternoon to see what was going on. The first case that came up was one of theft; and the prisoner was a young girl not more than seventeen years of age, named Elizabeth Madworth. She was very pretty, and wore that mild, innocent look, which we seldom find in a culprit. She had been weeping profusely, but as she found so many eyes upon her, she became too frightened to weep more.

The complaint against her was that she had

   

 

 

 
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