THE PUBLIC CONDEMNS ME UNHEARD

Slowly consciousness returned. I opened my eyes. The room was in
darkness. All was still. Suddenly the silence was broken by the bang of
a closing door which startled me out of my stupor. Where was I? Why was
I alone? What awful thing had happened? A flash of memory! My husband
was dead! I drifted once more away from the things of sense. Then a
voice, as if a long way off, spoke. A feeling of pain and distress shot
through my body. I opened my eyes in terror. Edwin Maybrick was bending
over me as I lay upon my bed. He had my arms tightly gripped, and was
shaking me violently. “I want your keys–do you hear? Where are your
keys?” he exclaimed harshly. I tried to form a reply, but the words
choked me, and once more I passed into unconsciousness.

It is the dawn of a Sabbath day.[1] I am still lying in my clothes,
neglected and uncared for; without food since the morning of the day
before. Consciousness came and went. During one of these interludes
Michael Maybrick entered.

“Nurse,” he said, “I am going up to London. Mrs. Maybrick is no longer
mistress of this house. As one of the executors I forbid you to allow
her to leave this room. I hold you responsible in my absence.”

He then left the room. What did he mean? How dare he humble me thus in
the presence of a stranger?

Toward the night of the same day I said to the nurse, “I wish to see
my children.” She took no notice. My voice was weak, and I thought
perhaps she had not heard. “Nurse,” I repeated, “I want to see my
children.” She walked up to my bed, and in a cold, deliberate voice
replied: “You can not see Master James and Miss Gladys. Mr. Michael
Maybrick gave orders that they were to leave the house without seeing
you.” I fell back upon my pillow, dazed and stricken, weak, helpless,
and impotent. Why was I treated thus? My brain reeled in seeking a
reply to this query. At last I could bear it no longer, and my soul
cried out to God to let me die. A third dreary night, and the day broke
once again. I was still prostrate. The dull pain at my heart, the
yearning for my little children, was becoming unbearable, but I was
dumb.

Suddenly the door opened and Dr. Humphreys entered. He walked silently
to my bedside, felt my pulse, and without a word left the room. A few
minutes later I heard the tramp of many feet coming up-stairs. They
stopped at the door. The nurse advanced, and a crowd of men entered.
One of them stepped to the foot of the bed and addressed me as follows:

“Mrs. Maybrick, I am superintendent of the police, and I am about to
say something to you. After I have said what I intend to say, if you
reply be careful how you reply, because whatever you say may be used as
evidence against you. Mrs. Maybrick, you are in custody on suspicion of
causing the death of your late husband, James Maybrick, on the eleventh
instant.” I made no reply, and the crowd passed out.

A PRISONER IN MY OWN HOUSE

Was I going mad? Did I hear myself accused of poisoning my husband? Why
did not his brothers, who said they had his confidence, tell the police
what all his intimate friends knew, that he was an arsenic eater? Why
was I accused–I, who had nursed him assiduously day and night until
my strength gave out, who had engaged trained nurses, and advised a
consultation of physicians, and had done all that lay in my power to
aid in his recovery? To whom could I appeal in my extreme distress? I
lay ill and confined to my bed, with two professional nurses attending
me, and with a policeman stationed in my room, although there was not
and could not be the slightest chance of my escaping. The officer would
not permit the door to be closed day or night, and I was denied in my
own house, even before the inquest, the privacy accorded to a convicted
prisoner. I asked that a cablegram be sent to my lawyers in New York.
Inspector Baxendale read it, and then said he did not consider it of
importance and should not send it. I then implored Dr. Humphreys to ask
a friendly lawyer, Mr. R. S. Cleaver, of Liverpool, to come out to see
me. After some delay Mr. Cleaver obtained a permit to enter the house
and undertook to represent me.

The fourth day came and went. On the fifth day, May 16, the stillness
of the house was broken by the sound of hushed voices and hurrying
footsteps. “Nurse,” I exclaimed, when I could no longer bear the
feeling of oppression that possessed me, “is anything the matter?” She
turned, and in a cold, harsh voice replied, “The funeral starts in an
hour.” “Whose funeral?” I asked. “Your husband’s,” the nurse exclaimed;
“but for you he would have been buried on Tuesday.” I stared at her for
a moment, and then, trembling from head to foot, got out of bed and
commenced with weak hands to dress myself. The nurse looked alarmed,
and came forward. “Stand back!” I cried. “I will see my husband before
he is taken away.” She placed herself in front of me; I pushed her
aside and confronted the policeman at the door. “I demand to see my
husband,” I exclaimed. “The law does not permit a person to be treated
as guilty until she is proven so.”

He hesitated, and then said, “Follow me.” With tottering steps,
supported by the nurse, I was led into the adjoining room. Upon the
bed stood the coffin, covered with white flowers. It was already
closed. I turned to the policeman and the nurse. “Leave me alone with
the dead.” They refused. I then knelt down at the bedside, and God in
His mercy spared my reason by granting me, there and then, the first
tears which many days of suffering had failed to bring. Death had wiped
out the memory of many things. I was thankful to remember that I had
stopped divorce proceedings, and that we had become reconciled for
the children’s sake. Calmed, I arose and returned to my room. I sat
down near a window, still weeping. Suddenly the harsh voice of a nurse
broke on my ears: “If you wish to see the last of the husband you have
poisoned you had better stand up. The funeral has started.” I stumbled
to my feet and clutched at the window-sill, where I stood rigid and
tearless until the hearse had passed, and was out of sight, and then I
fainted.

When I recovered consciousness I asked why my mother had not been sent
for. No answer was made, but a tardy summons was sent to her at Paris.
When she arrived she came to me at once. What a meeting! She kissed
me, and was speaking a few loving words in French, when the nurse
interposed and said, “You must speak in English,” and the policeman
joined in with “I warn you, madam, that I will write down all you
say,” and he produced paper and pencil. I then begged my mother to go
into Liverpool to see the Messrs. Cleaver, who represented me, as they
would give her all the information she required; and then I cried out
in the bitterness of my heart, “Mother, they all believe me guilty,
but I swear to you I am innocent.” That night I had a violent attack
of hysteria. Two nurses and the policeman held me down, and when my
mother, outraged by his presence, wished to take his place and send
him from the room, Nurse Wilson became insolent and turned her out.

AT WALTON JAIL

The next morning, Saturday, the 18th of May, Dr. Hopper and Dr.
Humphreys visited me, to ascertain whether I was in a condition to
permit of formal proceedings taking place in my bedroom. In a few
minutes they gave their consent. The magistrates and others then came
up-stairs.

There were present Colonel Bidwell, Mr. Swift (clerk), Superintendent
Bryning, and my lawyers, the Messrs. Cleaver, Dr. Hopper, and Dr.
Humphreys. I was fully conscious, but too prostrate to make any
movement. Besides those in the room, there were seated outside the
policeman and the nurse. Superintendent Bryning, who had taken up his
position at the foot of the bed, said: “This person is Mrs. Maybrick,
charged with causing the death of the late James Maybrick. She is
charged with causing his death by administering poison to him. I
understand that her consent is given to a remand, and therefore I need
not introduce nor give evidence.”

Mr. Swift: “You ask for a remand for eight days?”

Mr. Arnold Cleaver: “I appear for the prisoner.”

Colonel Bidwell: “Very well; I consent to a remand. That is all.”

These gentlemen then departed. The police were in such a hurry to
prefer the formal charge, they could not wait until the doctors
should certify that I was in a fit state to be taken to the court in
the ordinary way. The nurse then told me I must get up and dress. I
prayed that my children might be sent for to bid me good-by–but I
was peremptorily refused. I begged to gather together some necessary
personal apparel, only to meet with another refusal. I was hurried
away with such unseemly haste, that even my hand-bag with my toilet
articles was left behind. My mother implored to be allowed to say
good-by, but was denied. She had gone up to her bedroom, so she tells
me, which looked out on the front, to try and see my face as they put
me in the carriage, when they turned the key and locked her in. After I
had gone a policeman unlocked the door.

[Illustration: THE LATE DR. HELEN DENSMORE, An American advocate of
Mrs. Maybrick’s innocence.]

After a two hours’ drive we arrived at Walton Jail, in the suburbs of
Liverpool. I shuddered as I looked at the tall, gloomy building. A
bell was ringing, and the big iron gates swung back and allowed us to
pass in. I was received by the governor and immediately led away by
a female warder. We crossed a small courtyard and stopped at a door
which she unlocked and relocked. Then we passed down a narrow passage
to a door that led into a dark, gloomy room termed the “Reception.” A
bench ran along each side, a bare wooden table stood in the middle,
a weighing-machine by the door, with a foot measure beside it. A
female warder asked me to give up any valuables in my possession.
These consisted of a watch, two diamond rings, and a brooch. They were
entered in a book. Then I was asked to stand upon the weighing-machine,
and my weight was duly noted. These formalities completed, I was led
through a building into a cell especially set apart for sick prisoners.
The escort locked me in, and, utterly exhausted, stricken with a sense
of horror and degradation, I sank upon the stone floor, reiterating,
until consciousness left me, “Oh, my God, help me–help me!”

ALONE

When I opened my eyes I was in bed and alone. I gazed around. At the
bedside was a chair with a china cup containing milk, and a plate
of bread upon it. The cell was bare. The light struggled in dimly
through a dirty, barred window. The stillness was appalling, and I felt
benumbed–a sense of terrible oppression weighed me down. If only I
could hear once more the sound of a friendly voice! If only some one
would tell whose diabolical mind had conceived and directed suspicion
against me!

I remained in the cell three days, when my lawyer visited me. He
arranged that I was to have a room especially set apart for prisoners
awaiting trial who can afford to pay five shillings ($1.25) weekly, for
the additional comfort of a table, an arm-chair, and a wash-stand. Had
I not been able to do so I should have been consigned to an ordinary
prison cell, and my diet would have been the same as that of convicted
prisoners. Instead, my food was sent from a hotel outside. I was locked
in this room for twenty-two hours out of the twenty-four. The only time
I was permitted to leave it was for chapel in the morning and an hour’s
exercise in the afternoon in the prison yard. The stillness, unbroken
by any sound from the outside world, got on my nerves, and I wanted
to scream, if only to hear my own voice. The unnatural confinement,
without any one to speak to, was torture. The governor, the doctor, and
the chaplain, it is true, came around every morning, but their visits
were of such short duration, and so formal in their nature, that it was
impossible to derive much relief from conversation with them.

THE CORONER’S INQUEST

On the 28th of May the Coroner’s inquest was held, but I was not well
enough to attend. I was represented by my legal advisers. On the 3d of
June I was still too ill to appear before the court. Mr. W. S. Barrett,
as magistrate, accompanied by Mr. Swift, the clerk, held a Magisterial
Court at Walton Jail. Mr. R. S. Cleaver did not attend, having
consented to the police obtaining another remand for a week. Only one
newspaper reporter was allowed to be present. I was accompanied to the
visitors’ room by a female warder, and silently took a seat at the
foot of a long table. I was quite composed. Superintendent Bryning rose
from his seat at the end of the room and said:

“This person, sir, is Mrs. Maybrick, who is charged with the murder of
her husband, at Aigburth, on the 11th of last month. I have to ask that
you remand her until Wednesday next.”

Mr. Swift: “Mr. Cleaver, her solicitor, has sent me a note in which he
consents to a remand until Wednesday.”

Mr. Barrett: “If there is no objection she will be remanded until
Wednesday morning.”

A PLANK FOR A BED

The magistrate then signed the document authorizing the remand, and I
withdrew. On the 5th of June the adjourned inquest was held, and I was
taken from jail at half-past eight in the morning to the Coroner’s
Court in a cab, accompanied by Dr. O’Hagan, a female attendant, and
a policeman. I was taken into the ante-room for the purpose of being
identified by the witnesses for the prosecution. I was not taken
into court, but at three o’clock Mr. Holbrook Gaskell, a magistrate,
attended for the purpose of granting another remand, pending the result
of the inquest, and again no evidence was given in my presence. I was
taken to the county police station, Lark Lane. I passed the night in a
cell which contained only a plank board as a bed. It was dark, damp,
dirty, and horrible. A policeman, taking pity on me, brought me a
blanket to lie on. In the adjoining cell, in a state of intoxication,
two men were raving and cursing throughout the night. I had no
light–there was no one to speak to. I was kept there three days, until
the coroner’s jury had returned their verdict. A greengrocer near by,
named Mrs. Pretty, to whom I had occasionally given orders for fruit,
sent me in a daily gift of her best with a note of sympathy–a deed
all the more striking in its generosity and nobleness, since the
charity of none other of my own sex had reached to that degree of
justice to regard me as innocent until proven guilty.

THE VERDICT OF THE CORONER’S JURY

On the 6th of June I was again driven to Garston to hear the coroner’s
verdict. There was an elaborate array of lawyers, reporters, and
witnesses, as well as many spectators.

I waited in the ante-room until the coroner’s jury had summed up. The
jury consisted mostly of gentlemen who at one time had been guests in
my own house. Of all former friends present, there was only one who had
the moral courage to approach me and shake my hand. Throughout the time
I sat awaiting the call to appear before the coroner he remained beside
me, speaking words of encouragement. But the others, who, without
a word of evidence in my defense, had already judged and condemned
me, passed by on the other side, for had they not already judged and
condemned me?

When my name was called a dead hush pervaded the court, and the coroner
said:

“Have you agreed upon your verdict, gentlemen?”

The Foreman: “We have.”

Q. “Do you find that death resulted from the administration of an
irritant poison?”

A. “Unanimously.”

Q. “Do you say by whom that poison was administered?”

A. “By twelve to one we decide that the poison was administered by Mrs.
Maybrick.”

Q. “Do you find that the poison was administered with the intent of
taking life?”

A. “Twelve of us have come to that conclusion.”

The Coroner: “That amounts to a verdict of murder.”

Then the requisition was made out in the following terms:

“That James Maybrick, on the 11th of May, 1889, in the township of
Garston, died from the effects of an irritant poison administered to
him by Florence Elizabeth Maybrick, and so the jurors say: that the
said Florence Elizabeth Maybrick did wilfully, feloniously, and of
malice aforethought kill and murder the said James Maybrick.”

I was then driven back to the Lark Lane Police Station, locked up, and
remained the night. The next day I was returned to Walton Jail. How
shall I describe my feelings? Mere words are utterly inadequate to do
so. Not only was my sense of justice and fair play outraged, but it
seemed to me a frightful danger to personal safety if the police, on
the mere gossip of servants, and where a doctor had been unable to
assign the cause of death, could go into a home and take an inmate
into custody in the way I have shown.

On the 13th of June I was brought before the magistrates, and for the
first time evidence was given in my presence. I had been driven over to
the court-house the evening before, and had passed the night there in
charge of a policeman’s daughter, who remained in the room with me. Her
father kept watch on the other side of the door. That night, on going
to bed, as I knelt weary and lonely to say my prayers, I felt a hand on
my shoulder and a tearful voice said, softly, “Let me hold your hand,
Mrs. Maybrick, and let me say my prayers with you.” A simple expression
of sympathy, but it meant so much to me at such a time.

THE DOCTORS DISAGREE

At half-past eight I was taken to a room adjoining the court, where, in
charge of a female warder and a policeman, I awaited my call. I then
passed into the court, where two magistrates, Sir William B. Forwood
and Mr. W. S. Barrett, sat officially to hear the evidence. When the
testimony had been given the court adjourned.

When I rose to leave the court, in order to reach the door, I had
to meet face to face well-dressed women spectators at the back, and
the moment I turned around these started hissing me. The presiding
justice immediately shouted to the officer on duty to shut the door,
while the burly figures of several policemen, who moved toward the
hostile spectators, effectually put an end to the outburst. It was amid
such scenes, and this sort of preparation for my ordeal, that on the
following day, the 14th of June, the Magisterial Inquiry was resumed,
and the evidence connected with the charge of murder gone into. On
conclusion of the testimony the magistrates retired, and after a brief
consultation returned into court.

Sir William Forwood: “Our opinion is that this is a case which ought to
be decided by jury.”

Mr. Pickford (my counsel): “If that is clearly the opinion of the Bench
I shall not occupy their time by going into the defense now, because I
understand, whatever defense may be put forward, the Bench may think it
right for a jury to decide.”

The Chairman: “Yes, we think so.”

I was then ordered to stand up and was formally charged in the usual
manner.

I replied: “I reserve my defense.”

Sir William Forwood made answer: “Florence Elizabeth Maybrick, it is
our duty to commit you to take your trial at the ensuing Assizes for
wilful murder of the late James Maybrick.”

I was then remanded into custody.

I found it difficult to understand why these magistrates committed
me to trial for murder on that evidence. There was certainly not
sufficient evidence that the cause of death was arsenic. The doctors
could not say so. No arsenic had been found by the analyst in the
stomach, the appearance of which at the _post-mortem_, Dr. Humphreys
said, was “consistent” with either poisoning or ordinary congestion
of the stomach; but, after examination, a minute quantity of arsenic,
certainly not enough to cause death, was detected in the liver, the
appearance of which, Dr. Humphreys said, showed no evidence of any
irritant poison. On this point Dr. Carter agreed with Dr. Humphreys,
“but in a more positive manner,” while Dr. Barron did not exactly agree
with Dr. Carter.

The analyst had found both arsenic and “traces” of arsenic, in some
bottles and things which had been found in the house after death, as
to which, where they came from, or who had put them there, no one
had any knowledge. This is the evidence upon which I was committed.
Justice Stephen, in addressing the grand jury, even thus early showed
a predisposition against me, due at this time, no doubt, to the
sensational reports in the press. A true bill was found, and I was
brought to trial before him on the 31st of July.

LETTERS FROM WALTON JAIL

The six weeks intervening before my trial were very terrible. The
mental strain was incessant, and I suffered much from insomnia. The
stress and confinement were telling on my health, as was the separation
from my children. I insert here two extracts from letters, written by
me, from Walton Jail. One is to my mother, dated the 21st of July,
1889, a few days before my trial:

“I am not feeling very well. This fearful strain and the necessity for
continued self-control is beginning to tell upon me. But I am not in
the least afraid. I shall show composure, dignity and fortitude to the
last.”

The following is an extract from a letter I wrote to a friend on June
27, before my trial on July 31:

“I have made my peace with God. I have forgiven unreservedly all those
who have ruined and forsaken me. To-morrow I partake of the Holy
Communion with a clear conscience, and I place my faith in God’s
mercy.

“God give me strength is my constant prayer. I feel so lonely–as
if every hand were against me. To think that for three or four days
I must be unveiled before all those uncharitable eyes. You can not
think how awful it appears to me. So far the ordeal has been all
anticipation; then it will be stern reality–which always braces the
nerves and courage.

“I have seen in the Liverpool _Post_ the judge’s address on the
prosecution to the jury, and it is enough to appal the stoutest heart.
I hear the police are untiring and getting up the case against me
regardless of expense.

“Pray for me, my friend, for the darkest days of my life are now to
be lived through. I trust in God’s justice, whatever I may be in the
sight of man.”

LORD RUSSELL’S OPINION

I received many visits from my lawyers, the Messrs. Cleaver, and just
before the trial one from my leading counsel, Sir Charles Russell,
later Lord Russell of Killowen, Lord Chief Justice of England. The
following statement made by him relative to this visit may interest my
readers:

“I will make no public statement of what my personal belief is as to
Mrs. Maybrick’s guilt or innocence, but I will tell you, who have
stood by her all these years, that, perplexed with the instructions
in the brief, I took what was an unusual step: I went to see her in
prison before her trial, and questioned her there to the best of
my ability for the purpose of getting the truth out of her. During
the whole seven days of her trial I made careful observation of her
demeanor, and since her imprisonment I have availed myself of my
judicial right to visit her at Aylesbury Prison; and, making the best
use of such opportunities of arriving at a just conclusion about her
own self-consciousness, I decided in my own mind that it never for a
moment entered her mind to do any bodily injury to her husband. On the
last occasion that I saw her I told her so, as I felt it would and did
give the poor woman some comfort.”

The day preceding my trial found me calm in spirit, and in a measure
prepared for the awful ordeal before me. Up to that time I had shown
a composure that astonished every one. Indeed, some went so far as to
say I was without feeling. Perhaps I was toward their kind. I would
have responded to sympathy, but never to distrust. At that time I was
suspected by all–or, rather, people were not sufficiently just to
content themselves with suspicions; they condemned me outright, and,
unheard, struck at a weak, defenseless woman; and this upon what is now
generally admitted to have been insufficient evidence to sustain the
indictment.

My trial was set for the 31st of July in St. George’s Hall, Liverpool.
Immediately after nine o’clock on that day, the part of the building
which is open to the general public was filled by a well-dressed
audience, including many of my one-time friends. During all the days
of my trial, I am told, Liverpool society fought for tickets. Ladies
were attired as for a matinée, and some brought their luncheons that
they might retain their seats. Many of them carried opera-glasses,
which they did not hesitate to level at me. The Earl of Sefton occupied
a seat on the bench with the judge, and among the audience were many
public and city men and judicial officers. The press had for two
months supplied nourishment in the form of the most sensational stories
about me, to feed the morbid appetite of the public. The excitement
ran so high that the Liverpool crowds even hissed me as I was driven
through the streets. It was a mockery of justice to hold such a trial
in such a place as Liverpool, at such a time, by a common jury; and it
was a mockery of common sense to expect that any Liverpool common jury
could, when they got into the jury-box, dismiss from their minds all
they had heard and seen. In a letter which I wrote to my mother, when
in Walton Jail, on the 28th of June, about a month before the trial, I
said: “I sincerely hope Messrs. Cleaver will arrange for my trial to
take place in London. I shall receive an impartial verdict there, which
I can not expect from a jury in Liverpool, whose minds will virtually
be made up before any evidence is heard.” Owing, however, to a lack of
funds this hope was not realized.

I was at this time alone, utterly forsaken, and the only persons to
whom I could look for protection and advice were my lawyers, Messrs.
Cleaver.

At half-past eight on the morning of my trial, a black van was driven
up to the side door, in the fore part of which were already confined
the male prisoners awaiting trial. I was placed in the rear, a female
warder stepped in, the door was shut, and I felt as if I were already
buried. A crowd witnessed my departure from Walton Jail, and a larger
one was assembled outside St. George’s Hall. But I was conducted into
the building without attracting attention.

At ten o’clock I heard a blast of trumpets that heralded the judge’s
entrance into court. Shortly after my name was called, and, accompanied
by a male and a female warder, I ascended slowly the stone staircase
from the cells leading to the dock. I was calm and collected in manner,
although aware of the gravity of my position. But the consciousness of
innocence, and a strong faith in Divine support, made me confident
that strength would be given to endure the awful ordeal before me.

[Illustration: ST. GEORGE’S HALL, LIVERPOOL, Where the trial of Mrs
Maybrick was held.]

In reply to the Clerk of Arraigns, who read the charge against me of
“feloniously and wilfully murdering my husband, James Maybrick,” I
answered “Not guilty.” It is customary in criminal courts in England
to compel a prisoner to stand in the dock during the whole trial, but
I was provided with a seat by recommendation of the prison doctor,
as I suffered from attacks of faintness, though against this humane
departure a great public outcry was raised.

The counsel engaged in the case were Mr. Addison, Q.C., M.P. (now judge
at the Southwark County Court), Mr. McConnell, and Mr. Swift, for the
prosecution; Sir Charles Russell, assisted by Mr. Pickford and Messrs.
Cleaver, for the defense.

AN UNEXPECTED VERDICT

When the trial began there was a strong feeling against me, but as it
proceeded, and the fact was made clear that Mr. Maybrick had long
been addicted to taking large quantities of arsenic, coupled with the
evidence, to quote Sir Charles Russell, (1) that there was no proof
of arsenical poisoning, (2) that there was no proof that arsenic was
administered to him by me, the prejudice against me gradually changed,
until, at the close of the trial, there was a complete revulsion of
sentiment, and my acquittal was confidently expected.

When the jury retired to consider their verdict I was taken below, and
here my solicitor came to speak to me; but the tension of mind was so
great I do not recall one word that he said.

After what seemed to me an age, but was in reality only thirty-eight
minutes, the jury returned into court and took their places in the
jury-box. I was recalled to the dock. When I stood up to hear the
verdict I had an intuition that it was unfavorable. Every one looked
away from me, and there was a stillness in court that could be felt.
Then the Clerk of Arraigns arose and said:

“Have you agreed upon the verdict, gentlemen?”

“We have.”

“And do you find the prisoner guilty of the murder of James Maybrick or
not guilty?”

The Foreman: “Guilty.”

A prolonged “Ah!” strangely like the sighing of wind through a forest,
sounded through the court. I reeled as if struck a blow and sank upon
a chair. The Clerk of Arraigns then turned to me and said: “Florence
Elizabeth Maybrick, you have been found guilty of wilful murder. Have
you anything to say why the court should not pronounce sentence upon
you according to the law?”

I arose, and with a prayer for strength, I clasped the rail of the dock
in front of me, and said in a low voice, but with firmness: “My lord,
everything has been against me; I am not guilty of this crime.”

THE JUDGE’S SENTENCE

These were the last words which the law permitted me to speak. Mr.
Justice Stephen then assumed the full dress of the criminal judge–the
black cap–and pronounced the sentence of the court in these words:

“Prisoner at the bar, I am no longer able to treat you as being
innocent of the dreadful crime laid to your charge. You have been
convicted by a jury of this city, after a lengthy and most painful
investigation, followed by a defense which was in every respect worthy
of the man. The jury has convicted you, and the law leaves me no
discretion, and I must pass the sentence of the law:

“The court doth order you to be taken from hence to the place from
whence you came, and from thence to the place of execution, and that
you be hanged by the neck until you are dead, and that your body be
afterward buried within the precincts of the prison in which you shall
be confined after your conviction. And may the Lord have mercy upon
your soul!”

[Illustration:

Copyright by Bassano, London.

JUSTICE FITZ-JAMES STEPHEN. Who presided at the trial of Mrs.
Maybrick.]

Utterly stunned I was removed from the court to Walton Jail, there
to be confined until this sentence of the law should be carried into
effect.

The mob, as the Liverpool public was styled by the press, before they
had heard or read a word of the defense had hissed me when I entered
the court; and now, that they had heard or read the evidence, cheered
me as I drove away in the prison-van, and hissed and hooted the judge,
who with difficulty gained his carriage.

IN THE SHADOW OF DEATH

In all the larger local English prisons there is one room, swept and
ready, the sight of which can not fail to stir unwonted thoughts.
The room is large, with barred windows, and contains only a bed and
a chair. It is the last shelter of those whom the law declares to
have forfeited their lives. Near by is a small brick building in the
prison-yard, that has apparently nothing to connect it with the room;
yet they are joined by a sinister suggestion.

For nearly three terrible weeks I was confined in this cell of the
condemned, to taste the bitterness of death under its most appalling
and shameful aspect. I was carefully guarded by two female warders, who
would gladly have been spared the task. They might not read nor sleep;
at my meals, through my prayers, during every moment of agony, they
still watched on and rarely spoke. Many have asked me what my feelings
were at that awful time. I remember little in the way of details
as to my state of mind. I was too overwhelmed for either analytic
or collective thought. Conscious of my innocence, I had no fear of
physical death, for the love of my Heavenly Father was so enveloping
that death seemed to me a blessed escape from a world in which such an
unspeakable travesty of justice could take place; while I petitioned
for a reconsideration of the verdict, it was wholly for the sake of my
mother and my children.

I knew nothing of any public efforts for my relief. I was held fast on
the wheels of a slow-moving machine, hypnotized by the striking hours
and the flight of my numbered minutes, with the gallows staring me in
the face. The date of my execution was not told me at Walton Jail,
but I heard afterward that it was to have taken place on the 26th
of August. On the 22d, while I was taking my daily exercise in the
yard attached to the condemned cell, the governor, Captain Anderson,
accompanied by the chief matron, entered. He called me to him, and,
with a voice which–all honor to him–trembled with emotion, said:

“Maybrick, no commutation of sentence has come down to-day, and I
consider it my duty to tell you to prepare for death.”

“Thank you, governor,” I replied; “my conscience is clear. God’s will
be done.”

COMMUTATION OF SENTENCE

He then walked away and I returned to my cell. The female warder was
weeping silently, but I was calm and spent the early part of the night
in my usual prayers. About midnight exhausted nature could bear no
more, and I fainted. I had barely regained consciousness when I heard
the shuffle of feet outside, the click of the key in the lock–that
warning catch in the slow machinery of my doom. I sprang up, and with
one supreme effort of will braced myself for what I believed was the
last act of my life. The governor and a chaplain entered, followed
by a warder. They read my expectation in my face, and the governor,
hastening forward, exclaimed in an agitated voice: “It is well; it is
good news!” When I opened my eyes once more I was lying in bed in the
hospital, and I remained there until I was taken to Woking Convict
Prison.

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