The Evening Standard—Monday, August 8, 1892 Page 2
NOTHING BUT THEORIES
Search of the Borden House
Pinkerton Detective Employed
by the Family.
Significant Orders of the Police
Authorities Last Night.
Boston Knocked Out of the
Mysterious Stranger Story.
Murdered Couple’s Pastor Preaches
Upon the Tragedy.
Sunday has passed since Andrew J. Borden was found in his home on Second street, Fall River, with his face cut to ribbons, while the body of his butchered wife was stretched on the floor above, and there is still the same awful mystery, the same torturing suspicions, the same theories, with nothing to confirm or dispel them. It was a day of rest, which left people free to reflect calmly on the double tragedy and which has removed them from rumors and discussions bred by the fever heat and excitement of the three days preceding—days which Fall River will never forget. A few additional particulars have been gathered by those whose business it is to gather them, a thread has been picked up here and there and stray points have been investigated, but that is all. At the Borden homestead, the scene of so much turmoil and horror, all was quiet. No crowds thronged the streets which runs by the residence; not that the community has lost its interest, but the authorities have determined to keep the thoroughfare clear. There is as great a desire to get at every detail on the part of the public as there was last Thursday afternoon, and that desire will be manifested until the guilty wretch has been arrested, convicted and hanged, or until the lapse of time makes it plain that this is one of the puzzles to which there is no key.
At midnight on Saturday, when the city was apparently asleep, the patrol wagon rattled into court square with a drunken unfortunate for freight, and in an instant, from nobody knows where, hundreds of people sprang from the ground and collected on Bedford street. On Saturday afternoon, and the afternoon before, and the afternoon before that, men walked slowly with papers before their faces, absorbing the news, drivers of delivery wagons allowed their horses to pick their own way and went over “the latest, all about the murder,” and on every corner and in almost every doorway were groups of three, four and half a dozen, explaining and arguing, and driving home there own private convictions with their forefingers. This illustrates the natural curiosity and the abnormal nervous tension which have taken possession of the entire town. There is nobody so poor and insignificant, nobody so rich and blase, as to be indifferent to the fate of the aged couple who were borne to their last resting places Saturday noon.
Nothing But Theories.
Unfortunately, there is nothing yet to satisfy this curiosity or to relieve the nerves of the populace from the unnatural strain, and it is a strain that is beginning to tell. They want some fresh theory, which is reasonable, and which will take them in another direction, if only for 24 hours. But at each turn the double murder puts in an appearance, to perplex and bewilder. The difficulty that overturns every opinion which has been advanced to account for the wonderful escape of the assassin is that he had not completed his task when one victim ceased to breathe. He had two to slay and that makes it necessary to search for a double motive or impulse, or what ever it may be, that inspires a man to take life, and also to give him more time to glide about the house and avoid detection. “He could have slain Mr. Borden or Mrs. Borden; how could he slay them both and vanish?” people repeat to themselves over and over again.
Why Should He Have Slain Them Both?
Did he kill the woman in order to do away with a witness of his slaughter of the man? The indications are that he did not. Nothing is strange under the sun, perhaps, and certainly nothing is new, but if Mrs. Borden had interrupted him in his bloody work, and he pursued her, as some maintain, why did he wait until she entered the spare bedroom? Why not strike her down on the stairs? He had no minutes to throw away. He could not tell what moment Miss Lizzie would return from the barn, or the instant the servant would leave the third floor. However, it is argued that Mrs. Borden would not have fled to the spare bedroom, although this is only a supposition. It is claimed that it would have been more natural for her to have attempted to escape by the front door, or to have taken refuge in one of the lower rooms. She was a heavy woman and her weight must have told against her on the stairs. All experiences accordingly contradicts this idea of a surprise and a chase. If it is correct Mrs. Borden forgot utter a sound, although her other faculties did not entirely desert her, and she chose a course from the sitting room which was sure to hand her over to the murderer before she had taken 10 steps. That weakens the motive introduced to explain her death and makes the other theory more tenable, namely, that she perished first, and that the man who fell her struck down her husband, because the latter was not sleeping as the murderer was leaving the house. In that event the scoundrel must have a loitered about the spare room after he had accomplished his purpose. Otherwise he could have escaped before the husband came back from town. If the woman fell as Mr. Borden entered the sitting room, or while he was seated on the lounge, it might have been expected that he would have heard the fall.
And so, proceeding along this line, it becomes necessary to find somebody whose hatred of Mrs. Borden was deep enough to lead to her violent ending, and also to explain the recklessness which allowed her assailant
To Remain In the House After He Had
If both theories are abandoned; if Mrs. Borden were not slaughtered because of dead people (tell) no tales, or if Mr. Borden were not destroyed for the same reason, it remains to unearth the motive for which would have inspired the same person to kill them both, and to enter the house with that intention. Small wonder that the knot tightens rather than unravels as the case is studied.
There was no special excitement at police headquarters yesterday. Medical Examiner Dolan held a long interview with Marshal Hilliard in the latter’s office, and Detective Hanscom of the Pinkerton agency who has been engaged by the family, had a talk with Andrew J. Jennings in the Mellen House. The medical examiner states that the only discovery of importance made during the thorough search of the Borden house Saturday afternoon was in the spare bed room, where Mrs. Borden’s body was found. Out near the window drops of blood were found which indicated that the murdered woman had moved after the first blow was delivered. It is thought that that blow was the glancing one which has been described. The supposition is that the axe fell on the right side of the head, taking off the flesh and hair, and that the woman turned and reeled to the space between the dressing case and bureau, where the mortal wound was delivered. After that, the blows fell thick and fast. It is believed that when she was approached, Mrs. Borden stood looking out of the window in this room, and her blood which stained it at this point, bears out that view. Dr. Dolan says that the more he reflects on the small quantity of blood that was spilled, the more at a loss he is to account for it. To him it seems utterly inexplicable. Ordinarily, no matter how sharp the weapon used, the rooms would have been stained a crimson had such a tragedy taken place in them. Even if no arterial blood made its appearance, and though the wounds were inflicted after death, the veins and brain would have discharged enough fluid and gray matter to have left their mark on the furniture. But with the exception of the stains near the window and a thick pool about the head of the unfortunate woman, the chamber was as clean as though it had been freshly washed and swept. Every time the axe fell it cut deeply, but there was no gush of blood from the frightful gashes. The same condition prevails in the sitting room below, where Mr. Borden was butchered, and there was nothing to raise the suspicion that the murderer had cleaned anything, except the dripping axe. Medical Examiner Dolan made
One Other Discovery.
Yesterday he learned that Prof. Wood of Cambridge, to whose address the stomachs of the murdered couple were sent, was in Europe, and some other expert must make the analysis of their contents. Singularly, nothing has been heard regarding the delivery of the grim package in question, and Dr. Dolan will probably go to Boston to-day and make inquiries concerning it.
That letter which it is alleged Mrs. Borden received on the morning of the tragedy continues to excite interest, and on this head Dr. Dolan likewise had little information to give. He says that both Miss Lizzie Borden and the servant told him that Mrs. Borden had received such a letter, and when he asked Miss Lizzie what had become of it, she told him she had been unable to find it.
She Feared That It Had Been Burned
in the kitchen stove. Nobody in the household seems to be able to give anything more than a general idea of the contents of the letter or note. It was from a friend who was ill, but if Mrs. Borden made this much known, it is curious that she did not state who the friend was or that the person with whom she was conversing did not have the curiosity to inquire.
It is expected that Detective Hanscom of the Pinkerton agency will have a long talk with Bridget Sullivan, the servant, before many hours, and with other members of the family as well. As nearly as can be ascertained, Hanscom was not employed by Marshal Hilliard, acting under the instructions of Mayor Coughlin, but by the Misses Borden, who were advised by their counsel, Andrew J. Jennings, Esq. The friends of the ladies felt that they ought to have somebody to represent them, and Mr. Jennings was called into the case on Saturday. Detective Hanscom ought to be able to elicit considerable information from the servant.
In company with Mr. Jennings he called at the house yesterday afternoon and remained for two hours. If, as Miss Lizzie states, she did not see her mother after 9 o’clock on the morning of the murder, it is possible that Bridget Sullivan may know something of the latter’s whereabouts. It is certain that, so far as the public is concerned, the time of all the occupants has not been satisfactorily accounted for. If Mrs. Borden disappeared at 9 o’clock to put shams on the pillows, and did not appear again, it is to be presumed that her stepdaughter remained down stairs while she was occupied on the second floor. At some time before Mr. Borden was killed, Bridget Sullivan went upstairs, and she may have seen her mistress on the floor. If the latter were in the habit of attending to household duties on the second floor for two hours at a time, her absence would not have attracted attention, but if she visited all parts of the house like women do, it is a little singular that nobody missed her. At all events no harm could come from ascertaining just what Miss Lizzie and the servant did with their time from the hour of rising until the murders were discovered. It might help to show the opportunities which the wretch had for entering the house and concealing himself if that was what he did. Now as to the suspicions which
Have Been Directed Against Members of
Perhaps the most intimate friend the family has had this to say yesterday noon:
When I arrived at the house on the day of the murder it was 12 o’clock or thereabouts. I found Miss Lizzie somewhat prostrated, though she did not appear to be tired out by the excitement. I went away and later on the street I heard those stories about the Portuguese. I returned to the house and told the occupants what I had heard. Instantly Miss Lizzie exclaimed:
“That isn’t true at all. My father had no Portuguese in his employ. The only man of that description is a Swede in whom we have perfect confidence.”
Again when it was said that a man had called and demanded money, Miss Lizzie said:
“My father owed no money. He always paid his debts.”
This disproves the idea that an attempt was made to throw suspicion on some other party and divert attention from the house. When I first met Miss Lizzie and Miss Emma together, the former was the more disturbed of the two. I have known her for years. Up to date there is no evidence that points to anybody or in any direction; at least, none that has been made public. On the contrary there is everything against the theories. A good character ought to account for something. The search has been made and nothing was discovered. They found a slight spot on Miss Lizzie’s dress, I believe, which made its first appearance in Edinburgh.
An attempt was made on Saturday night to float the theory that Eli Bence, the drug clerk, had mistaken Miss Lizzie Borden for the woman who purchases oleomargarine and face lotion for State Inspector McCaffrey. This is absurd. Mr. Bence may be mistaken, of course, but State Inspector McCaffrey’s partner looks about as much like Miss Borden as she does like John L. Sullivan. However there is no great importance attached to the poison story, for when it comes to a test it was Miss Borden’s word against the statement of Mr. Bence.
Pinkerton Detective’s Idea.
Detective Hanscom talked at length in the Mellen House yesterday afternoon, and his ideas do not correspond with the government theory. He reviewed the case at length, but admitted that he had been at work on it too short a time to form a definite opinion. He had questioned Miss Lizzie, but found her too exhausted physically for a searching examination. The reaction had come and he did not want to weary her. He was favorably impressed with her appearance, and stated that she, like her sister, Miss Emma, appeared to be sincere and truthful. He questioned particularly the time that she spent in the barn, and she was positive that she was there 20 minutes or possibly half an hour. The murder
Looked Like the Work of a Lunatic,
while Miss Lizzie appeared to be a level-headed, self-possessed woman. If she was in the barn half an hour, a man might have entered the house, committed both murders, and escaped by way of the basement through the door leading to the back yard. That door was found open after the murders, though it was usually closed. Detective Hanscom admitted that he had a varied experience, and usually began by looking for the cause of death and the motive. Here the cause was apparent, but he had as yet found no motive. He had attempted to discover if Mr. Borden had any enemy capable of the deed. The family and Mr. Jennings could recall but one person who had a serious difference with the murdered man, and that was not of a nature to arouse suspicion in the present instance. The detective did not question Miss Borden regarding the axes found in the cellar, but had learned from another source that a flock of pigeons belonging to the Bordens had been killed in June. That might account for the blood stains on one of the axes. This axe will be sent to Boston for examination.
It looked at midnight very much as if Detective Hanscom had interviewed the Misses Borden for the last time. The authorities are evidently up in arms and have issued orders that nobody, not even the detective in question, is to be admitted to the house. More than that, if anybody leaves the house,
He or She Will be Promptly Arrested.
These orders were issued last night, and the public are free to interpret their true purport for themselves. Their meaning is clear enough, and it is certainly very significant.
At last accounts Miss Lizzie Borden had given way under the great strain and excitement of the last four days, and Dr. Bowen had been summoned twice last evening to attend her.
Friends From South Dartmouth.
It was expected that morbid curiosity would fill Oak Grove Cemetery with crowds of pedestrians yesterday, but for some reason or other there were fewer visitors than usual. A friend of the Borden family called during the day, and two of John Morse’s acquaintances from South Dartmouth, Messrs. Davis and Howe, paid him a visit.
Rev. W. Walker Jubb’s Sermon.
Mr. and Mrs. Borden were members of the Central Congregational church of Fall River, and as has already been explained, their daughter Lizzie, was also a member. The latter has been a teacher in the mission school connected with the parish, and has always been very active in the young people’s societies and the work of the church. Yesterday the Central church worshipers met with the First church congregation in the Stone church on Main street. All of the pews were filled, many being in their seats some half hour before the service began. It was supposed that the Rev. W. Walker Jubb, who occupied the pulpit, would make some allusion to the awful experiences through which one family in his charge had been compelled to pass during the week, and the supposition was correct. Mr. Jubb read for the morning lesson a portion of Matthew, containing the significant words which implied that what is concealed shall be revealed. In his prayer, Mr. Jubb evoked the divine blessing on the community, rendering thanks for the blessings bestowed on many, and, pausing, referred to the murder of two innocent persons. He prayed fervently that right might prevail, and that in good time the terrible mystery might be cleared away; that the people of this city might do everything in their power to assist the authorities, and asked for divine guidance for the police, that they might prosecute unflinchingly and unceasingly the search for the murderer. Mr. Jubb prayed that their hands might be strengthened, that their movements might be characterized by discretion, and that wisdom and great power of discernment might be given to them in their work. “And while we hope,” he continued, “for the triumph of justice, let our acts be tempered with mercy. Help us to restrain from giving voice to those insinuations and innuendoes which we have no right to utter. Save us from blasting a life, innocent and blameless; keep us from taking the sweetness from a future by are ill-advised words, and let us be charitable as we remember the poor, grief-stricken family and minister unto them.
The clergyman asked that those who were writing of the crime might be careful of the reputations of the living, which could so easily be undermined.
For his text Mr. Jubb took the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, ninth verse: “The thing that hath been is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done; and there is no new thing under the sun.” The speaker considered the monotones of life and expiated on the causes of indifference in persons who would be nothing if not geniuses, drawing lessons from successes in humbles sphere. At the end of the sermon Mr. Jubb stepped to the side of the pulpit and said slowly and impressively: ” I cannot close my sermon this morning without speaking of the horrible crime that has startled or beloved city this week, ruthlessly taking from our church household two respected and esteemed members. I cannot close without referring to my pain and surprise at the atrocity of the outrage. A more brutal, cunning, daring and fiendish murder I never heard of in all my life. What must have been the person who could have been guilty of such a revolting crime? One to commit such a murder must have been without heart, without soul, the fiend incarnate, the very vilest of degraded and depraved humanity, or he must have been a maniac. The circumstances, execution and all the surroundings cover it with mystery profound. Explanations and evidence as to both perpetrator and motive are shrouded in mystery that is almost inexplicable. That such a crime could have been committed during the busy hours of the day, right in the heart of a populous city, is passing comprehension. As we ponder, we exclaim in our perplexity, Why was the deed done? What could have induced anybody to engage in such a butchery? Where is the motive? When men resort to crime it is for plunder, for gain, from enmity, in sudden anger or for revenge. Strangely, nothing of this nature enters into the case, and again I ask—what was the motive? I believe, I am only voicing your feelings fully when I say that I hope the criminal be speedily brought to justice. This city cannot afford to have it in its midst such a inhuman brute as the murderer of Andrew J. Borden and his wife. Why, a man who could conceive and execute such a murder as that would not hesitate to burn the city.
“I trust that the police may do their duty and lose no opportunity which might lead to the capture of the criminal. I would impress upon them that they should not say too much and thus unconsciously assist in defeating the ends of justice. I also trust that the press (and I say this because I recognize its influence and power), I trust that it will use discretion in disseminating its theories and conclusions, and that pens may be guided by consideration and charity. I would wish the papers to remember that by casting a groundless or undeserved insinuation they may blacken and blast a life forever, like a tree smitten by a bolt of lightning; a life which has always commanded respect, whose acts and motives have always been pure and holy. Let us ourselves curb are tongues and preserve the blameless life from undeserved suspicions. I think I have the right to ask for the prayers of this church and of my own congregation. The murdered husband and wife were members of this church, and a daughter now stands in the same relation to each one of you, as you as church members, do to each other. God help and comfort her. Poor, stricken girls, may they both be comforted, and may they both realize how fully God is their refuge.”
Mysterious Stranger Story Exploded.
The mysterious stranger story told in the Standard Saturday was given credence by the police for a time, but has now been exploded. The man in question who was seen in Westport allowed that he was a horse dealer, but explained that at 10 o’clock Thursday morning he was in New Bedford, where he sold a horse, and another man was discovered ???