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The Dead Man of St Anne's Chapel.

ample yearly allowance.

"The pecuniary consequences of the

The colonel exerted all his in- ing. Whether my mistress countefluence: the sentence was soon pro- nanced this idea or not, I know not: nounced, and it was most unfavourable if she did, she communicated on the for the guilty party. The separated subject only with her most intimate I wife was to retain possession of her friends. Certain it is that the colo. daughter, and to be provided with an nel, who is a deeply religious man, was thoroughly opposed to it. After my return from Blumenseparation would have affected the rode, I remained till Christmas in the thoughtless and passionate Hermann service of my lady. I then married but little; but wise too late, the loss my present husband, who had obtained of his wife, his separation from his the rectorship in his native town. child, struck deep into his heart. Since my marriage, I have seen the spared no efforts at first to obtain a family of Siegfeld once or twice: my reconciliation: the young wife might, mistress has been uniformly kind and


perhaps, have yielded; for, after the first burst of feeling, I believe her heart was still with her husband, but the

forbade all intercourse between them,

gracious to me.

"I own," she continued, in answer to some special interrogatories as to Icolonel was inexorable. He strictly Madame von Preussach's temper"I own she is hasty and violent in a either verbal or written. The daugh- high degree. In her anger she is ter honoured and respected her father capable of excesses, which in cooler too much not to yield an implicit obe- moments her real excellence of heart dience, at whatever cost. So it remained. We heard no more of the

Preussachs ; Madame Siegfeld, (the name she now took,) communicative towards me in other respects, never

has induced her bitterly to regret."
And she instanced several occasions
in which this violence of temper,
manifesting itself even
in a very un-

becoming violence of action, had been mentioned her husband's name. I heard displayed both towards the witness and towards her husband, on some

only accidentally from another source,

that Hermann, after an entire breach supposed ground-she did not deny it

with his family, had left the country, Vowing never to return until he could call the estates his own; and then all should have cause to tremble who stood between him and his wife.


might be well founded

-of provoca

The Court of Appeal had directed

particular enquiry to

be made after

mother had, in the mean time, died, siderated in the previous enquiry. two persons, whose evidence they deed his share of her fortune: with that ducted Madame von Preussach from and Hermann had claimed and obtain- These were the girl who had con

he had taken his journey, no one knew whither, into the wide world.

"Madame Siegfeld resided, along with the little Constance, in the house of her father, with the exception of a few

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Imonths which she spent, in summer The girl was at last discovered, through 1816, with the family of Baron Kettler the unceasing efforts of the police. She was now in the service of a meron that visit, but became ill in Blu- chant in the market-town of Woll

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several brilliant proposals of marriage by a Madame Veitel from Wollheim, "I know that, after the separation, the front part of his house was hired as Hermann lived that was impossible apartments to the bathers. The rooms, As long with the view of letting it out in can sometimes be found for getting time. One day-it was towards the according to our laws; but devices however, had stood empty for some over such difficulties; and I have reason beginning of August—Madame Veitel

to think hints of that sort were thrown

out by a Protestant nobleman of our

sent for me, and asked if I would go

a message for her.


dressed myself,

acquaintance, whose name, however, and went up into her room. I found

I cannot take the liberty of mention

a young gentleman with her, to whom

she was very polite. She gave me a sealed letter. I was to take it to the assembly room, and to deliver it personally to a lady whom I would find there, and whose name she mentioned. The name I have forgotten, and, were it mentioned to me, I should not recognise it. There was much company at the rooms, old and young. I enquired according to the address, and was directed to a lady, whom, from her appearance, I should have taken to be unmarried. She read the letter, and, after some conversation with the party, she prepared to accompany me. Madame Veitel had told me before, that I was to show her the way. She made me walk before, and followed so fast that we soon reached our destination. Scarcely a word was spoken during our walk. Madame Veitel received her at the door, thanked me, and dismissed me: what happened afterwards I know not. The gentleman I never saw again. My mistress told me afterwards a lady and gentleman had walked through the garden, and out in the direction of the mountains. Whether they were the persons I have mentioned, I cannot say.

"The dress of the lady I could not particularly observe, as I walked before her. I noticed, however, that she had a fine complexion; that she was in full dress, and her make, in proportion to her height, extremely slender. Of her clothing I can remember nothing, except that it was of several colours-what they were, I cannot now say; she wore a straw hat with flowers.

"The gentleman, as I have said, was young also, tall, slender, and darkcomplexioned. He wore a short

green coat, and tight buckskin pantaloons, with short boots drawn over them, and spurs."

She pointed out the house in Hil genberg which Madame Veitel, who was since dead, had inhabited. The shoemaker and his wife had now no recollection of the lady and gentleman passing through the garden; and farther, they were positive no person of the name of Madame Seehausen had ever inhabited their house.

Thus closed the supplementary investigation; and in this shape the case returned to the Court of Appeal for its final direction.

The decision was not long delayed. It directed that criminal proceed ings should be forthwith instituted against the accused; and that the trial should take place at the next assizes at Hainburg. An advocate was appointed to assist the prisoner in case of need. This, however, proved unnecessary. An old and experienced counsel, a friend of the Seigfeld family, and in considerable practice before the Court of Cassation, announced himself as authorized with her permission to act for the defence. He received access to the vast mass of documents which had now accumulated, and conferred with his client on the subject. It will appear, however, in the sequel, that she had not been more communicative to her counsel than to her accusers.


THE time of the sittings approached; and the case of Preussach stood first on the list. The interesting nature of the subject-matter-the personal attractions of the accused-the number and rank of the expected witnesses-all concurred to give the trial a peculiar importance, and to attract an extraordinary crowd of spectators.

The office of president of the assizes had been undertaken by one of the oldest judges of the Court of Appeal, and that of public prosecutor was filled by one of the most distinguished members of the public ministry of the province, a man of established reputation, the procurator-general Schom berg.

The opening of the sittings took place on the 1st of July 1818. At eight in the morning the galleries were opened to the public, and, in a quarter of an hour, they were filled to overflowing. Among the spectators were many ladies.

About nine the president directed the accused to be introduced. All eyes were directed towards the door by which she was to enter.

Albertine appeared, conducted by her counsel, and took her seat in the place appointed for her.

Beautiful indeed she seemed this accused, though the rose had vanished from her cheek, and had been replaced by a marble paleness; for still the

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noble expressive features, the look of high bearing and dignity, were there. Her dress was as simple as it was becoming a black silk robe, a hat and veil of the same colour, and her only ornament a slender gold chain which sustained her watch. The favourable impression which her appearance made upon the public could not be mistaken.

Near her sat the private complainer, Ferdinand von Preussach, the subject also of great observation, though obviously of a less favourable kind. His well formed features betrayed a painful restlessness, which, in the course of the proceedings, sometimes amounted almost to distortion. The witnesses in general sat silent, and with downcast eyes; many of the ladies dissolved in tears.

The president, a man of imposing exterior, addressed the accused. She rose and answered the usual questions as to name, rank, and residence, in a low tone, scarcely audible to the court. The jury were then empannelled and sworn; the act of accusation, which was long and detailed, and which charged the accused with being an accomplice in the murder of her husband, was read; her counsel denied the charge, and the examination of the witnesses commenced.

We need not pursue these examinations in detail. Suffice it to say, that about forty witnesses were examined; and that, though some important points were elicited on cross-examination, their depositions before the court were, in substance, the same with those which they had given on their preliminary examination. The points in which they differed, will be sufficiently indicated by the observations made by the counsel for the defence.

At the conclusion of the evidence, which had occupied the greater part of two days, and in the course of which several warm debates had taken place on contested questions of evidence, the president addressed the priso


"Had she any evidence to adduce? If so, the necessary delay would be granted to her."

A short and earnest conversation took place in an under tone between the lady and her counsel. The latter

seemed to press upon her some advice to which she was disinclined.

She shook her head mournfully but decidedly.

The advocate turned to the court"My client declines to adduce any evidence. She will abide the result as it stands."

The public prosecutor rose to address the jury. Instead of following him through his long, and in some respects impressive, commentary on the evidence, we shall state briefly the conclusions to which his speech was directed.

"He held it to be clear," he said, "that Baron Hermann von Preussach had been assassinated, and by means of a sharp instrument, apparently a knife. That there had been others on the spot at the time who were the authors of the deed, seemed plain from all the evidence.

"The time of the assassination, though not fixed to an hour, was plainly brought within the compass of the 24th August, the day on the morning of which the deceased had been last seen alive. The place was evidently the ruin on the Raubstein, from whence the body had been conveyed to St Anne's chapel below."

He proceeded to detail the combination of circumstances which had led to the suspicion, and the subsequent conviction that the accused was connected with the murder.

"The idea of the crime having been committed with a view to robbery, was out of the question. The ring left on the finger of the deceased-his purse left in the poor's chest of the chapel-excluded that supposition.

"That a woman had been concerned in the deed was proved by many circumstances, some of real, some of parole evidence. The stripes of a silk dress found round the body and among the bushes-the Danish leather glove-the evidence of the witnesses who had seen a lady ascending the path to the Raubstein on the forenoon of the 24th August-that of the bath-keeper and others who had seen her again at Schlingin, wounded, agitated, in company with a stranger who had used expressions, the import of which could not be mistaken as pointing to some recent tragedyclearly connected a female with the assassination of the 24th August.

"But was it not equally certain that this female was the Baroness von Preussach? The evidence proved

unquestionably that after their separation, and unknown apparently to her parents, a secret correspondence continued between the spouses, he writing from K- 9 and she from Blu menrode. It was proved by the letters themselves that a secret and decisive interview had been resolved on: that interview had taken place on the 24th August. The baroness had joined her husband in the house of Madame Veitel; her dress on that occasion corresponded, as far as could be seen, with that worn by the stranger at Schlingin. From Madame Veitel's the parties had continued their walk to the lonely and unfrequented thickets of the Raubstein, which had proved the scene of the lamentable catastrophe. 66 Every thing confirmed this view. The baroness returns to her party in Hilgenberg late in the evening, pale and agitated, with white gloves substituted for the pair of Danish gloves, of which one had been left behind in her flight. She feigns a story of the distresses of a Madame Seehausen, who never existed; conceals the wound in her hand by the constant use of gloves; shortens her stay at Blumenrode by nearly two months; writes anxiously, again and again, to know whether any thing is discovered as to the murder; is overpowered by the sight of the brother of her murdered husband, and by the intelligence that an innocent person had been arrested on suspicion of the crime of which she herself had been guilty: last of all, the watch and marriage-ring of her husband, which the witnesses from K-spoke to his wearing, are found in her possession.

"Taking these circumstances together, are we not compelled to echo the exclamation which escaped from her mother, Unhappy girl, you are no stranger to Hermann's death!'

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"That another person was also concerned along with her;—that that person was the woodman who had been seen in her company at Schlingin, was not improbable; but that did not the less leave the charge of a guilty participation in her husband's murder proved against her.

"But the motive, it might be asked, the motive for the crime? That motive he was not bound to explain; but he thought it might be naturally explained. He gave no weight to the insinuation that the deed had been

the result of a deliberate plan, arising from the embarrassment caused by pecuniary extravagance: he admitted that the balance of the evidence in favour of character, appeared inconsistent with the notion of a murder perpetrated from interested motives, and concerted long before.

"But her passionate temper was as distinctly proved as the better parts of her character. The passions of her husband were as impetuous as her own. His object in the interview plainly was, to obtain in any way her consent to a reconciliation and renewal of their intercourse; by fair means, if possible; if these failed, probably by force. That he had threatened violent measures on some former occasion was evident; for her letter had alluded to warnings received from a third party, which, confident in her own strength of mind, she had despised. Might not the violence thus threatened have been attempted to be carried into execution at this decisive interview of the 24th of August, when the stimulus of intoxication appeared to have been added to the natural violence of his character, and the excitement of passion? If on that occasion he attempted forcibly to remove her from the spot, was it improbable that she too, of passions as violent as his own, might be hurried into crime-might snatch the knife which lay beside, and plunge it into the heart of her husband?

"And what answer does the accused make to all the charges against her? What proofs does she oppose to them? What witnesses does she call? What is her defence ? Obstinate silence-a silence inexplicable upon the supposition of innocence, perfectly natural upon the supposition of guilt; particularly in one not so depraved as to resort to artifice and falsehood in order to shield her from the consequences of the crime into which she has been hurried."

The auditory had listened with deep anxiety to the long address of the public prosecutor. Opinions were much divided at its conclusion. The female part of the spectators inclined to the theory that the baroness was not guilty of the murder of her husband, though not ignorant of the circumstances of the murder; the male part of the auditory were disposed, in the main, to concur in the conclusions of the public prosecutor. The con

duct of the baroness in Hilgenbergthe mysterious visit to Madame Veitel's -the expressions which she appeared to have uttered-above all, her silence in answer to all accusations-spoke too decidedly against her to admit the supposition of innocence.

The advocate for the accused rose to address the court, amidst the deep silence of expectation and anxiety. We pass over the introduction of his plead ing, and come at once to the subject


"It was strange," he said, "that the public prosecutor had assumed, without argument, the very basis of the whole accusation-that the dead man of St Anne's chapel was Hermann von Preussach, the husband of the accused.

"What, after all, was the proof of the corpus delicti, that Hermann was dead or assassinated by any hand whatever? To the civil court the proof of his death had appeared insufficient. They had refused their attestation to that effect when solicited by the private complainer. Would the criminal tribunal be satisfied with less evidence, in a matter of life and death, than the civil court required in a question of property?

"True, a man had been found dead in the neighbourhood of the chapel. Circumstances seemed to prove that this person was a Herr von Breisach, once resident in K. and who had

slept at the forest inn on the night before the 24th of August. But what proof existed that this man, described as a low adventurer, shunning society, and leading an obscure and discreditable life, was the gay, handsome, and noble Baron Hermann von Preussach? No one who had seen the body before interment knew the baron, or could speak to his identity with Breisach. The landlord, no doubt, recognised in the dead man his guest of the night before; but of who the guest was he knew nothing. To what, then, did the evidence connecting the dead adventurer with the baron come? Simply to this:-The dead man wore a seal-ring bearing the arms of Preus sach, and said to have belonged to Hermann.

"Was it Hermann's? Even this was not proved; for the only evidence on the subject was the suspicious testimony of Ferdinand von Preussach, the interested party, who would suc

ceed to the estates by the proof of Hermann's death, and whose zeal in the present case had already drawn down upon him the well-deserved re. buke of the authorities.

"But grant that the ring was Her. mann's, did it follow that Hermann was the wearer? In how many ways might another person become the pos sessor of a ring which had belonged to him? It might have been dropped, it might have been sold, gifted, stolen, and found on the finger of the finder, the purchaser, the friend, or the thief: any one of these cases would equally account for what had happened.

"How many instances had occurred in the annals of courts of justice of persons who had long disappeared, who had been supposed dead or murdered, re-appearing after the lapse of years, sometimes just in time to save from the scaffold the innocent beings who had been accused of depriving them of life? How laudable, there fore, the extreme jealousy and caution of the law, in demanding strict evidence of that which must form the basis of every accusation? How fearful would be their responsibility, if, after a sen tence of conviction against the accused, the very man who was supposed to be murdered should re-appear, but too late to save the victim of a mistaken prosecution and a rash and misjudging verdict.

"But let it be supposed that Hermann and the dead man of the chapel are one-what is the evidence which is to connect the accused with his death?

"I begin with the letters. I deny that there is any proof that the letter of the 21st July, written in French, is in the handwriting of my client. The mere resemblance of handwriting is, of all evidence, the most fallacious and unsatisfactory; the faults of orthogra phy, with which the letters are filled, are inconsistent with the supposition that the letter is the production of an educated person. That Hermann was a man addicted to licentious amours, seems to be part of the prosecutor's case. How many such billets, then, may he not have received? How close, in general, is the resemblance of female hands, when educated in the same school, or under the same system?

"The prosecutor, in order to connect the accused with this letter, assumes the theory of a secret correspondence car

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