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The Murdered Drover

The Murdered Drover image
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M ny yoars go, wlien I lived in Maryland, a neigtabor of mino - onc Albert Odyne - waking ia the uight, heard snmet.liing which sonmlod like fho Iioofs of ii liorse as tho animal wandors, listlesaly, over tho f rozen ground. He was nu honest old farmer, and had scveral horses of his own. IIo believed that all liis animáis WeTW socuroly stablcd; hut ■u-hen the noise of hoofs pouuding the hard aoil approaohed liis window, he thought it was time to got upand reconnoitre. Therefore, although his good lady heaved a heavy sigh and mutterod, " O, Jorusalem ! AVhy upon earth can't the man lay lili ? . I've got a hard day's work boforc me to-morrow morning," jet the farmer earefully got out of lied and raised his yrinéaw. On looking ont, Farmer Odyne saw a lierse near the house moving to and fro, with his noso to the earth, as if Boeking for grass, whilo on his back was a saddlo with low-hanging stirrups. Asthehorso raised hie head and lookod toward tho open window, the farmor discovered a bridle ou the head of the beast, though th! bight had slippcd over bis ears and was dangliug below. This was a caso that reqnired looking into, for it was a cold, wintry night; and some traveler might have, become bonumbod and fallen from his horse; Tho farmer now hastily dresscd himself, and his wile, being informed of what her husband had seeu, no longer thoïight of the hard day's work on the morrow, bnt, springing out of bod, rushod the logs and kindling wood on the andirons, and soon had " tho firo fair blazing and the vestmont warm." In a few minutes the good wonian had evcrything prepared for receiving the hicklcss stranger -whom the frost had touched. On first going out of the front door Mr. Odyne observed an ox looking over into his garden; the neck of the animal resting on the top of the fenco. He ran out into tho road, and soon met two more oxen, and immediatery afterward he beeamo sensible that thorc was a whole herd scattorcd hither and thither, and enjoying ' ' the largest liberty. " He now feit cortain that some nnlucky drover had fallen by the wayside; and then, for tho first time, a sinister thought plowod its way sliarply tlirough his brain, and his heart beat more quickly as the question arose, "Amlmysolf altogether saie on this road at thiis time of night?" He tried to quiet his suspicions, and went briskly forward. He had long passed the hmdermost of the oxon, when coming near a farmhouse whose gable looked out on the road, ho saw something dark lying on the groand, which might be the object w:iieh he sought. He went up to it and found that it was the body of a man lying in a heap on the frozen ground. He reached out his hand to feel whether the heart of the fallen man was still beating, when itoame n contact with somothing hard. He soon discovered that this was the handle of a dagger wMoh had been thrust to the liilt into tho breast of the deccased. Odyno now ran to the noarest tavern and aroused tho landlord. Half tho villagc was on the spot in a few minutes, for there was a tromendous excitement, the murdered man having been quickly recognized as one Jacol) Betunan, a Wealthy drover living on the southern border of Pennsylvania. On oxamining the body tho Coroner found that deoeasad had been shot as wetl En stabbed. A rifle ball had entered tho temporal bone, and was doubtless in his brain. AcoUple of swiigti;ringyoung men belonging to the village soon came up, aad, haviug examinod tho dagger, BWOre that it belongcd to Mr. Silus Doajie, tho farmer near whoso house the rorpse wus found. Doane was present, and oonfessiBd that the dagger was his; buthegdded that it was un old rusty illair tlüit liad been long kicking aboiit in liis cbadse-house, and that any one might hiwe taken it from thence. "O, yes," cried One of tho bullios, "that is very likely; yet it is tho Corodoi-'n duty to seaich your house, for it's no Irifliug thmg t iind Ihis dogger of yours in i dend nlan's breest." The OofOnci confessed that he cbldd do no fose tiiun searob the premiaee, while lm wiid ratber rcmghJy to the tuao Nvlioproposcd this miasuro, " I snpposed thftt you would like U put Mr. Doane to incouvenloDcè, ia ho pomplfltned of you aad jour friend heré last summor, and liad vou put in jail for n miademeaaor. You hiivc owed hun a spite ever rfjlce." "Spitoorno spito," cried the other, "youiiud old Doano's weapon in the dcad mau's heart." "I shalldo my duty," retunied the Coroner, pusln'ng the young mini isido :md entering the farmliouse, foflowed ly tho tavern-keeper, constables, and othris. Daring the seairch the two young uu n :i--f partieularly I.Misy, opi-niiig this door and that, and poopmg into overy cmvnny. The loxonercoulii Qiid rioüiing in tbc Pílape of a ï 11 ■ -, and bad already brgnn to npologize to Mr. Doaae for giviiig him so maoh tróuble, when one of tlio graccless acampa pushed open the door oí' the milk-room and oried: " We have not looked in h(;re yet I" The Ooronor, with a listless air, entered the aparttnent, f ollowed by a village lnwyor, and just turning over a tin pan which stood on a shelf near a window, something feil. to the Hoor. The Coruner picked it up ; it was a large pockotbook. Surely, under a pan in the milk-room was a Btrango placo f or a pocket-book ; still the Coroner held it doubtingly in bis hand, when tho lawyer observed, " Botter open it, Mr. Buttorwortb . " Tho pocketbook was accordirigly opened. It containod seven dollars in bank noteH, a receipt for five hundred dollars, and an old letter much worn. The Coroner exaniincd the name on the back, one of the young roisterers bcing very officions in holding the caudle near tho letter. The ' Coroner held the missivo nnder the eyes of the lawyer, and both of tliem at once looked vory grnvo, exehanging meaning glances. Tho letter was directed to "Mr. Jacob Bcaman," tho murdered man. The Coroner immodiately orderod tho Constable to arrest Mr. Doaue. Soon after a loud shriek was henrd proceed ■ ing from a distaut department, the shriek was uttcred by tho wife of tho prisoner. The lettor was opened. It camo from a nophew of tho mnrdered man, living at Harrisburg, Peunsylvauia. In that letter that yonng man caruosly bcsought liis imclo to consent to hisinarriago with i girl in hnmble life, to whom he was madly attached. It contained a groat deal of romantic rhetoric about marrying 'or money, and highly extolled the virnes of the poor girl with whom tho writer was smitton. It was aftorward cnown that tho wealthy drovor had ixed his oyó upon a young lady highly connected, and had assurod his nephew hat unless ho marricd her, ho would tot leave hira a cent at bis doath, bnt would alter lus will m favor of a moro distant relativo, living in Pensaeola. Silns Doaue was imprisoned, tricd, convicted, and sentenced to death, sevoral olhev circumstanccs appcariug to confirm liis guilt on the trial. But the Govornor of Maryland wasuot satisiied with the verdict of tho jury, and tho fricnds of Doane soon produced testimony which, in tho view of the cxccutive, warranted him in granting a reprieve of thrco months. One Belief Swazey - a poor, half-witted girl in the service of tho Doancs - statcd, in a roundabout way, that, on tho night of the morder, sho heard a noiso as of nomo ono opening the window which led from the roar garden into the milk-room, and that, in looking from lier window soon aftcr, she saw two men nuining throngh tho garden. A fow weeks aftorward a travoler called on the Governor and stated that, riding through that part of the township on the night of the murder, lic saw t„wo men carrying a heavy burden, resemb'ing the body of a man, along tho public road. Supposing they wero carrying home one of their companions who liad taken too much whisky, ho thought no moro of the matter, till accidentally seeing an old paper, while ho was staying in Bichmond, Va., which gave an account of Doane's trial, he was Strook with tho coincidental circumstancos. He descrilsed"one of tho men who carried the body as tnll and slendor, the othor as short and stout. Such, indeed, wore the two rogues who had been bo earnest to procure the conviotion of tho prisoner. Both of them were arrested and put in the county prison. They were vcry mtich frightened, and pretended to make a confession. They said they wcro out late on the night of the murder, when, finding the doad body of the drover at somc distance from the house of Mr. Doane, they determiped to fasten suspicion upon him, as they owed him a doop grudge, and were sworn to be rovenged. Accordingly, thoy pickod tip the body, carried ït and deposited it near the house of Doane, went to the chaise-house, and got the old, rustydngger, which they tlirust into the body ; then they took the drover's pockot-book from the breast of his coat, went behind the house, raised the window which led into tho milk-room, deposited it under a tin-pan, and cut for dear life. Many believed this story ; othors mocked. The twoyoung men were generally believed to be guüty of the murder. The Governor pardoned Silas Doane, and he was set at liberty, but the mark of Cain was on his brow, as a considerable number of tho communify believed in his guilt. They said the j poor simpleton, Belief Swazey, had been suborncd, and that the two prisoners bad founded their confossion on her story, as the readiest means of getting out of prison. Finally, the two rogues broke out of prison, and made good their escape. Satisfled that they would never como back, the villagers very gencrally rejoiced that they had loft that part of the country, for they had been regular nuisances. Several years had passcd away, and the murder of tho rich drover had becomc an old story. Then it was that, lying late one morning, I had a dream - if dream it could be called - in wlnch old Jacob Beamau, tho mnrdered drover stood at my bedelde in his long Guernsey frock, and, with uplifted hand, said : " Bring my murderer to justice. Avengo my blood, which cries from the ground againstthe uugrateful ouo." " JIow can I do that?" demandod I ; I know him not, and even if I did, how could I prove that ho did the deed?" Therenpon the faco of the drover became distorted with an expression of tho most violent anger, and mutterijig "Mftry Brown," ho disappeared ae suddeoly ik he carne. " A very foolish dream," said T, ;;'; 1 woke, thougli tho eold sweat seood in huge drops upon ray forehead. Wlm wafl Mary Brown, and liow could she have shot the drover? A week passed, and I liad almost forgotten my dream, when, toking up n newspaper, the iirst thing that met my oye was the a l vertisernent of a cluirvoyant Spiritualist, who pretended t do severa! things whieh are generalij supposed to be bevond the power of mortal man. Tho advortisoment was signed " Mary Brown " The coineidenco waa remaAable, and for a moment it aeemed agaia t bear tlio sepulehra] tones of the ilrovejas he pronouneed the name of "Mary Brown !" Ono likes to bfüievo in wonders, if ho eau, espeeially when ho is individnally associatêd with them, and for a moment I folt flatterod in having been rfiospn by the departed drover as his medium of communication with thi.s iower world, Theo eaine iiitfiisive reason, wliicOihas démolfehed io nmny ui air Imilt fftbric rich with ruinbow glories. It suggested : ; ' ' You liave seen tliis name, ' Mary Brown,' at some other time, when lessly glanciiig over the advsrtisemetite, uta it caino back to you in your dream. A very common oecurrenee. " Very well, thought I. Notliing is oasier tbau to test this over-skeptical reason by attending one of the Beaaoed of Miss Maty Brown. Hamlet tested Lis gliost and folmd it to be a genuino articlo. " It ■ ivaa a tme gliost," said he to Iiis fricnd Horatio after tho play. That very night I called at the lionso of Mary Brown, and found her seuted at a largo table, with a dozen persons nround it of hoth aexes. A tall slender yonng man in black sat noar tho register, and now and then rabbed hit hands over it. I took my place at the table. "I can settlo with yon as well now as at any other time, " said Mis.s Brown to hor visitor at tho registor. "O!, madam," retumod ho, politely; " I am in no hurry for my rent - none at all - bepides, I like to witness the performance. Continuo on, and don't mind me." So this was Mary Brown's landlord. In a moment ono lady suggested that " perhaps Br. Beaman woiüd like to gct some Communications himself. " I started at the name of Beaman, and whilo thoyoung gentleman was doclining with thaukfi, Kaying: " Ecally, madam, it would be no uko, as I have no faith," I asked a gentleman at my sido if tl ie speaker was n nophow and heir to tho rich drovor who was mnrdored eeveral years ago. "Yes," wns tho rcply, "a vory fino young man, I beliove; tel iniprovid tho proporty, boen very méjfessfol in Rpeculatious, jnarried a line girl, very beautiful but very poor. Luoky for him that the old man dropped off just as ho did. It was the turning point." My informant pausod, for three loud raps, that made the mahogany quiver, wero given, apparently, on tho other side of tho tibio. Even tho medium started with surprise. At length, rccovering hersolf, sho smiled serenely, and remarked: " Wn irc gottffig moro company than we bargained tor; the earnost ojiirit is a ncw corner." One of tke Lidies turuod to a gentleman near lier, and said: "I am frighteaed; hadn't wc better go?" The gentleman laughe.d her out of the ! notion, and said: " Porhaps that spirit is caüiiig for Mr. Beaman, and is angvy ! at 1 1 i s sk sptieism . " Beaman langhcd, nuil said he had never before imagiiisd himself to be a person of so mucli importunen. " Uut," said 1, " as yon are a skept'c, ! sir, you are the man who ought to cono i to tíie tablo and get converted. You know that tho physician ip not for the whole, Imt for the sick." EEere most of the eompany - especially ■ tho ludies - joincd with me in persuuding Mr. Bnimou to tako a soat at tho i table. He could no longer refuse without appearing perverse, and, therefore, in a laughing, jauoty manner, he placed i self at the table. "Have yon ao doaaaad friend ov relativo from whora yon wonld like to reeeïve a communication.?" inquired the medium, gently. Thero was a pause. I lookcd at the j eonntenance of Beaman; it was palé as i j death. "Yes," criod a little girl at the end of I tho table. " I'm suro Mr. Beaman would like to hcar f rom bis good old uncle." ' ' I havo more respect, moro veneration for my deceased relative," answered BcamaH in a hoarse voieo, " than to as sociate his name with whnt to me - begging pardon of the conipany - are naught but juggling tricks." As the speaker flnishod his last words, those thrce terrible knocks on the boti torn side of tho tablo made the latter j jump under o.ur hands, and drew forth a low shriek from more than ono lady present. " That's he," cried tiio medium; "now ; I'm mire you ean't refuse, Mr. Beaman." And, at tHe moment, iho medium's '. I hand and arm shook violently. She f seized a pencil, as tuis was the spirit inI fluence requiring hor to write. Sho wrote, however, but a íow words, when tho iniluenco passed, and her hand became stationary. The medium seemed to expect a reuowal of the iniluenco, and waited two minutes, when a lady said : " Pray, Miss Brown, read what you have written." The medium took up the paper, held it to the light, and read: "Secure my murderei'; ho is present." Tho believers looked around on every side, ning every face at the table, while oiie or two skeptics smiled; but it was a somewhat ghastly smile, neverrheless. As I was a stranger, many keen glaucos were shot at my couutenanco; but I was looking at youug Boaman. He sat motionless, like an image of white marbie. He said not a word; but I in a few moments he rose and staggered toward tho door. Bef oro ho had reached it he feil senseless to the Hoor. We picked him up, and mcans wcro used to restore him to oonsciousness. Ho only partiolly recovered, and then complained of a terrible pain about tin; haart. He was conveyed home in his owu coach, which had boen sent for. The physician told him that ho oould not recover. Theu he sent for a olorgyman, to whom ho confessed that, being dewsrmined to marry the young fjir!, who was absolutely neerssary to his happincss, and being aesured that if ho married her his nnolo would disinlterii him, ho had followed his ancle One iiigM, when the latter was driving his cattlc to Baltimore, until, coming to a Bólitary place, where there were no houses, he Bhot him dead with a riflo. What elso passed botweon Boamim and his religious counsellor, in knowu only tj th' latter. iji two dayfl Beaman breatlied his last. lii' amiable and lovely young wifc, struck to the hoort n learoing Ik r hueband's guilt, survived him only livn months.


Old News
Michigan Argus