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console his mother, and he bowed low over Marget's worn hand as if she had been a Queen.”
In the beginning I referred to the appalling array of martial forces, but we should be equally mindful of the unproclaimed, undecorated, ununiformed armies of healing, restoration, and amelioration, which never were so strong in numbers, in enthusiasm, so potently organized and effectively occupied as they are to-day, nor so mighty in their mild strength since the Star of Bethlehem shed its serene light upon the Chaldean shepherds, and has steadily and irresistibly radiated its influences silently into the hearts of mankind, converting countless men into its unconscious instruments.
Evolution, not revolution, is the quiet masterful force now leading the progress of civilization, and the personal conscience and the living soul ” of the free individual are essential to enable mankind to conform to the changes which are inevitable in its onward journey.
" For what avail, the plough or sail,
Or land, or life, if FREEDOM fail."
The Durrant Case, if we classify it in the annals of celebrated murder trials, was distinctly an alibi case; i. e., the issue of guilt or innocence rested mainly on the central question of the defendant's whereabouts and of the truth of his own story on that point; and in the variety of events and issues bearing on this main question it is among the most interesting. Secondarily, the case is of the class in which much depends on the details of a locality, and on this point it made peculiar demands upon the industry and the ingenuity of counsel. In these two respects lies the special interest of the case and the reason for the great length of the trial.1
The case was called on Monday, July 22, 1895, in the Superior Court, Department 3, of the City and County of San Francisco, California, before Hon. Daniel James Murphy. The twelfth juror was obtained on Thursday, August 29, or 51 weeks later; 21 actual days being consumed in selecting the jury. The lists needed were a general one of 1250, from the general venire, and two more special venires of 75 each; of these, 482 were challenged for cause, and 15 peremptorily (4 for the State, and 11 for the defense). The opening address, followed by a view of the
premises, took place September 4; the counsel for the State being Mr. Wm. Sanford Barnes, District Attorney, and Mr. Edgar Davis Peixotto; and for the defense, Mr. John Henry Dickinson, Mr. Eugene Nelson Deuprey and Mr. Abram Warren Thompson.
The facts leading up to the charge were in brief as follows: Miss Blanche Lamont, 21 years of age, lived with her aunt and her aunt's husband at 209 21st street. She had been brought up
For the proceedings at the trial and for other information the writer is indebted to the courtesy of T.
Worthington Hubbard, Esq., of San
in Dillon, Mont., and had come for her health to San Francisco, in September, 1894, her sister Maud (19 years old) having come in the preceding June. She had been, since her arrival, an attendant, as well as her uncle, aunt, and sister, of Emmanuel Baptist Church, Pastor George J. Gibson, situated on the east side of Bartlett street, half way between 22d and 23d streets. She here attended with fair regularity the Sunday-school and the morning service, as well as the weekly and monthly meetings of the local branch of the Young People's Christian Endeavor Society. She also went weekly to the meetings of an amateur orchestra, in which she played the violin, at Grace Methodist Church; and, for a short period, went weekly to a reading-club, of which her uncle was a member. Other than this she went out little; and she was chiefly in the society of her own family, except that this or that young man more or less frequently escorted her home (alone or with her sister) from the meetings of the church, the society, and the orchestra.
On Wednesday, April 3, 1895, she left her home as usual to attend the morning work at the Girls' High School, on Sutter street, near Gough. Thence she went (also in accordance with her customary practice, beginning with that week) to an afternoon cooking-class, at the Girls' Normal School, on the east side of Clay street, just north of Powell. She left this school with the other pupils at 3 o'clock; by supper time she had not yet reached home, and when morning came, she was still missing. The police were informed, search was made, and the disappearance was discussed in the newspapers as a mysterious case of possible enticement or elopement.
On Saturday morning, April 13 (Easter Sunday falling on April 14), some ladies went to the Emmanuel Church to decorate it with flowers. Happening into the library, they found there the dead body of one Minnie Williams (who had disappeared on the preceding Friday night), evidently murdered. The police were called, and searched the church, finishing late in the evening. The search of the belfry tower, however, was postponed until the following morning,-- the tower-door being locked, and (as afterwards appeared) the handles broken off and thrown from the inside underneath the flooring. At
9 a. m. on Sunday, the search being resumed, the door was forced open, and on the second or top landing of the belfry stairs was found a body, which was immediately suspected to be and was soon afterwards identified by Mr. Noble as that of Blanche Lamont.
The body lay upon its back, entirely naked; the hands crossed in front, the feet together, and the head supported on each side by a block of wood somewhat in the manner used at autopsies to steady the body to be operated upon. An examination showed that death had occurred by strangulation. The lungs and the windpipe were congested; the throat was compressed, and there was some clotted blood about the mouth and the nose; while upon the right side of the neck were five finger-nail incisions, and upon the left side seven, one of these (on the left side) appearing to be that of a thumb.
The decomposition which had set in pointed to perhaps two weeks as the period elapsing since death, and it had so far progressed that it was impossible to determine from the body whether an attempt on the virtue of the deceased had been made. No blood appeared about the premises, and though the floor was dusty, it was so littered with sticks, sawdust, shavings, and papers, that traces of a struggle or of footprints were hardly to be expected, if indeed there was any serious attempt to discover them. The clothes of the dead girl were missing; but after some search (made by the three or four policemen present, as well as by some of the dozen other persons who had been allowed indiscriminately to enter) the various articles were found in the following places: A glove and other articles on the floor near by; the girl's school books and strap, under the joists in the southwest (front) corner of the middle ceiling; her hat, under the belfry flooring; her shoes, under the rafters of the lower ceiling in the southwest corner; another glove, between the joists in the southeast (rear) corner of the lower ceiling.
The situation and construction of the building, as they are material to the understanding of this and subsequent parts of
1 Some stains found below were otherwise explained.
the story, must now be explained. The church building, meas-
Within, on the ground floor, is first a vestibule, with stairs
1 The subjoined diagrams show the represented - - if indeed by anything situation of the building and the other short of a model — only by several localities important in the case. The diagrams for which space does not interior of the building could be suffice.