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hinted at certain persons and things. His | of the love affair, and the Blue Dragoon told wife did the same among her neighbors in a him laughingly that he was going to bid his louder key. She shook her head at one Hanne good night. When, however, the thing, nodded at another, and repeatedly said thing went on, and the Blue Dragoon climbed she would not be surprised if the thieves were over night after night, he put a stop to it. carried to prison before night. Among the mob which her husband was honoring with his remarks was a Jew pedlar, who was constantly visible in the streets with his wares. An acquaintance twitched the woolspinner by the sleeve, and whispered to him that he had better be cautious, for the Jew was a spy. The warning came too late. The same morning the woolspinner was summoned to the town-house, to give the burgomaster an explanation of his suspicious remarks. He hesitated, denied, and tried to evade the questions, but when the burgomaster pressed him, he determined on speaking, though he would gladly have saved the persons, who had never done him any injury. At the end of the street in which the woolspinner lived, a public-house had been open for several years, kept by a certain Nicholas D——. The people of the town, however, rarely called him by his name, but only spoke of him as the "Blue Dragoon," as he had formerly served in Colonel von Wakerbarth's regiment, whose uniform was of this color. When garrisoned in the town some years before, he had made the acquaintance of Madame Andrecht's former maid, Hanne, whom he eventually married. The girl had been six years in the widow's service, and possessed her entire confidence. As far as was known, the old lady had given them the means to open the public-house, for neither of them had any thing. It was also known that Hanne and her Blue Dragoon, as long as they were unmarried, had had few opportunities of meeting. Consequently Hanne waited, when her mistress had gone to bed, at the house door, and the Blue Dragoon never failed to make his appearance. If the wather was fair, they would remain talking there; if bad, Hanne took the liberty of inviting her lover into the house. This did not long remain hidden from the old lady, and she did not approve of it; she
The Blue Dragoon did not climb over any more, yet the woolspinner saw him in the garden with his Hanne. The enigma was solved one evening when he came home very late, and saw a boat fastened to a post close to Madame Andrecht's garden. It was one of those in which the dragoons usually fetched their fodder from the stores, and Nicholas was at that time servant to one of the officers, and attended to his horse. Man and wife laughed heartily at the idea that love will always find a way; and they frequently saw the boat after that under the hedge. Such was the woolspinner's explanations of the motives which formed the foundation of his suspicions. He found, however, more nourishment for them in facts that had recently come to his knowledge. Some ten days before the discovery of the robbery, while the widow was still in the country, he had found a colored pocket-handkerchief at the side of the town ditch, close to his neighbor's garden. He put it in his pocket without thinking any thing about it. At dinner he told the circumstance to his wife, and showed her the handkerchief, remarking innocently at the same time, "If Madame Andrecht were in town, and Hanne still with her, we should know what it meant. The Blue Dragoon had been courting again, and lost his handkerchief." His wife took it, looked at it, and pointed to one corner, in which the letters N. D. were marked. Neither of them thought of the circumstance during the following days, till the discovery of the robbery recalled it to mind.
therefore had the street door locked each night before going to bed, and took the key with her. The lovers, however, were not balked by this; the Blue Dragoon sought a road through the woolspinner's garden. One evening the latter heard the clang of spurs; he went to the back door hurriedly with a light, and saw Nicholas climbing over the fence of Madame Andrecht's garden. He did not make any disturbance, for he knew
Suspicion, consequently, rested on the Blue Dragoon, and another circumstance materially confirmed it. On the first examination of the house, a partly-burnt spill had been found on the ground near the escritoire. Had Madame Andrecht or her servant used the paper to light a candle it would not have been thrown on the ground, for their cleanliness was notorious. No other persons had entered the house lately, and, had it been so, they would not have dared to transgress in such a way. The police had not smoked, and, therefore, the thieves could be the only persons who had thrown the spill on this spot. On unfolding the rest of the paper, it was found to be a declaration or receipt for the town dues on spirits that had been imported. When the spirits had been once
The carpenter arrived breathlessly. He seemed perfectly prepared, and before they proceeded to question him he volunteered the following statement:-He had been pressed by the wood-merchant, and was consequently forced to press his debtors. Among them was Nicholas D--, who owed him sixty florins for work done in his house. Nicholas had come to him some twelve days before and begged him to wait a little longer. When the carpenter declared it was imposhe had offered him some old silver in part payment. The carpenter suspected nothing wrong, but asked him accidentally how he had got it? The Blue Dragoon replied that it belonged to his father-in-law, to whom it had been left by an old lady, whose coachman he had been for several years. They agreed that it should be taken for a certain price, and the landlord brought it to him the same evening in a covered basket. At the same time, he requested him not to dispose of it in the town, for he would only get half its value; and besides, he, the landlord, had reasons for desiring it.
carried home, this receipt was of no further
The Blue Dragoon was now examined, and his statement tallied with that of the carpen
While the whole town was busying itself in forming conjectures on the subject, a respectable tradesman made his appearance before the police and gave in the following statement;-He was a wood-merchant, and among his customers was a carpenter, Isaac van C――, who was always in arrear with his payments. The merchant pressed him, and at length commenced legal proceedings. A few days before the discovery of the robbery the carpenter came to his house and begged him not to proceed further, or he should be a ruined man. "See how I am paid!" he exclaimed, as he placed a basket on the table and produced from it a pair of silver candlesticks and a coffee-pot. "I had sixty florins to receive of a party, but he begged me to take this silver in part payment, and I did so, as I saw I should not get my money in any other way. I did not like to sell it to the silversmiths here, as I should not get half the value, but waited till I went to Amsterdam, where I could dispose of them. I will leave the silver in pledge with you till I receive my money." The wood-merchant hesitated at first, but at length consented. The silver was in his hands. When he heard of the robbery at Madame Andrecht's, and read the list of things stolen, he had no doubt that these objects formed part of them. He did not wish to throw any suspicion on the carpenter: he could no doubt explain whence he obtained them, and he was surprised he had not done so already, to prove the landlord's guilt or innocence. The police immediately sent for the silver and the carpenter, Isaac van C——.
ter to a certain extent. He allowed that be owed him sixty florins, but had not yet been able to pay him any part. He, however, denied any knowledge of the silver. The rest of the family made the same statement, but all declared that Nicholas had, in their presence, three months previously, counted out twenty florins, which he said were intended for the carpenter. The Blue Dragoon, on further examination, confessed that this was a fact, but he had used the money to pay some old gambling debts, and that was the reason he had told his wife he intended t! em for the carpenter. This was the first instance in which any of the accused had been convicted of a falsehood; and, although it referred to an immaterial circumstance, it threw an unfavorable light on their other statements, and his assurance that he had paid the carpenter no part of the debt by means of the silver, found no credence. The carpenter, moreover, did not rest in his endeavor to convict the landlord of falsehood: he produced a species of ledger, in which an entry was made that, on the 23d June, the landlord, Nicholas D——, had paid thirty florins in account in old silver. The penter's housekeeper and apprentice both gave their testimony that they were present when the Blue Dragoon had spoken with their master on the subject, and swore In considerato the truth of the statement.
trial. He had but just returned and been told of the affair, when he voluntarily appeared before the police, and made the following very important statement:-About the time when the robbery must have taken place he was still in the town. The carpenter, Isaac van C——, called upon him and begged him to lend hiin his boat, in which he usually transported his bales and heavier goods. This boat was generally fastened be
where neither the authorities of M- nor the
"Before I quit this country, and reach a spot court-martial can touch me, I will save four innocent persons who are now imprisoned in Mhind Care must be taken not to punish them for a crime of which they can not be guilty. How the carpenter is connected with them I can not conjecture, and I heard of it with great surprise. However, the carpenter may not be perfectly innocent. May the judges pay due attention to this hint! They may afterwards bitterly repent neglecting it. They need not attempt to follow me. If the wind re
the house, near his warehouse, which was close to the town ditch. He had a large quantity of casks to deliver at that time, and could not spare it. Isaac, however, begged him very earnestly, and stated he only wanted the boat for a couple of nights, and would return it to its place in the morning. On his inquiring why he wanted it particularly at
land before this letter is received.
mains in the present quarter, I shall be in Eng-night, he replied, after a pause, that he wished to move the furniture of some people, who were leaving their house. By night?" the owner of the boat asked. "Who leaves his house by night?" The carpenter replied, with a cunning smile, that the people were bankrupts, and were going to "shoot the moon!" The owner was indignant, and refused the use of his boat. The carpenter, however, quickly said that he had been in jest, and his intention was to go fishing with his apprentice during the night. He had not told him his real object, for fear he might not like his boat dirtied. He at length yielded to the carpenter's pressing entreaties, and lent him the boat on condition that he returned it again the next morning. The carpenter kept his word faithfully. When he went to his warehouse the next morning at an early hour, he saw the carpenter and his apprentice just fastening the boat. It struck him directly that they had no nets or fishing implements. He examined the boat, and was still more surprised at finding it dry and clean inside. He had, therefore, detected the carpenter in a falsehood. In the boat he picked up a parcel, consisting of two silver forks wrapped in paper. The carpenter's first statement had been correct then: he had helped the bankrupt to remove his furniture clandestinely. In considerable anger at it, he put the forks in his pocket and went straight to Isaac van C. The carpenter, his housekeeper, and the apprentice were in the workshop. He held out the forks to them, saying: "You left them in my boat.
suppose you used them to eat the fish you caught. I hope they will agree with you." They were evidently confounded. The housekeeper first collected herself. She staminered that her master "had really helped some
tion of all this, and as the landlord persisted in asserting his innocence, the authorities determined on bringing him to confess by means of torture. All preparations were made, and the torture would be applied the following day, when a letter reached the authorities by the Rotterdam post.
"JOSEPH CHRISTIAN RUHLER,
The authorities gladly availed themselves of this opportunity to delay the torture. It seemed, at first sight, no mere invention of the prisoner's friends. A company commanded by Captain le Long was really in garrison: a corporal of that name had served in it, but had disappeared or deserted four weeks back. Till then, all inquiries after him had been useless. The police also found that the corporal had disappeared on the very night before the robbery was made known. A connection between the two facts appeared evident. A new discovery, however, destroyed this conclusion. The letter from Rotterdam was laid before the commanding officer, and he declared it, at first sight, a forgery. The handwriting was not Rühler's; all his comrades asserted it, and several old company's lists, which Rühler was known to have written, proved it to the satisfaction of the judge. Consequently, the letter was nothing more than a trick of some friend or accomplice of the Blue Dragoon to liberate him from the torture. This was the prevalent opinion, when two new and very important witnesses made their appearance. They had no connection together, nor were their statements the least alike; the facts they brought forward contradicted one another in a measure, and which, on one hand, throwing a light on the matter, on the other, they only
rendered it more obscure.
A tradesman of the town, who was a general dealer and lived in the neighborhood of the widow Andrecht, had been absent in the south of Germany during the whole of the
people to move." This was in itself no very This was in itself no very creditable action, and he presumed that their confusion arose from their feelings of shame. When he asked the name of the person, the carpenter said that he could not tell him then, but he would explain to him afterwards. He was silent, but inquired cautiously who had recently quitted the town, though without receiving any satisfactory information. His journey to Germany had caused him to forget the matter, but now he had not the least doubt that Isaac van C was the guilty party.
The carpenter and his family were immediately arrested, and his house searched. They found in it, with the exception of a few trifling matters, all that was missed from Madame And echt's. They were threatened with the torture, and at last confessed that they had committed the robbery. On the morning when the discovery was made, master and apprentice were among the crowd, to hear what reports were spread. The apprentice heard the woolspinner's wife openly state that she suspected the Blue Dragoon. He told his master of it, and they determined on increasing these suspicions by all the means in their power. The apprentice soon after went to the Blue Dragoon's to drink a glass of spirits. He asked for a coal to light his pipe. While he was gone to fetch it, he employed his absence to slip the souvenir behind the shutters. Their unanimous confession entirely exonerated the dragoon and his family from the charge of having committed the robbery, but there was much yet to be explained. How had Nicholas D--'s handkerchief been lost at the hedge? how did the spill, made of one of his receipts, find its way into the house? The carpenter and his accomplices declared that they knew nothing about it. Even when threatened with the torture, they asserted their ignorance. The suspicion was excited that other accomplices still remained undetected. They recurred to the corporal's letter. If not his handwriting, he might have had it written by some one else, and was mixed up some way in the affair, and his desertion was evidently in close connection with the robbery. During the carpenter's trial, however, a new witness voluntarily came forward, the schoolmaster of a village about two miles from the town. He showed the judge a piece of paper, on which only the words "Joseph Christian Rühler" were writen, and inquired whether a letter in the same handwriting had not been lately received by the authorities? On comparing it with the letter from Rotterdam, it was found that they were written by the same person, and the VOL. XXXIV.—NO. IV.
| schoolmaster gave the following explanation, which materially altered the whole affair.
In his village there was a deaf and dumb boy, whom the parish had given him as a boarder. He had succeeded in teaching the unfortunate to write, and he had brought it to such perfection that he was employed by many persons, even the burgomaster of the village, in preparing documents. A short time back, an unknown person had come to the village during the schoolmaster's absence, had asked for the deaf and dumb boy, as frequently happened, and taken him with him to the inn. There he ordered a private room and a bottle of wine. He then begged the lad to copy him a letter which he wrote on his slate. The boy did so at first without suspicion still the contents of the letter appeared singular to him, and the demeanor of the unknown revealed fear and anxiety. But when he was directed to write the address, "To the Burgomaster of M-," he refused to comply at first, and was only induced to do so by the pressing entreaties of the stranger, who gave him a florin, and recommended him to preserve strict silence. The boy was at first inclined to do so, for he knew he had done something wrong; but he at length confessed to his master, who immediately perceived that this mysterious affair was in close connection with the universally-spoken-of trial. He went to the landlord of the inn, and asked him if he remembered a stranger, who had brought the deaf and dumb boy to his house? The landlord recalled the circumstance, but did not know the man; his wife, however, called to mind that she had seen him speaking familiarly with another well-known man from the town, the miller Overblink, who had just stopped with his wagon before the door. They shook hands on parting, and called one another by name. The schoolmaster inquired further. He went directly to Overblink and asked the name of the man. The miller remembered the circumstance perfectly, and said that the man was no other than his old acquaintance, the baker H—, of that very town. The schoolmaster, after recommending the miller to observe the strictest secresy, had then come straight to the police.
The baker was immediately arrested and examined. He must have given some important information, for the woolspinner Leendert van N- and his wife were also imprisoned during the course of the day. These were the persons who had first raised suspicion against the Blue Dragoon, and
had made such a well-founded denunciation, traces of the deed, and in the morning, to against him before the authorities. The their horror, a disturbance broke out in their crime of which they were accused was immediate vicinity. Madame Andrecht had quite a different one from the preceding, and returned, and the news of the great robbery had as little connection with the carpenter spread like wildfire through the town. What and his accomplices, as the latter with the was móre natural than that the nearest Blue Dragoon and his relatives. Without houses would be searched ? The woo!spinthe robbery, however, in which the last per- ner's was the very next, and the boards sons arrested were no participators, this were still wet with blood, and the corporal's dark crime would hardly have been detected. corpse lay in the cellar. This niust be pre
We find in the dirty low room of the vented, and suspicion cast on some one, till woolspinner Leendert van N- - on the they found time to remove the traces. evening of the 29th June, a company of The woolspinner's wife had the honor of card players, who, as regarded their antece- devising the devilish scheme, which seemed dents, had not much to reproach each other to save them. The Blue Dragoon might be with. The players were Corporal Rühler, the culprit, for he had so often secretly the baker H--, and Leendert van N--. climbed over their hedge. At the same They were well acquainted, though they time he had forgotten a handkerchief in her hated and detested each other, but a com- house, long before, which she had not remon criminal interest connected them to. | turned him. Both circumstances tallied. gether. The baker and corporal were old al. The handkerchief might be laid somewhere lies; the former baked the bread for the in the neighborhood, and suspicion would garrison, and the latter had the duty of re- arise spontaneously. The baker's inventive ceiving it from him. The baker employed talent came to the woman's aid, and one the common trick of rendering the bread the idea produced the other. One sign was proper weight by mixing deleterious in- not sufficient; a second must betray the gredients in the dough. The corporal de dragoon's presence in the house.
On a tected it, and gave the baker the choice of market-day the baker had completed a being denounced or bribing him. He chose bargain with a peasant just before the Blue the latter. The corporal, however, treated Dragoon's house. He had to settle with the
. him harshly, and he, consequently, hated peasant, and asked the landlord for a piece him. The enmity between the corporal and of paper. The latter gave him an old declathe woolspinner was still more violent. The raiion to write his accounts on the back of it. Latter had formerly had the privilege of sup- This paper the baker still had in his pocketplying the garrison with gaiters, but the book. His name, however, was on the back, corporal had lately deprived him of it. He and the account and his name were burned had lost considerably by it, and he was off. The baker followed the police into the furious. The corporal, however, had power house, threw this paper into a corner, and in his hands, and could deprive them both of then was the first to pick it up and band it other advantages wbich they derived from to the officers. the garrison. They were, therefore, forced They had, however, acted too cleverly, to suppress their passion, suffer his arbitrary and their extreme caution brought about the treatment, and feel honored when he visited discovery, as is so frequently the case with them.
criminals. Had they let the woolspinner's They were playing cards together. With wife write the letter to the burgomaster, as out such deeply-rooted enmity, cards in she offered—she went afterwards to Rottersuch places, and with people of this class, dam to post it-suspicion would hardly have are often the provocative of violent disputes. been aroused against them. The deaf and They began quarrelling on this evening. dumb boy betrayed them, and their fear The corporal employed threats. From words soon drew the most ample confession from they proceeded to blows; and the result them. On the day that Isaac van Cwas that they fell on the corporal in a body, and his accomplices were hanged, the same and killed him. During the night they fate befell the baker H-- and the woolwere too terrified to proceed in removing the spinner Leendert van N--.