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Trial Of Mary Blandy – William Roughead

Trial Of Mary Blandy – William Roughead

In undertaking to prepare an account of this celebrated trial, the Editor at the outset fondly trusted that the conviction of “the unfortunate Miss Blandy” might, upon due inquiry, be found to have been, as the phrase is, a miscarriage of justice. To the entertainment of this chivalrous if unlively hope he was moved as well by the youth, the sex, and the traditional charms of that lady, as by the doubts expressed by divers wiseacres concerning her guilt; but a more intimate knowledge of the facts upon which the adverse verdict rested, speedily disposed of his inconfident expectation.

Though the evidence sheds but a partial light upon the hidden springs of the dark business in which she was engaged, and much that should be known in order perfectly to appreciate her symbolic value remains obscure, we can rest assured that Mary Blandy, whatever she may have been, was no victim of judicial error. We watch, perforce, the tragedy from the front; never, despite the excellence of the official “book,” do we get a glimpse of what is going on behind the scenes, nor see beneath the immobile and formal mask, the living face; but, when the spectacle of _The Fair Parricide_ is over, we at least are satisfied that justice, legal and poetic, has been done.

Few cases in our criminal annals have occasioned a literature so extensive. The bibliography, compiled by Mr. Horace Bleackley in connection with his striking study, “The Love Philtre” (_Some Distinguished Victims of the Scaffold_, London, 1905),–which, by his courteous permission, is reprinted in the Appendix, enumerates no fewer than thirty contemporary tracts, while the references to the case by later writers would of themselves form a considerable list.

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