Skip to main content

‹‹‹ prev (34)

(36) next ›››

suspicions; it was agreed immediately to enter the house
and examine it. The first suspicious circumstance was
a part of the floor of the workshop which exhibited the
appearance of having been freshly broken : the earth
M as soft, and it was conjectured that here was the grave
of poor Millie. On turning up the mould, it was found
to have been dug almost sufficiently deep for such a pur¬
pose, but the corpse was not there : the ideas it excited
confirmed, however, all the previous alarm : and one
party went immediately to search the dwelling house,
while another examined the appearance of the garden.
Among the latter, Henry Heggie (one of Lord Leven’s
servants), jumping down from a high bank on the foot¬
path which led to the well, perceived something suspi¬
cious in the yielding of the ground under him ; the earth
also seemed here to be more fresh than in the rest of the
path, and on a spade being procured, one minutes’ work
brought to light the appearance of a man’s hand ; and
the heavy corpse-like smell from the uncovered earth
sufficiently told what remained. The appearance of the
hand, already discoloured and blackened by the progress
of putrefaction, and protruding in the dusk from the
broken clods, was sufficiently fearful; and prepared as
they were for the result, this confirmation of their sus¬
picions produced emotions of horror among the country
people hardly to be described: one of the spectators des¬
cribes his feelings as so overpowering, that his knees smote
one another with the violence of an ague: a number of
these present were females, who, from their natural aver¬
sion to the vagrant character of the man, had been most
active in alarming suspicion against him; the feelings of
these on seeing this horrible confirmation of what they
had dreaded, were intense and overwhelming. It was
judged proper not farther to disturb the body till the ar¬
rival of some person in authority: no time, however,
was lost; and one of the Earl of Leven’s servants (he
who had observed the spot) was sent off directly to
It was now near ten o’clock at night; but the rumour
of what had been discovered spread immediately to the
neighbouring farms, and the villages of Letham and