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The Newgate Calendar - ROSALIE CURCHOD

Indicted for Child-Murder, but Acquitted.

            THIS lovely but ill-fated girl was a native of Switzerland. Her father resided at Lausanne, and a young gentleman of that town had paid his addresses to her, contrary to the wishes of her family, who had forbad him the house. His attentions, however, were clandestinely continued for a considerable length of time, until Mademoiselle Curchod's health becoming seriously affected, her friends, guessing the secret, determined to remove her far from the cause of her indisposition, hoping that, by change of scene, her health would be restored, and that she would forget the object of her attachment. England was resolved upon as the place of her sojournment. The prospect of so painful a separation produced the strongest sensation in the minds of the lovers. An opportunity for a stolen interview was found, and in the tumult of ardent passion that event occurred which, in the end, plunged the unhappy object of ill-fated love into the deepest affliction. She reached England; and the friends to whom she was recommended thought that, by employing her mind, the purpose of her friends might be more effectually accomplished, and they therefore placed her at the boarding-school of a lady named Siffkin, at Barking, in the capacity of French teacher. There she continued until the month of December, 1818. In the unhappy interval she experienced the progressive symptoms of approaching child-birth. On the 20th of December she was delivered of a male infant unknown to the family. In three days afterwards the dead body of the infant was found in a pan in her bed-chamber, and in the result, after a coroner's inquest, she was consigned, in the prime of youth, beauty, and finished accomplishments, to the horrors of a dungeon. The author of her sufferings had been informed of the consequences of their illicit intercourse (but before they became exposed), and had set out for England with slender means, intending at all hazards to unite his hand to hers in marriage. He had arrived at Paris in pursuit of his Journey: but his pecuniary funds being exhausted, he was detained so long, that he did not reach England until three days after the victim of his attachment had been committed.

            At the ensuing spring assizes she was indicted for the murder at her child, and at the hour appointed for her trial she was conducted into court with the assistance of some female attendants. Agitated in every limb, and overwhelmed with grief, she was almost carried into the dock, and seated on a chair. She was attired in deep mourning, and her face was completely concealed with a veil, which, if even removed, would not have been enough to satisfy the brutal curiosity of some individuals in court, whose unfeeling anxiety to behold the beauty of her countenance called forth the indignant animadversion of the judge, who checked the inhuman indifference to her awful situation. Her head, during the whole time, was bowed on her bosom. Nothing but the contour of her elegant person confirmed the opinion entertained of her charms. With great difficulty. she sobbed aloud, in French, that she was not guilty.

            Fortunately for her, the surgeon who attended her during her illness could not swear that the child had been born alive, and, consequently, she was acquitted.


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