"Passion's Perils" National Police Gazette (1878)

Transcribed from page 3 of the June 15, 1878 issue of the National Police Gazette.


A Heartless Seduction Case in which the Son of a Proud Boston Millionaire Figured


He Basely Betrays a Beautiful and Confiding Girl, but is Forced to Unwilling Reparation


Boston, Mass., June 1.—One night, not more than a week ago, there died in a cheap boarding and lodging house on Warrenton street, in this city, a young lady who had but recently become a mother. She has the peaceful gratification, also, of taking her departure for the unknown land as a wife, although that event transpired subsequent to the other. Hidden in that hovel were the secrets of two proud families in Boston society and the shame and disgrace of one. It is the old story, with the added interest that the parties to the indiscreet amour were the son and daughter of two of Boston's most respected merchants, the one a millionaire. I have the story from one of the physicians who attended the unfortunate young mother before she became a wife and who succeeded by his cool and deliberate action in making the nameless little waif an heir to a large estate.

He tells his story thus: I was called upon rather suddenly one night to attend a sick woman on a neighboring street. Upon entering the room where the patient lay I at once saw by the number of persons who were crowded around the bed that a sufferer reclined thereon, and pushing my way through the crowd I approached the bedside of the unfortunate. There were present in the room three women and one man, and at the moment of my entry they were engaged in making frantic efforts to arrest and prevent the violent and spasmodic contortions of a fair young woman, the suffering object of my visit. The surroundings of the place and the scene itself did not please me. It occurred to me to inquire within myself, Why were those people here? Why were they? And how came this girl, so fair, youthful and respectable-looking, to be found in such quarters? I first examined the condition of the young woman and found that she was suffering from mania. In endeavoring to ascertain her real condition, requirements, &c , I found to my horror that she had bitten off almost half her tongue. Her mouth was filled with blood commingled with froth, and the pupils of her eyes were terribly dilated. Her features, beautiful in health, had become emaciated in suffering. Her condition at once appealed to my better nature, and fearing that some great wrong had been committed, resolved to sift the matter to the very bottom. I first administered an opiate of sufficient strength and quantity as to cause her to cease her gyrations and succumb to the more soothing influence of sleep. As soon as I found that she had become subdued and quieted I demanded of those present that they inform me as to whether or not the young lady had any friends or relatives present.

A middle aged lady, whom I had overlooked in making my inspection of those present, and who had attracted my attention only by her half-subdued sobs, replied that she was a relative in fact, the mother of the poor girl martyr. Beckoning her to one side I requested her to accompany me into the adjoining room—a request that she at once complied with. I told her that before I went any further in the matter I must know the whole story, as I was convinced that great wrong had been done. After some hesitation she consented and stated that herself and daughter came into Boston about three weeks ago from their home, in a town about ten miles out, and, under assumed names, took the lodgings. Her husband, she said, was a rich and prosperous merchant in Boston.

Last summer my daughter commenced keeping company with a young gentleman in our place, the son of a near neighbor. We always believed that the young man contemplated marrying our child, and in fact we regarded him as an accepted suitor for her hand, and he was treated as a member of the family. He visited our home almost daily, and, possessing the most complete confidence in his honor and integrity of purpose, my husband and myself never subjected him to any surveillance. About two months ago (and at this point the poor woman sobbed aloud, evincing thereby her extreme grief) my daughter informed me of her unfortunate condition. I at once realized the fact that if the public were made aware of her fall from womanly grace that my family would be disgraced, and accordingly I determined to conceal her shame.

My daughter and myself came to Boston, and under assumed names we engaged these apartments. Of course they are not what we have been accustomed to, but I thought that we would be less susceptible of detection if we hid ourselves away from the world. Previous to coming here, however, I endeavored by my pleading to induce the father of my daughter's betrayer to permit his son to marry my daughter, and thereby satisfy and sanctify the issue. But it was of no avail; he heartlessly refused to admit of such a procedure, claiming that his son was too young to marry. Five days after we took up our residence in this place my daughter gave birth to the child that you saw in the cradle. Child and mother were apparently doing well until the third day after the birth of her offspring, when the poor little thing began to cry. I saw at once that my daughter, for the first time, had realized the disgrace of her situation. She was very much affected, and upon hearing the child repeat its piteous wail she became pallid and motionless. Her eyes almost started from her head, her lips quivered and assumed a purple hue, and she became livid with grief and shame.

She became completely crazed, and in her ravings leaped out of bed and in piteous tones, mingled with the bitterness of rage, exclaimed, "My God! My God! My poor darling! Oh, why did I bring you into this world to live in the disgrace of having no father's name!" She wished herself dead, and in the convulsions which immediately came upon her and which have continued ever since she attempted to bite off her tongue, and you see she nearly accomplished it. From that time up to the present my daughter has been out of her mind. I am almost crazed myself. You have no idea, Doctor, what an ordeal I have had to go through to see my only child enduring such terrible agony.

The Doctor continued his narrative by stating that he called in another physician, and after a consultation and four days careful attention to the patient they found her reviving and possessed of a strong desire to see the father of her child.

After consultation we decided it advisable to find the young man and bring him to the bedside of the apparently dying woman. Nothing short of a miracle could save her life, and we grasped at this circumstance as an opportunity for the enactment of a miracle. I sought out the father of the young man and presented my view of the case to him. I informed him that I came neither as a moralist nor as a minister of the Gospel, but as a simple physician, whose duty it is to remove the cause that produces evil effect upon a patient. Miss— has been delivered of offspring and your son is the father of that child. She has realized the fact that her child is illegitimate and the issue without the sanction of law. The fact of her becoming a mother under such circumstances has produced acute mania and it may result in death. I therefore want your son to marry the young woman. The father, who by the way, is a haughty millionaire, at first refused to sanction such a union. He could not permit himself to allow his son to marry any such woman. The sacrifice was too great.

I immediately informed him that no sacrifice that his son would make could ever atone for the wrong that he had committed, or for the sacrifice of her life, that this poor woman was about to suffer. I also told him that if he did not at once agree to the solemnization of the marriage rite between his son and my patient that I would acquaint the world with the true state of affairs, and that then he would find himself and family not only disgraced but scorned by all respectable people as a man unfit to be even tolerated in the community. Finally he consented.

I then called in an eminent divine of this city to officiate. The moment that she caught the sight of and was permitted to converse with the father of her child we discovered at once a perceptible change in her demeanor, looks and language. Placing the child in the bed with the mother we all prepared for the act that would legalize the child and redeem the mother. At the time there were present the father and mother of the girl, the mother of the young man and the two attendant physicians, who served as witnesses to the ceremony, and the form of making them man and wife according to the rules of the Episcopal church was gone through with. The ceremony had hardly ended before the poor girl, overcome with a mother's joy to think that her child had been saved, fell back upon the pillow and swooned away. The sequel to the sad story is the most painful chapter of the entire narrative. Two days after the fulfillment of the marriage contract our patient died. The child, however, was saved, and is an heir to $1,000,000 and is now being cared for in the mansion of its wayward father.