The New York Times



FALL RIVER, Mass., Aug.27.-The first week of the Borden murder trial closed at noon to-day, and after half the Government witnesses have testified there is not the slightest change in the divided opinions of the people here as to the guilt or innocence of the young woman who is accused of having brutally murdered her father and stepmother.

The only witness of the day was the domestic, Bridget Sullivan, and she was subjected to a severe cross-examination by the attorney for the defense. She stood the ordeal well, and had evidently been carefully instructed as to the manner of answering the numerous questions directed at her in rapid succession by Attorney Adams.

The District Attorney says that he is well satisfied with the development of the web of circumstantial evidence which he is endeavoring to weave about Lizzie Borden, and the Government asserts that its belief in the guilt of the young woman has increased greatly since the testimony of Bridget Sullivan. These officers say that the story of the servant shows how manifestly impossible it was for anyone to enter or leave the house while Lizzie was alone with first her mother and then her father, and they further assert in answer to the query as to why this servant did not hear the fall of Mrs. Borden's body that the noise of the water splashing against the windows effectually drowned any such sound.

On Monday the prosecution expects to put Prof. Wood of "Harvard upon the stand. Be has had in his possession the axes found in the Borden cellar, and upon which there appeared to be what Medical Examiner Dolan thought was blood. He has also had Lizzie Borden's skirt, containing a drop of blood, and her shoes, which were also stained by some red liquid. He has made a careful analysis of all these articles and will say when he gives his testimony whether or not the analysis shows these drops to be the blood of a human being.

The attorneys for the defense make light of this, and assert that Lizzie Borden will never be convicted on expert testimony. Attorney Adams told a TIMES representative at the conclusion of to-day's hearing that no evidence presented yet made him feel at all uneasy. He has also given it as his opinion, and he is one of the shrewdest criminal lawyers in the Bay State, that something far stronger than has yet been presented will have to be made public before the presiding Justice will be justified in holding Lizzie Borden for the Grand Jury.

Thus far the prosecution has shown no motive, and in this respect the testimony of Bridget Sullivan and John V. Morse has been disappointing to the public. They expected a recital of the family relations in the Borden house and a rehearsal of troubles between the Borden girls on one side and their father and mother on the other. But no such testimony has been advanced, and the nearest approach which the Government has made toward endeavoring to show a motive was when the District Attorney questioned insurance Agent Cook and John V. Morse regarding conversations Mr. Borden had with them in relation to certain bequests he was said to have intended to make. But this was a failure, and a motive for the fearful murder is yet to be shown.

The District Attorney says that he does not intend to put in his full case, but will only put in sufficient evidence to warrant holding the accused for the Grand Jury. The drug clerk Eli Bence, has not yet testified, and his story is awaited eagerly. It is charged that it was from him that Lizzie endeavored to purchase hydroqranic acid, and finally bought prussic acid. The day before the murder Mr. And Mrs. Borden complained of being sick, and suggested that the bread might have contained poison. Their stomachs have also been in the possession of Prof. Wood, and he will tell whether or not they had contained any poison for hours before the couple were hacked to death. If he proves that prussic acid entered their organs, the case will look darker for the young woman than it does at present.

John C. Milne, one of Fall River's wealthy residents, was an old friend of Andrew Borden and is a firm believer in the innocence of his daughter. He is proprietor of the Evening News, and from the outset the editorial columns of his paper have been devoted to the defense of Lizzie Borden. This is the manner in which he sums up the week's doings to-night, and it may be taken as the opinion of all the supporters of the prisoner: "There has been, up to the present, not a single item of evidence that can have weight against the defendant, and John V. Morse and Bridget Sullivan, understood to be the Government's most important witnesses, have accounted for their movements on the days previous to the murders, on the day of the murder, and on the days following. They have also told all that they knew about the movements and conversation of the other members of the family as far as they were able, and the only thing proved is what has been admitted by Miss Lizzie's adherents from the first. She was alone at the time Mr. Borden was murdered and has no one to support her statement that she was not alone.

No witness has yet been called who saw anyone except the members of the family around the house, but on the other hand, the Government have failed to prove conclusively that it was impossible for anyone to gain admittance to the house unseen.

The relations between the members of the family, it was understood, were to form a prominent part of the Government's case. First came Uncle John V. Morse, who knew the habits of the family as well, probably, as anyone not living in the house. Neither in direct nor in re-direct examination was he questioned upon this point. The Government did not take up the point, and the defense, of course, could not. Then came Bridget Sullivan, the servant. If anyone is in a position to know of any breach, no matter how slight, between members of a family, it is the servant. Alleged reports of proceedings at the inquest stated that Bridget had given very damaging evidence upon the hard feelings exhibited by Lizzie toward Mrs. Borden. The absence of any such testimony at the trial seems to prove that the evidence given at the inquest did not leak very much after all. The will theory has been completely spoiled. Now all inquiry into the family relations, which were not so pleasant as they are in the majority of families, has been avoided, and the Government stands absolutely without a motive."

The most remarkable feature of the trial has been the demeanor of Lizzie Borden. From start to finish she has manifested no feeling of weakness, and has listened to the recital of the most cold-blooded and shocking details of the crime with a perfectly impassive and unmoved countenance. The description of the wounds by the medical examiner, his gory tale of how the skull was forced into the brains of the aged couple a dozen times, his recital of how the skulls were sawed from the bodies under his direction and the removal of the flesh from them-all these and other similarly ghastly stories the young woman heard, and was apparently unmoved. Three or four times she enjoyed a hearty laugh: for instance, when her attorney, desirous of ascertaining the space occupied by the body of her stepmother as it lay upon the floor compared the aged lady's physical proportions to those of the solidly-built District Attorney. Those who believe her insane consider this good evidence of that fact, but there is no apparent insanity in the clear blue eyes which look up now and then with apparent interest at the half a hundred busy press correspondents.

Everybody, including the police officials, say she's a remarkable woman, and after her demeanor during the long hours of the trial as it has proceeded, there is no one to dispute the statement.

Lizzie and Emma Borden, accompanied by Mr. Holmes and the Rev. Mr. Buck, came promptly into court at the time for commencing proceedings to-day. There was, of course, no change in the impassive countenance of the young woman, and nobody expected to see any. Across the room was Bridget Sullivan, with her face very white and her eyes downcast. She did not look up as the prisoner and her friends entered, and she moved slowly to the witness stand when she was summoned by the District Attorney.

Bridget was a most difficult witness to the press representatives, for her replies to the interrogatories of the attorney were so low as to be inaudible at a distance of ten feet from the witness stand. Almost unconsciously perhaps the District Attorney fell into the same soft tones in directing his queries, suggesting the idea that he was intentionally handling the witness with soft gloves in a desire not to confuse her or add to her embarrassment. There was consequently much speculation as to the manner which the attorneys for the defense would assume toward the witness in their work of cross-examination.

Mr. Knowlton called Bridget Sullivan to the stand at 10: 16 o'clock. Bridget continued her testimony as follows: "Mrs. Borden came down stairs Wednesday morning saying she and Mr. Borden had been sick that night. They looked pretty sick. Lizzie said she had been sick all night, too. When I came down to start the fire I used coal and wood in the kitchen fire. Used hard wood always. Miss Lizzie had been ironing eight or nine minutes when I went upstairs. There used to be a horse kept in the barn. Since the horse was kept there I have seen Lizzie go to the barn."

Mr. Knowlton--Tell me again, now, what Lizzie had to say about the note her mother received. "

Bridget Sullivan --Miss Lizzie spoke about her mother going out, and said that her mother had received a note that morning.

Mr. Knowlton--Did Lizzie say anything about hearing her mother groan?

Bridget Sullivan--She said she heard her father groan.

Mr. Knowlton--Did you at any time that day see Lizzie crying?

Bridget Sullivan--No, not in all the day.

Mr. Adams conducted the cross-examination and commenced by politely asking the witness if she would be seated. The witness declined a chair, and questions commenced rapidly. "Have you ever told your story before?""No, Sir."

"Didn't you tell it at the inquest?"

"Yes, Sir; on the Tuesday after the murder in this courtroom. Dr. Dolan, Mr. Knowlton, the Marshal and some others were present""Who asked you the questions?"

"Mr. Knowlton."

"Was it taken down?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Has it been read to you?"

"No, Sir."

"Where were you last night after the hearing?"

"In the Marshal's office."

"Did Mr. Knowlton speak to you about your testimony?"

"Yes; he had a piece of paper."

"What was it?"

"Something printed."

"Was it something you said?"

"Yes, Sir."

"What did he say about it?"

"He read a little of it"

"When did you say this?"

"I don't know."

"Had you forgotten all about it?"

"No, Sir."

"How much did he read to you?"

"About half a dozen words."

"What were they?"

"I don't remember."

"Who was there?"

"The Marshal was about there."

"The Wednesday night before the murder you went out the back door, didn't you?"
"Yes, Sir."

"These back stairs you went up and down were the same that Mr. and Mrs. Borden went up and down, were they not?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Were these stairs carpeted?"

"Yes, Sir."

All this time Mr. Adams was directing the questions at the young woman with unprecedented rapidity. She stood the ordeal very well and her stereotyped answers were "Yes, Sir," and "No, Sir", giving possible evidence of some instruction as to the manner of her replies. Bridget Sullivan continued: "Had a key when I went out that night. Left the screen door fastened and locked the other door. Never had any man call on me at the house. Never had any man from Fall River call on me there. When some one came it wasn't from Fall River. It was two months ago. Had not been out in the yard Wednesday morning. Lizzie told me she had been sick. Don't know if Lizzie went away Saturday or Sunday before the murder. Tuesday night, when they were taken sick, we had swordfish warmed over for dinner. Had baker's bread, too. Got the bread myself. Didn't see Lizzie Wednesday after breakfast."

"How long before you got the pail and brush ?"

"About half an hour."

"What were you doing, then?"

"Straightening up and putting away the dishes. "

"What then?"

"I went down stairs into the laundry, got a pail and brush, and then went out into the barn to get a handle for the brush. I got it in one of the stalls. As I went out I spoke to Lizzie at one of the screen doors. Lizzie asked me if I was going to wash the windows, and I said yes. She followed me into the entry. "

"Where did she come from?"

"I don't know."

Bridget Sullivan continued: "When I told her she needn't fasten the screen door she didn't do it. Mr. Borden was in the habit of going out the back door, but I didn't see him. I was washing the windows. I did not see Mr. Borden go out before I washed the windows. Raised the sitting-room windows to wash them from the inside. The window nearest the hall was open when I heard Mr. Borden at the front door. Can't say if the bell rang." Mr. Adams--How was it, was Lizzie in the dining room ironing when you came in for the dipper?"

Bridget -- I can't say.

Mr. Adams-- Wait, take time. Are you sure you can't remember if she was there reading or ironing?

Bridget--I don't remember seeing her there.

Mr. Adam--Didn't you say that she sometimes read there?

Bridget--Yes, but not that morning.

Mr. Adams--Now are you prepared to say that you did not see Miss Lizzie sitting there in the kitchen when you came for the dipper?

Bridget--I can't remember.

"Did you see a pile of handkerchiefs while she was ironing?"

"Yes, sir."

"You weren't sure whether the doorbell rang or not?"

"No, sir."

"Then you went to the door?"

"Yes. sir."

"Did every one of those locks fasten?"

"Yes. sir."

"What did you say when you were opening the door?"

There was a pause for this was the question which the witness objected to answering yesterday. "I'm waiting Miss Sullivan," said Mr. Adams.

"I said. 'Oh. pshaw' and Lizzie laughed," replied the witness.

"Well, is there anything bad in that you should object to repeating it?"

"No. Sir."

Continuing. the witness said that Miss Lizzie came through the dining room.  Mr. Borden, she thought, had a parcel, and he sat down in the dining room.  Lizzie told her father about the note Mrs. Borden had received, but I did not hear him give any answer, and then I washed the windows in the sitting room while Mr. Borden went up stairs.

"Hasn't this house been broken into in broad daylight?" asked Mr. Adams.

"Yes, sir."

"And this was in broad daylight, while you were in the house?"

"Yes, sir."

"What were you doing then?"

"I was at my work."

"And a man came in, stole a number of articles, and escaped without being seen?"

"Yes, sir."

"How long ago was this?"

"I can't tell; A few months, I think."

"Was not something taken from there?"

"Yes, sir."

During this testimony of Bridget Sullivan, Emma Borden sat with her gloved hand shading her eyes.  There was a little of the flush upon the countenance of the prisoner which those who have studied her features have learned to know as an indication of emotion, and she carefully listened to every sentence as it was presented.  Bridget Sullivan continued: Lizzie came into the dining room when her father came in.  I was washing windows. " Lizzie then took the small ironing board and placed it on the dining room table.  She ironed some handkerchiefs. Miss Lizzie told me that her mother was going out to make a sick call.  It was a few minutes of 11 when I went up stairs.  Did not look at my clock, but know it was few minutes before 11.  did not take off my clothes when I lay down.  Heard the clock strike 11.  When Miss Lizzie called to me that her father was dead I went down and found her standing up near the door.  She didn't have her hands up to her face.  She wasn't crying.  She told me to go to Dr. Bowen's and after that to go after Mrs. Russell."

Mr. Adams--did you talk with Mrs. Churchill?


Mr. Adams--did you tell her that Mrs. Borden had gone away to make a sick call with telling you where she was going?

Bridget--I cannot remember.

Mr. Adams--Are you willing to say you did not tell Mrs. Churchill anything about it?

You did talk with her, didn't you?

Bridget--Yes, sir.

Mr. Adams--Well, did you say that Mrs. Borden had gone out to make a sick call without telling you where she was going?

Bridget--I don't remember.

"Did you go up stairs before you went for Mrs. Bowen?"

"I went up to see Mrs. Borden after I went for Mrs. Bowen."

"When did you do down cellar after the tradgey?"

"I can't tell, but it was pretty soon after.  I went in all the rooms with the officers. The found some axes in a little box near the furnace.  This box was near the front part of the cellar.  They were in a box that we used to keep starch in."

"When you saw Miss Lizzie, when she gave the alarm, what dress had she on?"

"I don't know."

"Was it light or dark?"

"I don't know."

"Did you see any blood spots on her?"
"No, sir."

"Did you see any blood spots anywhere except in those places that have been indicated?"

"No, sir."

"Where was this room which was burglarized?"

"Near Mrs. Borden's room."

"At the end of the back stairs down which Lizzie Borden came?"

"Yes, sir."

Mr. Adams--Well, this room led out of Mrs. Borden's room , but you got out the back way?"

Bridget--Yes, sir.

Bridget continued: " Did not empty any pails after the tragedy.  Saw several people washing their hands after the tragedy.  Think I say Mayor Coughlin was his hands."

Judge Blaisdsell announced at this point that the hearing was adjourned to 10 o'clock Monday morning.  Bridget Sullivan's testimony is not concluded, but there will be other witnesses examined before she is called again.

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