She then related that, by the permission of Elizabeth, she had
passed the evening of the night on which the murder had been
committed at the house of an aunt at Chêne, a village
situated at about a league from Geneva. On her return, at about
nine o'clock, she met a man, who asked her if she had seen any
thing of the child who was lost. She was alarmed by this
account, and passed several hours in looking for him, when the
gates of Geneva were shut, and she was forced to remain several
hours of the night in a barn belonging to a cottage, being
unwilling to call up the inhabitants, to whom she was well
known. Most of the night she spent here watching; towards
morning she believed that she slept for a few minutes; some
steps disturbed her, and she awoke. It was dawn, and she quitted
her asylum, that she might again endeavour to find my brother.
If she had gone near the spot where his body lay, it was without
her knowledge. That she had been bewildered when questioned by
the market-woman was not surprising, since she had passed a
sleepless night, and the fate of poor William was yet uncertain.
Concerning the picture she could give no account.
"I know," continued the unhappy victim, "how heavily and fatally
this one circumstance weighs against me, but I have no power of
explaining it; and when I have expressed my utter ignorance, I
am only left to conjecture concerning the probabilities by which
it might have been placed in my pocket. But here also I am
checked. I believe that I have no enemy on earth, and none
surely would have been so wicked as to destroy me wantonly. Did
the murderer place it there? I know of no opportunity afforded
him for so doing; or, if I had, why should he have stolen the
jewel, to part with it again so soon?