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The Left Hand


The murder of Dr. Hunston, of Wisbeach, England, in 1823, presented some very unusual points of circumstantial evidence. Dr. Hunston was a physician and naturalist, and was wealthy. He lived alone, and was of somewhat miserly habits. He had an illegitimate son, whom he brought up with care, who was apparently a worthy youth. Dr. Hunston’s house stood in the suburbs of the rural town, with trees around it. Very near to it was the residence of a lawyer named Terwit. Dr. Hunston was originally a very successful surgeon in London, but during an autopsy he cut his right hand with an operating knife, and to prevent fatal consequences immediately submitted to amputation of the arm. The dwelling occupied by the doctor had been purchased many years before the date of the crime to be narrated. From time to time he added to it until it was a peculiar structure. In a wing, reached by five steps from the parlor, was the doctor’s bedroom; beyond that was his workshop, and beyond that again, in an odd angle, his study. Jammed into what appeared to be a passage just begun and left unfurnished, was the desk in which the doctor always kept a quantity of loose cash and some old jewels of great value, heirlooms of the Hunston family, from which he was descended. A coachman, a gardener, and a groom lived in the yard right below the windows of the doctor’s apartments, and he was in the habit of saying that they gave ample protection to the dwelling in that direction. In his workshop

a Large Blood Mastif

always slept, and the windows of the parlor were supplied with strong shutters carefully closed every night. When Lawyer Terwit joked with Dr. Hunston about his chances of being robbed, he was wont to laugh and say that it would require very expert thieves to get an entrance, or, having got an entrance, to… Read More