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The Mysterious Highwayman


The following strange narrative appeared in a volume called the “Theory of Presumptive Proof,” published some sixty years since, and now not often met with:

A gentleman traveling to Hull was stopped late in the evening, about seven miles short of that town, by a single highwayman, with a mask on, who robbed him of a purse containing twenty guineas. The highwayman rode off by a different road, full speed, and the gentleman pursued his journey. It, however, growing late, and he being already much frightened and agitated at what had passed, rode only two miles further, and stopped at the Bell, a rode-side inn, kept by James Brunell. He went into the kitchen to give directions for his supper, when he related to several persons present his having been robbed, to which he added this peculiar circumstance, that when he traveled he always gave his gold a particular mark; that every guinea in the purse he was robbed of was so specially marked, and that probably the robber, by that means, would be detected. Supper being ready, he retired. He had not long finished his repast when Mr. Brunell came into the parlor. After the usual inquiries of landlords of hoping the supper and everything was to his liking, etc., “Sir,” says he, “I understand that you have been robbed not far hence this evening.” “I have, sir.” “And that your money was marked?” “It was.” “A circumstance has arisen which leads me to think that I can point out the robber.” “Indeed!” “Pray, sir, what time in the evening was it?” “It was just setting in to be dark.” “The time confirms suspicions.” Mr. Brunell then informed the gentleman that he had a waiter, one John Jennings, who had of late been so very full of money he had had many words with him about it, and had determined to part with him on account of his conduct being so suspicious; that long before… Read More