The Evidence of Rebecca Jarrett

The Old Bailey (November 2, 1885). Quoted in Alison Plowden, The Case of Eliza Armstrong: A Child of 13 Bought for £5 (1974)

Mr. Webster: You stated on Friday that you kept an improper house at 23, High Street, Marylebone, at the end of 1882 and the beginning of 1883. Is that so?

Jarrett: I am not going to tell you where I did live.

Justice Lopes: You will have to do so. Did you live there?

Jarrett: I am not going to tell. I am willing to bear any punishment, but I am not going to have my past life inquired into.

Justice Lopes: I think it a very proper question to ask, and one that ought to be answered. If it is not answered, the jury will draw their own conclusions.

Mr. Webster: Now, Rebecca Jarrett, I caution you. You told us that you kept this house under the name of Sullivan. Do you adhere to that statement?

Jarrett: You forced that lie out of me. I am not going to answer. Anything concerning this case I am perfectly willing to answer truthfully and honestly, but anything further concerning my past life, I will not answer.

Mr. Webster: Do you adhere to that statement?

Jarrett: I hear what you say.

Mr. Webster: Do you adhere to that answer?

Jarrett: I keep to the answer that if they have not found out where I lived, all they have got to do is to find out.

Justice Lopes: Then you decline to answer?

Jarrett: I am willing to give honest and truthful answers about the case of abduction, but not about my past life.

Justice Lopes: The jury will draw their own conclusion from your refusal.

Mr. Webster: I ask you again, have you lived or stayed at 23, High Street, Marylebone, during the last ten years?

Jarrett: I am not going to answer.

Mr. Webster: Do you remember swearing on Friday that you kept a gay house in Bristol—No. 6 The Cliffe, that you rented it, and that you passed under the name of Haynes?

Jarrett: Yes, I remember saying it.

Mr. Webster: Was that true?

Jarrett: I am not going to tell you my business. I am not going to tell you about my past life.

Justice Lopes: Listen to me . . .

Jarrett: I am not going to tell you about my past life.

Justice Lopes: But when on Friday you were asked about your past life, you said you did keep the house at Bristol.

Jarrett: When I first came up I asked you not to enter into my past life. I am willing to tell you anything about the abduction, but not about my past life. I don't want lies to be forced out of me.

Justice Lopes: Then that was a lie about Bristol?

Jarrett: Yes. Counsel make you tell lies.

Justice Lopes: I do not say this to you, but I say it in the presence of the jury, that the Attorney General was doing no more than his duty in asking you the questions he did.

Mr. Webster: You swore on Friday that you passed under the name of Haynes?

Jarrett: Yes, and that is true.

Mr. Webster: You said you had kept a gay house at Ward's Buildings, Manchester?

Jarrett: Yes.

Mr. Webster: Within what period do you swear you kept a gay house at that address?

Jarrett: That is my business, and I am going to keep it to myself.

Mr. Webster: You decline to answer?

Jarrett: Yes.

Mr. Webster: Is it true you ever kept a gay house at Ward's Buildings?

Jarrett: It is true I kept a gay house. I decline to answer as to when or where. That is my business. If you ask me anything concerning this case I am willing to answer you.

Mr. Webster: Now, I must press you on this matter for another reason. Will you swear that, any time within the last ten years you have kept a gay house in Ward's Buildings, Manchester?

Jarrett: That is my business. I decline to answer.

Mr. Webster: That will do, my lord. Your lordship will understand, of course, that inquiries have been made about these matters.

Jarrett: I am quite willing to have inquiries made, sir.

Mr. Webster: That will do, thank you, Rebecca Jarrett. I am ready now to cross-examine Mr. Stead, my lord.


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