No 25

For more than a year past, fellows in this house have from time to time been losing money, from their drawers, purses, etc. Just this time last year there was one of these rows shown up to Marshall. Everything was done to find out the culprit, but in vain. Of course, someone was suspected and when he went into college we congratulated ourselves on having got rid of the thief. We were however mistaken & ever since then money has been going in a most serious way, so much so that I became almost certain that is was none of our fellows in this house, but either some of the next house, who could have got in at the windows, or some of the servants. At length, about three weeks ago, one of the fellows losing continually small pieces of money from his purse determined to mark it. This he did. The bait was taken. On it being missed, I sent for everyone’s keys to fit his drawer, none however fitted, so I sent for everyone into Chiswick & made them produce all their money. At length* William’s fag, B. was called in & to our surprise produced the marked sixpence, evidently without the least suspicion. This I did not take as proof positive, but cross-examined him severely. The course of which he declared, upon his honour, that Sutcliffe had given it him in change & carefully enunciated what he had spent, & on what. I had spoken to “Mother Crowther” about the maids, and my suspicion of the maids, and about one in particular. She (Mrs. C) told this maid, who, naturally, came to me saying that I had calumniated her, & was very much mistaken. I of course begged her pardon, & was in fact very sorry for suspecting her, but was driven to circumstances that I could not help myself. I then went in to Marshall, & told him all I knew of the case. He sent for B, who confessed to him to have taken money from William’s drawer 4 separate times & twice from another fellow’s. Marshall of course went to Scott, who pronounced the sentence to be expulsion. Now the thief’s brother was very much liked in the house, & his father and his mother were both ill. We therefore thought the sentence rather severe. We racked our brains to think of something that would punish as effectively without hurting the feelings of his parents & friends. We accordingly (I think at the wish of the whole house) went to Scott to beg him to reconsider the sentence & proposed to him a medium to flog him, & then only rusticate him for a year. But to our surprise Scott turned to the other extreme & after flogging him only rusticated him to the second of the half (3 weeks). So we shall have the young blackguard back here next half & we half repent ever having gone up to Scott about him. So ended this particular row & again we congratulated ourselves that we were free from this horrible mystery which had thrown a gloom over the house so long.

*Mr Williams it was who had lost the money. I call the thief B. not wishing to mention names

E.R. Dowdeswell

   Prin. Opp.

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