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frmm:r| in l'yy<d- Oa reaching the next house she was instantly attended to, ar>i mcdkal assistance was promptly obtained; but she was a:- exiacstid by Ires of blxd as to be unable to give any lengthened aec*;c2t of the transaction. The house where the tragedy occurred was at once taken possession of by the police, who were unable, however, for a long time to find the revolver with which the morderocs work had been done. On the body of the father was focnd over five pounds in cash, but be left no statement as to the cause of his rash act.
An inquest was held on the bodies at the Weymouth Arms, which was crowded by an anxious populace, and the facts disclosed in the evidence were of the most extraordinary description. After viewing the bodies of John Prankard, and his daughter Mary Minnie Prankard, the Coroner, Mr. English, called some voluminous evidence, the substance of which was as follows :—
Ellen Davis, the domestic servant at 1, Bellevue, Bath, said her master was the principal of a proprietary school, and his family included four daughters—Mary (deceased), twenty-two years of age; Kate, nineteen; and two other younger girls, one being an imbecile and the other having been conveyed away by her father, no one knew whither. The pupils were away for their holidays, and the two elder ladies were preparing for a journey to Holland. Early in the morning Mr. Prankard left home, and went to Bristol, returning sooner than was expected, about two o'clock. The two elder young ladies, who had been out, came in after their father, who appeared to be angry with them. They went up-stairs for their hats, after dinner, and the master violently shouted, " If you don't want any money, you can go," and " Go to your friend John Prankard/' a relative of the same name as himself whom they had last summer been visiting. Witness, who was in the lower kitchen, then heard a scuffle, as if her master was pushing them along the hall into the schoolroom. Her master locked them in, taking with him the keys of three doors. After another altercation he came out, again locking the door after him. He then went up-stairs, and after a short absence re-entered the schoolroom where the ladies were, and, locking the door after him, was heard to exclaim, " Now then, what do you say to this?" A moment or two afterwards witness heard reports, four in number, of a pistol, scarcely a moment elapsing between each discharge. Witness ran up-stairs in alarm into the passage leading to the flower-garden, and saw Miss Kate, the second daughter, who had evidently leapt in her terror through the window, close to the garden-wall, bleeding profusely. Kate said, " Go to Minnie," and on the servant proceeding to the schoolroom door, she asked if she might come in, but received no answer, and only heard groans. She ran down-stairs to get her cloak, and as she came up from the kitchen she saw her master, who gazed hard at her, rushing up-stairs. She ran to the next door, the Rev. Mr. Way's, and gave an alarm; but it seems that Mr. Way had already gone for a doctor for Miss Kate Prankard, who had crawled in a wounded state over the wall into his garden. "Witness afterwards ventured into the house, and saw the hody of her young mistress lying in a pool of blood in the schoolroom, and that of her master lying on the bed in his own room.
In answer to questions, the servant said that Mr. Prankard had frequently quarrelled with the deceased daughter, striking her and pulling down her hair, and once breaking a water-vessel over the head of the injured daughter.
Mr. Frederick Mason, physician and surgeon, Bath, said he found that Miss Minnie had a small circular bullet-wound over her left ear, and the probe (an ordinary one) did not reach the extent it had traversed. The young lady was quite dead. By using a longer probe, he found that the bullet had passed transversely through the brain and struck the skull on the other side. There was a similar wound on the right side in front of the ear, the bullet appearing to have gone downwards towards the neck. She must first have been shot on the right side, and the bullet not taking immediate effect she was then shot on the left side, the left side shot being fatal. There was a mark of burning on the forefinger, as if the young lady had lifted up her hand in self-protection. The surviving sister had received two distinct bullet-shots, one on the nose, and the other at the top of the throat, and she would not be out of danger for several weeks. The father was lying on his own bed quite dead. There were no external marks of violence. The eyes were bright and clear, the pupils being slightly dilated. He smelt very strongly of prussic acid, though no utensil that had contained that poison was discovered any where on the premises. His (Mr. Mason's) opinion was that death was caused by that poison.
Police Inspector Sutton deposed to the finding in the male deceased's trousers pockets of a powder-flask three parts full of powder and ten pistol-bullets. A handkerchief with five bullet perforations was also found in the coat pocket. Search had been made for the pistol, but in vain. The ladies' boxes appeared to be partly packed up, as if they were intending a journey.
Mr. John Prankard, of Langport, surgeon, deposed that the deceased gentleman was the illegitimate son of his (witness's) grandfather, but was always acknowledged by the family, and had enjoyed his share of the property by will. Witness once had the impression that Mr. Prankard was suffering from delirium tremens, but from facts that had since come to his knowledge he believed that he was in a state of insanity. One of these facts was that recently, when in France, the deceased gentleman took his daughters out in an open boat, and said, "Now, you must die. Choose between three deaths. I will either upset the boat, or you shall be shot, or take poison," and he made them drink half a pint of laudanum, which, however, owing to the rolling of the boat, they yomited.
It was explained by the servant that the younger daughter, who was with her in the kitchen when the shots were fired, was an imbecile, and could not give any alarm.
The jury, in the case of the deceased lady, returned a verdict of "Wilful murder by John Prankard," and as to the death of the father they returned one of "Felo-de-se." The Coroner thereupon issued his warrant for the interment of the male deceased, without funeral rites, after nightfall on the 24th.
6. Arrival Of The Prince Imperial.—The Prince Imperial arrived at Dover, having slept the previous night at Ostend. The Prince was brought over in the Royal Belgian mail packet, which steamed alongside the landing-stage at half-past one o'clock.
Very few persons had been acquainted with the fact that the Prince was on b;>ard, but somehow it oozed out, and about a hundred people assembled on the pier in the soaking rain.
The Prince, who was accompanied by Commander Dupere (son of Admiral Dupere), Major Lamme, and Major Ferry, on landing was respectfully saluted by most of the spectators, and he frequently acknowledged their attentions by touching his hat. He was attired in a dark suit, and wore a grey great-coat and an ordinary deerstalking hat. He appeared to be in perfect health, and conversed freely with his governor while walking up to the Lord Warden Hotel. He was met on the pier by Mr. Eborall, the general manager of the South Eastern Railway, who escorted him to the Lord Warden Hotel, where he remained until the afternoon, leaving Dover by the train on the South Eastern Railway at 3.45 for Hastings. He was accompanied by Commander Dupere and other gentlemen, and by Mr. Eborall.
Mr. Eborall, having received a telegram informing him of the proposed arrangements for the Prince Imperial leaving Dover, had come over from Folkestone and ordered a special train to be held in readiness to precede the mail train to convey his Imperial Highness to Hastings, via Ashford.
During his stay at the Lord Warden Hotel the utmost privacy was observed, the Due de Gramont, and the Mayor and Mrs. Birmingham and family only having access to the Prince; and on taking his departure the Prince and his attendants reached the railway by the private staircase leading directly from the hotel to the trains; but, notwithstanding the desire to keep his departure strictly private, great numbers of people assembled in all the avenues inside or outside of the station. As, attended by Mr. Eborall, he walked up the platform there was considerable cheering. The Prince, who was visibly affected, on entering the carriage, cordially shook hands with the Mayor, Mr. Alderman Churchward, and other gentlemen within reach. Mr. Eborall, at the especial desire of the Prince, accompanied him in the royal carriage to his destination, at the Marine Hotel, Hastings, where the party arrived at five o'clock p.m.
7. Loss Of The Turret-ship "captain."—A terrible calamitybefell the nation in the loss of the " Captain," a six-gun turret-ship, built on the plan of Captain Cowper Coles, which foundered at sea. She was commanded by Captain Burgoyne, a son of Field Marshal Burgoyne, and had a crew of 500 men. Captain Coles, the inventor, a son of Mr. Childers, the First Lord of the Admiralty, and other visitors were on board.
Admiral Milne, in his report to the Admiralty, dated from her Majesty's ship "Lord Warden," off Finisterre, respecting the loss of the " Captain," said that on the evening of the 6th the squadron was formed into three divisions, the "Lord Warden" (the Admiral's ship), "Minotaur," and "Agincourt" leading, the "Captain" being the last, astern of the "Lord Warden." At eight and ten p.m. the ships were in station, and there was no indication of a heavy gale, although it looked cloudy to the westward. At eleven the breeze began to freshen, with rain. Towards midnight the barometer had fallen, and the wind increased, which rendered it necessary to reef; but before one a.m. the gale had set in at southwest, and square sails were furled. "At this time," Admiral Milne said, "the 'Captain' was astern of this ship, apparently closing under steam. The signal 'open order' was made, and at once answered; and at 1.15 a.m. she was on the 'Lord Warden's' lee quarter, about six points abaft of the beam. From that time until about 1.30 a.m. I constantly watched the ship; her topsails were either close reefed or on the lap, her foresail was close up, the mainsail having been furled at 5.30 p.m., but I could not see any fore and aft set. She was heeling over a good deal to starboard, with the wind on her port side. Her red bow light was all this time clearly seen. Some minutes after I again looked for her light, but it was thick with rain, and the light was no longer visible. The squalls of wind and rain were very heavy, and the 'Lord Warden' was kept, by the aid of the screw and after-trysails, with her bow to a heavy cross sea, and at times it was thought that the sea would have broken over her gangways. At 2.15 a.m. (the 7th) the gale had somewhat subsided, and the wind went round to the north-west, but without any squall; in fact, the weather moderated, the heavy bank of clouds had passed off to the eastward, and the stars came out clear and bright; the moon, which had given considerable light, was setting; no large ship was seen near us where the 'Captain' had been last observed, although the lights of some were visible at a distance. When the day broke the squadron was somewhat scattered, and only ten ships, instead of eleven, could be discerned, the ' Captain' being the missing one." Search was made in all directions by the ships of the squadron, but nothing was seen of the missing ship. Afterwards portions of wreck belonging to the "Captain" were picked up, and the body of a seaman. Admiral Milne said he could come to no other conclusion than that the " Captain" had foundered, probably in one of the heavy squalls between 1.30 and 2.15 a.m., at which time a heavy cross sea was running1.
Some of the crew escaped and landed at Corcubion, north of Cape Finisterre, in the evening, and arrived dta the 12th at Portsmouth in H.M.S. " Volage."
The depositions of the men saved were taken on board the " Lord Warden" before leaving for home. They all belonged to the starboard watch. The watch was called, the men said, a few minutes past midnight, and, as the men were going on deck to muster, the ship gave a lurch to starboard, but righted herself again immediately.
Robert Hirst, able seaman, was stationed on the forecastle. There was a strong wind, and the ship was then under her three topsails, double reefs in each, and the foretopmast staysail. The yards were braced sharp up, and the ship did not seem to have much way upon her. As the watch were mustered he heard Captain Burgoyne give the order, " Let go the foretopsail halyards !" followed by " Let go fore and main topsail sheets!" By the time the men got to the topsail sheets the 6hip was heeling over to starboard so much that the men were washed away off the deck, the ship lying down on her side as she was gradually turning over, and trembling with every blow which the short, jumping seas (the sea now was white all round with the squall) struck her, and the roar of the steam from the funnel roaring horribly above every thing, and continuing to do so when even under water. Hirst, with two other men, rushed to the weather-forecastle netting and jumped overboard, and immediately afterwards they found themselves washed on to the bilge of the ship's bottom, but had no sooner got there than the ship went down. Hirst and his companions went down with the ship; but the next feeling of consciousness by the former was coming in contact with a floating spar, to which he tied himself with his black silk neckerchief. He was soon afterwards, however, washed away from the spar, but got hold of the stern of the second launch, which was floating as it was stowed on board the ship. Other men were there on the top of the canvas covering. They fell in with the steam life-boat pinnace, bottom up, with Captain Burgoyne and a number of men on her bottom, but could not distinguish how many. Four men, of whom Mr. May, the gunner, proved to be one, jumped from off the bottom of the steam-pinnace to the canvas covering of the galley and launches. The canvas was immediately cut away, the galley thrown out, the first launch floating away^from underneath the second, and the oars got out in the second launch to pull up to the steam-pinnace to take off Captain Burgoyne and the men remaining there. It was soon found impossible to do this. As soon as they endeavoured to get the boat's head up to the sea to row her up to windward to where the capsized boat, with their captain and a few shipmates with him, was floating, the boat was swamped level to her thwarts, hnd two of the men were washed out of her. The pump was set