‘I know nothing about forgiveness,’ replied the witch. ‘You have eaten my parsley, and must take the consequences; and the consequences are these: I must be godmother to your first child; be it boy or girl, it must belong to me.’
The poor lady gave birth to two beautiful boys, when just as she was pressing them to her bosom a huge bear rushed upon her, and snatching up one of the babes in its mouth, darted off into the thickest of the forest with it.
‘I have heard of you so often that I am very glad to meet you. I am told that you are more powerful than any man on earth, and as I am powerful too, let us try which is the strongest.’
Early in 1879 a murder was committed at Richmond which for callousness and savagery has few parallels. The affair became known as ‘the Barnes Mystery,’ because of the discovery at Barnes of a box containing human remains.
She can lift one hundred weight in each hand, and carry fourteen score; can sew, knit, cook, and spin, but hates them all, and every accompaniment to the female character, that of modesty excepted.
The judges had no suspicion of the depravity of the accuser, whose station was respectable, and they administered the law in all its rigour; a rigour undoubtedly excessive.
They looked at each other with horror, cold shivers running down their spines; for though they had never beheld it, there was not a man amongst them who did not know what it was—the cub of the awful Bunyip!
For a moment the girl sat choked with fear, as these thoughts rushed through her; then she said: ‘Alonzo, will you promise me something?’
Then the little old woman gave the three love-oranges to the prince, telling him that when he opened one such a maiden as he was in search of would appear, but he must immediately look for water and sprinkle her, or she would disappear again.
Prior to March, 1879, Kate Webster, save to the very few, was utterly unknown; then suddenly the public learned that living in their midst was the grimmest of grim personalities, a character so uniquely sinister and barbaric as to be hardly human.