“Murder!” One of my children knocked frantically on our bedroom door. “Ma, someone’s being murdered in the back room.”
Dashing out of bed in my nightgown, I lit a candle and moved quickly down the hallway following the child. At the doorway to the back room, I called out nervously, “What’s the matter?”
Someone inside the room replied. “Get a light missus, one of the men is being murdered.”
On entering the room, I saw a man, later identified as Richard Furlong, kneeling at his bed and stooping over it, holding his hands to his stomach. He had been stabbed but he was not yet dead. The woman he called his wife was sitting up in bed. This couple and another man had arrived at the lodging house about three hours earlier. All three were rather drunk when they arrived but they stayed up, sitting in the kitchen. About 9.30pm the man and his wife went to bed.
The other three beds in the back room were also occupied but I only knew the name of the woman Eliza Kelly or Higgins. She was now standing in the kitchen, screaming. Richard’s mate, dashed out the front door and ran to get the doctor.
I went to check the other bedroom where six more men were sleeping but one bed was empty. Where was that man? Had he committed the murder and then run away?
I remembered hearing Richard’s wife talking to the absent man earlier that evening. “Hello, what fetched you here?” He replied, “I only came here today.”
1861 ‘THE LATE STABBING CASE AT EVANDALE.’, Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 – 1899), 23 February, p. 4. (MORNING.), viewed 17 Jan 2017, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article38757954
Background: The woman Isabella Colgrave nee Watkins is my great great great grandmother.