'A few pence, master, for the ale!' the valet remonstrated.
'You are not to make such things without my orders.'
'No, master. But please, drink it. You will not have it waste?'
'Oh, very well,' Bathurst grumbled.
'Get back into bed, master, and I will give it to you.'
'No, no! You have unsettled me. Bring it to the table and I will sit there and drink it,' the
squire told him, as wrapping a coverlet from the bed about him, he went to the table and sat down.
The valet carried the tankard and the candle-stick to the table and seemed to be waiting.
'You needn't wait,' Bathurst said, wanting the man to go so that he night check his chests.
But the last word had barely come from his tongue when he felt himself seized by the hair,
his head jerked back and a momentarily sharp pain strike across his throat, as the valet drew the
razor's edge across it.
In his nervous determination, for he had intended to kill the madman thus-he had planned
to smother him with a pillow, and had brought the razor only as a safeguard-the man had
employed too great strength, so that the head was half-severed from the body. But his viciousness
served the squire well, for he choked once, blood spurted from his mouth across the table, and he
fell forward into the pool of it, dead.
With precise cold-blooded movements the valet went about his business. Binding a cover
from the bed about the dead squire's neck and head, he hoisted the emaciated body of Alexander
Bathurst over one shoulder, and with ease carried it upstairs to the hiding-place he had prepared
for it. He worked quickly and deftly, and within half an hour the hole he had made in the
chimney-piece was bricked in.
This done, he hurried down to the coach-house and harnessed the horse to the carriage,
which he drove round to the main entrance. Returning to the squire's room, which had formerly
been the large drawing room, he began to carry the chests out to the carriage. They were heavier
than he had imagined they would be, and by the time he had taken four of them he was feeling the
strain of his exertions. He was also aware that the weight of them was pressing down alarmingly
on the springs of the dilapidated carriage, and reluctantly he decided that he must be content with
them, though it pained him to have to leave two chests behind.
He returned to the squire's room, cleaned up the blood on the able to his satisfaction,
made the bed and carried the candle and tankard to the kitchen, having locked the door of the
room behind him. In the kitchen he put on his own great-coat and hat, took the dummy-figure he
had already prepared from its hiding place in a cupboard, and went out to the carriage.
As he went back to close and lock the entrance door, he was seized with a desire to make
certain that he had left no trace of his work behind him in the bedroom. It was fortunate that he
did so, for he discovered that he had forgotten to extinguish the candle by which he had worked,
and that its wick was bent over, carrying the flame perilously near to some silk hangings. In
another few minutes it must have fallen on them and set them ablaze, and the manor with it.
Hastily he extinguished it, and finding his way across the room by a bright beam of moonlight
falling through a windows he made for the door.
He was but a yard or two from the door when he was startled by loud bangs behind him,
and he heard Squire Bathurst's voice calling out, 'Let me out! Let me out!'
He slammed-to the door behind him, and with heart pounding and cold sweat breaking on
his brow, he rushed, half-falling, down the staircase, locked the door and flung himself on to the
Across the park, on the brittle frosty air came the bells of the church clock striking the
Urging the half-starved horse with whip and words, he drove the carriage down the drive.
But neither horse nor carriage were equal to what was demanded of them, and less than a mile on
the other side of the village he horse gave a sigh, stumbled and collapsed between the shafts,
dead, like its master; and as the carriage stopped suddenly thus, with slow, sharp-sounding
rending noises, the floor-boards gave way under the weight of the chests.
Frightened out of his wits by the predicament he was now in, the valet wrenched open the
lid of one of the chests, filled his pockets with gold coins, and drastically changing his plans set
out on foot for Southampton.
The carriage and its contents were discovered not long after dawn by a farmer, who rode
post-haste to the magistrate, Sir George Bushnell, who hurried to the spot. Examining the dummy
found with the chests, he believed he knew at once what had happened, and rode straight to
Itchells Manor. Having ordered an entrance to be gained to the house, and finding neither the
squire nor his valet, as he had expected, he gave instructions for a 'Hue and Cry' to be raised
throughout the county, with special attention to be paid to the London and Southampton roads-the quarry, the valet.
Giuseppe Mancini was arrested in Southampton docks as he was trying to find a ship to
carry him to France. Before his trial at Winchester assizes he made a full confession. The
sentence of death he accepted with resignation.
'It is the just retribution of Squire Bathurst's spirit,' he told the chaplain to whom he
made his last confession.