The Gilded Hour Page 97

“Mrs. Campbell’s case was the thirty-third.”

“And your impressions of Dr. Savard’s performance?”

He faltered then and glanced in Anna’s direction. She focused on her writing pad, where she wrote thirty-third and impressions of. Abraham Jacobi was asking questions he knew the answers to, to reestablish her credentials. He was subtle, as ever, in his support and therefore very effective.

“I’m not asking you for a detailed critique,” said Jacobi. “Just your impression.”

Graham didn’t hesitate any further. “She was confident. She moved quickly but not hastily. And she told me what she was doing and pointed out what she was seeing. I learned quite a bit in that short period of time.”

Benjamin Quinn cleared his throat. “And what was it you learned?”

“I thought I was pretty good at thinking on my feet, but I have a long way to go.”

Anna wrote: a long way to go.

Conrad Belmont leaned forward and put a hand on her shoulder to whisper. “He said not one thing to contradict your testimony.”

“Of course he didn’t,” Anna whispered back, irritably.

Conrad patted her as if she needed encouragement, and she resisted the urge to pull away.

•   •   •


Monday, May 28, 1883





Coroner Lorenzo Hawthorn began the inquest into the death of Mrs. Janine Campbell today by presenting seven prominent and educated men with a long list of admonishments about their responsibilities as jurors. A short discussion of the possibility of suicide, insanity, and the relevance of the Campbell sons’ disappearance was left unresolved, but it was the coroner himself who first raised the subject with one of the witnesses.

The first witness was Dr. Neill Graham, an intern at Bellevue who works part-time for the police ambulance service. Despite pointed questions from the jury, Dr. Graham had only praise for Dr. Anna Savard, the surgeon who tried to save Mrs. Campbell’s life.

The day’s second witness provided compelling testimony and insight into the life and death of Mrs. Campbell. We provide it here in fulfillment of our pledge to bring all the facts of this disturbing case to our readers.

Inquest Testimony

Mrs. Mabel Stone, housewife, resident at 24 Charles Street, appears before Coroner Hawthorn’s jury and makes the following statement.

Coroner: Please start by explaining how you knew the deceased.

Mrs. Stone: The Campbells are our neighbors and have been since they were first married, seven years this summer.

Coroner: You considered her a friend?

Mrs. Stone: I did. Janine Campbell was a no-nonsense kind of person, which I am myself. We saw eye to eye.

Coroner: Did you see her often?

Mrs. Stone: Janine had her hands full from dawn till dark with those little boys and the house. I myself have no children but have always felt the lack, and so I lent a hand wherever I could. I saw her every day, just about. Except Sundays.

Coroner: And now if you could tell us about last week.

Mrs. Stone: Early last Wednesday I went by train to visit my sister in Albany. I was back Thursday morning, and I noticed how quiet it was at the Campbells’ and so I went over to say hello. There was no answer when I knocked so I went around back to see was she hanging out laundry, but she wasn’t. So I looked in the kitchen window.

Coroner: Is this common practice in the neighborhood?

Mrs. Stone: It’s common enough between friendly families. So as I was saying, I looked in the kitchen window, and there she was.

Coroner: This is difficult, I understand, Mrs. Stone. But please be specific. Exactly what did you see?

Mrs. Stone: I saw Janine—Mrs. Campbell—lying on the floor, in a pool of blood.

Coroner: And then?

Mrs. Stone: Well, I went in, of course like anybody would. At first I thought she was dead she was so pale, but when I lifted up her head she opened her eyes. “Easy now,” says I to her. “I’ll send for a doctor.” But she said no, she didn’t want me to.

Coroner: Was she in pain?

Mrs. Stone: Yes sir, in terrible pain, curled up tight with her knees to her chest. Hardly able to talk, but she didn’t want a doctor and she said so. Asked me to help her into bed so she could sleep. And I says to her, “Janine, you are bleeding to beat the band. You’re having a miscarriage and you need a doctor.”

Coroner: How did you know she was having a miscarriage?

Mrs. Stone: Only a man would ask such a question. You don’t get to be my age without seeing miscarriages and worse. Why, I’d seen Janine herself miscarry twice before. Near bled to death the second time, but Mr. Campbell was home. He got the doctor to come and late the next day she was out of bed and back to work. She didn’t have much choice.

Coroner: These are things you witnessed yourself?

Mrs. Stone: Yes. And I saw the doctor come. That gentleman, right there.

Coroner: Let the record reflect that the witness is pointing to Dr. Heath in the gallery. Go on, Mrs. Stone.

Mrs. Stone: As I say, I seen Mrs. Campbell in such a state before, so I knew why she was bleeding. But this time was far worse than the other two, so I says to her again, “I have to send for an ambulance.” And she says, “No, just leave me here. Archer will find me when he gets home.”

Coroner: Those were her exact words?

Mrs. Stone: Exact. But I ran outside and saw the baker’s boy and I told him to run as fast as he could to the Jefferson Market police station—just three blocks away—and tell them we needed an ambulance. And he did.

Coroner: Where were the Campbell children while all this was going on?

Mrs. Stone: I don’t know. I just don’t know. At the time I barely noticed they were gone except to think to myself—I do remember this—thank the Lord they don’t have to see their mam in such a state. But I didn’t ask her. That was my mistake.

Coroner: It wasn’t unusual for the boys to be away from home?

Mrs. Stone: It happened maybe three times a year that she sent them off to stay with relatives. Usually it was to Mr. Campbell’s brother, the one with the farm in Connecticut, but sometimes to another brother in New Haven. She sent them away when it was time to do the spring cleaning, usually, because they were too little to help and slowed her down. One thing she never had enough of was time.

Coroner: Mrs. Campbell didn’t mention her sons to you while you waited for the ambulance?

Mrs. Stone: Not a word. She fell away into a faint and didn’t rouse again until the young doctor—Dr. Graham, who spoke before me just now—came, not a quarter hour after I sent the boy running. He made me go out while he examined her but I heard her scream—scream loud—and then she was saying she didn’t want an ambulance. But he called for the stretcher anyway, as was proper. When they took her out of the house she grabbed my hand and said, “Send word to Mr. Campbell now, Mabel, would you? Tell him he’ll find me at the New Amsterdam.” And those are the last words I heard her say. Out she went into the ambulance and then she was gone. I hardly knew what to do with myself, I was that agitated. So I cleaned the floors, there was a terrible lot of blood, you see, and I took the bedding away to soak. Next I knew Mr. Campbell was at my door, telling me his wife was dead.

Clerk: There is a question from the gallery.

Coroner: So I see. Dr. Heath was once Mrs. Campbell’s physician of record. Please go ahead, Doctor.

Dr. Heath: I am Dr. Heath. Did Mrs. Campbell ever mention me to you?

Mrs. Stone: No.

Dr. Heath: She never said she had gone to see Dr. Heath at Women’s Hospital?

Mrs. Stone: No, she did not.

Dr. Heath: Did she mention any other doctor or nurse or midwife?

Mrs. Stone: No.

Dr. Heath: Never said a word about her health?

Mrs. Stone: That’s a different question altogether. We talked from time to time about such things, as women do.

Dr. Heath: And in all those conversations she never mentioned a doctor’s name?

Mrs. Stone: Doctor, you’ll forgive me for my blunt nature, but I doubt Mrs. Campbell ever gave you a thought. She was up to her ears in work, dawn till dark and beyond. When she took ten minutes for herself, to sit down with a neighbor to have a cup of tea, you were the last thing on her mind.

Coroner: We’re off the subject. Mrs. Stone, just two more questions. When we spoke to Dr. Graham of the ambulance service he told us that Mrs. Campbell specifically requested she be delivered into Dr. Savard’s care at the New Amsterdam. Did she mention Dr. Savard to you before the ambulance arrived?

Mrs. Stone: She did not.

Coroner: This is the last matter we need to raise. Mrs. Stone, did Mrs. Campbell ever talk to you about abortion?

Mrs. Stone: Janine Campbell was a good Christian woman, sir. Mr. Campbell wasn’t the easiest of husbands but she persevered as a woman must. She obeyed and kept house and raised those boys to be polite and helpful and made sure that dinner wasn’t a single minute late and her husband’s coffee was exactly the way he liked it, and when her health failed her, she bore up under that too. She wasn’t a complainer. She never spent a day in bed except when she was new delivered.

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