The Betrayal of John Fordham by B L Farjeon Page 1 of 319


My name is John Fordham, and I am thirty-four years of age. So far as I can judge I am at present of sound mind, though sadly distraught, and my memory is fairly clear, except as to the occurrences of a certain terrible night in December two years ago, which are obscured by a black cloud which I have striven in vain to pierce.

These occurrences, and the base use to which they have been turned by an enemy who has made my life a torture, have brought me to a pass which will cause me presently to stand before the world as a murderer. No man accuses me. It is I who accuse myself of the horrible crime, though I call God to witness that I know not how I came to do it, save that it must have been done in self-defense.

But who will believe me in the face of the damning evidence which I afterwards found in my possession - and who will believe that when the fatal deed was done I did not see the features of the man I killed, and did not know who he was?

My protestations will be regarded as weak inventions, and will be received with incredulity - as probably I should receive them were another man in my place, and I his judge. It is the guiltiest persons who most loudly proclaim their innocence, and I shall be classed among them.

Am I, then, weary of life that I deliberately place myself in deadly peril, and invite the last dread sentence of the law to be passed upon me? In one sense, yes. Not a day passes that my torturer does not present himself to sting and threaten me and aggravate my sufferings.

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