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The Esher Tragedy.

Six Children Murdered by their Mother.

You feeling christians give attention,
Young and old of each degree,
A tale of sorrow I will mention,
Join and sympathise with me;
It's of a sad and dreadful murder,
I shall quickly let you hear,
Which was committed by a mother,
On her six young children dear.

The perpetrator of this murder,
Mary Ann Brough it is her name,
And formerly as you may see,
She nursed the blooming Prince of Wales.
But now her days of happiness,
Are vanished like the evening's sun,
Good people all, both great and small,
Reflect upon the deed she's done.

One night she could not rest in slumber,
So her own confession says,
Her little children, six in number,
Thus she took their lives away.
'Twas with a sharp and fatal razor,
She committed this foul deed,
And one by one she cut their throats,
Which causes each kind heart to bleed.

The first and eldest whom she murdered,
Sad and dreadful to behold,
Was a sweet and blooming girl.
Something more than ten years old,
And in her wrath and indignation,
Thus she slew them one by one.
Causing death and desolation,
What on earth could urge it on ?

One little pretty boy amongst them,
Of the name of Henry,
He cried aloud with eyes of pity,
'Mother, dear, don't murder me,'
She heeded not his prattling tongue,
But like a demon fierce and wild,
'My dear,' she said, 'it must be done,'
And thus she slew her other child.

From bed to bed, and to each chamber,
This wretched woman did go,
While all around her own dear children,
Streams of crimson blood did flow,
The dreadful sight was most surprising,
To behold these children dear,
How their cruel hearted mother,
Cut their throats from ear to ear.

Oh ! what must be the woman's motive,
Did she think she'd done amiss,
Or did she think of death and judgement
To perpetrate a deed like this ?
But now the wretch she is committed,
To a prison's gloomy cell,
Where midnight's dreams to her will whisper
And her deeds of blood will tell.

Within the prison's massive walls,
What anguish will torment her breast.
When phantoms of her six dear children,
Will disturb her of her rest.
Such a sad and dreadful murder,
On record there is no worse,
Committed by a cruel mother,
Once the Prince of Wales' Nurse.


The following confession was made by the murderess, to Mr. Biddlecombe, chief superintendent of the Surrey Constabulary:—"On Friday last, I was bad all day; I wanted to see Mr. Izod, and waited all day. I wanted him to give me some medicine. In the evening I walked about, and afterwards put the children to bed, and wanted to go to sleep in a chair.—About nine o'clock, Georgy (meaning Georgianna) kept calling me to bed. I came up to bed, and they kept calling me to bring them some barley water, and they kept calling me till nearly 12 o'clock. I had one candle lit on the chair—I went and got another, but could not see, there was something like a cloud, and I thought I would go down and get a knife and cut my throat, but could not see. I groped about in master's room for a razor—I could not find one—at last I found his keys, and then found his razor. I went up to Georgy, and cut her first; I did not look at her. I then came to Carry, and cut her. Then to Harry—he said, 'don't mother.' I said, 'I must' and did cut him. Then I went to Bill. He was fast asleep. I turned him over. He never awoke, and I served him the same. I nearly tumbled into his room. The two children here, Harriet and George were awake. They made no resistance at all. I then lay down myself." This statement was signed by the miserable woman.

J. Harkness, Printer, 121, Church Street, Preston.

SOURCE: Curiosities of Street Literature, London, Reeves and Turner, 196, Strand, 1871.