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True Crime in 1831, Part 7 - A Woman Scorned

Updated: Jan 30, 2021

The United States Hotel, Philadelphia

When Lucretia arrived in Philadelphia, she went to Colonel Cuesta's home. She was told that Lino had not been there for a long time and that they had heard nothing of his friend Casanova's death. In fact, the Consul and his sister had gone to Niagara Falls. She then went to the United States Hotel since Lino had told her that the Consul had rooms there and he had the privilege of going there whenever he chose, and had servants to wait on him. She next visited the LeBruns who had also not seen him recently.

Lucretia then went to see William's tailor, Mr. Watkinson, who had initially fitted Lino for a suit when he had first arrived. Mr. Watkinson had been to Andalusia following William's death to see Lucretia and inform her that Lino was ordering too much clothing. He thought it was his duty to let her know, but she was not at home when he called. He told her his errand had been to inform her that he could not make another suit for Lino, as he thought she would be obliged to pay for it; that it would be like taking the bread out of her children's mouth. He told her that he thought Lino was a great scoundrel and had sent one of his employees to Consul Cuesta's office to inquire about Lino. The Consul said he knew nothing of him, and knew neither him nor his father and believed Lino to be an imposter. Mr. Watkinson repeated to her that he thought Lino was as great a scoundrel as ever lived. She replied, "I hope not, Mr. Watkinson." She told him he had acted perfectly right, thanked him and left his shop. The tailor thought she appeared to be very much hurt afterward. In fact, she was thunderstruck.

Returning home, she found a letter on her mantel from the United States Hotel, addressed to Lino. Upon opening it she found a bill, totaling $4.00 (Board for self and 2 Ladies - $3.00, Use of a private parlour - $1.00) It was from the 8th and 9th of July, just three days after they were married while she was in Syracuse. That was the final straw. Lucretia promptly sat down and composed a letter on Sunday afternoon, 31 July 1831. She started by telling him about her trip to Philadelphia and her visits to Colonel Cuesta's and Mr. Watkinson's shop. She wrote:

...I could not believe you were capable of so much Ingratitude, as not to return to reward me, who had ever been a sincere friend to YOU; the truth of this assertion I believe you cannot doubt; when you reflect but for a moment that when you were destitute, I took pitty on you, and gave you a home, fed you, clothed you, and nursed you when you were sick, &c. &c. If I have been sincere, why has Lino been induced to practice so much deception on Lucretia? Why not keep your appointment and return to me the same week you left, on Saturday at 4 o'clock, as you promised?--But too well you knew your own guilt!! You never intended to return to me: I thank you, Lino, and I thank my God, for having returned my dear innocent child Lucretia to me in safety; for as you have been permitted to practise so extensive a robbery on me, I feel thankful that my children are spared to me; and perhaps may yet prove a blessing to me; tho' you, Lino, are the cause of my enduring much misery at this present time; yes, my heart is pained with the crimes you have committed; think, Lino, (and if your heart is not of adamant,) I believe if you reflect but for a moment on the cruelties you have practiced on me and on my dear daughter Mary, your heart will bleed with mine! I have now no husband to aid me in supplying the wants of my dear Innocents. Ah! Lino! do not extend your cruelties so far as to deprive me of every thing which might be sold to aid in supplying my dear children with food and clothing! Tell me in your next letter when I may find my horse and Dearborn (carriage), if you really have not sold them, but "have left them with a friend till you return;" as you informed me in your first letter; but if you have sold my horse and carriage, gold and silver watches, breast-pins, finger-rings, medals, musical box, silver bells with whistle and cake basket &c. &c. and do not intend to send me any money as you promised to do, to relieve my distress, or need of money, I say, if you do not intend I shall ever possess any of the property you have deprived me of, than (then) I must tell you that I wish you would never write to me again, and do not request others with whom you correspond, to direct their letters to you here, and to my care, as you will find I have forwarded one to you by enclosing it in this of mine. But as you have forsaken me, do not torment me by sending any more of your letters, filled as they are with fair words and pretended affection. By this time I suppose my rings decorate the fingers of one, whom, perhaps you do love sincerely; and the worst wish that Lucretia sends after you is, that you may be happy. You say in your last letter that "as often as you remember me, you bathe yourself in floods of tears" and that "you are dying of grief" &c. I cannot think you indulge in grief if you are in possession of the $45,000 which you wrote me you expected to received; and then you visit the President frequently, and have the honour of walking with a Duke of England; all this must surely make you happy, without your sending even a wish or a thought after me!! And then, I observe you speak of a female friend -- , who, perhaps, now receives your fondest caresses, and perhaps renders you perfectly happy. But no, Lino, when I pause for a moment, I am constrained to acknowledge that I do not believe that God will permit either you or me to be happy this side of the grave. I now bid you a long farewell. LUCRETIA

(Note: spelling, italics, and punctuation are as they appear in the original letter)

She included the hotel bill and wrote at the bottom, "I find you have no want for a plenty of ladies if you only have a plenty of money. Adieu. LUCRETIA." But she was not done. She added: "This you left instead of a dagger to pierce me to the heart. You told me that when you staid all night in town you were at the Minister's apartments without expense, and that the Minister's daughter and the Consul's sisters were your company; this bill gives me a different opinion; however, I will not reprove you, Lino, do what you think will make you happy. Adieu. LUCRETIA. I wish you would observe God's commands."

Lino never received this letter. He had left Washington before it got there. It did ,however, find another recipient.

A day or two after Lucretia had mailed that scathing farewell letter to Lino, she was discussing with her sister Mercy as to what should be done in case he returned. Lucretia told her sister that she had made up her mind and hoped that he would never return. As fate would have it, while they were talking, Lino arrived, probably unaware of what had occurred during his absence or indifferent, knowing that he held a secret which could ensure, so far as depended on his accomplice, his safety. He knew full well she did not dare expose him.

When he came into the room, Lucretia said, "Lino! leave me." He replied, with his usual self assurance, "What is the matter? If an angel had come from heaven, and told me a wife of mine would behave so, I would not have believed it." He continued, telling her that he had been to New Orleans and back. Lucretia expressed surprise and remarked that it was impossible that he had been there and back in the time he had been gone. Well, he said, he had gone all the way on a railroad and had travelled night and day at the rate of 30 miles an hour.

Lucretia then changed topics and said, "Lino, the chain you gave me is not gold." She at first had worn it round her neck, but finding it irritated her skin very much, she discovered it was nothing but brass. He replied, "If your affections are so slender as a chain, I can explain that to you. When I gave you the chain, I told you a friend had given it me-that friend might have deceived me, or might have been deceived himself."

She then brought up the hotel bill. He stated that while he was in Philadelphia, a shower of rain came on, and he ran under an arcade for protection. While he was there, two ladies of distinction came and asked him if he had an umbrella. He said no, he was under there for protection himself. He remained there a little while with them, and then took them to the hotel, which accounted for the bill.

Lucretia said, "Lino, my sister is not at all satisfied with this conduct." Lino replied, "We had better be separated, then - I find I have more wives than one to please." The sooner the better, Lucretia told him. "Remember, Mrs. Chapman, before we go, I must tell you something." She asked him what is was and he said, "I cannot tell you in the presence of your sister. If you will come in the other room, I will tell you." She followed him into the and then returned to her sister, saying, "Sister, Lino is not an imposter, he is a clever fellow." When asked what he told her, Lucretia said "that's of no consequence, it was something between ourselves." Whatever he had said to her was enough to convince her to give him letters of introduction to her relatives and friends in New England. He took them the next day and, with them in hand, left Andalusia, never to return.

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