Site menu:


The Lexington House Murder

~ Chapter Sixteen

Example content image

Ichabod took Katrina’s hand as they neared Lexington House.

“I still don’t feel right about this.” She said in a low voice. “We don’t even know if she is here. She may have just gone for a walk.”

Ichabod turned to her and placed his finger over his lips. He pointed to the downstairs sitting room window. There was a dim light just visible in spite of the heavy draperies.

“However will we get in?”

“The way any one might, by knocking at the door. I have a right to question them in light of Janelle’s sudden disappearance. Remember, they do not have to like me, all they have to do is let me in. And, by the way, I want you to stay hidden on the porch. I do not want you to come in with me.”


“Because there is likely to be some confrontation and, frankly, your presence will weaken my position. Do you understand me?”

Katrina hid down among the bushes which surrounded the porch fencing. She did not want the light to cast her shadow. Ichabod knocked firmly on the door. There had been a weak sound of conversation before, but it ceased immediately upon his knocking.

A small creaking as someone crossed the hall. The peephole opened. Crane announced himself in a clear, strong voice. “Constable Crane, here. I know someone is awake in this household. Open this door immediately.”

Mrs. Parker opened the door. Her face a complete mask. “What do you want here, Constable?”

But Crane pushed her rather roughly out of the way. He could already see Janelle standing in the sitting room. It appeared she was being held by someone. He quickened his pace to the doorway. And felt for the pistol in his coat. Damn! In his haste to get dressed he had forgotten it.

Outside Katrina almost screamed as she felt something rub up against her in the bushes. “It is only me, mother” whispered Jonathan. He pointed to the carriage as it pulled away from the curb.

“Why are you sending the carriage away? And why are you here? I ordered you to stay home. Jonathan, this is not a game.”

“I came because of Ichabod. He knows I am here.”

“I expressly heard him tell you to remain with Cook.”

“I didn’t say he told me to come. But he knows well enough that no threat or order would keep me away from you. And good thing he knows it, I have sent the driver back to get word to Magistrate Mailer. And I have brought this.” He had Ichabod’s pistol in his hand. “One of us needs to get this to him.”

“Jonathan, keep quiet. Give me the gun. Katrina took the pistol and hid it beneath her cloak. 


James Wellington-Trumbell had Janelle hard by the arm, but as soon as he heard Ichabod approach he quickly moved Janelle on to the settee. He continued to squeeze her arm, as he leaned over her solicitously.

“Now, look the good Constable is here to take you home. You really are in such a state, my dear.”

He tried hard to smile at Ichabod. “Your timing is very fortunate, Constable. As you can see we have had an unexpected visitor tonight. Miss Janelle came just a short while ago, demanding to see me. She is practically raving. No doubt under the stress of her recent loss. Thought somehow to reach the spirit of her sister by coming back here tonight.”

Janelle grew pale, as his fingers gave her tender flesh a particularly painful twist before removing his hand.

Crane nodded and stepped forward towards James. But at the last minute he raised his hand as if to strike the man and James immediately cowered. “Step away from the girl, Wellington-Trumbell. And tell your housekeeper to maintain her distance. Make no alarm.”

“So we can assume you have additional patrolman outside. For what purpose? To witness you, Constable Crane, being removed from my home after forcing your way in and accosting me and my housekeeper?”

“The master is right. The girl practically threatened me to let her in. She has no legal right to be here.”

Ichabod gestured for Janelle to get up from her seat and come towards him. But she did not move. Behind Ichabod, suddenly Katrina appeared.

Before he could stop her Katrina stepped aside Ichabod, and said “Janelle, we are here to help you. Ichabod will take care of James. We have come to take you home, now.”

“You should not have come, Katrina.” Janelle shook her head with her face covered in tears. She stood and gestured towards James. “This man still believed he could protect himself by threatening me. And I did believe him. Then I suddenly realized, that I have nothing left he can threaten me with. As long as I make it so. I realize I will lose John and any hope of a normal life, but at least it will put a stop to him. And that I can do if I choose. Don’t you feel done in now, James Wellington-Trumbell?” Janelle pulled a gun from a pocket in her dress and aimed it directly at James.

“Janelle, put down the gun,” Ichabod ordered.

“Woman, are you mad?” Wellington-Trumbell gasped as her. His hands began to tremble noticeably.

Parker merely stifled a scream by covering her mouth with her hand.

Katrina had moved closer to Ichabod, and now unseen she passed him his pistol. Ichabod closed his eyes for a second to thank god for his wife and son. He slowly began to raise the pistol when Katrina, put her hand on his arm, signally not to do it.

She said, “Janelle, can you not tell us why? If this man has done wrong to you or your sister, he will be arrested.”

“Arrested is not good enough for me. Because I can’t offer any proof that he actually killed my sister, yet it is the truth. I can not prove that he has lead such a life of slobbering drunkenness and degradation with young girls, that his own brother could not go on existing in same world. James has always resorted to blackmail to get his way. And he had this soulless creature to do his bidding. Janelle momentarily aimed the gun at Parker.”

“So I am doing the only thing I can to save my sister’s child. I promised her always I would take care of Megan. But to do that, I have to remove the threat and the only way is commit murder myself. It makes no difference what happens to me. At least she will be saved.”

“Take the child; we will let you have her.” James suddenly assumed a confused and frightened look upon his face.

Parker cried out. “He does not mean that. She is hysterical. Her dummy sister made up all types of stories. And was dim-witted enough to let a stranger into this house who then killed her for her stupidity. There is no more than that.”

Janelle only smiled. “Well, that is the point of me being here. I never will have proof; you are too good at paying off the poor and threatening the weak. This way James will get his due and the simpering passion you have suppressed into a life will have lost its purpose. Poor Eloise, in love with him since he was a toddler. By the time James is old enough to desire a woman, you are already too old and ugly for him. He likes girls that are young, firm and innocent. Not used-up housemaids.”

Parker made a hideous sound and lunged at Janelle. She moved so fast that she somehow dislodged the gun from Janelle’s hand and sent it skidding across the floor.

Ichabod drew his pistol. “No one is to move. Parker and Wellington-Trumbell, on the settee please. Janelle, come over to Katrina. Everything will be alright, I promise you. We will take care of Megan.”

“It is too late for that.” The quiet voice of Helen Wellington-Trumbell caused everyone to freeze as she stepped forward from the shadows. “Too late, he has already spirited her away. Who knows where.”

James seized upon the situation. “Do not do anything stupid, my dear wife. No harm will come to our beautiful daughter. I am the girl’s father and it is no crime to send her away as I wish. No one has witnessed any crime of my doing tonight.”

“Not one more soul should have to suffer because of you. You are useless as a man. And stupid. Letting Parker feed you lies and puff up your ego. All these years. All these young girls, and myself, did it not ever occur to you why you never produced a child among the lot of us. Megan is Thomas’ child, you fool. He just never knew it. You are an unfertile, lying bully. But, perhaps the real criminal here is you, Parker. You raised the mangy dog.”

Eloise Parker turned to James beseeching him. “Do not believe her, she is the liar, James. I have always served you and, yes, loved you. I have always thought only to protect you.” She placed her hand on his arm. James shook it off as if it was diseased.

“You, bitch. And to think I put up with the grotesque feel of your hands and your foul breath in my face, because I trusted you. Is this true? Is Megan not my child?” He fairly spat the words at Parker.

Parkers face was tortured. “No. She is the child of Thomas and Margaret. But he did not know. And I kept him from knowing. I looked out only for you, James.”

He shrank away from her.

“This is suddenly all so tiresome. Best just to put an end to it.” Helen Wellington-Trumbell drew out a pistol and put it to her own head. Ichabod immediately turned to where he had last seen the gun and then back to Helen. “No one picked it up,” she said softly.

Ichabod implored the woman, “Put down the gun, Helen. There will be an end to it. I promise. Do not end your own life because of this man.”

Helen slowly lowered the gun, but then pointed it directly at James. “The only way to save him is to shoot me, Constable Crane. Are you willing to do that?”

“I repeat, put the gun down, Mrs. Wellington-Trumbell. Let us sort this out and we will find Megan. I promise.”

Janelle began to sob. “Dear God, Helen you are not like them. Do not do this. If he has hidden Megan, then spare his miserable life, so that I may find her. I am begging you!”

“I am so sorry my dear. You will see Megan again. Parker knows where she is.” Without a moments hesitation she fired the gun three times into James’ chest. He sank to the floor without a sound.

Janelle screamed and fell to the floor. Katrina rushed to her side. For a second, Parker remained frozen where she sat. Then a low keening sound came from her as she slowly made her way over to the body of James. She placed his head in her lap. She rocked back and forth, mumbling something incoherent. Helen turned the gun around in her hand, and walked over to Ichabod. She handed it to him. “I hope you can understand, Constable. When Parker has come to her senses. She can tell you where the girl is.”

Helen then walked over to Janelle, “I am sorry my dear. I am as much to blame as anyone. Only now did I find the courage which I should have had long before. But tonight I could not stand idly by and watch you sacrifice your happiness to this beast. I hope you and God can forgive me.”

From the corner of his eye, Ichabod saw Jonathan step up. “Constable Mailer is on his way, father. I sent for him.”

Ichabod put his gun away. “You remembered my pistol?”

Jonathan nodded. “You knew I would come, father.”

Ichabod stoked the boy’s hair. “Thank you, son.”

The gunshot had awakened the entire household, and the hall suddenly seemed full of maids and houseman, staring unbelievably at the scene in front of them.

Ichabod quickly took control. “All of you, back to your rooms. Except for you Pierce. Fetch blankets, strong coffee and brandy. Jonathan, help Mrs. Wellington-Trumbell into to the dining room. Katrina, take Janelle along as well. I will stand guard over this scene until Mailer has come.”

They each did as they were told, until finally only Crane stood over the lifeless body of James. Parker has ceased her moaning. She had not yet released her hold on the body.

Then, Mailer was at his side, and he could hear the heavy footfalls of several patrolmen.

“I am here, Crane. Is anyone else hurt?” Ichabod shook his head. “I have them collected in the dining room. Mailer, what have you done with your mustache?”

Mailer barked out. “ Staley, Hawkins, secure the scene. Remove that woman and make sure no one disturbs the scene or the body.” When Parker had been lifted to her feet, Mailer approached her and grasped her arm. Come with me, Mrs. Parker. I believe you have a lot to tell us.”



Next Chapter