Recycled Post – Another trunk – this one owned by Lizzie. Maybe the hand of Helen Leighton once touched it. ;)
On June 21, 1890 Lizzie Borden embarked on a 19 week Grand Tour of Europe. A month and two days later, she would celebrate her 30th birthday while on that Tour. It must have been her best birthday ever. However, according to reports, she would also have to wire home for additional funds, a necessary appeal that must have been a source of great embarrassment to her considering her travel companions.
Lizzie was enjoying the thrilling sights of England, Scotland, France, and Italy with sisters Carrie Lindley Borden and Anna Howland Borden, daughters of Colonel Thomas J. Borden (of the “Greater Bordens” and related to Lizzie, albeit somewhat distantly); Elizabeth Hitchcock Brayton, daughter of David Anthony Brayton, (and who later owned and resided in the structure which is now the Fall River Historical Society); Sarah Brayton; Ellen “Nellie” Shove, whose father was President of the Shove Mill; and a chapperone, Miss Cox. Lizzie was truly emershed with the upper crust, i.e., “the cultured girls” who lived on the coveted “Hill”, i.e, the Highlands of Fall River’s elite.
Lizzie certainly didn’t have the cash on hand her companions did for purchasing souveniers. It has been reported she brought home common reprints of cathedrals and famous paintings, but its likely Carrie, Anna, Sarah and Elizabeth bought more expensive items such as fine lace, small sculptures, perhaps even designer clothing. So when Lizzie, who always had a keen eye for quality and exquisite taste found herself cash strapped, it has been reported she wired home for more.
Below is a page from the September 17, 1892 The Illustrated American telling us something a little different and who actually sent her the money needed for her return passage. (Right click image for easier reading and note yellow highlight). I have several issues of The Illustrated American from this era and have found their reporting to be remarkably accurate. However, I find it curious that her passage would not have been booked as “round trip” in the first place. Perhaps the ladies had not booked return passage when they arranged to begin their journey. After all, crossings were frequent and if they decided to return “sometime in November”, there would be plenty of time (and for most of them, plenty of cash) to purchase the return fare.
This issue was released after the Coroner’s Inquest (August 9-11) and the Preliminary Hearing (August 25-31), and Borden scholars will recognize precise testimony from those proceedings.
It is my long time personal belief that it was this trip – the first abroad for Lizzie – that changed her forever. She was transformed during those four months into a woman who, having lived the life of what money could bring – i.e., fine food in restaurants, hot running water, luxurious bathtubs, culture – became steeled in her determination to “have more.” (See my essay in Jules Rychebusch’s Proceedings book of the 1992 Lizzie Borden Conference, “Why We Don’t Know Lizzie”). Less than a year after her return to her unstylish home below “the Hill” in Fall River, the Borden house was burglarized in broad daylight. Shortly after that, Emma “offered” Lizzie her larger bedroom. A year after that Andrew and Abby were murdered. And a year after that – Lizzie, indeed, got “more”.
In the same issue, which is extensive about the Borden case up to that date, are the following images we have become familiar with. The top photo shows the Borden house and part of the Churchill house to the left. This photo was used for the cover of Marie Belloc Lowndes book: Lizzie Borden – A Study in Conjecture.
What has always puzzled me is what exactly is that thing outside the fence in front of Mrs. Churchill’s house? This is the clearest photograph I have seen and I still can’t figure it out. Couldn’t be a resting spot to tie up a carriage because it is set too far back on the sidewalk. Anyway, it’s driven me nuts for years so if anybody knows, please enlighten me.