214 Glimpses of Our Ancestors.
such a death-shriek was heard by the keeper's wife at Dale Gate at half-past nine.
But, however instantaneous the death of Mr. Griffith, it was obvious that he was not surprised by his assailants, and did not die without a struggle. It would have been impossible, in such an open country, and on so light a night, to come upon him unawares, forewarned as he had been and prepared as he was for the attack; and then, too, as a proof that he was not so surprised, he had had time to take off his right-hand glove and to draw and discharge, or attempt to discharge, a pistol. The weapon was found on the road two yards and a half from his body. Then, too, his whip was broken, as though by a blow given with it, and the reins had been cut, and a portion of them was found lying on the road, with a clasped knife, by which, no doubt, it had been done; and Mr. Griffith's hat and empty purse, and with them the frame of a pair of spectacles, with some crape attached to it, intended, it may be presumed, to conceal an assailant's face, were also lying in the road near the dead body. When, too, the gig — which had been turned round towards Henfield — was examined, it was found that the step had been forced round in a way that could only have been effected by great violence. There were no marks of blood or other signs to denote a struggle in the gig, only the cut reins and the broken whip and the twisted step; nor did the ground, where Mr. Griffith was lying, show any signs of a struggle. But the above facts are conclusive that there must have been a struggle between Mr. Griffith and his assailants before the fatal shot was fired.
The booty resulting from the deed could not have been great. It was supposed that Mr. Griffith had upon him about £zo in cash; he had taken a cheque of £13 on the Chichester Bank, and a £$ Brighton Union Bank note. These were missing, and his watch—a gold one—had been wrenched off the gold chain by which it hung round his neck; but a considerable part of the chain itself was found attached to the back part of his neck, as if Aung round by the violence