Sussex Tragedies and Romances. 211
A warning letter was received early in January by Mr. Martin, couched in the following terms :—
" Sir,—Some parties intend to rob you next time you goes to Horsham, so bee on your gard."
This singular epistle was directed to " Mr. Mertens, Griffis Bruery," and the post-mark showed that it had been put into the box of the Trafalgar-street receiving house of the Brighton Post Office. The handwriting was evidently a disguised one; in the opinion of those expert in such matters it was written with the left hand, and the bad spelling was evidently assumed, it being altogether unlikely that a person who could spell such a word as "parties" correctly, would stumble at "bee" and "gard."
The letter was, of course, shown to Mr. Griffith by his clerk, and its effect was, to induce him again to make the journey himself, taking with him a pair of pocket pistols, which Mr. Martin had borrowed of a friend in case he had gone. An offer made by the Chief Officer of the Brighton Police (Mr. Chase), to whom the letter was also shown, to accompany Mr. Griffith on the return journey by night was declined by him, as was also the company of Mr. Martin. He wished, he told the latter, to give a young friend staying with him a drive. However, he eventually went alone, in a light gig hired for the occasion. He was a fine, athletic man, in the prime of life, between 42 and 43—a formidable antagonist for any single assailant, and, with fire-arms, it might have been thought, a match for many. He seems to have had no fears; he did not even tell his wife of the anonymous letter. And yet he was a cautious and prudent man, as is testified by the fact that not long before he had insured his life for a large sum.
The out-journey was made in safety. Horsham, West-grinstead, Henfield were called at and accounts collected. At the former place the wife of the landlord, Mrs. Ansell, remarked on the lateness of the hour and the fact that some robberies had been recently committed in that vicinity, whereupon, according to her statement at the subsequent inquest,