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You say I may speak on my own defense,
I, on trial today,
Then I will tell my story,
In my own peculiar way.
Not as the cunning lawyers,
Have planned what I shall say,
Gentlemen of the Jury,
I’ll tell the truth, if I may.
He’d been coming home later and later;
Not a suspicion had I
He always had plausible reasons,
And I never questioned why.
Women, he said, knew nothing,
Of the work that men must do,
To earn the money to keep them,
“As I am keeping you”?
And he said he must be at the office,
For things were not running right,
And he found it most expedient
To work at his desk at night.
And so though I missed him sorely,
I believed every word he said,
I sat at my lone dinner,
And I went to my lone bed.
Then came the morning in April,
He had been out all night
And, anxious, I called his office,
He answered , that “All was right,”
He was detained ---would be home soon
Things were a bit awry,
And I was not to worry,
And a foolish girl to cry.
They say the last to learn the truth,
Is the simple, guileless wife,
And my faith was such in my husband,
I’d have trusted him with my life.
Unsuspicious and faithful
With a child’s blind innocence
Snug in my fool’s paradise,
There was “bliss” in my ignorance!
It happened that day at the telephone,
I saw my maid’s sly eye,
Drop in a wink to the other girl,
Who chanced to be passing by.
And something significant in that smile,
Caused my heart to stand still,
For all of a sudden I realized
That they were suspecting Will.
Suspecting my husband untrue to me!
I was stunned at the idea,
But all day long I saw their smile,
And fought the encroaching fear.
I went through his things like a thief in the night,
Fearing I might be caught,
Yet digging about with a frantic fear,
Till at last I found what I sought.
A note on the back of a photograph,
A kodak of him and her,
And across the card she had scribbled:
“Your pet stenographer.”
They have picked me a jury of married men,
But it may be that some of you,
Are leading lives of deception
And to your wives untrue.
I hope if you are you will suffer—
Yes, suffer, even as he—
That man over there, with his face in his hands.
He is nothing now to me
But I’ll go ahead with my story.
I was up to that April day,
The day when I was arrested,
I had gone quite mad they say.
You see, we had had a baby,
He lived till he was four.
His room was just as he left it.
We never once opened the door.
But I thought of his favorite treasure,
A small toy pistol, like this---
Jimmy would fill it with water
Press the rubber bulb, and----sizz!
The water would squirt in your face,
And Jimmy would scream with delight.
Ah, many’s the time, I scolded,
For he played with it even at night.
And it seemed very strange at that moment,
I should think of that little toy,
And how the water spluttered,
And gave my baby such joy.
Then I opened the door of that long locked room
And I found the little gun,
And filled it full of vitriol,
The toy of my baby son.
I went down town in a taxicab,
And I laughed as I hugged to my breast,
The thing that I knew would avenge me-----
I think you know all the rest!
There! I am rested. Thank you.
Yes, I’ll go on with my tale.
Excuse my voice —it trembles,
And I know that my face is pale.
You see, I’ve had so much trouble,
And this is the worst of all,
For there’s no disgrace in dying,
But black deeds no words may recall.
Well, well, you are waiting my story,
And I’m rambling on so slow.
I don’t like to look at that bandaged snake!
Move her away! Or I go!
There was an outer office,
With many girls and men,
And I fancied a look went wavering,
As I entered the room just then.
I scanned each face to find her,
Whose pictured one I knew.
She was not there. A pert girl spoke:
“What can we do for you?”
“Mr. Lorne?” “He’s busy just now,”
She languidly fixed her hair,
“--dictating in his office.”
“We never disturb him there.”
“I am Mrs. Lorne” I whispered.
“Indeed! Well, you don’t say!”
“I’m thinking that the boss will want.”
“To see you right away.”


Ellis Eaton is typed and crossed out. Winnie Eaton is handwritten beside it.


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People Mentioned

Elizabeth Rooney

Elizabeth Rooney is the co-editor of “A Half Caste” and Other Writings and the great-granddaughter of Winnifred Eaton through her daughter Doris Babcock Rooney. Elizabeth has a BA from U of Toronto and a DipLIT from Seneca College and has been involved in Eaton family research for many years.

Winnifred Eaton

  • Born: August 21, 1875
  • Died: April 08, 1954
See the Biographical Timeline for biographical information on Winnifred Eaton.

Pseudonym used in this text

Joey Takeda

Joey Takeda is the Technical Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive and a Developer at Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab (DHIL). He is a graduate of the M.A. program in English at the University of British Columbia where he specialized in Indigenous and diasporic literature, science and technology studies, and the digital humanities.

Mary Chapman

Mary Chapman is the Director of The Winnifred Eaton Archive, a Professor of English, and Academic Director of the Public Humanities Hub at University of British Columbia. She is the author of the award-winning monograph Making Noise, Making News: Suffrage Print Culture and US Modernism (Oxford UP) and of numerous articles about American literature and women writers. She has also edited Becoming Sui Sin Far: Early Fiction, Journalism and Travel Writing by Edith Maude Eaton (McGill-Queen’s UP) and published essays on the Eaton sisters in American Quarterly, MELUS, Legacy, Canadian Literature, and American Periodicals. Her current research project is a microhistory of the Eaton family. For more information, see

Organizations Mentioned

Winnifred Eaton Reeve Fonds

Collection of Winnifred Eaton’s papers and unpublished manuscripts, which were transferred to the University of Calgary in 1982. The finding aid for this material is located here:
Written by Joey Takeda


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Full Revision History
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January 05, 2024JTEmptyAdding document from 2023 Calgary Transcribe-a-thon.
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