13 MAY 1882, Page 3

The trial of Mary Jane Fearneaux for the frauds of

which we recently gave an account ended with unexpected suddenness. The prisoner, who had represented herself to be Lord Arthur Clinton, and plundered many scores of persons, apparently wearied of an inquiry which was almost a farce, and after Lord Coleridge had deposed that he knew nothing about her, pleaded guilty, and was sentenced to seven years' penal servitude. The feeling is distinctly wrong, but it is very difficult not to feel that her principal victims deserved their fate. Their sole reason for advancing her money was that they believed her to be a nobleman who, under most discreditable circumstances, had adopted female costume as a disguise, and promised them im- mense interest, in one case 600 per cent., for short loans. The ignorance revealed in the short trial was almost incredible. That greedy fools should think the Lord Chief Justice concerned in a sort of plot to rescue a man of family and property from destruction is conceivable, but it was proved that they believed Lord Coleridge to have written letters begging assistance to raise small sums of LIO and £70 each. We should have thought the keenness of the class about all pecuniary questions would have protected them, but the limits of credulity are far from ascertained. If swindlers knew them, as they happily do not, there would be ten great frauds, for one which is now detected. Personation is an unworked mine. A large section of the lower middle-class are capable of believing that any vulgar impostor is a millionaire Duke in hiding, and in want of a few hundreds, because his grandmother is trying to take his life.