Lizzie in her own words, part 3

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Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the murder of her parents; what happened next?  Blood Relations is set ten years afterwards; Sarah Rodrigues helps us fill in the gaps.


I’m not going to talk about it anymore. It’s been 10 years. It’s all anyone ever wants to talk about. I’m a person, with thoughts and feelings. And I was acquitted. I didn’t do it. So I can’t tell you anything you haven’t heard a thousand times before. 

Maplecroft in Fall RiverAfter the trial, Emma and I moved into Maplecroft, a large, modern house on the hill. We had plenty of money. Running water, electricity, whatever we wanted. We had to give Mrs. Borden’s family some money in a ridiculous settlement, as if she deserved anything. 

No one in Fall River speaks to me. Not really. The children make up rhymes – “Lizzie Borden took an axe” – and ring my doorbell at all hours of the night. It’s infuriating – I was acquitted! But it doesn’t matter to anyone. 

Someone in Fall River even accused me of shoplifting, like I had when I was just a girl. As if I couldn’t buy anything I wanted. They just wanted to get their name in the paper.

Most people ask why I don’t leave, move away. Part of me thought perhaps they’d eventually accept my innocence. The other part of me, well, I suppose I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.  They can sneer and turn away and refuse to sit in my pew at church. I know justice was done. 

Nance O'NeillI have other friends. Nance O’Neill is a delight to be with, so alive and young and beautiful. She makes me feel young and beautiful too. She’s just an actress, of course, so I could never really trust her, despite everything. But we could laugh! 

Emma didn’t like Nance. She wanted the quiet life; she wanted discretion. I wanted to have some fun, for the first time in my life. I threw Nance a grand party to celebrate and the next day Emma left. I never saw her again. 

So please don’t ask “Did you Lizzie, Lizzie did you?” People have been asking forever. Every year on the anniversary of the murders someone comes calling, to pry. I was acquitted. We never found out what really happened. No one else was ever investigated or charged. 

I used to hope I’d be remembered as a great lady, someone of importance. I didn’t ever imagine I would be remembered for something so horrible. Now all I want is to be forgotten.

Lizzie Borden, late in life