The Burdick Scandal – Part XI

After a few days at Niagara Falls, Alice went to New York City, and registered at the Hotel Roland. Arthur followed her, though he traveled with his wife. The Pennells and Alice were in city for a week.

According to the witness, Carrie was aware she was in the city, as Arthur visited daily; however, the witness did not see Mrs. Pennell herself.

“Weren’t you friendly with her?”

“Not particularly.”

“Did you know Mrs. Pennell wrote to your husband while you were in New York?”


“I’ll read the letter,” Coatsworth said.

Dear Ed, I feel impelled to send you a word of warning that Arthur will make no charges against you and you ought to close out the old year with an act that will save your children from this terrible scandal. Allie is going to Atlantic City tomorrow and how that trip will end no one can tell. Please consider.


Alice Burdick testifies at the inquest.

Alice did not react. “I have another letter,” the DA said.

Dear Ed, Our talk today was so short I fear I did not say what I intended. You will understand when you say I blame you that I have always said your conduct has been splendid. Because of that, I want to make one final appeal to you. I met Carol today at the market and my heart is sad for her. Allie wants to come back, and she is a good mother to the children and the time for her to come back is now. No one knows. Your honor and hers will be saved and the children will be spared. If she wants to return and you refuse to take her back, the responsibility for the injury to the children is yours. They are the ones we love, and I appeal to you to take their mother back. Think of the shame and the disgrace that will fall upon them and take her back, and if all is not well, I will make no further appeal. Do this for the children.

Alice exhibited no interest in Mrs. Pennell’s letters to her husband.

“Did you see your husband again?”

She had seen him. At her request, Edwin met her at the Genesee in January. The witness said that Burdick told her she could have the children for half the year, if she did not contest the divorce. She wanted to let him know that it was Pennell’s fault that the divorce proceedings were slowed.

“Let me understand, Mrs. Burdick. You did not plan to contest his suit? You were willing for the divorce to occur?” the DA demanded.

Alice said she was willing to follow Edwin’s suggestion at the time, but “afterwards, I thought I would make a defense and save my honor.”

“When you decided not to contest the divorce, you thought Mrs. Pennell would agree to a divorce?”


“Later she said she wouldn’t?”


“And that’s when you decided to launch a counter-suit against Burdick?”

“Pennell decided everything.”

The DA was curious. “What did Pennell plan to do after you were divorced?”

“He said he would go out west and get a divorce and marry me.”

“Even after you launched the counter-suit, you wrote to Mr. Burdick, pleading to be allowed to come home. I have a letter you wrote to your husband in January of this year.”

If you do not heed my request, I shall call to Arthur for protection. I shall not appeal to you through the children. They will not do so for themselves – these dear babies. I did not know how hard it was to part and I felt almost to weak to get up this morning. Now I realize how loyal a man you are and ask to be taken back.

“Did you not believe Arthur Pennell would divorce his wife?”

“I believed him.”

“Then why did you ask to be taken back by your husband? Were you merely waiting for the Pennells to divorce before leaving Burdick?”

Alice was silent.

Arthur Pennell part IX
Arthur Pennell

Coatsworth rifled through some papers, and produced a bond. “Pennell purchased this bond, leaving you $25,000.”

The witness denied any knowledge of it.

“How could that be? It was in your letterbox.”

“I don’t know.”

The DA asked Mrs. Burdick what she planned to live on, since she did not know about the bond, and Burdick appeared unlikely to take her back.

“I expected to receive alimony,” Alice responded.

Read Part XII.