The girl was Elizabeth Armstrong, who lived in Charles St, now Ranston St, and probably went to Bell St School. (The similarity between Elizabeth and Eliza is another coincidence). In fact the girl had been put in the care of the Salvation Army, taken to Paris to prove how easy it was to take a child abroad, and there given a safe home and even used to sell the 'War Cry', the Salvation Army newspaper.
Stead was arrested. At the trial the parents claimed that they thought Elizabeth was going into domestic service. Evidence was very confused. Stead's witnesses contradicted what they had told him earlier. His middle class morality was foreign to people who had to pick up a living as best they could. Stead failed to prove why the £5 had been paid. Money had been given, but its purpose was disputed and the trial disintegrated into mutual incomprehension.
The father was a personable rogue who appealed to the journalists and always had a quotable remark ready, not unlike Dolittle in the play. Had it been realised that the parents of the child were not married, it might, in the moral climate of the period, have influenced the decision, or even the decision to prosecute Stead and General Booth in the first place. As it was, the judge ruled as out of court the social background of the case, saying that Stead's reasons for buying the child could not be used in evidence. The sole point at issue before the court, he said, was Stead’s procuring of the child.
Charles Street 1885, the house
where Elizabeth Armstrong lived.
was one of the houses that
she rebuilt Charles Street
(now Ranston St).