Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

10 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



AMERICAN STORIES. 4 INVITED TO A HANGING: _1 INVITED 'ro A HANGING: After exhausting the other sights in the little South Carolina town we went over to the jail to see a murderer who was to be hung one week from that day. He was a white man about 40 years of age. and he had killed his wife with an ax because they differed in opiniog. If a wife will insist upon differ- ing with her husband she must be prepared for the worst. Husbands will suffer long and give no sign, but there is such a thing as driving tham to despera- tion. When we entered the corridor the Sheriff was en- gaged in soapi::g the hangman's rope. It was a new one, and he wits in a hurry to render it smooth and pliably and have the job off his hands. He took the rope along in his hand as we entered the cell of the condemned, and after a formal introduction the gentleman who was so soon to go on an excursion reached for the rope, carefully inspected it, and ob- served Bill, you are doing a slick job on tbat.r: "Well, I'm trying hard." "If I can help you in any way just call out. I might as well be soaping the rope as sitting here do- ing nothing." We sat down for a smoke and a talk. Some chaps in his situation would have been so stuck up that you would have felt your littleness in their presence, but this one made an earnest effort to put us at out ease. He exhibited considerable interest in the pro- ject to get him out of the way, and his conversation I proved that he had given the matter considerable thought. Ever see a man hung? he inquired of me in a kindly voice. "Yes." "How did he take it?" He seemed discouraged from the very start" Yes, some go that way. I have mapped out a little programme to be followed, and I'd like to ask your opinion of it. Here it is: Rise at six ain. on the eventful morning. "Put on a clean shirt, and my Sunday suit, so as to appear respectable. Jireakfast at 7 o'clock. "Receive friends from 7.30 to 8-30. "From 8-30 till 10 indulge in final preparations and take leave of Bill and the boys. "At 10 o'clock proceed to the gallows, giving Bill as little trouble as possible. Make a speech about half an hour in length, warning all young men to abstain from marriage and all wives to obey their husbands. "Probably some singing. Take my place on the trap and Bill ewings me off. "Curtain." I told him that I had seldom seen a more carefully prepared programme, and that if he stuck to it lie could not fall to come out with flying colours. His orthography was defective in certain instances. He realized this and asked me to amend it, and when we had go lie over the programme with a pencil he returned his heartfelt thanks. There were one or two little tilings that annoyed him. For instance, he had never made a study of ora- tory,and there was danger of his breaking down in the middle of his speech. Then, too, his voice was not in good trim, and the spectators on the back seats might feel put out because they could not catch his words. He would be thankful for suggestions from a newspaper man. I told him not to try to make a hit on oratory, but to tell a plain story and drop in the gestures where he thought they would count. The crowd would excuse his voice, knowing that he had been shut up for the last six months. His countenance cleared up at once, and he insisted that lie was my Jebtor. There was another thing. He had two brothers and one sister. They had thrown out hints that they would be ,QII hand to see him swung off. Within a,day or two lie had begun to doubt the propriety of suoli action. He didn't want to disap- point them. but would it be just the proper capet for them to show up oil such an occasion? I re- plied that lie had better leave the matter for them to decide. Some people enjoy seeing a brother hung; others wouldn't go a rod to witness such a spectacle. It really made no difference to the con- demned, anyhow, as he would be hung all the same. I I TliaCe so, that's so," mused the prisoner. "I guess I'll leave 'em to follow their own bent. Say, how soon do) ou leave? •• To- morrow." No! And you won't be here at the hanging ? "I can't be, though I regret it." Now, that's too bad 1 Can't you stop over to oblige me I'd like to have you see the affair come off." I excused myself on various grounds, and as we rose to go he held out his hand and said Well, if you can't, you can't, of course, though I'm real sorry. I'm glad you called, and if you should change your mind and conclude to take In the hanging just telegraph me."


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