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of the jurors in waiting. And now that her boy might never awake to conthe inevitable had happened; it had sciousness and sorrow. attacked a man in the dock, and not a The one bright spot at this dark mere person sentenced to three months' time was the devotion of the prison dochard labor, but a murderer lying un- tor. Never for once, while the life of der sentence of death. Perhaps now his patient was hovering near the valat last the public would rise in their ley, did that devoted man leave the might and insist that London should bedside, save at the most urgent sumhave a criminal court befitting its size mons. Indeed it may be mentioned and morals.
in confidence, and not for the purposes As the news of Gibson's illness grew of a newspaper controversy, that the more and more serious, letters and lead health of the other prisoners was someing articles on the subject filled the what neglected. Day and night he columns of the papers. A question as watched by that bedside; he even took to the sanitary condition of the old notes of Gibson's ravings, and sent on Bailey was put in the House of Com the assertions of innocence which fell mons; and one of the Irish Members from the fevered lips to the judge who said that it was only another example had sentenced the boy. That impartial of British hypocrisy to hide away the man, who was strong enough to read Central Criminal Court in a little back the papers without being influenced by street, just to make foreigners believe them, sent back a polite note to the doc. that there was no crime in the country. tor, remarking that he would be the last
Gibson became a public hero; one al person to take advantage of a delirious most expected prayers to be offered for man's ravings; he was never influenced his recovery; many people left cards at by any statement which was not made the prison where the precious life was on oath. He also highly commended trembling in the balance, Business the doctor's devotion to the patient, and men laid odds on the result of the ill- expressed a hope, under Providence, ness, and unbusinesslike business men for Gibson's recovery. took them. For a few days everybody At last came the happy day when shared Gibson's fever; they all caught Gibson, to the delight of the world and it, and took part in his delirium.
the joy of the entire Press, was proThe headlines in the papers showed nounced out of danger. The doctor the hold the subject had on the public. had indeed, if we may use the phrase Gibson Gone, Gibson a Shade Better, The in connection with one under sentence Passing of Gibson, Trembling in the Bal to be hanged, pulled him through. ance, Still Life Still Hope, and so forth. Naturally Gibson was weak and ill The letters also bore witness to the yet, but the tide had turned. The concern of all classes. One warm- youthful blood came surging up, hearted English woman wrote to The cleansed and refreshed; and, as was Daily Gale (a paper which was always natural, the public forgot both Gibson trying to raise the wind by making and also their plans for building a new storms in teacups) asking whether Eng. Old Bailey. land was at last roused from its leth- In due time Gibson, convalescent, argy; was it possible that in a Christian was sent to one of our brightest and country so promising a young life most cheerful country prisons, there to should be snatched from the gallows by grow strong and well and fill his weak. a fever-ridden dock?
ened body with God's blessed sun and Only in one small cottage in Bermond. air. Under the genial influences of a sey did a poor widow cry, and pray healthy and quiet prison the sailor
boy soon regained his strength. His blue eyes grew bright and clear again; his young limbs were full of joyful activity. Had his convalescence lasted a little longer he would have been twenty in three weeks.
But one glad day he was pronounced to be in perfect health once more, and his execution was duly fixed for the following Tuesday.
The poor mother cried a little, most of her tears had been used up; even the bank of crying will not stand against too long a run—when she found that her boy was to die the day before his birthday, a day she had always spent with him when he was on shore, and thinking about him when he was at sea. The newspapers merely announced that “Gibson, the high-sea murderer, who had recently been completely restored to health, was to be executed on Tuesday next at nine in the morning.”
On the very Tuesday morning on which John Gibson was to be hanged, an early train was dragging its dreary way from Harwich to London. Most of the carriages, it is nice for unselfish people to know, were empty, but in one third-class compartment sat two travellers. One was a gentlemanlike sort of person, evidently a substantial Harwich tradesman, who had provided himself with various newspapers and illustrated magazines; the other was a sailor who had provided himself with nothing at all.
The train was one of those which are called express, not because they travel fast, but because they do not stop at many stations. If it had gone faster and stopped longer, or more frequently, at stations, the journey would have been a pleasanter one. As it was, the progress towards London was very
tedious indeed, and before they had
gone very far, the tradesman, who liked to do little kindnesses to other
people, having looked through one of his newspapers to make sure there was nothing interesting in it, handed it to the sailor. “No, thank you, sir,” said the man; “I don't read the papers.” With an effort the tradesman handed over one of his illustrated magazines with a remark that the pictures might amuse the man. “I don't like pictures,” said the sailor. What did the sailor like? He neither looked out of the window nor went to sleep, but sat with his eyes open, doing nothing, seeing nothing, thinking nothing. After his rebuff the other man very naturally gave up any further advance to the sailor. But as the train drew nearer London they got into a thick fog and the pace became slower than walking, almost marking time. The tradesman, who had read all his papers and could not see out of the window, turned again to the only other object of distraction, the sailor. “What time are we due in London, sir?” he asked. “Half-past eight,” said the sailor. “We shall be late, I fear.” The tradesman's fear seemed likely to be realized, for at that moment the train stopped altogether, and the rest of its journey to London was accomplished by a series of little jerks. “I see you're a sailor,” persisted the Inan. “Ay.” “They're hanging one of your profession in London this morning.” “Ay o” “And hard luck it is. If any one ever had hard lines its John Gibson.” For the first time the old sailor betrayed some interest. “John Gibson, a sailor?” he said; “what ship might he belong to, and what age might he be?” “Well, all the papers have been talking enough about him,” said the tradesman. He himself had written several
letters at the time of the excitement "Not much dashing in this fog," reand signed his name.
turned the sailor. "I don't read the papers,” said the “The train's stopping again; we shall sailor; "and I've only just been landed be late, and I've forgotten to bring my in this country. I've been roaming watch. Have you got one?" The about in a foreign ship these last tradesman looked at Lale with a kind months."
of horror. "John Gibson's nineteen, he was on "Not now, sir," said the man; "I the Saucy Lass, and they're hanging swopped mine with poor Johnny for a him this morning.”
knife." “Poor little Johnny Gibson,” said “How can you sit there, knowing the sailor; "so they're hanging him. what's going to happen?" Well, it's a rum world."
“Well, I shouldn't do much good "Did you know him?" asked the walking about in this cabin. Johnny's tradesman.
in a tight place with the landsbarks I "I did," said the sailor, "seeing that admit, but a sailor's life is full of danhe was standing by me when I fell gers, as you've heard, no doubt. It's overboard, apologizing as nice as might hard luck on him if he has to slip his be for a little bit of a tiff we'd had the cable at nineteen, but fate's fate." day before."
"And to think that we should have "What," shouted the tradesman ex- been in London by now if it hadn't citedly, "you're not James Lale?"
been for the fog! This is the worst 'I am, though,” said the sailor; "and line in England. Damn the fog!" and I shall be very glad to know how you the tradesman mopped his forehead. guessed it."
"Fogs was always dangerous to "But, man, they're hanging Gibson sailors," remarked Lale. for having murdered you!"
But the most terrible journey comes "Rather previous of them,” said the to an end at last, and as the train drew old salt with a humorous smile, "seeing in to the platform the tradesman I'm here talking to you about my ship- grasped the sailor by the hand and mate. And a dear little chap he was. dragged him out of the carriage up the So they're hanging him, and for mur- platform within sight of the clock. Its dering me too. Well, I never under- pale face seen through the fog told stood the law and I never shall."
them that it was ten minutes past nine. But the tradesman had risen to his “Is the station-clock right?" gasped feet, beads of perspiration on his fore the tradesman to a passing ticket-colhead. “You don't understand," he lector. cried. “I'm not joking, God forbid!- "Three minutes slow, sir, by GreenGibson is to be hanged at nine this wich time," said the official. morning for murdering you. You don't The tradesman looked at the sailor want to cause his death?”
who was watching him with an expres"Hold hard,” said the sailor good- sion of slight but not unkindly curihumoredly; "I must argue with you osity. “I don't fancy we need bother," there, I couldn't cause poor Johnny's said the man quietly. "They're pretty death. I didn't mean to fall overboard, punctual at Newgate, I expect." you can lay your last shirt. And if "Brandy," said the tradesman other folks say he murdered me,-well, hoarsely, as he staggered towards the they're liars, but don't blame me.” refreshment-room, "brandy, for God's
"But we must telegraph at the sta- sake!" tion, and dash to Newgate," said the “Well, I don't mind if I join you," tradesman.
said the sailor; "it's a nippy morning." Macmillan's Magazine.
THE BAD MEN OF AMERICA.”
Americans, who have invented the most vivid slang in the world, know the value of occasional recourse to understatement. This may be satirical, or it may seem to English ears more of an understatement than it really is beCauSe Words are used in their older and unimpaired sense. Thus “a sick man” may be a man dangerously ill; and “a bad man” is the accepted phrase in the West for the most dangerous kind of assassin America has produced. This book is a collection of short biographies of Some of the most notorious scoundrels who lived “out West” when the West was more lawless than any part of the globe inhabited by men who ought to have been civilized. The great merit of the collection is that it tries to be historically exact. We confess that if the author were guilty of any posturing—of a kind of swashbuckling sentiment, compounded of frothy writing and loose history, in favor of men who died “with their boots on,” as the American phrase is—we should have no use for his book. There is a tendency to that kind of thing, not only in America but in England, among men who have never been in circumstances that compelled them to keep a hand near their revolver, who never had occasion to “go after their gun,” as they say in America. The explanation of it is generally to be found in a sort of reVolt against the unromantic security of our civilization, which, after all, they could easily escape from (with the goodwill of us all) if they cared to get on familiar terms with danger by other means than pen and paper. We mention this manner only because it is possible to describe Mr. Hough's book by
* “The Story of the Outlaw: a Study of the Western Desperado.” By Emerson Hough. New York: The Outing Publishing Company.
saying that he almost wholly avoids it. If writers could be persuaded to understand it, crimes as daring and ruthless as those related in this book lose some of their power to impress by every departure from literal statement. As it is, this book has given us shocks and thrills of no ordinary calibre. If there are still people stupid enough to keep children quiet by frightening them, this is the kind of book which would serve their purpose. To think that a man like Murrell or Boone Helm or Billy the Kid was after you would be a perpetual nightmare. Rascality is not a province in which any nation need wish to compete with any other, but honesty compels us to say that Mr. Hough claims too much for his desperadoes. England had Something very like them in her gentlemen of the road, and Australia with her “bushrangers” came nearer still to the type. The present writer remembers examining the armor made of sections of large iron pipes which was worn by Kelly, the famous bushranger; the headpiece was a simple iron cylinder with an improvised visor, and he wondered at the time whether this was not the most perfect symbol of outlawry which the world could show. “Rol. Boldrewod’s” story, Robbery under Arms, owes its great success, to our thinking, not to any literary merit, but to the wisdom which led the author virtually to transcribe Australian Blue-books on bushranging. The conditions under which civilization struggled to assert itself in the West of America are sufficiently defined in the following passage:–
Turn the white man loose in a land free of restraint—such as was always that Golden Fleece land, vague, shifting and transitory, known as the American West—and he simply reverts to the ways of Teutonic and Gothic forests. The civilized empire of the West has grown in spite of this, because of that other strange germ, the love of law, anciently implanted in the soul of the Anglo-Saxon. That there was little difference between the bad man and the good man who went out after him was frequently demonstrated in the early roaring days of the West. The religion of progress and civilization meant very little to the Western town marshal, who sometimes, or often, was a peace officer chiefly because he was a good fighting man.
The bad man of the genuine sort, says Mr. Hough, rarely looked the part. The long-haired blusterer, adorned with a dialect that never was spoken, serves very well in fiction about the West, but he is not the real bad man. Billy the IVid was outwardly a smiling-faced, amiable boy, and he had killed twentytwo men before he himself was twentyone. At that age he was shot dead by the famous peace officer, Pat Garrett, who twenty years later has received Some of the rewards he deserved froln Mr. Roosevelt. Ollinger, on the other hand, is still remembered in the West as the doubtful type with which pictures have made us familiar. He stepped over the narrow margin which divided the bad men who were against the law from the bad men who were nominally enlisted in the service of the law, and he acted as a peace officer:—
He wore his hair long and affected the ultra-Western dress, which to-day is despised in the West. He was one of the very few men at that time— twenty-five years ago—who carried a knife at his belt. When he was in such a town as Las Vegas or Santa Fé, he delighted to put on a buckskin shirt, spread his hair out on his shoulders, and to walk through the streets, picking his teeth with his knife, or once in a while throwing it in such a way that it would stick up in a tree or a board. He presented an eye-filling spectacle,
and was indeed the ideal imitation bad Luala.
We must give here Garret's own description of how he shot Billy the Kid:—
The Kid stepped up to the bedside and laid his left hand on the bed and bent over Maxwell. He saw me sitting there in the half darkness, but did not recognize me, as I was sitting down. My height would have betrayed me had I been standing. “Pete, Quien es?” he asked in a low tone of voice; and he half motioned toward me with his six-shooter. That was when I looked across into eternity. It wasn’t far to go. That was exactly how the thing was. I gave neither Maxwell nor the Kid time for anything farther. There flashed over my mind at once one thought, and it was that I had to shoot and shoot at once, and that my shot must go to the mark the first time. I knew the Kid would kill me in a flash if I did not kill him. Just as he spoke and motioned toward me, I dropped over to the left and rather down, going after my gun with my right hand as I did so. As I fired, the Kid dropped back. I had caught him just about the heart. His pistol, already pointed toward me, went off as he fell, but he fired high. As I sprang up, I fired once more, but did not hit him, and did not need to, for he was dead. I don't know that he ever knew who it was that killed him.
The most ambitious of the bad men was John A. Murrell. Although he transcends the type of his kind, we must briefly take him as an example, because as a figure in the early history of the West he cannot be neglected. In another walk of life he would have been great. He had some personal “magnetism,” he had patience, and he was an artist in his devilish adaptability. At one time he pretended to be a Methodist and went about preaching, and even, it is said, making converts; at another he was the prop and stay for three months of an old Roman Catholic