Sketches New and Old, Part 4. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 58 pages of information about Sketches New and Old, Part 4..
impressive silence, they will swing you into per—­Paradise, my son.  There will not be a dry eye on the ground.  You will be a hero!  Not a rough there but will envy you.  Not a rough there but will resolve to emulate you.  And next, a great procession will follow you to the tomb—­will weep over your remains—­the young ladies will sing again the hymns made dear by sweet associations connected with the jail, and, as a last tribute of affection, respect, and appreciation of your many sterling qualities, they will walk two and two around your bier, and strew wreaths of flowers on it.  And lo! you are canonized.  Think of it, son-ingrate, assassin, robber of the dead, drunken brawler among thieves and harlots in the slums of Boston one month, and the pet of the pure and innocent daughters of the land the next!  A bloody and hateful devil—­a bewept, bewailed, and sainted martyr—­all in a month!  Fool!—­so noble a fortune, and yet you sit here grieving!”

“No, madam,” I said, “you do me wrong, you do, indeed.  I am perfectly satisfied.  I did not know before that my great-grandfather was hanged, but it is of no consequence.  He has probably ceased to bother about it by this time—­and I have not commenced yet.  I confess, madam, that I do something in the way of editing and lecturing, but the other crimes you mention have escaped my memory.  Yet I must have committed them—­you would not deceive a stranger.  But let the past be as it was, and let the future be as it may—­these are nothing.  I have only cared for one thing.  I have always felt that I should be hanged some day, and somehow the thought has annoyed me considerably; but if you can only assure me that I shall be hanged in New Hampshire—­”

“Not a shadow of a doubt!”

“Bless you, my benefactress!—­excuse this embrace—­you have removed a great load from my breast.  To be hanged in New Hampshire is happiness —­it leaves an honored name behind a man, and introduces him at once into the best New Hampshire society in the other world.”

I then took leave of the fortune-teller.  But, seriously, is it well to glorify a murderous villain on the scaffold, as Pike was glorified in New Hampshire?  Is it well to turn the penalty for a bloody crime into a reward?  Is it just to do it?  Is, it safe?



This country, during the last thirty or forty years, has produced some of the most remarkable cases of insanity of which there is any mention in history.  For instance, there was the Baldwin case, in Ohio, twenty-two years ago.  Baldwin, from his boyhood up, had been of a vindictive, malignant, quarrelsome nature.  He put a boy’s eye out once, and never was heard upon any occasion to utter a regret for it.  He did many such things.  But at last he did something that was serious.  He called at a house just after dark one evening, knocked, and

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Sketches New and Old, Part 4. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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