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Newspaper Page Text
CONINCSBY'S LAST MINUTE
By Frank Filson
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
"Hurt you? Not a bit. You won't
The ghastly irony of the words
rang through Coningsby's brain.
True, he would feel nothing, but it
was not the physical pain he feared.
It was the instantaneous flight of the
soul, the terror of nothingness when
the electric current sped through his
nerves and strained and stiffened
muscles taut against the straps.
What did he care for physical pain?
And the crime, the trial, the sen
tence to death, the long wait in the
deathouse, had almost vanished from
his mind, so long ago they seemed.
It was as if a different man had com
mitted that act of murder on an im
pulse for which this man named Con
ingsby dragged out the last few
minutes of his life.
He had been a business man, not
imaginative, not abnormal; an or
dinary citizen in every day before the
svent occurred which was to trans
form him into a criminal. He had
loved Polly siijcerely and he had
thought her devoted to him. Even
now he winced as he remembered
the shock of the discovery that she
loved another. Then a red mist had
risen before his eyes and he had
killed killed the man whose name
he searched for now in vain, for the
numbing sense of death was already
stealing through him.
And he wondered idly whether man
really has an immortal part, destined
to survive the tribulations of life and
look back on them with memory in
tact Could there be heaven, if the
complete memory remained? But,
on the other hand, was not memory
itself the test of survival?
Then there had been the flight
after the murder. He could remem
ber hardly anything of that, either,
for it was one long nightmare of rail
joad journeys. How had he eluded
the police who were posted, awaiting
him at every barrier? Oh, yes, the
disguise! He had forgotten that, as
he seemed to have forgotten every
thing. Then had followed the dramatic
betrayal by his dentist, Poison. Pol
son had fitted a gold tooth of a pe
culiar shape in the upper jaw. It was
Poison who discovered jhim, by one
of those coincidences that always
seem to lie. in wait for the criminal.
"It Didn't Hurt You, Did It?"
Poison had betrayed him to the po
lice. It had seemed the acme of
irony that he should have to lose his
life because of the chance recogni
tion of a man whom he saw only
twice a year and a dentist!
He remembered the trial, with all
its abominable publicity. He had
hoped to escape with nominal sen
tence, but he refused his lawyer's
suggestion that he should plead the
unwritten law. His wife had been
present in court He remembered
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