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Newspaper Page Text
her cry when the judge finished the
Then the stony faces of the jury
men, who stared at him as they filed
out of their box. And the terrible
"If they're out an hour longer it
will mean a disagreement, or, at best,
a second-degree verdict," his coun
sel whispered hopefully.
That was the first time that Con
ingsby realized the imminence of
death. A second-degree verdict!
Why, what had people been count
Suddenly he became aware that
the faces of the spectators had death
in them. There was death in the
silence of the court, in the faces of
the police, in the averted looks of the
. jurors as they came ominously back.
"Guilty of murder in the first de
gree!" Those words rang through
his brain. They seemed engraved
"Take it easily!" the prison super
intendent was saying. And Conirigs
by realized that, while these me-
mories had flitted through his brain,
he had actually traversed those few
paces across the stone flags from his
cell into the death chamber.
That was where he had expected
his nerve to fail. The prison super
intendent put some sweet-smelling
and slightly pungent stuff to his nos
trils, but he tried to push it away. He
did not want to go to his death drug
ged. They were waiting for him, the re
porters and all the ghoulish crew.
There was the doctor, fingering his
stethoscope in an embarrassed man
i ner, ready to apply it over his breast
after he had ceased to breathe. And
the electricians, pretending to be ab
sorbed in this own ghastly prepara
tions for sending down the lever
which should force thousands of
volts of electricity through his quiv
Coningsby looked at the reporters.
Their faces, singularly blank, stared
man moistening his dry lips furtively..
He was already in the chair! He
had sat down, still absorbed in his
thoughts. Now it was all but over.
The chaplain, at his side, would soon
begin intoning the burial service. He
knew just when the lever would fall.
"In the midst of life we are in death!"
No word was spoken, but Conings
by knew that the dreadful drama had
already begun. The electrodes were
already applied. He felt the straps
about him. He gripped the chair
with both his hands. He felt his eye
balls throbbing. He heard the dron
ing of the clergyman beside him.
He stared out under the bandages
about his eyes. He saw the line of
ghastly faces opposite him. The lit
tle reporter was wiping his forehead.
Somebody pressed down the ban
dage again, but not before he had
seen Polly's face am6ng those of the
His blood ran sluggishly, and icy
needles seemed to prick his veins.
Polly had come to see him die! The
thought- was maddening. His eyes
had caught hers and he had seen
hers fixed on his with emotion, al
most with fear.
He tore the bandage from his eyes
and struggled in the chair. He drew
in a deep breath. The guards placed
their hands on him and forced him
down. He knew that the fatal cur
rent would not be sent through his
body while their hands were about
him. And, clinging to them, he strove
to raise, while the droning went on
He fought like a madman. The
Scene dissolved in a red mist like that
which had been before his eyes when
he committed murder. All the while
he saw Polly's face, the horror in her
eyes. She started up.
"Take4$ easily now. It won't last
He cursed the warden. He fought
like a man possessed. Polly had risen
and was coming toward him.
4We are in death!"
impassively into his. IJe saw a young 1