The Making of a Novelist
Where everything was strange and dreamlike, the oddest thing of all was to see Calcraft take the pinioned fin-like hand of the prisoner and shake it when he had drawn the white cap over the face and arranged the rope. He came creaking in new boots down the sticky steps of the gallows, pulled a rope to free a support which ran on a single wheel in an iron groove, and the man was dead in a second. The white cap fitted close to his face, and the thin white linen took a momentary stain of purple, as if a bag of blackberries had been bruised and had suddenly exuded the juice of the fruit. It sagged away a moment later and assumed its natural hue.
I learned from the evening paper and from the journals of next morning that the prisoner met his fate with equanimity. I think that in that report I bottomed the depths of human stupidity, if such a thing is possible. I had never seen a man afraid before; and, whe