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Hanged for Shoplifting, Being a True History of Mary Jones’ Sad Life and Death

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minyoo

Assistant executioner
Thomas Turlis, the Hangman before Edward Dennis. No likeness of Edward has survived.
View attachment 859345
Approaching the Gallows
View attachment 859346
Tying the Ropes
View attachment 859349
St. George's Hanover Square whose noon bell toll signaled the hanging (1787).
View attachment 859350
Marker near present Marble Arch
View attachment 859351

Mary Jones, condemned to die.
View attachment 859352
The pictures, all of them are pure gold.

My absolute favorite is the last one, though.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
Mary Jones Dances the Jig

The Yeoman whipped the horse and the cart began to move slowly forward. Allen was turned off to the cheers of the onlookers and swung gently at the end of the rope. Mary felt the cart moving away under her bare feet. The rough, splintery planks would, at any other time be torture to soft, unprotected feet. But now they seemed like velvet cushions compared to the alternative approaching.

She tried to retain her footing and her balance as the noose dragged her inexorably to the rear of the cart. Arms bound tightly behind her, stretching her pretty neck as hight as possible, Mary struggled frantically during those precious last seconds to try to escape her fate. From the corner of her eye, she spied Abby, blissfully smiling in the Rev. Woods arms. No! She couldn't leave her baby!

The crowd watched the last and most evocative prisoner moving off the cart. There seemed a collective hold of breath in anticipation as the beautiful girl got closer to the end of the planks. At last her dainty, bare, left foot stepped softly off into space. For just a moment, the girl scrambled with her right to support her weight as she felt the rope tighten on her throat, but the cart moved pitilessly away, her right foot slid off, and she fell a few inches and the noose tightened. Though the fall was almost imperceptible, Mary knew it meant her death. A powerful sob shook her body as she knew her fate, and that of her babies, was sealed.

It is unknown whether it was her light frame, or the finer rope used for the noose, or a careless miscalculation by Yoeman Brunskill, or just bad luck for the girl, but Mary’s short drop tightened the noose a bit less than normal. While squeezing her throat and making her breathing difficult, it wasn’t immediately cut off.

Despite that reduced strangulation, the horror of death now stared Mary straight in the face. Struggling for breath, arms bound behind, leaving her helpless, she wanted to scream at the horror, shout out for mercy, pray for her children, but she was unable.

Dennis, his emotions already inexplicably raised by the girl, now cursed as he saw how the noose had not slipped all the way. Uttering a loud oath, the hangman started forward to deal with the problem.

The bloodthirsty crowd, unaware of that issue, was relishing the prospect of the half-naked girl soon entering her death throes.

Mary's body gleamed with sweat from her struggles, as her swollen breasts bounced salaciously. The combination of the stress and her swollen breasts caused drops of her milk to ooze from her nipples and run in small white streams down her paps, mimicking the tracks of the tears ran down her cheeks. It is too disgusting to report in detail, the vile, obscene taunts hurled, by both men and women near enough to see the effusion, at this poor, small, dying 18-year-old wife and mother. Tens of thousands of voices in the throng were also raised cruelly.

Before Edward got close to Mary, he saw the noose slip down a little more. The rope was OK, he thought. It’ll just take the wee girl a bit longer to die. That's alright, there was no hurry; why did this one girl worry him so much? Looking around he saw that the throng was enjoying her slow agony. He looked up to Mary and saw her face turning deeper red and her mouth open, her tongue fluttering, gasping like a fish out of water.

To be sure, there were those amongst the onlookers, who were saddened or even revolted by the sight. Some cried and others turned away, unable to watch the cruel finale.

However, the vast majority of the crowd present were amused and entertained by the death struggles of the condemned. And pretty, sexy Mary Jones, half-naked, drew the most attention. Another minute and the crowd quieted slightly; they knew the part they loved best was about to happen. And, sure enough, a moment later, the increasing tightness on her throat and burning of her lungs caused Mary to convulse, kicking her legs frantically. The movement, the Tyburn Jig, drew the loudest roar yet from the cruel viewers. Without her legs being tied, they kicked wide asunder, given the closer onlookers tantalizing glimpses of her thighs. For most of the heartless crowd, the sight of a beautiful, half-naked girl, her body surging, was overwhelmingly erotic.

After another minute, just as the throng reached a new level of excitement, as if on cue, there came the final, tantalizing display. Her free legs, kicking violently, worked her torn dress down her hips, and, suddenly, it slipped free and down her legs. Modest, shy Mary Jones, slowly strangling in the air, now presented her entire nubile body, naked, to her tormentors.

If bloodlust had been on the mob before, the display of Mary’s shapely, nude, thrusting body added pure carnal lust to the mix, bringing the emotions to a fever pitch. Thousands of pairs of eyes were glued on the convulsing torments of the beautiful, dying girl. And, indeed, Mary presented a display more erotic, more striking, and more pitiful than any for a long while at the Manor of Tyburn.

Mary's bright halo of red-gold hair seemed to glow in the midday sun, giving her an angelic presence. Her pretty face, fair and flawless and pink from the noose, also reminded all of an angel. But below her neck, her naked, surging body was that of a hot, wanton whore, moving in sexual heat to please the lusty onlookers. Mary’s breasts, always large on her small frame, were still swollen with milk and seemed near bursting as they jiggled on her chest. The white melons contrasted lewdly with the plump, coral nipples. The rest of her figure seemed so young and delicate in comparison: the tiny, waist with a deep navel, the round hips and butt and shapely legs. As her legs flailed desperately, her reddish thatch was exposed for all to see. Every jiggle, every kick, every display was like a powerful stimulant to the onlookers.

For the first time in his life, as he looked at the poor girl’s struggles, Edward Dennis was saddened by a hanging. The shy girl’s nudity and the wild enthusiasm of the throng stirred disgust in the Hangman. But he also would not take his eyes away. It was his duty, and he maintained an active surveillance of all five condemned. One of the highwaymen had already stopped moving, entering the last stage of the execution, alive, but unconscious. The two others, along with Allen, were getting closer to that point.

Edward called to the City Marshal to post the guards and javelin horseman in a cordon around the tree. A law passed in 1752 had made things more difficult at hangings. While restricting the old post-death sentencing of “hanging in chains” (a grisly fate, the tarred body being suspended in a cage until it fell to pieces), the law now allowed for the bodies of criminals convicted of certain crimes to be sentenced to be turned over to the physicians for dissection. Both methods were regarded as cruel ways to deny burial and to prevent the resurrection of the intact body.

It was also at the discretion of the hangman to turn over unclaimed bodies to the scalpel. Often family or friends or even some in the crowd who resented the practice would try to break through and steal the bodies for burial.

Consulting his pocket watch, Ned saw that ten minutes had passed since Mary, the last, had been turned off. His practiced eye saw that two of the highwaymen were dead, the third twitching as his end was near and Allen was unconscious. Mary alone was still conscious and fighting the inevitable. Her face was purple and her mouth open. Her soft, green eyes stared in pain. But her body still twisted and her dainty legs kicked. The tightening noose told her that death was coming fast. But glimpses of her baby Abby, held by the Ordinary, triggered a powerful desire to live.

The noose was now tight enough to kill the young woman, despite her struggles. But, there was not the usual cinching, and therefore this obscenely prolonged death. Ned, despite himself, felt sympathy for this girl with hair like his mother's as her suffering was cruelly prolonged. But his main concern was the lack of quality in the work. He would be sure to speak to Brunskill about his calculations. The man was a good assistant, but a bit careless.

Taking a deep sigh, he checked his watch again, Fifteen minutes, an unusually long hanging. Looking down the group, Ned saw the four men were now dead, only Mary clung to a last, thin thread of life. Watching her struggle for each tiny bit of breath disturbed him as no other execution had. For reasons unknown, his mind flashed back to his childhood on St. Andrews Lane, and his loving mother, Rebecca. That gave him a feeling of warmth and security.

A roar of the crowd, brought Edward Dennis back to his work. Looking up, he saw that the girl would soon succumb to her fate. Eighteen minutes by his watch. He looked at her again, now hanging almost still. Then a soft, high cry came from her strangled throat and her body gave the final violent twitch of death. Twenty minutes, one of the longest ever in his experience. Oh, well, he thought, the guilty must pay! He checked the cordon of guards and saw little behavior on the part of the crowd to fear. The bodies would hang for an hour to guarantee death beyond any stray chance and to show the necessary triumph of Justice.


Historical Note:

While it is well documented that Mary was hanged topless, there is no mention of her dress falling off during her struggles. Due to the sensibilities of the day, it would be very unlikely to have been reported even if it did happen. Given the worn and torn state of her dress, the violent kicking when hanged could easily have dislodged it. I have chosen, (partially due to my patroness’ prurient interests) to assume that it did fall.
 

minyoo

Assistant executioner
Mary Jones Dances the Jig

The Yeoman whipped the horse and the cart began to move slowly forward. Allen was turned off to the cheers of the onlookers and swung gently at the end of the rope. Mary felt the cart moving away under her bare feet. The rough, splintery planks would, at any other time be torture to soft, unprotected feet. But now they seemed like velvet cushions compared to the alternative approaching.

She tried to retain her footing and her balance as the noose dragged her inexorably to the rear of the cart. Arms bound tightly behind her, stretching her pretty neck as hight as possible, Mary struggled frantically during those precious last seconds to try to escape her fate. From the corner of her eye, she spied Abby, blissfully smiling in the Rev. Woods arms. No! She couldn't leave her baby!

The crowd watched the last and most evocative prisoner moving off the cart. There seemed a collective hold of breath in anticipation as the beautiful girl got closer to the end of the planks. At last her dainty, bare, left foot stepped softly off into space. For just a moment, the girl scrambled with her right to support her weight as she felt the rope tighten on her throat, but the cart moved pitilessly away, her right foot slid off, and she fell a few inches and the noose tightened. Though the fall was almost imperceptible, Mary knew it meant her death. A powerful sob shook her body as she knew her fate, and that of her babies, was sealed.

It is unknown whether it was her light frame, or the finer rope used for the noose, or a careless miscalculation by Yoeman Brunskill, or just bad luck for the girl, but Mary’s short drop tightened the noose a bit less than normal. While squeezing her throat and making her breathing difficult, it wasn’t immediately cut off.

Despite that reduced strangulation, the horror of death now stared Mary straight in the face. Struggling for breath, arms bound behind, leaving her helpless, she wanted to scream at the horror, shout out for mercy, pray for her children, but she was unable.

Dennis, his emotions already inexplicably raised by the girl, now cursed as he saw how the noose had not slipped all the way. Uttering a loud oath, the hangman started forward to deal with the problem.

The bloodthirsty crowd, unaware of that issue, was relishing the prospect of the half-naked girl soon entering her death throes.

Mary's body gleamed with sweat from her struggles, as her swollen breasts bounced salaciously. The combination of the stress and her swollen breasts caused drops of her milk to ooze from her nipples and run in small white streams down her paps, mimicking the tracks of the tears ran down her cheeks. It is too disgusting to report in detail, the vile, obscene taunts hurled, by both men and women near enough to see the effusion, at this poor, small, dying 18-year-old wife and mother. Tens of thousands of voices in the throng were also raised cruelly.

Before Edward got close to Mary, he saw the noose slip down a little more. The rope was OK, he thought. It’ll just take the wee girl a bit longer to die. That's alright, there was no hurry; why did this one girl worry him so much? Looking around he saw that the throng was enjoying her slow agony. He looked up to Mary and saw her face turning deeper red and her mouth open, her tongue fluttering, gasping like a fish out of water.

To be sure, there were those amongst the onlookers, who were saddened or even revolted by the sight. Some cried and others turned away, unable to watch the cruel finale.

However, the vast majority of the crowd present were amused and entertained by the death struggles of the condemned. And pretty, sexy Mary Jones, half-naked, drew the most attention. Another minute and the crowd quieted slightly; they knew the part they loved best was about to happen. And, sure enough, a moment later, the increasing tightness on her throat and burning of her lungs caused Mary to convulse, kicking her legs frantically. The movement, the Tyburn Jig, drew the loudest roar yet from the cruel viewers. Without her legs being tied, they kicked wide asunder, given the closer onlookers tantalizing glimpses of her thighs. For most of the heartless crowd, the sight of a beautiful, half-naked girl, her body surging, was overwhelmingly erotic.

After another minute, just as the throng reached a new level of excitement, as if on cue, there came the final, tantalizing display. Her free legs, kicking violently, worked her torn dress down her hips, and, suddenly, it slipped free and down her legs. Modest, shy Mary Jones, slowly strangling in the air, now presented her entire nubile body, naked, to her tormentors.

If bloodlust had been on the mob before, the display of Mary’s shapely, nude, thrusting body added pure carnal lust to the mix, bringing the emotions to a fever pitch. Thousands of pairs of eyes were glued on the convulsing torments of the beautiful, dying girl. And, indeed, Mary presented a display more erotic, more striking, and more pitiful than any for a long while at the Manor of Tyburn.

Mary's bright halo of red-gold hair seemed to glow in the midday sun, giving her an angelic presence. Her pretty face, fair and flawless and pink from the noose, also reminded all of an angel. But below her neck, her naked, surging body was that of a hot, wanton whore, moving in sexual heat to please the lusty onlookers. Mary’s breasts, always large on her small frame, were still swollen with milk and seemed near bursting as they jiggled on her chest. The white melons contrasted lewdly with the plump, coral nipples. The rest of her figure seemed so young and delicate in comparison: the tiny, waist with a deep navel, the round hips and butt and shapely legs. As her legs flailed desperately, her reddish thatch was exposed for all to see. Every jiggle, every kick, every display was like a powerful stimulant to the onlookers.

For the first time in his life, as he looked at the poor girl’s struggles, Edward Dennis was saddened by a hanging. The shy girl’s nudity and the wild enthusiasm of the throng stirred disgust in the Hangman. But he also would not take his eyes away. It was his duty, and he maintained an active surveillance of all five condemned. One of the highwaymen had already stopped moving, entering the last stage of the execution, alive, but unconscious. The two others, along with Allen, were getting closer to that point.

Edward called to the City Marshal to post the guards and javelin horseman in a cordon around the tree. A law passed in 1752 had made things more difficult at hangings. While restricting the old post-death sentencing of “hanging in chains” (a grisly fate, the tarred body being suspended in a cage until it fell to pieces), the law now allowed for the bodies of criminals convicted of certain crimes to be sentenced to be turned over to the physicians for dissection. Both methods were regarded as cruel ways to deny burial and to prevent the resurrection of the intact body.

It was also at the discretion of the hangman to turn over unclaimed bodies to the scalpel. Often family or friends or even some in the crowd who resented the practice would try to break through and steal the bodies for burial.

Consulting his pocket watch, Ned saw that ten minutes had passed since Mary, the last, had been turned off. His practiced eye saw that two of the highwaymen were dead, the third twitching as his end was near and Allen was unconscious. Mary alone was still conscious and fighting the inevitable. Her face was purple and her mouth open. Her soft, green eyes stared in pain. But her body still twisted and her dainty legs kicked. The tightening noose told her that death was coming fast. But glimpses of her baby Abby, held by the Ordinary, triggered a powerful desire to live.

The noose was now tight enough to kill the young woman, despite her struggles. But, there was not the usual cinching, and therefore this obscenely prolonged death. Ned, despite himself, felt sympathy for this girl with hair like his mother's as her suffering was cruelly prolonged. But his main concern was the lack of quality in the work. He would be sure to speak to Brunskill about his calculations. The man was a good assistant, but a bit careless.

Taking a deep sigh, he checked his watch again, Fifteen minutes, an unusually long hanging. Looking down the group, Ned saw the four men were now dead, only Mary clung to a last, thin thread of life. Watching her struggle for each tiny bit of breath disturbed him as no other execution had. For reasons unknown, his mind flashed back to his childhood on St. Andrews Lane, and his loving mother, Rebecca. That gave him a feeling of warmth and security.

A roar of the crowd, brought Edward Dennis back to his work. Looking up, he saw that the girl would soon succumb to her fate. Eighteen minutes by his watch. He looked at her again, now hanging almost still. Then a soft, high cry came from her strangled throat and her body gave the final violent twitch of death. Twenty minutes, one of the longest ever in his experience. Oh, well, he thought, the guilty must pay! He checked the cordon of guards and saw little behavior on the part of the crowd to fear. The bodies would hang for an hour to guarantee death beyond any stray chance and to show the necessary triumph of Justice.


Historical Note:

While it is well documented that Mary was hanged topless, there is no mention of her dress falling off during her struggles. Due to the sensibilities of the day, it would be very unlikely to have been reported even if it did happen. Given the worn and torn state of her dress, the violent kicking when hanged could easily have dislodged it. I have chosen, (partially due to my patroness’ prurient interests) to assume that it did fall.
I...

Well I just read it twice in a row. Before heading off to read it once more, (and how many times more) I want to just tell you that this is touching, beautiful, erotic, and tragic climax that is fitting to the great story.

Thank you. I have no better words to convey the feelings that I am having.

You, sir, are a true artist.
 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
Thank you. But the story is not quite finished. An Epilog will appear tomorrow, May 13th, a significant date for the story.

In one of Bob Dylan’s early songs, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (which concerns another unjust, unavenged death and provided some of the emotional background for what I wrote here), as each verse increases emotions and the tragedy and the injustice of the story, he ends each verse with a command in the form of the refrain:

But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears


After the last verse when the injustice is finalized and set, he changes the command in the refrain. I give you, dear reader, the same command:

Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face

For now's the time for your tears

 
Last edited:

Barbaria1

Rebel Leader
Staff member
Thank you. But the story is not quite finished. An Epilog will appear tomorrow

In one of Bob Dylan’s early songs, “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll” (which concerns another unjust, unavenged death and provided some of the emotional background for what I wrote here), as each verse increases emotions and the tragedy and the injustice of the story, he ends each verse with a command in the form of the refrain:

But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Take the rag away from your face
Now ain't the time for your tears


After the last verse when the injustice is finalized and set, he changes the command in the refrain. I give you, dear reader, the same command:

Oh, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears
Bury the rag deep in your face

For now's the time for your tears


 

fallenmystic

Governor
The only song that deals with hanging that I know is this one, which also happens to be among my favourites:


Unlike the case with Mary Jones, the protagonist in the story well deserved his fate but the melancholy is still there as well. It's not the main reason I like the song, however, which should not need any elaboration if you see the way Billy Joel hits the keys here. :)
 
Last edited:

Migoz2

Senator
Mary Jones Dances the Jig

The Yeoman whipped the horse and the cart began to move slowly forward. Allen was turned off to the cheers of the onlookers and swung gently at the end of the rope. Mary felt the cart moving away under her bare feet. The rough, splintery planks would, at any other time be torture to soft, unprotected feet. But now they seemed like velvet cushions compared to the alternative approaching.

She tried to retain her footing and her balance as the noose dragged her inexorably to the rear of the cart. Arms bound tightly behind her, stretching her pretty neck as hight as possible, Mary struggled frantically during those precious last seconds to try to escape her fate. From the corner of her eye, she spied Abby, blissfully smiling in the Rev. Woods arms. No! She couldn't leave her baby!

The crowd watched the last and most evocative prisoner moving off the cart. There seemed a collective hold of breath in anticipation as the beautiful girl got closer to the end of the planks. At last her dainty, bare, left foot stepped softly off into space. For just a moment, the girl scrambled with her right to support her weight as she felt the rope tighten on her throat, but the cart moved pitilessly away, her right foot slid off, and she fell a few inches and the noose tightened. Though the fall was almost imperceptible, Mary knew it meant her death. A powerful sob shook her body as she knew her fate, and that of her babies, was sealed.

It is unknown whether it was her light frame, or the finer rope used for the noose, or a careless miscalculation by Yoeman Brunskill, or just bad luck for the girl, but Mary’s short drop tightened the noose a bit less than normal. While squeezing her throat and making her breathing difficult, it wasn’t immediately cut off.

Despite that reduced strangulation, the horror of death now stared Mary straight in the face. Struggling for breath, arms bound behind, leaving her helpless, she wanted to scream at the horror, shout out for mercy, pray for her children, but she was unable.

Dennis, his emotions already inexplicably raised by the girl, now cursed as he saw how the noose had not slipped all the way. Uttering a loud oath, the hangman started forward to deal with the problem.

The bloodthirsty crowd, unaware of that issue, was relishing the prospect of the half-naked girl soon entering her death throes.

Mary's body gleamed with sweat from her struggles, as her swollen breasts bounced salaciously. The combination of the stress and her swollen breasts caused drops of her milk to ooze from her nipples and run in small white streams down her paps, mimicking the tracks of the tears ran down her cheeks. It is too disgusting to report in detail, the vile, obscene taunts hurled, by both men and women near enough to see the effusion, at this poor, small, dying 18-year-old wife and mother. Tens of thousands of voices in the throng were also raised cruelly.

Before Edward got close to Mary, he saw the noose slip down a little more. The rope was OK, he thought. It’ll just take the wee girl a bit longer to die. That's alright, there was no hurry; why did this one girl worry him so much? Looking around he saw that the throng was enjoying her slow agony. He looked up to Mary and saw her face turning deeper red and her mouth open, her tongue fluttering, gasping like a fish out of water.

To be sure, there were those amongst the onlookers, who were saddened or even revolted by the sight. Some cried and others turned away, unable to watch the cruel finale.

However, the vast majority of the crowd present were amused and entertained by the death struggles of the condemned. And pretty, sexy Mary Jones, half-naked, drew the most attention. Another minute and the crowd quieted slightly; they knew the part they loved best was about to happen. And, sure enough, a moment later, the increasing tightness on her throat and burning of her lungs caused Mary to convulse, kicking her legs frantically. The movement, the Tyburn Jig, drew the loudest roar yet from the cruel viewers. Without her legs being tied, they kicked wide asunder, given the closer onlookers tantalizing glimpses of her thighs. For most of the heartless crowd, the sight of a beautiful, half-naked girl, her body surging, was overwhelmingly erotic.

After another minute, just as the throng reached a new level of excitement, as if on cue, there came the final, tantalizing display. Her free legs, kicking violently, worked her torn dress down her hips, and, suddenly, it slipped free and down her legs. Modest, shy Mary Jones, slowly strangling in the air, now presented her entire nubile body, naked, to her tormentors.

If bloodlust had been on the mob before, the display of Mary’s shapely, nude, thrusting body added pure carnal lust to the mix, bringing the emotions to a fever pitch. Thousands of pairs of eyes were glued on the convulsing torments of the beautiful, dying girl. And, indeed, Mary presented a display more erotic, more striking, and more pitiful than any for a long while at the Manor of Tyburn.

Mary's bright halo of red-gold hair seemed to glow in the midday sun, giving her an angelic presence. Her pretty face, fair and flawless and pink from the noose, also reminded all of an angel. But below her neck, her naked, surging body was that of a hot, wanton whore, moving in sexual heat to please the lusty onlookers. Mary’s breasts, always large on her small frame, were still swollen with milk and seemed near bursting as they jiggled on her chest. The white melons contrasted lewdly with the plump, coral nipples. The rest of her figure seemed so young and delicate in comparison: the tiny, waist with a deep navel, the round hips and butt and shapely legs. As her legs flailed desperately, her reddish thatch was exposed for all to see. Every jiggle, every kick, every display was like a powerful stimulant to the onlookers.

For the first time in his life, as he looked at the poor girl’s struggles, Edward Dennis was saddened by a hanging. The shy girl’s nudity and the wild enthusiasm of the throng stirred disgust in the Hangman. But he also would not take his eyes away. It was his duty, and he maintained an active surveillance of all five condemned. One of the highwaymen had already stopped moving, entering the last stage of the execution, alive, but unconscious. The two others, along with Allen, were getting closer to that point.

Edward called to the City Marshal to post the guards and javelin horseman in a cordon around the tree. A law passed in 1752 had made things more difficult at hangings. While restricting the old post-death sentencing of “hanging in chains” (a grisly fate, the tarred body being suspended in a cage until it fell to pieces), the law now allowed for the bodies of criminals convicted of certain crimes to be sentenced to be turned over to the physicians for dissection. Both methods were regarded as cruel ways to deny burial and to prevent the resurrection of the intact body.

It was also at the discretion of the hangman to turn over unclaimed bodies to the scalpel. Often family or friends or even some in the crowd who resented the practice would try to break through and steal the bodies for burial.

Consulting his pocket watch, Ned saw that ten minutes had passed since Mary, the last, had been turned off. His practiced eye saw that two of the highwaymen were dead, the third twitching as his end was near and Allen was unconscious. Mary alone was still conscious and fighting the inevitable. Her face was purple and her mouth open. Her soft, green eyes stared in pain. But her body still twisted and her dainty legs kicked. The tightening noose told her that death was coming fast. But glimpses of her baby Abby, held by the Ordinary, triggered a powerful desire to live.

The noose was now tight enough to kill the young woman, despite her struggles. But, there was not the usual cinching, and therefore this obscenely prolonged death. Ned, despite himself, felt sympathy for this girl with hair like his mother's as her suffering was cruelly prolonged. But his main concern was the lack of quality in the work. He would be sure to speak to Brunskill about his calculations. The man was a good assistant, but a bit careless.

Taking a deep sigh, he checked his watch again, Fifteen minutes, an unusually long hanging. Looking down the group, Ned saw the four men were now dead, only Mary clung to a last, thin thread of life. Watching her struggle for each tiny bit of breath disturbed him as no other execution had. For reasons unknown, his mind flashed back to his childhood on St. Andrews Lane, and his loving mother, Rebecca. That gave him a feeling of warmth and security.

A roar of the crowd, brought Edward Dennis back to his work. Looking up, he saw that the girl would soon succumb to her fate. Eighteen minutes by his watch. He looked at her again, now hanging almost still. Then a soft, high cry came from her strangled throat and her body gave the final violent twitch of death. Twenty minutes, one of the longest ever in his experience. Oh, well, he thought, the guilty must pay! He checked the cordon of guards and saw little behavior on the part of the crowd to fear. The bodies would hang for an hour to guarantee death beyond any stray chance and to show the necessary triumph of Justice.


Historical Note:

While it is well documented that Mary was hanged topless, there is no mention of her dress falling off during her struggles. Due to the sensibilities of the day, it would be very unlikely to have been reported even if it did happen. Given the worn and torn state of her dress, the violent kicking when hanged could easily have dislodged it. I have chosen, (partially due to my patroness’ prurient interests) to assume that it did fall.
Extremely nicely done, PrPr!
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
Likely unusual in 18th century London.
Actually, wigs were powdered with scented talc (as they tended to be quite smelly),
and fashionable types used coloured powder -
so a (male) 'macaroni' could have been seen sporting a green mane like this:

1589312643164.png
 

Eulalia

Poet Laureate
Staff member
The only song that deals with hanging that I know is this one, which also happens to be among my favourites:


Unlike the case with Mary Jones, the protagonist in the story well deserved his fate but the melancholy is still there as well. It's not the main reason I like the song, however, which should not need any elaboration if you see the way Billy Joel hits the keys here. :)
A very different song, a setting of a poem from A E Housman's 'A Shropshire Lad' -
that PrPr's very powerful, harrowing story puts me in mind of -


The music may not be to everyone's taste, but it's well sung,
and you can read the text of the poem (click 'show more)

A very different, folksy version of the same poem:

 

Praefectus Praetorio

Brother of the Quill
A very different song, a setting of a poem from A E Housman's 'A Shropshire Lad' -
that PrPr's very powerful, harrowing story puts me in mind of -


The music may not be to everyone's taste, but it's well sung,
and you can read the text of the poem (click 'show more)

A very different, folksy version of the same poem:

Both to my liking!
 
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