previous next
[454] Buffalo Railway, gone over. He spoke of his approaching death, and gave directions for the disposition of his body. He dictated his own epitaph, which was to be: “ Died in defence of his country.”

As the hour waned, McClure looked at his watch. Beall noticed the movement, smiled, and inquired the hour. It was twelve o'clock. The execution, by the order, was to take place between twelve and two. His voyage was, therefore, drawing rapidly to a close. The sails could be seen in heaven coming up from the under-world. Destiny was making the last entry in the log-book of life. The harbor and the steeples of the city were in sight.

Very soon Major Coggswell came in to bid his prisoner farewell. This officer himself had once been held in Richmond as a hostage, with the sword of Damocles above him, and he could, therefore, sympathize with a soldier under similarly trying circumstances. Like all around him, also, he had been drawn into the magnetic circle of Beall's friendship.

After partaking of some nourishment, which Dr. Weston and Mr. McClure shared with him, Beall was left alone with his spiritual adviser. After him, the officers of the law entered to make the customary preparations. While the officers were performing their mournful duty, Beall addressed them: “All I ask,” said he, “is that there be no unnecessary consumption of time in the execution; for, after all, it will be to me but a mere muscular effort.”

His friends returned to find him hooded, and a black mantle thrown over his shoulders. Mr. McClure, not observing that his hands were fastened behind him, offered his hand. “I cannot shake hands,” said he, smiling; “I am pinioned.”

He had dressed himself, upon this morning, with unusual neatness. His linen was white and clean, and his black silk cravat was gracefully tied beneath a rolling collar. He wore a new pair of dog-skin gloves of saffron color. Just the extremities of his fingers protruded from the blue military cloth cape thrown over his shoulders, which entirely concealed the manacles on his wrists, and the noose about his neck. Upon his head was placed the fatal cap, the blackness of which heightened by contrast the whiteness of the martyr-face beneath it. This face, naturally colorless, was blanched by long and solitary confinement. It was smooth, white, and almost transparently clear.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
John Y. Beall (4)
J. R. McClure (3)
Weston (1)
Damocles (1)
Coggswell (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: