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From The ‘London Times’ of 1904
by [?]

The sheriff drew down the black cap, and laid his hand upon the lever. I got my voice.

‘Stop, for God’s sake! The man is innocent. Come here and see Szczepanik face to face!’

Hardly three minutes later the governor had my place at the window, and was saying:

‘Strike off his bonds and set him free!’

Three minutes later all were in the parlour again. The reader will imagine the scene; I have no need to describe it. It was a sort of mad orgy of joy.

A messenger carried word to Szczepanik in the pavilion, and one could see the distressed amazement in his face as he listened to the tale. Then he came to his end of the line, and talked with Clayton and the governor and the others; and the wife poured out her gratitude upon him for saving her husband’s life, and in her deep thankfulness she kissed him at twelve thousand miles’ range.

The telelectroscopes of the world were put to service now, and for many hours the kinds and queens of many realms (with here and there a reporter) talked with Szczepanik, and praised him; and the few scientific societies which had not already made him an honorary member conferred that grace upon him.

How had he come to disappear from among us? It was easily explained. HE had not grown used to being a world-famous person, and had been forced to break away from the lionising that was robbing him of all privacy and repose. So he grew a beard, put on coloured glasses, disguised himself a little in other ways, then took a fictitious name, and went off to wander about the earth in peace.

Such is the tale of the drama which began with an inconsequential quarrel in Vienna in the spring of 1898, and came near ending as a tragedy in the spring of 1904.


Correspondence of the ‘London Times’
Chicago, April 5, 1904

To-day, by a clipper of the Electric Line, and the latter’s Electric Railway connections, arrived an envelope from Vienna, for Captain Clayton, containing an English farthing. The receiver of it was a good deal moved. He called up Vienna, and stood face to face with Mr. K., and said:

‘I do not need to say anything: you can see it all in my face. My wife has the farthing. Do not be afraid–she will not throw it away.’


Correspondence of the ‘London Times’
Chicago, April 23, 1904

Now that the after developments of the Clayton case have run their course and reached a finish, I will sum them up. Clayton’s romantic escape from a shameful death stepped all this region in an enchantment of wonder and joy–during the proverbial nine days. Then the sobering process followed, and men began to take thought, and to say: ‘But a man was killed, and Clayton killed him.’ Others replied: ‘That is true: we have been overlooking that important detail; we have been led away by excitement.’

The telling soon became general that Clayton ought to be tried again. Measures were taken accordingly, and the proper representations conveyed to Washington; for in America under the new paragraph added to the Constitution in 1889, second trials are not State affairs, but national, and must be tried by the most august body in the land–the Supreme Court of the United States. The justices were therefore summoned to sit in Chicago. The session was held day before yesterday, and was opened with the usual impressive formalities, the nine judges appearing in their black robes, and the new chief justice (Lemaitre) presiding. In opening the case the chief justice said:

‘It is my opinion that this matter is quite simple. The prisoner at the bar was charged with murdering the man Szczepanik; he was tried for murdering the man Szczepanik; he was fairly tried and justly condemned and sentenced to death for murdering the man Szczepanik. It turns out that the man Szczepanik was not murdered at all. By the decision of the French courts in the Dreyfus matter, it is established beyond cavil or question that the decisions of courts and permanent and cannot be revised. We are obliged to respect and adopt this precedent. It is upon precedents that the enduring edifice of jurisprudence is reared. The prisoner at the bar has been fairly and righteously condemned to death for the murder of the man Szczepanik, and, in my opinion, there is but one course to pursue in the matter: he must be hanged.’