Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Spring Failed


Lord Southey Had a Guillotine Erected In His Drawing Room For Suicide.

Lord Southey once, in a fit of disgust with life, had a magnificent guillotine erected in the drawing room of his magnificently appointed house in the Rue de Luxembourg, at Paris. The machine was an elaborate affair, with ebony uprights inlaid with gold and silver. The framework was carved with great artistic skill, and the knife, of immense weight and falling at the touch of a spring, was of ornamented steel, polished and as sharp as a razor.

The spring which liberated the knife was placed within easy reach of any one kneeling upon the scaffold — in fact, every detail was arranged with a view to the convenience of the would be suicide. The day that the engine of death was entirely finished Lord Southey completed his testamentary dispositions, shaved, had his hair cut, and, clothed in a robe of white silk, knelt upon the platform under the knife.

The guillotine was placed before a large mirror, wherein the person committing suicide could see his own image until the last. Murmuring a short prayer, Lord Southey placed his head in the semicircle and pressed the spring.

The next morning he was found calmly sleeping in his bed. The spring had failed to work, and after several fruitless efforts Lord Southey was compelled to relinquish his attempt upon his life. Thoroughly cured of his spleen, he presented the guillotine to the Glasgow museum, whence he made an annual pilgrimage to see it until the end of his life. — Pittsburg Dispatch.

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