Page images

him, for he was feared. He pushed a speaker CHAPTER VI.

from a box, and mounted it.

“Go to your homes !” he shouted. “I promWhere the common rabble, armed with stones ise you that Howard shall receive the full penand axes, will succumb to organized resistance, alty of the law. What are you about to do? the cool foresight and calm resolution of the Are you devils, or men? If there's a brave better element, when it engages with the rabble man in this crowd, I challenge him to mount in the accomplishing of a purpose, presents an

this box and stand beside me, my companion appalling picture. The latter uses the former in the preservation of the peace.” as a tool. There is a twinge of conscience, a Not a man moved. All remained sullen. nervousness resulting from revolting manhood, “Then, if you are cowards, there


be that causes the finger to tremble which pulls the some honest men among you. I will give the trigger on a dauntless breast, actuated in de- first honest man one minute to start for his sign by an honest desire to make crime a ter- home." ror - to invest it with horrors that the scaffold He held his watch in his hand. A half minrenders comparatively tame. Summary pun-ute rolled by. No one stirred. ishment is more effective as example than that “A half minute has gone." born of the slow incubation of the law. · The The second-hand rapidly marked thirty seclaw is the servant of society. As such, it may

onds more.

Still no one moved. be betrayed, cheated, bribed. This is a possi- “You are a set of cowards and outlaws. In bility inseparable from a condition of servitude. five minutes I will charge you with the militia, The master lays down rules by which the serv- twenty sheriffs, and thirty policemen. I give ant is to be guided. When great urgency is you fair warning. There's not a blank cartridge required, he thrusts the servant aside and does in the lot." the work himself, because it is his own affair, This caused a howl of mingled curses and concerning him vitally.

hisses to rise from the mob. Casserly's posiThe officers of the law had, on this occa- tion was perilous. He choked down his choler sion, arrayed against them a far more danger and chagrin, descended from the box, and ous element than bravery. It was cunning. slipped away. They did not dream of that; for who ever knew Then it was that Casserly saw he was powera mob that displayed cunning! It is a flood, less on the street. He would immediately conrushing blindly on, crushing, drowning, sweep- centrate at the jail, and, armed and intrenched, ing away, until stopped and hurled back upon defy the mob, were it ten thousand strong. itself by a mountain; depending alone upon its During this time the unusually large force of momentum.

policemen had not been idle. The majority It was about noon that Casserly found him- were men who had never served in that capaself powerless. He was compelled to admit, and were, consequently, more zealous than With that self-consciousness of superior pow. prudent. They mingled with the mob in sets er that raises up a commander, Casserly felt of four. Several times had they attempted the his strength, and assumed control of the de-arrest of the more turbulent individuals of the fense. It is true that the Sheriff was the proper riot, but as often were their prisoners rescued. guardian of the jail; but, though a man of suf. Shortly after Casserly left the box, two sharp ficient nerve for ordinary occasions, he was in- taps of the fire-bell were heard. Every policeferior to Casserly in qualifications for general man suddenly disappeared. It was the signal ship. He cheerfully, therefore, placed himself to concentrate. and his twenty deputies at Casserly's command. Then Casserly resorted to a ruse that deThe captain of the military company did not served success.

If he could introduce a suffieven ask a question as to Casserly's authority cient counter excitement there was a possibility when ordered to guard the approaches to the that by the time it should die away the spirit jail.

of outlawry would have had its back broken. He Casserly had attempted to disperse a second sent a man to a barn near Market Plaza, with mass-meeting, held at the corner of First and instructions to fire it. The barn was dry and Santa Clara Streets. He knew that many were inflammable. In a short time dense volumes armed. Indignation and excitement ran at a of smoke were seen in that quarter of the city. high pitch, increasing with the mob. Casserly Market Plaza is about as far from Santa Clara burst into this crowd, scattered the men right Street on the south as is the jail on the north. and left, and plowed his way through the stormy The fire-alarm was sounded, and the engines sea of humanity, ordering the rioters to leave. tore noisily through the streets, deadening the But it had no effect. Not a hand was laid upon clamor of the mob. There was a momentary wavering of the crowd, and a few boys left for less, a few knowing persons detected one susthe scene of the fire, but the ruse failed; the picious circumstance. The great iron slidingmob could not be diverted from its object. doors at the entrance to the court-house were

In his heart, Casserly did not wish to avert drawn and barred. The thirty-two windowsthe attack. When he threatened a charge, it and especially the sixteen on the side next the was far from his intention to make one, and hotel-had their iron shutters nearly closed, thus precipitate a collision in which the law leaving an opening only a few inches wide. would be the aggressor. He felt perfectly se- Through these interstices nothing could be cure; and it was only an over-estimate of his seen in the darkness of the interior. The power that had led him into the error of think- building was wrapped in gloomy silence-an ing to intimidate the mob, and quell the riot in unusual occurrence, and one that boded danits incipiency. His grounds for security were ger. . these: In addition to the militia (a company All the attention of the mob was directed to numbering some sixty men), the deputies, and the passage between the hotel and the courtthe policemen, there were many volunteers, in-house, for the reason that it was the wider and cluding nearly all the city and county officials; the first arrived at. and the constables had multiplied themselves, With the exception of a space of sufficient after the manner of certain infusoria. In this way width to admit a carriage, there are chains there were about three hundred men gathered stretched, from post to post, across the entrance together to protect the jail-all fully armed with to this passage. They were probably placed rifles, shotguns, or revolvers. With the excep- there to protect the grass and shrubbery occution of a few blank-loaded guns held con- pying the ground not taken by the graveled venient, each barrel of every shotgun was drive. Now, that portion of the chain fence, loaded with three and a half drachms of powder always left open for carriages, was on this parand twenty buckshot-loaded to kill. At close ticular day closed. This fence was by no range the shotgun is the most deadly of weap- means a trifling obstacle to the mob. There ons. Suppose, then (reasoned Casserly), that were two chains, one below and the other above, by some improbable turn of events the mob, the upper chain striking a man's leg just above numbering nearly two thousand, should over- the knee. The chains were not stretched taut, power the resistance, what would result? Noth- but hung rather loose, making a treacherous ing. The outer wall might be torn down, the object over which to step, especially if the least jail might be invaded, but the impregnability haste should be exercised. The posts were of the Tank was an insurmountable obstacle. large, and were sunk deep in the ground, No axe, nor sledge-hammer, nor crowbar, nor which is paved with asphaltum, and the chains file could effect an entrance to this stronghold. were strong. There would be no time to employ blasting- The mob halted in front of the court-house, powder. But might not the jailer be robbed and endeavored to organize, but no leader of his keys? Certainly not; for Casserly had showed himself. After some minutes of loud taken charge of them, and concealed them. talking, and hurrying to and fro, about seventy He had cause afterward to regret this, as the men, armed with axes, formed in front of the sequel will show. Thoughtful as he was, he fence of chains. could not foresee everything.

Then the great iron door opened sufficiently The mob soon found itself moving by im- to permit one man to pass out. Casserly adpulse upon the jail. Strange to say, although vanced alone and undaunted. He crossed the it had no plan, no organization, it was control- broad stone floor, shaded by the stately Coled and sustained by a few stern men, who, by rinthian columns of the piazza, descended the going hither and thither, assiduously aggravat- steps half way, and stood upon the granite landed the spirit of outlawry that animated nearly ing there. He removed his hat, and raised his every breast. The mob had no plan, but it had right hand high above his head, palm outward. an object- to take the prisoner from his cell, This gesture and pose, in which respect was inand hang him. This lack of preparation and dicated by the bared head, and attention deorganization was not accidental, as will present- manded by the uplifted arm, sent silence ly appear.

through the crowd. The mob rolled along First Street toward the “Men," said Casserly, his voice penetrating jail, with shouts, cries, and curses. It main- to the farthest limits of the densely packed tained solidity, as contact sustained courage. throng, deep, powerful, and deliberate, "you are When it arrived at the court-house, everything about to attempt..

..a deed...of violence and seemed deserted, and nothing appeared to pre- bloodshed. Are you...mad? You would... vent a consummation of the deed. Neverthe- vindicate justice by...trampling it... under foot. Leave the law... to take its course. I speak to

I speak to Casserly. Finding that he could proceed no a friend. And I give...this...solemn farther, he picked up a small stone, wrapped a ... warning...once...and for all : That if you narrow strip of paper around it, inclosed this in enter...that passage...the roof of yonder jail a larger piece, making the whole firm and solid, ...and these sixteen windows...will pour down and threw the ball at Casserly. It struck one upon you...volleys of leaden death...that will of the stone steps behind Casserly, and boundstrew the ground... with your... dead bodies... ed to his feet. At first he thought it was a misand render...your firesides desolate...and your sile, but the fact that a paper ball should strike children... fatherless. Heed that warning. Go with such force attracted his attention, and he quietly... to your homes. If you... disregard it picked'it up. He removed the outer covering, ...God have mercy...on you! I will secured the narrow slip, and read the following, duty."

written hastily with a pencil : Having finished, he watched the effect. An awful silence followed.

"Keep them at bay thirty minutes longer. If neces

Above all, At this moment, when the conflict might | sary, give them a volley of blank cartridges. have been averted, and when order seemed

we warn you, in the name of the people, not to harm a

hair of their heads. If they crowd past you, let them about to be restored, a man was seen running attack the jail; you know it can't be broken open. By along the street, bearing aloft a large piece of that time we will come to your assistance. canvas, stretched upon a frame. The profound

"A HUNDRED Citizens." silence that prevailed allowed his voice to ring through the throng like a bell, as he shouted: Casserly was sore perplexed at the appear“Read! read! read !"

ance of the mysterious notice; he was troubled All eyes were turned upon him. The can- at reading the note. He was in utter ignorance vas bore this startling announcement, in large as to who was the sender, and why it was sent. letters, daubed hastily with a marking - brush-His anxiety amounted almost to despair. Was coming from none knew what source, nor by it a trick? The jail certainly was strong enough whose authority :

to resist an attack; and, after all, it would be

terrible to sacrifice human life in the manner “At nine strokes

contemplated by him. If it was a snare, what of the Fire-bell

was to be gained? The note said, "It can't be Howard will be hanged."

broken open.” No one was more fully aware of

that fact than Casserly, and the strength of the The man continued to shout: “At nine strokes jail was increased a hundred fold by Casserly's he will be hanged! Read! read! At nine muskets. strokes! Hanged! hanged!”

He turned, and disappeared through the door, What did it mean? Perhaps nothing. Men which closed behind him, swallowing him up. stared at it. Many shuddered. There stood Then he reflected seriously. Perhaps the note the jail, and in it was the murderer. The mob came from friends, who were organizing ; but had only this to do: to crush the shell, take out why was no name signed? He saw that his pothe kernel, and roast it. Perhaps the notice sition was a grave one. He resolved to follow was intended to impart zest to the undertaking, the advice of the note to this extent: he would to pour oil upon the fire that was threatened fire blank volleys, and, if that failed, he would with being smothered by Casserly's broad hand. occupy the windows in the rear of the courtThe man was surrounded.

house, and with powder and ball prevent the “What do you mean?” was breathlessly asked demolition of the jail. For (he reasoned), adby a hundred voices.

mit that the man is deserving of death, is that “Read! read!"

a circumstance to be taken into account in this He said nothing else. Casserly's counte- emergency? No. The grand idea, that prenance betrayed the deepest astonishment. He ponderated against all others, was the prevenstood as if petrified, yet his mind was actively tion of an outrage upon the sanctity of the law. searching the darkness for a solution of the Casserly was a conscientious officer-if, in all mystery. It would have been utterly useless truth, there is such a thing. There is no popufor him to attempt the capture of this man, who lar idea so erroneous as that an officer of the was buried and crushed by the crowd that pack- law is the servant of the people. He is the uned around him.

der-servant of the law, which is the real servant While attention was thus diverted from Cas- of the people. In other words, he is a bloodserly, a man with a furtive, frightened look, hound employed by the law. The law is just; panting, exhausted, and covered with perspira- it is the concentrated wisdom of ages. Sitting tion, tunneled his way a short distance toward I only in judgment, not in condemnation-searching neither for crime nor for virtue, but waiting and the increasing noise showed that the lion patiently until it shall be called upon to decide had couched to spring. The front advanced, what is right and what is wrong-it scorns to pushed from behind, furious, loud, and bloodbe called by any other name than Justice. Be- thirsty. The chains were reached. Forty or tween the law and its minister there is this dif- fifty men attempted to step over, but the crowdference: the law presumes innocence till guilt ing from the rear caused some of them to lose is proved; the officer acts on the presumption their balance, and others tumbled over them, of guilt till innocence is established. The law tripped to the ground; the crowd pressed on, is the theory; the officer is the practice. Why not allowing sufficient time for those in front to is this? The answer is simple: the law is wise, clear the treacherous barrier of chains. the officer is something less-- he is merely hu- At this moment, when this unforeseen acciman; the one has intelligence, the other a dent had caused some confusion to arise, a paheart; the one is devoid of pride and vanity, per ball suddenly flew from the window that the breast of the other rankles with these in-Casserly had recently vacated, struck the hotel, firmities. The officer, being less honest than bounded into a small tree near the barrier, and the law, betrays it to society and his own van- fell at the feet of the mob. ity. It is pride that leads him to seek convic- “I wonder what this is,” said a rioter, stooption rather than justice. The modern district. | ing to pick it up. attorney is the most striking example of this His hand had not reached it when there came incongruity between the name and the thing, a terrific crash from the sixteen windows; the the idea and the reality. He draws his salary paper ball was a signal. Casserly had poured in the name of justice, but secretly looks upon his fire into the mob. The effect was wonderit as blood-money. But the officer's aim is to ful: the mob fell back upon itself, crushing and hang according to law. In this lies his pride, grinding, howling, cursing, and paralyzed with and to this end will he exert his energies. Con- terror; the wildest confusion reigned. sequently, although he will preserve a malefac- Presently, however, it was discovered that tor from the jaws of a hungry mob, he will the not a man had received a scratch. Many who next moment cheerfully adjust the hangman's were fleeing in wild dismay checked their flight. noose under a proper judicial edict.

After some delay order was restored; but there Some time was required to relieve the mob was an absence of that reckless and fearful deof the dampening effect of Casserly's terrible termination that had heretofore characterized warning and the surprise of the mysterious no- the attack. Men sustained and encouraged one tice, and it saw death lurking behind the iron another by incendiary utterances. The crowd, shutters of the sixteen windows. The moments which had been scattered over a large area, emflew rapidly. The air seemed stifling with the bracing the greater part of First Street, between sickening odor of warm blood. The advance St. John and St. James, again began to assume was finally made upon the fence of chains. The close order and to concentrate toward the front. upper front window was flung wide open, and One man, who had dropped his axe, more harCasserly again appeared to give a final warn- dy than the others, advanced stealthily to reing; but before he had time to utter a word, a cover it; but a single shot, the ball from which shot was fired from below, full at his breast. struck the pavement at his feet, caused him to It was the first shot of the conflict. The ball beat a hasty retreat. The shot was aimed to struck that side of the double shutter that miss. opened toward the jail, glanced upward, and Then came a reaction--one quite natural, and buried itself in the window-casing, leaving an that might have been expected. The terror inelongated grayish spot on the iron shutter. It spired by the blank volley gradually gave way had passed within six inches of Casserly's head. to anger. The idea diffused itself that CasserIt was too late to say anything more. Casserly ly was endeavoring to frighten men as he would closed the shutter. The battle had opened. children. Manhood rebelled against such in

The cowardly shot and Casserly's retreat had dignity. The impression took root that Casserthe effect of counteracting all hesitancy on the ly dared not fire upon them; that the stake for part of the mob, which yelled wildly, and which which he played did not warrant a wholesale began to condense and to press forward. The slaughter. Casserly knew the man was guilty, men with axes occupied the front, but their and that he deserved to suffer the direst venranks had been decimated by Casserly's im- geance of outraged society. Casserly was but pressive warning; their places, however, were as other men; he also had a home, was an inimmediately filled by men armed with all man- teger of society; he should naturally concur in ner of strange weapons, snatched hastily here steps taken to remove a cancer from the body and there. The gradual rising of excitement politic. Therefore, while, for the sake of de

cency, he ostentatiously interposed his opposi- | up from two thousand voices: "The murderer tion to irregular chastisement for a heinous is dead!" crime, he must at heart have sympathized with All eyes were turned upon a ghastly spectathis movement, which met no hinderance else- cle, that displayed its hideousness under the where. By this course of reasoning, the mob very eyes of the riot. A body swung by the was led into a serious error.

neck from a beam that ran out horizontally from The crowd again bubbled and seethed, its the ridge of the roof of the old San José Thevenom returned. Much valuable time had al- ater. This building is situated on First Street, ready been lost.

near the corner of St. James. It is an old barnTwo men were standing in St. James Square, like wooden building, erected about twenty-five anxiously watching the result of the attack, and years ago by James Stark, the actor.

It was pale with expectation. One of these was Judge the first theater built in San José. It was a Simon. He remarked to his companion : famous place of amusement in bygone days,

“They are preparing to renew the attack.” and many actors of renown have trod its rat“It is terrible !"

tling boards. It is now used for a carriage fac“See! They are advancing again.”

tory. The old planks are overlapped--the way “My God!"

in which houses were built in early days—and “Casserly will shoot them down like dogs." in some places they are warped and twisted “Do you think so?"

with age. It is not more than three or four “I know it."

hundred yards from the court-house. Hence, They stood thus, painfully absorbed in the the body, that swung so limp and helpless, was preparations for the second advance. Suddenly in plain view of the mob, which rushed pellJudge Simon violently started, the pallor of his mell to the scene. cheeks changing to the hue of death.

There it hung, slowly turning from side to “Listen,” he said, hardly above a whisper. side. The head and face were entirely con“What is it?"

cealed by a cap, or cowl. The body was neat“One.”

ly dressed in black. A rope was wrapped “One what?"

around the legs, and the arms were pinioned “Two. The fire-bell."

to the sides by another rope that encircled the “What can it mean?”

body several times. Two placards were at“Three. Hush."

tached to it-one upon the breast and the oth“Must be another ruse of Casserly's." er upon the back. They were made of large “Four. Perhaps.”

pieces of white pasteboard, with irregular let“Maybe they have stolen Howard from the ters daubed upon them, large enough to be read jail

a considerable distance, and each bearing this “Five."

notice: "—and hanged him," “Six."

Howard, the Woman-Murderer.-as the notice said.” “Seven.”

The placard upon the back was secured by a “That's only six.”

string passed through the upper edge, the loop “Seven, I tell you! Eight.”

being thrown around the neck. That upon the “My God! What is it?”

breast was differently attached, and in a man“Nine."

ner so cruel, so revolting, that upon seeing the They waited in breathless silence for another sickening spectacle a shudder ran through the stroke. They listened in vain. Had Casserly crowd. It was pinned to the breast with a in reality acted on the notice, and, to mislead hunter's knife, driven straight in to the hilt. the mob, sounded the alarm that tolled the death of Howard? The alarm had risen above At the moment when Judge Simon's comthe tumult of the riot. The mob was stupefied, panion suggested that the sounding of the bell but uncertain. It groped in the dark, fearing was Casserly's ruse, the latter remarked to a treachery, yet hopeful that the bell had clanged friend: out the alarum of the people's vengeance. A “That is very strange." loud cheering was heard in the direction of “It is." Santa Clara Street. It flew from mouth to “It must be somebody's ruse to draw of the mouth, entered the mob, and was there taken mob." up and swelled a thousand fold. It scattered The man looked knowingly at Casserly, and the mob like a fire-brand among wolves. The said: "I suppose you did it." attack was abandoned, and the cry went up

“I did not.”

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »