"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Newspaper Clipping of the Day, New Year's Edition

In which some amateur theatricals turn into an episode of "Midsomer Murders":

Los Angeles Herald Jan 2, 1893

San Francisco, Jan. 1.—The old year was closed last night by a unique and terrible tragedy by which Sidney McCoy, a young lawyer, aged 32, lost his life, and Miss Grace King, aged 19, is in a precarious condition. A party of friends, numbering about 50, assembled last night at McCoy's, on Guerrero street, to watch the old year out and the new year in. The feature of the entertainment was the production of a short play written by McCoy and performed by amateurs. The plot of the play was the betrayal of a band of Russian Nihilists by one of their number. The Nihilists discover the traitoress, a young woman, and condemn her to death. They decide by lot who shall perform the execution, and the duty fell to the character portrayed by McCoy. Miss King played the part of the traitoress. She is given the choice of being killed or stabbing herself, and chooses the latter alternative. McCoy banded her a stout dagger which had been in the family for years. In the play the girl, instead of killing herself, was to stab her executioner, and as she received the knife, Miss King leaned forward to touch McCoy on the breast with the knife. At the same instant McCoy started toward the girl, who stumbled, and falling forward with the dagger in her hand, drove it through McCoy's heart. McCoy showed wonderful vitality and presence of mind. He walked into the next room and asked for a doctor, and then fell dead.

The girl knew there had been an accident of some kind, but did not know McCoy was killed. She was taken home and afterwards, on the advice of friends, gave herself up to the police She was taken to the city prison at 6 o'clock in the morning, and when she entered the prison fainted, and has since remained unconscious. This morning McCoy's two brothers secured her release by giving $10,000 bond for her appearance. The girl was then taken home and is in a critical condition.

The accident is explained by the fact that recently Miss King suffered from a sprained ankle. She had been using crutches to walk wish, but had laid them aside to participate in the play. As she made the motion to stab McCoy, she rested her weight on her weak foot. It gave way and she fell forward.

May all of you have a great New Year's Eve. Just give those Russian Nihilist plays a pass, OK?

1 comment:

  1. What a terrible way to die, an almost silly way, that the girl would have to live with forever. She probably recovered physically, I suspect, but emotionally?...


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