Sivut kuvina

his time, lion-tamers have become common, and competition has driven them to devise new feats of hardihood. One of these devices was, strangely enough, entirely at the expense of the spectators; for, while the tamer went through no more than his predecessors, the bars were removed, and no physical barrier parted the audience from the savage beasts. The spectacle thus spiced proved highly attractive. At length the forebodings of the rophesiers came true—something dreadful did happen—a lion exhibited at Astley's killed one of his keepers in a very picturesque manner; and the man-slayer and his fellow-brutes, going through their performances the same and every subsequent evening, drew great houses. The tragedy—for a horrible event it was, although it seemed to have on the public the effect merely of a “sensation "–happened in this manner:—Crockett, the lion-conqueror, had for some time exhibited at Astley's four lions “known to be very ferocious,” one of them loose upon the stage. These animals were usually kept confined in one large den at the back of the stage; but one of them being at this time sick, he was placed in a smaller den close by. On the morning of Monday, an under-groom named Smith entered a part of the theatre called “The Ride," being the space where the actors, equestrian and pedestrian, assemble before going on the stage. Almost immediately afterwards, the head-groom heard a noise, which he thought was occasioned by a stag having broke loose and attacked Smith. He entered the room to kick off the assailant, but saw nothing more than the

feet and wooden shoes of Smith kicking upon the floor; for, happening to look round, he saw a lion approaching him, as though about to spring on him. He instantly slipped back, and shut the door, leaving Smith to his fate. In fact, the three lions had got loose, and one of them, on Smith entering the room, had attacked the unfortunate man, whose feet and shoes the head-groom had seen beating the floor as the lion carried him about the room, “shaking him as a dog would a rat." The assault had been actually witnessed by another groom, who stated, that soon after Smith entered the harness-room, adjoining the Ride, he heard the poor fellow cry, “Oh oh " in a tone of affright. He saw him attempt to pass through the door, when at that moment the lion sprang upon him and tore him back : the door then closed. When the terrified men regained courage, they cautiously opened a small wicket-door, and peeping in, saw the lion stalking about with his victim in his mouth, and occasionally shaking him. Smith then appeared to be quite dead. The lion - conqueror having arrived, courageously entered the Ride. The body of Smith was then lying, face upwards, close to the door, and one of the lions was sitting over it like a dog over a bone. The attack upon poor Smith seems to have been rather an act of instinct than of ferocity, for the lion followed his master when called with the docility of a dog; another was playing with some flowers; and the third, which had got into one of the boxes, was secured without difficulty. The surgeon who examined the body of Smith, a very short time

[ocr errors]

after the occurrence, found life quite extinct. The countenance exhibited a degree of calmness and composure by no means indicative of suffering, rather implying that death was instantaneous. The wounds were very numerous, but chiefly in two localities. On the head and neck were thirty-five. Some of these had inflicted a great injury upon the head, and one of them, a bite, had penetrated to the cervical vertebrae. On the right groin and thigh were forty-five wounds, some deep, some superficial. The inference was, that the wounds on the head had been caused by the paws of the beast when it first sprung upon its victim, and that, having thus crushed him, it seized him with its teeth in the neck, and had thus inflicted almost instantaneous death; and that then dropping him, it had seized him by the groin and so carried him about and shaken him. The lions appear to have escaped from their den through the carelessness of Smith himself, who had failed to secure properly a sliding panel by which the den was entered. The lions had been thus enabled to scratch the panel aside, and so reach a carpet which was placed round the den of the sick lion. In their vigorous play to draw this into their own den, they had succeeded in pulling aside other fastenings, and so got loose into the Ride. They do not seem to have been in any way enraged or excited, and would probably have taken no notice of Smith had the poor fellow acted courageously; but, when he turned his back and fled, one sprang upon him from that instinctive feeling which induces every beast of prey to chase any animal that flees from it. 14. FATAL RAILway. AccIDENT

NEAR LINcolN.—Another fatal accident, due to the severity of the weather, happened on the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway, near Greetwell, to the mail train due at Lincoln at 7.45 P.M. The train was not proceeding at more than the usual speed of thirty miles an hour, and had entered the Greetwell cutting, when the tire of the engine-wheel came off; the engine ran off the rails, dragging the carriages after it, and ran into the bank, which at this point is from six to eight feet high, and then turned over on its side. The cleaner, Frederick Tayler, was crushed to death beneath the engine. The engine-driver was thrown upon the hedge, and his head was severely cut. The tender was thrown upon its side in such a position that it formed an arch, under which the stoker crept, and so escaped uninjured. A young man named Clarke, and his father, were in a compartment near the head of the train. On the first idea of danger, the father jumped over the seat in front of him, reached the centre of the carriage just as the end was forced in, and escaped with a few bruises; but the son, who does not appear to have left his seat, received injuries which caused his death on the following evening. 18. ExECUTION AT GLAsgow.— This morning, Patrick Lunnay, who was convicted at the last Glasgow Winter Circuit Court, of the murder of James Cassidy, mason, Alexandria, Dumbartonshire, on the 11th of November last, suffered the extreme penalty of the law in front of the County Buildings, Dumbarton. The murder for which the penalty of death was thus inflicted, was of a very

· atrocious character. So atrocious, teen places. The murderer from

indeed, that although the jury the first exhibited no remorse for added to their verdict a recom- his deed, and went through his mendation to mercy, not a single trial and sentence with a stolid ineffort appears to have been made difference, which he maintained to obtain a commutation of the to the last, although his pale face sentence; and although his counsel and haggard appearance betokened drew up a petition in his favour, much seltish suffering. scarcely any could be got to sign 21. TERRIBLE EXPLOSION AT it. The murderer and his victim CHATHAM.-This morning, shortly were bedfellows—had been so for before noon, a frightful explosion several weeks-and on the evening occurred in that portion of the prior to the perpetration of the Royal Engineer establishment brutal deed had supped together. which is set apart for the manufacIn consequence of some jocular ture of hand-grenades, fuses, and expressions made use of by Cas- other explosive missiles, by which sidy, Lupnay became excited, and one man was killed, many severely insisted that their difference should injured, others less seriously. The be settled by a fight; and, for the part of the Engineer establishpurpose of pounding his opponent ment in which the accident octo better advantage, he stripped curred was the north gun-shed, a off his coat and called upon the building extending about 200 feet latter to prepare. Cassidy did in length, by between 20 and 30 not appear anxious to fight-in- in width, partly used as a store deed, from all that has transpired, for engineering implements, but he was rather averse to such a the central portion as a manufacproceeding; and the inmates of the tory for fuses, hand-grenades, &c., house baving, to all appearance, a number of the sappers of the pacified Lunnay, the men, after Royal and Indian Engineers being some little delay, left the apart. under daily instruction in the ment for the purpose, as was be- building. The working party, lieved, of retiring to bed. The numbering about thirty men, and a sequel is soon told. The mur- few non commissioned officers, derer returned to the apartment nearly the whole Indian Engihe had shortly before left, in such neers, with a few of the Royals, a condition, that the inmates of commenced operations in the facthe house had no doubt that he tory at the usual hour. The men had been after mischief-that he were under the direction of a serhad again allowed his passionate geant-instructor of the Royal Enfeeling to get the better of him. gineers, a man of great experience, This surmise proved too true; for and in every respect well qualified it was ascertained that Lunnay, in for that responsible post. The the most brutal, atrocious, and work chiefly performed by the cowardly manner, had attacked Engineers, consisted in filling the his unarmed opponent with a grenades, shells, and fuses, with & clasp-knife, stabbed him as a composition previously prepared. butcher would the inflated portion This composition is in the highof a carcase while skinning it, and est degree explosive, and the men left him lying in the street with are enjoined to use the utmost his life's blood oozing from four- care in filling the tubes, the sergeant-instructor by personal obser- carried completely away, and the vations ascertaining that his orders woodwork blown a considerable are carried out. The compo- distance. The force of the exsition is dealt out to the men in plosion being sideways, the roof moderate quantities, and placed in of the shed was not 'blown off, saucers by the side of each. The but portions of it were lifted, and tubes and grenades are then filled the lead work, for a considerable and rammed tightly by means of length, rolled and twisted in an a copper rod. This operation, extraordinary manner. which is technically known as Considering the number of men "tamping," must be performed employed at the time, it seems with great care, as any undue surprising that several were not force will cause the composition immediately killed. The two men to explode.

who were tamping the fuse were Everything connected with the blown up and most seriously burnt work proceeded satisfactorily this and injured-Smith fatally. Others morning until shortly before 12 of the men working in the room o'clock, when the frightful ex- were frightfully burnt; most had plosion took place. Just before their clothes rent and burnt from the accident occurred, Adams their bodies. Seven or eight were noticed one of the Engineers, conveyed to the military hospital, named Smith, performing his work where Smith died, after enduring in a rather careless manner, and great agonies. reprimanded him for it. The 28. ACCIDENT ON THE SOUTHsame man afterwards, finding & WESTERN RAILWAY.-A sad accidifficulty in ramming the compo- dent, by which a distinguished sition into his fuse, asked the physician, whose whole life was man next him to assist him, which passed in preserving the lives of he did, the two giving blow and others, was instantaneously killed, blow. Suddenly the composition occurred on the South-Western of the grenade which Smith held Railway, at the junction with the in his hand became ignited, Smith, Epsom line. who appeared paralyzed with fear. The Portsmouth express train continuing to retain his hold of it. leaves the Waterloo station at The fire from the grenade then 6.10 P.M. At the point where the communicated with the loose com- Epsom line joins, about seven position lying about, and this im- miles from London, a sudden mediately ignited a large quantity shock occurred, the engine broke of powder in a barrel. Instantly away from the train, and passed the whole building blew up with a on the rails undisturbed; but the terrific explosion. The first ex- tender appears to have mounted plosion was followed by a number the rails close to a bridge about of other reports, as the various twenty yards from the Epsom heaps of grenades and fuses be- Junction, and sweeping completely came ignited. The effects of the the parapet of the bridge, fell over explosion were of the most serious into the public road beneath, on character. The building itself was which it lay with the wheels uppershaken to its foundation, while one most and the tank severed from entire side of the factory in which the frame. In the following mo. the work was being carried on was ment two first-class carriages, one

second-class, and a van, were swung over the embankment, at different places, and smashed to pieces. A few yards further on the line, several first and secondclass carriages left the line and turned over, the bodies bein

severed from the framework . wheels, the latter being driven much further than the carriages themselves; the ends of the carriages were driven in, and nothing remained uncrushed save the middle compartments, of which the cushions and rugs were driven about in utter confusion. Some idea of the violence of the shock and the ruin of the carriages may be formed from the fact that most of them had been turned quite round, and rested on the line in the direction the reverse of that in which they had been travelling. The passengers received dreadful injuries. A first-class carriage was crushed to fragments and dragged along the line. From among the ruins was drawn the mutilated corpse of a gentleman in the prime of life. He was so frightfully injured that it was difficult to recognise him. The front of his head was crushed in by a piece of iron, the ribs were all fractured and the chest crushed in, the flesh stripped from the right thigh, and the thigh and leg fractured in two places; his whole body was covered with cuts and bruises, into which the gravel and ballast had been forced. This unfortunate gentleman was found to be Dr. Baly, F.R.S., Physician Extraordinary to the Queen, in large practice, and held in the highest estimation. He was the only person killed by this disaster; but many were seriously injured. Mr. Turner, a linendraper of Portsea, was so much crushed about

the back and chest, that he could not be removed to London; three gentlemen had ribs broken; a lady of position was brought to town and placed in St. Thomas's Hospital; and others were greatly hurt about the head and limbs, but were conveyed to their own homes. In the very thick of the disaster, the railway officials were distracted by the idea that one still greater might occur. The arrangement of the trains at this time of the day is eminently dangerous. The train for Southampton starts just ten minutes before the Portsmouth train, a Kingston train just five minutes after it, and two other trains follow in quick succession. In addition, an up-train from Southampton is due at the Waterloo terminus at 6 P.M., and should pass the Epsom Junction at 5.45. While, therefore, the shattered fragments of the carriages and machinery, with the bleeding and mutilated passengers, were lying scattered over both lines of rails, in five minutes another train from London would run into and crush anew the ruins, and in ten minutes another from Southampton would complete the destruction, and would both probably be thrown off the rails and involved in the same calamity. The 5.15 Kingston train is always crowded. There is a system of signals at the junction, but the wires and machinery had been broken and rendered useless by the falling carriages. Under these terrible circumstances, the railway officials behaved with great prudence and energy. The driver of the engine, the moment he saw the disaster to his train, was struck by the reflection that the Southampton train was coming,

« EdellinenJatka »