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my life, and a greater detestation of my past sins, from a sense
of the goodness which I had tasted in this case, than I had in
all my sorrow before.
This may be thought inconsistent in itself, and wide from the
business of this book; particularly, I reflect that many of those
who may be pleased and diverted with the relation of the wild
and wicked part of my story may not relish this, which is
really the best part of my life, the most advantageous to myself,
and the most instructive to others. Such, however, will, I hope,
allow me the liberty to make my story complete. It would be
a severe satire on such to say they do not relish the repentance
as much as they do the crime; and that they had rather the
history were a complete tragedy, as it was very likely to have been.
But I go on with my relation. The next morning there was a
sad scene indeed in the prison. The first thing I was saluted
with in the morning was the tolling of the great bell at St.
Sepulchre's, as they call it, which ushered in the day. As soon
as it began to toll, a dismal groaning and crying was heard
from the condemned hole, where there lay six poor souls who
were to be executed that day, some from one crime, some for
another, and two of them for murder.
This was followed by a confused clamour in the house, among
the several sorts of prisoners, expressing their awkward sorrows
for the poor creatures that were to die, but in a manner extremely
differing one from another. Some cried for them; some huzzaed,
and wished them a good journey; some damned and cursed those
that had brought them to it--that is, meaning the evidence, or
prosecutors--many pitying them, and some few, but very few,
praying for them.
There was hardly room for so much composure of mind as
was required for me to bless the merciful Providence that had,
as it were, snatched me out of the jaws of this destruction. I
remained, as it were, dumb and silent, overcome with the
sense of it, and not able to express what I had in my heart; for
the passions on such occasions as these are certainly so agitated
as not to be able presently to regulate their own motions.
All the while the poor condemned creatures were preparing
to their death, and the ordinary, as they call him, was busy
with them, disposing them to submit to their sentence--I say,
all this while I was seized with a fit of trembling, as much as