Far Away And Long Ago A History Of My Early Life By W. H. Hudson


The story invariably told was that a man convicted of some serious
crime and condemned to suffer the last penalty - Page 140
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The Story Invariably Told Was That A Man Convicted Of Some Serious Crime And Condemned To Suffer The Last Penalty,

And left, as the custom then was, for long months in the gaol in Buenos Ayres, amused himself by composing

The story of the Bien-te-veo, and thinking well of it he made a present of the manuscript to the gaoler in acknowledgment of some kindness he had received from that person. The condemned man had no money and no friends to interest themselves on his behalf; but it was not the custom at that time to execute a criminal as soon as he was condemned. The prison authorities preferred to wait until there were a dozen or so to execute; these would then be taken out, ranged against a wall of the prison, opposite a file of soldiers with muskets in their hands, and shot, the soldiers after the first discharge reloading their weapons and going up to the fallen men to finish off those who were still kicking. This was the prospect our prisoner had to look forward to. Meanwhile his ballad was being circulated and read with immense delight by various persons in authority, and one of these who was privileged to approach the Dictator, thinking it would afford him a little amusement, took the ballad and read it to him. Rosas was so pleased with it that he pardoned the condemned man and ordered his liberation.

All this, I conjectured, must have happened at least twenty years before I was born.

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