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The execution of the Duke of Bedford, Lord Russel

September 19, 2011

Lincoln’s Inn Fields was packed with a restless crowd, eagerly anticipating the event of the year 1683. Daniel glanced about, noting the faces of the few lords, counts and dukes, and committing them to memory. He took a swab of tobacco and absently stuffed it into his pipe. His simple, black garbs stood out like a sore thumb among the people around him. Their old, oft-mended, patched hand-me-down clothes, excitable demeanour, and putrid smells marked them typical East Londoners. As though on cue, Jack Ketch arrived just as Daniel quietly lit his pipe, with Lord Russel pulled along in chains. Commoners and noblemen alike threw the coarsest of profanity towards the small wooden stage in the middle of the fields. Mudlarks scurried along the route, trying to curry favour with the crowd by heckling the Duke of Bedford, Lord William Russel. Being the last calm face among countless commoners and vagabonds alike, Daniel noticed something none other did, his Lordship had searched the crowd, and in a gesture almost unnoticeable, shook his head. Daniel followed the lord Russels gaze, and found only a retreating back, with a sword strapped from it’s shoulder. Undoubtedly one of his fellow conspirators, intending to die trying to save Lord Russel from execution, turned away by the condemned himself. Having stumbled upon the execution grounds but by accident, Daniel too turned his back and opted to follow the sword-bearing Whig. As he rounded a corner unto Holborn, the sound of the crowds at Lincoln’s Inn Fields seemed to change pitch, and though he knew the acoustics of the surrounding buildings were playing tricks on his senses, Daniel imagined a sense of crestfallen anger in the crowd.

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From → Proze

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