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An old lady, who was present at the execution of Ruth Blay, said, as Ruth was carried through the streets, her shrieks filled the air. She was dressed in silk, and was driven under the gallows in a cart. Public sympathy was awakened for her, and her friends had procured from the governor a reprieve, which would have soon resulted in her pardon; for circumstances afterwards showed that her concealed child was probably still-born, and she was no murderess. The hour for her execution arrived, and the sheriff, not wishing, it is said, to be late to his dinner, ordered the cart to be driven away, and the unfortunate woman was left hanging from the gallows, a sacrifice to misguided judgment. If we are rightly informed, she was a girl of good education for her day, having been a school-mistress. The indignation of the populace can hardly be conceived when it was ascertained that a reprieve from the governor came a few minutes after her spirit had been hastened away. --RAMBLES ABOUT PORTSMOUTH

In the worn and dusty annals
Of our old and quiet town,
With its streets of leafy beauty,
And its houses quaint and brown,--


With its dear associations,
Hallowed by the touch of Time,--
You may read this thrilling legend,
This sad tale of wrong and crime.


In the drear month of December,
Ninety years ago today,
Hundreds of the village people
Saw the hanging of Ruth Blay;--


Saw her, clothed in silk and satin,
Borne beneath the gallows-tree,
Dressed as in her wedding garments,
Soon the bride of Death to be;--


Saw her tears of shame and anguish,
Heard her shrieks of wild despair
Echo through the neighboring woodlands,
Thrill the clear and frosty air;--


Till their hearts were moved to pity
At her fear and agony:
"Doomed to die," they said, "unjustly,
Weak, but innocent is she."


When at last, in tones of warning,
From its high and airy tower,
Slowly, with its tongue of iron,
Tolled the bell the fatal hour.


Like the sound of distant billows,
When the storm is wild and loud,
Breaking on the rocky headlands,
Ran a murmur through the crowd.


And a voice among them shouted,
"Pause before the deed is done;
We have asked reprieve and pardon
For the poor, misguided one."


But these words of Sheriff Packer
Rang above the swelling noise:
"Must I wait and lose my dinner?
Draw away the cart, my boys!"


Fold thy hands in prayer, O woman!
Take thy last look of the sea;
Take thy last look of the landscape;
God be merciful to thee!


Stifled groans, a gasp, a shudder,
And the guilty deed was done;
On a scene of cruel murder
Coldly looked the Winter sun.


Then the people, pale with horror,
Looked with sudden awe behind,
As a field of grain in Autumn
Turns before a passing wind;


For distinctly in the distance,
In the long and frozen street,
They could hear the ringing echoes
Of a horse's sounding feet.


Nearer came the sound and louder,
Till a steed with panting breath,
From its sides the white foam dripping,
Halted at the scene of death;


And a messenger alighted,
Crying to the crowd, "Make way!
This I bear to Sheriff Packer;
'Tis a pardon for Ruth Blay!"


But they answered not nor heeded,
For the last fond hope had fled;
In their deep and speechless sorrow,
Pointing only to the dead.


And that night, with burning bosoms,
Muttering curses fierce and loud,
At the house of Sheriff Packer
Gathered the indignant crowd,--


Shouting, as upon a gallows
A grim effigy they bore,
"Be the name of Thomas Packer
A reproach forevermore!"