Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 147

colony nor a citizen of the state to which it belonged.
he wanted to con–
demn the execution, or even to prevent it, they could say to him: You are
a foreigner, be silent. To this he would not be able to reply other than to
add that as far as this matter was concerned, he didn't understand it him–
self, for he was traveling with the sole intention of observing and certainly
not with that of changing foreign court procedures. But here, however, the
situation appeared to be very tempting. There was no doubt about the
injustice of the proceedings and the inhumanity of the execution. Nobody
would assume that the explorer had any personal interest in the matter,
for the condemned man was a stranger to him. They were not compatriots,
nor was he at all a man who invited pity. The explorer himself had recom–
mendations from high officials, he had been received with great courtesy,
and the fact that he had been asked to the execution seemed even to indi–
cate that they might desire his opinion concerning this procedure. This was
all the more likely in fact since the commanding officer, as he had just
heard distinctly, was not a partisan of this procedure and maintained an
almost hostile attitude towards the officer.
At that moment, the explorer heard a cry of rage from the officer.
Not without difficulty, he had just succeeded in shoving the felt gag into
the mouth of the offender, when the latter closed his eyes in an irresistible
nausea and vomited. Hurriedly the officer wrenched him away from the
gag and tried to turn his head towards the ditch; but it was too late, the
slop was already running all over the machine. "All this is the comman–
der's fault!" the officer cried and shook the brass rods in front without
rhyme or reason. "They're getting my machine as filthy as a stable." His
hands shaking, he showed the explorer what had happened. "Haven't I
tried for hours to make the
understand that no
given for a day before the execution? But the new, lenient tendency
disagrees. The ladies of the commander's family stuff the man's mouth
with sweets before he is led away. All his life he has fed on stinking fish,
and now he has to eat candy! But it certainly would be possible, I wouldn't
object, why on earth don't they get a new felt gag, as I have urged for the
last three months? How can anyone take into his mouth, without loathing,
a gag on which more than a hundred dying men have sucked and bitten?''
The condemned man had laid his head back ancllooked very peaceful.
the guard was busy cleaning the machine with the condemned man's shirt.
The officer walked towards the explorer, who took a step backwards in
some sort of premonition, but the officer took his hand and drew him to
one side. "I want to say a few words to you in confidence," he said, "may
I?" "Certainly," said the explorer, and listened, his eyes lowered.
"This procedure and this execution, which you now have the oppor–
tunity to admire, no longer have any open adherents in our colony at
present. I am their only advocate, as well as the only advocate of the old
commander's legacy. I am no longer able to consider further improve–
ments of the procedure, I exhaust all my strength trying to preserve what
already exists. During the old commander's lifetime, the colony was filled
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