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The “ Kleine Journal,” a daily paper recently started in Berlin by the Prussian railway king, Dr. Strousberg, has published an account of an interview recently granted to the writer by Krantz, the state executioner, who beheaded Hoedel last summer. While “ Monsieur de Berlin ” was chatting pleasantly with his visitor about the decapitation of the woul-dbe regicide—Krantz’s first performance as a headsman— a knock w r as heard at the door, and a footman in splendid livery entered the room with the request that the Scharfrichter would be pleased to speak with him for a moment in the passage. Krantz went out with the lackey, and after a brief interchange of sentences in an undertone, was heard to say aloud. “ Tell her excellency, the lady countess, that I am very sorry, but I cannot, dare not do it.” Interrogated upon his return by the visitor with respect to the mission of the mysterious man-ser-vant, he replied with a smile, “ Oh! it was only a request from one of my * sympathisers ’ such as reach me several times a week. You may often see the handsomest equipages in Berlin standing at the corner of the Mulock-Strasse. They bring me lady visitors, young and old, pretty and ugly. Yes, yes, many ladies of the highest aristocracy have called upon me and insisted upon seeing my wife when I was not at home. ” “ And what did the ladies want?” “ The merest rubbish. Hair cuttings of criminals, for instance—a blood-stained pocket handkerchief, a morsel of bread from the headsman’s breakfast table, _ for one of my gloves.” Krantz himself is a fine young fellow, decorated with the Iron Cross of valour in the field. Like most subordinate functionaries in Prussia, he was a non-commissioned officer in the army, and received his present appointment upon his discharge, as a reward for for faithful and gallant service. He is married, and the proud father of a flue little boy, the heir apparent to his important office. With a touch of quaint pride he introduced this lad to his visitor’s notice as ‘ ‘ his successor, please God ! ” and observed that though he passed an uneasy night before the morning fixed for Hoedel’s execution, when he looked into his “ client’s ” impudent, sneering face, he “thanked God for making his business so easy for him ! ”

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Bibliographic details

Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 90, 22 April 1880

Word Count

LADIES OF RANK AND THE PRUSSIAN HEADSMAN. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 1, Issue 90, 22 April 1880