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THE RETURN OF CLAMPETT.

[PBR PRESS ASSOCIATION.] Wellington, July 15. Arthur Clampett was a passenger by the Ruapehu, which arrived last night. JHe goes to Christchurch. A. Siberian Exile's* Desperate Deed. The recent outrage by the Siberian officials m flogging two women brings to mind an episode of the daring escape of a Siberian exile at Moscow, as told by an Englishman, apropos of his residence m that city for some two years. ' The exile,' ' was the leader of a band of Nihilists noted for their daring. He , had made many aliases, but was generally I known as Petrovski. Physically, he t.'ijss one of the most perfect men I ever sawHe was of dark complexion, stood over six feet high, and was built m proportion. It seems that he and part of his band had been captured m connection with some plot the authorities had unearthed, and had been sentenced to life servitude m the mines of Kara. Knowing only too we 1 what this meant, the men had become as desperate as caged lions by the time they reached Moscow, and were willing to take any chance to effect their escape. If I remember correctly there were about a thousand prisoners m this cavalcade, and they were guarded by a regiment of St. Petersburg soldiers. Unlike other prisoners, Petrovski and his party were handcuffed to each other. They were under a double guard, as it was known that they would make an attempt at escape should the opportunity offer. No chance offered, however, until the day of starting arrived. The soldiers who were guarding the party appeared to be rather under the influence of liquor, and were not so vigilant as usual. I stood on the step of a small inn within ten feet of Petrovski, and from the expression on his face I knew that something was m the wind. The officer who had charge of this part of the prisoners, who was noted for his brutality, had mounted his horse and stood near the party. The guards had walked off some distance, and were conversing together. I saw Petrovski working at his handcuffs, and then I saw him'draw a common dinner knife from his jacket. The movemennt did not attract attentionj and he then turned slightly, so that his back was turned toward the officer. Then I saw that he was going to attempt one of the most desperate escapes ever heard of. The man was certainly ampu. tating his thumb with the table knife, so as to allow the handcuff to slip over his hand ! He worked at it, never flinching, until the thumb dropped at his feet. The blood was flowing from the wound m a stream, but he tied it up with a r<ig after drawing the skin over the sickening wound, and had slipped the handcuff off. His companion was aware of his movements, but stood like a statue. The suppressed excitement I was suffering from, together with the daring bravery that I was witnessing almost made me faint. I saw that the dare-devil was as pale as a sheet, but without the slightest sign of fear. He stood for a moment irresolute, and then began a slow side movement towards the mounted officer. When within a few feet he turned with the fury of _ a tiger, and seizing the officer dragged him from the horse. Before the guards could recover their senses he had mounted the horse and started off at a run down the street. A fusilade of shots followed, but he escaped them all. His friends aided him, and he eventually made his way to Paris where he still lives with his wife and family, but minus his right thumb.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18900715.2.19

Bibliographic details

THE RETURN OF CLAMPETT., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890

Word Count
620

THE RETURN OF CLAMPETT. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2467, 15 July 1890

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