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TRAGIC SEQUEL TO A JOKE.

The Melbourne ' Argus' of the 13ch inst. givea the following particulars of a tragedy briefly referred to in recent cables : Three youths started on Saturday night to enjoy p. ramble round the streets of Malvern. Shortly before nine o'clock they came to an electric lighting pole at the corner of Stanhope 6treet and Gleuferrie road, and one jocularly challenged the others to a feat of gymnastics. He said "I'll bet either of you I'll climb up that post quickest." His challenge was accepted, and he clambered up the pole, and gripped the wires with one hand to steady himself. For a moment sparks flew, and his disengaged hand waved wildly in the air. Then he seized the wires with both hands, and instantly fell to the ground dead. The victim of the tragic accident was named Richard Truswell. He was seventeen years of age, and the son of a widow, living at 53 Bayview street, Armadale. His companions, who were about his own age, were James Graham (of Garden Grove, Malvern) and Alfred Mercer (ot Howson street, Malvern). During the evening they had employed their time after the manner of youths on a Saturday night in joining the crowds in the main streets of the suburb. All were full of good spirits, and perfectly sober, and at ten minutes to eight o'clock one of their number, who felt thirsty, suggested they should go to the water tap in front of the Town Hall and get themselves a drink. They were on the way when they came abreast of the electric lighting pole at the corner of Stanhope street and Glenferrie road. Trustwell said : " You fellows can't climb that pole as quickly as I can, because I havo been taking gymnastic lessons lately, and am in good form." One of the others remarked that he thought he could climb a pole as fast as any member of a gymnastic clasa. Then the challenge was given and accepted, and the contest wascommenced. Truswell showed much agility in reaching the top, aud with satisfaction and pride in his achievement he waved his hand and said: "Beat that if you can." Without any thought of danger he reached out and caught hold of a wire. Instantly his companions were amazed by the flashing of sparks and the wild motions of their friend at the top of the pole. Before they could get a proper appreciation of what was happening the disengaged hand of the unfortunate youth laid hold of a second wire. The circuit was then complete, and the result was a shock so terrible that the harmless joke was turned to a tragedy. When the body dropped to the ground, and there lay motionless, one of the lads raised the head, and in a dazed fashion endeavored to do what he could to restore animation, while the other rushed off for a doctor. Dr Carnie, of Glenferrie road, was in almost immediate attendance, but all he could do was to determine that death had actually occurred. All the evidences of death from shock were present. The top joint of one of the fingerß had totally disappeared, and the scorching wires had buried themselves deeply in the fingers and palms of the hands, and had charred even the bones.

It has been estimated, from the stamp duties paid by patent medicine makers, that 4,000,000 pills are taken by the inhabitants of the United Kingdom every week. In Francs the quantity is about half. Only about 1,000,000 are taken by the people of Russia. The Australians are the biggest pill-takers in the world.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18970925.2.60

Bibliographic details

TRAGIC SEQUEL TO A JOKE., Evening Star, Issue 10429, 25 September 1897, Supplement

Word Count
603

TRAGIC SEQUEL TO A JOKE. Evening Star, Issue 10429, 25 September 1897, Supplement

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