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The Wellington correspondent of Christchurch Truth writes : To most people Tom Long is no moro than a. name, and a rather gruesome and misty sort of person. I had tho experience — one could hardly call it a pleasure of discoursing with this celebrated individual the other morning. He is, as he proudly informs you, working in tho bush up Wanganui way — a vagueness of geographising that he did not seem inclined to strengthen by anything more definite. He has worked there — "an* been me own boss" — for some twenty years or thereabouts. "They've a. prejudice against me on account of me doing the executions, but someone has to do them," he complained, fixing his eye reflectively on my neck. "Once I refused to do an execution, but they was in a fix, and so I agreed after a lot of persuasion, and ever since then they can get me when they want to. How many have 1 swung off ? Fifteen in this country, but hundreds in India. They pay me £30 a time now. They used to pay £40 and £50, but those times have passed." He has a grievance, and it is this; that there arc men who would do the hangman's work for £18 and then dissappear from tho country. "And I'm here all the time, an' they know they can get me when they want me, and I reckon they oughtn't to cut the prico.' He did not seem to think much of my sugestion of a Hangmen's Union, which I thought would meet this difficulty. He has been offered 10s per foot for some of the ropes he has used, but he has refused. "There's some calous begars about," he commented on this point. Of medium height, plump, and with a red face and thick white whiskers, he looks anything but a hangman, until he talks to you on his hobby. He informed me that he would give me a six foot drop, when I asked him out of curiousity. tie is talkative, and sees nothing to be shy about in his business. He relates with many winks how once, travelling with a plain clothes constable from the country to officiate at a hanging, the news got about that 'Tom Long was on the train." Tom saw a lot of curious people peering through the window of the railway carriage, and lie pointed stealthily to the constable and winked at him without the unfortunate Robert knowing him. The crowd naturally concluded that the policeman was Tom, and the policeman was the most surprised and hurt man in the world when going on to the platform everybody scuttled away from him, and regarded him with disgust from afar. It breaks Tom up to ever think of it now.

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Bibliographic details

TOM LONG, Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume XLVIII, Issue 8178, 20 March 1905

Word Count

TOM LONG Hawera & Normanby Star, Volume XLVIII, Issue 8178, 20 March 1905