It was a quiet execution, being unattended by circumstances which sometimes tend to make the scenes sensational. Both men walked to the scaffold without trepidation, and were shot through the trap without delay, the work of the officers being performed in what is known in Annex circles as an "excellent way."
Edward McCarthy, serial number 21,967, who had shown some disposition to give down, went to death bravely, and in a firm voice gave a last word to the world. Charles Craig, who had been prepared for the end for some time past, was equally courageous, but it was by a forced effort perceptible to everybody.
Warden James limited admission to those permitted by the law to attend, and consequently not over thirty-five people were present. There was an absence of the rush and jostling which had marked previous executions, being more in accord with the solemnity of the occasion.
Promptly at twelve o'clock Warden James, Deputy Playford, Assistant Deputy Stackhouse, Guard Gump, Physicians Rowles and Ireton repaired to the scaffold, followed by the crowd. Deputy Stackhouse adjusted the rope and, unfolding the black-cap, prepared for the tragedy to follow. Warden James and Deputy Playford went to McCarthy's cell and told him the "time was up." "All right," was the response, as the good Priest whispered words of encouragement to the doomed man. At the request of the Warden McCarthy removed his collar and necktie and between the officers ascended the scaffold. He had bidden "good-bye" to the remaining men in the Annex, but he said "farewell" to Craig, and as he stepped up toward the scaffold he glanced down into the cage as if to see if the other men were watching.
He walked to the trap unsupported and, as if knowing what was expected of him, he put his hands down close to his body, and held his head up so as to give the rope a chance. McCarthy had nothing of the appearance of the desperate man that he was. His complexion was fair and his hair light, while he wore a short sandy moustache. His features were not those of a tough, but rather of a mild-mannered person. He remained motionless for a minute and a half while the straps were being adjusted. His countenance gave no indication that he was affected by his position, and he stood as though he was getting measured for a suit of clothes, rather than preparing for death. Before the arm straps were buckled he shook hands with the officers and Father O'Leary and bade them "good-bye."
When ready for the black-cap the Warden asked him if he had anything to say. "Only this," was the response in a firm voice: "Gentlemen, if I have ever done anybody any harm I ask their forgiveness, as I have forgiven those who have harmed me, and as I expect to be forgiven by God. Goodbye all."
In a moment the black-cap shut out his sight forever, and soon the rope was around his neck--and then the drop. For half a minute the body writhed, and then there was a gurgling sound. An attendant held the arms and legs, and in thirteen minutes he was pronounced dead. The heart-beats by minutes after the trap was sprung were: 77, 95, 114, 111, 111, 76, 80, 63, 52, 53, 31, 11 1/2--dead.