Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"There Is Someone Lying Dead Under the Stars—Because of Her"

"Death Comes in Motley."
By Tom Gallon (Thomas Henry Gallon, 1866-1914).
First appearance: The Strand Magazine, October 1907.
Reprinted in The Strand Magazine (U.S.), October 1907.
Short story (7 pages, with 4 illos).
Online at (HERE).
(Note: Some fuzzed-up text, but readable.)

"He was in the way—and I hated him."
Two complete strangers confront each other at four in the morning; one is a hardened criminal with no regrets, the other, as he admits, "with the brand of Cain upon me"—and between them a loaded revolver . . .

The characters:
~ The man in motley:

  "You'll start up at my elbow when I'm most secure; you'll put in an appearance when I least expect you; you'll be my shadow, haunting me, as another shadow will haunt me, till I die."
~ Jim Filer:
  "After all, you've got to pay for sich a little game as this 'ere."

- Street juggling dates from ancient times, and still goes on today (HERE), but unfortunately it has criminal associations (HERE).

- There's more about Tom Gallon on Wikipedia (HERE) and the IMDb (HERE); Steve at Bear Alley also has a succinct bio of Gallon (HERE). We think—but we're not sure—that before his death Gallon managed to revise and expand "Death Comes in Motley" to novel length as The Man in Motley (1915), subsequently filmed the following year (HERE). The FictionMags listing indicates that he was both versatile and prolific, his short story output, running from 1897 to 1916, almost entirely in the mainstream but with occasional excursions into crime fiction and the macabre.

The bottom line: "I had killed a man, for money and a woman. I didn't have the money and I didn't have the woman."
Walter Huff

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