Read CHAPTER XXVII of The Hindered Hand / The Reign of the Repressionist, free online book, by Sutton E. Griggs, on ReadCentral.com.

Tiara Mystifies Us.

Tiara was sitting on the front porch of her home gazing pensively out upon the blue hills that fringed the distant horizon.

On the day previous she had been able to pronounce the wounded Earl well and he had gone forth solemnly pledged to no longer rebel against the overwhelming desire of the Negro race to pursue steadily the policy of moral suasion, as exemplified by Ensal.

That morning Eunice had taken her departure and had for some reason or other refused to let Tiara know her destination.

Tiara missed Eunice, but there was a countervailing joy in her soul. Eunice gone, her period of exile was over, and Ensal O, well, well; he could call to see her sometimes. That was as much as she would admit to herself, but there was an enlivening sparkle to those beautiful dark eyes whenever that individual came before her mind. She was intending that night to write him a note suggesting that he ought to call and receive an account of her stewardship in the matter of preserving Earl’s life. That was a non-committal piece of territory on which a renewal of friendly relations might begin, she felt. The newsboy came riding along and tossed the afternoon paper upon her porch. She picked up the paper, opened it and glanced at the various headings. In an instant her interest in the paper was more than perfunctory.

She saw an account of the murder of Rev. Percy G. Marshall, and of the besieging of the supposed murderer that was still in progress when the paper went to press.

At that moment a white man was passing in a buggy. Tiara hailed him, grasped a hat and was soon in the buggy by his side begging him to speed her to the city, which the wondering man kindly did.

Directed by Tiara, the man drove to the edge of the crowd of besiegers. By brave struggling, her hat gone, her long hair down her back, her dress torn, she made her way to the front of the swaying, surging mass of frenzied humanity.

“Gentlemen,” said she, “Let us stop this frightful slaughter. Suspend hostilities! Give me a chance and I will bring things out all right. All I ask is that you respect my prisoner.”

Tiara’s sweet, strong voice carried conviction and the crowd in silence awaited her action. Snatching a walking stick from a bystander and tearing a sleeve from her dress she made a flag of truce and mounted the steps of the gate.

Through his trumpet Martin shouted, “Flag uv truce held by the lady won’t be shot at, purvided no one else comes with her.”

The crowd now awaited with feverish anxiety the outcome of this new turn of affairs. Tragic as were the surroundings, the great throng found time to admire the great beauty, the magnificent form, the queenly carriage of Tiara, as bareheaded and with flag aloft she marched up to the citadel of the outlaw.

Martin met her at the door, let her in and ran back to the tower to see that no one took advantage of his absence to attempt to approach the building. But his precaution was unnecessary. It was a matter of honor with the great throng and none thought of violating the flag of truce.

Tiara followed Martin to the tower and spoke to him a few words in a low, earnest voice.

“Woman, is that true? And all this havoc to be laid at my door?”

“My God!” said Martin humbly. “My God,” he murmured again. Steadily down the stairway he walked and flung the door wide open, saying to Tiara, who followed, “Well, I’m done. They may have me.” Tossing his rifle in midair, he said, “I give up, gentlemen.” Taking the white flag he marched down the sidewalk, stepped outside the gate and stretched forth his hand for the sheriff to handcuff him. No sooner was he thus fastened than the mob surged in upon him. A blow from a stick knocked him down. As he lay upon the ground the muzzle of a pistol was seen protruding from each of the side pockets of his pants. Leroy Crutcher, whose testimony had helped to stimulate the mob that lynched Dave Harper, was again on hand. Eager for a souvenir that would enable him to boast to the white people as to how he stood by them, he stooped down to snatch one of the protruding pistols. Martin had the pistols so set in his pocket that to snatch them would pull the triggers and cause them to fire. A shot rang out and ploughed into Leroy Crutcher’s body and he fell a corpse.

The crowd swayed back from Gus in superstitious fear, taking him to be a remarkable personage to be able to keep up a bombardment in his condition. As no more shots came the mob felt reassured and drew near the prostrate form of Gus. His eyes looked up into scores of pistols now leveled at him, and as they rang out their death song Gus Martin smiled and died.