Anecdote of the week

http://i55.photobucket.com/albums/g132/falon_06/Charlie-Chaplin-Photograph-C1203700.jpgFrom this site, via Kathy G, regarding Charlie Chaplin.

They were dreadfully poor. Charlie’s parents were third-string strolling players. His father died early of alcoholism; his mother was often in asylums, whether through drink or because of periodic mental illness. Whenever this happened, Charlie and his brothers had to shift for themselves on the streets of London. Robert Flaherty used to tell the story of one of these times: ‘It was a rainy winter night. Charlie, who was about eleven, had no place to sleep and was sheltering under an overhanging roof. A solid-looking man came by, took a look at the boy, and asked him what he was doing there. Charlie told his story. The man stroked his chin for a moment and said, “Well, I’ve a bit to eat at my place. I’ve only one room, but you’re welcome to stay the night if you don’t mind sleeping on the floor.” They went to the man’s furnished room, where Charlie slept on a pallet at the foot of his host’s bed. Next morning when he woke, the man had gone, but Charlie found a note saying, “If you’ve no place to sleep tonight, come here.” Charlie had to avail himself of his friend’s help for many nights, but always in the morning the man had gone to his work. Charlie became curious about what that work might be. One morning he managed to wake early. The man was taking out of the closet and measuring in his hands a long, strong rope with a noose at the end of it. He was the common hangman.’

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steve at the pub
13 years ago

I don’t believe it.

david tiley
13 years ago

I thought hangmen in the UK worked very infrequently. But with great precision.

steve at the pub
13 years ago

When Chaplin was a child the knotted rope noose was no longer in use in England, being surpassed by the sliding brass eyelet. Rope used for hanging was the property of the prison and remained within the prison. Rope was not supplied by the hangman.

FDB
FDB
13 years ago

Maybe a young Charlie made this story up to supress the memory of his protector committing suicide.

steve at the pub
13 years ago

It was the custom for the hangman and assistant to be accommodated overnight in the prison prior to a hanging. Preparations would require the hangman and assistant to be in the prison at least 24 hours prior to the time of hanging. Which in London was 8am.