21 year old Emily Hilda Blake worked as a housemaid in Canada. Her employer, Mr. Lane had told
her he would marry her, if he was free.
The attractive but financially poor maid killed his wife, Mary Lane in a fit of jealousy.
Initially Hilda claimed a tramp had shot Mrs. Lane, but when the gun was found in the garbage,
Hilda had to confess her Crime.
Hilda first implicated Mr. Lane, but refused to defend herself in court. Having confessed she
knew it wouldn't change her fate if he was involved.
She was imprisoned in Brandon Province Jail in Manitoba. While she was awaiting her execution
she seduced one of her female guards, Mrs. Strippe into helping her escape from the jail.
The attempt failed and on December 27, 1899 the law took it's cause:
It was a cold and clear morning. Hilda had dressed herself in a "neat and becoming" brown velvet
dress, the dress she had worn to trial. She ate heartily at breakfast.
Hilda knew her role in the "ceremony". At this point she could no longer shield herself from the
fulfilment of the deadly ritual. She could only put put on a brave front and make a good show.
At 8:30 the four-person procession started. The jailer leading, Hilda next - her elbows were pinned
tightly to her sides by two leather straps - then the priest and finally the hangman, John Radclive.
The 25 person audience became silent by the sight of this procession appearing in the prison yard.
Hilda arrived to at the foot of the scaffold ashy pale but completely composed. According to one
report she "passed through the hall with a firm steady tread, her head erect and her bearing that
of a young lady going to an evening party, rather than the gallows". Another report added that
her tread was "the tread of a girl in a ballroom".
After asking Radclive to hold her skirt so that it would not catch on the first step, she climbed
partway up to the platform. Then she stopped, turned, and looked searchingly into the faces of
those below. Radclive urged her forward. "I'm going", she replied, climbing the rest of the 16
steps without the weak knees that Radclive frequently observed during last ascents.
On the platform Hilda prudently stepped around the trapdoor. It seemed like she tried to awoid the
inevitable, and it was growing clear that she would make no startling disclosures.
Radclive motioned: "Step over here", and now Hilda stepped onto the trapdoor without hesitation.
She asked the priest to kiss her goodbye. Then while Radclive buckled the straps around her body
and her feet, Blake cast one look upward, smiling briefly at the noose. He pulled the black cap
tightly over her head. She didn't cry out.
Hilda twiched when he noose was tightened around her neck. Many handkerchiefs could be seen
as the priest raised his voice in the Lord's Prayer. When he reached "forgive us our sins" a grating
noice announced the opening of the trapdoor. The long drop was the peak of Hilda's
performance, for a moment even her slightest movement would be of immense interest. Then she
was swaying silently in the rope, slowly but inevitably turning cold and colorless.