Hanging Mary – Week 4

Mary Surratt is on trial for her life. She has been charged, along with six others, for the murder of the President. With the trial being held in military court, she is hoping for leniency. With the mastermind of the plan on the run, there is no one to really say whether she knew or not the full scope of the plans. Those that do are not talking. Each are out to save themselves. With her defense lawyers, Mary is hoping to show that she knew nothing of the plot.

But there is something working against her. Mr. Weichmann seems to have a perfect memory of all the comings and goings, people in and out, and even the conversations that were held. While he does not know everything, he knows enough to give some pretty convincing testimony for the prosecution, including the trips that he accompanied Mrs. Surratt on to the tavern that she owned. Nora also speaks for the prosecution, but then turns around after she is let out of prison and speaks for the defense. She remains loyal to Mrs. Surratt to the concern of her father, who tries to get her out of town.

While the cases are wrapping up, Mary does not know which way the verdict will go, but she is confident in the fact that she will not suffer the ultimate penalty. But when the final verdicts are in, and the sentences handed out, she is astonished! Her life is now measured in mere hours, instead of years. As those who supported her are rushing around trying to get the execution stayed, they seem to have a small glimmer of hope. Nora, who has been shuffled off to Baltimore by her father, sneaks back to be with Anna and asks a family friend to see the President on behalf of Mrs. Surratt. However, all of their appeals are in vain, even with the testimony from Mr. Payne, another of the defendants sentenced to hanging.

As the time draws near, the hope for clemency from the President remains…

This week we are reading Chapters 41-Epilogue

Questions:

  1. Do you believe the claim Mary had that she was innocent of the charges against her?
  2. How have the characters changed throughout the novel?
  3. If Johnny had returned to save his mother, do you think she would have hung?
  4. Tell me what you thought about the book!

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