Mary Nicholson was not sentenced for nearly a year after her
conviction. During this time she was a servant in the prison at
Durham and was sometimes sent on her own on errands into the
town. At her execution in 1799 the rope snapped and she spoke
with her relatives for nearly an hour until a new rope was


Mary Nicholson.
A servant.
A dead woman walking,
For nearly a year
She went errands in the town.
Then they bound and took her
From her house of stone –
And that majesty and light
And her smile undone.

You spoke for an hour
Till they fetched a second rope.
Forgive me.
I have not thought of you enough.


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