“Stick ’em up!”
I would shout, waving my finger pistol menacingly at my sister.
“Your money — or your life!”
That’s what all the famous highway robbers said.
The most famous of the British highwaymen was Dick Turpin, the butcher-turned-bandit.
Dick was a young entrepreneur. He had just opened a butcher shop when the Essex Gang approached him, looking to shift their pilfered deer meat.
Dick joined the gang. It was a no-brainer.
For the next few years, Dick rode his horse — Black Bess — at the helm of that brutal band as they terrorized the craftsmen and farmers of the Home counties.
Within five years, they all swung from the end of a rope.
Except for Turpin.
Turpin evaded the authorities for several more years, becoming more violent and careless, until he was arrested for shooting another man’s chicken.
After a short trial, Dick was convicted.
He was sentenced to death for stealing horses.
When the terminal day arrived, he wore a new suit, thanked the audience, shared a joke with the executioner, climbed the gallows unaided, and threw himself off.
He expired in five minutes.
He had lived for thirty-four years.
His story will live on for a few more.