The fate of Johunng Johnston.
L[e]t us as Christian people
For a moment contemplate
On that awful crime at Whifflet
On young Johnny Johnston's fate,
At the age of thirteen, murdered,
All in secret, in a room,
Which had chilled the hearts of thousands
When report spread of his doom.
Countless were the sympathisers
Of the parents of the boy,
Who had been to them from childhood,
Their delight, their hope, and joy,
And what wonder at their grieving
O'er a boy so free from blame,
When the good boy gives such promise
That the man will be the same.
To a house which was adjacent
To his home he was decoyed,
And while there his joyous young life
Had been cruelly destroyed.
Then his charred remains were bundled
And tied on to a go-cart
Which was wheeled along to Glasgow
By a fiend without a heart.
The most daring pen of fiction
Would not venture to depict
Such audacity and coolness
Through a populous district,
But the temper leaves the culprit
Blind to sense of shame,
Who may walk abroad as coolly
As a person free from blame.
Kindly was that lorry driver
Who knew nothing of her drift,
Who on going into Glasgow
Gave the poor tired woman a lift,
And that kindly hearted fellow
Most politely put her down,
At the place that she requested,
On the outskirts of the town
Here a little boot protruded
From the bundle, which was seen
By a woman at a window,
Whose perception had been keen,
And that keen perceptive woman
In her duty was not slack,
For she in the shortest notice
Put the right man on her track.
What had been the person's motive
For committing such a crime ?
Is the question one keeps asking
And repeating all the time
Surely not for the few coppers
Which the little fellow had-
That he got for selling papers
For a little comrade lad.
In this land of open Bibles
Where the Church-bells ring so loud,
Of some people's moral standing
We have reason to be proud,
Where a little boy is murdered,
Whom his parents held so dear,
For the paltry sum of ninepence
To obtain a drink of beer.
Royal was the splendid funeral
Which the public to him gave,
For the roads were black with people
From his home right to his grave,
Out they came in tens of thousands,
Out from home some miles away,
Out as sympathetic mourners,
They came on Johnny's funeral day.
And with undivided sorrow
That last tribute of respect,
Had been shown to him by people
Who had known the home was wrecked.
Of his poor grief-stricken parents
Bowed beneath their weighty cross,
Left to drain their cup of sadness,
And to deeply mourn their loss.
W M. MARKHAM BROWN, 3 Davidson Street, AIRDRIE.
View Commentary | Download PDF Facsimile