During the last hour before the executions Mary Donovan, Felicani, Gardner Jackson and his sister Edith, Ruth Hale, Jeannette Marks, and Joseph Moro waited in the inner office of the Hanover Street headquarters. "They must be starting now," someone remarked at midnight. "Let us be quiet."
The outer room was full of people, heavy with cigarette smoke, darkly expectant. All evening there had been a constant coming and going, a mixture of North End Italians and strangers from outside Massachusetts. Some minutes before midnight Mother Bloor puffed up the stairs, having been bailed out earlier by Mary Donovan.
The group in the inner office did not move. After twenty minutes the telephone rang twice, the prearranged signal that the executions had taken place. Jackson picked up the receiver, listened, and still holding it to his ear nodded to the others. No one spoke. Felicani's face was a white mask. Then Mary Donovan cried out, "I can't believe it!" After several seconds she stood up, opened the door to the anteroom, and said sternly, "It's all over." Moro bit at a sheaf of papers he held in his hand, then began to sob. Outside there was a babble of voices rising to shouts. Some of the less-restrained Italians threw themselves down on the floor and howled. The rest began to grope their way down the steep stairs. As Mary Donovan turned back to the little office, the telephone bell tinkled again. "Come," she told the others, "let us not answer the telephone any more."
For many, as for those at the defense headquarters, that night was to be the dividing line of their lives. Ferris Greenslet, the biographer of the Lowells, stood with the crowd on Boston Common staring up at the oval windows of the governor's office, "hoping, doubting, despairing." From Parlor D at the Bellevue, a few minutes before