I'd like to ask about the sentence below from Red Headed League by Conan Doyle.

Jump, Archie, jump, and I’ll swing for it!

This was uttered by the villain for the episode named John Clay, when he just got out of the secret hole and then found Holmes charging at him. Can anyone tell me What "and I'll swing for" means in this sentence? Dictionaries say "swing for it" means "to get the punishment" so..

  1. Jump Archie (his accomplice), run for life without caring about me, because I'm going to be done and I can't fix that, just give up on me.

  2. Jump Archie, so that I can jump into the hole too, you've gotta be quick, otherwise I'll get arrested and be hanged.

  3. Jump Archie, don't mind about me, I'll manage to run away from them by myself. You just do your own thing.

Which is the closest of the three above to what Clay meant? Thank you.

  • 2
    It means run for your life, Archie, and I'll stay here, take the blame and absolve you as much as I can, and end up being hanged. – Peter Shor Apr 30 '19 at 16:57
  • @PeterShor A practice abolished in Britain since 1965. – WS2 Apr 30 '19 at 17:58

"Swing for it" is a slang term for execution by hanging:

1.1 informal no object Be executed by hanging.

now he was going to swing for it

Oxford Dictionary

So Clay means that he will do something that will lead him to be executed (presumably, kill Holmes). In other words, your option 1.

If it had been your option 2, then I think it would be "or" not "and".

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    More commonly, "I'll swing for it" means "I'll pay the expenses". – Hot Licks Apr 30 '19 at 17:21
  • @HotLicks I've never come across that! (Doesn't really fit in this context, though.) – user323578 Apr 30 '19 at 17:42
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    @HotLicks: like user323578 I (BR Eng native speaker 60+) have never heard the expression I'll swing for it meant to express I'll pay the expenses. Are you sure you're not confusing it with I'll spring for it ? – High Performance Mark Aug 29 '19 at 16:52

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