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Title: An Eye for an Eye - Big Blue Book no. B-24
Author: Darrow, Clarence
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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        BIG BLUE BOOK NO.                                 =B–24=
        Edited by E. Haldeman-Julius



                           An Eye for an Eye


                            Clarence Darrow


                        HALDEMAN-JULIUS COMPANY
                             GIRARD, KANSAS



                          Copyright, 1905, by
                            Clarence Darrow


                Printed in the United States of America



                           AN EYE FOR AN EYE



                                   I


When Hank Clery left the switch-yards in the outskirts of Chicago he
took the street car and went down town. He was going to the county jail
on the north side of the river. Hank had never been inside the jail
though he had been arrested a number of times and taken to the police
court, escaping luckily with a small fine which his mother had contrived
to pay. She was one of the best washerwomen of the whole neighborhood,
and never without work. All the officers knew that whenever Hank got
into trouble his mother would pay the fine and costs. Hank had often
been arrested, but he was by no means a bad fellow. He lived with his
old Irish mother and was very fond of her and often brought his wages
home if none of the boys happened to be near when the pay-car came
around. Hank was a switchman in one of the big railroad yards in
Chicago. Of course, he and his companions drank quite a little, and then
their sports and pastimes were not of the gentlest sort; for that matter
neither was their work—climbing up and down running cars and turning
switches just ahead of a great locomotive and watching to make sure
which track was safe where the moving cars and engines were all around—
did not tend to a quiet life. Of course, most people think that no man
will work in a switch-yard unless he drinks. Perhaps no man would drink
unless he worked in a switch-yard or some such place.

Well, on this day Hank was going to the jail, not on account of any of
his own misdeeds, but on an errand of mercy. The night before, the
priest had come to Hank’s home and told him that his old friend, Jim
Jackson, had begged for him to visit the jail. Hank at first refused,
but the priest told him that Jim had no friends and was anxious to have
a few minutes’ talk with him before he died; Jim had some message that
he wanted to give Hank that he could not leave with anyone else. Hank
knew that Jim was to be hanged on Friday, and he had thought about it a
good deal in the last few days and wished that it was over. He had known
Jim for a long time; they had often been out together and sometimes got
drunk together. Jim once worked in the yards, but one night one of the
other boys was struck by the Limited as it pulled out on the main track,
and Jim and Hank gathered him up when the last Pullman coach had rolled
over him; and after that Jim could never go back to the yards; so he
managed to get an old horse and wagon and began peddling potatoes on the
street.

One evening Hank took up the paper, and there he saw a headline covering
the whole page and a little fine print below telling how Jim had killed
his wife with a poker. Hank did not understand how this could be true,
but as the evidence seemed plain he made up his mind that Jim had really
always been a demon, but that he had managed to keep it hidden from his
friends. Hank really did not want to go to the jail to see Jim; somehow
it seemed as if it was not the same fellow that he used to know so well,
and then he was afraid and nervous about talking with a man who was
going to be hanged next day. But the priest said so much that finally
Hank’s mother told him she thought he ought to go. So he made up his
mind that he would stand it, although he was a great deal more afraid
and nervous than when he was turning switches in the yard. After the
priest left the house Hank went down to the alderman and got a pass to
go inside the jail. He always went to the alderman for everything; all
the people thought that this was what an alderman was for and they cared
nothing about anything else he did.

When Hank got down town he went straight across the Dearborn Street
bridge to the county jail. It was just getting dusk as he came up to the
great building. The jail did not look a bit like a jail. It was a tall
grand building, made of white stone, and the long rows of windows that
cover the whole Dearborn Street side looked bright and cheerful with the
electric lights that were turned on as Hank came up to the door. If it
had not been for the iron-bars across the windows he might have thought
that he was looking at a bank or a great wholesale warehouse. Hank
stepped into the large vestibule just inside the shelter of the big
front door. Along each side was a row of people sitting on benches
placed against the wall. He did not wait to look closely at this crowd;
in fact, he could not have done so had he tried, for Hank was no artist
or philosopher and was neither subtle nor deep. He saw them just as he
would have seen a freight car stealing down the track to catch him
unawares. He did notice that most of these watchers were women, that
many of them were little children, and that all looked poor and
woe-begone. They were the same people that Hank saw every day out by the
yards, living in the rumble of the moving trains and under the black
clouds of smoke and stench that floated over their mean homes from the
great chimneys and vats of the packing houses. Most of the women and
children had baskets or bundles in their arms, and sat meek and still
waiting for the big key to turn in the great iron lock of the second
door.

When Hank went up to this door someone inside pushed back a little
slide, showed his face at the peep-hole, and asked him who he was and
what he wanted. Hank shoved the alderman’s letter through the little
window and the door opened without delay. This was not the first time
that the gloomy gate had turned on its hinges under the magic of that
name, both for coming in and going out.

Inside the little office was the same motley, helpless crowd of people,
the same sad-faced women and weary children standing dazed and dejected
with their poor baskets and bundles in their arms. Some were waiting to
be taken through this barred door, while others had just returned and
were stopping until the turnkey should open the outside gate and let
them go.

In a few minutes a guard came to Hank and asked if he was the man who
brought the alderman’s note. On receiving the reply, the guard told him
that the alderman was all right and it was worth while to be his friend.
That was the way he got his job and he always stuck by his friends. Then
the guard unlocked another door and took Hank to the elevator where he
was carried to the fourth story. Here he was let off on an iron floor
directly in front of a great door made of iron bars. The turnkey quickly
unlocked and opened this door and let Hank and the guard into what
seemed a long hall with iron floor, ceiling and walls. Nothing but iron
all around. Along one side of the hall were more iron bars, and a wire
netting ran from the ceiling to the floor. Along the whole length of
this wire netting was a row of the same kind of people Hank had seen
below. They were packed close to the grating, and crowding and pushing
to get up to the screening. Most of these were women, here and there one
of them holding a little child by the hand and one with a baby in her
arms. On the other side Hank saw a row of men pressing just as closely
to the netting, most of these looking pale and ill. The evening was hot
and not a breath of fresh air was anywhere about. The peculiar odor of
the prison, more sickening that the stock yards stench which Hank
always, breathed, was so strong that he could not tell whether he
smelled it or tasted it.

The guards were rushing noisily around among the visitors and inmates,
passing bundles and baskets out and in, calling the names of the
prisoners to be taken from their cells inside and brought down to the
wire netting to get a glimpse of some relative or friend. Hank was
bewildered by it all and for a few minutes stood almost dazed, wondering
what it meant and what good purpose it all served.

Next to him stood a woman, perhaps forty years of age; in one hand she
held a basket, and by the other the hand of a little girl about nine
years old. The woman was dressed in a loose, ill-fitting gown and on her
head was a black sailor hat. Behind the wire screen was a man of about
her own age. He wore only black trousers, suspenders, a grayish woolen
shirt and old shoes. The man and woman stood with their fingers touching
through the netting. Hank heard the man say that he did not know what to
do, that the good lawyers charged so much that he couldn’t have them,
and the ones who came to the jail did more harm than good. It was funny
that you couldn’t do anything without a lawyer. One of the prisoners,
who was a smart man and had been there a good many times, had told him
that the best way was to plead guilty and ask the mercy of the court;
that he thought the judge might let him off with a two hundred dollar
fine—“you know the State’s Attorney gets the money.” Hank heard the
woman answer that maybe to pay the fine was the best way after all; as
soon as he was arrested she took Gussy out of the high school, and Gussy
was now working in the department store and thought Aggie could get in
as a cash girl; of course Aggie was too young, but still she was pretty
large for her age and might get through, as Gussy knew the floorwalker
very well—he stopped at the house to visit one evening that week and was
real nice.

“I’ve been scrubbing in the Masonic Temple nights, but it’s pretty hard
work and I am getting so large I am afraid I can’t keep it up much
longer. You know I’ll be sick next month. There are a few things in the
house yet and I might get a little money on them, and then there are the
Maloneys next door; you know we were always fighting, but after you went
away they seemed kind of sorry and have been awfully good to us, and I
think they might help us a little, although they haven’t got much
themselves——”

Hank couldn’t stop to hear all they said, and besides he felt as if he
had no right to stand and listen, so he let his eye wander on down the
line. Just beyond he saw an old bent, gray-haired woman with a long
black veil and spotless black gown. She was crying and talking to a
young man inside the grating. He heard her ask, “How could you have done
it?” and heard him answer, “Mother, I don’t know, but somehow I didn’t
seem to think about it at the time.” Just beyond were a man and a woman
and it was so hard for them to get close to the screen that the man held
a little baby up in his arms to look over the people in front. The child
looked in wonder and then held out its hands and shouted with delight,
“Mamma, there’s papa. Papa, have you been here all the time? Why don’t
you come back home?” Young girls, too, pressed closely up to the screen,
each with that look at the youth inside that neither the wise nor the
foolish have ever failed to understand. The prison bars and the laws
that placed their lovers outside the pale had no power to change their
feeling, only to deepen and intensify their love.

While Hank stood in the corridor a number of men called from the inside:
“Pardner, have you got any tobacco?” Hank hastily gave away all he had,
and thought that if he should ever come back he would buy as much as he
could before his visit. But his musing was soon interrupted by the guard
tapping him on the shoulder and telling him he was ready. Then another
turnkey opened a barred door and let him inside the wicket. Here he
stood in a narrow hallway with still another big locked door in front.
Soon this was swung open, and at last Hank stood inside the bars and the
nettings with a great throng of coatless, hatless men all talking,
laughing, chewing and smoking, and walking by twos and threes, up and
down the room. Hank had always supposed that these men were different
from the ones he knew and had fancied that he would be afraid to be with
such a crowd, but when he got inside, somehow he did not think of them
as burglars and pickpockets; they seemed just like other men, except
that they were a little paler and thinner and more bent. Some of these
men spoke to Hank, asking him for tobacco or for money. He saw one man
whom he knew very well, one of his neighbors that he supposed was out of
town; and he quickly noticed that this man tried to keep out of his
sight. Hank had never thought that he was bad, and could not but wonder
how he happened to be here.

Hank looked around for Jim, but was told that he was upstairs locked in
his cell. The guard explained that the death-watch had been set on him
and that for some time no one had left him day or night. He was to be
hanged in the morning before sunrise. He himself had gone around that
day and handed written invitations to the judges to be present. Some of
them had asked him whether they could get in a few friends who wanted to
go and see the hanging. The guard said they had over a thousand
applications for tickets; that it was one of the most popular hangings
they’d ever had in the jail. He supposed this was because Jackson had
killed his wife and the newspapers had said so much about it.

He could not help feeling sorry for Jackson. Of course, he supposed he
was awfully wicked or he wouldn’t have killed his wife, but since he had
come to know Jackson he had found him a perfect gentleman and very kind
and obliging, and he acted like a good fellow. It really seemed kind of
tough to hang a man. He had seen a good many men hung and was getting
kind of tired of it. He believed he would go out in the country fishing
somewhere tomorrow instead of staying to see it done. They never needed
so many guards on that day because all the prisoners were kept locked up
in their cells.

As Hank went along, the guard chatted to him in the most friendly way.
He pointed over to the courtyard where there were some long black beams
and boards, and said that was where they were going to hang Jackson,
that the carpenters would put up the scaffold in the night. The
murderers’ row where Jim was kept was around on the side where he
couldn’t see the carpenters put up the scaffold. It used to be right in
front but it had been changed. The guard said he didn’t see much
difference, because the men could hear it and they knew just what it
was, and anyhow they never could sleep the last night unless they took
something. He told Hank that after they got through he would take him
down to the office and show him a piece of the rope that they used to
hang the Anarchists, and the one they used on Pendergast, who killed
Carter Harrison, and the one they had for the car-barn murderers. It was
the very best rope they could get; some people wouldn’t know it from
clothes-line but it was a good deal finer and more expensive.

The guard said it was strange how these men acted before they were
hanged.

“You wouldn’t hardly know them from the prisoners who were in jail
working out a fine,” he explained. “They don’t seem to mind it very much
or talk about it a great deal. Of course, at first they generally kind
of think that the Supreme Court is going to give them a new trial; their
lawyers tell them so. But half the time this is so that their friends
will get more money to pay for carrying the cases up; though I must say
that some of the lawyers are good fellows and do all they can to help
them. Sometimes some of the lawyers that have the worst reputations are
really better than the others. Then after the Supreme Court decides
against them, they have a chance to go to the governor and the Board of
Pardons. Of course this isn’t much use, but somehow they always think it
will be, and the case is never really decided until the last day and
that kind of helps to keep them up. Now, there’s Jackson; I took him the
telegram about an hour ago and he read it and it didn’t seem to make
much difference. He just said, ‘Well, I s’pose that’s all.’ And then he
picked it up and read it again and said, ‘Well, the lawyer says he’s
going back to the governor at midnight. Something might happen then;
will the office be open if any telegram comes?’ I told him that it would
and he says, ‘Well, I presume that it’s no use; but where there’s life
there’s hope.’ I s’pose the lawyer just said that to kind of brace him
up and that he took the night train back to Chicago, but I didn’t tell
Jim so. Well, anyhow, I’m going to see that he has a good breakfast. We
always give ‘em anything they want, either tea or coffee, ham and eggs,
bacon, steak, beans, potatoes, wheat cakes and molasses, almost anything
you can think of. Of course most of ‘em can’t eat much, but some of ‘em
take a pretty big breakfast. It really don’t do any good, only the taste
of it goin’ down; they are always dead before it has a chance to digest.
A good many of ‘em feel rather squeamish in the morning and drink a good
deal before they start out. We always give ‘em all they want to drink;
most of ‘em are really drunk when they are hung. But I think that’s all
right, don’t you? There were some temperance people once that made a row
about it, but I think that’s carrying temperance entirely too far
myself.

“Well, I didn’t mean to gossip with you so much, but I thought maybe you
would like to know something about it and so long as the alderman sent
you over I wanted to do all I could for you. Give my respects to the
alderman. I guess he’ll be a candidate next spring. He says he won’t,
but I think he will. He always knows what he’s doing. All he wants is to
throw them reform guys off the track. They might know that they couldn’t
beat him. Our people out there don’t care anything about municipal
ownership and Civil Service Reform, and things like that. What they want
is turkeys on Thanksgiving and to be helped out of the lock-up and
pardoned out of the Bridewell and found jobs. That’s what they want, and
there ain’t an alderman in town that tends to the business of his ward
better than ours, and we don’t care whether the railroads and gas
companies give him money or not. We don’t expect him to work for nothin’
and don’t want him to; and what do we care about the streets? None of us
has horses and the fellows that wants ‘em ought to pay for ‘em. Well,
here’s Jackson, and I’ll tell the guard to let you stay with him all you
want to; he’s a good fellow and will do what I want. You can say
anything you please to Jackson and he can talk to you all he wants to;
the guard won’t listen if he knows you’re all right, but it isn’t any
more than fair, anyhow, for this is his last night.”

Hank listened to the guard without being impatient for, in the first
place, he felt as if he had made a new friend, and he liked him; he was
such a good talker and told him so much that was new and he didn’t seem
the least bit stuck up, although he had such a good job. Then all the
time he felt nervous and uneasy about meeting Jackson; the Jackson he
knew was not a criminal but a good fellow who used to play pool and
drink beer and go to primaries, while this man was a murderer who was to
be hung next day; then again he didn’t seem a real man, but a sort of
ghost, so that Hank had a good deal the feeling he used to know as a
child when he went past a graveyard, or that he felt in a morgue, or
when he went to look at some dead friend.

When he came up to the cell Jackson was smoking a cigar and talking with
the guard. At the first glance the uneasy feeling passed away. It was
the same Jim Jackson that he knew, except thinner and paler than when he
saw him last. Before the guard had time to speak Jackson reached out his
hand, smiled and said “Hello, Hank, I’m awful glad you came. I’ve been
looking for you all the afternoon.” Hank took his hand without the least
feeling that it was the hand of a murderer. It was only the old friend
and comrade he had known.

The guard unlocked the door and told Hank to go in. Then he said:

“Now, you folks talk all you want to. I won’t hear a single word you
say. I’ll sit out here and if there is anything I can do, let me know.”

Hank went into the little cell. On one side was an iron shelf and on
this a straw tick and some bed clothing. A little wash-stand and
slop-pail stood in one corner, a chair was near the stand, and a few
pictures taken from colored supplements were on the white walls. The
guard handed in another chair and the two friends sat down. At first
there was a short, painful silence. It was plain that both had been
thinking what to say and neither knew just how to begin. Hank had
thought that he would ask Jim how he happened to kill his wife; he
thought he ought to talk with him and tell him how terrible it was. He
believed that perhaps this was his duty toward a fellow-being standing
so near the presence of his Maker. Then, too, he had the feeling that
unless he really told Jim what he thought about his crime, it would be
almost the same as being an accessory to the act. In fact, when Hank was
going to the jail he had a vague idea that his only right to visit Jim
was to preach to him in some way. He would almost have thought it a
crime to meet him on equal terms.

After they sat down Jim was again the first to speak. “My room here’s
pretty crowded but I guess it’ll do for tonight. Make yourself just as
comfortable as possible for I’d like to have you stay with me as long as
you can. It’s a little lonesome you know. The guard’s a good fellow. He
visits with me every night and is as friendly as he can be. He told me
that he was in jail himself once for burglary, but you mustn’t say
anything about it. His lawyer got him out, but he says he was really
guilty. That was a good many years ago. He says he believes if he had
gone to the penitentiary he would never have amounted to anything, but
as soon as he got out of jail he turned over a new leaf and made up his
mind to make something of himself, and just see where he is now. He is
an awful kind fellow. I know he feels sorry for me. He gives me all the
cigars I want and all the privileges he can. There’s a guard here in the
daytime that I don’t like; he was appointed by the Citizens’
Association. He’s strict and awful good. He’s always asking me questions
about myself, says he’s getting statistics for the association. He seems
to think that it must have been whisky that made me do it, and he gives
me tracts; of course that’s all right, but still you’d think that once
in a while he’d say something else to a fellow, or at least give him a
cigar. Some way he don’t seem to have any feeling. I s’pose he’s a good
deal better than the other guard but I don’t like him near so well.

“But that wasn’t what I got you here for. I really wanted to talk with
you. You see no one that I knew has been to see me since I came. I don’t
s’pose I ought to expect they would. I used to know a good many fellers
who went to jail but I never went to see ‘em. I always kind of thought
they wa’n’t fit for me to associate with, and I s’pose that’s the way
most people believe. But since I came here somehow it don’t look quite
the same. Maybe that’s on account of what I done. I told the priest I
thought you’d come because we was always such good friends, and he told
me he would go and see you. He’s been awful good to me although I never
went to church any when I was out. He talks to me as if I was just like
other people. Of course he tells me I done wrong, and I know I did, but
he don’t tell me as if I was the only one that ever done wrong, and as
if he and everyone else was so much different, and as if he couldn’t see
how I done it. He talks just as if my soul was worth as much as
anybody’s and as if I’d have a better chance afterward than I ever had
before. Anyhow he’s done me lots of good and I honestly believe he’s
made me a better man, and if I only had a chance to do anything now I’d
amount to something; but of course I can’t. But still, I wanted to tell
you a few things that I couldn’t even tell him, for you know that, no
matter how good he is, he somehow seems different from you; you know I
kind of feel as if you was just like me. You’ll excuse me, I know, for
saying this, bein’ as the time is so short.

“You remember about my boy. Now of course I always was a rough fellow
and never did quite right ever before that, but still I guess you know I
always loved that kid. Strange thing, he’ll be four years old tomorrow
on the very day—well, poor little fellow, I hope he don’t know nothing
about it. You remember the time that kid had the croup and how we
thought he couldn’t get well, and you know I went down to the yard to
tell you about it and how bad I felt. I almost wish now he’d died, but
maybe that’s wicked and God will take care of the kid better’n he did of
me. Well, I haven’t heard a word about that boy since I came to the
jail, or since I left him at the house that night, except a little bit
in court and what that good guard says. He kind of holds out that he’s
in some kind of an orphan asylum where he’s gettin’ plenty to eat and
where he’ll learn what’s right and wrong, and be a good man, and that’s
all right, but I’d like to know where the kid is. He says if I thought
so much of him I ought to have showed it before, and I s’pose I ought;
but I did think lots of him; just as much as them rich folks think of
their boys. I want him to be taken care of and to be educated and grow
up to be a good man, and maybe it’s a good deal better if he never knows
anything about his father, but somehow I can’t help wantin’ him to know
who I was and don’t want him to think of me just like the newspapers and
everybody else does. I wouldn’t want him to grow up like that guard,
even if he is real good. And you see there wa’n’t any one but you that I
could send for and tell them just how it all happened. No one yet has
ever known how it was, and everybody says I was to blame and that I’m a
demon and a monster, and I thought maybe if I explained the whole thing
to you, just as it was, you could see that I wa’n’t so much to blame;
anyhow that there was some excuse for what I done, and then some time
when the boy’s growed up he’d know that I wa’n’t so bad as everyone says
I was.

“Of course I know you can’t, for I know you’re poor like me, but so many
times when I thought about the boy I thought that maybe you and your
mother might raise him just the way I would have done; and then your
mother was always so good to all of us. I remember how she used to raise
the little geese down along the canal if anything happened to the old
goose; don’t you remember about that? My, but them was fine times,
wa’n’t they? Of course if you could do it I don’t know but the alderman
would help you; anyhow he’d get free books and clothes off’n the county
when he went to school. How are politics up in the ward? Is he goin’ to
run again? I never hear anything only what I get out of the papers and
they’re all against him, but I think he’ll show ‘em yet. Wish I was out
so I could help. But I must go on with what I brought you to hear. I’m
goin’ to tell you the whole story just exactly as it is, and you know
that I wouldn’t tell you a lie tonight with what they are goin’ to do in
the mornin’. I can’t make you understand unless I commence clear at the
beginnin’, but I know you won’t mind, seein’ it’s my last time.”



                                   II


You know I was born in Chicago and never was out of it but once until
the night it happened. I don’t know anything about my father and mother
except what my aunt told me. You know she raised me, and I can’t make
any complaint about the way she done it. I was real small when I went to
live with her. She stayed all alone down on the canal. I guess you knew
me when I was livin’ with her. She worked hard, but, of course, ladies
of that kind don’t get much. She used to go over to the south side to do
washin’ and to clean houses, and things like that, and sometimes when I
was small she took me along. They were awful nice houses where we went.
That’s how I got to know so much about the way rich people live. When I
got bigger, she used to send me to school. I was pretty steady in school
and got clear up to the sixth grade. I know it must have been awful hard
for her to send me the way she earnt her money, but she seemed to think
as much of me as if I’d been her own boy. She could have got along
better, but every time she got five or ten dollars laid up it seemed as
if there was a funeral of some of the neighbors and she had to club in
and hire a carriage, and that took her money almost as fast as she could
earn it.

“You remember how we used to play around the canal in them days. It
smelled pretty bad but we didn’t seem to mind it much. We used to sail
boats and go in swimmin’ and catch frogs and do ‘most everything. There
was quite a gang of us boys that lived there. It don’t seem as if any of
‘em ever amounted to very much. Most of ‘em are in the stock yards or
switchin’ or doin’ somethin’ like that. The only ones that I can think
of that growed up down there and amounted to anything is the alderman
and Bull Carmody, who went to the legislature. They call both of ‘em
Honor’ble, you know. I guess anybody is honor’ble who ever had an office
or tried to get one. Us boys used to get arrested quite a good deal. Of
course we was pretty tough, you know that. We was always in some
devilment. All of us rushed the can and chewed tobacco; then we fought a
good deal and used to play ‘round the cars. Some of the boys would break
into ‘em; but I never stole anything in my life unless you count coal
off’n the cars, and I don’t know how we could have got along in the
winter without that. Anyhow I guess nobody thinks anything of stealin’
coal off’n cars.

“But I don’t s’pose there’s any use goin’ over my whole history. I don’t
know as it has anything to do with it anyway, only it kind of seems to
me that I never had a very good chance and as if mebbe things would’ve
been different if I had.

“Well, you remember when my aunt died I had got to be about fourteen.
Then I found a job out to the stock yards. I never liked that work; I
used to see so much killin’. At first I felt sorry for the cattle and
the hogs, and especially for the sheep and calves—they all seemed so
helpless and innocent—but after I’d been there awhile I got used to
seein’ their throats cut and seein’ blood around everywhere, all over
the buildings and in the gutters, and I didn’t think any more about it.
You know I stayed there quite a while. Then I went to work for the
railroad company. First I was in the freight house unloadin’ cars. This
was pretty rough, heavy work, but I didn’t mind it much; you know I was
always kind of stout. Then I thought I’d like to work in the yards; it
would give me more air and not be quite so confinin’. So I got a job as
switchman, same as you. Well, you know all about that work. It ain’t the
nicest thing in the world to be a switchman. Of course if they’d make
the couplers all alike then there wouldn’t be so much danger; but you
know when one of them safety couplers comes against one of the old kind
that the boys call ‘man killers’ it’s pretty dangerous business. Then,
of course, when a car is run down a switch and you have to couple it
onto another car just as it bumps in, it’s kind of dangerous too. Of
course, the rules say you must use a stick to put the link into the
drawhead, but nobody ever uses a stick; you know all the boys would
laugh at a feller that used a stick. There ain’t nothin’ to do but to go
in between the cars and take hold of the link and put it in. If anything
happens to be wrong with the bumpers and they slip past, of course you
get squeezed to death; or, if you miss the link, or it gets caught or
anything, your head or arm is liable to be smashed off. Then you’ve got
to watch all the time, for if you stub your toe or forget for a second,
you’re gone. I kind of think that the switch-yards make a feller
reckless and desperate, and I don’t believe that a man that works in the
switch-yards or stock yards looks at things quite the same as other
people. Still you know them fellers ain’t bad. You’ve seen ‘em cry when
they went home to tell a lady how her man had been run over, or tell
some old woman about how her boy had got hurt, and you know we always
helped the boys out and we didn’t have much money either.

“You remember we was workin’ together in the yards when the strike come
on. I was in debt, just as I always have been. Somehow I never could
keep out of debt; could you? The rich people say it’s because we drink
so much, but I’d like to see them try to live on what we get. Why, you
know we hardly ever go to the theater, and if we do we go up in the
gallery. I never had a job of work done on my teeth in my life except
once when I paid a quarter to get one pulled. Do you s’pose any of us
would ever think we could get a gold fillin’ in our teeth? Now that suit
of clothes over on the bed is the first whole suit of new clothes I ever
had. The guard brought ‘em in a little while ago, and I’m to put ‘em on
in the mornin’. But I guess they won’t do me much good. I’d rather they
had taken the money and give it to the kid for a rockin’ horse or candy.

“But I was tellin’ about the strike. My, the way I go on! I guess it’s
because this is the first time I’ve had a chance to say anything to
anyone since it happened, and of course it’ll be my last. As soon as I
got back my lawyer told me not to talk to anyone, but I don’t see what
difference it would have made—them detectives seemed to know everything
and a good deal more, they knew more about me than I ever knew about
myself.

“You remember all of us went out on the strike. I guess most of the boys
was in debt, but they all struck just the same. The papers abused us and
said we hadn’t any right to strike; that we hadn’t any grievance, and it
was worse for us to strike on that account. Now it seemed to me that it
was better to strike for the Pullman people than for ourselves—it didn’t
seem so selfish; but the papers and the judges didn’t look at it that
way. Of course the strike was pretty hard on all of us. I got into the
lock-up before it was over, though I never meant to do nothin’. I guess
I did hit a scab over the head, but he was comin’ to take our job. It’s
queer how everybody looks at things a different way. Now I never thought
it was so awful bad to hit a scab who was takin’ another man’s job. Of
course I know some of ‘em are poor and have families, but so have the
strikers got families and we was strikin’ to help all the poor people.
If you read the newspapers and hear what the judges say you would think
hittin’ scabs was worse’n murder. I don’t s’pose it’s just right, but I
don’t hardly see what else is to be done. You remember that scab, don’t
you, that worked with us on the road, and you remember when he got his
leg cut off, and how all the boys helped him, and the railroad fought
his case and beat him, and yet they always seemed to think more of him
than any of the rest of us. Now it seems to me there’s lots of things
worse’n hittin’ scabs. If I was one of them packers I know I’d give a
lot of meat to poor people instead of fixin’ every way I could to make
‘em pay so much, but the rich people don’t seem to think there’s
anything wrong about that, but it’s awful to hit a scab or to strike.

“Well, you know after the strike was over none of us could get a job
anywhere, but finally I changed my name and managed to get in again. I
believe the yard master knew who I was and felt kind of sorry for me.
Anyhow I got the job. Then you know the time Jimmy Carroll got run over
by that limited train. I sort of lost my nerve. I wouldn’t have thought
about it if all the cars hadn’t run over him; but when we had to pick up
his head and his legs and his arms and his body all in different places,
I somehow got scared and couldn’t switch any more. So I quit the yards.
But I’ve been runnin’ along so over things that really don’t have
anything to do with the case that I’ve almost forgot the things I wanted
to tell you about. But just wait a minute; I hear someone comin’ down
the corridor and I want to see who it is. No, it’s only one of the
guards. I didn’t know but possibly my lawyer might have sent—but I guess
it’s no use.

“Let me see; I was goin’ to tell you about gettin’ married. You knew
her, Hank. You remember when we got a job again after the strike and you
know the little restaurant where we used to board? Well, you remember
she was waitin’ on the table. All the boys knew her and they all liked
her too; she was always real friendly and jolly with all of us, but she
was all right. Of course she couldn’t have got much wages there for it
was only a cheap place where the railroad boys et, but somehow she
always seemed to keep herself fixed up pretty well. I never thought much
about her, only to kind of jolly her like the rest of the boys, until
the time she got that red waist and done her hair up with them red
ribbons. I don’t know anything about how it was, but them seemed to
ketch my eye and I commenced goin’ with her, and used to get off as
early as I could from the yards, and when she got through washin’ the
supper things we used to go out and take street-car rides, and go for
walks in the parks, and stay out late almost every night.

“Finally I made up my mind that I wanted to settle down and have a home.
Of course I knew ‘twould be more confinin’, but then I thought ‘twould
be better. So one night when we was out walkin’ I kind of brought it
‘round some way and asked her to marry me. I was surprised when she said
she would, because she was so much nicer than me or any of the rest of
the boys; but she said she would right straight off, and then I asked
when it had better be and she said she didn’t see any use waitin’, so
long as it was goin’ to be done. Of course, I hadn’t thought of its
comin’ right away, and I wa’n’t really prepared because I was
considerable in debt and would like to’ve paid up first. I told her how
I was fixed and she said that didn’t make any difference, that she’d
always heard that two could live as cheap as one, and she was savin’ and
a good manager and it wouldn’t cost us much to start, for she’d noticed
the signs in the street cars about four rooms furnished for ninety-five
dollars with only five dollars down, and we wouldn’t need but three
rooms anyway. Then, after I’d asked her to marry me and had made up my
mind to do it there wa’n’t no excuse for waitin’, so the next Sunday we
went over to St. Joe and got married. She asked me if I didn’t think
that was just as good as any way.

“When we come back we rented three rooms down near the yards for ten
dollars a month, and went down to the store to buy the furniture, but
the clerk made us think that so long as we was just startin’ and I had a
good job we ought to get better things than the ninety-five dollars, so
we spent one hundred and fifty dollars and agreed to pay ten dollars a
month, and the furniture was to be theirs until it was paid for.

“Well, we started in to keep house and got along pretty well at first.
She was a good housekeeper and savin’ and I kind of liked bein’ married.
Of course, it cost us a little more’n I expected, and when I came to buy
clothes and shoes and pay grocery bills I found that two couldn’t live
as cheap as one, but I hadn’t any doubt but that she thought they could.
I guess all women does. Then I got hurt and was laid off for two months
and couldn’t pay the installments, and got behind on my rent, and got in
debt at the store, and this made it pretty hard. When I went to work I
paid all I had, but somehow I never could catch up.

“Well, about that time the kid was born, and then we had to have the
doctor and I had to get a hired girl for a week, for I wanted to do
everything I could for her, and that all kept me back. Then they
commenced threatenin’ to take the furniture away, and every week the
collector came ‘round and I did all I could, but somehow I couldn’t make
it come out even.

“I s’pose you don’t see what all this has got to do with my killin’ her,
and I don’t think I quite see myself, but still I want to tell it all.
Sometimes I think if I hadn’t been so poor and in debt I never would
have done it, and I don’t believe I would. I was so much in debt that I
felt sorry when I knew we was goin’ to have the child. I didn’t see how
we could bring it up and make anything out of it, and how it could ever
have any better chance than I had. And then she’d been doin’ a little
work to help out on the furniture, and I knew that she couldn’t do any
more after that. But still as soon as the child was born I was always
glad of it, and used to think more about him than anyone else, and I
would have done anything I could for him. She liked him, too, and was
always good to him, and no matter what I say about her I can’t say that
she didn’t treat the boy all right.

“Well, after the kid was about a year old we began to have trouble. She
was always complainin’ that I didn’t bring home enough money. She said I
went ‘round too much nights and that I drank too much beer and chewed
too much tobacco and smoked too much, and she complained ‘most all the
time, and then I got mad and we had a row. I don’t mean to blame her,
‘specially after what happened, and since I’ve been here so long doin’
nothin’ but countin’ the days and waitin’ for my lawyer to come, I’ve
had time to think of ever’thing a good deal more than I ever did before.
And I don’t say she was to blame. I s’pose it was hard for her, too. Of
course, the rooms was small and they was awful hot in the summer and
cold in the winter, and then the collectors was always comin’ ‘round,
and I used to be tired when I got home, and I was so blue that I said
things without really knowin’ that I said ‘em. Ain’t you done that when
somebody was talkin’ to you and your mind was on somethin’ else, kind of
answered ‘em back without knowin’ what they said or what you said? I
presume I was cross a good many times and mebbe it was as hard for her
as ‘twas for me. Of course, I used to wish I’d never got married and
that I was boardin’ back there to the restaurant when I didn’t have all
the debts; and I s’pose she’d been better off back there too, waitin’ on
the table; anyhow she always looked better in them days than she did
after we was married, so I guess she must have got more money at the
restaurant than I gave her. But after the boy was born I never really
wished we wa’n’t married, for I always thought of him and knew he never
would have been born if we hadn’t got married; but of course, that
didn’t keep us from fightin’. I don’t mean that we fought all the time.
Sometimes when I got home she was as nice as she could be, and had
supper all ready, and we’d read the newspaper and talk and have a real
good time; but then, again somethin’ would happen to put us out and we’d
fight. I can’t say that she always begun it. I guess I begun it a good
many times. I found fault because the bills was too big and the way
things was cooked, and the way she looked, and, of course, if I said
anything she got mad and answered back. I’ve thought a lot about our
fights and that awful one we had last, and I don’t believe one of ‘em
would have happened if it hadn’t been for the money. Of course, I s’pose
other people would make some other excuses for their fights and that no
one would be to blame if you would let ‘em tell it themselves, but I’m
‘most sure that if I’d only been gettin’ money enough to keep a hired
girl and live in a good place, and get good clothes and dress her and
the boy the way they ought to have been, and not get in debt, we
wouldn’t have fought.

“The debts kep’ gettin’ bigger all the time and I begun to get scared
for fear the furniture would be took away—we hadn’t paid more’n half up
and then there was a good deal of interest. I went one day to see a
lawyer, but he didn’t tell me anything that done me any good and I had
to pay him ten dollars out of my next month’s wages, so that made me all
the worse off. Lawyers get their money awful easy, don’t they? I always
wished I could be a lawyer and if I had my life to live over again I
would be one if I could.

“It seemed as if things kep’ gettin’ worse at home and I stayed out a
good many nights because I didn’t want a row for I knew there’d be one
as soon as I got home. So far most of our fightin’ had been only jawin’
back an’ forth. Once she threw a dish at me and I slapped her in the
face, but didn’t hurt her, and I guess she didn’t try hard to hit me
with the dish; anyhow if she had wanted to she was near enough so she
could.

“One night though, I come home pretty late. I’d been out with the boys
to a caucus and we had drunk quite a bit. The alderman was running again
and had got us a keg of beer. I didn’t really know what I was doin’ when
I came in. I was hopin’ she’d be in bed but she was waitin’ for me when
I come in and said: ‘There comes my drunkard again. This is a pretty
time of night to get home! You’d better go back to your drunken cronies
and stay the rest of the night,’—and a lot of more things like that. I
told her to shut up and go to bed, but that made her madder and then she
called me a lot of names. I told her to stop or I’d choke her, but she
kep’ right on talkin’, callin’ me a drunkard and all kinds of names, and
tellin’ me how I’d treated her and the boy; I couldn’t make her keep
still; the more I threatened her the more she talked. Finally she said,
‘You cowardly brute, I dare you to touch me!’ and she kind of come right
up to where I was. Of course I didn’t really half think what I was
doin’, but I drawed off and hit her in the face with my fist. I guess I
hit her pretty hard; anyhow she fell on the floor, and I ran up to her
to pick her up, but she said, ‘Leave me alone, you coward,’ and then I
was madder’n ever and I kicked her. The next day she went to the police
court and had me arrested. The judge was awful hard on me, told me if he
had his way ‘bout it he’d have a law made to have wife-beaters whipped
with a cat-o’-nine tails in the public square, and he fined me one
hundred dollars.

“Of course I hadn’t any money so I went to jail, but in a day or two she
went to the judge and cried and told him I was all right when I wasn’t
drunk and she got me out. I never thought that judge done right to
lecture me the way he did. I don’t think that strikin’ your wife is as
bad as strikin’ your child, and still ‘most everybody does that. Most
women can defend themselves but a little child can’t do anything. Still,
of course, I don’t defend strikin’ your wife, only one word kind of
brings on another and it sounds different in the newspaper from what it
really is.

“Well, after I got home from the jail we talked it over together and
made up our minds we’d better part. Things had gone so bad with us that
we thought it wa’n’t worth while to try any more and mebbe we’d both be
better off alone. She was real sensible about it and was goin’ to keep
the boy. I promised to give ‘em half my wages and was to see him
whenever I wanted to.

“When we got our minds made up we went to see about a lawyer. She’d been
goin’ over to the Settlement a good deal for advice and they’d been good
to us but they didn’t like me; they blamed me for ever’thing that
happened, and of course them settlement ladies wa’n’t none of ‘em
married and they couldn’t understand how a feller would drink or fight
with his wife. They didn’t know what allowance a woman has to make for a
man, same as a man does for a woman—only a different kind. When she told
‘em what we were goin’ to do they all said, ‘No, you mustn’t do that.
You must make the best of it and stay together’; they said that even if
I promised to give her half my money I never would do it, but would go
off and she’d never see me again. If they knew anything about what I
thought of the boy they wouldn’t have said it. Then they said it would
be a disgrace and that it would disgrace the child. I wish now we’d done
it anyway. It would have been better for the child than it is now. Then
she went to see the priest. We were both born Catholics, although we
hadn’t paid much attention to it. That was the reason we went to St. Joe
to get married. The priest told her that she mustn’t get a divorce, that
divorces wa’n’t allowed except on scriptural grounds. Of course we
couldn’t get it on them grounds. There never was nothin’ wrong with her—
I’ll always say that—and as for me I don’t think she ever suspected
anything of that kind. Even if I had wanted to I never had any money,
and besides I’ve had to work too hard all my life for anything like
that. Then when I went to the lawyer he said it would cost fifty
dollars, but I hadn’t any fifty dollars. So we made up our minds to try
it again. I don’t see, though, why they charge fifty dollars. If a
divorce is right a man ought not to have it just because he’s got fifty
dollars when a poor man can’t get it at all.

“It was a little better for a while. We both had a scare and then when
we talked of quittin’ I s’pose we thought more of each other. Anyhow
we’d lived together so long that we’d kind of got in the habit of it.
But still it didn’t last long; I don’t believe ‘twas right for us to
stay together after all that had happened and the way we felt and had
lived up to that time. If we’d only separated then—but we didn’t, and
it’s no use talkin’ about it now.

“It was just about this time that Jimmy Carroll was killed and she
didn’t want me to work in the yards after that. She was ‘most as ‘fraid
as I was so we made up our minds that I’d quit. It was then that I went
to peddlin’; but wait a minute before I tell that, let’s go and speak to
the guard.”

The two men got up and went to the iron door and looked out through the
bars at the shining electric lights in the corridors. The guard sat near
the door talking with the prisoner in the next cell. He looked up and
put two cigars through the grates.

“Is there anything I can do for you, Jackson?”

“No, I guess not. Nothin’ more has come from him, has there?”

“No, but it’s early yet.”

“Well, I guess it’s no use.”

The men looked out a moment at the iron corridor and then lighted their
cigars and sat down. Hank could hardly speak. Somehow this simple
contact with his old friend had driven away all the feeling of the crime
that he had brought with him to the jail. He no longer thought of him as
Jackson, the wife-murderer, but as Jim, the boy he once knew and the man
that had worked in the switch-yards and grown up by his side.

Out in the street they heard a steady stream of carriages and the merry
laugh of men and women passing by. Hank listened to the voices and asked
who they were.

“Oh, the people drivin’ past in their carriages to the theater. You know
all the northside swells drive down Dearborn Avenue past the jail. I
wonder if they ever think of us in here, or if they know what is goin’
to be done tomorrow. I s’pose if they do they think it’s all right. What
a queer world it is. Do you s’pose one of them was ever in here? Well, I
don’t believe I’d be either if only I’d had their chance.”

The two men sat stripped almost to the skin; the putrid prison air
soaked into Hank at every pore. The sweat ran from his face and he felt
as if the great jail were a big oven filled with the damned and kept
boiling hot by some infernal imps. Here and there along the big
corridors they heard the echo of a half demoniac laugh, a few couplets
of a ribald song, and the echoing sound of the heavy boots of a guard
walking up and down the iron floor. Silently they smoked their cigars
almost to the end and then Jim again took up his story.



                                  III


When I made up my mind to quit the railroad I looked ‘round for
somethin’ else to do. It was kind of hard times just then and a good
many were out of work and I couldn’t find anything that suited me. Of
course I never had much schoolin’ and ‘twa’n’t every kind of job I could
hold anyhow. I went back out to the stock yards, but they was layin’ off
men and there wa’n’t anything there. One mornin’ I went over to see Sol
Goldstein. He was a nice old man that we used to buy potatoes of. He
told me that he was gettin’ so old and kind of sick that he thought he’d
have to give up peddlin’ and let his boys take care of him the rest of
his time. He said he didn’t think it would be very long anyhow, and they
could do that much for him so long as he’d done so much for them. He
said as I hadn’t any job why didn’t I buy his horse and express wagon
and go to peddlin’. I could take his license, that hadn’t run out yet,
and go right along over his route. I told him I hadn’t any money to buy
his horse and wagon with, but he told me that didn’t make any
difference, I could pay for ‘em when I earnt the money. So I made a
bargain; got the horse and wagon and harness and two old blankets for
fifty dollars. Of course they wa’n’t worth much: the horse had a
ringbone and the heaves and kind of limped in one of its hind legs.
Goldstein said that was on account of a spavin, but he told me there was
another one comin’ on the other hind leg and as quick as that got a
little bigger he’d stop limpin’ because he couldn’t favor both hind legs
to once. Goldstein said the ringbone had been killed and the heaves
wouldn’t bother him much. All I had to do was to wet the hay before I
fed him. So I bought the rig. I didn’t know nothin’ about horses but I
knew what Goldstein said was all right for we’d been friends a long
time.

“I went down to Water Street and bought a load of potatoes and went to
work. I haven’t time to tell you all about my peddlin’: anyhow it ain’t
got much to do with the case, not much more’n any of the rest. My lawyer
always said any time I told him anything, ‘Well, what’s that got to do
with your killin’ her?’ and the judge said about the same thing whenever
we asked any questions. He couldn’t see that anything I ever done had
anything to do with it except the bad things. He let ‘em prove all of
them and they looked a good deal worse when they was told in court and
in the newspapers than they seemed when I done ‘em. I guess there ain’t
nobody who’d like to hear every bad thing they ever done told right out
in public and printed in the newspapers. I kind of think ‘twould ruin
anyone’s character to do that, ‘specially if you wa’n’t allowed to show
the goods things you’d done.

“I hadn’t been peddlin’ very long until an inspector asked me for my
license and I showed it to him, and he said that it wa’n’t any good,
that I couldn’t use Goldstein’s license; that it was just for him, and
that I must stop peddlin’ until I went down to the City Hall and paid
twenty-five dollars for another one. I didn’t know where to get the
twenty-five dollars; anyhow I don’t see why anyone should have to pay a
license for peddlin’; nobody but poor people peddles and it’s hard
enough to get along without payin’ a license. Anybody don’t have to pay
a license for sellin’ things in a store and I don’t think it’s fair. But
I went and seen the alderman and told him about it, and he said he could
get it fixed and to go right on just as if nothin’ had happened and if
anyone bothered me again to send ‘em to him. So I went right ahead. I
don’t know what he done but anyhow I wa’n’t bothered any more until
Goldstein’s license had run out.

“Peddlin’ is kind of hard work. You’ve got to get up before daylight and
go down and get your potatoes and veg’t’bles and things, then you have
to drive all over and ask everyone to buy, and most people won’t take
anything from you ‘cause you’re a peddler and they’re ‘fraid you’ll
cheat ‘em. Of course we do cheat a little sometimes. We get a load of
potatoes cheap that’s been froze, and then again we get a lot of figs
that’s full of worms and roll ‘em in flour and then sell ‘em out, but
all figs is full of worms, and I guess ‘most everything else is, even
water, but it’s all right if you don’t know or think anything about it.
And of course, half of the year it’s awful hot drivin’ ‘round the
streets and the other half it’s awful cold, and sometimes it rains and
snows and you get all wet and cold, and it ain’t very healthy either.
Most peddlers have the consumption, but then there’s lots of poor people
has consumption. It’s funny, too, about where you can sell stuff; you’d
think you ought to go where people has got money but this ain’t no use;
they never will buy nothin’ of peddlers and they won’t even let you
drive on their high-toned streets, even after you’ve paid a license. If
you want to sell anything you’ve got to go among the poor people. Of
course they can’t buy very much, but then they pay more for what they
get. It’s queer, ain’t it, the way things are fixed; them as works
hardest has to pay the most for what they eat, and gets the poorest
stuff at that. Did you ever go and look at one of them meat markets on
the south side? Do you s’pose that they’d take any of the meat that’s in
ours? They might buy it for their dogs and cats but they wouldn’t eat it
themselves.

“Once in a while I used to take the kid along with me when I was sellin’
things, and he always liked to go, but if it commenced to rain or turned
cold I had to go back with him, and then he always got tired before
night. So I didn’t take him very often. I kind of laid out to take him
when she done the washin’, so he’d be out of her way, and he used to
kind of like to drive, and I amused him a good deal that way.

“I think mebbe I made about as much peddlin’ as I did on the railroad,
but not any more, after I paid for my horse feed and the rent of the
barn and gettin’ the wagon and harness fixed once in a while. Anyhow I
didn’t get out of debt any faster, and the furniture men kept
threatenin’ me until I went to one of them chattel-mortgage fellers and
borrowed the money and mortgaged all I had and paid five dollars for
makin’ out the papers and five percent a month for the money. This
didn’t seem like so very much but it counts up pretty fast when you come
to pay it every month. Then one day my horse up and died. I didn’t know
what was the matter with him. He seemed all right at night and in the
mornin’ he was dead. I didn’t know what to do at first so I went and
seen the alderman. He gave me a letter to some men who run a
renderin’-plant and I went out there and bought an old horse for five
dollars. It was one they was goin’ to kill, and it seemed too bad to
make him work any more; still I guess he’d rather work than be killed;
that’s the way with people and I guess horses is about like people. I
always thought that horses had about the worst time there is; they can’t
never do anything they want to, they have to get up just when you tell
‘em to and be tied in a stall and eat just what you give ‘em and depend
on you to bring ‘em water. Even when they’re goin’ along the road they
can’t turn out for a mud hole but have to go just where you want ‘em to
and never have a chance to do anything but work.

“This horse wa’n’t much good but I managed to use him in my business.
The boys would holler at me and ask me if I was goin’ to the bone-yard
or the renderin’-plant, and once or twice one of the humane-officers
stopped me and came pretty near takin’ it away and killin’ it, but
nobody ever saw me abusin’ it, and I fed it all I could afford. I
remember one night in the winter, about the coldest night we had, I
heard it stampin’ and I couldn’t go to sleep. I knew it was stampin’
because it was so cold. We didn’t have any too much cover ourselves, but
it worried me so much I got up and went out to the barn and strapped an
old blanket on the horse and then came back and went to bed. I guess
this was the other horse though, the one that died, for I didn’t have
this last one over a winter. But I don’t know as it makes any difference
which horse it was.

“Well, I can’t tell you all about my peddlin’, it ain’t worth while, and
I must go on and tell you about how it happened. It was on the 26th day
of November. You remember the day. There’s been a lot said about it in
the newspapers. It was just three days before Thanksgivin’. I remember I
was thinkin’ of Thanksgivin’, for we’d been livin’ pretty poorly, not
very much but potatoes, for it was a rather hard fall on all us poor
folks. I always hated to take the money for the things I sold but I
couldn’t help it. You know I couldn’t give things away as if I was
Rockefeller or Vanderbilt. Well, I knew we was goin’ to get a turkey
from the alderman Thanksgivin’, just two days later, and I should have
thought that would have cheered me up, but it didn’t. That mornin’ it
was pretty cold when I got up. It was the first snow of the season, one
of them blindin’, freezin’ days that we get in November, and then, of
course, I wa’n’t used to the cold weather and wa’n’t dressed for it
either. I didn’t have much breakfast for we didn’t have much stuff in
the house. She got up and fried some potatoes and a little pork and that
was about all, and then I hitched up the old horse and drove away. No
one else was on the street. There wa’n’t generally, when I started after
my loads in the mornin’. The old horse didn’t like to go either; he kind
of pulled back on the hitch strap when I led him out of the barn, the
way you sometimes see horses do when they hate to go anywhere or leave
the barn. I s’pose horses is just like us about bein’ lazy and sick, and
havin’ their mean days, only they can’t do anything about it. Well, I
went down and got my load. In the first place I had some trouble with
the Dago where I got the potatoes; they were pretty good ones but had
been nipped a little by the frost in the car, and he couldn’t have sold
‘em to the stores, at least to any of the stores on the north side or
the south side. They was just such potatoes as had to go to us poor
folks and most likely to peddlers, and he wanted to charge me just about
as much as if they was all right. I told him that I’d some trouble in
sellin’ ‘em and I ought to make somethin’ off’n ‘em. He said I’d get
just as much as I could for any kind, and I told him that I might
possibly, but if I was goin’ to pay full price I wanted my customers to
have just as good potatoes as anyone got, and besides I might lose some
of my customers by sellin’ them that kind of potatoes. Then he dunned me
for what I owed him and threatened not to trust me any more and by the
time I left with my load I was worried and out of sorts, and made a poor
start for the day.

“Well, I drove over along Bunker Street, among the sheeneys, and
commenced calling ‘po-ta-toes.’ Nobody much seemed to buy. A few people
came out and picked ‘em all over and tried to jew me down, and mebbe
bought half a peck. I don’t know how they thought I could make any money
that way. Still the people was all poor; most of ‘em worked in the
sweat-shops and hadn’t any money to waste on luxuries. I worked down
Maxwell Street and things didn’t get much better. It seemed as if
everybody was out there sellin’ potatoes, and it was awful cold, and I
hadn’t any coat on, and the horse was shiverin’ every time we stopped.
Of coarse I always put the blanket on him if we stayed long, but the
blanket was pretty old and patched. Then I drove down south, where the
people lives that work in the stock yards. It went some better down
there but not very much; anyhow I didn’t get any warmer. Along toward
noon I hitched the horse under a shed and gave him a few oats and I went
into the saloon and bought a glass of whiskey and took four or five of
them long red-hots that they keep on the counter. They tasted pretty
good and I never stopped to think what they was made of; whether they
was beef, or pork, or horse, or what, though you know everybody always
says they work in all the old horses that don’t go to the
renderin’-plant and some that does, but they was good enough for me and
was hot, and when I went away I felt better and I guess the old horse
did, too. Well, I drove on down around the streets and did the best I
could. I remember one place where an old lady came out and said she
hadn’t had anything to eat since yesterday and there wa’n’t nothin’ in
the house, and I up and gave her half a peck, though I couldn’t hardly
afford to do it. You know that half a peck was more to me than it is to
Rockefeller when he gives a million to the school, but my lawyer
wouldn’t let me prove it when I tried; he said the judge would only
laugh if he ever mentioned it. The newspapers never printed a word about
it either, although I kind of thought it might lighten up the people’s
feelin’ some and help me a bit; but they did prove all about the time I
struck her and some other things I wa’n’t on trial for, although my
lawyer objected all he could and said I wa’n’t on trial for ‘em, which I
wa’n’t; but the judge said no, of course I wa’n’t, but they’d show
malice, so they went in and was printed in the newspapers, and the jury
looked awful at me, but I bet every one of ‘em had done most as bad.
When I gave the old woman the half peck of potatoes she called on all
the saints to bless me to the end of my days. I felt kind of better as I
went away, and thought mebbe they’d do somethin’ for me, and this wa’n’t
more than seven or eight hours before it happened.

“Of course, most folks would think that anyone like me wouldn’t have
given away a half a peck of potatoes, but they don’t really understand
them things; you’ve got to do a thing before you can know all about it.
If I was makin’ the laws I wouldn’t let anyone be on a jury and try a
feller for murder unless he’d killed someone. Most fellers don’t know
anything about how anyone kills a person and why they do it, and they
ain’t fit to judge. Now, of course, most everybody would think that
anyone who had killed anyone, unless it was in war or somethin’ like
that, was bad through and through; they wouldn’t think that they could
ever do anything good; but here I give away that half peck of potatoes
just because I knew the lady was poor and needed ‘em—and I see things
every day here in jail that shows it ain’t so. Just a little while ago
one of the prisoners was took down with small-pox and everyone was
scared, and another prisoner who was in here for burglary went to the
ward and nursed him and took care of him, and took the disease and died.
And most all of the fellers will do anything for each other. The other
day there were five fellers on trial for robbin’ a safe, and the State’s
Attorney done all he could to get one of ‘em to tell on another feller
who hadn’t been caught or indicted, and he promised every one of ‘em
that he wouldn’t do a thing with ‘em if they’d tell, and he couldn’t get
a word out of any of ‘em, and they went to the penitentiary, just
because they wouldn’t tell; and the State Attorney and the judge all of
‘em seemed to think that if they could get one feller to tell on someone
else that he’d be the best one of the lot and ought to be let out. If
you’d just stay here a few days and see some of the wives and fathers
and mothers come into the jail and see how they’d cry and go on over
some of these people, and tell how good they was to them, it would open
your eyes. They ain’t one of them people, unless it’s me, that don’t
have someone that loves ‘em, and says they’ve been awful good to ‘em and
feel sorry for ‘em and excuses ‘em, and thinks they’re just like
everybody else. Now there was them car-barn murderers that killed so
many people and robbed so much. Everyone wanted to tear ‘em to pieces
and no one had a single good word for ‘em, but you’d ought to seen Van
Dine’s mother and how she hung on to her boy and cried about him and
loved him and told how many good thing’s he done, just like anyone else;
and then that Niedemeyer, who tried to kill himself so he couldn’t get
hung, you know he went to a detective and confessed a lot of crimes, so
that the detective could get the money after he was hung, and the
detective agreed to divide the money with his mother. If you was here a
while you’d find these fellers doin’ just as many things to help each
other as the people on the outside. It’s funny how human nature is, how
anybody can be so good and so bad too. Now I s’pose most people outside
can’t see how a murderer or a burglar can do anything good any more than
the poor people down our way can see how Rockefeller can charge all of
us so much for his oil and then give a million dollars to a church or a
school.

“There was feller came over here to the jail to talk to our Moral
Improvement Club and he had some queer ideas. Most of the prisoners
rather liked what he said and still they thought he was too radical. I
never heard any such talk before and I don’t quite see how they let him
do it, but I’ve thought about what he said a good deal since then and
think mebbe there’s somethin’ in it. He was a good deal different from
the other ones that come. Most of ‘em tell us about our souls and how we
can all make ‘em white if we only will. They all tell us that we are a
bad lot now; but he kind of claimed that the people inside the jail was
just like the people outside, only not so lucky; that we done things
because we couldn’t help it and had to do ‘em, and that it’s worse for
the people on the outside to punish the people on the inside than to do
the things we done. Now, I hain’t had anything to do but think about it
and what I done, and it don’t seem as if I could help it. I never
intended to kill anybody but somehow everything just led up to it, and I
didn’t know I was gettin’ into it until it was done, and now here I am.
Of course, when I was out I used to rail about these criminals and think
they was awful bad just the same as everyone else did, but now I see how
they got into it too, and how mebbe they ain’t so bad; even them
car-barn murderers,—if they’d been taken somewhere out west on a ranch
where they could have had lots of air and exercise and not put in school
which wa’n’t the place for boys like them, I believe they’d ‘ve come out
all right and been like most other boys and sobered down after they got
older. I really think if they’d been taken away they’d ‘ve tried to be
good and if they’d been given plenty of exercise, like herdin’ cattle
and things like that, mebbe it would have been just as good as to kill
‘em. Anyhow there was them Younger boys and Frank James who killed so
many people and they are out now and all right. Nobody’s afraid of ‘em
and they won’t likely never do anything of that kind any more.

“But I’m gettin’ clear off’n my subject again, just as I always am. I
was tellin’ you about that day. Well, after I gave the lady the half
peck of potatoes I went on peddlin’, but didn’t seem to sell much. I
ought to ‘ve got through by two or three o’clock. It was a long enough
day for me, and the horse, too, but I had so many potatoes left that I
couldn’t stop, so I kept on. I got down around Thirty-fifth Street and
was pretty cold and went into a saloon where I saw one of the boys. One
of ‘em was runnin’ for the legislature and he asked us all to take a
drink, and of course we did; then he asked us to take another and we
done that; and in a few minutes that feller that was runnin’ for the
senate, he come in and he asked us all to take a drink and of course we
done that, and he said a few words about the election and how he hoped
we all would vote for him, and we told him we would, and that as near as
we could find out all the boys was with him, that the other feller was a
kind of stiff anyhow. He went out, and then, just as I was leavin’, the
feller that was runnin’ against him, he come in and he set ‘em up a
couple of times and said he hoped we was all with him, and of course we
told him we was, and then he went away. Well, of course, I took whiskey
every time because I was cold and that kind of warmed me up. Then I went
out to the wagon again and drove on down Thirty-fifth Street to sell the
rest of the potatoes. Finally the horse began to go lame, and seemed
pretty tired, and I turned back toward the house, peddlin’ on the way. I
guess I didn’t sell anything after I left Thirty-fifth Street, though I
kept callin’ out until my voice got kind of husky and all stopped up. I
guess it was the cold air that I wa’n’t used to yet. The snow was comin’
down pretty fast as I drove along and the wind was blowin’ quite a bit
in my face and it was a bad night. It commenced gettin’ dark pretty soon
after. You know the days are short along the last of November.

“Then I kep’ thinkin’ about the cold weather. I always hated winter
anyhow, and I hadn’t expected ‘twould turn cold quite so quick and of
course I wa’n’t ready for it. I couldn’t seem to think of anything but
the winter. I s’pose that was the reason I done the things I did
afterward. I got to thinkin’ about the house and how many cracks there
was in it and how much coal it took to heat it. Then I began to think
about the price of coal and how it’s cheaper in the summer than in the
winter, and how the price keeps goin’ up so much a month all the time
until winter, so, of course, all the rich people can get their coal in
the summer when it was cheap and leave the poor people to get it in the
winter when it got high. Then I thought how everything seemed to be
against the poor and how you couldn’t get on no matter what you done.

“I hadn’t got my potatoes more’n two-thirds sold out and I didn’t have
any good place to keep ‘em. I couldn’t afford to take chances of ‘em
gettin’ frost-bitten any more. You know how easy potatoes freeze. You
have to watch out while you’re peddlin’ ‘em in the fall and winter and
some days you don’t dare take ‘em out at all. Before I got home I
thought I’d have another drink so I stopped at a saloon where they
always had the pollin’ place and where a good many politicians usually
hung out; and I found some of the boys there, and the fellow that was
runnin’ for assessor was in the saloon. He asked us all to drink a
couple o’ times, and then he told us how easy he was in assessin’ the
poor people’s property, and asked us to vote for him. We all said we
would, and then he told us how he was assessor last year and how he’d
stuck it onto the rich people and the corporations and how they was all
against him this year. We all liked that, and then he gave us another
drink. I was gettin’ so I felt it just a little, but of course I wa’n’t
drunk. I could walk all right and talk pretty straight. I don’t suppose
I’d taken more’n ten or twelve drinks in all day, and you know that
won’t hurt anybody. I don’t know what I would’ve done such a cold day if
it hadn’t been for the drinks. Oh, yes, in the last place they got to
talkin’ about the alderman and said as how he wa’n’t goin’ to give out
any turkeys this year. I didn’t like that and some of the fellers had
quarreled about ‘em and then some of ‘em had been givin’ ‘em to us and
we didn’t see what right he had to quit. They said the reason he wa’n’t
goin’ to give ‘em was because a lot of the fellers had quarreled about
‘em and then some of ‘em had taken his turkeys and voted the other
ticket, and some people had found fault with him because they didn’t get
any turkey, and it looked as if he was losin’ votes instead of makin’
‘em. Well, I’d been dependin’ on the turkey and it made me feel a little
blue, for I didn’t know how I was goin’ to get anything for
Thanksgivin’, and I didn’t think that you could have much of a
Thanksgivin’ just on potatoes and mebbe a little pork. So I wa’n’t
feelin’ none to good when I got on the wagon and drove away from the
last place. It seemed as if everything had turned against me and I
didn’t know what I was goin’ to do. It’s funny how much difference luck
makes with a feller. You know somethin’ can happen in the mornin’ and
make you feel good all day, and then again somethin’ will go wrong and
no matter what you are doin’ it seems as if there was a sort of a weight
pullin’ down on you. Well, I felt kind of blue as I drove home. I don’t
think I could hardly have kept up only for the whiskey I’d drunk. I was
kind of wonderin’ what it was all for and I didn’t see any reason for
anything, or any chance that anything would be any better, or any real
reason for livin’.

“Before I went to the house I drove up to the barn and unhitched the
horse and led him in, and then I run the wagon in, and took the potatoes
out and put ‘em under a little bag of hay that I had in the corner, and
threw the horse blanket over ‘em. Then I unharnessed the horse and
bedded him down and gave him some hay and a little oats. I’d watered him
at one of the last places I stopped—one of them troughs they have in
front of saloons. Then after I got the horse tended to I went into the
house.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

Hank got up and went to the door and spoke to the guard. He was still
sitting on the stool and talking to the prisoner in the next cell. Once
more he handed Hank a cigar.

“Give one to Jim,” he said. “I can’t do much more for him, poor devil;
I’m awful sorry.”

Jim came up and took the cigar and looked down at the guard.

“I don’t s’pose nothin’ has come for me, has there?”

“No, not yet,” was the answer.

“Well, I presume it’s’ no use.”

Just then the noise of pounding and driving nails and low voices was
heard over in the court yard.

“What’s that?” Hank asked.

“Don’t you know! That’s the fellers buildin’ the scaffold; they always
do it the night before. Strange, ain’t it; somehow it don’t seem to me
as if it was really me that was goin’ to be hung on it; but I s’pose it
is. Now, isn’t it strange about the governor; just one word from him
could save my life. I’d think he’d do it, wouldn’t you? I s’pose he
don’t really think how it seems to me. I know I’d do it, no matter what
anyone had done.

“But it’s gettin’ late and I must go on with my story or I won’t get it
finished before—before you have to go. It’s pretty hard to tell all
‘bout this part, but I’m goin’ to tell it to you honest and not make
myself any better’n I am. I’ve thought about this a good deal when I’ve
tried to account for how I done it, and I guess I can tell everything
that happened. When I look at it now it seems years ago, almost a
lifetime, not as if it was last November. I guess it’s because so much
has happened since then. It seems, too, as if it wa’n’t me that was
doin’ it, but as if ‘twas someone else. I guess that’ll make it easier
for me to tell; anyhow, I want you to know how it was, and then some
time you can tell the boy, if you think it’s the right thing to do.”



                                   IV


I forgot to tell you about the steak. I don’t see how I left that out,
for, really, that’s what caused the whole trouble. It beats all what
little things will do, don’t it? Now, lots o’ times in my life it has
seemed as if the smallest things had the most to do with me. There was
that red waist, for instance, that she wore that day she was waitin’ on
the table. I ‘most know I never would have paid any attention to her if
it hadn’t been for that red waist. And then that beefsteak—in one way
I’m goin’ to get hung on account of that beefsteak. How many times since
that I’ve just wished I hadn’t stopped and bought it. But you see I was
feelin’ cold all day, and when I come ‘round Thirty-fifth Street the
wind kind of got in my face worse’n it had done before, and it sort of
struck me through the chest too; my legs didn’t feel it quite so much,
because they had the blanket over ‘em. Well, just as I got up to the
second corner there was a saloon right in front of me. This was before I
got to the corner when I met the senators, and I thought I’d go in and
get a drink; and then right on the other side was that meat market and
there was a lot of chickens and steak and things hangin’ in the window,
and they looked mighty good, for I hadn’t had much to eat all day. At
first I thought I’d go and get a drink, and then I thought I could get
enough steak for supper for just about what the drink would cost, and
the steak would do the most good, and besides she and the kid could have
some of that, and I thought it would make her feel pleasanter and liven
her up a bit. We hadn’t been gettin’ along any too well for some time.

“So I pulled up the horse a minute and went into the shop and asked the
butcher about the steak hangin’ in the window, and he told me that it
was sixteen cents a pound and that it was a sirloin steak. I thought
that was most too much and asked him if he hadn’t some cheaper kind. He
said yes, that a rump steak was just as good, and he showed me one of
them and the whole piece came to fifteen cents—just the price of a glass
of whiskey—and I bought it and rolled it up in a piece of brown paper
and went away.

“Now I was tellin’ about this to the good guard that likes to get
statistics for the Citizens’ Association, and I told him it was the
beefsteak that brought me here, and that if I had only got the whisky
instead of the steak it wouldn’t have happened, but he argued the other
way, and then when I stuck to my story he got kind of mad about it and
said it was them drinks I had with the senators and the assessor that
really done it, and if it hadn’t been for the drinks I’d have known
better, and he said he was goin’ to put it down that way, and I’m sure
he did. I hain’t no doubt but a good many of the figgers we see about
penitentiaries and things is got up the same way.

“Well, when I unhitched the horse and got him tended to and the potatoes
covered up and all, I took the steak and started for the house. You know
where I live—the barn is just back of the cottage, and there’s a kind of
little alley behind the barn and then the switch-yards come in; the
railroad curves up toward the house after it passes the barn so it gets
pretty near the kitchen. Of course, the trains bother us a good deal and
the switch engines are goin’ back and forth all the time, and the house
is pretty old and not very big, but all them things has to be taken into
consideration in the rent, and I got it enough cheaper to make up. I
presume that’s the reason no poor people live out on the avenues,
because the rents is so high, and in one way mebbe the switch tracks is
a good thing, for if it wa’n’t for them I’d had to go out to the stock
yards to live, and I’d rather have the engines and the smoke than the
smell. Some of them Settlement people are tryin’ to have a park made,
out along the tracks right close to where we lived. Of course, flowers
and grass would be nice, but I s’pose if they got the park some fellers
would come along and pay more rent than we could afford and then we’d
have to go out to the stock yards. It seems as if us poor people gets
the worst of it no matter how you fix it. But I’m takin’ an awful long
while to get into the house; seems as if I’m tellin’ you everything I’ve
thought of ever since I’ve been locked up here in jail. It’s mighty good
of you to set and listen, and I’ll always remember it as long as I live,
though I guess that ain’t sayin’ much.

“When I come up to the door I heard the kid cryin’ and she was scoldin’
him about somethin’ he’d done and tellin’ him to go in the bedroom and
stay till supper was ready and to quit his squallin’ or she’d thrash
him. Of course, generally, she was good to him, and I don’t mean to say
she wa’n’t, but sometimes she got out of patience with him, same as all
women does, I s’pose. Of course you have to make allowances for her. She
dassent let the boy go to play back of the house, for there was the
yards and the cars, and you know children always goes ‘round cars; then
she couldn’t let him go in front for the electric road was there, and
you know about that little boy bein’ run over a year ago down at the
corner. Then there’s buildin’s on both sides of us, so she had to have
the kid right in the house all the time less’n she went out with him,
and of course he got kind of tired settin’ in the house all day with
nothin’ to do but look out in front and see the switch engines. Still I
sometimes thought she was crosser to him than she ought to have been at
that.

“When I opened the door she was just takin’ the boy into the bedroom. In
a minute she come out and kind of slammed the door hard, and said,
‘Well, you’ve got home, have you?’ I said yes, I’d got home. That’s
every word I said. Then she said it was a pity that them drunken friends
of mine couldn’t keep me out all night spendin’ the money for whisky
that I ought to use in the house. I told her that I hadn’t spent no
money for whisky. She said ‘Yes, your face looks it, and your breath
smells it.’ Then I told her that I did take one drink but the assessor
bought it for me. Then she landed into the assessor, and told me I was
in pretty company goin’ ‘round with him; that Mrs. McGinty had told her
all about what kind of a man he was and she didn’t want to hear any more
about him. Then I asked her about when supper would be ready, and she
said she hadn’t begun to get it yet, that she’d been doin’ the washin’
and had that brat of mine to take care of all day, and she’d get the
supper when she got ready. Of course I was hungry and cold, and that
made me kind of mad, only I didn’t say much, but laid the beefsteak on
the table and unrolled it so’s she could see it. I thought mebbe that
would kind of tempt her, and I told her she’d better cook it and fry a
few potatoes. She made some remark about the steak, and about how I’d
better got a soup bone, or a chicken, or somethin’ cheaper, and no
wonder I was in debt with all the money I spent for whisky, and when I
did bring anything home to eat it had to be somethin’ that cost a good
deal more’n I could afford. Then I said that this was a rump steak and
only cost fifteen cents, and she said I could get a soup bone that
weighed six or seven pounds for that, and I hadn’t any business to throw
away my money. Then she kind of stopped for a few minutes and took the
steak out into the kitchen. Where we’d been was in the settin’ room. I
went in to see the kid a few minutes and kind of quieted him down, and
so long as he laid on the bed and seemed kind of like as if he’d go to
sleep I shut the bedroom door and come out again. Then I picked up the
paper and read about the alderman not goin’ to run any more, and that
was the real reason why he wa’n’t goin’ to give us any more turkeys;
then I looked at the sportin’ page and then I read a long story about a
feller that had killed someone and left ‘em dead in the house, and then
run away, and how they’d found ‘em dead and had offered a thousand
dollars reward for the feller who killed the other one. Then I read
about a murder trial that they was just havin’ and how the jury had
found the feller guilty and he was goin’ to be hung, and how he never
moved a muscle, and how his mother screamed and fell over in a swoond
when the clerk read the verdict. While I was readin’ she kept comin’ out
and into the settin’ room, bringin’ dishes and things to set the table.
You know we generally et in the settin’ room. Ev’ry time she come in she
kind of glared at me, but I let on not to notice her.

“Pretty soon I smelt the steak fryin’ and went out in the kitchen. When
I got out there I found the steak fryin’ in the skillet all right and
her just takin’ up the tea kettle to pour water on it. Now this made me
mad, for that wa’n’t no way to fry steak. You know yourself that you
lose all the flavor of the steak by pourin’ water on it; that makes it
more like boiled meat than it does like beefsteak. I just saw her in
time, and I called out, ‘What are you doin’? Put down that kettle. Don’t
you know better’n to pour water on beefsteak?’ She said, ‘You shut up
and go back in the settin’ room, or I’ll pour the water on you.’ I said,
‘No, you won’t; put down that kettle. How many times have I told you
better’n to pour water on steak? It’s hard enough for me to get the
money for a steak without lettin’ you spoil it that way.’ I started to
grab her hand, but before I could reach it she tipped the nozzle over
into the skillet and poured a lot of water in, and the steam and hot
water and grease kind of spattered up in my face. I don’t know whether I
struck her or not; anyhow I grabbed the kettle, and when the nozzle
turned round some of the hot water got onto me, and burned me a little.
I put the kettle down and said, ‘Damn you, what do you mean by spoilin’
the steak every time I get it? If you ever do a thing like that again,
I’ll cut your throat.’

“Now, of course, I hadn’t no idea of cuttin’ her throat, no matter how
often she done it. ‘Twas just a way I had of showin’ how mad I was about
what she’d done. You see she done it a-purpose for I’d told her plenty
of times before, and I told her then before any of the water got into
the skillet, and she just poured it in to spite me. Then she said, ‘You
drunken loafer, I’d like to see you try to cut my throat. I just dare
you to do it. You don’t need to wait until you bring home another steak;
ain’t likely I’ll be here by the time you bring home any more steak. I
don’t care what the Settlement people and the priest say about it, I’m
going to quit you. I’ve stood this thing just as long as I’m goin’ to,’
and she fairly screamed, just on purpose, so the neighbors could hear.

“Now I didn’t want them to know we was fightin’, and I seen that she was
so mad she couldn’t control herself and didn’t care who heard or what
happened. The neighbors had come in once before, but they’d got pretty
well used to our fights. But I thought it had gone about far enough and
the steak couldn’t be helped, so I went back into the settin’ room and
picked up the paper. In a few minutes she come in and says, ‘Well, come,
your old steak’s ready, you’ve made so much fuss about it you’d better
come and eat it and let it shut your mouth.’ And she went on into the
bedroom and got the kid. I drew up my chair and set down to the table.
She put the kid into the high chair and then she set down on the other
side. I cut up the steak and give each of ‘em a piece with some fried
potatoes, then we had some bread and butter and some tea. She poured out
the tea and handed me a cup. There wa’n’t any milk for the tea and I
asked her why that was. She told me she didn’t have any money to buy
tickets, and if I wanted milk I’d better leave some money to buy tickets
instead of spending it all for whiskey. I didn’t make much of any answer
to this but commenced eatin’ my steak. Besides bein’ boiled it was
cooked almost to a crisp, and you couldn’t hardly tell whether it was
beefsteak or what it was; all the taste was out of it and gone into the
water and the steam. I put some of the gravy on the potatoes; this was
better’n the steak and tasted more like beef. I et up the potatoes and
the steak and a few pieces of bread and butter, and cut up the kid’s
steak and showed him how to hold his knife so’s to eat without cuttin’
himself, and I didn’t say a word to her and she didn’t say a word to me.
Of course, I could see by the way she looked that she was mad, and I
presume she could see that I was, too; and probably both of us thought
it was just as well not to say anything, ‘specially so long as the kid
was there. All the time I was eatin’ I kept thinkin’ about the way she’d
poured the water into the steak and spoilt it, and how I’d been lookin’
forward to it ever since I bought it on Thirty-fifth Street, and the
more I thought of it the madder I got. If it had been the first time I
don’t think I’d have minded it near so much, but I’d told her about it
ev’ry time I brought home a steak, and it seemed as if always we had a
row pretty near as big as this, and every time she managed to pour the
water into it and spoil it in spite of all that I could do. And this
time it had been just the same thing again. Anyone would have been mad
if they’d been in my place; don’t you think so yourself?

“Well, I finished my supper without sayin’ a word to her, and she didn’t
say a word to me, and then I got up and went back into the settin’ room
and picked up the paper and commenced readin’ again. In a minute she
come along through with the kid and took him into the bedroom to put him
to bed. After she’d been in there a while she came out and shut the
door, and stood up for a minute lookin’ over toward me. I thought she
was waitin’ for me to speak, so I just kept my eyes on the paper like as
if I was readin’, but I wa’n’t. I hadn’t cooled off a great deal since
she poured the water on the steak, and could see that she hadn’t
neither, so I thought mebbe it was as well to have it out, but I was
goin’ to wait for her to begin. Of course, I hadn’t no idea then of
doin’ anything like what I did. I was just mad and reckless and didn’t
care much, and would keep thinkin’ of the steak, and you know all the
time I was thinkin’ I could feel a kind of prickin’ up in my head, as if
a lot of needles was runnin’ up toward my hair. I s’pose it was the
blood runnin’ up there. That feller that I told you about that was
talkin’ to us over here kind of made out that a man was a good deal like
a machine, or an engine of some kind, and when the steam was turned on
he had to go. He said that if the blood was pumped up in the head it
made us do things; it made some people write poetry, and some make
speeches, and some sing, and some fight, and some kill folks, and they
couldn’t really help it if they was made that way and the blood got
pumped up in the head. I believe there’s a good deal in it. You know
when the blood don’t circulate down in your feet they get cold and kind
of dead, and then if you put ‘em into a pail of hot water or even cold
water, and then rub ‘em hard with a towel, they get prickly and red, and
you can feel the blood comin’ back to ‘em and feel ‘em wake up again.

“Well, I set perfectly still while she stood by the mantel-piece. First
she picked up one thing and then another and kind of dusted ‘em and put
‘em back. She done this till she had dusted ever’thing on the
mantel-piece, and all the time she would be lookin’ over toward me, but
I kept my eyes down on the paper and pretended to be readin’. I knew
that she didn’t dust the things because she wanted to dust, for she
always dusted in the mornin’ just after she swept. I knew she did it
because she was nervous and mad, and was waitin’ for me to begin. Of
course, sometimes when you are mad the longer you wait the more you get
over it, and then sometimes the longer you wait the madder you get. It’s
like a boiler not usin’ any of its steam while the fire is goin’; if it
waits long enough somethin’s got to happen.

“Finally, after she got everything dusted she looked over straight at me
and says, ‘Are you goin’ to read that paper all night?’ I told her I was
if I wanted to, that it was none of her business how long I read it;
there was a part of it that I’d like to give her to read if she wanted
to; it was the cookery department, and had a recipe for frying steak. Of
course, there wa’n’t no such thing in the paper, and I just made it up
and said it to be sassy, and I knew I shouldn’t have been throwin’ it up
to her, but I was so mad I really didn’t think how ‘twould sound. Then
she said she didn’t want any advice from me or the paper either, about
cookin’, and she wanted me to understand that the cookin’ was none of my
business and she’d tend to that herself in her own way, and if ever I
interfered again she’d leave me and take the kid with her. She said she
learned cookin’ long before she ever knew me. Then I said I thought she
could make money by startin’ a cookin’ school; all them rich folks on
Prairie Avenue would come over to get her to learn them how to fry
steak. She said she guessed she knew more ‘bout fryin’ steak than I did,
and when I boarded at the restaurant I was mighty glad to get steak
fried that way, and I only grumbled about it now because I was so mean
and didn’t know how to treat a woman, and a man like me never had no
right to have a decent wife. Then I said I wished I hadn’t; I’d be a
mighty sight better off by myself than livin’ with her and havin’ her
spoil everything that came in the house, and I wished I was back
boardin’ in the restaurant where she found me. She said I didn’t wish it
half so much as she did, that she got along a good deal better when she
was waitin’ on the table than she had since she married me; then she had
a chance to get out once in a while and see someone and have a good
time, but now she stayed to home from one year’s end to another lookin’
after me and my brat. I told her I guessed the brat was just as much
hers as it was mine, and I didn’t think that was any way to speak about
the boy. Of course I really knew that she didn’t say it because she had
anything against him, but just because she was mad at me. She always
liked him, and I can’t make any complaint of the way she treated him,
and I want him to know it when we’re both dead, and I don’t want him to
get any idea that she wa’n’t perfectly square. I kind of want you to fix
it, if you can, so ‘twon’t look to him as if either of us was to blame,
but I guess that won’t be an easy thing to do.

“Then I said she was mighty glad to give up the job she had at the
restaurant to marry me. She said I asked her to get married, that she
didn’t ask me. Then I told her that, of course, she didn’t ask me, but
she gave me a mighty good chance, and that I believed she just got that
red waist and fixed up her hair the way she did to ketch me, and when I
spoke to her about marryin’ it didn’t take her very long to throw up her
job, and take me so she could get supported without doin’ anything. Then
she said that if she spent any money to get that red waist to ketch me
she was throwin’ it away, and that if I thought she ever worked for
anyone else as hard as she did for me and my brat that I was mistaken,
and it didn’t make any difference what she done, I never gave her any
thanks or did anything for her. If I ever had any time I spent it with
them drunken loafers and politicians and never went anywhere with her;
that she wa’n’t no better’n a slave, and what was she doin’ it all for;
pretty soon she’d be old long before her time. Her looks was all gone
now, and she hadn’t even had a new dress for over a year. I told her
that I didn’t know what she wanted of looks, she never was a prize
beauty and ‘twa’n’t very like anybody’d ever be fool enough to marry her
again, if anything happened to me. And she said if she ever got rid of
me there wouldn’t be much danger of her marryin’ anyone else, she had
men enough to last as long as she lived; that all they ever thought of
was what they could get to eat and drink, that I’d made more fuss over
that miser’ble beefsteak than anyone would over their soul, and she
didn’t see why she ever stood it from me, and she was just as good as I
ever was and knew just as much, and worked a good deal harder, and
didn’t run ‘round nights and get drunk and spend all the money with a
lot of loafers, and be in debt all the time and have the collector
runnin’ after me. I told her I had just about enough of that kind of
talk, and wouldn’t stand no more of it from her; it was bad enough for
her to burn up the beefsteak and spoil it without blackguardin’ me and
callin’ me names; she was mighty glad to get the clothes and the grub I
bought her and to live in my house and have me work hard every day in
the cold to get money while she just stayed to home and played with the
kid, and if she said another word to me I’d smash her face. Then she
said, ‘Yes, you miserable wife-beater, you kicked me once, didn’t you,
but you needn’ think you can kick me or lay hands on me again. I ain’t
afraid of you nor any of your low-lived drunken crew!’ Then she kind of
reached back to the mantel and took hold of a plaster Paris lady I’d
bought of a peddler, just as if she was goin’ to throw it at me, same as
she throwed that dish once before. I seen what she was doin’ and I
grabbed her arm and said, ‘You damned bitch, don’t try that on me’; and
I gave her a kind of shove over toward a chair and she missed the chair
and fell on the floor.

“Of course, you know I didn’t really mean anything when I called her a
damned bitch; that is, I didn’t mean any such thing as anyone might
think from them words. You know us fellers down to the yards don’t think
very much about usin’ that word, and we never really mean anything by
it. But I don’t think ‘twas a very nice word to use and have always been
sorry I said it, even if I did kill her.

“Well, she jumped up off’n the floor and made towards the table, like
she’d grab a knife, and by this time I had a prickly feelin’ runnin’ all
through my head and up into my hair, and I didn’t really think of
anything but just about her and what she was doin’. I don’t believe I
even thought about the kid in there on the bed. Mebbe if I had I
wouldn’t have done it.

“Well, when she made for the table that way, I just run over between her
and the table, and said, ‘Damn you, if you move another step I’ll knock
your damned brains out!’ Them’s the very words I said. I didn’t really
think what I’d do, but of course I was mad and didn’t mean to give up to
her, and wanted to show her who was boss, and that’s all I thought
about. Then she come right up to me and sort of throwed her arms back
behind her, and throwed her head back, and her hair hung down all kind
of loose, and her eyes glared like electric lights, and she looked right
at me and just yelled so I thought the people could hear her all over
the ward. And she said, ‘Kill me! you miserable drunken contemptible
wife-beater; kill me, I just dare you to kill me! Kill me if you want to
and then go in there and kill the boy, too; you’d better make a good job
of it while you’re at it! Kill me, you coward, why don’t you kill me?’

“Just then I happened to look down by the stove and seen the coal pail,
and there was the poker in the pail. The poker was long and heavy. Of
course I hadn’t ever thought anything about the poker, but I looked down
there and seen it, and she kept yellin’ right at me, ‘Kill me! Kill me!’
I said: ‘Shut up your mouth, damn you, or I will kill you!’ But she just
yelled back, ‘Why don’t you do it! Kill me! Kill me! You miserable dirty
coward! Kill me!’ Then I looked down at the poker and I just reached and
grabbed it, and swung back as hard as ever I could.

“Her face was kind of turned up toward me. I can see it now just as
plain—I s’pose I’ll see it when I’m standin’ up there with the black cap
over my eyes. She just leaned back and looked up as I swung my arm and
she said: ‘Kill me! Kill me!’ And I brought it down just as hard as ever
I could right over her forehead,—and she fell down on the floor.”



                                   V


“You might go and talk to the guard a little bit, I’ll be all right in a
few minutes. You know this is the first time I’ve ever told it, and I
guss I’m a bit worked up.”

Hank got up, without looking at Jim’s face. His own was white as a
corpse. He moved over to the little iron door and spoke to the guard.

“Could you give me a drink of water—or could you make it whiskey? I’m
sure that would be better for Jim.”

The guard passed him a flask, and told him to just keep it. Hank took a
drink himself and handed it to Jim.

“Well, I guess ‘twould do me good. I believe if I was out of here I
wouldn’t never take any more, but I don’t see any use stoppin’ now;
anyhow I’ll need a lot of it in the mornin’. Just ask the guard if any
word has come for me. I s’pose he’d told me, though, if it had.” Jim
held the bottle to his mouth long enough to drink nearly half of what
was left.

Hank looked out at the silent corridors. Over in the court he could
still hear the hammer and the voices of the workmen; from the upper
tiers, the wild shriek of an insane man called on someone to save him
from an imaginary foe. A solitary carriage rolled along the pavement and
the voices of two or three men singing came up from the street below. A
faint breath from the lake just stirred the heavy prison smell that
seemed dense enough to be felt. The guard asked him how he was managing
to pass the night. Hank answered that it was going much faster than he
had thought.

“Poor fellow,” said the guard, “I’ll be kind of lonesome when he’s gone.
He’s been a good prisoner.” This was the highest character that a guard
could give.

“Well, Hank, if you are ready now, I’ll go on with my story. That
whiskey kind of braced me up, and I s’pose you needed it too, after
listenin’ so long. I must hurry, for I ain’t near through with what I
wanted to say. I’ve thought lots about how I hit her, and I s’pose I
ought to think it was awful, and it looks so to me now, and still it
didn’t seem so then. I can’t help thinkin’ of what that feller said to
us in his speech. He claimed that punishin’ people didn’t do no good;
that other people was just as likely to kill someone if you hung
anybody, as they would be if you let ‘em go, and he went on to say that
they used to hang people for stealin’ sheep and still just as many sheep
got stole and probably more’n there was after they done away with it. I
don’t s’pose I ever should have thought anything about it if I hadn’t
killed her, but, of course, that made me think a lot. I’m sure that I
wouldn’t do such a thing again; I wouldn’t be near so likely to do it as
I was before, because now I know how them things commence, and I’m
awful, awful sorry for her too. There wa’n’t no reason why she should
die, and why I should have killed her, and if there was anything I could
do to change it, of course I would.

“But I can’t really see how hangin’ me is goin’ to do any good. If it
was I might feel different, but it ain’t. Now, all my life I always read
about all the murders in the newspapers and I read about all the trials
and hangin’s, and I always kind of wished I could go and see one. But I
never thought I’d go this way. Why, I was readin’ about a murder and how
a feller was found guilty and sentenced to be hung just before I killed
her. And do you s’pose I thought anything about it? If there’d been
forty scaffolds right before my eyes I’d have brought down that poker
just the same. I don’t believe anyone thinks of gettin’ hung when they
do it; even if they did think of it they’d plan some way to get ‘round
it when they made up their mind to do the killin’. But they don’t think
much about it. I believe sometimes that the hangin’ makes more killin’.
Now look at them car-barn fellers; they just went out and killed people
regardless, same as some men go out to shoot game. I don’t believe
they’d ‘ve done it if it hadn’t been so dangerous. And then you know
when they hung the whole three of ‘em at once, and one feller cut his
own throat so as to cheat ‘em, and they took him right up and hung him,
too, though he was so weak they had to carry him onto the scaffold, and
the doctors done ever’thing they could do to keep him from dyin’ just
so’s they could hang him. Well, you know they hadn’t any more’n finished
them until another gang of young fellers commenced doin’ just the same
kind of thing, and they are in jail now for murder, and you know one of
‘em came in here one day and looked at the other ones before he done the
killin’. I half believe that all the fuss they made ‘bout them fellers
and hangin’ ‘em and printin’ it all in the newspapers did more to make
the other ones do it than anything else. But I s’pose there ain’t no use
hangin’ ‘em unless you put it all in the newspapers, for it won’t scare
anyone from doin’ it unless people know they are hung.

“But, of course what I think about it don’t make any difference, so I’d
better hurry on. Well, after she fell over I stood still for a few
minutes waitin’ for her to get up. Of course I thought she’d get right
up again, and mebbe come back at me. But she didn’t move. Then I thought
she was scarin’ me, and I just sat down for a few minutes to show her
that I wa’n’t goin’ to be fooled in no such way. Still she didn’t stir.
Then I commenced to be half scart and half mad. I didn’t think it was
right to try to make me believe I had done anything like that. So I
said, ‘When you’ve laid there long enough you’d better get up.’ Then I
said, ‘What’s the use of playin’ theater, you can’t fool me. I’m goin’
to bed and when you get ready you can come along.’ But I didn’t go to
bed; I just sat still a little longer, and then I stepped over by her
head and looked down at it, and I thought it didn’t look right, and then
I was scart in earnest. Just then I heard the kid cry, and I didn’t want
him to come out, so I locked the outside door and took a good look to
see that all the curtains was clear down, and went in to see the kid. I
lit a candle in the bedroom and talked with him a little; told him
ever’thing was all right and to go to sleep, and I’d come in again in a
minute or two. Then I went back to the settin’ room to see her.

“Before I looked at her face I looked down to her feet to see if maybe
they hadn’t moved, for I didn’t want to look at her face if I could help
it. And I thought mebbe this would be the best way. But the feet was
just where they was before; then I looked at her hands and they hadn’t
moved, so I knew I just had to look at her face. I hadn’t examined her
very close before, I was so scart, and I never could look at blood or
dead folks, but of course this was different; so I got down on the floor
close up to her face, and I seen the great welt along her forehead and
top of her head and across the temple, and ‘twas all covered with blood
and a lot of it had got on the floor. Her eyes was wide open. I knew
they didn’t see anything. They looked just as if they’d been turned to
glass, before she’d had time to shut ‘em. I felt of her wrist to see if
her pulse was goin’. At first I thought it wa’n’t, and then I thought I
felt it go a little, and I never felt so good in all my life. I pushed
my finger down harder, but I couldn’t get it again. Then I felt of her
heart and it was just the same way. I leaned over to her ear, and asked
her to please wake up, that I was awful sorry, and I didn’t know what I
was doin’, and if she’d just speak I’d be good to her all my life and do
ever’thing I could for her, and then I asked her to do it on account of
the boy, but still she didn’t move. Of course I was almost scart to
death by this time; first I thought I’d call the neighbors and send for
a doctor and then I thought that was no use. If she wa’n’t dead I didn’t
need him, and if she was I must try to do somethin’ so no one would find
it out. Then I began to think what could be done to bring her to. I
never had much experience with people that got hurt, except the ones I’d
seen at the railroad, and I wa’n’t just sure what to do with anyone in
this fix. But I’d read somethin’ about it somewhere, and so I went into
the back room and drew some water into a pail and took an old cloth and
got down on the floor and commenced washin’ her head. But I couldn’t see
the first sign of life. Then I looked around for some whiskey and found
a little in a bottle in the closet and poured some in her mouth, but it
all run right out, and she didn’t move.

“Of course I never went to school very much but no matter how good an
education I had I don’t s’pose I could tell you how I felt so you’d know
it yourself. I never s’posed I’d do anything to get into any trouble,
and I always thought I was different from criminals. But here I was in
the house with her dead, and I’d killed her, and what would happen to
me? I just pictured the headlines in the newspapers and the boys callin’
‘all about the Jackson murder,’ and me tried for murder and hung, and
the kid goin’ ‘round the rest of his life knowin’ that his father had
killed his mother and then got hung.

“At first I just set paralyzed and sort of held my head in my hands and
moaned, and wondered if mebbe it wa’n’t a dream and if I couldn’t wake
up, and then I thought I’d go and give myself up to the police and be
done with it, and then I thought I might just as well kill myself, so I
went and got an old razor, that I used to shave with sometimes, and
tried to get up my nerve to cut my throat. But somehow I couldn’t put
the edge over my wind-pipe. I wish though now that I had. Did you ever
try to kill yourself? Them people that say it’s only cowards that kill
themselves don’t know what they’re talkin’ about. I’d like to see them
try it once. I’d have killed myself only I didn’t have the nerve. It
wa’n’t because I cared anything about livin’; but I just couldn’t cut my
own throat. Then I thought mebbe she wa’n’t dead, and I’d look again. So
I done just the way I had before,—commenced at her feet to see if they’d
moved, then when I got up to her hands I thought one of ‘em had moved,
and my heart just gave a great big jump. Then I remembered that I’d
picked it up, when I’d felt for her pulse and had put it down in a
different place. Then I looked up to her face and it was just the same.
It was white as a sheet, all except the long red and black welt and the
blood, and her eyes wide open, and lookin’ right straight up to the
ceilin’ starin’ just like a ghost. Then I felt of her hands and feet,
and they was cold as ice and she was stiff, and I knew it was all off
and she was dead.

“If you don’t mind I’ll just take a little more of that whiskey before I
go on; the whole thing’s been a little wearin’ on me and I think it’ll
brace me up a bit. You’d better have some, too. That guard is a good
feller, considerin’ the place he’s in. I believe if you hadn’t come I’d
told my story to him. I didn’t feel as if I could go without tellin’
someone how it really was. You see no one ever made the least bit of
allowance for me in the trial, and I got tired of talkin’ to my lawyer
all the time. He always said that what I told him didn’t amount to
anything, and he was so well educated that he couldn’t understand me
anyhow.

“When I was sure that she was dead, I just throwed myself over on the
floor, and laid my face flat down on my arm and give up. I’m sure I
cried and I thought they could hear me next door, but I guess they
didn’t. Anyhow I cried without payin’ any attention to ‘em. I must have
laid this way for ten or fifteen minutes without once lookin’ up, and
she was right close to me, and I could just reach out my hand and touch
her. And I hadn’t begun to think what I’d do. Then after I’d laid a
while, I just thought mebbe I’d ought to pray. It had been a long while
since I’d prayed. Of course, I hadn’t paid much attention to such things
when I was all right; I guess there ain’t many people that does, except
women and children, but I always really believed in it, just the same as
I do now. I kind of thought that God knew that I wasn’t wicked enough to
kill her, and have all this trouble, and bring all that misery on the
kid; so I thought I’d try him. I didn’t know much about prayers except
only the ones I’d learnt long ago, and they didn’t any of ‘em seem to
fit this case. But I didn’t need to know any prayers; I just got down on
my knees and prayed myself. I begged God to have her come back; I told
him how good she was, and how the boy needed her and what a hard time
I’d always had, same as I told you, only not near so long, and I
apologized the best I could for not goin’ to church more reg’lar and not
ever prayin’ to him, and I asked him to forgive me for the time I kicked
her, and the other things I’d done, and I promised if he only would let
her come back I’d always be good and take care of her and the boy, and
never do anything wrong and always go to church and confessional, and
love God and Jesus and the Virgin and all the saints, and quit politics
and drinkin’, and do right. I prayed and prayed, and I meant it all,
too. And I don’t believe it was all for myself, ‘though I s’pose most of
it was, but I really felt awful sorry for her, as I have ever since, and
I felt awful sorry for the boy, who never had anything at all to do
about it all.

“Then after I quit prayin’ I got up slow, thinkin’ that it might have
done some good, and that mebbe she’d be all right, so I started in, just
as I had before, with her feet to see if they’d moved. I s’pose the
reason I done this way was that if I saw her head first and knew she was
dead ‘twould be all off the first thing; and when I commenced with her
feet I always had some hope till I got clear up to her head. Well, her
feet hadn’t moved a bit. Then I went to her hands, and they was just in
the same place, and I began to feel it wa’n’t any use to look at her
head; but I did. And there it was just as white as that plaster-Paris
lady, and her eyes lookin’ straight up.

“Then I felt sure ‘twas all off. I’d done everything I could think of,
and I’d prayed just as hard as I knew how, and I was sure no one ever
meant it more’n I did or wanted it any more, and I knew, of course, God
had seen the whole thing and could do it if he wanted to and that he
didn’t want to, and that she was clear dead. I kind of half set and half
laid down on the floor a little while longer, tryin’ to think about it
and what I was goin’ to do. But I couldn’t make any plans; I kep’
thinkin’ about how it had all happened, and it begun to seem as if it
wa’n’t really me that hit her with the poker, but as if both of us was
somebody else and I was sort of dreamin’ about it all. Ain’t you ever
had them kind of feelin’s when somethin’ awful has happened? But, of
course, nothin’ like that ever happened to you. I thought most about
that beefsteak, and how I stopped and bought it, and didn’t go in and
get a drink, and all the time it seemed to me just as if that was where
I made my big mistake. And then I thought how awful near I come to goin’
into the saloon instead of the butcher-shop, and then some of the time
I’d kind of feel as if mebbe I was goin’ into the saloon after all, and
it wa’n’t goin’ to happen. Don’t you know how it is when anybody’s died
or anything happened? You think about everything that’s done, so as to
see if mebbe you can’t make it come out some other way after all? Well,
that’s the way I done about every little thing, and every word we both
spoke till I hit her with the poker. Another thing where I almost missed
killin’ her was that poker; that coal pail didn’t belong in the settin’
room at all, but ought to have been in the kitchen, and I don’t know how
it ever got in there. Mebbe the boy lugged it in for a drum. You know he
didn’t have many playthings, or mebbe she started a little fire in the
settin’ room, for ‘twas the first cold day. I don’t see how it could
have been that either, for she was washin’ that day and wouldn’t have
any time to set in there. But I don’t know as it makes any difference;
the coal pail was in the settin’ room and the poker was in the pail, and
they was right before my eyes at the time. If they hadn’t been I never
would’ve used the poker. When she stood up and told me to kill her, I’d
most likely struck her with my fists and that would only knocked her
down. But anyhow it didn’t do any good to go over it, for I couldn’t go
into the saloon instead of the butcher-shop, and I couldn’t get that
coal pail out of the settin’ room, and it had all been done—and she was
dead! And I’d killed her! After I’d went over this a long time I made
myself stop so I could do somethin’ that would be some use, for I knew
there was lots to be done before mornin’, and I hadn’t a minute to lose.
I knew I must get up off’n the floor and try to act like a man, and not
give up, no matter how bad it was. But before I got up I thought I’d
just take one more look to make sure that there wa’n’t no use. So I went
over her again, just as I’d done before, and it came out the same way
anyhow. I didn’t much think it was any use then and would’ve just about
as soon begun at the head and got through with it right away.

“After I had looked her over again I got up and set down in a chair to
make up my mind what to do. I hadn’t been there very long when I knew I
couldn’t figure it out; ‘twas too much for me the way I was, and so I
thought I’d just quit tryin’ and do a few things first. And then I
wondered what time ‘twas. I hadn’t thought anything about the time
before, but I s’posed it must be almost mornin’ for just then I heard an
express wagon drive along the street, and anyhow it seemed an awful long
while since I got home. The clock was right up on the mantel-piece and
tickin’ loud, but I hadn’t thought of lookin’ at it before and didn’t
even know it was in the room. I looked up and seen it was goin’ and that
‘twas only a quarter to twelve. I was surprised that it wa’n’t no later,
and wondered how it could be, and just then it struck and I kind of kep’
count because I was sort of thinkin’ of the clock and it stopped
strikin’ at nine. Then I thought somethin’ must be wrong with the clock
too, and I looked back again and seen that I’d made a mistake in the
hands and ‘twas only nine o’clock. I couldn’t believe this was so, but
the clock was goin’ all right. Then I kind braced up a little and
thought what was to be done. First, I looked ‘round the room. I told
you, didn’t I, that we et in the settin’ room? It was a settin’ room and
a dinin’ room both. Sometimes we et in the kitchen, but that was pretty
small. The table stood there with the dirty dishes just as we’d got
through eatin’. There was the plates and knives and forks, and the
teacups and the big platter with some of that steak left, and the gravy
gettin’ kind of hard like lard all ‘round it. The coal pail was there
and standin’ ‘round the table where we’d set to eat, except the rockin’
chair which was over by the stove. I looked at all them things, and then
I looked down at the floor, and there she lay with her head over toward
the closet door and her feet up almost under the table. It was an awful
sight to look at her on the floor, but there wa’n’t nothin’ else to do,
so I looked her all over as careful as I had before, then I got kind of
scart; I hadn’t never been in a room alone with anyone that was dead,
except at the morgue; but, of course, this was worse than anything of
that kind. I’d always heard more or less about ghosts and haunted houses
and things like that, and didn’t believe anything of the kind, but they
seemed to come back now when I looked over where she was layin’. I was
afraid of ever’thing, not of people but of ghosts and things I couldn’t
tell nothin’ about. I knew she was dead and must have gone somewhere,
and most likely she was right ‘round here either in the bedroom lookin’
at the boy or out here seein’ how I felt and what I was goin’ to do with
her. Just then I heard somethin’ move over by the closet and it scart me
almost to death. I knew it must be her and couldn’t bear to see her
unless she could come to life on the floor. Finally I looked around to
where I heard the noise and then I seen it was the curtain; the window
was down a little at the top. I went and put up the window, and then
hated to turn ‘round and look back where she lay. Then I went to the
bedroom door and opened it about half way just so the light wouldn’t
fall on the bed and wake him up, but so I could hear him breathe and it
wouldn’t be quite so lonesome. Ever’thing was awful still and like a
ghost except the clock, after I got to thinkin’ of it. Then it ticked so
loud I was almost ‘fraid they’d hear it in the next house. When I got
the bedroom door open I thought I must do somethin’ about her and the
room before I made up my mind what plan to take about myself.

“First I went and hunted up the cat. I’d always heard about that, so I
went into the kitchen and there she was sleepin’ under the stove. I
couldn’t help wishin’ I was the cat, although I had never thought of any
such thing before. Then I took her in my hand and went to the outside
door and threw her out in the yard and shut the door tight. Then I came
back in the settin’ room and thought about what had to be done. I looked
over again at her and then I saw her eyes still lookin’ right up at the
ceilin’, and round and shinin’ like glass marbles. I thought that wa’n’t
the way they ought to be and that all the dead folks I’d ever seen had
their eyes shut. So I went over and got down by her head and kind of
pushed the lids over her eyes, same as I’d always heard they did, and
put some nickels on ‘em to keep ‘em down. I don’t know how I done it,
but I felt as if it had to be done, and, of course, they wa’n’t no one
else to do it, and nobody knows what they can do until they have to. And
then I saw that there was a good deal of blood on her face, and I wanted
her to look decent though I didn’t know then what would be done with
her, and I went into the kitchen to the sink and got a pan of water and
some soap and an old towel, and washed all the blood off that I could
find, and wiped her face careful to make her look as well as I could.
Once or twice while I was doin’ it I kind of felt down to her heart, but
I knew it wa’n’t no use. Still I thought it couldn’t do any hurt, and
that God might’ve thought I wa’n’t scart enough so he waited; but I
didn’t feel nothin’ there. Then I kind of smoothed back her hair like
I’d seen her do sometimes. ‘Twas all scattered round on the floor and
pretty full of blood. I couldn’t very well get the blood out, but I
fixed the hair all back together the best I could. Then I noticed that
her jaw kind of hung down and I pushed it up and tied a towel around it
to keep it there, and then she looked pretty well, except that great
long gash over her face and head where the poker went.

“Then I thought I’d have to fix up the room and the floor a little bit.
I sort of pushed back the chairs and the table so I could get a little
more room, and then moved her a little way and straightened her out
some. First before I moved her I got that paper I’d been readin’ and
laid it on the floor and then I took up her shoulders and lifted ‘em
over to one side and laid her head on the paper. Then I moved the rest
of her over to match her head and shoulders. There was a lot of blood on
the floor where she’d been, and I knew I had to do somethin’ about that.

“There was a nice Japanese rug on the floor, and her head had struck
just on the edge of it over by the door. I’d bought her the rug for a
Christmas present last year, and she liked it better’n anything she had
in the house, but it was beginnin’ to wear out some. A part of the blood
was on the floor and a part on the rug. So I went and got another pan of
water and the soap and towel and washed the floor; then I washed the rug
the best I could, and lifted it up and washed in under it, and then
threw away the water and got some more and washed it all over again.
When I seen that the last water was a little bloody I thought mebbe I’d
better go over it again, so I got some more water and went over it the
third time, then I threw the water out and washed the towel as good as I
could, and went back in and looked ‘round the room to see if there was
anything else to do. Just then I noticed the poker that I hadn’t thought
of before. I took it to the kitchen and washed it all over and then
dried it and then put it in the stove and covered it with ashes, and
then laid it down on the hearth; then I went back in and seen that
ever’thing was finished and that she was all right, and there wa’n’t
nothin’ to do except to make my plans. But before I go on and tell you
what I done with her, let me speak to the guard a minute.”

Hank and Jim got up once more and looked out through the bars. The guard
was still sitting on the stool and asked what he could do.

“What time is it?” said Jim.

“Oh, it’s early yet, only a little after twelve,” he replied. “Wouldn’t
you like a little more whiskey? I’ve got another bottle here, and I can
get all I want down to the office. If I was you I’d drink it. I don’t
think whiskey does any hurt. I’m always arguing with that other guard
about it. He’s bug-house on whiskey.”

Jim took the whiskey and then turning to the guard, with an anxious
face, said, “You’re sure nothin’ has come for me?”

“No, there’s nothin’ come.” But after a few minutes he added, “I’ll go
over to the telephone pretty soon and call up the telegraph office and
make sure.”

Jim’s face brightened a little at this. “I’m much obliged. It might be
sent to me, and it might be sent to the jailer or the sheriff. You’d
better ask for all of us.”



                                   VI


“That whiskey makes me feel better. I’ve been takin’ a good deal tonight
and I s’pose I’ll take more in the mornin’. That’s one reason why I’m
drinkin’ so much now. First I thought I wouldn’t take any tomorrow—or—I
guess it’s today, ain’t it? It don’t seem possible; but I s’pose it is.
I thought I’d show the newspapers and people that’s been tellin’ what a
coward I was to kill a woman! but now I think I’ll take all I possibly
can. I guess that’s the best way. It don’t make no difference—if I take
it they’ll say I’m a coward and if I don’t, it’s only bravado. Most
people takes so much that they almost have to be carried up, and they
don’t hardly know. I guess that’s the best way. Some people take
somethin’ to have a tooth pulled, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t for
a thing like this. Mebbe the whiskey makes me talk more’n I meant to,
and tell you a lot of things that hain’t nothin’ to do with the case,
but it’s pretty hard for me to tell what has and what hain’t.

“After I got her laid out and the floor cleaned, I set down a minute to
think what I’d do next. First I thought I’d go in and get the kid and
take him away, and leave her there, and I guess now that would have been
the best way, and they wouldn’t found it out so quick. But then I
thought the people next door, or the postman, or milkman, or somebody,
would come along in the mornin’ and find her there, and I couldn’t get
far with the kid. Besides I only had about ten dollars and I knew that
wouldn’t last long. Then I thought I’d just go out and jump onto one of
the freight trains they was makin’ up in the yards, and leave her and
the kid both; then I couldn’t bear to think of him wakin’ up and comin’
out into the settin’ room and findin’ her there. He wouldn’t know what
it meant and would be scart to death and ‘twouldn’t be right. Then so
long as I couldn’t do either one, I had to get her out, but I didn’t
know how to do it, and what was I goin’ to do with her when I got her
out. First I thought I’d try to put her in the sewer, and then I knew
someone would find her there for that had been tried before; then I
studied to see what else I could think of.

“Finally I happened to remember a place she and I went once picnickin’,
just after we was married. I don’t know how I happened to remember it,
‘cept that I couldn’t think of anything to do, and then I was kind of
goin’ over our life, and it seemed as if that was the nicest day we ever
had. One of the boys had been tellin’ me about the new street car lines
that run way off down through Pullman and South Chicago, and out into
the country, and how nice it was out there away from all the houses. So
one Sunday we went over to the street cars and started out. I don’t know
whether we found the right place or not, but I remember just when we was
goin’ to turn somewhere to go to Pullman or South Chicago we saw some
trees off in a field, and thought that would be a nice place to go and
set in the shade and eat the lunch we’d brought along. So we went over
under the trees, and then I saw some rock further over, and then she and
I went over where they was and there was a great deep pond with big
stones all ‘round the edge. I heard that it was an old stone quarry that
had got filled up with water. But it was awful deep and big, and we set
down under a little tree on top of one of them big rocks and let our
feet hang over the sides, and the water was way down below, and I said
to her just in fun, ‘Now, if I wanted to get rid of you, I could just
push you over here and no one would ever know anything about it.’ She
kind of laughed at the idea and said if I ever wanted to get rid of her
I wouldn’t have to push her off any rock, that she’d go and jump in
somewhere herself, and I told her if I ever wanted her to I’d let her
know, and for her to just wait till I did. And we went all ‘round the
pond, and I threw stones in it and tried to see how near across I could
throw, and we stayed ‘round until it was time to take the car and go
home. And I don’t believe I ever had a better time. Now and then when we
was friendly or had got over a fight, we used to talk about goin’ back
there again, but we never did.

“Well, after thinkin’ of ever’thing I could, I made up my mind that the
best thing was for me to put her on the express wagon and take her out
there, if I could find the place. I didn’t believe anybody would ever
know anything about it, and if they did ‘twould be a long time and they
wouldn’t know who she was.

“Then I thought it might be dangerous gettin’ her out of the house and
gettin’ the wagon out on the street that time of night. If anyone seen
us they’d be suspicious and want to know what I was doin’, and then I
was afraid the policeman would be watchin’ for suspicious people and
things along the street. But I didn’t see anything else to do, and I
knew I had to take chances anyway and would most likely get caught in
the end. I looked at the clock and found ‘twas only ten, and I felt as
if that was too early to start out. The people next door wouldn’t be
abed and if they ever saw me carryin’ her out they couldn’t help
noticin’ it. So I set down and waited. You hain’t no idea how slow the
time goes in such a case. I just set and heard that clock tick, and the
boy breathin’ in the other room; it seemed as if every tick was just
fetchin’ me that much nearer to the end—and I s’pose mebbe that’s so,
whether we’ve killed anyone or not, but you don’t never think of it
unless it’s some place where you’re waitin’ for someone to die, or
somethin’ like that. Then of course I kept thinkin’ of ever’thing in my
whole life, and I went over again how I’d done it, but I couldn’t make
it come out any different no matter how hard I tried.

“Then I wondered what I was goin’ to do next, and how long ‘twould be
before they’d ketch me, and if I’d stand any show to get out, if I got
ketched. Of course, I thought I’d have to run away. I never seemed to
think of anything but that. I guess ever’body runs away when they do any
such thing; ‘tain’t so much bein’ safer, but they want to get away. It
don’t seem as if they’d ever be any chance anymore where it’s done. But
I couldn’t just figger out where to go. Of course, I knew I’d take the
cars. There ain’t any other way to travel if you want to go quick. Then
I thought I’d have a long enough time to figger it out while I was
takin’ that drive down across the prairie. Anyhow I’d need somethin’ to
think about while I was goin’.

“That feller that talked to us in the jail said the real reason why they
hung people and locked ‘em up was to get even with ‘em, to make ‘em
suffer because they’d done somethin’. He said all the smart men who’d
studied books claimed that hangin’ and punishin’ didn’t keep other
people from doin’ things. But if it’s done to make anyone suffer they
ain’t any use in doin’ it at all. I never suffered so much since as I
did when I was settin’ there and thinkin’ all about it, and what I was
goin’ to do, and what would become of the kid, and how she was dead, and
ever’thing else. You know it takes quite a while to get used to a thing
like that, and while I was settin’ there beginnin’ to realize what it
all meant, it was awful! If I’d only had the nerve I’d just cut my
throat and fell right over alongside of her. A good many people does
that and I wish I could’ve. But every time I thought of it I kind of
hung back. I don’t ever want any more such nights; I’d rather they’d
hang me and be done with it. I didn’t suffer so much when I was runnin’
away or gettin’ caught, or bein’ tried; even when I was waitin’ for the
verdict to come in; nor I didn’t suffer so much waitin’ for the Supreme
Court or the Governor, or even since they give up hope and I can hear
‘em puttin’ that thing up over there in the courtyard.

“I don’t s’pose hangin’ will hurt so very much after all. The main thing
is, I want ‘em to hurry after they start out. Of course, I’ll be pretty
drunk, and won’t know much about what they’re doin’, and I don’t s’pose
they’ll take long after I put on them clothes until it’s all over. Goin’
from here to the place won’t hurt, though I s’pose it’ll be pretty hard
work walkin’ up the ladder and seein’ that rope hangin’ over the beam,
and knowin’ what it’s for. But I s’pose they’ll help me up. And then
strappin’ my hands and feet’ll take some time. But they don’t need to do
that with me for I shan’t do a thing;—still mebbe if they didn’t I’d
kind of grab at the rope when they knocked the door out from under my
feet. I might do that without knowin’ it. So I s’pose it’s just as well.
It must be kind of sickish when they tie the rope ‘round your neck, and
when they pull that cap over your head, and you know you ain’t never
goin’ to see anything again. I don’t s’pose they’ll wait long after
that; they oughtn’t to. You won’t feel anything when you’re fallin’ down
through, but it must hurt when you’re pulled up short by the neck. But
that can’t last long, can it? They do say the fellers kicks a good deal
after they’re hung, but the doctors say they don’t really feel it, and I
s’pose they know, but I don’t see how they can all be so smart about
ever’thing; they hain’t never been hung.

“I s’pose the priest will be here; he’s a trump, and I think more of him
than I ever did before. He’s been a great help to me, and I don’t know
what I’d done without him. Of course, he talks religion to me, but he’s
kind of cheerful and ain’t always making out that I’m so much worse than
anyone else ever was. I ain’t much afraid ‘bout God; somehow I kind of
feel as if He knows that I’ve always had a pretty tough time, and that
He’ll make allowances on account of a lot of them things that the judge
ruled out, and He knows how I’ve suffered about it all and how sorry I
be for her and the kid, and He’ll give me a fair show. Still sometimes I
can’t help wonderin’ if mebbe there ain’t nothin’ in all of it, and if I
hain’t got through when my wind’s shut off. Well, ‘scuse me, I didn’t
want to make you feel bad, but I’ve thought about it so much and gone
over it so many times that it don’t seem as if it was me, but that
someone else was goin’ to get hung; but I hain’t no right to tell it to
anybody else, and I didn’t mean to.

“Well, I set there and waited and waited, until about eleven o’clock,
and then I thought mebbe ‘twould be safe enough to start, just then the
boy woke up, and I heard him say ‘Mamma,’ and it kind of gave me a
start, and I hurried in and asked him what he wanted and he said he
wanted a drink of water, and I came out to the kitchen sink and got it
and took it back and gave it to him. Then he asked me what time it was,
and I told him about eleven o’clock, and he asked me why I had my
clothes on and where mamma was, and I told him we hadn’t gone to bed
yet, and for him to turn over and go to sleep, and he said a few more
words and then dropped off.

“Then I went out to the barn to hitch up the rig. The horse was layin’
down asleep, and I felt kind of mean to wake him, for I knew he was
about played out anyhow; but it couldn’t be helped, so I got him up and
put on the harness. I s’pose he didn’t know much about the time, and
thought he was goin’ down to Water Street after a load of potatoes. I
didn’t bring any lantern; I knew the barn so well I could hitch up in
the dark. Then I took the hay off’n the potatoes and put it in the
bottom of the wagon to lay her on, and then run the wagon out and turned
it ‘round and backed it in again. I ‘most always hitched up outside the
barn for there was more room outdoors, but I didn’t want to be out there
any more’n I could help, so I thought I’d get all ready in the barn so I
could just drive away.

“Well, I got the horse all harnessed and the bits in his mouth, and
ever’thing ready to hitch up, and then went back in the house. I’d been
thinkin’ that I’d better take one more look, not that ‘twould do any
good but just because it might. You know when you’ve lost a knife, or a
quarter, or anything, and you look through all your pockets and find it
‘tain’t there, and then go back and look through all of ‘em again and
don’t find it; then you ain’t satisfied with that and mebbe you keep a
lookin’ through ‘em all day, even when you know ‘tain’t there. Well,
that’s the way I felt about her, only I s’pose a good deal worse, so
when I got in I looked her over again just the same way’s I had before.
I felt for her pulse and her heart but ‘twa’n’t no use. Then I got my
old overcoat and my hat and got ready to start, but before I left I
thought I’d just look out once to see if the folks in the next house was
abed, and I found they wa’n’t, for there was a light in the kitchen
right next to mine, and I knew ‘twould never do to carry that kind of a
bundle out the back door while they was up. So I waited a little while
until the light went out and ever’thing was still, and then put on my
coat and hat and picked her up in my arms. It was an awful hard thing to
do, but there wa’n’t nothin’ else for it, so I just kind of took my mind
off’n it and picked her up. When I got her kind of in my arms one of her
arms sort of fell over, and her legs kind of hung down like they was
wood, and then I see I had to fasten ‘em some way or I couldn’t never
carry her. It wa’n’t like a live person that can stay right where they
want to; it was more like carryin’ an arm full of wood that would
scatter all around unless you get it held tight.

“Then I laid her down and found some string and tied her arms tight
around her body, and then fastened her ankles together. Then I went into
the bedroom and got a quilt off’n our bed and rolled her up in that. You
know at my trial they made out that ‘twas bad for me to tie her that
way, and if I hadn’t been awful wicked I wouldn’t have done it. But I
can’t see anything in that; there wa’n’t no other way to do it. Then
they said it was awful bad the way I took her off and the place I dumped
her, and the newspapers made that out one of the worst things about it
all; but I tried to think up something else to do and I couldn’t, and
there she was dead, and I had to do the best I could. I washed her and
fixed her all up before I went away, and if there’d been anything else I
could have done I know I would.

“When I got her fixed up, I went to the door and looked out, and I saw
some drunken fellers goin’ along in the alley, so I waited a minute for
them; and then I got her in my arms and opened the door and then turned
off the light and went out and shut the door as soft as I could. It
wa’n’t but a few steps to the barn, but I hurried as fast as I could,
and just as I was takin’ the first step I heard the most unearthly
screech that scart me so I ‘most dropped her; but in a minute I knew it
was only a train pullin’ into the yards and I hurried to get to the barn
before the engine come up.

“Well, I guess nobody saw me, and I got her in the wagon and laid her on
the hay. I fixed her head to the end and her feet reachin’ up under the
seat. I didn’t want her head so near me in that long drive down over the
prairie. Then I covered her up the best I could with one of the old
horse blankets, so it wouldn’t look suspicious if anyone seen me.

“I tell you it was awful pokerish out there in the barn, worse than in
the house, for I had a light there. I didn’t want to stay in the barn a
minute longer than I could help, so I hurried and hitched the old horse
onto the wagon, then went out to the alley and looked up and down to see
if anyone was there. Then I got on the seat and put a blanket around me
and drove off. I was afraid the neighbors would notice me drive out of
the barn, but they didn’t. The moon hadn’t quite got up and there
couldn’t anyone see unless they was right close. When I got about a
block away I seen a policeman walkin’ ‘long the street and goin’ up to
pull a box. Of course I was scart; he looked at me kind of suspicious
like, and looked at the wagon to see what was in there, but it was
rather dark and I braced up the best I could and drove right ‘long and
he didn’t say nothin’. Then I found a lot of fellers that was comin’
down the street makin’ a lot of noise. They was a gang of politicians
that had been goin’ round to the saloons and was pretty full. I was
afraid some of ‘em might know me, but they didn’t pay any attention and
I went along up to the corner of Halsted and turned south. I knew
Halsted was a pretty public street, but the roads was better and I had a
long way to go, so I thought I might just as well chance that.

“I got along down about Twenty-ninth Street and met a gang of fellers
that was makin’ a lot of noise singin’ and talkin’, and braggin’ and
tellin’ what they could do. I was a little ‘fraid of ‘em, not because I
thought they’d hurt me, but I didn’t know but what they’d see what was
in the wagon. When I come up to ‘em they told me to stop, that they was
the ‘Bridgeport threshers’ and no one had any right there but them, and
they wanted to know what reason I had to be out at that time o’ night. I
told ‘em I was just gettin’ home, that I’d been kep’ late up town. Then
one of ‘em said, ‘What you got in the wagon?’ and I said, ‘Potatoes.’
Then one feller said, ‘Let’s see ‘em,’ and started for the wagon. But
another one spoke up and said, ‘Oh, Bill, leave him alone, he’s all
right.’ And then they all started up another road and went away. That
was a pretty narrow escape and I was ‘most scart to death for fear
they’d look under the blanket. I met a good many teams but nothin’ more
happened till I got down to Fifty-fifth Street Boulevard, where I turned
east to go over to the Vincennes road.

“By this time the moon had come up and it was about as light as day. It
had stopped snowin’ and the wind had gone down but it was awful cold. I
never saw a nicer night. You could see everything almost as well as
daylight. I hurried the old horse as much as I could, but he couldn’t go
fast. He hadn’t got much rested from the day before. Every once in a
while I looked back at the load. I kind of hated to look, but I couldn’t
help it. The blanket commenced to kind of take her shape so it looked to
me as if anyone would know that someone was under there. So I got out
and moved the blanket and fixed it up more on one side. But I didn’t
look at her. Then I drove on across to Vincennes road and turned south.
Every once in a while I’d meet someone, and I was afraid all the time
that something would happen, but it didn’t and I drove on. The moon got
clear up high and I could see everything on the road and around the
wagon, and see where her feet came through under the seat and almost
touched mine, and could see all the horse blanket that covered her up. I
hadn’t got far down the Vincennes road until I thought the blanket had
changed its shape and was lookin’ just like her again so I got out and
fixed it up and went back and drove on.

“While I was goin’ ‘long I kep’ thinkin’ what I was goin’ to do and I
s’pose it was the cold that made me think I’d better go south. I always
did hate cold weather, and this winter I thought I’d have to stay out
and run ‘round from one place to another, if I didn’t get caught the
first thing.

“Then I thought I must take the horse and wagon back home, and I wanted
to see that the boy was all right; so I thought it might bother me to go
clear out to that quarry and get away from Chicago before daylight. But
anyhow I could go until one o’clock and then get back by three, and
probably ketch a train before mornin’.

“After a while I begun to have a queer idea about her. I thought I could
feel her lookin’ right at me,—kind of feel her eyes. I drove on, and
said it was all bosh and she couldn’t do it, and I looked down at her
feet and I seen they was in the same place, but still I couldn’t get
over that feelin’. I thought she was lookin’ at me all the time, and I
kind of ‘magined I could hear her say, ‘Where ‘re you takin’ me? Where
are you takin’ me? Where are you takin’ me?’ just about the same as when
she said, ‘Kill me! Kill me! Kill me!’ and no matter what I done, or how
hard I tried, I could feel her lookin’ and hear them words in my ears.

“By this time I was gettin’ ‘way down the Vincennes road. You know it
gets wide ‘way down south, and it ain’t much built up nor very well
paved. There’s a lot of road-houses along the street; most of ‘em was
open and a good many fellers was ‘round ‘em, just as they always is
‘round saloons. I’d like to have had a drink, for I was awful cold and
scart, but I didn’t dare go in, though I did stop at a waterin’-trough
in front of one of the places and watered the horse. He was pretty well
blowed and was hot. I had urged him pretty hard and the road was heavy.
Wherever there was mud it was frozen so stiff that it could almost hold
up, and still let you break through, the very worse kind of roads for a
horse to go on.

“After I got him watered I went on and kep’ meetin’ lots of wagons. I
never had no idea how many people traveled nights before. I s’posed I
wouldn’t see anyone, but I met a wagon ever’ little ways and I was
always afraid when I passed ‘em. A great many of ‘em hollered out,
‘Hello, pardner,’ or ‘What you got to sell,’ or anything, to be
sociable, and I would holler back the best I could, generally stickin’
to ‘Potatoes,’ when they asked me about my load. I thought I knew
potatoes better’n anything else, and would be more at home with ‘em if
anything was said.

“I hadn’t got far after I watered the horse before her eyes began to
bother me again. Then I kept hearin’ them words plainer than I had
before. Then I got to thinkin’ about all the things I had heard and read
about people who were dead, and about murders, and that seemed to make
it worse’n ever. Then I began to think of the things I’d read about
people that were put away for dead, when they wa’n’t dead at all, and
about mesmerism, and hypnotism, and Christian Science, but I knew none
of them things was done the way she’d been killed. Then I remembered
about trances, and how people was give up for dead sometimes for days,
and even buried and then come to life, and about how people had dug up
old graveyards and found out where lots of people had moved around after
they’s dead. And then I thought I heard her say, ‘You thought you’d
killed me! You thought you’d killed me! You thought you’d killed me!’
And the further I went the plainer it sounded. Finally I began to think
‘twas so and of course I hoped it was, and I kep’ thinkin’ it more’n
more and couldn’t get it out of my head. Of course, I looked around at
the houses and the trees and fences and at the moon. It had clouded up a
little with them kind of lightish heavy clouds you’ve seen that run so
fast; they was just flyin’ along over the sky and across the moon, and I
was wishin’ I could go ‘long with ‘em and get away from it all, and then
the voice would come back, ‘Where are you takin’ me? Where are you
takin’ me? Where are you takin’ me? You thought you’d killed me! You
thought you’d killed me! You thought you’d killed me!’ And I felt so
sure she wa’n’t dead that I couldn’t stand it any more, and I looked at
her feet, but they hadn’t moved, and then I stopped the horse and got
off’n the wagon and went back to the hind end and lifted up the blanket
kind of slow. For I felt as if I’d stand more chance that way than if I
did it all at once, and I got the blanket up, and then I got hold of the
quilt just by the edge and kind of pulled it back so as to uncover her
face, and just then the moon came out from behind a cloud and shone
right down in her face, almost like day, and she looked just as white as
a ghost, and the bandage had come off her jaw and it hung clear down,
and her mouth was open, and I knew she was dead.

“Then I threw the things back and jumped onto the wagon, half crazy, and
hurried on.

“It was gettin’ now where there wa’n’t no more houses, and I hardly ever
met any teams, and I was gettin’ clear out on the prairies, and I looked
at my old silver watch and saw it was close to one o’clock, and I
thought mebbe I might just as well get through with it now as to wait
any longer. So I looked along at the fields to find a good place, and
after a while I saw where there was a great big field full of hummocks.
It looked as if they’d been diggin’ for gravel or somethin’ of that
kind, and I thought that was as good a place as any. So I looked up and
down the road, and saw no one comin’, and I drove the old horse up in
the fence corner and got off the wagon, and then I fixed a good place to
get over, and fastened the quilt a little better, and took her in my
arms and started as fast as ever I could. I went past the fence and run
over to the first hummock, but the hole didn’t look very deep, and there
was some more further over. So I went to them, but they wa’n’t deep
enough either. Then I looked ‘round and saw one bigger’n the rest and
went there. I laid her down and looked over. The moon was shinin’ all
right, and I could see that the hole was pretty big and deep. I laid her
down lengthwise ‘long the bank, and then took one more feel of her heart
and ‘twas just the same. Then I fastened the quilt a little tighter,
lifted her clear over to the edge, and held her head and feet in a
straight line so she’d roll down the hill all right, and then I give her
a shove and turned and run away.”



                                  VII


“Well, I hadn’t any more’n started to run till I heard a splash I knew
she’d got to the water all right and there wa’n’t nothin’ for me to do
but hurry home.

“I went right back to the wagon and climbed upon the seat and turned
‘round. The old horse was pretty tired but he seemed some encouraged,
bein’ as he’d turned home. Horses always does, no matter how poor a
place they has to stay. I urged him ‘long just as fast as I could;
didn’t stop for nothin’ except to give him some water at a trough down
on Halstead Street, and went right home. Then I put him in the stable
and took care of him, and throwed some hay in the manger. So long as I
hadn’t any oats I emptied about a bushel of potatoes in with the hay. I
thought they wouldn’t be any use to me any more, and they’d keep him
quiet a while and mebbe do him some good.

“Then I went in the house, and struck a match and lit the lamp. I didn’t
‘low to stay long for I’d got my plans all thought out comin’ home, but
I just wanted to look into the room and see the kid. I glanced ‘round
and ever’thing seemed all right, except I thought I’d better take the
coal pail out in the kitchen. Then I looked at the floor and the rug and
I couldn’t see no blood; and the water had pretty near dried up. Then I
opened the bedroom door and looked at the kid. He was sleepin’ all
right, just as if he hadn’t been awake once all night. He was layin’ on
one side with his face lookin’ out toward me, and was kind of smilin’
pleasant-like and his hair was all sweaty and curly. You’ve seen the
kid. You know he’s got white curly hair just as fine as silk. That’s one
thing he got from her.

“Well, I couldn’t hardly bear to go away and leave him, but there wa’n’t
nothin’ else to do. I guess I would have kissed him if I hadn’t been
‘fraid he’d wake up, but I never was much for kissin’; kissin’ depen’s a
good deal on how you’re raised. I guess rich people kiss a good deal
more’n poor people, as a general rule, but I don’t know as they think
any more of their children. Well, I just looked at him a minute and shut
the door and went out. Then I noticed the whiskey bottle on the table
that I brought out to try to wake her; I hadn’t thought of it before;
and I picked it up and drank what was left, and turned and blew out the
lamp and went away. That’s the last I ever seen of the kid, or the
house.

“I went right over to the yards to see about trains. There wa’n’t
nothin’ standin’ ‘round there and I didn’t like to ask any questions, so
I went down to the other end and see ‘em switchin’ some cars as if they
was makin’ up a train, and I walked out in the shadow of a fence until
they’d got it all made up and I felt pretty sure ‘twas goin’ south. I
knew them cars and engines pretty well. Then I jumped in a box car that
was about in the middle of the train. There was a great big machine of
some kind in the car, so there was plenty of room left for me, and I
snuggled down in one corner and dozed off. I don’t think I’d been
sleepin’ long till a brakeman come past with a lantern and asked me who
I was and where I was goin’. I told him I was goin’ south to get a job,
and wanted to get down as far as Georgia if I could, for my lungs wa’n’t
strong and the doctors had advised a change of climate. I had read about
the doctors advisin’ rich people to have a change of climate, but of
course I hadn’t ever heard of their tellin’ the poor to do any such
thing. I s’pose because it wouldn’t do no good and they couldn’t afford
to leave their jobs and go. But I didn’t see why that wasn’t a good
excuse. He asked me if I had any whiskey or tobacco, and I said no, and
he told me that I oughtn’t to get on a train without whiskey or tobacco,
and I promised not to again, and then he let me go.

“It was just gettin’ streaks of light in the east, and I thought I might
as well go ahead and prob’ly I’d better ride till noon anyhow, as
nothin’ much could happen before that time. Then I went off to sleep
again. The sun was pretty high before I woke up. I looked at my watch to
see what time it was but found I’d forgot to wind it the night before
and it had run down. Well, I concluded it was just as safe to stay on
the car so long as it was goin’ south and so I didn’t get off all day,
except to run over to a grocery when the train stopped once and get some
crackers and a few cigars. I thought I’d have ‘em when the brakeman come
‘round, and then I fixed myself for the night. I was pretty well beat
out and didn’t have much trouble goin’ to sleep, though of course I
couldn’t get it out of my head any of the time, and would wake up once
in a while and wonder if it wa’n’t all a dream till I found myself again
and knew it was all true.

“I’d found out that the car I was in was goin’ to Mississippi and made
out that it was for some saw mill down there. It was switched ‘round
once or twice in the day, and I think once in the night, and was put on
other trains, and the new brakeman had come ‘round at different times.
After I got the cigars I gave ‘em one whenever they come ‘round and this
kep’ ‘em pretty good natured. And so long as the car had switched off
and I made up my mind they wouldn’t find her the first day, I thought
mebbe I’d better stay right in it and go to Mississippi. I didn’t know
nothin’ ‘bout Mississippi, except that it was south and a long ways off
and settled with niggers, and that they made lumber down there. I used
to see a good many cars from Mississippi when I was switchin’ in the
yards. The car was switched off quite a bit, and didn’t go very fast,
and it was four days before they landed it in Mississippi.

“They stopped right in the middle of the woods, and I made up my mind
that this was about as good a place to stay as anywhere, if I could get
a job, and I thought it wouldn’t be a bad plan to try where they was
sendin’ the machine. It had been so easy for me to get down to
Mississippi that I began to think that mebbe my luck had changed, and
that the Lord had punished me all he was goin’ to. So I went up to the
mill and asked for a job. The foreman told me he’d give me one if I
didn’t mind workin’ with niggers. I told him I didn’t care anything
‘bout that, I guessed they was as good as I was. So I started in. My
whiskers was beginnin’ to grow out some. You know I always kep’ ‘em
shaved off, and now they was comin’ out all over my face, and I made up
my mind to let ‘em grow. I went to work loadin’ saw logs onto a little
car that took ‘em down into the mill. A great big stout nigger worked
with me, and we took long poles and rolled the logs over onto the cars,
and then it was rolled down into the mill and another one come up in its
place. I found the only chance to board was in the big buildin’ where
all the hands lived. I thought this wa’n’t a bad place. Most of the
people boardin’ there was niggers, but there was a few white fellers,
and I naturally got acquainted with ‘em.

“I’d been there a week or two when someone brought a Chicago paper into
the house. It was covered with great big headlines and had my picture on
the front page. It told all ‘bout some boys findin’ her and about the
neighbors hearin’ me call her a damned bitch, and about the kid wakin’
up in the mornin’ and goin’ out in the street to hunt its ma. Then it
offered a thousand dollars reward in great big letters.

“My whiskers had grown out a good deal and I didn’t look so very much
like the picture. Anyhow I don’t think newspaper pictures look much like
anybody. Still, of course, I was awful scart at that. My best chum read
the piece all over out loud to me after we got through work, and he said
it beat all what a place Chicago was; that such things as that was
always happenin’ in Chicago; and that Jackson must have been an awful
bad man—wouldn’t I hate to meet him out in the woods some place! A man
like that would rather kill anybody than eat. I didn’t say much about
it, but of course I didn’t contradict him. But I simply couldn’t talk
very much myself. He said he wished he could get the one thousand
dollars, but no such luck would ever come to him.

“When I’d come there I said my name was Jones, because ‘twas the easiest
one I could think of; there was a butcher right near us that was named
Jones, and it popped into my head at the time. Some of ‘em asked me
where I was from, and I told ‘em Cincinnati. I didn’t know much about
Cincinnati, except that we used to get cars from there, and so I knew
something ‘bout the roads that went to it. I managed to get hold of the
paper and burn it up without anyone seein’ me. But after it came I
didn’t feel so easy as I did before. I stayed there about a month
workin’ at the mill and pickin’ up what I could about the country, and
then I began to think my chum was gettin’ suspicious of me. He kep’
askin’ me a good many questions about what I’d worked at and where’bouts
I had worked, and how I got there from Cincinnati and a lot of questions
about the town, and I thought he was altogether too inquisitive, and of
course I would have told him so if I had dared. Finally I thought the
other fellers was gettin’ suspicious, too, and I thought they kind of
watched me and asked a good many questions. So one time right after I
got my pay I made up my mind to leave. I didn’t wait to say nothin’ to
anyone, but jumped onto a freight train, and went on about fifty miles
or so south to a railroad crossin’ and then I jumped off, and took
another train east. Along next day I saw a little town where there was
another saw mill, so I stopped off and asked for a job. I didn’t have no
trouble goin’ to work, so long as I was willin’ to work with the
niggers, and I stayed there two or three weeks, same as the other place,
and then I thought the boss began to notice me. He asked me a lot of
questions about where I come from, and ‘most everything else he could
think of. I told him I come from St. Louis, but I didn’t know much more
‘bout that place than I did ‘bout Cincinnati, and I guess he didn’t
neither. But as soon as pay-day come I made up my mind I’d better start,
so I took the few duds I’d got together and jumped on another train
goin’ further yet, and went away. Finally I stopped at a little town
that looked rather nice and started out to get a job.

“Ever since I got off the first train I always looked pretty sharp at
everyone to make out whether they was watchin’ me or not. Then I always
got hold of all the newspapers I could find to see if there was anything
more about me. I found another Chicago paper in the depot, and it still
had my picture and the offer of a thousand dollars reward, and said I
must have took one of the freight trains that left the yards, and would
most likely be in the south or in the west. I didn’t like to stay there
any longer after seein’ that paper, but I managed to fold it up the best
I could, and just as quick as I got a chance I tore it to pieces and
threw it away. Then I thought mebbe I’d better get back away from the
railroad. So I seen an old darkey that looked kind of friendly and I
asked him about the country. He told me a good deal about it and I
started out to walk to where he said there was some charcoal pits. I
found the place and managed to get a chance to work burnin’ wood and
tendin’ fires. It was awful black sooty work, but I didn’t care nothin’
about that. The main thing with me was bein’ safe. I had a pardner who
worked with me keepin’ up the fires and lookin’ after the pits at night,
and it looked kind of nice with the red fires of the pits lightin’ up
the woods and ever’thing all ‘round lookin’ just like a picture. When we
got through in the mornin’ you couldn’t tell us from darkies, we was so
covered with smoke and burnt wood. We boarded in a little shanty with an
old nigger lady that fed us on hominy and fried chicken, and we didn’t
have much of any place to sleep that was very good.

“After I’d been there two or three days I got pretty well acquainted
with my pardner. One day he asked me where I was from. I never said
nothin’ to anybody ‘bout where I came from, or where I was goin’, or
asked them any questions about themselves. I just worked steady at my
job, and all I thought of was keepin’ still in hopes it would wear off
in time, and I could start over new. I used to dream a good deal about
her and the boy, and sometimes I’d think we was back there in Chicago
all livin’ together and ever’thing goin’ all right. Then I would dream
that I was out with the boys to a caucus, or goin’ ‘round the saloons
campaignin’ with the alderman. Then I’d dream about fightin’ her and
hittin’ her on the head with the poker, and it seemed as if I throwed
her in Lake Michigan. Then I’d dream about the boy and my learnin’ him
his letters, and his bein’ with me in the wagon when we was peddlin’
potatoes, and about the horse, the old one that died, and the last one I
got at the renderin’-place. Then I’d kind of get down to the peddlin’,
and go over the whole route in my sleep, hollerin’ out ‘po-ta-toes!’ all
along the streets on the west side where I used to go, and the old
Italian women and the Bohemian ladies and all the rest would be out
tryin’ to get ‘em cheaper and tellin’ me how I’d charged too much. Then
I seen the old lady that I give the half peck to, and could hear her ask
all the saints to bless me. Then I stopped into the butcher-shop and got
the steak, and ever’thing I ever done kep’ comin’ back to me, only not
quite the same as it is in real life. You know how ‘tis in a dream; you
want to go somewhere and somethin’ kind of holds your leg and you can’t
go. Or you want to do somethin’ and no matter how hard you try somethin’
is always gettin’ in front of you and hinderin’ you and keepin’ you
back. Well, that’s the way ‘twas with all my dreams; nothin’ turned out
right and I always come back to where I killed her and throwed her in
the lake, till I was almost ‘fraid to go to sleep, and then I was ‘fraid
I’d holler or talk in my sleep. And my chum slep’ in the same room with
me and I was ‘fraid mebbe he’d find it out, so I never dared to go to
sleep until after he did, and then I was always ‘fraid I’d holler and
say somethin’ and wake him up and that he’d find out ‘bout me and what
I’d done.

“Well, as I was sayin’, after I’d been there three or four days we was
down to the pits one night tendin’ to the fires, and we got to talkin’
and tellin’ stories to pass the time away, and at last he asked me where
I was from, and I said St. Louis. He said he was from the north too; I
didn’t ask him where he’d come from, but he told me Chicago. I was
almost scart to death when he mentioned the place. I didn’t ask no
questions nor say a word, but he kep’ on talkin’ so I kind of moved’
round a little and leaned up against a pine tree so’s the light couldn’t
shine right in my face, for I didn’t know what he might say. He told me
that he come down here every winter for his health; that Chicago was so
cold and changeable in the winter; that he worked in the stock-yards
when he was there and he always went back just as soon as he dared, that
there wa’n’t no place in the world like Chicago, and he was always awful
lonesome when he was away, and he wouldn’t ever leave it if he could
only stand the climate. He said there was always somethin’ goin’ on in
Chicago; a feller could get a run for his money no matter what kind of a
game he played; that if he wanted to have a little sport, there was the
pool-rooms and plenty of other places; that if he didn’t have much money
he could get a little game in the back end of a cigar store, or he could
shoot craps; if he wanted a bigger game there was Powers’ & O’Brien’s
and O’Leary’s, and if that wa’n’t enough, then there was the Board of
Trade. There was always lots of excitement in Chicago, too. There was
races and elections and always strikes, and ever’thing goin’ on. Then
there was more murders and hangin’s in Chicago than in any other city.
Take that car-barn case; it couldn’t never have happened anywhere except
in Chicago. And the Luetgert case, where the feller boiled his wife up
in the sausage-vat so that there wa’n’t nothin’ left but one or two
toe-nails, but one doctor identified her by them, and swore they was
toe-nails and belonged to a woman about her size; one of ‘em had seen
her over at a picnic and remembered her, and he was pretty sure that the
toe-nails was hers. Then that Jackson case was the latest; that happened
just a little while before he left, and the papers was full of that one.
Jackson was a peddler and he went ‘round all day and drunk at all the
saloons just so he could get up nerve enough to kill her. He thought she
had some property and he’d get it if she was out of the way, so he
killed her and took her off and put her in a hole where he thought no
one could find her; but they did, and now one of the papers had offered
a thousand dollars reward for him, and they were lookin’ for him all
over the United States. He said as how he took a Chicago paper and kep’
posted on everything and read it every day and wouldn’t be without it
for a minute. And then he asked me if I hadn’t never been to Chicago,
and why I didn’t go. I told him mebbe I would some time, but I’d always
been kind of ‘fraid to go. I didn’t say much but got the subject changed
as soon as possible, and managed to put in the rest of the night the
best I could, and then went home, and after he’d gone to sleep I packed
my valise and paid the nigger lady and told her I had enough of that job
and started off afoot without waitin’ for my pay.

“I went straight down the road for two or three miles till I come to
where another road crossed, then I turned off to the left. I didn’t have
any reason for turnin’, except it seemed as if that would take me more
out of the way. I didn’t see anyone along the road except now and then
some old nigger. I walked several miles, and there didn’t ‘pear to be no
one livin’ on the road except niggers with little shanties same as the
one I left in Chicago. I stopped once and asked an old darkey lady for
somethin’ to eat and she give me some fried chicken and a piece of corn
bread and I sat and et it, and a whole lot of woolly-headed little
pickaninnies sat and looked at me every mouthful. One of ‘em was about
the size of my kid, and made me think of him a good deal; but he didn’t
look nothin’ like him. I guess ‘twas just because he was a boy and about
the age of mine. After I et the chicken and the bread I started on and
traveled all day without seein’ anyone, except niggers, or stoppin’
anywhere except to get a drink in a little stream. When it begun to be
dark I commenced to think what I’d do for the night, and watched out for
a place to stay. So after while I saw an old shack ‘side of the road and
went in. There was some straw and I was so tired that I laid down and
went right to sleep.

“All night I dreamed about bein’ follered. First I thought I was out in
a woods and some hounds was chasin’ me, and I heard ‘em bayin’ way back
on my trail and knew they’s comin’ for me. I run to a little stream and
follered it up same as I used to read in Indian stories, and then
started on again, and after a while I didn’t hear ‘em any more. Then
first thing I knew they commenced bayin’ again and I could tell that
they’d struck my trail, so I run just as fast as ever I could and the
bayin’ kep’ gettin’ louder’n’ louder, and I run through bushes and brush
and ever’thing, and they kep’ gainin’ on me till they was so close that
I got to a little tree where I could almost reach the branches and I got
hold of ‘em and pulled myself up and got ahead of the hounds, but they
come up and set down around the tree and howled and howled so they’d be
heard all through the woods, and I knew it was all up with me; and then
I woke up and found that I was in the barn and no one ‘round except a
cow or a horse that was eatin’ over in a corner. So I tried to go to
sleep again. Then I dreamed that the policemen and detectives was after
me, and first it seemed as if I was runnin’ down a street and the police
was right behind, and then I turned down an alley and they hollered to
me to stop or they’d shoot, but I didn’t stop, and they shot at me and
hit me in the leg, and I fell down and they come up and got me, and then
it seemed as if I was on the cars and detectives was follerin’ me
ever’where, and whenever I stopped them detectives somehow knew where I
was, and they’d come to the place, and I got away and went somewhere
else, and then they’d turn up there, all ready to arrest me, and I
couldn’t go anywhere except they’d follow me. And I kind of saw her
face, and she seemed to be follerin’ me too, only she didn’t seem to
have any legs or much of anything, except just her face and a kind of
long white train and she just come wherever I was, without walkin’ or
ridin’, but just come, and she always seemed to know just the right
place no matter how careful I hid, and when they got all ready to nab me
I woke up. By that time it was daylight and there was a darkey there in
the barn feedin’ a mule, and he said, ‘Hello, boss!’ just as friendly,
and asked me where I was goin’. I told him I was lookin’ for a job, and
he told me he thought that over about four miles to the town I could get
a job. So I told him all right, and asked him if he could give me
somethin’ to eat. He took me into the house and gave me some chicken and
some corn-cakes and told me if I would wait a while he’d hitch up the
mule and take me into town, that he was goin’ anyway. I thanked him and
told him I was in a hurry to get to work, and guessed I wouldn’t wait.
I’d got so I was ‘fraid to talk with anybody. I thought they’d ask me
where I was from, and tell me somethin’ ‘bout Chicago, and mebbe show me
a newspaper with my picture in it.

“Then I went on down the road till I come to a nice town in the middle
of big pine trees. It was full of fine white houses and a few brick
stores, and two or three great big hotels. I asked a nigger what the
place was and he told me it was Thompson, and was a winter resort for
Yankees who come there for their lungs; that they spent lots of money
and that was what made the place so big.

“I always liked to talk with the niggers; they never asked me any
questions, and I never was ‘fraid that they’d been in Chicago, and I
didn’t really think they took any of the papers, for they didn’t know
how to read. Well, I just took one look at Thompson and then went as far
from the hotels as I could, and kep’ away from the stores, for I was
sure the place was full of people from Chicago, and that all the
newspapers would be there, too. I didn’t stop a minute over where all
the nice houses was. I seen lots of people out on the porches and
settin’ in hammocks and loafin’ ‘round, and I knew they was from
Chicago. Then I went along across a little stream and come to a lot of
poor tumbled-down houses and tents, and I knew they was the niggers’
quarters, so I went into a little store kep’ by an old fat nigger lady
and bought a bag of crackers and asked her about the roads.

“Before this I made up my mind to go to Cuba. I remembered readin’ all
about it at the time of the war, when a lot of them stock-yards boys
went to fight, and I thought that I’d be so far away that I might be
safe, so I knew that I had to go to the Gulf of Mexico, and I kep’ on
that way. I didn’t dare to take the railroads any more, but just thought
I’d walk, so I kep’ straight on down the road all day until I got a long
ways from Thompson. I didn’t dare to stop for work, for I’d got it into
my head that everyone was after me, and if I waited any more I’d get
caught. My shoes was gettin’ pretty near wore out and I knew they
wouldn’t last much longer, and I hadn’t got more’n four dollars left,
and I knew if I didn’t come to the Gulf pretty soon I’d just have to go
to work.

“That night I stopped at another old shack, and had about the same kind
of dream I did the night before, only I was runnin’, and every time I
pretty near got away a cramp would come in my leg and pull me back and
give ‘em a chance to ketch me, and they seemed to come just the same
without runnin’ or flyin’, or anything, and always she’d come just where
I was. Still I got through the night and a nigger lady gave me somethin’
to eat, and I went on.

“I began to look awful ragged and shabby. My coat was torn and awful old
and black where I’d been workin’ in the charcoal pit. I’d changed my
shirt, and washed the one I had on in a little stream, but the buttons
was gettin’ off and I was tyin’ em up with strings. My pants was all
wore out ‘long the bottom, and my shoes pretty near all knocked to
pieces. As for my stockin’s—you couldn’t call ‘em stockin’s at all, and
I’d made up my mind to get a new pair the next store I come to, but I
didn’t like to stop in town.

“Along about noon I got to a little place and, of course, I was lookin’
pretty bad. Some o’ the dogs commenced barkin’ at me as soon as ever I
got into town. I stopped at a house to get somethin’ to eat, and a white
lady come to the door and told me to go ‘way, that I was a tramp, and
that she’d set the dog on me, and I ran as fast as I could. I went down
the street and a good many boys follered me, and I began to get scart;
so I went through the town as fast as I could, but I see some people was
follerin’ after me, and one that rode on a horse. So I took to the
fields and made for a clump of trees that I saw off to the right. I run
just as fast as ever I could and when I looked back I saw some people
was follerin’ me through the field. I went straight to the woods and ran
through ‘em, and got pretty badly scratched up, and my clothes tore
worse’n they was before. Then I run into a swamp just beyond and two or
three men ran ‘round on the other side of the swamp and I knew it was
all up, and I might just as well surrender and go back.

“I was so scart I didn’t care much what they done, so when the one in
front asked me to surrender or he’d shoot, I come out to where he was,
and he put his hand on me kind of rough and said I was under arrest for
bein’ a tramp, and to come with him.

“Then he took me back to town with all the men follerin’ and when we got
up into the edge of the place ‘most all the boys, black and white,
turned in and follered too. They took me to a little buildin’ over on
the side of the town, and went down stairs into the cellar and opened an
iron door and put me in. There wa’n’t no light except one window which
was covered with iron bars, and they locked the door and went away and
left me there alone.”



                                  VIII


“I was locked up in the cellar for a long time before anyone came to
talk with me. I looked ‘round to see if there was any chance to get out,
but I seen it couldn’t be done. I thought it wa’n’t hardly worth while
to try. Honestly it seemed a kind of relief to be ketched and know I
didn’t have to run any more. I didn’t know why they arrested me, but I
s’posed they just thought I’d done something and they’d try to find out
what it was, so I thought about what I’d do, and made up my mind I
hadn’t better say much.

“After a while some fellers come down to see me and took me up in the
office. One of ‘em was the marshal and another was a lawyer or
police-judge or somethin’ of that kind. They said they wanted to fill
out some sort of a paper about who I was and where I come from and what
my business was and who my father and mother was, and what my religion
was, and whether I ever drank, or smoked cigarettes, and the color of my
hair and eyes, and how much I weighed, and a lot of things like that. So
I told ‘em I was from St. Louis, and guessed at the rest of the answers
the best I could. Only I told ‘em I never knew who my father and mother
was. They wa’n’t satisfied with my answers and fired a lot more
questions at me. And then they told me they thought I lied, and they’d
put me in the lock-up until mornin’, so they put me back there and give
me a plate o’ scraps for supper, and a straw bed to sleep on, and then
went away.

“Somehow I slept better that night than I had since I’d run away. I
rather thought it was all up and only a question of time when I’d get
back here, but I knew where I stood and wa’n’t so scart. I’ve slep’ fine
ever since I was here, only the time when the jury was out and when I
was waitin’ for the Supreme Court, and some special times like that. As
near as I can find out most of ‘em does when they know it’s all off,
just like people with a cancer or consumption, or when they’re awful
old. They get used to it and sleep just the same unless they have a
pain, or somethin’. They don’t lay awake thinkin’ they’re goin’ to die.
And after all, I guess if people done that there wouldn’t any of ‘em
sleep much. For ‘tain’t very long with anybody, and bein’ sentenced to
death ain’t much differ’nt from dyin’ without a sentence. Of course, I
s’pose it’s a little shorter and still that ain’t always the case.
There’s two fellers that I knew died since I come here; one of ‘em had
pneumonia, and the other was a switchman that thought the engine was on
the other side-track. John Murphy was his name. Still—I guess my time’s
pretty near come now.

“Well, in the mornin’ the marshal came in and brought me some breakfast.
Then he took me up to the office again. He waited a few minutes till the
judge come, and then they commenced firin’ questions at me. They asked
me how I got from St. Louis to where I was, That kind of puzzled me, for
I didn’t exactly know where I was. I answered it the best I could; but I
know I didn’t get it right. They told me I hadn’t got over lyin’ and I’d
have to be shut up some more. Then they asked me what public buildin’s
there was in St. Louis. I made a guess and told ‘em the court-house and
state-house. They laughed at this, and said St. Louis wa’n’t the capital
of Missouri. And of course I didn’t argue with ‘em about that. Then they
wanted to know how I come there and I said I walked. And they wanted to
know what places I come through and I couldn’t tell ‘em. Then they asked
me where I had walked, and I couldn’t tell ‘em that; and they asked me
how far I’d walked, and I told ‘em not very far, and they laughed at my
clothes and shoes and said they was ‘most wore out, and they didn’t
believe it, and told me again that they thought I was lyin’ and I’d have
to stay there till I learnt how to tell the truth. Then I got mad and
said I hadn’t done nothin’ and they hadn’t any right to keep me, and I
wouldn’t answer any more questions; that they didn’t believe anything I
said anyhow and it wa’n’t any use, and to go ahead and do what they
pleased with me.

“Then the marshal went to his desk and got a lot of photographs and
hand-bills tellin’ about murderers and robbers and burglars and
pickpockets and ever’thing else, that was sent to him from all over the
country, and he took ‘em and looked ‘em all over and then looked at me.
Then he sorted out a dozen or so and stared at me more particular than
before. I seen what he had in his hand; I seen one of ‘em was my
picture; only I was smooth-faced and now my whiskers had got long. He
made me take off my clothes and looked me over careful, and found where
I had broke my leg the time that I caught my foot between the rails when
I thought I was goin’ to be run over. You remember the time? I wish now
I had. Then he let me put on my clothes, and he went over all the
descriptions just as careful as he could, and he found that the
hand-bill told about a broken leg; then he looked at my face again, and
then he asked me when I’d shaved last, and I told him I never shaved.
Then he wanted to know how tall I was, and I told him I didn’t know, so
he measured me by standin’ me up ‘gainst the wall and markin’ the place.
I tried to scrooch down as much as I could without him noticin’ it; but
he said it was just ‘bout what the hand-bill had it. Then he asked me
how much I weighed, and I told him I hadn’t been weighed for years. So
he called someone to help him, and they put some han’cuffs on one arm
and fastened the other to the marshal and took me over to a store, and
made me stand on the scales till I got weighed. He said I weighed just a
little bit less than the hand-bill made it, and that if I’d walked from
Chicago that would account for the difference. Then he looked over my
clothes, but he couldn’t find any marks on ‘em.

“Then he sent down for the barber and told him to shave me. I objected
to that and told him he hadn’t any right to do it; that I wasn’t charged
with any crime, and he said it didn’t make no difference, he was goin’
to do it anyway. So I knew it wa’n’t no use, and I set down and let the
barber shave me. Of course I knew it would all be up as soon as I got
shaved. But I didn’t care so very much if it was; it wa’n’t any worse
than runnin’ all the time and bein’ ‘fraid of ever’-one you met and
knowin’ you’d be ketched at last.

“Well, after the barber got through shavin’ me, the marshal took the
picture and held it up ‘side of my face, and anyone could see ‘twas me.
He was so glad he almost shouted. And he told the police judge that he’d
got one of the most dangerous criminals in the whole United States, and
he was entitled to one thousand dollars reward. I never see a boy feel
so good over anythin’ as he did over ketchin’ me. He said that now he
could pay off the mortgage on his house and get his girl piano lessons,
and run for sheriff next fall. When he told me I was Jackson, I denied
it and said I never knew anything about Chicago, and was never there in
my life. He didn’t pay any attention to this, but wired to Chicago,
givin’ a full description of me. Of course, it wa’n’t long before he got
back word that I was Jackson, and to hold me till they sent someone
down.

“After the marshal found out who I was he treated me a good deal
better’n before. He got me nice fried chicken ‘most every meal, and
always coffee or tea and corn-cakes, and I couldn’t complain of the
board. Then he got my clothes washed and give me some new pants and
shoes and fixed me up quite nice. He come in and visited with me a good
deal and seemed real social and happy. He give me cigars to smoke and
sometimes a drink o’ whiskey, and treated me as if he really liked me. I
expect he couldn’t help feelin’ friendly to me, because he thought of
that one thousand dollars, and that he wouldn’t’ve got it if I hadn’t
killed her, and in one way a good deal as if I done it on his account.
Of course he wa’n’t really glad I done it, but so long as I done it, he
was glad I come his way. I s’pose he hadn’t anything against me any
more’n a cat has against a mouse that it ketches and plays with till it
gets ready to eat it up. His business was ketchin’ people just like the
cat’s is ketchin’ rats. Seems to me, though, I’d hate to be in his
business, even if it is a bad lot you’ve got to ketch. Still he watched
me closer’n ever, even if he was good to me. He didn’t mean to let that
thousand dollars get away. He kep’ someone ‘round the jail all the time,
and he got some extra bars on the windows, and when he come to see me or
talk with me he always brought someone with him so I couldn’t do
anything to him. He needn’t worried so much, for I was clean tired out
and discouraged, and I felt better in there than I had any time since I
killed her. Bein’ out of jail ain’t necessar’ly liberty. If you’re
‘fraid all the time and have got to dodge and keep hid and can’t go
where you want to and are runnin’ away all the time, you might just as
well be shut up, for you ain’t free.

“Soon as the marshal found out who I was, it didn’t take the news long
to travel ‘round the town, and it seemed as if ever’one there come to
the lock-up to see me. The boys used to come up ‘round the windows and
kind of stay back, as if they thought I might reach out and ketch ‘em,
but I always kep’ as far away as I could. Then the people would come
down with the marshal to the cell when he brought my supper and look at
me to see me eat, and try to get me to come up and talk to ‘em and watch
me same as you’ve seen ‘em look at bears when they was feedin’ up at
Lincoln Park, and they’d point to me and say, ‘That’s him; just see his
for’head. Wouldn’t I hate to get caught out alone with him? Anyone could
see what he is by lookin’ at him. I bet they make short work of him when
they get him to Chicago!’ I always kep’ back as far as I could for I
didn’t want to be seen. No one had ever looked at me or paid any
attention to me before, or said anything about me, and I hadn’t ever
expected to have my name or picture in the paper, or to have people come
and see me, and anyhow not this way.

“Of course, I knew well enough that it wouldn’t last long, and that
they’d be here for me in two or three days. I can’t tell you just how I
felt. I knew I was caught, and that there wa’n’t much chance for me. I
knew all the evidence would be circumstantial, still I knew I done it,
and luck never had come my way anyhow, so I didn’t have much hopes that
‘twould now. Then I began to feel as if it might as well be over. If I
was goin’ to be hung, I might just as well be hung and done with it.
There wa’n’t any kind of a show for me any more, and it wa’n’t any use
to fight. Then I began to figger on how long ‘twould take. I knew there
was cases where it took years, but I always thought them cases must have
been where they had lots of money and could hire high-priced lawyers.
And I hadn’t got any money, and the newspapers had said so much about my
case that I was sure that they wouldn’t give me much chance or any more
than the law allowed.

“Well, inside of two days some fellers come down from the sheriff’s
office in Chicago. I didn’t know either one of ‘em, but they had all
kinds of pictures and descriptions and said there wa’n’t any doubt about
who I was, and said I might as well own up and be done with it. But I
didn’t see any use of ownin’ up to anything, so I wouldn’t answer any
questions or say much one way or another. Then they explained to me that
they hadn’t any right to take me out of the state without a requisition
from the gov’nor, and it would take a week or so to get that, and I
might just as well go back with them without puttin’ ‘em to this bother;
that it always looked better when anyone went back themselves, and
anyhow I’d be kep’ here in jail till they got a requisition. So I told
‘em all right, I’d just as soon go back to Chicago as anywhere, and I
hadn’t done nothin’ that I had to be ‘fraid of, and was ready to go as
soon as they was. So they stayed till the next mornin’ and then
han’-cuffed me and put me between ‘em and led me down to the depot.
Before I left the lock-up the marshal give me a good breakfast and some
cigars and shook hands with me, and said he hoped I’d have a pleasant
journey.

“When I went down to the depot it seemed as if the whole town, black and
white, had turned out to see me, and ever’one was pointin’ to me and
sayin’, ‘That’s him; that’s him.’ ‘He looks it, don’t he?’ And pretty
soon the train come up and the officers and conductor kep’ the crowd
back while they took me into the smokin’-car. It seemed as if ever’one
in the car and on the whole train knew who I was and just what I’d done,
and they all come up to the smokin’-car to get a look at me, and pass
remarks about me, and ever’one seemed glad to think I was caught and was
goin’ to be hung.

“It ain’t no use to tell you all about the trip home. It didn’t take me
as long to come back as it did to go ‘way. At pretty near ever’ station
there was a crowd out to see the train, and all of ‘em tried to get a
look at me. The conductor and brakemen all pointed me out and the people
come to the doors and stood up before the window and did ever’thing they
could think of to see me. The detectives treated me all right. They gave
me all I could eat and talked with me a good deal. They didn’t ask many
questions, and told me I needn’t say any more’n I had a mind to, but
they told me a good deal about politics and how that the alderman was
runnin’ again, and all that was goin’ on in Chicago, and where all
they’d been huntin’ for me since I run away. I had to sit up at night.
One of ‘em kep’ han’-cuffed to me all night and another han’cuff was
fastened to the seat. I don’t s’pose they could’ve made it any more
comfortable and see that I didn’t run away. But still I don’t ever want
to take that kind of a ride again and I s’pose I never will.

“I felt queer when we began to get back into Chicago. In some ways I
always liked the city; I guess ever’one does, no matter how rough it is.
And I couldn’t help feelin’ kind of good to see the streets and
fac’tries and shops again; and still I felt bad, too. I knew that
ever’one in the town was turned against me, and I didn’t have a friend
anywhere. We’d got the Chicago papers as we’d come along and they was
full of all kinds of stories and pictures about me, and some things that
I’d said, ‘though I’d never talked a word to anyone.

“The papers said that they hoped there’d be none of the usual long
delays in tryin’ my case, that I was a brutal murderer, and there wa’n’t
no use of spendin’ much time over me. Of course, I ought to have a fair
and impartial trial, but I ought to be hung without delay, and no
sentimental notoriety-huntin’ people ought to be allowed to see me. They
wished that a judge could be found who had the courage to do his duty,
and do it right off quick. I had already been indicted, and there wa’n’t
nothin’ to do but place me on trial next day, and the verdict would be
reached in a few days more. It was unfortunate that the law allowed one
hundred days before a murderer could be hung after trial; that the next
legislature must change it to ten days; that would be plenty of time for
anyone to show that a mistake had been made in their trial, even if he
was locked up all the time. The papers said how that the Anti-Crimes
Committee was to be congratulated on havin’ found a good lawyer to
assist the state in the prosecution, and that the lawyer was a good
public spirited man and ought to be well paid for his disagreeable work.

“The papers told all about the arrest down in Georgia, and how the
marshal and a force of citizens followed me into the swamp and what a
desperate fight I made, and how many people I’d knocked down and ‘most
killed, until I was finally overpowered and taken in irons to the county
jail.

“I can’t make you understand how I felt when they was bringin’ me into
town. We come along down the old canal where we used to stone the frogs
and the geese and all along the places where us boys used to play. Then
we come down through the yards where I used to work, and right past the
house where I left that night with the kid sleepin’ in the bedroom. That
was the hardest part of all the trip, and I tried to turn away when we
come down along back of the barn by the alley; but it seemed as if
something kind of drew my eyes around that way, and I couldn’t keep ‘em
off’n the spot. And I thought about ever’thing I done there just in a
flash, and even wondered how long the old horse was tied in the barn
before they found him, and whether he got all the potatoes et up before
he was took away. But I looked away as quick as I could and watched all
the streets as we passed, to see if I could see anyone I knew. I felt
pretty sure that I wouldn’t leave Chicago again, and I guess I never
will.

“Pretty soon they pulled into the big depot, and the train stopped and
we got off. I wa’n’t expectin’ nothin’ in the station, but when we
landed the whole place was filled back of the gate, and I could see that
they was looking for me. The crowd was about like one that I was in down
there once when McKinley come to Chicago. A squad of policemen come down
to meet us, and they got us in the middle of the bunch and hurried us
into a patrol wagon. I could hear the crowd sayin’, ‘That’s him; that’s
the murderer; let’s lynch him!’—‘He don’t deserve a trial! Let’s hang
him first and then try him’—‘The miserable brute!’ ‘The contemptible
coward!’—I guess if it hadn’t been for all the policemen I’d have been
lynched, and mebbe ‘twould have been just as well. ‘Twouldn’t have taken
so long, nor cost so much money. Anyhow, I wish now they’d done it and
then it would be all over; and now—well, ‘twon’t be long.

“There was a lot of people in the street and every one of ‘em seemed to
know who was in the patrol-wagon, and they walked all the way over, and
lots of little boys follered the wagon clear to the jail; then the
newsboys on the street kep’ yellin’, ‘All ‘bout the capture of Jim
Jackson! Extra paper!’ and it seemed as if the whole town was tryin’ to
kill me. Somehow I hadn’t realized how ‘twas as I come ‘long, and, in
fact, ever since I went away. Of course, I knew how bad the killin’ was,
and how ever’one must feel, and how I wished I hadn’t done it, and how
I’d have done anything on earth to make it different, but all the time
I’d been away from the people that knew all about it, and I didn’t
somehow realize what they’d do. But when I come back and seen it all I
felt just as if there was a big storm out on the lake and I was standin’
on the shore and all the waves was comin’ right over me and carryin’ me
away.

“Well, they didn’t lose any time but drove as fast as they could down
Dearborn Street over the bridge to the county jail. Then they hustled me
right out and took me straight through the crowd up to the door; the
Dearborn Street door (that’s the one you came in, I s’pose), and they
didn’t wait hardly a minit to book me, but hurried me up stairs and
locked me in a cell, and I haven’t seen the outside of the jail since,
and I don’t s’pose I ever will.”

Jim stopped as if the remembrance of it all had overpowered him. Hank
didn’t know what to say, so he got up and walked a few turns back and
forth along the cell, trying to get it all through his clouded mind.
Such a night as this he had never dreamed of, and he could not yet
realize what it meant. The long story and the intense suffering seemed
to have taken all the strength that Jim had left.

Hank turned to him with an effort to give him some consolation. “Say,
Jim, don’t take it too hard. You know there ain’t much in it for any of
us, and most people has more trouble than anything else. Lay down a
little while; you can tell me the rest pretty soon.”

“No,” Jim answered, “I ain’t got through; I can’t waste any time. It
must be gettin’ along toward mornin’, and you see I don’t know just when
it’ll be. They seem to think it’s treatin’ us better if they don’t tell
us when, only just the day. Then you know, they can come in any time
after midnight. They could break in now if they wanted to, but I s’pose
they’ll give me my breakfast first, though they won’t wait long after
that. Well, I ain’t got any right to complain, and I don’t mean to, but
I s’pose I feel like anyone else would.”

Just then a strange dull sound echoed through the silent corridors. Hank
started with a nervous jerk. It sounded like a rope or strap suddenly
pulled up short and tight.

“What’s that?” Hank asked. Jim’s face was pale for a moment, and his
breath was short and heavy.

“Don’t you know? That’s the bag of sand.”

“What bag of sand?” Hank asked.

“Why, they always try the rope that way, to see if it’s all right. If
they don’t, it’s liable to break, and they’d have to hang ‘em over
again. They take a bag of sand that weighs just about the same as a man
and tie the rope to the sand, and then knock the door out and the sand
falls. I guess the rope’s all right; I hope so. I don’t want ‘em to make
any mistake. It’ll be bad enough to be hung once. I wonder how I’ll
stand it. I hope I don’t make a scene. But I don’t really think anyone
ought to be blamed no matter what they do when they’re gettin’ hung, do
you?

“It seems to me, though, that they might be a better way to kill anyone.
I think shootin’ would be better’n this way. That’s the way they kill
steers down to the stock-yards and I don’t believe the Humane Society
would let ‘em hang ‘em up by the neck. I should think ‘twould be better
to take some cell that’s air-tight and put ‘em to bed in there and then
turn on the gas. But I s’pose any way would seem bad enough. Did you
ever stop to think how you’d like to die? I guess nobody could pick any
way that they wanted to go, and mebbe we’d all rather take chances; but
I don’t believe anybody’d pick hangin’. It seems to me the very worst
way anybody could die. I wonder how they commenced it in the first
place. Well, I can’t help it by thinkin’ it over. I’ve done that often
enough already, goodness knows. I believe I’ll ask the guard for another
drink before I tell any more.”

The guard came at the first call.

“Sure, you can have all the whiskey you want. I was just down to the
office a little while ago. Take this bottle. I think it’s pretty smooth,
but it’s a little weak. Guess the clerk poured some water in, thinkin’
it was goin’ to the ladies’ ward. You’d better take a pretty big drink
to do you any good.”

Jim thanked him as he took the bottle, and then inquired:

“Did you go down to the telephone again to see whether there had
anything come over to the telegraph office?”

“No—I didn’t,” the guard answered, “but I’ll go back pretty soon. They
keep open all night. It’s early yet, anyhow.”

Jim offered the bottle to his friend. Hank took a good drink, which he
needed after the excitement of the night. Then he passed the bottle back
to Jim.

“If I was you I’d drink all that’s left; it’s good, but it’s pretty
weak, all right. I’m sure you’d feel better to take it all.”

Jim raised it to his lips, tipped his head back and held the bottle
almost straight until the last drop had run slowly down his throat.



                                   IX


Jim laid the bottle on the bed and then sat down on his chair.

“My head begins to swim some but I guess I can finish the story all
right. I know I’m pretty longwinded. Still I guess I can’t talk very
much more if I wanted to. I’m glad the whiskey’s beginnin’ to get in its
work; I don’t believe I’ll have much trouble gettin’ so drunk that I
won’t know whether I’m goin’ to a hangin’ or a primary.

“Let me see; oh, yes, they hustled me into a cell and locked me up. I
guess they thought best not to waste much time, for a good many people
had got together on the outside.

“I think ‘twas on Friday they put me in. There wa’n’t nothin’ done on
Saturday; but on Sunday they let us all go to church up in the chapel.
They kep’ me pretty well guarded as if I might do somethin’ in the
church, but there wa’n’t no way to get out if I wanted to. The preacher
told us about the prodigal son, and how he repented of all his
wanderin’s and sins and come back home, and how glad his father was to
see him, and how he treated him better’n any of the rest that hadn’t
never done wrong. He said that’s the way our Heavenly Father would feel
about us, if we repented, and that it didn’t matter what we’d done—after
we repented we was white as snow. One of the prisoners told me he was
gettin’ kind of tired of the prodigal son; that ‘most every preacher
that come told about the prodigal son just as if that story had been
meant specially for them.

“Some of the prisoners seemed to like to go to church; some acted as if
they understood all about it, and wanted to do better, and some of ‘em
seemed to go so as to get out of their cells. Anyhow I s’pose the people
that run the jail thought ‘twas a good thing and believed it was all so.
But I know one feller that killed a man—he was kind of half-witted—and
was tried the same as the rest of us when they had that crusade against
crime. Of course they sentenced him to death. He got religion and used
to pray all the time, and used to talk religion to all the rest of the
fellers, and ever’one said that he was really sorry and was fully
converted and was as pure as a little child. But they took him out and
hung him anyway. It don’t quite seem as if they believed what the
preacher said themselves, or they wouldn’t hang a feller when he’s
turned right, and when God was goin’ to treat him like all the rest
after he gets to heaven.

“When I went back to my cell, I begun thinkin’ about what I’d do. Of
course I knew you can’t get any show without a lawyer, and I knew that I
might just as well not have any as to have one that wa’n’t smart. I
didn’t know any lawyer except the one that charged me ten dollars for
nothin’, and of course I wouldn’t have him. But one of the guards was
kind of nice and friendly to me and I thought I’d ask him. He told me
that gettin’ a lawyer was a pretty hard matter. Of course, my case was a
celebrated one, and would advertise a lawyer, but the best ones didn’t
need no advertisin’ and the others wa’n’t no good. He told me that
Groves was the best fighter, but it wa’n’t no use to try to get him for
he’d got more’n he could do, and most of his time was took up
prosecutin’ people for stealin’ coal from the railroads, except once in
a while when some rich banker or politician got into trouble. Then he
took a good slice of what he’d got saved up. I asked him ‘bout some
others and he told me the same story of all the rest that amounted to
anything. I told him I hadn’t got no money, and I thought the horse and
wagon and furniture was took on the chattel-mortgage before this, and he
said he s’posed the court would have to appoint someone and I might just
about as well defend myself.

“Monday mornin’ they come to the jail and told me I had to go before the
judge. I didn’t s’pose ‘twould come so soon, for I knew somethin’ about
how slow the courts was. You remember when Jimmy Carroll was killed by
the railroad? Well, that’s more’n three years ago, and the case ha’n’t
been tried yet. I was su’prised and didn’t know what to do, but there
wa’n’t much to do. They come after me and I had to go; so I put on my
coat and vest and they han’-cuffed me to a couple of guards, and took me
through some alleys and passages and over some bridges inside the
buildin’, and first thing I knew they opened a door and I came into a
room packed full of people, and the judge settin’ up on a big high seat
with a desk in front of him, and lookin’ awful solemn and kind of
scareful. As soon as I stepped in there was a buzz all over the room,
and ever’body reached out their necks, and kind of got up on their
chairs and looked at me. The guards took off my han’-cuffs and set me
down in a chair ‘side of a big table. And then one of ‘em set back of me
and another one right to my side.

“They waited a few minutes till ever’one got still, and then some feller
got up and spoke to the judge and said ‘People against Jackson.’ The
judge looked at me and said, just as solemn and hard as he could,
‘Jackson, stand up.’ Of course I done what he said, and then he looked
the same way and said, ‘Are you guilty or not guilty?’ Of course I was
kind of scared before all of them people; I’d never been called up in a
crowd before, except a few times when I said a few words in the union
where I knew all the boys. But these people were all against me, and
anyhow it was an awful hard place to put a feller, so I stood still a
minit tryin’ to think what I ought to say, and whether someone was there
that I could talk to. Finally the judge spoke up and says, ‘The prisoner
pleads not guilty.’ ‘Jackson, have you a lawyer?’ and then I said: ‘I
hain’t got no lawyer.’ Then he asked if I wanted him to appoint one, and
I told him I wished he would. He asked me who I’d have. Of course I
thought I could choose anyone I wanted, so I said Groves. Then he
laughed and ever’one else laughed, and he said he guessed Groves had too
much to do to bother with me. So I chose one or two more names I’d heard
of, and he said none of ‘em would do it neither. Then he said he’d give
me till tomorrow to make up my mind who I wanted, and he told the
bailiff to take me back to jail. So they put the han’-cuffs on and we
went back through the alleys and over the bridges to the jail. When I
got to my cell I asked the guard what he thought I ought to do about a
lawyer, and he said that lots of lawyers had give him their cards and
asked him to hand them to the prisoners and told him they would divide
the fee, if they got any. They mostly wa’n’t much good for the business.
He said there was one young feller who seemed pretty smart, but he
hadn’t never had a case, but he’d probably work hard to get his name up.
I told him that it didn’t seem as if a lawyer ought to commence on a
case like mine, and he said that wouldn’t make any difference, most of
the murder cases was defended by lawyers that was just startin’. There
wa’n’t hardly anyone who was tried but was too poor to have a good
lawyer. Then I told him to send me the young lawyer, and he did.

“The lawyer wa’n’t a bad feller, and he seemed interested in the case,
and was the first person I’d seen since I done it who wanted to help me.
Of course I could see he was new at the business, like one of them
green-horns that comes in the yards the first time and brings a stick to
couple cars with; but I liked his face and seen he was honest. It didn’t
seem quite fair, though, that I should have a lawyer that hadn’t never
had a case. I didn’t believe they’d take a young feller who was just out
of a medicine-college and set him to cut off a leg all by himself, the
first thing, or even take a country-jake and let him kill steers at the
stock-yards, but I didn’t see no way to help it, and I thought mebbe if
I didn’t take him I’d do worse instead of better. He asked me all about
the case and seemed disappointed when I told him how it was; he said he
was afraid there wa’n’t much show, unless he claimed insanity. I told
him I didn’t see how he could make out that I was crazy; that I thought
self-defense or somethin’ like that would be better. He said he’d think
it over till tomorrow, and talk with some of the professors at the
college, and be in court in the mornin’. The next day they come for me
right after breakfast, and put on the han’-cuffs and took me to court
again. The same kind of a crowd was there as the day before, and I was
pretty badly scart; but my lawyer was at the table with me, and he spoke
to me real friendly, and that made me feel a little better. Then the
judge called the case, and asked if I had a lawyer, and my lawyer spoke
up and said he was goin’ to defend me; so the judge said all right, and
asked if the other side was ready. They said they was, and that they
wanted the case tried right off. Then the judge asked my lawyer if he
was ready and he said ‘no,’ that he’d just come into the case and hadn’t
had no chance to get it ready. Then the lawyer on the other side said
that I was notified yesterday that I must be ready today and I didn’t
have anything to do but get ready; that they wanted to try it now; that
next week he wanted to go to a picnic, and the week after to a
convention, and it must be done now; then, there had been so many
murders that no one was safe in Chicago, and the whole public was
anxious to see the case tried at once. Besides there wa’n’t any defense.
I had killed her and run away, and wa’n’t entitled to any consideration.

“My lawyer said it wouldn’t be right to put me on trial without a chance
to defend myself, that I couldn’t get away yesterday to look up
witnesses, and I had a right to a reasonable time; that he wanted at
least four weeks to prepare the case. This seemed to make the judge mad.
He said there wa’n’t no excuse for any delay, but as this was such a
clear case he wanted to give me every chance he could, so he would
continue till next Monday. Then I was took back to the jail, and my
lawyer met me over there and I told him ever’ place I went the day I
done it, and ever’one I saw, and all about her, and what she’d done to
make me mad, and he said he’d go out himself and look it up, and do what
he could, but he was ‘fraid there wa’n’t no chance. The papers had said
so much and the citizens had got up a Crime Committee, and ever’one who
was tried either went to the penitentiary or got hung.

“Ever’day the lawyer would come and ask me something ‘bout the case, and
tell me what he’d found out. He said he couldn’t get any witnesses to
say anything; that the man where I got the beefsteak was ‘fraid to come
and testify; that someone had been there from the State’s Attorney’s
office and most scart him to death, and he was ‘fraid of gettin’ into
trouble and gettin’ mixed up with it himself, and anyway he didn’t see
as he’d do the case any good if he came. He said he couldn’t find
anything that helped him a bit. He’d been to the house, but the poker
and everything that would do any good had been taken by the state, and
he didn’t know which way to turn. He kep’ comin’ back to my insanity,
and asked me if any of my parents or grand-parents, or uncles or aunts
or cousins, or anyone else was crazy. I told him I didn’t know anything
‘bout them but I didn’t think it was any use to try that. I knew what I
was doin’, all right. Then he told me if I had a hundred dollars he
could get a good doctor to swear I was crazy; but I hadn’t any hundred
dollars of course, and besides I never thought ‘twould do much good. So
I told him that he wa’n’t to blame for it, and to just do the best he
could, and I’d be satisfied whichever way it went. I didn’t expect much
myself anyhow. He said he’d have me plead guilty and the judge would
most likely give me a life-sentence, only since this crusade against
crime the judges dassent do that; there was so much said about it in the
newspapers, and they was all ‘fraid of what the papers said. He told me
that he didn’t believe it was anything more than second-degree murder
anyhow, but there wa’n’t any chance now, the way public opinion was.

“I begun to get pretty well acquainted with the prisoners in the jail
and some of ‘em was real nice and kind and wanted to do all they could
to help ever’one that was in trouble. Of course some of ‘em was pretty
desp’rate, and didn’t seem to care much for anything. Then there was
some that had been in jail ten and fifteen times, and been in the
penitentiary, and ever’where, and just as soon as they got out they got
right back in again; they didn’t seem to learn anything by goin’ to
prison, and it didn’t seem to do them any hurt. They said they’d just as
soon be there as anywhere else.

“But one thing I noticed a good deal that I never thought anything about
until that feller come and spoke, that was how that the outsiders was
really the ones that got punished the worst. It was sickenin’ to see how
some of them poor women would cry and take on because their man was in
jail, and how they’d work and scrub night and day and nearly kill
themselves to earn money to get him out; and then the little children
that come to see their fathers, how they’d stay out of school and work
in the packin’-houses and laundries and do anything for a little money
to help them out. Hones’ly I believe if anyone stays ‘round here for a
week he’ll see that the people that ain’t done nothin’ is punished a
good deal more’n the others. Why, there was one awful pretty-lookin’
girl used to come here to see her father, and the fellers told me that
she was studyin’ music or somethin’ like that, and her father was put in
jail on a fine, and she came here to see him every day, and done all she
could to earn the money to get him out, but she couldn’t do it, and
finally she went into one of them sportin’ houses down on Clark Street,
and lived there long enough to get the money. I don’t know, of course,
whether it’s so, but I don’t see why not. Lots of the girls go to the
department stores and laundries and stock-yards and they ain’t much
harder places on a girl’s health. Anybody’ll do everything they can to
earn money to save anyone they care for.

“Well, the week went away pretty fast. I didn’t s’pose ‘twas so hard to
get a case continued. You know that Carroll case? You remember we quit
our work four or five times and lost our pay, and the judge continued it
just because the lawyer had somethin’ else to do. But I knew ‘twouldn’t
be no use for me to try to get mine continued any more. And I didn’t
care much. I was gettin’ so I’d just about as soon be done with it as
not, and still I was pretty sure I’d be hung.

“The next Monday mornin’ I was taken into court the same way, and the
han’-cuffs was unlocked, and I was set down to the table by my lawyer.
One guard set just back of me and the other at the side. Someone started
a story that a gang of Bridgeport toughs was comin’ to rescue me, but of
course there wa’n’t nothin’ in it. I didn’t have a friend that even come
to see me—but the newspapers all printed the story, and, of course, that
was against me too.

“When the judge called the case, he asked if we was ready, and my lawyer
said he needed more time; that he’d done all he could to get ready, but
he hadn’t had time. But the judge wouldn’t pay a bit of attention to
him, and said he must go to trial at once, and told the bailiff to call
a jury. So the bailiff called the names of twelve men and they took
their seats in two rows of chairs along one side of the room. Ever’ one
of ‘em looked at me as if he didn’t like to be in the same room where I
was. Then the lawyers commenced askin’ ‘m questions—where they lived,
and how long they had lived there, and where they lived before, and how
much rent they paid, and what they worked at, and how long they’d worked
there, and what they’d done before, and what their fathers done, and
where they come from, and was they dead, and if they was married, and
how many times, and if they had children, and how many, and how old, and
if they was boys or girls, and if the children went to school, and what
they studied, and if they belonged to the church, and what one, and if
they belonged to any societies or lodges or labor unions, or knew
anyone, or read the papers, or didn’t believe in hangin’ people, and if
they believed in ‘circumstantial evidence,’ and if they’d hang on
circumstantial evidence, and if they believed in the law—and a lot of
other things that I can’t remember. If anyone didn’t believe in hangin’
he was let go right away; and if they didn’t believe in circumstantial
evidence they didn’t keep ‘em either.

“The other lawyer asked questions first and it didn’t take him very long
to get the ones that he wanted. Ever’one said he believed in hangin’,
and they all said they’d hang anybody on circumstantial evidence. After
he got through my lawyer questioned ‘em. They all said that they’d read
all about the case, and had formed an opinion about it—and they all
looked at me as if they had. Then my lawyer objected to ‘em, and the
judge said to each one, ‘Well, even if you have formed an opinion, don’t
you think you could lay that aside and not pay any attention to it, and
try the case on the evidence and give the prisoner the benefit of the
doubt? Don’t you think that in spite of the opinion you could presume
him innocent when you begin?’ Most of ‘em said they could; one of ‘em
said he couldn’t. Then the judge lectured him for not bein’ able to give
anyone a fair trial, no matter who he was, and said we’d have to take
the others, and told us to go ahead and get another one. So my lawyer
tried another one and found him just like the rest. But the judge made
us take him anyway. He said they was perfectly fair jurors, and we
couldn’t expect to get men that sympathized with crime.

“It ain’t any use to tell you all about gettin’ the jury, and then I
hain’t got time. Both sides had a right to strike off twenty without any
reason at all, only that they didn’t like ‘em. We took a long time to
get a jury. We didn’t get much of any until after we had struck off
‘most all of our twenty. All the jurors seemed to have made up their
minds, but pretty nearly all of ‘em said it didn’t make any difference;
they could give me a fair trial even if their minds was made up.

“I noticed that they struck off workin’-men and Catholics, and people
that didn’t have any religion, and foreigners, and I noticed my lawyer
struck off Baptists, and Presbyterians, and Swedes, and G. A. R.’s. It
took three or four days to get the jury, and then we hadn’t any more
challenges left, and so we had to take ‘em. Pretty near ever’one of ‘em
said they’d read all about the case in all the papers and had their
minds made up. I knew, of course, that meant they was against me. But
still they all said that didn’t make no difference if they had got their
minds made up, they could forget their opinions and go at the case as if
they believed I was innocent. But ever’one of ‘em said he believed in
hangin’, and all of ‘em said that circumstantial evidence was good
enough for him. I set there ‘side of the table with my lawyer and looked
‘em over, and tried to make up my mind what they was thinkin’ of, but
they wa’n’t one of ‘em would look at me when they knew I was lookin’,
and I could see from the way they did that they was sure all the time
that I done it, and ought to swing. Of course, I know it’s the law that
when a feller’s placed on trial they’re s’posed to be innocent, but I
knew that the judge and all them twelve men felt sure I was guilty or I
wouldn’t have been there. Of course I done it. I don’t know anything
that would’ve done any good, but all the same it’s pretty tough to be
tried by a jury when they think you ought to be hung before they
commence.

“After they got the jury the other lawyer told ‘em about the case, and
he made it awful black. I don’t know how he ever found out all the
things he said. Of course a good many of ‘em was true and a good many
wa’n’t true, but he made out that I was the worst man that ever lived.
The judge listened to ever’ word he said and looked over to me ever’
once in a while, as if he wondered how I ever could’ve done it, and was
glad that I was where I belonged at last. The jury watched ever’ word
the lawyer said, and looked at me ever’ once in a while to see how I
stood it. Of course it was mighty hard, but I done the best I could.
When he got through the judge asked my lawyer what he had to say, and he
said he wouldn’t tell his side now. Then they commenced puttin’ in the
evidence.

“I s’pose you read all about it at the time, but the papers always gave
me the worst of it, and the evidence wa’n’t near so bad as it looked in
the papers. Of course they proved about the boy goin’ out the next
mornin’ to the neighbors, and cryin’ for his pa and ma, and about
ever’one lookin’ all over for us without findin’ us nor any trace of
either one, and about the horse and wagon both lookin’ as if it had been
out all night. And then the folks as lived next door told about hearin’
me say ‘you damned bitch,’ and hearin’ someone fall, though they didn’t
think much of it then as they’d heard so many rows before. And then they
told about findin’ a piece of brown paper covered with blood, and then
they brought in a doctor, or someone who said he’d examined it with a
magnifyin’ glass and it was human blood. He wa’n’t quite sure whether it
was a gentleman or a lady; but he knew ‘twas one or the other. Then they
brought in the paper and handed it to the jury, and passed it down along
both rows, and ever’one took it in his hand and felt it, and looked at
it just as if they never had seen any paper like that before, and wanted
to make sure ‘twas paper and not cloth. Of course the minute I seen it I
knew it was the paper that had the beefsteak in it, and I told my lawyer
what it was. An’ I got right up to say something and the judge looked at
me just as cross and says ‘Set down and keep still; you’ve got a lawyer
to talk for you, and if you say anything more, I’ll send you to jail.’
Of course I was scart to hear him speak to me that way before the jury
and the whole room full of people, and I knew that it would show
ever’one that the judge was against me. Some of the papers next day made
out that I jumped up and was goin’ to run away when I seen the bloody
paper.

“My lawyer had another doctor examine a piece of the paper that night,
and he said it was a cow or an ox, but he wouldn’t come and testify to
it unless I’d give him a hundred dollars, but of course I didn’t have
that. The court room was awful still when they passed around that paper;
you could hear the jurors breathe and they held their heads down as if
they felt sorry about somethin’. And after they’d looked it all over the
lawyer took it, and the judge says: ‘Let me see that paper,’ and he put
on his spectacles and looked it all over, first on one side and then on
the other. He had a little bit of a magnifyin’ glass in one hand, and he
put it over the paper and looked at it through the glass, and then he
looked at me just as solemn as if it was a funeral, and I seen it was
all up with me. Of course, I told my lawyer just where I got it and what
it was, and he went down to the butcher shop and seen the man, but the
man was ‘fraid to come, and said he didn’t remember ‘bout the steak nor
about me; he guessed he’d seen me—I used to come down that way to
peddle—but he couldn’t tell whether I was in the shop that night or not.

“Then they brought the boys who had found her in a pool of water out on
the prairie two or three days after, and they brought some of the
clothes she had on. They was all covered with mud, and they passed ‘em
all around to the jury and the judge, just the same as they did the
paper. Of course, these did look pretty bad, and they made me feel kind
of faint, for I’d thought about her a good deal the last few days, and
dreamed about her almost every night, and sometimes I’d dream that
ever’thing was all right, and then wake up and remember just how ‘twas.
I don’t know which is worse: to dream that the thing was done and see it
all before you, just as if you were doin’ it all over again, and then
wake up and know it was a dream, and then know it was so, or to dream
that you’re livin’ together all right and are happy, and then wake up
and find that’s a dream, and you’re in jail for murder and can’t never
get out alive.

“Then they proved about how the poker just fit into the place in her
head, and how it was took back into the kitchen and put into the ashes
again, so ‘twouldn’t show, and how far I drove that day, and ever’
saloon I stopped into on the way, and just how much I drank, and
ever’thing I done, except the beefsteak I bought and that half peck of
potatoes that I gave away to the old lady. Then they proved all about my
runnin’ away, and where I’d been, and what I’d done, and my changin’ my
name, and the way I was caught.

“A good many times my lawyer objected to something that they tried to
prove, or to something that the other feller was sayin’, but ever’ time
the judge decided ‘gainst my lawyer, and he ‘most always seemed kind of
mad when my lawyer said anything. The other one was a good deal the
smartest; ever’one said he wanted to be a judge, and he took all the
murder cases he could get, and they called him the ‘hangin’ lawyer,’
because ever’one he had anything to do with got hung.

“There was always a big crowd in the court room ever’ day, and a lot of
people waitin’ outside to get in, and there was always some awfully nice
dressed ladies settin’ up there with the judge ever’ day, and they had a
sort of glass in their hands, and they’d hold it up in front of their
eyes and look at me through the glass just like the judge looked at the
paper.

“It took about two days for their side to call all the witnesses they
had, and finally their lawyer got up just as solemn and said that was
their case.

“Then the judge give them a few minutes recess for ever’body to walk
around a little, and ever’one looked at me, just as they’d done all the
time. When they come to order the judge told us to go on with our side.
My lawyer turned to me and said he didn’t see what use it was to prove
anything, and we might just as well let the case go the way it was. I
said I ought to go on the stand and tell about that paper, and how it
was nothin’ but the one that come around the beef, and he said they
wouldn’t believe me if I said it. And anyhow it wouldn’t make any
difference. If I once got on the stand they’d get me all mixed up and
the first thing I knew I’d tell ‘em all about ever’thing, and so far as
witnesses went he couldn’t find anyone to do me any good.

“I thought ‘twould look pretty bad not to give any evidence at all, and
he said he knew that but ‘twould look a mighty sight worse if we put any
in. So my lawyer got up and ever’one watched to see what he was goin’ to
do, and then he just said ‘May it please the court, we have concluded
not to put in any evidence.’ And ever’one commenced to whisper, and to
look at me, and to look ‘round, and the judge looked queer and kind of
satisfied, and said then if there was no evidence on our side they would
take a recess till mornin’ when they could argue the case. Of course,
after I went back to the cell and got to thinkin’ it over I could see
that it was all off more’n ever, but I didn’t see that the lawyer could
have done any different.”

                  *       *       *       *       *

Here Jim got up and went to the grating and called to the guard.

“I’m gettin’ a little tired and fagged out and it ain’t worth while to
go to bed. Won’t you just give me some more whiskey?”

The guard came up to the door. “Of course, you can have all the whiskey
you want,” he said. “Here’s a bottle I’ve just fetched up from the
office. You’d better drink that up and then I’ll get you some more.”

Jim took a long drink at the bottle, and then passed it to his friend.
Hank was glad to have something to help him through the ordeal, which
had been hard for him to bear.

Presently the guard came back to the grating and asked Jim what he
wanted for breakfast.

“It ain’t breakfast time yet, is it?” Jim gasped.

“No, but I’m going to the office after a while and I want to give the
order when I go. You’d better tell me now. You can have ‘most anything
you want. You can have ham and eggs, or bacon or steak, and tea or
coffee, and bread and butter and cakes; or all of ‘em—or anything else
you want.”

“Well, I guess you’d better bring me ham and eggs. I don’t seem to care
for steak, and I don’t think I want any coffee. I’d rather have a
cocktail. You’d better bring me plenty more whiskey too when you come.
You know I hain’t slept any and I’m kind of nervous. I guess it’ll be
better if I don’t know much about it; don’t you?”

“Sure thing,” the guard answered back. “We’ve got some Scotch whiskey
over there that’s all right. I’ll bring you some of that. All the boys
takes that. I don’t think you’ll be troubled much after a good drink of
that Scotch. I guess you’d better hurry up a little bit with what you
want to say. I don’t like to hurry you any, but I’m afraid they’ll be
along with the breakfast after while, and they don’t allow any visitors
after that.”

The guard turned to leave, but before he had gone far, Jim called out,
“You’d better telephone over to the telegraph office, hadn’t you?
Somethin’ might have come maybe.”

“All right, I’ll do that,” the guard answered back, “and Jim, I guess
you might as well put on them new clothes before breakfast; they’ll look
better’n the old ones—to eat in.”



                                   X


Jim drank the remnant of whiskey in the bottle he was holding, draining
it to the last drop. As he sat in his chair he leaned against the side
of the cell.

“My—how many bottles of this stuff I’ve drunk tonight. It’s a wonder I
ain’t dead already. I don’t believe I could keep up only I’ve got to
finish my story. But this cell begins to swim ‘round pretty lively; I
guess it ain’t goin’ to take much to finish me. Think a little of that
Scotch will just about do the job. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m
goin’ to get just as drunk as I can. I sha’n’t live to see what they say
in the newspapers and it won’t make any difference when I’m dead. I
don’t know as I ought to eat anything; it might kind of keep it from
actin’, but still I might as well. I guess the Scotch’ll do it all right
anyway.

“Well, there ain’t very much more to tell, and I guess you’re glad. It’s
been a tough night on you, poor feller. I hope no one’ll ever have to do
it for you. But, say—you’ve done me lots of good! I don’t know how I’d
put in the night, if you hadn’t come!

“Well—the last mornin’ they took me over to court, the room was jammed
more’n ever before, and a big crowd was waitin’ outside. I heard the
other lawyer say that the judge’s platform looked like a reception;
anyhow it was full of ladies with perfectly grand clothes, and most of
‘em would hold their glasses up to look at me. The other lawyer didn’t
say much in his first speech, only to tell how it was all done, and how
they had proved that everything happened in Cook County, and what a high
office the jury had.

“Then my lawyer talked for me. I didn’t really see how he could have
done any better and the papers all said he done fine. Of course there
wa’n’t much to say. I done it, and what more was there to it? And yet I
s’pose a lawyer is educated so he can talk all right on either side.
Well, my lawyer went on to make out that no one had seen it done, that
the evidence was all circumstantial, and no one ever ought to be hung on
circumstantial evidence. He went on to show how many mistakes had been
made on circumstantial evidence, and he told about a lot of cases. He
told the jury about one that I think happened in Vermont where two
farmers was seen goin’ out in the field. They hadn’t been very good
friends for a long time. Someone heard loud voices and knew they was
fightin’. Finally one of ‘em never come back and afterwards some bones
or somethin’ was found, that the doctors said was a farmer’s bones.
Well, they tried that farmer and found him guilty, and hung him. And
then years afterwards the other man come back. And he’d just wandered
off in a crazy fit. And after a while another doctor found out that them
bones was only sheep bones, and they’d hung an innocent man. He told a
lot of stories of that kind, and some of the jury seemed to cry when he
told ‘em, but I guess they was cryin’ for the Vermont man and not for
me.

“After my lawyer got through the other lawyer had one more chance, and
he was awful hard on me. He made out that I was the worst man that ever
lived. He claimed that I had made up my mind to kill her long ago, just
to get rid of her, and that I went ‘round to all the saloons that day
and drank just to get up my nerve. Then he claimed that I took a bottle
of whiskey home and drank it up and left the empty bottle on the table,
and I took that just to nerve me up. He made more out of the brown paper
than he did of anything else, and told how I burned all the rest of the
evidence but had forgot to burn this, and how I’d gone into the kitchen
and got the poker out of the stove and come back into the settin’-room
and killed her, and then took it back; and how cold-blooded I was to
take her, after I’d killed her, and go and dump her into that hole away
out on the prairie, and how I’d run away, and how that proved I’d killed
her, and then he compared me with all the murderers who ever lived since
Cain, ‘most, and showed how all of ‘em was better’n I was, and told the
jury that nobody in Chicago would be safe unless I was hung; and if they
done their duty and hung me there wouldn’t be any more killin’ in
Chicago after this. I can’t begin to tell you what all he said; but it
was awful! Once in a while when it was too bad, my lawyer would
interrupt, but the judge always decided against me and then the other
lawyer went on worse’n before. The papers next day told how fast I
changed color while he was talkin’, and what a great speech he made, and
they all said he ought to be a judge because he was so fearless.

“It took the crowd some time to quiet down after he got through and then
the judge asked the jury to stand up, and they stood up, and he read a
lot of stuff to ‘em, tellin’ ‘em about the case. ‘Most all that he read
was ‘gainst me. Sometimes I thought he was readin’ one on my side, and
he told ‘em how sure they must be before they could convict, and then
he’d wind up by sayin’ they must be sure it was done in Cook County. Of
course there never was any doubt but what it all happened in Cook
County. When the judge got through ‘twas most night, and he told the
bailiff to take charge of the jury, so he took ‘em and the clothes and
the brown paper with the blood out in the jury room, and they
han’-cuffed me and took me back to my cell.

“I don’t believe I ever put in any night that was quite so hard on me—
exceptin’ mebbe the night I done it—as that one when the jury was out. I
guess ever’one thought they wouldn’t stay long. I couldn’t see that any
of ‘em ever looked at me once as if they cared whether I lived or died.
I don’t believe that they really thought I was a man like them; anyhow
ever’-one thought they would sentence me to hang in just a few minutes.
I s’posed myself that they’d be in before supper. My lawyer come over to
the jail with me, because he knew how I felt. And anyhow he was ‘most as
nervous as I was. After a while they brought me in my supper, and the
lawyer went out to get his. Then the guard told me the jury had gone to
supper, and he guessed there was some hitch about it, though ever’one
thought the jury wouldn’t be out long. After a while the lawyer came
back, and he stayed and talked to me until nine or ten o’clock, and the
jury didn’t come in, so he went to see what was the matter, and come
back and said he couldn’t find out anything, only that they hadn’t
agreed.

“Well, he stayed till twelve o’clock, and then the judge went home, and
we knew they wa’n’t goin’ to come in till mornin’. I couldn’t sleep that
night, but walked back and forth in the cell a good bit of the time. You
see it wa’n’t this cell. The one I had then was a little bigger. I’d lay
down once in a while, and sometimes I’d smoke a cigar that the guard
gave me. Anyhow I couldn’t really sleep, and was mighty glad when
daylight come. In the mornin’, kind of early, I heard that jury had
agreed and I knew that ‘twas bad for me. The best that could happen
would be a disagreement. I hadn’t allowed myself to have much hope any
of the time, but I knew that now it was all off.

“Still I waited and didn’t quite give up till they took me back to the
courtroom. Then when ever’one had got their places the jury come in,
lookin’ awful solemn, and the judge looked sober and fierce-like, and he
said, ‘Gentlemen of the Jury, have you agreed on your verdict?’ And the
foreman got up and said, ‘We have.’ Then the judge told the foreman to
give the verdict to the clerk. He walked over to the row of chairs and
the man at the end of the bottom row reached out his hand and gave the
paper to him. The people in the room was still as death. Then the clerk
read, ‘We, the jury, find the defendant guilty, and sentence him to
death.’ I set with my head down, lookin’ at the paper; I expected it,
and made up my mind not to move. Ever’one in the courtroom sort of give
a sigh. I never looked up, and I don’t believe I moved. The papers next
day said I was brazen and had no feelin’, even when the jury sentenced
me to death.

“The judge was the first one to speak. He turned to the jury and thanked
‘em for their patriotism and devotion, and the great courage they’d
shown by their verdict. He said they’d done their duty well and could
now go back to their homes contented and happy. And he says: ‘Mr.
Sheriff, remove the prisoner from the room.’ Of course, I hadn’t
expected nothin’, and still I wa’n’t quite sure—the same as now, when I
think mebbe the governor’ll change his mind. But when the verdict was
read and they said it was death, somehow I felt kind of dazed. I don’t
really remember their puttin’ the han’-cuffs on me, and takin’ me back
to jail. I don’t remember the crowd in the courtroom, or much of
anything until I was locked up again, and then my lawyer come and said
he would make a motion for a new trial, and not to give up hope. My
lawyer told me that the reason they was out so long was one man stuck
out for sendin’ me to the penitentiary for life instead of hangin’ me.
We found out that he used to be a switchman. I s’pose he knew what a
hard life I had and wanted to make some allowances. The State’s Attorney
said he’d been bribed, and the newspapers had lots to say about
investigatin’ the case, but there wa’n’t nothin’ done about it. But I
s’pose mebbe it had some effect on the next case.

“There wa’n’t nothin’ more done for two or three days. I just stayed in
my cell and didn’t feel much like talkin’ with anyone. Then my lawyer
come over and said the motion for a new trial would be heard next day.
In the mornin’ they han’cuffed me and took me back as usual. There was a
lot of people in the courtroom, though not so many as before. My lawyer
had a lot of books, and he talked a long while about the case, and told
the judge he ought to give me a new trial on account of all the mistakes
that was made before. And after he got done the judge said he’d thought
of this case a great deal both by day and by night, and he’d tried to
find a way not to sentence me to death, but he couldn’t do it, and the
motion would be overruled. Then he said, ‘Jackson, stand up.’ Of course
I got up, because he told me to. Then he looked at me awful savage and
solemn and said, ‘Have you got anything to say why sentence should not
be passed on you?’ and I said ‘No!’ Then he talked for a long time about
how awful bad I was, and what a warnin’ I ought to be to ever’body else;
and then he sentenced me to be removed to the county-jail and on Friday,
the thirteenth day of this month—that’s today—to be hanged by the neck
till dead, and then he said, ‘May God have mercy on your soul!’ After
that he said, ‘Mr. Sheriff, remove the prisoner. Mr. Clerk, call the
next case.’ And they han’-cuffed me and brought me back.

“I don’t know why the judge said, ‘May God have mercy on your soul!’ I
guess it was only a kind of form that they have to go through, and I
don’t think he meant it, or even thought anything about it. If he had, I
don’t see how he really could ask God to have mercy on me unless he
could have mercy himself. The judge didn’t have to hang me unless he
wanted to.

“Well, the lawyer come in and told me he ought to appeal the case to the
Supreme Court, but it would cost one hundred dollars for a record, and
he didn’t know where to get the money. I told him I didn’t know either.
Of course I hadn’t any and told him he might just as well let it go;
that I didn’t s’pose it would do any good anyhow. But he said he’d see
if he could find the money somehow and the next day he come in and said
he was goin’ to give half out of his own pocket, and he’d seen another
feller that didn’t want his name mentioned and that thought a man
oughtn’t to be hung without a chance; he was goin’ to give the other
half. Of course I felt better then, but still I thought there wa’n’t
much chance, for ever’body was against me, but my lawyer told me there
was a lot of mistakes and errors in the trial and I ought to win.

“Well, he worked on the record and finally got it finished, a great big
kind of book that told all about the case. It was only finished a week
ago, and I s’posed anyone could take his case to the Supreme Court if he
had the money; but my lawyer said no, he couldn’t, or rather he said
yes, anyone could take his case to the Supreme Court, but in a case like
mine, where I was to be hung I’d be dead before the Supreme Court ever
decided it, or even before it was tried. Then he said the only way would
be if some of the judges looked at the record and made an order that I
shouldn’t be hung until after they’d tried the case, but he told me it
didn’t make any difference how many mistakes the judge had made, or how
many errors there was, they wouldn’t make any order unless they believed
I hadn’t done it. He said that if it had been a dispute about a horse or
a cow, or a hundred dollars, I’d have a right to go to the Supreme
Court, and if the judges found any mistakes in the trial I’d have
another chance. But it wa’n’t so when I was tried for my life.

“Well, when he’d explained this I felt sure ‘twas all off, and I told
him so, but he said he was goin’ to make the best fight he could and not
give up till the end. He said he had a lot at stake himself, though not
so much as I had. So he took the record and went to the judges of the
Supreme Court and they looked it over, and said mebbe the judge that
tried me did make some mistakes, and mebbe I didn’t have a fair trial,
but it looked as if I was guilty and they wouldn’t make any order. So my
case never got into the Supreme Court after all and the hundred dollars
was wasted.

“Well, when my lawyer told me, of course I felt blue. I’d built some on
this, and it begun to look pretty bad. It seemed as if things was comin’
along mighty fast, and it looked as if the bobbin was ‘most wound up.
When you know you’re going to die in a week the time don’t seem long. Of
course if a feller’s real sick, and gets run down and discouraged, and
hasn’t got much grip on things, he may not feel so very bad about dyin’,
for he’s ‘most dead anyway, but when a feller’s strong, and in good
health, and he knows he’s got to die in a week, it’s a different thing.

“Then my lawyer said there was only one thing left, and that was to go
to the gov’nor. He said he knew the gov’nor pretty well and he was goin’
to try. He thought mebbe he’d change the sentence to imprisonment for
life. When I first come to jail I said I’d rather be hung than to be
sent up for life, and I stuck to it even when the jury brought in their
verdict, but when it was only a week away I begun to feel different, and
I didn’t want to die, leastwise I didn’t want to get hung. So I told him
all the people I knew, though I didn’t think they’d help me, for the
world seemed to be against me, and the papers kept tellin’ what a good
thing it was to hang me, and how the State’s Attorney and the jury and
the judge had been awful brave to do it so quick. But I couldn’t see
where there was any bravery in it. I didn’t have no friends. It might
have been right, but I can’t see where the brave part come in.

“But every day the lawyer said he thought the gov’nor would do
somethin’, and finally he got all the names he could to the petition,
and I guess it wa’n’t very many, only the people that sign all the
petitions because they don’t believe in hangin’; and day before
yesterday, he went down to Springfield to see the gov’nor.

“Well, I waited all day yesterday. I didn’t go out of the cell for
exercise because I couldn’t do anything and I didn’t want ‘em to see how
nervous I was. But I tell you it’s ticklish business waitin’ all day
when you’re goin’ to be hung in the mornin’ unless somethin’ happens. I
kep’ askin’ the guard what time ‘twas, and when I heard anyone comin’ up
this way I looked to see if it wa’n’t a despatch, and I couldn’t set
down or lay down, or do anything ‘cept drink whiskey. I hain’t really
been sober and clear-headed since yesterday noon, in fact, I guess if I
had been, I wouldn’t kep’ you here all night like this. I didn’t hardly
eat a thing, either, all day, and I asked the guard about it a good many
times, and he felt kind of sorry for me but didn’t give me much
encouragement. You see they’ve had a guard right here in front of the
door all the time, day and night, for two weeks. That’s called the death
watch, and they set here to see that I don’t kill myself, though I can’t
see why that would make any great difference so long as I’ve got to die
anyhow.

“Well, ‘long toward night the guard came and brought me that new suit of
clothes over on the bed, and I guess I’ve got to put ‘em on pretty
quick. Of course, the guard’s been as nice as he could be. He didn’t
tell me what they’s for, but I knew all the same. I know they don’t hang
nobody in their old clothes. I s’pose there’ll be a good many people
there, judges and doctors and ministers and lawyers, and the newspapers,
and the friends of the sheriff, and politicians, and all, and of course
it wouldn’t look right to have me hung up there before ‘em all in my old
clothes,—it would be about like wearin’ old duds to a party or to
church—so I’ve got to put on them new ones. They’re pretty good, and
they look as if they’re all wool, don’t you think?

“Well, a little while after they brought me the clothes, I seen the
guard come up with a telegram in his hand. I could see in his face it
wa’n’t no use, so of course I wa’n’t quite so nervous when I read it.
But I opened it to make sure. The lawyer said that the gov’nor wouldn’t
do nothin’. Then, of course, ‘twas all off. Still he said he’d go back
about midnight. I don’t know whether he meant it, or said it to brace me
up a little and kind of let me down easier.

“Of course, the gov’nor could wake up in the night and do it, if he
wanted to, and I s’pose such things has been done. I’ve read ‘bout ‘em
stoppin’ it after a man got up on the scaffold. You remember about the
gov’nor of Ohio, don’t you? He come here to Chicago to some convention,
and a man was to be hung in Columbus that day, and the gov’nor forgot it
till just about the time, and then he tried for almost an hour to get
the penitentiary on the long distance telephone, and he finally got ‘em
just as the man was goin’ up on the scaffold. Such things has happened,
but of course, I don’t s’pose they’ll happen to me. I never had much
luck in anything, and I guess I’ll be hung all right.

“It seems queer, don’t it, how I’m talkin’ to you here, and the guard
out there, and ever’body good to me, and in just a little while they’re
goin’ to take me out there and hang me! I don’t believe I could do it,
even if I was a sheriff and got ten thousand dollars a year for it, but
I s’pose it has to be done.

“Well, now I guess I’ve told you all about how ever’thing happened and
you und’stand how it was. I s’pose you think I’m bad, and I don’t want
to excuse myself too much, or make out I’m any saint. I know I never
was, but you see how a feller gets into them things when he ain’t much
different from ever’body else. I know I don’t like crime, and I don’t
believe the other does. I just got into a sort of a mill and here I am
right close up to that noose.

“There ain’t anyone ‘specially that I’ve got to worry about, ‘cept the
boy. Of course it’s awful hard for a poor feller to start, anyhow,
unless he’s real smart, and I don’t know how ‘twill be with the boy. We
always thought he was awful cunnin’; but I s’pose most parents does. But
I don’t see how he’d ever be very smart, ‘cause I wa’n’t and neither was
his mother. As I was sayin’, ‘twould be awful hard for him anyhow, but
now when he’s growed up, and anyone tells him about how his mother was
murdered by his father, and how his father got hung for it, and they
show him the pictures in the paper and all that, I don’t see how he’ll
ever have any show. It seems as if the state had ought to do somethin’
for a child when the state kills its father that way, but it don’t
unless they sends him to a poor house, or something like that.

“Now, I haven’t told you a single lie—and you can see how it all was,
and that I wa’n’t so awful bad, and that I’m sorry, and would be willin’
to die if it would bring her back. And if you can, I wish you’d just
kind of keep your eye on the boy. I guess it’ll be a good deal better to
change his name and not let him nor anyone else know anything about
either of us. A good many poor people grow up that way. I don’t really
know nothin’ ‘bout my folks. They might’ve been hung too, for all I
know. But you kind of watch the boy and keep track of him, and if he
comes up all right and seems to be a smart feller and looks at things
right, and he gets to wonderin’ about me, and you think ‘twill do any
good you can tell him just what you feel a mind to, but don’t tell him
‘less’n you think it will do him good. Of course, I can’t never pay you
in any way for what you’ve done for me, but mebbe you’ll think it’s
worth while for a feller that hain’t a friend in the world, and who’s
got to be hung so quick.”

Hank struggled as hard as he could to keep back the tears. He was not
much used to crying, but in spite of all his efforts they rolled down
his face.

“Well, Jim, old feller,” he said. “I didn’t know how it was—when I come
I felt as if you’d been awful bad, and of course I know it wa’n’t right,
but somehow I know it might have happened to me, or ‘most anybody,
almost, and that you ain’t so bad. I can’t tell you anything about how I
feel, but I’m glad I come. It’s done me good. I don’t think I’ll ever
feel the same about the fellers that go to jail and get hung. I don’t
know’s they could help it any more’n any of us can help the things we
do. Anyhow, I sha’n’t never let the boy out of my mind a single minit,
and I’ll do as much for him as if he was mine. I’ll look him up the
first thing I do. I don’t know about changin’ his name, I’ll see.
Anyhow, if he ever gets to hear a bit of it, I’ll see he knows how it
was.”

Jim wrung Hank’s hand for a minute in silence, and then said: “And just
one word more, Hank; tell him not to be poor; don’t let him get married
till he’s got money, and can afford it, and don’t let him go in debt.
You know I don’t believe I ever would have done it if I hadn’t been so
poor.”

Hank drew back his hand and stepped to the grated door and looked out
along the gloomy iron corridors and down toward the courtyard below.
Then he looked up at the tiers of cells filled with the hapless outcasts
of the world. On the skylight he could see the faint yellowish glow that
told him that the day was about to dawn. The guard got up from his stool
and passed him another flask of whiskey.

“Here, you’d better get Jim to drink all he can,” he whispered, “for his
time is almost up.”

Hank took a little sip himself, and then motioned Jim to drink. Jim took
the bottle, raised it to his mouth and gulped it down, scarcely stopping
to catch his breath. Then he threw the bottle on the bed and sat down on
his chair. With the story off his mind it was plain that the whiskey was
fast numbing all his nerves. He was not himself when he looked up again.

“I guess mebbe I’d better change my clothes, while I have a chance,” he
said. “I don’t want anyone else to have to do it for me, and I want to
look all right when the thing comes off.”

A new guard came up to the door, unlocked it and came in. He nodded to
Hank and told him he must go.

“His breakfast is just comin’ up and it’s against the rules to have
anyone here at the time. The priest will come to see him after he gets
through eatin’.”

Over in the corridor where Hank had seen the beams and lumber he could
hear the murmur of muffled voices, evidently talking about the work.
Along the corridor two waiters in white coats were bringing great trays
filled with steaming food.

Slowly Hank turned to Jim and took his hand.

“Well, old fellow,” he said, “I’ve got to go. I see you’re all right,
but take that Scotch whiskey when it comes; it won’t do you any hurt.
I’ll look after everything just as I said. Good-bye.”

Jim seemed hardly to hear Hank’s farewell words.

“Well, good-bye.”

Hank went outside the door and the guard closed and locked it as he
turned away.

Then Jim got up from his chair and stumbled to the door.

“Hank! Hank! S’pose—you—stop at the—telegraph—office—the Western Union—
and the—Postal—all of ‘em—mebbe—might—be somethin’——”

“All right,” Hank called back, “I will! I will!—I’ll go to both to make
sure if there’s anything there; and I’ll telephone you by the time
you’ve got through eatin’.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



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                         CULTURE AND EDUCATION

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    =B–22= A Road-Map to Literature: Good Books to Read. Lawrence
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    =B–36= What is Wrong with Our Schools? A Symposium. Nelson Antrim
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    =B–39= Snapshots of Modern Life. E. Haldeman-Julius.

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    =B–44= Algebra Self Taught: With Problems and Answers. Lawrence A.
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                       RATIONALISM AND DEBUNKING

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                              SANE SEX SERIES


        Authentic       │      50 Volumes       │    All for =$2.98=
       Information      │    A Leather Cover    │

    Are you ignorant of the facts of Life? Do you want authentic
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    Some of the eminent authorities who have prepared the text for these
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                         50 Volumes-–750,000 Words

        Each of these books contains about 15,000 words of text,
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                                  50 BOOKS

                        Sane Sex Facts for Everyone

      _Facts for Girls_
      _Facts for Boys_
      _Facts for Young Men_
      _Facts for Young Women_
      _For Married Men_
      _For Married Women_
      _Manhood Facts_
      _Womanhood Facts_
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      _For Expectant Mothers_
      _Woman’s Sex-Life_
      _Man’s Sex-Life_
      _The Child’s Sex-Life_
      _Homosexual Life_
      _Evolution of Sex_
      _Physiology of Sex_
      _Sex Common Sense_
      _Determination of Sex_
      _Sex Symbolism_
      _Sex in Psychoanalysis_
      _Sleep and Sex Dreams_
      _Chats with Wives_
      _Chats with Husbands_
      _Talks with the Married_
      _How to Love_
      _Art of Kissing_
      _How to Win a Mate_
      _Beginning Marriage Right_
      _Happiness in Marriage_
      _Sex Ethics_
      _Modern Sex Morality_
      _Love Letters_
      _Psychology of Affections_
      _Birth Control Immoral?_
      _Birth Control Today_
      _Women’s Love Rights_
      _Sex Today_ (.it _Ellis_)
      _Ellis and Sex Sanity_
      _Eugenics Explained_
      _Genetics Made Plain_
      _Heredity Made Plain_
      _Venereal Diseases_
      _Syphilis Facts_
      _Sex and Crime_
      _America’s Sex Impulse_
      _Sex in Religion_
      _What Is Love?_
      _Story of Marriage_
      _Sex Rejuvenation_
      _Companionate Marriage_


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------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             THE MODERN LIBRARY


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                         88 CENTS PER COPY PREPAID


                                Your Choice


                                OSCAR WILDE

      =Salome=, Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan.

      =Ideal Husband= and A Woman of No Importance.

      =De Profundis= (Out of the Depths).

      =Dorian Gray= (Novel).

      =Poems= (Harlot’s House, Sphinx, Reading Gaol, etc.)

      =Fairy Tales= and Poems in Prose.

      =Pen, Pencil and Poison.=


                               ANATOLE FRANCE

      =Crime of Sylvestre Bonnard.=

      =Queen Pedauque.=

      =Red Lily.=

      =Thais.=


                            GABRIELE D’ANNUNZIO

      =Flame of Life.=

      =Child of Pleasure.=

      =Maidens of the Rocks.=

      =Triumph of Death.=


                                THOMAS HARDY

      =Jude the Obscure.=

      =Major of Casterbridge.=

      =Return of the Native.=


                            FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

      =Thus Spake Zarathustra.=

      =Beyond Good and Evil.=

      =Genealogy of Morals.=

      =Ecce Homo and The Birth of Tragedy.=


                                HENRIK IBSEN

      =Doll’s House=, Ghosts, and An Enemy of the People.

      =Hedda Gabler=, Pillars of Society and The Master Builder.

      =Wild Duck=, Rosmersholm and The League of Youth.


                             GUY DE MAUPASSANT

      =Love and Other Stories= (For Sale, Clochette, His Wedding
        Night, Moonlight, etc.)

      =Mademoiselle Fifi and Other Tales= (Piece of String, Tallow
        Ball, Useless Beauty, The Horla, A Farm Girl, etc.).

      =Une Vie= (Story of a Woman’s Heart).


                             SHERWOOD ANDERSON

      =Poor White= (A Novel).

      =Winesburg, Ohio= (Short Stories).


                               SAMUEL BUTLER

      =Erewhon=, or Over the Range.

      =Way of All Flesh.=


                            JAMES BRANCH CABELL

      =Beyond Life.=

      =Cream of the Jest.=


                               NORMAN DOUGLAS

      =South Wind= (A Novel).

      =Old Calabria.=


                                LORD DUNSANY

      =Dreamer’s Tales.=

      =Book of Wonder.=


                              GUSTAVE FLAUBERT

      =Madame Bovary.=

      =Temptation of St. Anthony.=


                               W. S. GILBERT

      =Mikado=, Iolanthe, Pirates of Penzance, and The Gondoliers.

      =H. M. S. Pinafore=, Patience, Yeomen of the Guard and
        Ruddigore.


                               GEORGE GISSING

      =New Grub Street.=

      =Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft.=


                              REMY DE GOURMONT

      =Night in the Luxembourg.=

      =Virgin Heart= (Translated by Aldous Huxley).


                                W. H. HUDSON

      =Green Mansions.=

      =Purple Land.=


                               D. H. LAWRENCE

      =Rainbow.=

      =Sons and Lovers.=


                              GEORGE MEREDITH

      =Diana of the Crossways.=

      =Ordeal of Richard Feverel.=


                                WALTER PATER

      =Renaissance.=

      =Marius the Epicurean.=


                             ARTHUR SCHNITZLER

      =Anatol=, Green Cockatoo, and Living Hours.

      =Bertha Garlan.=


                             AUGUST STRINDBERG

      =Married.=

      =Miss Julie=, The Creditor, The Stronger Woman, Motherly Love,
        Paria and Simoon.


                                LEO TOLSTOY

      =Redemption=, Power of Darkness and Fruits of Culture.

      =Death of Ivan Ilyitch=, Polikushka, Two Hussars, Snowstorm, and
        Three Deaths.


                               IVAN TURGENEV

      =Fathers and Sons.=

      =Smoke.=


                               MISCELLANEOUS

      =Modern American Poetry.= Ed. Conrad Aiken.

      =Seven That Were Hanged= and the Red Laugh. Leonid Andreyev.

      =Short Stories= by Honore de Balzac (Don Juan, Christ in
        Flanders, Time of the Terror, Passion in the Desert, Accursed
        House, Atheist’s Mass, etc.).

      =Prose and Poetry.= Baudelaire.

      =Art of Aubrey Beardsley= (64 Reproductions).

      =Art of Rodin= (64 Reproductions).

      =Jungle Peace.= William Beebe.

      =Zuleika Dobson.= Max Beerbohm.

      =In the Midst of Life= (Stories). Ambrose Bierce.

      =Poems of William Blake.=

      =Wuthering Heights.= Emily Bronte.

      =House With the Green Shutters.= George Douglas Brown.

      =Love’s Coming of Age.= Edward Carpenter.

      =Alice in Wonderland=, Through the Looking-Glass and Hunting of
        the Snark. Lewis Carroll.

      =Autobiography of Benvenuto Cellini.=

      =Rothschild’s Fiddle.= Anton Chekhov.

      =Man Who Was Thursday.= G. K. Chesterton.

      =Men, Women and Boats.= Stephen Crane.

      =Sapho.= Alphonse Daudet. Also contains =Manon Lescaut= (When a
        Man Loves) by Antoine Prevost.

      =Moll Flanders.= Daniel Defoe.

      =Poor People.= Feodor Dostoyevsky.

      =Poems and Prose.= Ernest Dowson.

      =Free and Other Stories.= Theodore Dreiser.

      =Camille.= Alexandre Dumas.

      =New Spirit, The.= Havelock Ellis.

      =Life of the Caterpillar.= Jean Henri Fabre.

      =Jorn Uhl.= Gustav Frenssen.

      =Mlle. de Maupin.= Theophile Gautier.

      =Bed of Roses.= W. L. George.

      =Renee Mauperin.= E. and J. de Goncourt.

      =Creatures That Once Were Men= and Other Stories. Maxim Gorki.

      =Scarlet Letter.= Nathaniel Hawthorne.

      =Some Chinese Ghosts.= Lafcadio Hearn.

      =Erik Dorn.= Ben Hecht.

      =Daisy Miller= and An International Episode. Henry James.

      =Philosophy of William James.=

      =Dubliners.= James Joyce.

      =Soldiers Three.= Rudyard Kipling.

      =Men in War.= Andreas Latzko.

      =Upstream.= Ludwig Lewisohn.

      =Mme. Chrysantheme.= Pierre Loti.

      =Spirit of American Literature.= John Macy.

      =Miracle of St. Anthony=, Pelleas and Melisande, and Four Other
        Plays. Maurice Maeterlinck.

      =Moby Dick=, or The Whale. Herman Melville.

      =Romance of Leonardo da Vinci.= Dmitri Merejkowski.

      =Plays by Moliere= (Highbrow Ladies, School for Wives, Tartuffe,
        Misanthrope, etc.)

      =Confessions of a Young Man.= George Moore.

      =Tales of Mean Streets.= Arthur Morrison.

      =Moon of the Caribbees= and Other Plays (Bound East for Cardiff,
        In the Zone, Ile, etc.). Eugene O’Neill.

      =Writings of Thomas Paine.=

      =Pepys’ Diary.=

      =Best Tales of Poe.=

      =Life of Jesus.= Ernest Renan.

      =Selected Papers of Bertrand Russell.=

      =Imperial Orgy.= Edgar Saltus.

      =Studies in Pessimism.= Arthur Schopenhauer.

      =Story of an African Farm.= Olive Schreiner.

      =Unsocial Socialist.= George Bernard Shaw.

      =Philosophy of Spinoza.=

      =Treasure Island.= Robert Louis Stevenson.

      =Ego and His Own.= Max Stirner.

      =Dame Care.= Hermann Sudermann.

      =Poems of Algernon Charles Swinburne.=

      =Complete Poems of Francis Thompson.=

      =Ancient Man.= Hendrik Willem van Loon.

      =Poems of Francois Villon.=

      =Candide.= Voltaire.

      =Ann Veronica.= H. G. Wells.

      =Poems of Walt Whitman.=

      =Selected Addresses and Papers of Woodrow Wilson.=

      =Irish Fairy and Folk Tales.= William Butler Yeats.

      =Nana.= Emile Zola.


                           COLLECTIONS—SYMPOSIUMS

      =A Modern Book of Criticisms=: Edited by Ludwig Lewisohn, with
        contributions by G. B. Shaw, Anatole France, Remy de Gourmont,
        Geo. Moore, etc.

      =The Woman Question=: Westermarck’s Subjection of Wives, Ellen
        Key’s Right of Motherhood, Carpenter’s Woman in Freedom,
        Maeterlinck’s On Women, Havelock Ellis’ Changing Status of
        Women, etc.

      =Evolution in Modern Thought=: Complete survey of modern views
        of the evolution of man.

      =Best Russian Stories=: Pushkin, Gogol, Turgeney, Dostoyevski,
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      =Best Ghost Stories=: Kipling’s Phantom Rickshaw, Blackwood’s
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        _The Author of “Sanity in Sex,” “Rational Sex Series,” “The
        Caveman Within Us,” and other works relating to sex and
        personality, sets forth in this single volume a well-rounded,
        practical exposition of sexual problems._



                                    SEX

                                 _and the_

                                 LOVE-LIFE


                                    _By_

                            WILLIAM J. FIELDING

    There is not a man or woman but will find in this book a clarifying
    light shed on many perplexing questions relating to sex and the
    love-life. Even the specialized student will find the work replete
    with illuminating facts and useful information, soundly interpreted.
    It lays special emphasis on realizing the potentialities of the
    love-life in marriage and its delicate treatment of these intimate
    problems is a distinctive feature of the book. The contents of the
    book as outlined in the following pages indicates the scope and
    comprehensiveness of the work.



                        TABLE OF CONTENTS-–322 PAGES


        =I. Sex and Life=—Meeting Life’s Vital Problems—Best
        Preparation for Life—Countless Manifestations of Sex—Sexual
        Phenomena—Evils Traced to Ignorance—Primitive Methods of
        Reproduction—Asexual Reproduction—Sex Makes the Whole World
        Akin—Sexual Reproduction—Secondary Sexual Characters—Sex More
        Specialized in Higher Orders—The Two Paramount Urges—Hunger
        and the Sex Impulse—Savages’ Attitude Toward Sex—Ancient
        Sexual Practices—Sex Symbolism—Phallicism—Nature Worship—Venus
        Cults—Sacred Prostitution—Lingam and Yoni Symbols—Sexual
        Coldness—Congenital Frigidity—False Frigidity—Effecting a
        Cure—Sidetracked Sex Energy—Results of Faulty Education—
        Puritanical Principles—Celibacy—Ecclesiastical Law—Theological
        Influence—-“Sins of the Flesh”—Early Ascetic Ideals—Error of
        Sex Denial—Celibacy Not a Normal Life—Effects of Sexual
        Suppression.

        =II. Development of the Love-Life=—Stages of Sexual
        Development—Friendship and Love—Esthetic Significance of Sex—
        Love the Refinement of Sexual Impulse—Altruism and
        Self-Sacrifice—Sex Life of the Child—Sexual Instincts
        Manifested from Birth—Stages of Progress—The Detumescence
        Instinct—The Autoerotic Stage—Sucking, an Erotic Pleasure—
        Erogenous (Love-producing) Zones—Narcissism—The Legend of
        Narcissus—Self-love—Prepubescence—Love in Childhood—
        Childhood’s Sex Interests Repressed—Sublimation—Erotic
        Compensation—Cultural Accomplishments—Adolescence—The Boy and
        Girl—Physical and Psychic Manifestations—What Impels to Love—
        The Parent Image—Copying Psychological Patterns—Ego and Sex
        Ideals—The Love-Object—Fixations—Peculiarities of the
        Love-Life—Psychic Impotence—Frigid Wives—Fetichism—Sexual
        Significance of Fetiches—Exhibitionism—Normal and Abnormal
        Traits—Sexual Curiosity—Sadism and Masochism—Homosexuality—
        Psychological Problems—Environmental Factors—Homosexual
        Feelings Repressed.

        =III. Man’s Sexual Nature=—Comparison of the Male and Female—
        Represent Different Types of Eroticism—Anatomy and Physiology
        of Male Sex Organs—The Penis—The Glands—The Prepuce—
        Circumcision—The Testes—The Vas Deferens—The Epididymis—The
        Seminal Vesicles—Cowper’s Glands—Prostate Gland—Urethra—The
        Seminal Fluid—Semen—Spermatozoa—Internal Chemistry—Ductless
        Glands—The Hormones—Interstitial Glands—Chemical Aspects of
        Sex—The Endocrine System—Thyroid—Parathyroid—Pituitary—
        Adrenals—Thymus—Pineal—Pancreas—Insulin—Activity of Male Sex
        Organs—Nocturnal (night) Emissions—A Normal Episode—Diurnal
        (day) Emissions—Man’s “Change of Life”—A Preparation for
        Senescence—Period of Sexual Decline—The Don Juan—A
        Constructive Period Ahead.

        =IV. Woman’s Sexual Nature=—Sexual Instinct in Woman—Woman’s
        Sexual Organization More Complex Than Man’s—Feminine Eroticism
        More Highly Ramified—Woman’s Emotional Nature—Strength of
        Sexual Impulse—Woman Sexually Conservative—Variations in
        Sexual Impulse—Sexual Desire Outlasts the Reproductive Life—
        Anatomy and Physiology of Female Organs—The Ovaries—Graafian
        Follicles—Process of Ovulation—Fallopian Tubes—Salpingitis—The
        Uterus (Womb)—The Vagina—The Hymen—The Vulva—Bartholin Glands—
        The Pelvis—The Mammary Glands—The Internal Secretions—Normal
        Effects at Puberty—Effects of Deficiency of Secretions—
        Menstruation—Symptoms of Initial Appearance—Hygiene of
        Menstruation—Disorders Due to Constipation—Re-establishing
        Premature Cessation of Flow—The Menopause.

        =V. Preparation for Marriage=—Looking Forward to Marriage—
        Importance of Preparation—Confusion of Ideals—Innocence and
        Modesty—Prudery—Marriage: Past and Future—Dual Moral Code—
        Status of Monogamy—Polygamy and Promiscuity—Fictitious
        Chivalry—True Love Must Be Free—Woman’s Intellectual
        Liberation—Its Beneficial Effects—The Realities of Marriage—
        Courtship As a Preparation—Not an Educational Substitute—
        Period of Intimate Association—Tactless Lovers in Courtship—
        The Vehement Wooer and Defensive Partner—Courtship a Continual
        Preparation—The Pairing Hunger—Length of Engagements—Long
        Engagements Often Injurious—Proper Age to Marry—Economic
        Hindrance at Most Favorable Period—Consanguineous Marriage, or
        Marriage of Blood Relatives—Between First and Second Cousins—
        Not Harmful in Itself—Unless Family History Is Bad—Hereditary
        Traits Accentuated in Offspring of Blood Relatives—Either Good
        or Bad Latent Traits May Be Marked in Children.

        =VI. Sex Hygiene in Marriage=—The Conjugal Relations—
        Expressing Love Deepens the Love Feeling—Love Cannot Be
        Separated from Sexuality—Courtship and Married Lovers—Wooing
        As an Essential Preparation—The Consummation of Love—Woman
        Must Be Wooed Before Every Act of Coitus—Characteristics of
        Feminine Nature—Woman’s Role In the Sex Relations—The Sex Act
        Means More to the Female—Woman’s Subconscious Maternal
        Solicitude—Benefits of Sexual Expression—Key to Happiness in
        Marriage—Greater Longevity of Married Women—The Sexual
        Initiation of the Bride—Coitus the Fulfilment of a Natural
        Law—One of the Most Beautiful and Sacred Phenomena of Life—
        Gives Marriage Its Wonderful Potentialities—Overcoming Sexual
        Coldness—Keeping Romance in Marriage—Jealousy the Destroyer—
        Frequency of Sex Relations—Intercourse During Menstruation—
        Intercourse During Pregnancy.

        =VII. Woman’s Love-rights=—Right of Female to Enjoyment of
        Sexual Function—Recognized Among Savages—Erotic Impact of
        “Marriage by Capture”—The Erogenous (Love-producing) Zones and
        Their Significance in Woman’s Love-Life—Sensual Feeling of the
        Skin—Woman the Affectionate Sex—Effects of Unsatisfactory
        Marital Life—Woman Craves Love and Affection—“Love Has to Go
        to School”—The Bridal Night—Its Difficulties and Their
        Solution—Hygiene of the Honeymoon—Reciprocity in the Sex
        Relations—Mutual Rights of the Husband and Wife.

        =VIII. Birth Control in Relation to the Love-Life=—What Birth
        Control Really Means—Ignorant Confusion with Abortion—Legal
        Proscription of Contraception—Ban on Contraceptive Information
        Fosters Abortion—Religious Prejudice Against Contraception—
        Individual Clergymen Advocate Birth Control—Morality of Birth
        Control—Immorality of Excessive Child-bearing. Fallacy of
        Intercourse for Reproduction Only—Sexual Union Has a Value
        Aside from Procreation—Not Purely a Physical or Animal
        Function—Continuous Child-bearing a Primitive Practice—
        Trusting to “Instinct” and “Nature”—Fear of Pregnancy, and
        Marital —Coercion for a Morbid Ideal by Opponents of Birth
        Control.

        =IX. The Hygiene of Pregnancy=—The Phenomenon of Conception—
        The Beginning of Pregnancy—How to Calculate Date of
        Confinement—Ely’s Table and Other Methods—Most Favorable Time
        of Conception—Changes in the Pregnant Woman—Signs and Symptoms
        of Pregnancy—Probable and Direct Signs—Embryology—
        Month-by-Month Development of the Fetus—Labor Pains and
        Parturition—Maternal Impressions—Their Superstitions—Prenatal
        Care—Rest and Exercise—Diet—Care of Teeth—Care of the Nipples—
        How Sex Is Determined—Superstitions About Influencing Sex of
        the Child—Sex Development in the Embryo—The Chromosome
        Hypothesis of Sex Determination—Sex Determined by the Male
        Fertilizing Element—Sex Determination and Twins.

        =X. The Menopause—Beginning a New Epoch of Life=—The End of
        the Reproductive Period—Not the End of the Sexual Life—Age at
        Which Menopause Occurs—Various Manifestations of Approach—
        Premature Menopause, and Its Treatment—Retarded Menopause—
        Characteristic Symptoms of Climacteric—Sudden Cessation of
        Menstruation—Other Common Symptoms—Menstrual Irregularity—
        Obesity—Cardiac or Heart Troubles—Digestive Disturbances—
        Disorders of the Skin—Pruritus—Cancer and Other Growths—
        Nervous and Mental Disorders—Climacteric Psychosis—Remarks on
        “The Dangerous Age”—Casting Out Fear—A Constructive Period
        Ahead—Woman’s Greater Vitality and Longevity—Hygiene of the
        Menopause—Bathing—Exercise—Diet—Other. Precautions for Health—
        Sexual Life After the Climacteric—Increased Sexual Desire in
        Post-Menopause Period.

        =XI. Sexual Disorders of Women=—Sexual Basis of Nervous
        Disorders—Neurasthenia—Anxiety Neurosis—Hysteria—Results of
        Unsatisfactory Marital Relations—Factors in Marriage That
        Influence Sexual Life—Sterility, or Barrenness—One-Child
        Sterility—Frigidity, or Sexual Coldness—Disorders Due to
        Abstinence—=Coitus Interruptus=—Common Disturbances of Women—
        Leucorrhea—Menstrual Disorders—Dysmenorrhea—Menorrhagia—
        Amenorrhea—Abortion: Spontaneous, Induced (Illegal or
        Criminal), and Therapeutic—Displacements of the Womb—
        Nymphomania—Masturbation—Exaggerated Statement of Its Evils—
        Why It Is a Bad Habit in Growing Boys and Girls.

        =XII.—Sexual Disorders of Men=—Nervous Disturbances—Fatigue
        from Mental Effort Alone a Rare Phenomenon—Sexual Factors in
        Neuroses—Nervous Breakdown from Suppressing Sexual Life—Sexual
        Determinants of Anxiety Neurosis—Sexual Neurasthenia;
        Hereditary and Acquired—Neurasthenia Not So Much Actual
        Nervous Debility As Lack of Control—=Coitus Interruptus= a
        Factor in Male Neurasthenia—Sexual Impotence and Sterility—
        Impotence Resulting from Continence-Absolute and Irremediable
        Sterility—Relative and Transient Sterility—Prostatitis—
        Azoospermia—Aspermatism—Satyriasis—Masturbation—Confusion with
        “Onanism”—Prevalence Among Animals—Opinions of Some Famous
        Medical Scientists.

        =XIII. Venereal Diseases=—Universality of Venereal Diseases—
        Gonorrhea—The Most Prevalent of Adult Infectious Diseases—
        Discovery of the Germ, and Its Description—Symptoms of the
        Disease—Infection of Innocent Wives—Effects of Gonorrhea on
        Women—“Honeymoon Appendicitis”—Gonorrhea Vulvo-vaginitis—
        Racial Effects of Gonorrhea—Gonorrhea As a Factor in Male
        Sterility—Ophthalmia Neonatorum—Syphilis—Description of Its
        Germ—Symptoms of the Different Stages—Becomes a Constitutional
        Disease—Ravages of the Tertiary Stage—Locomotor Ataxia and
        Paresis Among Late Effects—Hereditary Syphilis—May Be Cured If
        Properly Treated in Time—Chancroid or “Soft Sore”—Gangrenus
        Balanitis—Prostitution—Prostitutes Largely subnormal—
        Clandestine Prostitution.

        =XIV. The Parent and the Child=—Education Begins at Birth—
        Child Normally Looks First to Parents for Information—Sex
        Education Should Be Part of Child’s General Education—Never
        Unduly Emphasized—Answering the Question: “Where do Babies
        Come From?”—The Meaning of Education in Its Broad Sense—
        Tyranny of Excessive Affection—Personality of Child Should Be
        Developed, Not Stifled—Psychic Re-education—Curiosity of the
        Small Child—Special Problems of the Boy—Puberty—Secondary
        Sexual Characteristics—Physical Changes Mental Changes—Sexual
        Development of Puberty—Night Emissions—Masturbation—
        Preparation for Manhood—Special Problems of the Girl—The Need
        for Self-Knowledge—Adolescence—Physical Changes—Mental
        Changes—Other Problems of the Sexual Life.


                       USE THIS CONVENIENT ORDER FORM

    The author, whose works on subjects relating to sex and personality
    have been circulated to the extent of well over a million copies,
    has endeavored in this book to meet the demand for a thoroughly
    well-rounded practical exposition of the sexual problems, concisely
    set forth in a single volume. The result, as indicated in the table
    of contents quoted above, is a complete, frank discussion of every
    relevant question concerning sex in general, with special attention
    devoted to those intimate problems of the love-life in marriage that
    too long have been considered taboo.

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 │Girard, Kansas.                                                      │
 │                                                                     │
 │Send me at once, in plain wrapper, one copy of William J. Fielding’s │
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 │                        SEX AND THE LOVE-LIFE                        │
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 │                         BY THE SAME AUTHOR                          │
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 └─────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────┘

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


     1. Silently corrected typographical errors.
     2. Retained anachronistic and non-standard spellings as printed.
     3. Enclosed italics font in _underscores_.
     4. Enclosed bold font in =equals=.





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