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Title: Spirits Do Return
Author: White, Mrs. Ida Belle
Language: English
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SPIRITS DO RETURN

by

IDA BELLE WHITE

Inspired by
Samuel L. Clemens
(“Mark Twain”)



The White Publishing Co.,
3411 East 27th Street, Kansas City, Missouri.
1915

Copyrighted 1915
by
Ida Belle White

Kansas City, Mo.:
Franklin Hudson Publishing Co.
1915



                                 TO HIM

                 WHO HAS BEEN MY GUIDE AND INSPIRATION;
                    WHOSE EXPERIENCE AND TALENT HAVE
                     ENABLED ME TO BE OF ASSISTANCE
                        TO THOSE WHO ARE SEEKING
                               THE LIGHT,

                              “MARK TWAIN,”

                          I DEDICATE THIS BOOK.



CONTENTS


                       CHAPTER I.

    The Place of Trouble.—The Convict’s Story           9

                      CHAPTER II.

    Prison Life.—Mysterious Influences                 25

                      CHAPTER III.

    The Ghost of a Woman                               37

                      CHAPTER IV.

    Accused of Murder                                  50

                       CHAPTER V.

    Official Excitement                                57

                      CHAPTER VI.

    Discharged from the Hospital                       62

                      CHAPTER VII.

    “My Brother a Convict!”                            72

                     CHAPTER VIII.

    The Brother Sentenced to Hard Labor                80

                      CHAPTER IX.

    The Superintendent Tries to Solve the Mystery      87

                       CHAPTER X.

    Pat Allows the Prisoner to Escape                  97

                      CHAPTER XI.

    The Mystery Deepens                               104

                      CHAPTER XII.

    Another Dead Man                                  119

                     CHAPTER XIII.

    An Attempt to Bribe the Prisoner                  129

                      CHAPTER XIV.

    The Convict’s Prayer                              143

                      CHAPTER XV.

    “Thank God, He Is Innocent!”                      152

                      CHAPTER XVI.

    A New Prisoner in Cell No. 78                     159

                     CHAPTER XVII.

    Deserted                                          170

                     CHAPTER XVIII.

    Pat’s Temptation                                  185

                      CHAPTER XIX.

    A Clear Conscience Better than Money              196

                      CHAPTER XX.

    The Murderer Arrives                              215

                      CHAPTER XXI.

    Remorse                                           223

                     CHAPTER XXII.

    Pat’s Testimony                                   234

                     CHAPTER XXIII.

    Prayer-Meeting in Prison                          244



INTRODUCTION.


This book was written through the inspirational spirit of the well-known
writer, Samuel L. Clemens—“Mark Twain.” As I have never before written a
book, the reader will see that I have had help from an unseen force—from
the Spirit World.

I was told through a trumpet seance meeting, in the spirit voice of “Mark
Twain,” to get the materials and he would write me a book—or, rather,
that he would inspire me and I could write it, but he would give me the
words to write, which he has done.

I was not in an unconscious condition. I can turn from my writing and
converse as if I had not been at work through the power of my guide. I
can give abundance of proof of this statement, also for the statement
made in the seance meeting by the spirit from Heaven.

“Mark Twain” has given me encouragement from time to time in regard to my
book, and he has promised to write many more for me.

                                                      IDA BELLE WHITE.
                                                    (_Mrs. J. L. White._)



SPIRITS DO RETURN



CHAPTER I.

THE PLACE OF TROUBLE.—THE CONVICT’S STORY.


I passed by the house and within I heard a noise. I stopped and listened,
and I heard screams. The voice sounded like that of a lady whom I once
knew. I was puzzled to know what to do, but finally decided to enter.
To my surprise, I did know the lady. I apologized for intruding, saying
that I was attracted by the terrible screams and thought I recognized the
voice.

The lady replied: “You are very kind, but I think I shall be able to
settle my trouble without your help.”

“I am very sorry, dear madam; I meant well,” I said.

I took my departure, yet I felt that I should not have done so under the
circumstances, for I knew that the talk the dear lady made was through
fear, as the master over her was standing near.

I was greatly depressed, because of the way in which I had left the place
of trouble. I had gone only a short distance when I decided to return. I
did so, and, to my surprise, I found the dear lady dead, as it is called.

I was horrified. The brute had fled. What was I to do? Go also and leave
the poor dead woman? I decided to do so. When at some distance from the
scene, I was hailed and confronted by the real murderer and an officer,
who accused me of the terrible crime.

What could I do? I knew that I was not guilty, but I failed to make the
officer believe it.

I was taken to jail because of the crime committed by the one who had me
arrested. But I had been seen coming from the house and I had dropped my
handkerchief while wiping the tears from my eyes.

[Illustration: I WAS HAILED AND CONFRONTED BY THE REAL MURDERER AND
OFFICER.]

It was thought to be a plain case with convincing proof—of circumstantial
evidence. Thrown in jail, I was at a loss to know what to do. I was not
guilty, but to prove it was the next thing, and the most important thing
to do. I hailed the turnkey as he passed, and asked for an attorney. I
was favored with the services of one. I did some good thinking as to how
I should prove my innocence.

“Well, my friend,” said the attorney, “I have come to see what I can do
for you. I see you need help. You do not look like a very bad man or a
criminal.”

“I thank you, sir,” I replied. “I am not either, but why am I accused of
murder?”

“Murder! You a murderer? Oh, no, I hope not!”

“I am not, but how shall I make the court understand that I am innocent?”

“Well, my friend, explain your case.”

I explained matters, and he remarked: “I do not see how the court could
find an innocent man like you guilty. I am going to show the court
without trouble that you are not guilty. Have courage; I shall get you
out of here as soon as possible.”

The day of the trial was at hand. I had become haggard and worn from the
terrible strain, from the uncomfortable cell which I had occupied. My
case was called. All ready, I was told to take my oath, and then I was
sworn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. If I could make the
court understand that I was innocent, I would soon be a free man.

“Will you tell the court all about this case?” said my attorney.

I proceeded to do so, but, to my horror, I was proved guilty to the jury
and sentenced by the judge.

What was I to do? I went back to jail to wait for a new trial. If that
failed, it meant ten years in prison at hard work. I had been convicted
on circumstantial evidence, my handkerchief being found in the house of
the murdered woman. I tried to console myself with the belief that in
some way I would be helped out.

I had remained in jail three months when one night I was thinking of the
advice my poor old mother had given me, and that was: “When in trouble,
pray, pray, pray!” I began to pray, and as I prayed I felt encouraged.
After that, I prayed often, hoping that my prayers would be answered. At
last I could see that I was fortunate to know within that I was not the
real murderer; then I thought that I should pray for the murderer, and I
did pray as I never prayed before.

Oh, what a terrible thing it is to be accused of a crime so great as that
and be innocent!

A new trial was denied me. What was I to do? God knows I was innocent,
but I could not make men believe so here on this earth. The day for the
journey to the penitentiary was at hand, and I must go for another’s
crime.

As the turnkey called us from our little, dark cells he said: “Please get
ready, for we will have to take the morning train to your home—for some
of you a home for some time to come.”

That included me; that meant a home for ten years—and innocent! I had no
appetite that morning, for I was thinking of the injustice done to many
innocent men, and I was one of them.

We were locked together—shackled—and started away to prison. On arrival
we were listed for different crimes. A murderer, numbered 78! And the
worst, I thought, was when they cut and shaved my head of hair. Then I
was told to don my new suit of stripes and checks. That alone was enough
to make any man falter.

“This way,” I heard a gruff voice say.

I looked for someone to look and in a second I felt the strong arm.

“To you I am speaking. I want to show you your cell.”

I had not recovered from the shock of my garments. I was shoved headlong
into my cell, dark, and oh, so dreary! Anyone who could experience my
feelings at that moment would never commit a crime.

I can not say that I rested well on my new bed that night. I thought that
morning would never come. Yet I do not know why I should have longed for
day, as I had so long a time to stay. At last breakfast was served—or,
rather, thrown at us. I was feverish and excited. All the time I wondered
what my work would be. I did not have to wonder long. I was unlocked from
my cell and told to step out and fall in line. I did so and onward we
marched. A halt was called and I was told to step aside.

A very important man, called guard, said: “You are wanted here, sir!”

I stepped aside and was shown my work, which was hard, even harder than
anything I had ever done. I was told to pick up the sledge and was shown
in what shape to hammer the iron.

I hesitated, and finally said: “My God! man, I never did such hard work,
and I don’t think I can do this.”

All the sympathy I received was: “You do the work or you will be thrown
into a dark dungeon to decide if you can, and you will get bread and
water until you do decide.”

I thought that I would as soon go into a dungeon as to work myself to
death. However, I changed my mind and picked up the sledge, but I had not
strength to wield it.

I fell upon my knees and prayed that God would give me help. While I was
praying the guard came up and with his monstrous club gave me one blow,
knocking me senseless.

I cried out as I came to my senses: “Man alive, do not strike me again!
Can you not see I am not strong enough to do that work?”

“Oh! you fellows all have the same old gag to tell. Not strong enough!
Ha, ha! But you are strong enough to strangle a poor woman to death.”

I rose to my feet, and shouted: “I am an innocent man! I will be proven
so before I leave this prison.”

“All who are sent here are innocent. Some of you surely get justice in
trials.”

“I did not, for I was sentenced on circumstantial evidence, and I know
and my God knows that I am innocent! The dear woman who was murdered
knows who killed her.”

“Well, the woman is dead, and you can not prove by her that you did not
kill her.”

“My friend, she is not dead. Her body is, but her spirit is not, and she
can and will come and let it be known who the real murderer is.”

“Here, if you are crazy, we will put you in the mad-house. I know when
you are dead you are dead.”

“I hope to be able to convince you before I leave here that the body
dies, but the spirit lives on and returns and will and can talk.”

“Here, are you going to work? I have heard enough of your foolish talk.”

“I will try, sir.”

[Illustration: “MY GOD, MAN, I NEVER DID SUCH HARD WORK.”]

No one can realize how I suffered. I was not able to work, yet I was
forced to do so. I worried through that day. I could not eat the poor
food that was given us. Another morning came. During the restless night
I had prayed for help from the Spirit World, and I felt that my prayers
were answered.

The guard called: “You, I say, that never dies, get out here and get your
breakfast and go to work.”

I stood up, and said: “I am ready, sir, but this morning I am so sick.”

“You eat what you get, and in a hurry too, for we want to see you at
work.”

I obeyed, and was soon on the road to work.

The prison laws were that we were not allowed to speak to our fellow-men.
I watched my chance to speak, and when opportunity presented, I said:

“Friend, how long are you here for?”

He did not answer. I thought perhaps he was hard of hearing, and repeated
the words. He finally looked up and moved his lips. I knew he had served
some time, as he had learned the sight movement of the lips, and I did
not and could not understand that. I saw that I was lost, not knowing how
to talk in that way.

The guard said roughly: “You are not doing much. Here, are you watching
for opportunity to lay down on me when I am not looking?”

“I am not, guard. I am doing all I am able to.”

“I think if you had a day or two rest in the rest-room it would help you.
Come along here with me.”

The rest-room was a dungeon, dark as night. When I heard the heavy iron
door close after me, I fell upon my knees and prayed God to take me from
the place of darkness. I was hungry and cold. All the time I could hear
the words:

“_We know you are innocent and will help you, and you shall be out of
this place of unjust punishment._”

That night—oh, so long! Cold and hungry I was—I had no bed. The following
morning I was given water and was told to drink and be merry; yes, to
be _merry_! I wonder if the outside world could and does believe the
stories of the unfortunate ones who, guilty or not guilty, have to endure
tortures behind prison walls.

I remained there three days and grew weaker all the time. Why should I
not grow weak, living on water and darkness and standing up to sleep?

I was put to work at the same hard labor which I had performed before.
I grew faint and fell at my post. I lay there when the guard came upon
me. How he did swear! He clubbed me to my feet and reached out for me.
One jerk from him raised me from my feet. He had subsisted upon good,
substantial food. I was weak, hungry, and sick.

I was taken to the office for a talk on “the carpet,” as we called it in
prison. As the Power over all men seemed to look down on me, I raised my
eyes to Heaven and asked for proof to convince the official that I was an
innocent man. I was hoping against hope for proof, and I heard a voice
say: “Take him out. I will see what this lady wants.” The official saw
one whom neither the guard nor I saw. I was led away, back to the dungeon.

Some hours afterwards I was again taken to “the carpet.” I was praying
silently for proof of my innocence. Again I was told: “Step aside, for
the ladies come first.” Later I was told of a very mysterious lady who
showed herself unannounced and when she was spoken to, vanished.

Who could it be? When I was a child, I often sat with my dear father and
mother around the fireplace and listened with the cold chills running
down my back to stories of ghosts, as they called them, and how the
ghosts would come and go. No, not where I sat in my dark dungeon and
wondered if that lady could talk, and, if so, why could she not come to
me and talk to me, as I was all alone. And I again thought perhaps I
would not care to have her come to me—not as long as I was in the dark
and all alone. But what and who could the mysterious lady be? I was so
interested in our ghost woman that I forgot my own troubles.

That night, as I was wishing and praying for morning, and wondering what
would be done with me on “the carpet,” I felt that I could hardly wait.
At last the sun shone on the prison walls once more, and I was heartily
glad. One more day less of my ten years served. But there were still
years to serve, and with such treatment and hard labor there was not much
encouragement for a poor convict.

I heard my cell door open. A gruff voice called to me to step out. I was
glad to do so, and was told to come along.



CHAPTER II.

PRISON LIFE.—MYSTERIOUS INFLUENCES.


As I was taken through the iron doors I heard a slam after me. The guard
also heard the same noise. Turning, he called to me to halt, saying:
“What was that?”

“I’m sure, I do not know, sir,” I replied; “I only heard a noise.”

“I am not sure whether I did or not. I thought I saw a lady, as I turned
my head.”

“Could it be a ghost?” I thought, and, if so, why was it following me?

“Guard, what is the complaint against this man?” inquired the
superintendent.

“He will not work, sir.”

“Not work? Oh! Well, you have had a taste of the dungeon, have you not?
If that will not do, we shall have to try some other means to get you to
work, and that will be to tie your hands above your head until you are
willing to work. How do you think you would like that?”

“I am willing to work if I had lighter work,” I said; “I have never had
to do such heavy work, and I am unable to do it.”

“Take him out,” commanded the superintendent, “and put him on the rack,
and when you feel you can do the work, we will be glad to take you to
your work.”

I did not know what “the rack” meant and was very willing to follow. To
my horror, it was a place where my hands were tied above my head. I stood
facing the wall. Imagine the punishment of one fellow-man upon another!
I begged for mercy. All my pleadings were ignored. When the guard had
finished tying my hands, I was told that he would be around inside of
twenty-four hours, to see if I had changed my mind.

I knew that I could not stand the punishment long. I began to pray. I
prayed for dear old mother to come to her helpless and innocent son. I
began to feel the rack quiver. I was startled. I ceased praying for a
moment. I thought I could feel the clasps move on my wrists. I was shaken
with fear. Was I going mad, or did I feel the clasps move? To my great
surprise, I was lowered so I could stand on the bottoms of my feet;
before I could touch only the floor with my toes. I felt a terrible
feeling come over me and all was dark. When I came to myself, I was
released. Could the guard have knocked me senseless? How was I loosened?
I did not see him near me. I did not feel hurt from any blow. What could
have happened to me! I remained there in a wonderment of thought as
to what could have happened. About five hours had passed when I heard
footsteps and the guard entered. He was astonished when he saw that I was
loosed.

“What does this mean?” he exclaimed.

“I am not able to say, sir. Did you not free my hands?”

“I? No, sir; you know that I did not, and who did?”

“I do not know. I was praying to my dear old mother, who died many years
ago, to come to me and help me, as I was innocent of the crime for which
I am being punished, and while I was praying I felt a dizziness come over
me, and my hands were loosened and I was thrown to the floor, and when I
came to my senses, I was free.”

“So you think that story will go here, do you? Well, come along. We shall
see if we can tie you so your prayers will not untie you.”

“My God! do not punish me any more seriously. I am not deserving of
this. I say to you that I am innocent.”

“We would have no use for the building if all of you fellows could prove
to the world that you were innocent. If you are not guilty, why have you
been brought here? Surely you had some justice done you.”

“Sir, I was convicted on circumstantial evidence. I was not proved
guilty, for I am not guilty. The guilty one is at large, and the innocent
one is here for ten years.”

“You are having your own way about this argument. I only know you are
here for murder, and it is my duty to see that you are working for the
next ten years. Come along with me.”

I was taken to “the carpet” and the look of the officer and higher
official was like daggers. I trembled from head to foot.

“You here again? What is the trouble, guard?”

“I found this man standing with hands untied when I entered the rack.”

“What does this mean? Who untied you?”

I saluted the superintendent, and replied: “I do not know.”

“Well, we will see if we can find out. Take him back and double-tie
his hands. Strap his feet also, and tip-toe him, and perhaps he will be
willing to work by and by.”

I began to beg. How could anyone punish his brother man so? I said:

“I am human and have feeling. I do not deserve such hard treatment. I
would work willingly if you would give me work that I can do. I can not
do hard labor—I never did.”

“You will do what we see fit to give you to do, and if you are not
willing, you go back to the rack.”

I could not stand the ordeal. On bended knees I begged for mercy, and the
mercy shown me was a clubbing, and I was marched back to the rack.

“Now, sir, I will strap you, as I was ordered to do, and I will be
around, perhaps, to see the other fellow untie you.”

As before, I was strapped with uplifted hands, and drawn from the floor
to the tips of my toes. I was exhausted with fear, and as I was being
tied, both feet together, I cried out: “God, have pity! Give me help and
strength to stand this, for Thou, O Heavenly Father, dost know that I am
innocent.”

I heard the heavy iron door close behind me, as I thought, for the last
time. I could not see how I could ever withstand this punishment.

Suddenly I began to experience the peculiar feeling of dizziness that
had come over me before. I felt my hands being loosened, then I knew
nothing more. I lay I do not know how long. The first I remembered was
when I again heard the door slam and over me stood the guard and the
superintendent. I was told to get up. I obeyed, and the look on the faces
of those men I shall never forget.

After I was questioned as to how I felt, the dizziness began again to
come upon me. I was again taken back to “the carpet,” but this time with
more of the feeling of sympathy than before.

“I am at a loss, sir, to know what to do with you,” said the
superintendent. “I think that I shall have an investigation of your
case and see if we can find why and what power you have, if any. I was
an eye-witness to your being untied this time, and no one assisted.
Invisible power is the only explanation I can make.”

[Illustration: “THE FIRST I REMEMBER WAS WHEN I AGAIN HEARD THE DOOR
SLAM, AND OVER ME STOOD THE GUARD AND THE SUPERINTENDENT.”]

Again I was taken back, but not to the rack—to my cell, where I was given
some coffee, and kind words with it. I was wondering what this meant
when I heard footsteps, then voices saying:

“_Let them tie you as often as they will. I shall free you. You are
innocent, and shall not be punished._”

I looked for the one whose voice I heard, and, to my surprise, could not
see anyone. I shuddered. I did not understand this.

I had drunk my coffee, and was feeling somewhat better from its effect
and that of the kind words, when the superintendent entered with others.

As I arose to greet them I was drawn back by some invisible power.
Remaining seated, I was told to arise. I could not do so, and replied
that I could not.

One of the gentlemen seized my arm and told me to stand up. I tried to do
so, and could not. I was taken hold of by another and told to stand, but
again I could not. Then they tried to lift me up, and they could not move
me.

I became alarmed. I did not feel ill—only slightly dizzy.

They debated as to what they should do about my case. I could not
understand such a mystery. I only knew that I was freed, by whom I could
not tell.

The mystery was growing in my mind. As I was sent for by the doctor,
whom they called in to diagnose my case, I arose without effort, to the
surprise of the guard, and walked unassisted to the office. There I
confronted the doctor, apparently a well man, on my feet, and feeling
well anyway.

I was thoroughly examined, and pronounced physically well. Once more
I was taken back to “the carpet,” and was told that I would be given
lighter work, and to try not to be subject to any such treatment
hereafter, as disobedient prisoners have to be compelled to work.

I was taken to the library, and told to book out all literature, as
called for. I became very much interested in the work and was trying to
make the best of it. I thought: “I am going to see if I can find some
literature in here which will comfort me and help me to pass this long
time which I must spend inside of these prison walls.”

I had an order for a book called “The Ghost of a Woman.” Ghost of a
woman! I wondered if the prisoner who ordered it had seen the ghost of
this woman talked of in this place and hoped to find a book telling what
her mission is here, I thought: “I too should like to know.”

As I was tracing along the line of literature I was confronted with a
book entitled “The Wisdom.” What could that be? We all needed some of
that, I especially. If I had had more, I would not be here. “As it is, I
am here,” I thought, “and I am willing to find wisdom.”

I laid the book aside to take along with me to my cell to read when I
should have the opportunity. I then continued the search for “The Ghost
of a Woman.”

As the guard entered he said: “Well, you are not making much headway
getting out those orders.”

“I have an order here for a book entitled ‘The Ghost of a Woman.’”

“Here, we have a real live ghost, in here, of a woman, and that is enough
ghost. Let me see who has left that crazy order. What! The superintendent
wants this book. Well, look it up. I guess he has not had enough, but I
have. I do not have to read of her, for I see her times enough.”

I was left to continue the search for the ghost book. At last I found a
similar title and laid the book aside. I would perhaps find the desired
book in my search for other literature.

All orders filled, I began to deliver to each prisoner’s cell. We were
allowed light to read by, two hours each night. I passed these two hours
much more pleasantly with my book of wisdom than I could have done
otherwise. Did I find wisdom? Do we all find it when we need it most?
Some of us do not. It was so in my case. I got my wisdom after I could do
no good with it, only to look forward ten years.



CHAPTER III.

THE GHOST OF A WOMAN.


I was told on the following morning, by the guard, that I would have to
leave the library and do some printing.

“Printing! Dear sakes alive, man, I am no printer!” I exclaimed.

“Those are the orders,” he replied. “Obey your orders.”

“I am very willing to do so if I knew how,” I said.

“I see that you have been reading a book, here, called ‘Wisdom.’ You
should be able to do something.”

“If I had all the wisdom in my head that is in that book, I should not be
here.”

“You are debating the question too long. Come along here, sir.”

I was taken to the printing quarters and given instructions as to what to
do. To my surprise, the part to which I was assigned I could very easily
handle. A prisoner said:

“I am here to give you instructions how to prepare what we call ‘_The
Daily Press_’—news, something for the prisoners to read, that they may
know what goes on inside these walls that will be of benefit to them. We
have some good men here. They are not all criminals because sent here.
Some from misfortune, others from circumstantial evidence, which later is
proven. I am always glad to see an innocent man found so. I am speaking
in behalf of myself, here for another’s crime. To make the best of it is
all that I can do, as do many others, who are here as innocent as I am.”

I could not speak. I felt as if I were choking with sympathy for that
poor chap. I too was serving a sentence for another’s crime. I am not
sure but that his number was on the order for a book entitled “I Am
Innocent of Crime,” a book to be found on the shelves of the prison
library.

I felt that I could work by the side of this fellow-man—this
prisoner—more cheerfully, as he had authority to talk so as to be able to
give instructions to inexperienced help.

I was told to prepare an article for _The Press_, on how to use power
to control yourself as well as others. I was very willing to do what I
could. That is all anyone can do—the best we can.

I have been in the presence of men to whom I could not talk as freely as
I should like to, and in the presence of others to whom I could talk fast
enough. Those to whom one can not talk freely have a higher power over
one, and those to whom one can talk freely are the persons over whom one
has power. Who has not had the power experience? When we come in touch
with those with whom we can not talk freely, it is power over each other.
I am leading out to the power we can not resist. What is that? I am
able to say that I could not resist going into that house where a crime
was committed to see what the trouble was with the poor lady who was
murdered—murdered, and I accused of the crime!

I was wondering what my fellow-man under whose instructions I was placed
was there for, and I became so deep in thought that I was spoken to by
him:

“Well, you must have your work done for _The Press_, and time for the
press to start is soon at hand.”

“I was so deep in thought I forgot myself, sir. I beg your pardon. I will
try not to let that happen again.”

At that moment the guard stepped in. I was accosted in such a brutal way
that my fellow-prisoner interceded for me and asked the guard to have
mercy on me.

“I am quite sure that the man will do all he can,” he said.

“Yes, he will when he is driven to it. He has caused us trouble from the
day he landed here.”

“I am sorry, guard. If I could have complied with your rules and work, I
should have been glad to do so; but I was not able to do the hard labor
you asked me to do.”

“Was it hard work to strangle a poor woman to death? You found that a
very easy job, did you not?”

“Man, I can not stand it to be accused of a crime I did not commit!” At
that moment I gave way to my feelings and cried out: “O Father in Heaven,
can not I prove my innocence?”

I found myself lying on my cot when revived. I knew not what had
happened. I could remember the conversation and nothing more after that
until the present time.

I was in a dazed condition and had the feeling that someone was near and
could see me. I was taken back to the printer’s shop, and must say that
the instructor seemed to have a cold feeling for me. I said:

“I notice that you are not quite so friendly as before. Have I offended
you?”

“I have no use for a murderer, sir, and especially for one who murders a
helpless woman.”

“I say to you, kind fellow-prisoner, that I am innocent.”

“Yes. I have your reputation from the guard. Now, you get to hard work
here, and no more of your pleading innocence.”

“I am going to do all that I can, sir, and as well as I can, to please
you.”

I continued to prepare the press work. I wrote of the way to live and
live right. We all make mistakes. Some repent, others never do. Who has
not made mistakes which he would, if he could, undo? I wrote:

“O dear fellow-prisoners, we have all made mistakes. If we had not, we
would not be here.”

As those words were for _The Press_, the prisoner’s daily paper, I
thought them very appropriate. As I left for lunch I noticed the man who
was so indifferent before. He stopped to see what my subject was. I could
not help but see a change in his manner toward me; he acted in a more
brotherly way.

As I was locked in for the night I was tired and sick—heart-sick. I could
not see, for the life of me, how I could stand many years of prison life.
At last I closed my eyes for the night—a long, dark, dreaming one. When
a child I ofttimes sat at my mother’s knee, before I was sent to bed,
and was taught my prayers; to ask Our Father in Heaven to watch over me.
The next day I knelt and prayed as I had long years ago for my dear old
mother, and asked God to help me the following day.

Somehow I felt better after I prayed. Eight o’clock was the hour for work
to begin, and I was somewhat encouraged that morning. I knew not why.
Perhaps the kindness which was shown me by my fellow-prisoner the day
before was what lightened my heart.

The day’s work had begun when I was spoken to by a gruff voice, and told
that I was wanted at the office.

My heart was crushed. I thought perhaps I was to undergo some painful
ordeal, as heretofore. I could not keep up courage to get to the office.
I was trembling with fear when I entered. I did not ask what I was
wanted for. I felt that I should know soon enough.

Suddenly the officer looked up and smiled. I did not understand the
meaning and remained silent. He then spoke as if I were a guest instead
of a prisoner:

“Well, sir, I have some work for you to do. I want to find out who the
lady is I see here and don’t see here, although I hear her voice, and she
seems to be calling your name. Do you or can you explain the mystery?”

At that moment I could not speak. After a few moments, I tried to answer
in this way:

“I am not able to give any information whatever. I know not whom you see
or hear.”

“Well, sir, can you account for your mysterious freedom from the rack?”

“I am not able to do so.”

“Neither can I, and I sat there and watched you being untied. Did you
ever hear your dear old friends tell of ghosts?”

“I hear this is a ghost doing this.”

“I am not able to say.”

“Neither am I.”

“Well, do you think you could find out if it were one?”

“I could not say.”

“I am going to have you remain in this office a few days and see if you
can see what I do. I am not going to have you do anything, only look and
listen.”

“Sir, I am not a coward, but I would prefer to work, as I am becoming
used to hard labor and would like to keep busy.”

“I think you will find this job hard enough, and it will keep you busy
enough—or, at least, I have been pretty busy holding myself in here. I
feel I need my vacation now.”

What was I to do? I was trembling from head to foot, and looking on all
sides of me for the ghost. Presently the door opened. I collapsed and was
deathly faint, when I found it was only a man.

“I have made arrangements for the prisoner to remain here in the office
with me. His place may be filled by another,” said the officer to the man.

“I am glad to stay in here with you,” I said. “What shall I do?” I
trembled so that my voice quivered.

“Well, sir, I am going to let you take that comfortable chair and sit
there for a time, while I am busy.”

I was seated presently. I felt my chair move. I moved also, and I cried
out: “I am going mad!” I was being moved in my chair.

“That is nothing, sir. You perhaps will be moved as often as I have been,
and that is many times.”

I knew not what to do. I could not disobey orders, but felt that I could
no longer remain there. While debating whether to sit down or stand up, I
was confronted by the form of a woman.

I fell back and cried out: “Mother! mother! mother!”

When I became able to speak again, I told that it was my dear old mother,
and I was asked to describe her, which I did.

“Well, there are two ghosts here, then,” said the officer; “for that is
not the description of the one I saw.”

Was I to go through with another experience of seeing another ghost? I
fell on my knees and begged to be sent back to the printing shop.

“You are doing more good here than any place in which I have placed you.
I think you have a good, long job here—or, at least, until we find out
what the mysterious lady wants around here.”

“I am glad to be with you, but you are not giving me any punishment of
hard labor, as the judge said you should.”

“Well, I don’t know. Perhaps you have not worked at this long enough to
find the hard part of it.”

What should I say next to find some excuse to get away from there? I had
thought of all excuses, and presently I began to feel sick, or pretended
so. Oh, how I did moan! I did not create any sympathy. The officer
informed me that he had to moan louder than that when they got after him.

I got well the next breath. What to try next I did not know. I could not
break away from prison. Soon I heard footsteps. I looked, but could see
no one. I asked the officer if he heard anything.

“Oh, yes, I hear them. You are not frightened, are you? Well, I have
become used to them, and you will if you stay here a few days.”

“Man, I will die if I have to remain in this office another day!”

“I have felt as you do, and I have had the same experience ever since you
came to this prison. And your name is repeated many times a day. Can you
explain what all this means?”

“I am an innocent man charged with murder done by another. I am not
treated justly. That is all I can say or know. I do not know anything
about these voices or mysterious women, but I am quite sure that I saw
my dear old mother, as she was when living. I do not understand it. I am
told that we never die. To explain further I am not able, but I do want
to get out of this office. I feel strong enough to do any kind of hard
work.”

“Well, sir, I am glad that we have found a way to make you work, and you
may go back to hard labor.”

The guard was called and orders given to take the prisoner back to hard
labor—not the printing shop, as he was willing to do hard work.

“You may try to lift some of those anvils which we have orders to ship.
It requires three or four men to get them where we can load and ship.”

Could I do what required the strength of three or four men?

“You may come along here.”

As I was leaving for the shipping yards I felt that I was accompanied by
others beside my guard, but I could see no one. Presently we confronted
the place of shipping, and I was shown what was to be done. I looked at
the guard, and exclaimed:

“Man, do you expect me to load those heavy irons on the truck?”

“I do.”

“Well, I do not think that your expectations will be granted. I am not a
giant, and neither am I a myth. I am only a man, as you are.”

“I did not bring you over here to argue that question. What you must do
is do the best that you can and try to load up.”

“I will not disobey orders, but I do not see or understand why I should
be asked to do such hard work—why the work of two or three men should be
placed on one.”

Once more I felt that I could not get courage to try. I could hear
someone say:

“_We will help you._”

I looked for someone, as before, but no one was near.

“Well, if you are going to work, do so at once.”

I bent over to make an attempt to satisfy my guard. As I did so I
received help, and behold, I could feel the iron move! I was horrified,
but I saw that I was moving it along toward the truck, and that without
strain or great effort on my part.

As the guard saw the great load moving he called out: “You are moving it!
Be careful, be careful!”

I could hear the sound of someone breathing heavily. I put the load
down and turned to see if I had help. As I looked for the guard, to my
surprise, he was lying on the floor near by. I stepped over and spoke to
him. He did not answer. I called out to him to speak to me. No answer.
The shipping space was off to itself, and at that moment there was no one
near. I could not think what to do. I could see at once that I would be
accused of harming or killing him, as he lay apparently dead.



CHAPTER IV.

ACCUSED OF MURDER.


I thought of the other wrong accusation of murder. Now, perhaps, it would
happen again. I finally decided to call for help. An officer stepped up.
When he saw his fellow-officer lying as I have said, apparently dead, he
at once accused me.

“What have you done to this man?”

“I am innocent of any harm to that man. I did not even see him fall.”

“What were you doing that you did not see him fall?”

“I, sir, was doing what he told me to do—loading those pieces of iron on
the truck. I heard deep breathing and turned to look, and found him as
you see him now.”

“Well, I do not believe one word you have told me, and more, no sane man
would ask another to do what it would require three or four strong men to
do.”

“I was not only asked to do so, but I was doing it. I had moved the iron
to the distance you see, from the remainder.”

“Now you come along. I will send the hospital word about him.”

Again I was taken to the office. I wondered what would be done now. As I
had no way of proving that I did not commit the deed, I could not make
them understand that I had not harmed the guard.

The officer said: “I will tell you. I found the guard lying on the floor.
I do not know if he is dead or in a faint. I do know that he looks very
much like a dead man.”

“What! Do you mean to tell me that this man has committed another murder?”

“I am not a murderer, and I did not harm this man. I did not, I say, and
God is my judge.”

“We shall have to take some unusual proceedings with you. I am sure that
when we find out the truth, which I hope and pray to do, and we will if
this man is not dead and he tells the story of how he was harmed, we will
be able to at least see what and why so much mystery surrounds you.”

“I hope he may live and be able to tell the story, for I am anxious to
find out how he happened to be in the condition found.”

“Are you quite sure that you do not already know?”

“I do not, sir.”

“I am at a loss to know what to do with you and where next to place you.
Do you think that you could prove to us that you did move the iron?”

“I do not know, sir. I am quite sure that it moved, and I did not see
anyone near, and that is why I stopped when I heard the moaning—to see
what was wrong, and I saw my guard lying on the floor.”

“You tell a very plain story, but can we believe it? I can not, and will
try you out again on the same work.”

To the other guard he said: “You may take him back and see if what he has
been telling is true.”

“Oh! I beg you not to try my strength on what would require three times
the amount of strength I have, and perhaps cause another circumstantial
evidence of murder, if the guard should be found dead, after reaching the
hospital.”

“I shall not expect you to do so much. I want you to substantiate the
story you are telling us. And now you may go back to the shipping
quarters.”

I was taken, this time accompanied by the officer to whom I was talking
and who was giving orders to place me where I should be given the work.

I thought, on the way back, that I should fall with fear and weakness. I
could not see how I could have courage to try to move the unreasonable
load again.

We are shown no mercy in prison—at least, I was not. Instead, I was
bidden to do work which it was impossible for me to do, outside of prison
walls. We accomplish a great many feats through fear. I am sure that I
could not accomplish many which I did except through fear.

“Now, sir,” said the officer, “you say that you moved that iron that
distance?”

“I did, sir.”

“Well, you may now show if you can move it as far, again, and I shall
see that while you are moving it you do not move me too, as you did the
other, to the hospital.”

At that moment I could not speak. Instead I could hear someone speak to
me, and the words were:

“_I will help you. Take hold._”

I did so. As I bent over I could see several trying to get hold of the
anvils. I felt that my strength was greater than ever before, and I
could see the anvils move along, apparently with ease. After I had moved
them to where we wished them to be, I raised up and found that I was all
alone. I looked around for the officer and guard, but they were not to be
seen.

As I was standing meditating as to what I should do, a prisoner all alone
with no guard in sight, I wondered if I should call for a guard, or try
to move another mass of iron.

At that moment a voice called to me. Turning to look, I was confronted
by a new guard, whom I had never before seen. We could readily tell the
guards by their uniforms.

“How does it come,” he said, “that you are outside of your rank and here
doing nothing with no guard near?”

“Sir, I am here working and had a guard with me.”

“Well, where is he now?”

“I do not know, sir. While I was lifting these anvils and placing them
where we could load them for shipment, he disappeared.”

“Go on! What are you giving me? You alone lifting these anvils?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Do you know that you are not strong enough to lift one end of any one of
them, not even the smallest-sized one there?”

“Well, I do not understand, myself, how I did it, but I did.”

“I think that I shall have to take you to ‘the carpet.’ You are astray
from work in some part of this prison.”

Dear, oh, dear! Back to “the carpet”! On the way I could hear a hearty
laughing, and I felt that I was being ridiculed by my fellow-men, because
I was taken so often to the so-called “carpet.” As we knew, usually when
an officer was taking a prisoner to the office many times, he was sent
for as a punishment for disobeying. In another moment I thought I could
not have heard the prisoners laugh, as that was against the rules. Then
what did I hear?

We at last reached the office, only to find the superintendent gone, the
door locked, and no way of getting in, as the door of the office leads
inside of the prison walls. Therefore it is necessary to have locked
doors at all times.

The next thing to do with me was to lock me in my cell, as I could not
make the officer believe that I was working when he found me.

After some time in my cell I was again sent for, this time by a new
guard, and was told to go to the office with him.

As we entered I saw several men whom I had never before seen in the
office. I noticed that they were officers of the prison. They seemed to
be very much excited, and I must say that I too was excited. I did not
know what next they would or could do with me.



CHAPTER V.

OFFICIAL EXCITEMENT.


I was told to be seated. As I turned to the empty chair I was not
permitted to sit down. I could not do so. I tried as hard as I could, but
I did not move. Again I was spoken to, and told to be seated. This time
the voice that commanded me to be seated was gruff and harsh.

I replied: “I am trying to, sir, but I can not move.”

“You sit down. We are going to find out what is wrong with you. I have
called in all the higher officers, and we intend to have your case
thoroughly investigated this day.”

All this time I did not move—I could not, and presently I heard a voice
say:

“_Do not sit down. We will not allow you to do so._”

Suddenly I was seized by the officer, and was again told to sit down.

I said: “I would obey if I could, but I can not move.”

“Well, I will move you.”

I could see that the officer made an effort to compel me to move, and
I could feel myself grow rigid. Presently I felt myself begin to move
toward the door of the inside prison, and for a moment everything
seemed dark. I felt a sickening feeling come over me. I began to lose
consciousness, and found myself sitting on the chair against the prison
door. All the officers were lying on the floor. I cried out for help.

“Come to my rescue!” I cried. “I have not harmed anyone here.”

At that moment guards came from all directions, and shouted: “Open the
door!” I could not and did not move.

Again they shouted, and I did not move. I did not look like a dead man,
sitting there, but I must frankly say that I felt like one, and if wishes
could have been granted, would have been one, for I was in prison for one
murder, perhaps two, and from the surroundings it might be several, as
these men all looked like corpses to me.

Presently “Bang!” went the door. The guards had gotten great heavy irons
and were trying to force the door open. When they succeeded, I was the
first one to be taken care of. As a matter of fact, the dead men, as
they thought them, could be gotten away in only one way, and that is
carried. I could get away, but did not have a chance. But I got something
else, a good beating from the officers.

Oh, how I did beg and try to explain to them that I had not harmed
anyone! but in vain. I was laid up for some time from the severe
treatment.

I knew not what became of the officials, or how badly, if at all, they
were hurt. Neither did I know how it happened that they were all lying so
helpless on the floor.

It was unfortunate for me, as they did not know of this mysterious power
nor of the “lady ghost”—so called, nor of the unseen power which had put
our friend in the hospital. He had recovered enough to take notice when
the officers were brought into the hospital. He naturally inquired if
there had been a prison raid, and the answer was:

“More serious than that. We would be glad to let some of our prisoners go
if we could do so, as they seem to do much as they please with themselves
and others too. The great mystery is causing much trouble, and we can not
find out what is wrong.”

“How long have I been here and why am I here? I am not hurt. I was not
attacked by my prisoner. The last I remember I was cautioning him to be
careful, as I saw him lifting what no three men could. That is my last
recollection. I have not an ache nor a pain, and why am I here? Bring the
prisoner to me.”

“We can not. He is also in the hospital. He disobeyed so much that he
received such treatment as to be sent to the hospital.”

“He has! Tell me what has he done?”

“To the best of my knowledge, he has murdered five of the officials, all
brought in here just now, as you have seen.”

“Murdered! murdered! I want to get to him.”

“You too have been injured by him, and you must remain quiet until
pronounced out of danger.”

“I am not injured, and he did not harm me. I must be taken to the office,
that I may declare this man innocent of that crime.”

“I shall have to have orders from your physician before I could consider
taking you out of the hospital. I fear that you are not yourself, when
you say that the prisoner did not harm you.”

“I can swear before all, and by God in Heaven, that he did not. I must
be taken to him and tell him that I will say that he did me no harm.”

“You will have plenty of time to prove his innocence, and tell why you
are here and how you did get hurt if he did not do it.”

“I am not hurt. I am as well as I ever was in my life, and I must see the
doctor and say to him that I must be out of here.”

“Very well; I will go to the doctor and send him to you.”



CHAPTER VI.

DISCHARGED FROM THE HOSPITAL.


“Good morning, sir,” said the doctor when he entered. “I was told that
you wished to see me.”

“If it is the rule of this hospital to be discharged by the doctor, then
I want to see you. Outside of that I do not need you.”

“Are you preparing to leave here?”

“I am. Why should I remain here? I am not sick.”

“You are not able to leave. I see that you are in a very dangerous
condition.”

“Tell me why you say and think so.”

“I am going to say to you that I have seen many such cases as
yours—delirious. They do not feel ill and know not what is wrong, and
think they are in the very best of health. I will take your temperature.”

“One moment, please—”

“Temperature 104. You are a very sick man. You must remain in this ward.”

“I must save the accused prisoner. He did not hurt me. I distinctly
remember that I was saying to him, ‘Be careful!’ and he was not even
looking toward me.”

“Well, sir, I fear that you do not understand. I have been attending some
of our officials who have been hurt very badly by the same prisoner, and
we have him in the mad-house, very dangerously injured by the officer who
found them a few minutes after the act had been committed, just as you
were found, and he pleaded innocent, just as he did in your case.”

“I will say to you, and I must say to all men, that he did not harm me. I
am not ill. I must be discharged from this place.”

“Very well; I will see about it.”

Going to another part of the hospital, where the other patients who
had fallen to the floor had been taken, the doctor, turning to the
superintendent, said:

“Good morning. You are feeling much better this morning?”

“I am, sir. I do not feel ill. I am not ill, and shall leave for the
office at once. Why am I here? I have not been ill. As I awakened this
morning I could not for a moment realize where I was and what had
happened.”

“Have you no recollection of any trouble?”

“I do not remember of any. Oh, yes! The mysterious ghost is all the
trouble I have had for some time. But how is the guard the prisoner hurt?
Is he dead? What have they done with him? Did I not order him to be
brought in, so that the superior officers might see what could be done?
Oh, I do remember, now! It was not clear in my mind until now; now it has
begun to clear up so that I can remember. Pray tell me why you brought me
here? I do not remember of coming. Who is in charge of the office?”

“An officer is taking care of the office. It is well cared for.

“I have some mail here. Shall I leave it at the office, or here?”

“The officer is able to read.”

“You are not to make me sick by saying these things. I am not sick.

“What have I here? A letter from the murderer of the mysterious woman
ghost! What does this mean? Listen:

“‘_I want to confess. I did the murdering, and not the prisoner you have
there. He is innocent._’

“Well, well! He does not give his name and I wonder how he knows of a
mysterious ghost, as I have guarded very carefully about the mystery. I
have avoided gossip about the matter, preferring that it should not get
out. But I should be glad to free the ghost and let her out. I should be
entirely willing if she would go. When I go to the office, I shall send
for the prisoner whose name I hear called so much. And I shall show him
this letter and notice if any change comes over him.

“Now I shall leave for the office, and you, guard, may bring the prisoner
numbered 78 there.”

Soon a guard appeared at my side, saying: “You are wanted at the office.
Get up there.”

“I am not able to go. I have been badly hurt, and I am heart-sick. I know
that I can not live this life any longer.”

“You will not have to, perhaps, if you knew what I know. You would make
an effort to get up and come along with me,” said the guard.

“_The right murderer will be in your place soon, and you will be out;
so collect your strength, my son, and go. I will help you. I have the
strength to help you and I will do so._”

“I hear someone talking, but I do not see anyone. Did you hear anyone?”

“Yes, I did. I heard the voice say, ‘Son, get strength.’ I heard that and
more.”

“‘You will be out soon’—did you hear that?”

“I did.”

Once more to “the carpet”—this time with more hope than before, that the
truth would come out.

On entering I saw that the officer looked pale. He seemed to be very much
worried.

“Good morning, sir. I have a very mysterious letter here. Can you tell me
anything about it? You may read it.”

I saw the words, “I am the real murderer of the mysterious woman ghost.”
I cried out:

“I prayed to God that the real murderer would come and acknowledge that
he did the crime, for I knew that I did not, and I know who did.”

“The name, sir?”

As he wrote it down I could hear a hearty laugh, and so did he.

“Do not laugh, sir. You are not proved innocent.”

“I beg your pardon. I did not laugh.”

“Who did, then?”

“I am not able to say.”

“Officer, take him back. I feel that I must see if this is a letter
written by some crank, or was it written as a real confession. It is a
mystery. I must say that I think this man is innocent, and I propose to
look into this affair thoroughly at once. If he is innocent, he must be
released. If not, he must work. I shall write to the authorities at the
place where this letter was posted and have them make an investigation. I
am of the opinion that this man is not guilty. As I sit here I know that
I am hearing the words: ‘My son is innocent and you must release him from
this prison.’ Yet I know that the one whose voice I hear is invisible.”

A week passed. There had been no answer from the ones who had been
written to in regard to the prisoner. The superintendent grew weary of
waiting. He felt that there should have been some reply. He had sent a
copy of the anonymous letter of confession.

A guard appeared, and said: “You have a very sick man in 78. I have not
been able to arouse him, and I have been working over him for some time.”

Telling the story afterward, the superintendent said:

“I looked at the guard, and at that moment I saw a lady standing beside
him. I arose and asked her: ‘What can I do for you, madam?’

“The guard turned to look as she vanished, and said: ‘You are mistaken. I
brought no lady here with me.’

“I was so astonished at the remark that I spoke harshly and demanded
the guard to tell me who the lady was and how she got in, if he had not
admitted her.

“He replied: ‘I am not able to say. I did not see anyone. I came directly
to you and did not see anyone here, nor did I notice anyone near as I
entered this office.’

“‘Well, what is wrong, now?’

“‘I came to tell you that No. 78 is a very sick man.’

“‘I suppose he thinks that he will get his freedom after the reading of
the mysterious letter, but I feel that there is a mystery in connection
with the entire matter. There is not enough proof to entitle him to his
freedom. Proof of that kind would not go in court—at least, not in this
day and age. If he needs a doctor, call one.’

“‘I am at a loss to know what to do with him.’

“As the guard turned to call a doctor for the prisoner I heard a voice
say:

“‘_He is not sick—only resting. He will soon be out of here._’

“I once more looked to see whence came the voice. But could gain no
information as to where or from whom the voice came.

“‘I must get away from this place. I am losing my mind,’ I thought.
‘Perhaps I really have lost it, for I can not explain these strange
things. I must get away for a day or so. I will leave the office. Pearson
can take care of this case while I am at rest and thinking this matter
over. I can think it over away from here.’

“The guard returned in a few minutes, smiling, and with the news that the
prisoner was sitting up when he arrived with the doctor. He also said
that the prisoner had denied that anything was the matter with him.

“‘So he has been feigning, has he? Well, he shall get no more sympathy
from this place. I have decided to rest a few days, and in my place Mr.
Pearson will give orders. But I want you to cease at once showing mercy
on prisoner No. 78. You may go for Mr. Pearson. I shall leave directions
for him to find a place for the prisoner and see that he works.’

“‘I am not sure, but I think that I saw Mr. Pearson talking with the man
very recently.’

“‘Well, bring him here. I want to talk with him.’

“I was all a-tremble—just on the verge of nervous breakdown. All on
account of this mysterious voice and seeing and not seeing.

“‘Good morning, Mr. Pearson,’ I said. ‘I am leaving for a few days’ rest,
and I want you to take charge of this office and see that a convict here,
No. 78, is put to work. He is very much averse to doing any work, and we
have no pets in this place, so he can not be made one. The guard will
report to you from time to time in regard to him.’

“As I was leaving, in an undertone I said: ‘Yes, and if you do not get
reports from some others, as well as the guard, I shall be very much
disappointed. I hope that you will. I pray that you may, and perhaps I
shall have help to find out what all this means. I hope that he will be
able to explain all the mysterious actions by the time I return to work.’

“Oh, what a relief it was to know that I was away from that strain for a
while, at least!”

The acting superintendent thought: “I am going to see what the trouble
is with No. 78. I wonder if that is the fellow who has caused so many
mysterious things to happen around here. By George! I believe it is. I
will ask the guard. Here he comes.”

“Guard, if that 78 prisoner hasn’t any aptitude for the position he has
to occupy, you may bring him in. I will try to find out what vocation he
has followed, and see if we can accommodate him.”

As the guard left he shook his head, as if to say: “You can not have any
luck in getting that fellow to work.”

But the official in his own mind decided: “My dear old dad has often told
me that kind words will do far more than harsh ones or harsh treatment. I
am going to treat this prisoner with kindness and gentleness.”

Then the acting superintendent looked up to see if he had a hard criminal
to deal with, as No. 78 entered the door with his guard. He sank into his
chair, gasping:

“What do I see? My brother! Do my very eyes deceive me, or is it really
he? A convict in this place!”



CHAPTER VII.

“MY BROTHER A CONVICT!”


The official thought: “I must not let myself be known. I must not.”

To the prisoner he said: “You may be seated, sir. I want to talk to you.”

Then to the guard: “I will excuse you, guard. I wish to question the
prisoner alone.”

Turning to the prisoner: “Now, sir, I should like to hear something about
yourself. Why were you sentenced, and have you registered under your real
name?”

“I have, sir. I am not a criminal. I have been sentenced because of
strong circumstantial evidence. I am innocent. I did not commit the crime
for which I am here.”

“Well, my opinion of you is good. I do not believe that you are a
murderer—at least, I hope not. What occupation did you follow before you
came here?”

“I was a follower of any work I could do—anything that my strength would
permit me to do. I was not a disagreeable man. I made many friends.”

“If you had many, your friends were no help to you in this case. Did not
they offer any assistance?”

“No, sir; I was judged wrongly from the beginning—that is, as soon as it
was discovered that it was my handkerchief which was found by the dead
lady’s side. My friends were nowhere to be found. I received cold and
hard looks from all.”

“Well, sir, I have heard your story. I want to ask you where you were
born. What is your native country?”

“My home, sir, is in England. When a very small boy, I ran away from
home. I have grieved my dear old mother so much. I understand that she
has since died, and after I heard that, I never cared to go home again,
but I feel that many times she has spoken to me. Often, when I have been
attracted to company I did not know well, I could feel that she was near
me and I could hear these words: ‘_My son, be careful, be careful!_’ And
I did not and would not go on after getting the warning, as I called it.”

“You talk as if you had tried to live the right kind of a life, and I
feel that you have, but in the position which I hold here I must not
show any favors; otherwise I would do so in this case. Therefore I must
give you work to fit the crime of which you have been accused. That will
mean hard work.”

“I am willing to work, but do not give me work that my strength will not
allow me to do. I am weak. I do not get the substantial food that you do,
therefore I am not able to work hard. You do not know what it means to
be punished for a crime committed by another. I am being punished for a
murder which I never committed, and I ask you to have mercy on me.”

“You are guilty until proved innocent. I will ring for the guard, and he
will place you where you belong.”

As the guard approached the prisoner turned and looked in astonishment.
The official also looked, and, describing the scene afterward, he said:

“I was raised from my chair. I do not know by what means. Then I began
to feel dizzy and could not speak. I lost my power to see. I could feel
someone near, and then I heard the voice of a woman saying: ‘_You would
sentence your brother to hard labor, to enable you to hold your own
position? You, a child of the same mother and father? Have you no mercy
on him? My son, take this brother to your arms and let yourself be known
to him. Look into this affair and see if he is not innocent. I will
release you, and you do with your brother as you would have him do to
you. These are the commands of the spirit of your mother._’

“I shall never forget the terrible strain I was in, and as I mumbled
brokenly I felt a hand trembling, trying to help me to stand up, and I
was given strength by the help of this hand.

“The guard asked for instructions as to where he should place this man—my
brother, and I ordered him back to his cell.

“I was at a loss to know what to do. Must I confess—acknowledge him as my
brother? or should I pretend to be ignorant of the fact which was plain
to my mind? No one knew that he was my brother—not even the man himself
knew it. Why should I acknowledge a criminal and a murderer? I could not!

“I thought: ‘I shall place him at once at hard labor. I shall call the
guard and have him brought in. I shall try to be brave and not think of
boyhood days, when he and I went hand in hand to the dear old school. And
dear mother, how she caressed us as she said good-bye! I can hear those
words ring in my ears yet: “Run along, children, and study hard, and some
day you will be your mother’s pride.” Yes, to-day, if she could be near
her criminal son, she would not be so proud of him. She would do as I am
going to do, disown him.’

“I had been so deeply engrossed in thought that I had not called for the
prisoner, so I called: ‘Guard, I want you to bring No. 78 in here.’

“I felt so uneasy that I thought: ‘Can it be that I have decided wrong in
this matter?’

“‘Here he is,’ responded the guard, in a short time.

“‘Come in, and I will find the work for you to do which I think you will
be able and trustworthy to do. You may take this coat and hat, and you
may remove your coat of stripes, and we will exchange places.’

“‘What! You think that I would not do my part if I were given work which
I could do? I know that I would do my part if given work I could do. I
know I would do my part. Oh, please give me a chance! I only want an
opportunity to live, if I can, those ten years I must stay in here—or, at
least, until I am proved innocent.’

“‘Well, how do you think you can prove that you are innocent?’

“‘The real murderer has written to the superintendent and confessed
his guilt—or, at least, a letter has been sent here stating that I am
innocent.’

“‘You received such a statement?’

“‘I did not, but the officer did—the one whose place you are filling.’

“‘I will look into this matter, at once.’

“‘You may take him back to his cell, guard, and I will send for him again
when I have investigated this thoroughly. Take him back, and return at
once.’

“I was sure that if he were innocent, he could be proved to be so, and I
decided to go about it at once.

“‘A great man, he is,’ said the guard. ‘We have had more trouble with him
than with twenty-five of the other prisoners together.’

“‘Do you know anything in regard to a letter written here?’

“‘I do not. I think that the superintendent has taken a letter for use
while he is working on the case for the poor devil.’

“‘Well, I will go to the records and see if there is a record of any such
letter.’

“‘I hope that you will do something in a hurry, for I am getting tired of
pacing back and forward with the gentleman,’ said the guard. ‘I feel that
I have need of a pair of shoes sot to going some other direction than
from 78’s cell to the office and back.’

“‘Well, Pat, what is your opinion of this case? Do you think the man is
innocent, or not?’

“‘I’m not here acting as judge, but if he is guilty, the mon should work.
Setting around eating of the victuals and his toime going on just the
same!’

“‘The only way to prove his innocence would be for the poor woman to come
back and tell how the murder was done, and I don’t think there would be
any of us here to do time or see others did if we would see her here
telling us how she was murdered.’

“‘I, for one, would be a dead Pat.’

“‘Well, Pat, we are both in doubt about the prisoner’s guilt. Now, as
long as he is here and proved guilty, say we find work for him to do.
What would there be to do where a man could work and not work?’

“‘Leave him have the same job he has had—rest in his cell when he is not
on the road here and back.’

“‘If you want a job of that kind, you misunderstand me, Pat. As I
understand the poor man, he has never done very hard manual labor, and to
place him to work of that kind, I fear, would make it necessary to soon
change again. I am sorry that it had to fall to me to confine a convict
to hard labor and feel that he is innocent [in an undertone] and my
brother!’

“‘Well, shall I bring the poor devil in? My shoes has pointed that way;
every toime I start the shoes on my very feet wants to track to 78’s
cell.’

“‘I wish we could arrange everything, Pat, so your shoes could get a
rest. It matters not about our minds. Bring him along.’”



CHAPTER VIII.

THE BROTHER SENTENCED TO HARD LABOR.


The official continued: “As the man left to do my bidding I said to
myself: ‘He has gone to bring in my brother for me to sentence to hard
labor. What shall I do? I do not feel as if I could utter the words.’

“I was completely upset. I experienced a most peculiar feeling. I
thought: ‘Here he comes. I must do my duty.’

“I said to the prisoner: ‘Come in, sir. And how do your feel this
morning?’

“Now, the devil take the mon who is two-faced! I brought the prisoner
here to be put to work. Instead of that, he is having a nice visit with
him. Inquiring about his health!’ Pat was heard mumbling to himself.

“‘Well, sir, I am going to see if you can do the work I will give you to
do. I am going to have you take care of the prisoners in seeing that they
have water to drink. Now, I will give you instructions. You understand
the rules of the prison, and I hope that you will abide by them. Do not
speak to any of your fellow-prisoners. You will be passing back and forth
around each working booth. They understand how to ask for water, if they
wish any.’

“‘Pat, you may show him the way. And see that you do not burden him with
a heavy load. Now you may go.’

“‘Well, come along here, pet. I will give you a quart bucket which is
light to carry, and if I happen to be going your way, I will help you
carry it.’

“I hoped that at last we had found a place which the prisoner could fill.
I felt somewhat at ease. I felt that I had done my duty to my brother as
well as I could under the circumstances. I hoped that my arrangements
would please him and also please the superior officer when he returned.
And, by the way, it was time for him to return. I wondered if he had
enjoyed his vacation.

“‘Well, your honor.’

“‘What is it, Pat?’

“‘Your pet has refused to carry a full bucket of water, and stands there
and looks at it as if he never saw water before. He will not speak a
word. I do believe he is petrified—turned to one of those things which
looks like a man and is a dead one.’

“‘Pat, I can hardly believe you. I shall have to see for myself. Close
the door behind us. We can not leave it unlocked to tempt our prisoners.

“‘You are falsifying, Pat. Is not that the fellow, going there with that
bucket of water?’

“‘To be sure it is.’

“‘Then why did you come to me with such reports?’

“‘I came with the truth, your honor, and if the man can be dead one
minute and alive the next, then I want to deal with the live ones all the
toime.’

“‘You perhaps do not understand how to handle him.’

“‘And faith, I think the majority of them is in the same fix. They have
had the same experience themselves.’

“‘Well, as long as everything is all right, we will try and rest easy.’

“‘You are resting easy now. But when the superintendent comes back and
finds that when he has left orders to punish a convict you favor him, I
think you will have to find yourself another job.’

“When the superintendent entered, I experienced a feeling of relief. I
exclaimed: ‘Well, well! Back, and looking fine. I was thinking of you
this morning, hoping that you were having a good rest.’

“‘I did not rest much, for reasons that I will explain. I have here a
letter, which I received before I left. It purports to have been written
by the murderer for whom No. 78 is serving time.’

“‘You have such a letter? But why do you look so excited?’

“‘Have you had any trouble with the prisoner?’

“‘Well, yes and no.’

“‘What is the trouble? You answer me both ways.’

“‘I have placed him to work, and after I had done so I was informed that
he refused to work. I was anxious to see for myself, and when I went to
investigate, I found him doing his duty. Therefore that is why I answered
you as I did.’

“‘To hard labor, as I instructed you to do?’

“‘Well, yes, hard labor for him, as he explained that he had never done
any hard labor. I hope that you will be pleased with the work I have
given him to do.’

“‘And what work has he been instructed to do?’

“‘I have given—well, I thought he could be very useful in doing such work
as that, and I asked Pat to start him at once.’

“‘Yes, yes; I think that is a good job. Call Pat. Push button No. 9. Pat
is an Irishman who will tell the truth.’

“‘You are very nervous. I have noticed your peculiar actions ever since
we began to talk of this affair.’

“‘Good mornin’, your honor. I am very glad to see that you have returned.’

“‘I am glad to be here. Pat, what has become of No. 78? Is he working? I
hope to have some knowledge of him when you have finished talking. I have
not been able to find out much through Mr. Pearson, here.’

“Well, sir, I am only here to do as directed, and I follow instructions
to the letter, and if I am told to go out and bate a fellow to death, I
would do it, so in this case I did as I was instructed to do.’

“‘You are a noble officer, sir. I think you have been requested to
tell me what has become of No. 78. As yet you have not followed your
instructions.’

“‘I will bring the rascal in here and let him tell you what he is doing.’

“‘Is he running at large, doing nothing?’

“‘Yes, sir, and has the privilege of carrying some water along to take a
drink when he gets thirsty.’

“‘Bring him here. I will try to find out from him what orders have been
given him.

“‘I am going to see if I can solve this mystery. Mr. Pearson, are you
ill? You are looking very pale. Do you feel ill? What is the matter? Are
you faint?

“‘Come along, Pat, step lively. Bring your prisoner in, and call Doctor
Gray. Mr. Pearson is very ill.’

“The prisoner entered, saying: ‘I am so glad to see you here and see you
looking so refreshed.’

“‘Yes, I think I shall hold my fresh looks a long time here and have a
myth, like you, to deal with.’

“‘I beg your pardon, sir, I have not caused you any trouble. I am not
disobeying the rules. I never have.’

“‘You are doing what now?’

“‘I am carrying water for my fellow-prisoners to have a drink, as they
need water so often.’

“‘Come in, doctor. I have a patient here for you. Mr. Pearson is very
ill.’

“At that moment I lost consciousness.”



CHAPTER IX.

THE SUPERINTENDENT TRIES TO SOLVE THE MYSTERY.


“Mr. Pearson has fainted. I have just returned from my vacation. Please
get some water. I think it is nothing serious.”

“I don’t understand the case. His pulse is normal. His temperature is not
high enough to indicate extreme illness. Yet he seems to be in a very
deep faint. You had better call another doctor. I am at a loss to know
what to do.”

“I will ring for one at once. Here is Pat. I’ll send him for Doctor
Simson.

“Pat, go at once and bring Doctor Simson. We are not able to bring Mr.
Pearson to.”

Pat was heard mumbling to himself: “Another mysterious case. I’m going to
leave this prison, and I would not blame the others if they did the same,
prisoners and all.”

“Dr. Simson, you are wanted at once, at the main office. The officer, Mr.
Pearson, is a dead man—or, at least, he looks it.”

“Well, Pat, if he is dead, there is no use in my going.”

“You better go and see for yourself. There are some funny doings going
on around here. Men look like dead ones, and not dead. I hope I won’t be
looking like a dead one and disappointing my friends. You must be coming
along. They sent me for a doctor, and, faith, I would bring you at once.”

“Well, Pat, I am ready. So your patient looks like a dead one, hey?”

“You may decide that for yourself when you get there.”

“Well, here we are. I shall soon see.

“Good morning, Mr. Officer. What have we here? A sick man?”

“Good morning, doctor.”

“Doctor, what would you do in a case like this? I am not able to tell
what is wrong.”

“Have you taken his temperature?”

“I have.”

“And what is it?”

“Normal.”

“In so dead a faint, and normal?”

“You may take his temperature and see if I am mistaken.”

“You are right, doctor. The best thing to do is to let the patient rest
a few moments. I see no serious danger. I do not really understand the
case.”

“Pat, you may bring in the stretcher and we will take him to the
hospital.”

“I have been set to carrying the dead to the cemetery when they could not
speak any more.”

“You are having some trouble with one of your prisoners here, I
understand.”

“We are, doctor, and here he is.”

“He does not look like a sickly man, but, my dear sir, you can not always
tell by looking at a man what strength he has.”

The prisoner interposed: “I am not a strong man, doctor, but I am strong
enough to work if I were given work that I could do.”

“We have placed him in many places, and we have not been able to find out
what he can do.”

“I am doing all that is required of me, am I not, at the last work you
have given me to do?”

“You are, as far as I know, but you were sentenced here to hard labor. I
must obey the orders of the courts.”

“What is the poor man here for? He talks as if he were a good sort of a
fellow.”

“Murder. Does that sound as if he were a good fellow? And a poor woman,
at that—strangled her to death. A horrible death.”

At that moment a voice was heard saying: “_You are accusing him
wrongfully. He is not a murderer._”

Turning to look for the speaker, they were surprised to see Mr. Pearson
ready to speak.

“Well, sir, you have recovered. How do you feel?”

“I have not been ill.”

“Well, we have been very busy for the last half-hour, trying to get you
to speak.”

“Pat, you may take the stretcher back. The patient will be able to walk
to the hospital if he needs to go.”

“The way these fellows have of dying and coming to life again must be a
trade they have learned.”

“Are you not going to let me work, sir, at what I was last given to do?”

“You are going to hard labor. No more of this playing off around here.”

“Very well, sir.”

“I don’t think that you need my services any longer,” said the doctor.
“The officer seems all right, and he says that he is. I shall return to
the hospital.”

“Now, Mr. Pearson,” said the superintendent, “please explain to me—when
orders were given to put this man to hard work, you gave him a trusty
job.”

“I did the best I could. I am not a heartless man. The poor fellow said
he could not do hard manual labor, and I believe he told the truth, and I
am willing to give him a trial, for proof of his honesty.”

“You know of all the crimes he has committed while in here, do you not?
Or, at least, tried to and failed.”

“In what way, pray tell me?”

“Trying to murder the guards. I, for one, had a peculiar experience with
him. Found myself in the hospital—fortunately, not hurt, however, but not
able to explain what had happened.”

“Now you will have to work, sir, and I am going to call Pat. I can trust
him to see that you do.

“Pat, take this fellow to the booth where they prepare iron for shipping,
and see that he works. And I shall assign you, Pat, to take care of him,
and him alone. We shall see if this mystery can be cleared up.”

“Come along with me, pet 78. I will make a sure enough dead one out of
you if you trifle with me. When I have instructions to do anything, I
generally do it.”

“Now, Mr. Pearson, I shall have to reprimand you. You are working under
my instructions. I, bear in mind, hold a higher position over you, and
you will have to explain to me the whys and wherefores of what you did,
as you did not follow my directions.”

“I followed your instructions, sir, the best I could, after Pat spoke of
a letter which was received here by you, written as a confession of the
crime for which this poor fellow was doing time.”

“So your sympathies got such a hold over you that you use the expression
‘poor fellow,’ do you? My opinion is that the letter was a hoax to get
sympathy for him while here. It was probably written by some friend of
the man’s on the outside.”

A voice said: “_You are accusing my son wrongfully, and you must suffer
for it._”

“My God! Did you hear that?”

“Did I hear that? Yes, and I have heard that and more so many times that
I have become quite familiar with the voice and do not feel alarmed at
hearing it. Tell me what it was—_you!_”

“_You, you_, tell me what you think it was, and I will tell you
something, then.”

“Well, sir, I am not going to try to express myself, for I can not do so,
but I will go back to my part of the work.”

“You will remain here with me and express yourself as to what your belief
is in regard to the mysterious voice we hear.”

“Come, quick!”

It was Pat’s voice.

“Come quick! The fellow is talking himself to death. I have bate him for
half an hour and he is still talking, and devil a bit does he care for my
bating.”

“I will leave you and go with Pat.”

“You will have to do something quick. He has disturbed the whole prison
and the bating I gave him helped to excite the other prisoners’ curiosity
to know what the man was being baten for.”

“Right this way, I think, is the nearest, Pat. Avoid excitement as much
as possible.”

“You will see the poor devil throwing his hands and telling that he is
not the murderer. And he is mumbling something about not going to be
punished for a crime he never committed.”

“You in trouble again? Not satisfied without disturbing the prisoners as
well as the officials?”

“I beg your pardon, sir, I have been doing all I could do, and working,
sir, since you placed me here. I felt a dizziness come over me. I don’t
know how long I stood before I regained myself.”

“Do you feel as if you had had a good beating?”

“I? No, sir, I do not.”

“Then the devil take the man I will ever punish again,” said Pat; “I’ve
been working myself out of breath bating him and then he stands up there
and tells that he didn’t know he got a bating.”

“You feel as if you could do the work, do you?”

“I will try, sir. It is awful hard and I feel I haven’t strength to last
the day through, but I will go as long as I can.”

“Now, Pat, we will return to the office, and I want you to tell Mr.
Pearson the trouble you had with this fellow, and while you are telling
him, and telling how quietly he was working, you as well as I will watch
Mr. Pearson’s face and see how much sympathy, if any, goes out to the
prisoner.”

“Indade, your honor, I have noticed the sympathy shown to the prisoner by
Mr. Pearson, while you were away. He even offered to exchange coat and
hat with the man, and job too.”

“Pat, are you telling me the truth? A man holding the position which Mr.
Pearson does, making such sacrifices as that with a prisoner, and one
who is here sentenced for the crime which he is? Now, before we go in, I
caution you to be watchful.”

“Well, Mr. Pearson, a time we have had with the 78 convict, a murderer,
and the worst hypocrite I ever saw.”

“You found things as Pat represented them, did you?”

“No, I did not. The fellow was working very hard when we reached the
place.”

“The same thing occurred with me. I once hastened to investigate and
found him as you did, doing his duty. So, sometimes, we are not to judge
the poor prisoner too harshly, for we are not always informed correctly.”

“I am here to speak for myself. I am the one who has informed you, as
well you know, and I will prove to you, your honor,” said Pat, “that I
gave the man a good bating.”

“Yes, that would not be hard for me to believe. You did that, but it
would be hard to make me believe some of the reports that have been made
against the prisoner.”

“You seem to take a deep interest in No. 78. What is the secret, pray
tell me?”

“I have no secret, sir.”

“_I have a secret which I shall tell some day, and you will believe me_,”
a voice was heard to say.



CHAPTER X.

PAT ALLOWS THE PRISONER TO ESCAPE.


“I am going to leave you in charge of this place and I am going to
investigate. I shall don a suit of one of the guards and follow this man
around from morning until night and see if I will have any trouble with
him.

“Come along, Pat. Find me a club. That is about the first thing I shall
have to do—use it on goodness knows whom. But someone is going to get a
punishment from me.”

“If you find a job with the last fellow I had to bate, you will have a
good job.”

“Now, Pat, did you notice any strange actions about this mutt, Mr.
Pearson? I did, and I am under the impression that some secret lies
there, and the old saying is, ‘Murder will out.’”

“You are not of the opinion that he is guilty of murder?”

“I see, Pat, that you do not understand me. I believe that Mr. Pearson
knows this convict, in some way that he does not care to tell. There is a
mystery there.”

“Now, here is a club I have carried, and I know a good one. And if you
want two, here is another.”

“What would I do with two, Pat? One is all you can use at one time.”

“Well, I’m thinking that if he had two clubs in his hands, as he was
throwing them, I would never have been able to give him the bating I did.”

“I hope that I shall not have to use one, Pat, much less two. Now, I am
going to take charge of the prisoner, and, Pat, as I shall be close to
him all of the time, you had better drop around to the office quite often
and see how Mr. Pearson is getting along.”

“I will do that, your honor.”

“You may go—no, I will go alone, as I will then be less liable to be
noticed.”

“Very well. Good luck to you and your new job.”

“Now for the mystery to be solved,” said the superintendent. “I shall
follow that fellow until I satisfy myself who is right and who is wrong.
And I shall find out if Pat is as faithful as he has been supposed to be.
I feel that the accused man has someone to help him in all of this work,
but who the helper is, that I should like to know.”

As he approached the prisoner the superintendent said: “I thought that I
would take care of you for a while—or, at least, try to. I see that you
are doing very nicely, and I am glad. I hope that you will try and live
up to the rules. You may speak to me when spoken to, but do not speak
without being spoken to.”

“I am going to pass by and take a peep at our new officer, and see how he
likes his job,” said Pat. “Well, be jabers, he is not here! Where in the
deuce has he gone? Say, do you hear me? Shake this door if you do. Spake,
and if you don’t spake, spake anyway.

“Well, I’ll have to find out if he has drew his wages and quit his job,
without giving the firm notice. Hello! hello! Well, the only thing I can
do is to go for the other fellow. I think he has got a key. Perhaps the
next fellow that gets the job will be me.

“What in the deuce do I see, away back in the corner? As sure as I am
alive, it is him. Well, well, wake up! You have got a easy job, I know,
but I don’t think you need to lay down and go to sleep by the side of it.

“Well, I can’t wake the poor devil, but I know someone who can. And I
would hate to be in the poor devil’s shoes if that one comes in and
finds him slapin’. So here’s to the office and report, as I promised to
do, if I lose my job by doing so. Someone is sure going to lose his job
here, and that very shortly.”

“Well, Pat, what are you doing around here?” said the superintendent.
“Why are you looking so excited? I am getting along fine here.”

“Well, I am not getting along fine there.”

“What is wrong, Pat?”

“The fellow that you left in your office has laid down and gone to sleep
on the job. And he locked the door before he did so. He was very careful
that no one could get in or out.”

“Gone to sleep? And the door locked? Here, you watch this man and I will
see what is the meaning of this.”

“If he don’t get his nap out before the officer gets there, it will be a
pity.”

“Here! What is wrong, Mr. Pearson?”

“Wrong? Nothing is wrong.”

“Where have you been?”

“I have been here, sir, and very busy.”

“Now, Mr. Pearson, were you not asleep with the door locked on the
inside?”

“I am not guilty. Pat has been giving you some more reports—and false
ones, if he has told you that I was sleeping. I have not felt well, in
the last thirty minutes. I felt a dizziness come over me, but I feel all
right now.”

“Do you know if you were asleep at any time, or in a faint, while you
were feeling dizzy?”

“I was not, sir. I was sitting at this desk, as you see me.”

“And I am being deceived by one in whom I have placed confidence. Pat
is a good fellow. I can not believe that he would deceive me. Perhaps,
after all, I had better watch him, as well as the other one,” thought the
superintendent. “I need help. I have too many to watch. I can not be here
and there too, but I will stay by the prisoner until I have satisfied
myself that he is right or wrong.”

“Come quick! Help! help! The fellow has turned into a woman and it looks
as if there were half a dozen people where he is,” called Pat; “and he
spakes like a woman. All he would have to do would be to put on a woman’s
clothes and you would let him pass out on her voice, be jabers! She might
be cultivating the voice to make her get away, but when they get by Pat
they will have to go when I am aslape, for I am not here to let anyone
get away without their papers of freedom. You will have to come, as the
prisoners are killing time, listening to the lady speaking.”

“Now, office superior,” said Mr. Pearson, “you have so much confidence
in Pat, leave him in charge of the office, and I will go with you to see
what is wrong with the prisoner—78.”

“I will do that.”

“Pat, take care of this office until we return. Come along, Pearson. Make
haste, this way.”

“Well, I felt all along I would be the man to fill this place, and some
day this Irishman will be called the ‘supperior officer’ around this
prison. I hope they will succeed in finding the lady still talking—or the
gentleman, whichever it is.”

“Well, officer, do you see anything wrong? The fellow is working.”

“I do not understand this, and no excitement among the prisoners.”

“Well, I say the trouble is in the false reports made by Pat.”

“We will go back to the office and I shall ask Pat to explain what he
meant by causing all this excitement by false reports. Now that we are on
the way back to the office, I want to talk to you about those mysterious
voices. How do you account for them? Well, I was in hopes you would be
able to tell me something. What have you heard, Pearson?”

“I have heard more than I care to hear again.”

“You are not frightened, are you?”

“Well, I am not praying to hear any more of it.”

“I am going to say to Pat that he is not fooling anyone any more; the
next time he comes with such stories, he will be sent back to take care
of his own trouble. What, the office door open? What does that mean?
Where is Pat?”



CHAPTER XI.

THE MYSTERY DEEPENS.


“I think Pat has left the place. After all his false reports, he will, or
perhaps has, felt that he will be discharged, and will go before notice
is given.”

“Here he comes. Well, Pat, what do you mean? Is that the way you do when
trusted with the care of this office? Did I not say to you that I had all
confidence in you? And now you have given me cause to doubt you in all
things.”

“Your honor, would you have confidence in me at all if I would sit here
and let the prisoners all walk out? Just about two minutes ago a lady
came to the office and asked to come in. After I opened the door, she
just walked right through the office and out of the door. I called to her
to halt, and she did not stop, and I made a start for her, and in all my
life I never saw a female get the space between her and me as she did.”

“Do you mean to tell me that you have let some of the prisoners get
away?”

“I mane to tell you that the lady that came through that door got
away—prisoner, or whatever you may call her.”

“Pat, I am not going to discharge you now, for I shall have to see what
convict it was and what was her sentence here. Then I shall be better
able to deal with you. I am sorry, Pat, that you have proved to be such
an untrustworthy guard, and I, as well as Mr. Pearson, here, have found
you to be misrepresenting things all along and causing any amount of
trouble. Now you may go and do what the last orders gave you to do, and
I will take care of my man. If you find any more strange things around
here, don’t come to me. I shall not go to investigate another call from
you. Now go.”

“Your honor, I would like to spake a word in my own behalf. I am not as
you have expressed yourself that I was, untrustworthy. I will swear to
my Father in Heaven that I have been honest, honest in all my actions,
and when I called for help, you were informed right. I gave the correct
reports, and I want to say now that if you have that kind of opinion of
me, I will lave the prisoners and you may look for another Pat. I am not
a thafe. If so, I would be wearing the stripes instead of the blue, and
I feel I have been misjudged. I hope that you will find out that Pat was
just what you thought, true and trustworthy, and I will say to you that
you had better keep an eye on your fellow-officer, Mr. Pearson. I feel
that he has caused you to form the opinion you have.”

“Pat, go and do your duty, and all will work out right by and by.”

“I will, your honor; but whenever you want the club I carry, the same is
yours for the asking. I am ready to quit when I am not the gentleman I
should be.”

“Pearson, have you ever had any trouble with Pat?”

“I have not.”

“I believe that you and he have not the best of feeling for each other.
Can you explain the condition?”

“I have no grievance against Pat. I do not understand why he should bring
in such alarming reports, reports which on investigation prove to be
untrue, absolutely untrue, with no base or foundation whatever, and that
is why I am not particularly fond of Pat.”

“It is all a very strange affair. During my absence did you have
a conversation with Convict 78? And what was the object of that
conversation? What was your reason for dismissing Pat, after he had
brought the convict in?”

“I do not remember doing so.”

“I have been informed that you did. There should be no secrets among the
officials and the prisoners.”

“_I am going to explain. I am the mother of these two boys, and the
Prisoner 78 and my son Pearson, here, are brothers. Pearson knows that
his brother is an innocent man, but is ashamed to acknowledge his
brother. But the prisoner is as innocent as you, who are trying to punish
him for a crime he never committed._”

“Do you hear that voice, Pearson?”

“I do, but from whom does it come? There is no one here that I can see.”

“_You will see me_,” the voice was heard to say.

“‘I will see you.’ Did I hear that? Did you get that, officer?”

“I did, and I heard more; I heard the same voice say that you and this
man, Convict 78, were brothers. Did you hear that?”

“I did.”

“Well—”

“I am not sure of it. I only know that he carries my name, and his
Christian name is the same as that of a brother of mine whom I have not
heard from in years. He ran away from home when a small boy, and we never
heard from him afterward. We thought he was dead, as he never returned or
wrote. Poor mother grieved herself to her grave for that lost, wayward
son. I remained home with her until she died.”

“And the estate—did you advertise for him?”

“My father died when I was a small boy and left mother in good
circumstances. I and this brother who left home were the only heirs.”

“And you got the bulk of the estate? Did I understand you to say that you
advertised for your brother?”

“Well, you see, it was this way: not hearing from him for so many years,
I decided that he was dead, and I did not think it worth while.”

“You are not sure that this is not your brother, then, Mr. Pearson?”

“No, I am not sure.”

“Well, I will send for him and we perhaps may be able to find out by
questioning him. Ring for Pat.”

Just then Pat, mumbling, “I will stroll around and see if the supperior
officer has changed his mind about me being a gentleman,” appeared.

“Here is Pat, now.”

“Pat, bring in No. 78, at once.”

“Whenever the man says ‘Pat,’ I know that 78 is wanted. Well, if that
don’t bate annything! I wonder now what he has done? I know that he has
been good the last half-hour, for I have been watching him with my own
very eyes, and devil take the one that has lied on him, now. Look at the
poor fellow! He has the same feeling that I have. Every time he sees me
coming he knows that he is wanted.

“Well, you are wanted at the office, and come along quick, and have
it over with. I feel very queer—I feel like I have ate a fly for my
breakfast. Only a different feeling comes on a fellow so quick when
something is going to happen, and you don’t know what it is.

“Your honor, do you want him now? If so, here he is.”

“If I did not want him, Pat, I should not have sent for him. You may be
seated over there.”

“You see, the convict is sometimes treated with poor courtesy. Then I—I
have not been asked to have a chair,” Pat was mumbling to himself.

The officer turned to the prisoner:

“You are enrolled here in the name by which you were christened, are you
not?”

“I am, sir.”

“Clarence Pearson, is that your real name?”

“It is, sir.”

“Do you remember anything about your people?”

“I do, sir.”

“Tell me all you know about your family, and the number of children,
brothers and sisters, and if your parents are living, and where you were
born.”

“I was a small boy when I left home, many years ago. My father I don’t
remember much about. My poor dear mother has often told me that I was
quite young at the time of his death. I have no sisters. I have one
brother, who was at home when I left. I have since heard that my dear
mother has died. After I heard that, I never had the heart nor courage to
go home again.”

“Was your mother in comfortable circumstances?”

“Oh, yes, sir! My mother was a wealthy woman.”

“And you will swear that that is your name?”

“I will, sir.”

“Pat, you may take him back.”

“_You will not close the iron doors behind my child again! He is far more
a free man, or should be, than the one sitting there in silence._”

“Well, Pat, why don’t you take him? He is ready.”

“So am I, but when you tell me to do a thing, and then tell me not to,
how in the name of common sense do I know what to do?”

“I have given you only one instruction, and that was to go.”

“Well, then, who the devil told me not to take him?”

“Did you get such orders?”

“I did.”

“When?”

“Just now, and I got more than that.”

“What did you get?”

“I heard a voice—where it came from I don’t see, but my hearing is
good—and this is what it said—I will look about me and see that I am not
knocked down after I tell what I heard.”

“Go on, and tell what you heard.”

“Faith, and I will tell every word of it. I heard—as you finished telling
me to take him back—I heard a voice say: ‘The doors will not close
behind—’”

“I can’t think what is the matter, Pat.”

“I am getting them. I will be a dead man, here, soon, like some of the
other ones around here has been. Anyway, I didn’t take the man back, did
I?”

“Pat, you are acting funny. What is the matter with you?”

“Come along here! I will lock _you_ up if you are the guilty one.”

“Pat, you are not going to take Mr. Pearson. He has not committed a
crime.”

“I say, come along here! You are the thief, to rob your brother of all
and then sit and let him suffer.”

“You are going mad, Pat. I shall have to call for help if you do not turn
Officer Pearson loose.”

“Call for help. All the power you have in this prison could not conquer
me.”

“I shall turn in a general alarm if you do not let him go.”

“_Turn in your alarm. I am ready to fight for my innocent son’s
freedom, and you too know that he is not a murderer, yet you sit there
and allow him to suffer, and for another’s crime. Here is the murdered
woman standing here declaring his innocence—and the real murderer is her
husband, and you have not made an effort to find him. Go look for him.
Place my innocent boy in a closed room, if you like, but never behind
bars. I will free him, as I have done all the time here, if you dare to
place him behind bars again!_”

“You will fall, Pat. Sit down. Here, steady, now. Give me some water
quick. Have some water, Pat. He looks so queer. Oh! you feel all right,
Pat?”

“I am not ailing. Why do you ask me if I feel all right? The only thing I
see, I was standing up a while ago, and now I am sitting down.”

“Yes, Pat; you were acting very funny, and insisted on taking Officer
Pearson to jail, instead of No. 78.”

“Faith, I think he will be there soon enough.”

“I don’t understand you. I am going to make you suffer for that talk. I
shall not allow myself to be called a thief by my inferiors. I shall have
a settlement with you, sir. Either you or I will leave here, and I think
that you will be the one to go.”

“Don’t be too sure of that. You may be wearing stripes around here
yourself, and I, the common Irishman, telling you what to do and throwing
the bread and water at you.”

“Hey, Pat! What do you mean? Why are you doing all this talking? Are you
accountable for what you are saying? I shall have to stop this talk at
once. We are not in the habit of allowing our employees to talk in that
manner.”

“I think that Pat has served his time here. He is beginning to think that
he is the boss.”

“Well, I’d like to say the same thing about you in regard to serving
time, but I don’t think you have started in on your time yet, and when
your brother who is sitting here tells all he knows, you will be wearing
his clothes and he will be wearing something better, for some of that
money belonging to him which you have will enable him to do unto you as
you should do unto him—and that is, help when in trouble.”

“Pat, I am speaking to you for the last time, and I shall have to
discharge you if you do not quiet yourself.”

“_You will not discharge him._”

“Well, did you decide what to do? Shall I take 78 back?”

“Pat, you talk and look and act quite differently now. What was wrong? Do
tell.”

“I am just the same Irishman. Do you think I have changed in looks? I
hope not, for who ever saw a homely Irishman?”

“You did change in looks, but look all right now. Put the prisoner in the
other office—No. 2. I may need him soon. Then you may go.”

“Well, Mr. Pearson, what does all this mean? I don’t understand. But I
shall not cease the investigation until I find out what is wrong.”

“You are paying too much attention to what Pat has been saying.”

“I am not referring to Pat’s sayings. I am asking you, or will do so,
to explain about this man bearing the same name and having the same
birth-place and the same number in his family as you have told me that
you have. Your statements were identical, and do you not know that
this is your brother? I believe that he is, and why do you not want to
acknowledge him, or find out whether he is guilty or innocent?”

“How often, sir, do we meet men who have the same name as ourselves—many
time the surname and the Christian name are the same. I am under the
impression that this is one of those times.”

“And I am very sorry, Pearson, but I am thinking that, although it is
very unfortunate for you, this is not an accident.”

“I do not understand you, sir.”

“Well, then, I will make it plainer. I think that the convict here is
your brother, and you know it.”

“You are judging me too harshly. I am not deserving of that opinion from
you.”

“You must do something to prove your innocence; otherwise I shall notify
the authorities and lay the circumstances before them.”

Pearson was silent.

“You have my sympathy, but we should show no partiality in our dealings
with our fellow-men. They must be treated fairly. Even prisoners must
receive justice. I shall leave you to think this matter over, and you may
report to me, later, how you feel about the matter.”

“I have nothing to think over and decide on.”

“Then you will acknowledge that you are his brother?”

“I may be, and if I am, I shall only be by birth. I shall never claim a
murderer for a brother.”

“_You are accusing him wrongfully. He is not a murderer._”

“Pearson, for God’s sake, where did that voice come from?”

“I can not tell.”

“_Then I will show myself._”

“Mother, mother, mother! Help! help!”

“Well, I have stayed away long enough. I think it’s about time they was
doing something to the poor convict.” It was Pat’s voice, this time.
“Perhaps I will be needed. I hear a call for help. I may find the whole
bunch dead.”

“Come quick, Pat!”

“What in the ⸺ is the matter, now?”

“I was talking to Pearson, and he threw up his hands and cried out,
‘Mother!’ three times, and called for help. He has fainted. You had
better call a doctor, or go for one; the wires may be busy.”

“Yes, I think the wires is crossed at this end, and I am belaving someone
will lose his job before they get them straightened, and if it is me, I
am willing to go. Many a poor devil would be glad to lose his job here.
I hope I find the doctor in and not busy. The poor officer may get tired
laying in a fit so long.”

“Well, Pat, you have got another dead man for me to take care of, have
you?”

“That is what I came for, and you had better make it lively. The superior
officer don’t feel very comfortable over the affair.”

“You mean that I am wanted at the office?”

“And I would not be saying so if you were not wanted.”

“Well, Pat, I sometimes think that you are like the Dutchman. I must take
you as you mean, and not as you say.”

“You had better get a move on you, for I mane it.”

“You are walking so fast I can not keep up.”

“Indade, he told me to go for you because I go faster than the wires, and
I want to keep up my reputation with the boss.”

“You are trying to make a record for yourself, are you?”



CHAPTER XII.

ANOTHER DEAD MAN.


As the two entered the office the superintendent exclaimed: “You are slow
about getting here. I believe Mr. Pearson is dead.”

“I hope not,” replied the doctor; “but I will see in a moment.” Then:
“Pulsation very weak. Did he complain of feeling ill before he collapsed?”

“No, doctor; only some excitement and—”

“He seems to have been affected very deeply from it. I am alarmed.”

“Do you think that we should send for more help?”

“I am not of the opinion that they could do any more than I am doing.”

“You are going to need the stretcher.”

“To the 78 cell, doctor! And a stretcher to carry out the dead live ones!”

“Pat, step inside and see what is the matter with No. 78. I hear a noise.”

“I am going to have the club ready. I am not feeling very good, and I
don’t think it would take much to get me—bated.”

“Now, doctor, I have a secret to tell you. I have been mistrusting a
convict’s relationship to an employee of this office, and I have asked
him for a complete explanation of the affair. I understand that he has
shown some favors to the convict in my absence. And I can not, for the
life of me, explain what the voices are that we hear in this office, at
times, pertaining to this officer. He and I were here talking the matter
over, and I asked him if he did not know this man was his brother. He
said that he did not. At that moment we heard a voice, ‘_I will show
you!_’ and a terrible scream came from him, and as he looked up he called
his mother three times for help, and fell as you see him.”

“I have witnessed many fainting spells, but never did I find the pulse in
such a condition.”

“Officer,” came the voice of Pat, “I am having a picnic, hearing the
prisoner talk in his sleep, and with his eyes open. Would you mind coming
in and getting some of the news?”

“You may go,” said the doctor; “I will take care of the patient. There is
nothing that you can do.”

“Very well, I will see what is wrong.

“Well, Pat, you seem to be having a free entertainment.”

“You will have to name it. I call it a treat to see a fellow talk asleep
and standing, with his eyes open all the time he is sleeping.”

“What is he talking about?”

“Listen, for yourself. He is going on so fast I can’t run and keep up.”

“_I am telling you I am innocent. I did not murder, and I am not guilty,
and my brother who was in a faint is all right now, and I am the spirit
of the mother of those two boys—my sons, and I have been the mysterious
one whose voice you have heard here trying to tell you and help my son
out of this trouble. I have to explain this by inspiring my son, as I am
doing now, and I can do so, as you see. And I have brought the woman who
was murdered with me, and she is here to say that she was strangled to
death by her husband, not by my son. My son is not guilty of that crime,
and I want you to take this name and address which she will give me,
and send for the real murderer. His name is Robert Devenart, and Mrs.
Devenart is here to tell you all about the crime, and I will repeat the
words after her_:

“‘_I was strangled to death, not by this man here, but by my husband. I
will tell all. I was having trouble with him and as he threatened me
I screamed, and the door opened, and this man, whom I knew slightly,
entered and asked if he could be of any assistance. I tried to be brave,
and told him that I did not need any assistance. He left, with an apology
for intruding. Then my husband clutched me by the throat and choked me to
death. Turn this man out and bring the real murderer in. Your officer is
all right. I will go now._’”

“Very well, doctor.”

“Do you feel all right, Pearson?”

“I am all right. I’ll just step out for some fresh air.”

“I am not satisfied to think that he was in a faint, officer. I have
never come in contact with anything like it in my whole experience as
a physician. You had hardly left the room until he opened his eyes and
looked around.”

“Had it not been for the fact that I might have missed some of the words
that were being spoken, I should have called you, doctor. I stepped
into the room, and there he—the prisoner, I mean—was standing, talking,
his eyes open and apparently he was himself. I inquired of Pat what was
wrong, and he—the prisoner—answered by saying, ‘I am not guilty.’ The
murderer’s name was given, and many more things were said, which I dare
not mention now.”

“Here is Pat.”

“Well, give me my time. I am a brave Irishman, I can bate a fellow
to death if need be, but I am not brave enough, when the dead come
around and talk to me, to stick around any longer. Faith, I did not see
anything, but I surely heard, and I know that I will fall dead if I ever
see one of the dead ones walking around here.”

“Pat, I can not give you your time. You are needed here. Go along and do
your duty, and I will send for you if you are wanted.”

“I hope you will never send for me if the dead want me.”

“Pat is a good, trusty fellow, and, doctor, I am glad I can make a
confidant of you in this matter. I am given the address of a person. I am
going to write at once to the proper authorities and see if they can find
the name, a very strange name. I never heard it before. I don’t think
they can get the wrong fellow if they find one by that name.”

“I would advise you to investigate, officer. People are oftentimes
innocent, although apparently proved guilty by law, and I am prejudiced
against circumstantial evidence. Many poor men are serving time because
of that kind of evidence.”

“_I am going to thank you_—”

“Did you speak? Did you?”

“No, doctor. You have heard some of that voice which we hear so often.
Can you explain?”

“No, sir; and I do not intend to stay in here to hear any more of it, or
to try to explain it. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, doctor.”

“I am going to ask you to allow me a vacation, officer. I am not feeling
very well.”

“Mr. Pearson, I have some very important work to do in the next few days,
and I shall need you badly.”

“I should like to leave by the first of the week, if possible.”

“It is more than likely that you can do so. You have nothing more to say
in regard to the affair of which we were talking?”

“I have not. I do not feel that this man is any relation to me, therefore
I am not going to bother anything about him.”

“What was your birth-place, Pearson?”

“I have secrets of my own. I don’t think that you or anyone should ask
about them, and I refuse to tell you. I am not being tried for any crime.
I do not have to answer your questions.”

“Very well. You may go back to your old position. I shall look after the
office. Say, Pearson! Here! You may take along the prisoner here. I don’t
care to have him in this room, keeping me alert at every noise.”

To the prisoner Pearson said: “Come. I will put you in your cell.”

“I am willing to go—to do anything that you request me to do.”

“Clarence—did I understand you to say that was your name?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Here is your cell. Step in. I will also go in. I want to talk to you.
Clarence, do you remember anything about your old home, and your brothers
and sisters, and your father and mother?”

“I have no father—he died when I was a small boy, and sisters I have
none. I have one brother.”

“What was your father’s name? Of course, I know it was Pearson, but what
was his Christian name—or have you forgotten it?”

“I have not forgotten anything about my home. I remember all very well.
It seems only yesterday, I have such a vivid recollection of all. My
brother’s name was William O. Pearson.”

“What was the _O._ for?”

“For Oliver, and I often called him by that name. You have such a strange
way of looking at me, officer. Do you not believe me?”

“Yes, Clarence, I believe you. I am going to tell you why I look at you
so strangely. You are my brother, and I am going to make this right with
you, if you will change your story and say that you changed your name
when you got into this trouble—or, rather, that you have gone under an
assumed name since you committed this crime. If you will do as I say, at
the end of your term, I will give you five thousand dollars—when you walk
out of this place a free man.”

[Illustration: “I DO NOT WANT YOUR MONEY.”]



CHAPTER XIII.

AN ATTEMPT TO BRIBE THE PRISONER.


“I have been a wanderer, and have eaten many a back-door hand-out, but
I have never stolen nor murdered. I did not commit this crime. You, my
brother, are free, and have money to bribe me with, and yet you do not
care enough for your own flesh and blood to look up the real murderer. I
do not want your money. I have two strong arms, and can work, as I have
always done.”

“Then you would work all your life, a poor man, rather than accept a
little bribe, would you?”

“Yes, under the circumstances, I would. I feel that in the end I will be
better prepared to meet my dear mother, when called home, than you will
be. Did I not have something coming to me from the estate? My mother was
a wealthy woman when I left home.”

“Well, we had many reverses in business affairs, and she died practically
a poor woman.”

“I may be spared to live my sentence here if I am not found innocent and
discharged, and then I shall return to the old home and investigate
affairs and see if I am not entitled to a share in my dear mother’s
estate.”

“Why can you not believe me? I have explained. She died practically a
poor woman.”

“You are not a poor man, are you, brother?”

“Well, I have a comfortable home.”

“Is that all you have?”

“I do not feel disposed to explain everything to you.”

“Where were you to get the five thousand dollars to bribe me with? Have
you got that much money besides your comfortable home?”

“I shall have ten years to get that.”

“Oh! you are buying me to commit a crime and have no money to give me
after I have done so?”

“As I have stated, you are here for ten years. At the time of the
expiration of your term I would in all probability have that amount.”

“May I ask you why you wish me to deny my name?”

“Well, Clarence, I am holding a good position here, and I could not,
perhaps, if it were known that I had a brother inside of these walls.
Besides, I have a family in society, and it would injure them if this
should all come out.”

“You are thinking of yourself and your family and society, and not
once have you given your poor brother a thought of sympathy. And he is
innocent of crime.”

“I am trying to help you. Have I not offered you five thousand dollars at
the end of your term?”

“You are not helping me. No, sir. I have registered under my own name,
given me by my dear parents, and I have no cause to disown it. I did
nothing to disgrace it, and I am not going to be tempted with your money.”

“I am sure that you will regret this, Clarence. I would favor you in many
ways while you were serving your sentence.”

“Could you not do so, as you are one of the officials, without my doing
as you wish me to do?”

“Well, no. I should be suspected.”

“Then how could you do so if I did as you request me to do—disown my
name?”

“Well, well!”

“You are doing wrong, Oliver, to try to get me in deeper instead of
helping me out. Why don’t you go out and look up the real murderer and
prove your brother innocent? I am quite sure I should not disgrace you
if it were proved that I had been sent here an innocent man.”

“You see, after one has been behind prison bars, he is always looked down
upon by the public.”

“But not in the eyes of God. He knows the guilty from the innocent.”

“Then you feel that you would rather stay in prison and work ten years,
and go out a broken man and penniless, than to receive five thousand
dollars, as I have promised you?”

“If I have to lie for it, I’ll take the poverty and peace of mind.”

“I am sorry for you, Clarence, and I shall return and have another talk
with you some day. Perhaps you will change your mind. Good-bye.”

“I thank you, brother, for the word spoken just now. Yes, my brother, you
have a comfortable home and a family in society, and an innocent brother
in prison for ten years.”

“You have the habit of talking to yourself, have you?” It was Pat who
spoke.

“It helps a fellow, Pat, sometimes, when alone, to talk to himself.”

“I am sure I heard two voices in here. I was after looking for a convict
who occupied the next cell, 79, and I felt rather uneasy about you, and
I thought I would see what you were doing, and I heard a very strange
conversation in here.”

“Pat, did you hear all that was said?”

“Sure I did. What was I listening for if not to hear what was said?”

“And did you see anyone leave here?”

“Sure I did. When I see a man passing this way, I looked to find if he
was a broke-away.”

“And will you—”

“I will keep my mouth shut until I have to open it.”

“And would you tell all you heard?”

“Indade I would. Well, I think I will be going along. I will stroll by
the office and see if he looks any the better off since he could not get
rid of his five thousand dollars.”

“Pat, you always come just in time. Take this letter to the office. I
want it to go out on the first mail. If I wait for it to be taken up, it
would not get off on the first mail. Make haste, as I am quite anxious
for this to go.”

“You can depend on it going if I have to take the train and carry it
myself.”

To himself: “Well, I wonder what the rush was. I will pick up the torn
pieces when I get the chance, and see what this means.”

“Mr. Pearson,” said the superintendent, “I am called to attend to some
business affairs. I shall leave you in charge of the office. I may not
return until late.”

“Very well, sir.”

“Well, I just made the train. The next time I would like a few minutes to
think between this place and the train. I never went so fast in all my
life. I would be a good messenger. I could get the bad news to them in a
hurry, as all of the confounded things have bad news in them.

“There comes Pat. I will give him the order I left with Pearson.

“Pat, I am going on some business, and I want you to put all of those
torn pieces of paper in the fire and burn them up. I do not want anyone
to see them. I made some errors and re-wrote the letter,” said the
superintendent.

“Now you have gone,” said Pearson, “I will take care of those torn pieces
of paper. Here is an envelope addressed to the place where Clarence
committed the murder, and here is all of the letter. Now I’ll see what
was the cause for rush.”

The letter ran as follows:

“I am writing you for help in looking up the case of a convict by the
name of Clarence Pearson. I have every reason to believe that he is
innocent of the crime for which he is serving sentence. Wire me if you
have a name in the directory of your city like this: Devenart. If there
is such a man, hold him for murder.”

“My God!” gasped Pearson. “What does this mean? I am lost. I feel that
they will find him innocent, and I guilty of crime; and I have sworn to
the death of Clarence, so that I might receive his share of the estate.
Now it is all to come out.”

“Well,” said Pat, “I met the officer, and he told me to clean up around
and destroy the papers he has written on, and I don’t see any.”

“I had nothing to do and I put things in order,” said Pearson.

“Where did you throw the scraps?”

“I put them in the fire.”

“Did you lave the office to do it?”

“No, I did not leave the office.”

“Then where is the fire you put them in? I was told to burn them and I
must obey orders. If you did not burn them, I will be after doing it.”

“You are always meddling in someone’s affairs, Pat. You go along. I am
taking care of this place.”

“And I’m thinking you are taking care of some things in this place—at
least, I would like to see those torn pieces of paper.”

“You may go to No. 78’s cell and see if he wants to come here. I would
like to talk with him. Perhaps I can get some idea of the kind of work he
could do.”

“I will obey you. Now it is up to the poor convict to take his choice of
work. And if he plases to come, he can.”

To the prisoner: “Well, are you asleep? Would you like to take a walk
over to the office? Now, you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

“I am willing, Pat, to do anything I am asked to do.”

“You are very obliging. I’m sure I would be plased if all the convicts
would be as agreeable as you.”

“You may bring him in, Pat, and then go to your work. I shall not need
you any more at present,” said Pearson.

“I’ll go, but devil a bit will I work. I don’t think annyone needs me
now, and I’ll just sit down here until someone does need me.”

“Clarence, you have been thinking this over, have you—what we were
talking about? I hope you will be sensible now, and make up your mind to
do as I want you to.”

“You want me to swear that I am not Clarence Pearson?”

“Yes. You will be helping yourself by so doing.”

“Well, then, I will.”

“That will help you to look forward for something to live on ten years
from now.”

“Well, what can I do to help you out of your trouble?”

“My trouble? I am not in trouble.”

“You are not worried over my not doing as you requested me to do?”

“No. Only for your own good.”

“Then tell me, if I change my mind when the time comes to deny it, what
harm could it do you?”

“I should have to—”

“Finish what you were going to say.”

“I’ll tell you all, Clarence, if you will promise me that you will do as
I want you to.”

“Well, tell me, brother.”

“I am going to make a clean breast of it all.”

“I think I had better be getting up closer,” whispered Pat. “I may think
I’m hearing and not hear, for I am looking for the poor devil to tie a
noose around his neck before he gets through with the clean breast he
spoke of.”

“Go on, Oliver; tell me. You are talking to your brother. You need not
fear my betraying you—never, Oliver!”

“You left home, Clarence, when a small boy. You never wrote and poor
mother and I mourned you as dead. Years afterward mother died, and, not
knowing where you were, I was called upon to swear that you were dead,
and I did so. In that way I fell heir to all of the estate, which was
numbered in the hundred thousands. And, not knowing of your whereabouts,
I decided to invest it, and I lost it all, except what I have told you
of.”

“I do not see the point in your demanding that I deny my name.”

“Do you not see that I have sworn falsely to obtain the money, and you
know that places me just where you are to-day, Clarence.”

“Only you are guilty, Oliver, and I am not.”

[Illustration: “I BELAVE I’D BETTER NOT LISTEN ANNY MORE.”]

“I belave I’d better not listen anny more. I am knowing too much. I may
not be able to hold anny more in me head, for I have it crammed full
now, and I have got to keep it there till I can let it out, a little at
a time, and it takes a man a long time to tell the judge and keep from
telling what he don’t want to.”

“I know that I am guilty, but you can save me if you will.”

“Brother Oliver, I am sorry for you and I will do all I can for you. I
will do as you have asked me to do.”

“Thanks, dear brother. And I shall be a brother to you while you are in
prison.”

“Now I think they have all the secrets told, and I’ll walk around and see
if I can persuade the officer to tell me where the fire was. He was so
obliging to do my work for me,” mumbled Pat.

“Come along, Pat; you may take the fellow back,” called Mr. Pearson.

Pat to himself: “Oh! he is being called a ‘fellow,’ is he? If I bring
him here to the office many more times, he will be a gentleman, not a
convict.”

Aloud: “Come along here! Back to your resting-place. Indade, that is all
you have done lately—rest.”

The acting superintendent mused: “Now that Clarence is going to deny his
name, I can see my way out of this. I shall not take my vacation now. I
must stay and see this thing through. So my superior officer has written
to where the murder was committed and asked for a wire in answer. And we
may look for one to-morrow, as the letter went out on the early train. It
will be received in the morning, and a wire will be received some time in
the evening.”

“Well, ‘fellow,’ here is your place to rest till I come for you, and you
may look for me soon, at that,” remarked Pat as he placed the prisoner in
his cell.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE CONVICT’S PRAYER.


As the superintendent entered the office on his return he said to
Pearson: “I am back. I have been looking up some of your history in the
past.”

“I do not understand you, officer.”

“You will, however.”

“Why are you looking up my reputation?”

“I have every cause to do so. I see that you have the same name as the
convict, or he has the same name as you have. Of course that is nothing
unusual, for two men often have the same family name, and even Christian
name; but you are favoring this prisoner in many ways, which looks
suspicious. I have never noticed that you favored other prisoners, and I
do not believe that you would do so without some secret reason, in this
case.”

“I have only tried to treat him humanely.”

“I see the humane part of it, Pearson.”

“I think I will walk around and see how the fellow is looking after he
has spent this five-thousand-dollar bribe and got the poor convict to
deny his own name. I wonder what he will take for a name if he denies the
one he has got. For the love of Mike, I hope it won’t be Pat! Indade, I
don’t want to have a name like annyone of the prisoners in here, and,
thank God! the place has no Pats. An Irishman is too slick to come here
against his own free will.”

Pat was approaching the office.

“Well, officer, you back?”

“I am back, Pat.

“You may go, Pearson. I will send for you when I need you.”

“And if you knew all I know, you would need him now, before he went.”

“Well, Pat, have you done anything with Prisoner 78?”

“I? No, sirree; he is a ‘fellow’—a pet around here, he is.”

“What do you mean, Pat—a ‘fellow,’ ‘pet’?”

“Well, your honor, I never was a tell-tale, and I don’t want to begin
now.”

“Do you know anything, Pat, that I should know?”

“I think if you knew all I do, you would have another prisoner in here to
feed.”

“I have always trusted you, Pat. Can not you now trust me?”

“Sure I can trust you, but what about the other fellow. Can I trust him?”

“I will take care of that part of it if you will tell me what you know,
Pat.”

“I am going to think it over myself a while. I don’t like to report too
many times, for fear I don’t get it the same each time.”

“You may not have to repeat, Pat.”

“I hope not, for I feel sorry for the poor man, to think he has no
feeling.”

“You would just as well tell all you know. I am investigating, as it is,
and I think along those lines, and ‘murder will out,’ you know.”

“And some things will out themselves, as well as murder.”

“Pat, in justice to yourself, you will have to tell me what you know.
Here comes Pearson. I will hear what you have to say later. You may go.”

“I am going to remain on guard to-night, officer, and I shall not be in
the office. I speak of this so that you will not keep late hours for me.”

“Very well, Pearson.”

“I wonder what he is up to now,” thought the superintendent. “I must
be on guard myself to-night, and I must remain where I can watch cell
No. 78. It is now ten-thirty o’clock—a good hour to lock up the office.
I’ll walk quietly to cell 77—it is empty to-night—and I may know more in
the morning than I do to-night. Here comes Pat. I will tell him to keep
watch on the office to-night, for emergency calls. He can hear the bells
ringing, and if—well, by George! I’d rather Pat would not know where I
am. I’ll have to take the chances of the bells ringing. I may hear them
if they do. It is not a great distance to the office.”

“Your honor, I’m thinking of going to my bed. I am top-heavy, and would
like to lay me down for a while. I think it would do me good. Too much to
carry around, and too good to let it get away.”

“All right, Pat; you may go.”

To himself: “Now I shall learn something for myself. I’d better disguise
myself, for fear of meeting Pearson. I’ll put on this slouch hat. He
would not recognize me in that; a hat changes one’s looks sometimes so
that even close friends could not be recognized.

“Hark! I hear voices! I believe it is Pearson’s voice in cell 78. I must
be very quiet. Sure enough! Now I shall find out for myself.”

“I will try, Clarence, to favor you in having you placed in a position
where you can make your get-away, and I will give you money to go on.
Would you go if that opportunity presented itself?”

“Oliver, what do you mean? Are you trying to get me here for the rest of
my life? I would not be here at all if you would do for me what a brother
should do.”

“I am trying to help you, Clarence, and you won’t let me.”

“I don’t want your help, if I have to get it in that way. Why don’t you
do unto me as you would have me do to you?”

“I have a family and they are in society, and I am not so free to go as
you are, and if this comes out, I may have to remain here, but not by
choice.”

“Can’t you see the trouble I’m in?”

“I can see if you would get out of here and they could not find you, then
they would drop it all, and you would be a free man and so would I.”

“If I were to do as you want me to, where could I go and what could I do?
I have no money.”

“Did I not say that I would help you? You can leave the city and I will
send you money under an assumed name. I can take care of you.”

“You are looking out for yourself, I know, Oliver. If you had not stolen
all my part of the estate, you would not be here this hour of the
night, talking to me. You have no brotherly love for me, or you would
get me out and prove to the world that I am innocent, and take me to
your comfortable home as a long-lost brother. I would not disgrace your
society family. My mother was a good woman, and if I did fail to get the
education I should have received, I have a good, pure heart in me, and
am one that has always tried to do right and will do so as long as I
live. It is not always the one, Oliver, who had the advantages, who has
the best education, that is the purest. I am at fault for not having an
education, I know, for I ran away from home when I was a boy, but I have
never committed a crime, as you have done.”

“You are not looking at this as you should. I am going to say to you that
if you fail to do as you promised me you would—if you do not deny your
name—I will murder you.”

“Then you would murder me for wealth and society, would you, Oliver?”

“I would.”

“Then what would you do? You could not enjoy either.”

“I might say you were disobedient and that I had to kill you. You know
how much trouble you have caused since you were here, and it would be no
trouble for me to get out of it. So this is your warning. Now remember,
I am leaving you for the last time, to think this over, and I want your
answer to-day. It will soon be daylight. I must not be seen in your cell.
Think this over well.”

“And so my brother threatens to kill me if I do not commit a crime! And I
must think this over and let him know to-day! Well, I could let him know
now. I will not leave these prison walls without the proper orders, and
I am afraid to say as much to him,” said the prisoner aloud. “What shall
I do? To tell what he has done would mean a term for him in this very
prison, and not to tell means death to me. Oh! what shall I do? Pray?
Yes, pray that dear mother will come to me and help me; that she will
not allow her honored son to murder her dishonored son, as he threatened
to do. He said that mother mourned me as dead. Oh, if I had only died
before all this happened! I am going to pray for help from her now—not
for material help; I do not want any money or sympathy in poverty, I only
want help from Heaven to know what to do. I shall kneel on this cold,
hard floor and pray.

“Father above, I am not a murderer, as Thou knowest. I ask forgiveness
for the sins that I have committed, for we all sin, though often
unintentionally. O Father in Heaven, I ask that the spirit of my dear
mother may be allowed to return to earth and watch over me, that her
son Cain may not slay Abel. And, O dear Father, I am here for another’s
crime, as Thou, blessed Father, knowest. I pray that I may be helped—not
to be freed from here until it is proved to the world that I am innocent.
I feel my dear mother’s presence near me. Oh, how grateful I am! Now,
dear Father, give me help to show the one who has given me so short a
time to pray the right way. The time is near when I must decide between
life and death. Thou knowest best. I trust Thee to look after me in this
hour of need. And, O dear Father, help my brother, that he may know and
do the right. Forgive him, Father, and lead him. Go with each of us in
our humble way. May we ever feel Thy presence near us. May holy angels
hover around us and help and comfort us in this time of need. May we
feel their presence. I ask this from a heart filled with faith, hope, and
love. Amen.”

The trembling voice was silent. The heart of the superior officer went
out in sympathy to the poor, abused convict who had the strength to
resist temptation, and who could yet forgive his selfish, wicked brother.



CHAPTER XV.

“THANK GOD, HE IS INNOCENT!”


“Well, I have been repaid for this night’s work. I must get back to the
office, before I am seen coming from this cell,” said the official.

“Good morning, sir.”

“Good morning, Pearson. You are looking tired. Have you had a hard night
of it?”

“Yes; I am trying to unravel a mystery, and I am somewhat worried.”

“So am I, Pearson. I am trying to look into the past life of this
prisoner, No. 78. I want to see if he has been a bad fellow. I am under
the impression that he is not guilty of the crime for which he is being
punished; he seems so honest about his past, and he has even given his
real name, and that is some proof that he is no crook, or murderer. He
would surely deny his name if he were either, and I feel it my duty to
look into this whole affair.”

“Well, officer, I am under the impression that he has registered under an
assumed name—that he is holding back his real name.”

“Why have you formed such an impression?”

“Well, I have a feeling that he will tell his real name if pressed to do
so.”

“I will send for him and we can press him for the truth.”

Pat’s voice was heard as he approached, saying: “I wonder what this day
will bring forth. Here I am, walking to the office. I have a feeling that
it is time the ‘pet-fellow’ had a little exercise, and I must be there in
case I’m needed.”

“There you are, Pat. You are always on hand when you are needed. You may
bring No. 78 into the office.”

“I am getting to be a fortune-teller indade. I can tell when I am wanted
without being told. Here, you ‘pet-fellow’! Wake up! I am going to take
you for your morning’s walk.”

“I am very willing to go.”

“I am quite sure that you will go, willing or not. When I am told to do
anything, I usually do it. Here we are.”

“Bring him in, Pat.”

“Plase open the door. How do you expect me to do—break in?”

“The night lock is thrown on, officer. How did that happen? We never do
so unless we all go inside of the prison. Were you in the prison last
night?”

“We will discuss that later. We have sent for the prisoner and he is
here. Let him in.”

“You may go, Pat. We have some investigations to make, and we prefer to
be alone.”

Pat went, out, remaining within hearing and saying: “Here is a very
comfortable seat. I will sit meself down and I won’t have to walk so far
when I come back.”

“Now, did I understand you—No. 78 I am speaking to—did I understand you
to say that you have given your real Christian name, and surname also, to
be recorded in the prison books?”

“Well, I have been thinking.”

“About changing your name?”

“How do you know that, sir?”

“Mr. Pearson has told me so.”

“He told you so?”

“Do you deny it—can you, will you?”

“My God! what shall I do? You have told him all?”

“I have told him nothing.”

“Pearson, why are you so excited?”

“I am astonished at your falsehood.”

“And you may be more astonished before I get through with you.

“Come, did I understand you to say—or have you answered me? Do you hear
me speak to you?”

“I do, sir. Well, then, I will have to be protected if I tell the truth.”

“From whom?”

“Oh, man! can not you see the danger I am in:”

“You in danger? Explain in what way. With your God, for swearing to
falsehoods, or from your fellow-man?”

“I have not deceived my God.”

“Then you have given your own real name?”

“I will tell you. I have.”

“So you want protection, now you have told the truth? Give me the name of
your enemy.”

“Officer, can you not relieve me of this torture? Can you not see?”

“Yes, I think I can.

“Well, Pearson, do you think you could rest comfortably behind the bars
for a few hours?”

“I? What do you mean?”

“I mean that you have been trying to bribe this man to disown his name.
Now I am not in the dark. I understand it all, and I am going to make a
clean breast of it. I shall send him back to his cell, and send you to
another one.”

“I’ll just get up and stretch myself. I may have to use my muscles, and
club too,” commented Pat. “I hope he will like his new home.”

“You must have good hearing, Pat,” said the official. “I was just going
to ring for you. You must hear my thoughts. You may take No. 78 back, and
return at once.”

“I will, your honor.

“Walk up fast, ‘pet.’ I am going to fill the order to a minute, and I
will sure be proud to see him leaving me alone for a while. Here we are.
Get in gently, ‘pet.’ I’ll be closing the door aisy, to not shock you.
Now I must be bating it back to the office to get the other man.”

“Well, Pearson, ‘murder will out.’”

“I have not murdered anyone, and why should you talk to me in that way?”

“I don’t think that your brother has, either.”

“My brother!”

“Yes, your brother. Do you not know that the convict is your brother? If
you do not, I do.”

“We have the same name. Is that any reason why we should be brothers?”

“Not because you have the same name, no; but in this case the two men who
bear the same name are brothers.”

“Tell me, why am I to be placed behind the bars?”

“So that you may not kill your brother.”

“Man! I’m not going behind the bars on any such freak ideas as yours. I
shall not be disgraced by a prisoner who has no cause to fear me, just
because he has a name like mine and makes the statement that he fears me.”

“You understand it all. Pearson, here is Pat. You may occupy cell No. 77,
next to that of your brother.

“Come along, Pat. Take charge of Mr. Pearson, here.

“Give me your arms, officer.”

“I will never do so, not as long as I have a drop of blood in my body.
I shall not give up my arms and allow Pat, the scoundrel, to place me
behind the bars.”

“You will have it to do, sir. I will see that you do. Hand them over to
me.”

“I refuse to do so. I will die before I do.”

“Well, me friend, you had better ask your God about that. Perhaps you are
a little perverse about going.”

“You are not acting wisely, Pearson. You had just as well be brave and
await the outcome.”

“Message here,” called out a voice.

“Give it to me. The charges? None? Very well.”

He read: “Your answer is, ‘Yes; we have the man in jail. Have his
confession of murder of woman.’”

“My God! Can it be? He has received it, and my brother will be free.”

“I have not been deceived. Thank God, he is innocent!” exclaimed the
superintendent.



CHAPTER XVI.

A NEW PRISONER IN CELL 78.


“Mr. Pearson, have you decided to go quietly? I think you may now occupy
your brother’s cell, since he is innocent of the crime, and the real
murderer has confessed. This is the telegram which brought the news.”

“Perhaps if I would call him a ‘pet’ and ‘fellow,’ he would come along
with me,” said Pat. “The officer requested me to take you, so here, you
‘pet-fellow,’ you must go.”

“Pat, Pat, don’t kill him! Let him up! I think he will go.”

“I think he will, too. Here, take his gun—no, perhaps I had better take
it along. I may need two of them. I only have six cartridges, and I have
been carrying them some time. I may get a chance now to get rid of them,
and I may need more.”

“Pat, get some water. I’m afraid you have killed him.”

“Well, he said he would die before he would go, and devil take him if he
wanted to rush off in a hurry.”

“I see his mouth twitch. I hope he will revive soon.”

“I think he is saying to himself what he will do when he gets up, but if
I have anny strength left, I think he will come along with me, as soon
as he is able to walk, and nary stretcher will I carry him on, until I
know he is indade a dead one. He went to fight back. I think when he
comes to he will see that fighting is hard on the eyes. See the eye turn
black, will you? You would think he had been dead a long while and was
mortifying.”

“Come, Pat, help me to get him on his feet.”

“You had better let him rest easy where he is.”

“I am asking you for help, and I want it.”

“I’ll help you, your honor. I never have refused a thing you have asked
me to do.”

“Come, Pearson; can you stand up? Try.”

“I am not hurt. I am only dizzy.”

“I am glad. I hope that you will now obey orders, and not cause any more
excitement.”

“What shall I do, officer?”

“Pat, show him the way.”

“Come along, officer—Mr. Pearson—‘pet’ ‘fellow.’ Oh, how I would like
to add a few more pet names to them! Indade, when he has no gun he is
willing to ask what to do. Well, I will show you. This way out. I feel
that you was not so very much surprised, only in the one way.”

“So the poor fellow was innocent, and the guilty one has confessed. I
hope I shall never have another innocent man here while I am in charge
of the place. I must send word to Pearson’s family. They will be alarmed
when he does not come home. It will be a great shock to the family—to
those beautiful society daughters. It will be a calamity to them. How
shall I break the news? I would not dare to send Pat. He has a grievance
against Pearson, and would not show any mercy on the family. I shall call
the officials together and state the whole circumstances, and then we can
see what steps to take to protect his family. I am anxious to see Pat
back. I hope he will not have any more trouble. Here he comes now. Well,
Pat, is he all right?”

“I think he is able to talk. After he was locked up, I stepped to one
side and he thought I had gone, and the poor brother was getting the
devil, and he promised him more than I just now gave him. I think that
the poor brother will be scared to leave the place when he is turned
loose.”

“Pat, why are you referring to the brother? What do you know about it?”

“I guess what I know would do someone good and would bring someone harm.”

“Tell me, Pat, how did you hear these things?”

“I have not got these ears on the sides of my head just for looks.
They was put there to hear with, and I am going to hear when there are
annything to be heard.”

“When did you hear all this, Pat?”

“I am after hearing it some time ago.”

“Pat, I thought I could trust you to tell me everything that went wrong
inside of these prison walls.”

“Faith, and you can, and I would of told you if it was wrong, your honor,
but I thought it was all right if he is guilty of staling all the money,
he ought to be punished, and I did not think it necessary to tell you. I
expected to find out what he did with the money. Mebbe the poor fellow
could get it back.”

“You have a secret, Pat, and you must tell me all about it.”

“Well, I have got to tell it some time, and if I tell it now, I will
have to tell it over again, so what is the use of telling it twice?”

“I believe it is something I should know now, and perhaps I do know, but
not exactly what you do.”

“If I tell you now, I may not tell it the same way the next time, and if
you only hear anything once, you will always think that is right, and if
you hear it twice and not alike, then ‘you have not told the truth’ is
the first thing you are accused of.”

“Well, Pat, that is right; but can not you remember how to tell it both
times the same way?”

“Yes, this ‘pen’ is holding three or four poor devils to-day for not
remembering and telling it alike both times.”

“I will let you think it over, Pat. Try to make up your mind to remember
as you heard it. You may go now, and see if Mr. Pearson is all right.
Report within the next half-hour.”

“Now if he is all right, do you want me to report now, or wait the
half-hour?”

“Pat, if anything is wrong, let me know at once.”

“That I will, your honor.”

“Now Pat is gone, I must let the family know, and I think I should let
them know at once, for I may not be able to get the officials together as
soon as I should like to. I will risk it and call them over the wires,
and try to explain some minor part to them, so they will know something
is wrong. I can say that he had some trouble with one of the prisoners,
as he has a black eye that Pat gave him. No, that won’t do. They would
ask why I was holding him behind the bars if he had trouble. That has
often happened and the officers are compelled to subdue the unruly
prisoners, but they do not get locked up for it. I shall have to say
something. When you try to fix up something, you never get it said just
as you had it fixed up, so I’ll get them on the wire and trust to saying
the right thing.

“Central, give me Main 505, please.

“Hello! Is this Mrs. Pearson? Mrs. Pearson, I have something to say to
you. I should like you to come to the office at once. No, I hardly have
time to tell you over the ’phone. Very well. Good-bye.

“What did I say? I was so nervous I hardly knew. I don’t like to tell the
family about the head of the household. I think that he could explain
better himself. I really don’t know just what I did say. I think I did
not tell them how bad things were. By George! I believe that is Mrs.
Pearson coming—and the beautiful daughters too. It is. Did I tell her to
come? Yes, and here comes Pat with Pearson. My God! has he had trouble
with him again? He is covered with blood.”

“Your honor, here he is. Everything was all right when I went around, but
the chap got smart and I have been bating him for a half-hour, then the
time was up and you said report, and here I am with what is left of him.
I hear a knock on the door.

“Come right in, ladies.

“Officer, here.”

“Oh, papa, papa!”

“My dear husband! What has happened to you?”

Pat muttered: “Only a good bating, and he deserved it.”

“Pat, I must censure you for speaking in that way. I did not intend that
you should open the door, and I intended to place him in the second room.
I had no chance to speak to you before you opened the door. Now you may
go.”

“I will, your honor. You always told me to open the door when you heard
a knock. Now you blame me for it. How do I know what to do and do it
right?”

Outside, Pat whispered to himself: “I have had quite a time and feel
pretty tired. I don’t think I will go, for I have a knowledge-place here
where I get all my news, and I think I will get some more knowledge and
sit meself down for a while. What the deuce is all of the crying for
inside? I know I did not bate him to death.”

“My dear madam, calm yourself. I will explain the best I can. I hardly
know how to do so. I think Mr. Pearson could do better than I could.”

“Mother, take papa home. Do, please, out of this horrid place, never to
return.”

“I am very sorry, miss, but I—”

“You do not expect my husband to remain on duty when he is suffering, do
you?

“Tell me how did you get so badly hurt,” said Mrs. Pearson, turning to
her husband.

“Mother, do you not see that he can not raise his head?”

Pat, listening outside, remarked: “Not because he is hurt, little miss,
but because he is ashamed to raise his head, and I am afraid you will not
be able to raise your head up when this is all brought out. I feel I
would of done the poor fellow a favor if I had bate him to death. Ho will
have to die sometime, and perhaps this would of suited him better.”

“He will have to remain in the hospital, here, and we will take care of
him.”

“Oh! I have a doctor, my family doctor, and I want him to look after him.
What did you send for me for? Wasn’t it to take him home?” said Mrs.
Pearson.

“No; I did not know at the time I was talking that he was injured. You
know, he had this trouble—I told Pat to call around to his cell and see
how he was getting along.”

“His cell! his cell!”

“Yes, my wife and dear children, I am a prisoner here. I can not go home
with you.”

“Papa! oh, papa!”

“You a prisoner here? What have you done to be confined in this place, a
prisoner?”

“I can not tell you. Go home. I may never get the chance again.”

“You a prisoner? My husband, whom I have promised to honor, a criminal?
The father of my children a criminal? Oh, no! I do not believe it.”

“Madam, I think you had better take your daughters home. Calm yourself,
and I will explain all to you later.”

“I can not leave this place without my husband.”

Pat, listening, said: “Another boarder. I know she will object to the
kind of service she will get here, and the linen napkin. I think she will
change her mind, and I hope she will change it now and not shed anny more
tears. I’m a hard-hearted Irishman, and could bate a fellow to death,
but when it comes to hearing the dear ladies cry, I am finding meself
dropping a tear meself.”

“Oh, papa! tell us what you have done.”

“Daughter, I have deceived you all these years, and I can do so no
longer. I will tell you now. Be brave, and listen. I was one of the two
sons my dear mother bore, and my brother, when a small boy, ran away from
home. We never heard from him, and I thought he was dead, as did my dear
mother. Many years afterward my poor mother died, broken-hearted over her
lost son, and I had to swear to falsehood to obtain the estate. I swore
that I knew he was dead, and so got all of the estate. What to do after
I had received it, I did not know. I thought to invest it would be to
double the amount. Instead of that, I lost all except what I had when I
married your mother. Now the lost brother is found in this prison, and I
am an embezzler. Now I must suffer for the rest of my days.”

“You have carried that secret in your heart all these years, and I, your
wife, did not know it? You deceived me, and now bring disgrace upon your
daughters?”

“Oh, mother! can you not see that papa is punished enough? Do not torture
him any more,” said one of the daughters.

“I will disown my father if he has committed a crime like that,” said the
other one.

“Sister,” returned the first, “he is not at fault. Do not speak to him in
that way. You and I are his only children, and we must not do as those
two brothers did, drift apart. We must not make the same mistake.”



CHAPTER XVII.

DESERTED.


“Gertie, I will not allow you to compare yourself and your sister with
what could happen. I am like daughter Amelia. I am not going to forgive
him—no, not I. I shall return to my home and feel very uncomfortable in
it, after knowing how it was obtained. Come, my daughters.”

“I shall return, papa,” said Gertie, “and see you. I shall always love
you, for you have been a good father to me. You gave me my education and
provided instruction in music. No one can take that away from me. I shall
always remember you and love you and I shall do all that I can for you in
times to come. Good-bye, dear papa. Do not weep. Mother and sister can
never turn my love from you. If I ever can redeem your good name for you,
I shall be repaid for all, and I hope and pray that I shall be able to do
so.”

“Gertie, you have said enough to your convict father. Come at once. We
must leave this horrid place, never to return. Come, come, daughters.”

Addressing her husband, the wife said: “You got in this trouble without
your family’s assistance, and you can get out the same way.”

“Oh, mother! do not talk so cruelly to papa. I know his heart is broken.
I am sure that he believed himself right when he made the statement that
his brother was dead. He did not dream that his brother was alive, or
that he would ever hear of him again.”

“Gertie, go along with your mother. I will suffer alone.”

“I will share it with you, papa. Good-bye.”

“Mr. Pearson, I shall place you in the second room here, and I shall call
in the officials for consultation and see what can be done. I regret very
much to have to do so, but it is my duty.”

“I am a prisoner here, and shall obey your rules. I will step inside. You
may take me in. I shall not cause you any unnecessary trouble.”

“Well, I have got a job, to turn the key on the gentleman. I’ll just step
in. I feel I have saved meself a good many steps by finding meself a
resting-place so near.” It was Pat, talking to himself.

“I was just turning to call for you, Pat.”

“Well, I am here.”

“You may see that water is in the room for Pearson, then lock the door.”

“I will do that, your honor, with pleasure. Where is the man to occupy
the room?”

“He has stepped in there, Pat.”

“Very obliging, he is. I think that bating did him some good.

“Here is some water for you, sir, and if you want annything, call me.
Or have I given you all you wanted me to—faith, I mane in the way of a
bating?

“The poor fellow sits there with his head down as though I had never said
a word to him, so I’ll lock him in and let him slape it off.”

“Pat, I am going to call in the high officials to-day, and I want you to
be present; I am going to call on you for some of your knowledge.”

“How in the devil do you know where my knowledge-place is? You may have
it all and I will find me another resting-place.”

“Pat, you do not understand me. I meant that you must tell what you know
about this Pearson and his brother. Explain what you mean by giving me
all the place of knowledge.”

“Well, your honor, you see I have been wanted here and there so manny
times I found meself a resting-place outside of this office, so I could
be here when you wanted me—and when you didn’t want me.”

“Do you call that a ‘knowledge-place’? I should call it a
‘resting-place.’”

“I rested while I was getting my knowledge.”

“You were reading, were you?”

“Devil a bit did I read.”

“How, then, did you get your knowledge?”

“Well, if you have things that you try to keep from hearing—and indade I
tried to keep from hearing the poor family crying, I was dropping a few
tears meself—then—”

“You heard the conversation, did you?”

“I don’t know if that is what you call it, but I don’t care to hear
anny more of it; the last toime I felt the way I did was when the only
friend I ever had died, and that was me dog. I never had a poor father or
mother—if I did, they never told me about it; but one kind lady told the
good woman that raised me I was too small to know me father and mother,
so I don’t know anny, and if I had anny—God bless ’em!—their son never
had to swear all the children was dead to get what the old folks left.”

“Pat, you have heard all about this, have you?”

“I don’t know what ‘this’ is. You mane have I heard something about this
poor man’s troubles?”

“Here are the officials, now. You may go. I shall send for you.”

“I am glad I can go. I am not going to meet the high officials. They
might be so high I couldn’t make meself heard. I’ll just sit meself down.”

“Good morning, gentlemen.”

“Good morning.” “Good morning.”

“Why have we been called?”

“Mr. McHenry, there has been trouble here in regard to one of the
prisoners who is a very poor man. Strange things have happened since he
has been in the prison, and the strangest part of all is that he is a
brother of Officer Pearson.”

“A brother of Officer Pearson?”

“The man was convicted of murder on circumstantial evidence.”

“Of murder—a brother of Officer Pearson!”

“Yes. I’ll explain further. I have a telegram here, stating that the real
murderer has confessed.”

“Well, I am glad. I hope that his brother is not a murderer. I have a
high regard for Officer Pearson.”

“Gentlemen, the worst is yet to come. Mr. Pearson is himself under lock
and key.”

“I dare say you are telling the truth.”

“I am, sir. He was heard trying to bribe his brother to swear falsely—to
deny his own name.”

“Pray, what was that for?”

“I regret to say that he has swindled his brother out of his part of the
estate by swearing the brother was dead. By doing this, Mr. Pearson fell
heir to the entire estate, which was large, and he lost it all, except
the home which his family now occupies.”

“The poor man! What was the amount?”

“In the hundreds of thousands.”

“Well, well! How sorry I am to hear that about Mr. Pearson!”

“You have not heard all yet about Mr. Pearson. I am going to explain it
all. He threatened to kill his brother if he did not swear that he had
been registered under an assumed name. In that way Pearson hoped not to
be recognized as the convict’s brother.”

“You are relating something that can be verified, are you?”

“I am.”

“Where did you get your information?”

“I have a very trustworthy guard that overheard some things.”

“You are not believing all these things from hearsay, are you?”

“I have heard enough myself to be convinced that Mr. Pearson is guilty.”

“Call Mr. Pearson in.”

“Well, here is where I bring in the fellow with the black eye. I’ll just
step to the door, by accident,” said Pat, outside.

“Pat, step in and show Mr. Pearson in.”

“I will, your honor.”

“Oh! you have him in there, have you, locked up?”

“I believe I mentioned the fact that I had him under lock and key.”

“My god, man, what have you done to this poor man?”

“Mr. Pearson, I am sorry to see this.”

Pat muttered in a low voice: “You would be doing a good turn if you would
go to the poor wife and give some sympathy to those beautiful daughters.
They have never stole annything and threatened to kill afterwards if the
one they robbed hollered about it. I have given him a good bating, and I
think it did him good, but I never want the ladies to come here again and
do anny more crying. I had to drop a tear meself.”

“Officer, what does this mean? Did you allow that Irishman to beat this
poor man like this before his family?”

“No, sir; his family were not here.”

“He spoke of their tears.”

“They were here afterward, and—”

“Go on and tell what happened. I am astonished.”

“I have explained what he did. I do not see why, as he has violated the
law, he should not be locked up as any other prisoner is.”

“A man is not guilty until proved so.”

“And I order this man to be turned loose. You have no authority to claim
him as a prisoner. He has never been arrested, no warrant for him has
been issued, and I do not believe him guilty.”

“I am in a position to prove his guilt.”

“I do not believe you, sir.”

“I shall ask Pearson to speak for himself.”

“You—Mr. Pearson I am speaking to—please tell the officials here what you
told your wife and daughters.”

“I am willing to plead guilty.”

“Oh, my God! And my son to marry a daughter of this man! I can not allow
him to do so. Take Pearson away—take him away and do what you please with
him. I have heard enough from his own lips—‘I plead guilty.’”

“Come, McHenry, I have had nothing to say, and now I do not want to say
anything. I have heard enough.”

“This is awful. My son to marry this man’s daughter! The engagement was
announced last night. The marriage shall never take place.”

“Come along, Mr. McHenry. We can talk that over after we leave here.”

“Good morning, sir.”

“Good morning, gentlemen.”

“Well, Pat, you may place the prisoner in cell 77.”

“Come along. You are a fine bird, you are. You are not satisfied with
ruining your own reputation, but you had to bring sorrow to your
daughter. Your children must suffer along with yourself. I pity the poor
young man that is engaged to marry the girl. I have been there meself.
I was engaged to a beautiful girl, and when the father found out some
things he would never listen to me marrying her, and it was not because
I stole all the money I could lay me hands on; it was because I was a
Irishman.

“Well, you have got a nice place here. ’Tis a pity you had not been here
all the time, then you would have had all your money yet.

“I’ll drop around male times, and see if you have the same as the other
gentlemen get here.”

“I am not fully decided what to do,” said the superintendent. “I must
write at once and acknowledge the receipt of this telegram, and I must
see that the proper authorities get the confession of this man Pearson,
and place him where he should be. And if Clarence is proved innocent, he
ought to be freed at once.

“I hear a faint knock. I hope that it is not Pearson’s wife. I must open
the door. They know that I am here at this hour of the day.

“Good morning, Miss Gertie.”

“I have brought papa something to eat. I had such a hard time to get this
for him. Mother and sister went shopping, and while they were gone I did
some baking and brought it to papa. May I see him?”

“I will see that your father gets it, Miss Gertie. If you are in a hurry
to return before your mother and sister get home, you had better go at
once.”

“Oh, no! I want to see papa. I want to tell him something. Is he not in
this room where he was before?”

“Well, no—I—had—to use that room, and I gave him another room. I think
that he is asleep now. He had a very restless night. I feel that he
should not be disturbed.”

“Officer, I must see him. I want to tell him something. I have a secret
to tell him—not exactly a secret, but it is to papa, perhaps.”

“I am sorry, but I shall have to deliver the message for you. I am worthy
of your confidence. I do feel very sorry for you and your father. Pray
trust me with the secret. I’ll deliver it as it is given to me.”

“Officer, I am heart-broken. I do want to see papa.”

“I think I have him where I can put me hand on him, and I hope I’ll never
have to put me club on him again, for I feel sorry every toime I hear the
daughter cry. Poor girl! I hope she won’t come here again. If she does,
I hope she will lave the tears at home, for every toime I hear her cry
I think of me poor dog,” said Pat, outside. “I’ll be going along by the
office and see if I’m wanted.”

“Here comes Pat. I’ll have him bring your father in, if he is not asleep.

“Pat, save yourself the bother of coming in, and go and see if Mr.
Pearson is awake. If so, tell him I want to see him.”

“Mr. Guard—Pat, please bring papa. If he is asleep, waken him and tell
him that I am here.”

“I was in hopes the poor girl would not come again, but here she is, and
bring him in I will. It’s the furst toime in me life annyone called me by
the handle to me name. It’s always ‘Pat,’ but she called me ‘Mr. Pat.’
I’d do annything for the girl. I’d even treat the father nice. Poor man,
maybe, after all, he really thought his brother was dead.

“Mr. Pearson, your honor, will you please come along with me, and oblige
me? Your beautiful daughter is in the office and wants to tell you
something.”

“Pat, I do not care to see her. I know how the poor girl will feel to
leave me, and if she does not see me, it will not be so hard on her nor
on me.”

“I wish you would come. She is waiting for you, and indade, I’d be
disobeying orders to go back without you, and I don’t want to take you,
as I have done.”

“I will go, then. Pat, you talk like a good sort of a fellow, after all,
and I’ll go peacefully with you.”

“Thank you, sir. This is a wise man.”

“Miss Gertie, we have visiting rules. I will give you this card, and you
can see the days we have for company.”

“Oh, Mr. Officer! could I not come any time? You know I have to watch for
my chance to get away. I could not see papa often enough.”

“Now, you may step in and talk with your daughter. I have some very
important business to take care of.”

“Pat, come around soon again. I may need you to take some mail to the
train, as I am anxious to have the letters go at once.”

“Well, I may as well sit meself down and get some more knowledge. I hope
I will not hear anny crying. Poor girl, how she did rush to her papa and
kiss him! If I had a daughter to kiss me, I would fall dead,” mused Pat.

“Oh, papa, I am so glad I could come and bring you something to eat!
Mother and sister were out shopping and I found the opportunity to bring
this to you. And I so wanted to bring you some news. Papa, you know
Amelia is going to marry Clyde McHenry? Oh, papa, you are so pale! Are
you ill?”

“Daughter, I fear the marriage will never take place.”

“Why, papa? The engagement was announced last night, and the date set six
weeks from then. Would you object, papa?”

“No, daughter; I would not interfere with the marriage, but—but—”

“Well, papa, what do you want to say?”

“It will all be known soon enough, and the dear girl will suffer, I know.”

“Oh, dear papa, don’t cry so hard! I am trying to be brave for you, and I
want you to for me—and Amelia will be happy.”

“Well, if the man isn’t crying! It’s not enough to hear the ladies, and
when the men begin I’ll have to move on, I think. I have enough knowledge
for to last the rest of me life,” muttered Pat.

“Pat, you may take this letter to the train. Pat, you are wanted. I
wonder if he has forgot his orders.”

“Oh, the devil take you! I’m coming, as soon as I get these tears all out
of me eyes,” mumbled Pat. Then aloud: “Yes, I’m coming. What can I do
for you?”

“Mail this letter on the morning train. Do not delay getting it off.

“Miss Gertie, I shall have to ask you if you have visited long enough
with your father?” said the superintendent.



CHAPTER XVIII.

PAT’S TEMPTATION.


“I am very thankful to you, sir. I shall visit papa soon again. I hope
that I may be allowed to see him any time when I can get away. You see,
sister is making arrangements for her marriage, to take place in six
weeks, and she and mother will be away from home at different times. I
could then hurry and come to see papa, and please, officer, could I be
admitted at any time?”

“Miss Gertie, I should like to grant you the privilege, but I fear I can
not do so. I am sworn to follow prison rules.”

“Oh, how cruel! To know that I could not be allowed the pleasure—the only
pleasure I have—of seeing my father!”

“I am very sorry. I would help you to do anything possible without
violating the prison rules.”

“Dear child, go now. You must, as you know that we are not obeying
orders, and I am very thankful for the pleasure the officer has given
us—to see each other. I want you to thank him and go.”

“Papa, I did thank him, and will again. Oh! if I only knew that I could
return often to see you, I could go more contentedly. Good-bye, dear
papa. Do not worry, papa; I shall always be your Gertie, and a dutiful
daughter.

“Good-bye. I thank you, officer.”

“Mr. Pearson, you have a beautiful daughter,” said the superintendent as
the girl passed out; “not only in looks, but she is good and loyal to her
father. How proud I should be of a daughter like her!”

“I am proud of her. And I am ashamed to think that I have brought on her
this disgrace. I feel that I shall never again be able to hold up my
head, if I should get out of here.”

“Do not talk like that. We can live down disgrace and you can show the
world that you are not a bad man, after all, at heart, and I don’t think
you are, Pearson.”

“Well, I’m glad I made the train all right,” said Pat, “and I got the
letter off. I feel better now—not so ornery. I will take me toime going
back. What do I see? The dear little girl that called me name with the
handle on it? And I do believe she is crying. Now, I can’t stand to pass
her and see her shedding tears. What could I say to comfort her? Well, if
I don’t say anny more than ‘howdy,’ it will help some.

“How do you do?”

“Oh, dear! I was not looking up, and I didn’t see you.”

“I know you didn’t see me, but I saw you, and I want to spake to you, for
sympathy’s sake.”

“I thank you, Mr. Pat. I am so sad to think I can not see papa often. I
can not get away always on the visiting days, and would have to come when
I could find the opportunity.”

“Well, I will see if you can not get in when you come.”

“Oh, no! you are very kind, but the officer in charge said that he was
sworn to do his duty, and the rules of the prison are, ‘No visitors
except on visiting day.’ I shall have to come when I can get away on
visiting days.”

“Well, I hope to be able to break the rules.”

“You must not do so on my account, or make any attempt to do so, Mr. Pat.”

“What could I say next?” thought Pat.

“I will be looking for you if you will say when you will call to see your
father again.”

“I do not know that I could come when I would plan to do so—if I could
come on the days set aside for visitors.”

“Well, may I ask how I could help you?”

“I do not know now. I thank you. Oh, yes! please be kind to papa, won’t
you, please, Mr. Pat?”

“That I will, indade! I will, and I will see that he has plenty to eat
and drink. Now I must move on back to me job. Good-bye.”

“He has promised to look after papa, and I shall be so grateful to him
for his kindness—shown to my dear, heart-broken father. I will beg my
mother again, when she has relented toward me, to let me visit my dear
papa on the right days. What pleasure I shall have, looking forward to
the times when I may see him, if mother will only consent!”

“Pat, you back? I think it has taken you a long time to go to the train
and back. Why the delay?”

“Well, your honor, I am back and ready to do annything you want me to.”

“You may see that Mr. Pearson is locked in cell 77.”

“Mr. Pearson, will you kindly come along with me? I am not doing this as
a pleasure, but as my sworn duty.”

“Pat, I understand your position. I know I had to do many things I did
not like to do, but I understand the prison rules, and I’ll obey orders.”

“You will please step in here, Mr. Pearson. I am going to see that you
have plenty to eat and drink. That I promised your daughter.”

“You promised my daughter? When did you have the opportunity to talk to
her? I have been in her presence each time and all of the time when she
was here, and she has visited me only twice.”

“Faith, and did you not hear the officer ask me why the delay? Well, as I
was coming back from the train I met your daughter, and she was feeling
bad, and I felt sorry for her and tried to comfort her the best I could,
and I bade the time of day to her.”

“Was that all of the conversation you had?”

“No, sir; I asked the poor, heart-broken girl if I could do annything
for her, and the only thing I could do to help her I couldn’t do, but I
offered to try, but she shook her head and said, ‘No, indade.’ She don’t
take after you for honesty.”

“Pat, what was the help you offered her?”

“You understand the same as meself that the rules here don’t allow
visiting only on visiting days, and the girl said she couldn’t always get
away on visiting days.”

“What could you help her to do, Pat?”

“I thought, perhaps, I could change the rule.”

“Pat, you are a good fellow, and I do not know how to thank you for all
of your kindness.”

“Wait a minute. I don’t need anny thanking for bating you. I got me spite
off you then.”

“I wonder what is keeping Pat so long,” thought the superintendent. “Did
I tell him to return? I do not believe I did. Well, I’ll throw the lock
on and step around and see if I can see him near. I will just walk toward
the new prisoner’s cell, and perhaps I may meet Pat.

“Almost there, and I do not see him? I’ll just step up and look inside
cell 77.

“What do I hear? Pat’s voice inside? I must find out what this means.”

“Pat, you have had a hard time all your life, working, haven’t you?” said
the prisoner.

“Me b’y,” returned Pat, “I never knew annything but work.”

“Well, Pat, don’t you think that a man would be foolish to work if he
could live without it?”

“Indade I do.”

“Pat, would you like to live without working if you had a chance?”

“I would be a gentleman if I could. They was always something about a man
that did not work I rather admired, and wondered how they felt, dressed
up all the time.”

“Pat, if you had the chance, you would try it, wouldn’t you?”

“Well, faith, and I think I would.”

“Pat, you understand what I’m here for?”

“Faith, and I don’t want to be here for the same purpose you are, to be a
gentleman, or to be a officer as you was.”

“No, that was by choice, Pat, I was here. I have plenty of money, and
now it will do me no good, if I am to stay in here, and if I were out of
here, I would have enough to last us both the rest of our lives. Now,
Pat, can you find a way to get me away from here, so this place will
never see nor hear of either of us again?”

“Well, me friend, what would be the job I would have after we got away
from here?”

“Did I not tell you that you would never have to work any more?”

“And I would be a gentleman, then?”

“Yes, you would, Pat. Now, let me plan this. You are trusted, and the
superintendent has confidence in you, and you can get me out of here, and
walk out yourself, and then we can leave the country together.”

“And what would the poor man do without me help?”

“Oh, go along! What does he care for your help? There are many others who
would be glad to take your place, and you would be a gentleman then, Pat.
Just think of it!”

“Well, I can’t think of a gentleman in me, as I never was one.”

“Of course, you always had to work, but you will never have to if you
get me away from here. Come, Pat, wake up! You may never have the chance
again to be a gentleman.”

“I will study this over and see if I want this chance. I feel the cold
chills run up and down me back. Does that belong to the appearance of a
gentleman?”

“It does. You see, just talking about it, you are feeling the gentleman
vibrations.”

“Well, I think I have got the plot, and what I miss now I can get along
without. I will hasten to the office,” the superintendent whispered.

Pat continued: “I think I’ll be getting along back to the office, Mr.
Pearson. The superintendent will be after asking me, ‘Why the delay?’”

“Come around often, Pat, and talk to me.”

“That I will. Well, I am a gentleman, or can be if I want to give up me
job here.”

“Pat, I have been looking for you for some time. You are not so lively as
you used to be. Are you feeling your age? You look worried. Pray tell me
what is the trouble,” said the officer as Pat entered the office.

“I have no trouble. I am wondering how a man feels that don’t have to
work or have anny trouble.”

“I don’t know, Pat. I never had such a job. I always had to work hard for
my honest living.”

“Then the gentleman that is called the gentleman is not honest?”

“Not all, Pat. It would not include all wealthy men, but it would close
the bars around some of them.

“Yes, and after the bars is closed, it is hard to get away, isn’t it?
I was thinking what a ⸺ of a time a man would have to get out of town
if he could get from behind the bars.”

“Some prisoners have got away and were never found, and again, some were
caught in the act of getting away.”

“And the results, if caught?”

“Pat, are you thinking of helping someone away? I never before heard you
talk this way.”

“I am thinking of the past, if a fellow lost his job, and of the future,
if he found another one better.”

“Are you thinking of leaving here, Pat?”

“Not if annyone would know it, I’m not leaving here.”

“You know, Pat, I have always esteemed you very highly, and I should be
very much disappointed if I had to lose confidence in you.”

“You would be glad to place confidence in me, wouldn’t you?”

“I surely would place all the confidence in the world in you, and would
trust you with all of the prisoners and feel as safe as if I were here
myself.”

“I would take care of them one at a time—no other way.”

“I know you would, Pat. I feel confident you would now, after this talk
with you.”

“I’m glad you feel that way. I may never hurt your feelings more than
once.”

“We can always forgive once, Pat, and sometimes twice, but you know the
old adage, ‘The third time is the charm.’”

“They would be only two and the third time would not be here.”



CHAPTER XIX.

A CLEAR CONSCIENCE BETTER THAN MONEY


“I do not understand, Pat, what made Pearson confess so meekly. He could
at least have pleaded innocent until his trial. You know sometimes things
look dark, and then a criminal can get out of it.”

“Perhaps he thinks he can get out of here.”

“Well, we will not have his trial here and now, without judge or jury;
so, Pat, you may go and see if all is right among your fellow-men.”

“I wonder if he understood what I meant to tell him all the time—what I
was going to do—when he said he could forgive once and twice, and the old
adage. I just as good as told him it would be twice, two of us, and the
third time not here, and that was the daughter; she is not here to help
get away, so there is the whole thing in a nut-shell. And the blockhead
did not get it.”

“I think Pat thinks he will make his get-away with his prisoner, and be
a gentleman. I’m sorry for Pat. Now I have a problem to solve within
myself. Shall I let him go ahead and make his plans, or shall I stop him
before he gets started, and save the poor Irishman from occupying cell
No. 76? I believe I can gain some knowledge by being deaf to it all. He
is surely a clever Irishman, and I will see what plans he will make to
escape with his prisoner, and I may be gaining knowledge, but I could not
do so by sitting on Pat’s seat of knowledge, so I think I will not leave
this office.”

“I hope that I shall receive a reply in regard to the real murderer, and
that he will be brought here. That will help to open the way to a clear
discovery of all this plot.

“What! A knock? I do hope that I shall not find a lady there.”

“Good morning, officer.”

“Good morning, Mr. McHenry.” The visitor was Mr. McHenry, junior. “What
can I do for you?”

“I should like to talk with you in regard to your new prisoner, Mr.
Pearson. My father brought me the news, and I am not doubting him, but I
truly would be better satisfied if I heard it through someone else also.
Father was in such a rage that I could not calm him enough to understand
the circumstances. I should appreciate your explaining it all to me.”

“My boy, I am very sorry to say that I have to do my duty and the rules
here we must comply with. We are not allowed to give out any information
in regard to our prisoners, except to the officials.”

“I ask for only enough to understand. Do you not see that I am in
trouble? Can not you help me? Do tell me that he is innocent. It means so
much to me.”

“My young friend, I understand the circumstances. I learned them through
your father. I am sorry for you and for the daughter of this man, but I
am powerless to do anything.”

“Could I talk with him?”

“No; I am not allowed to permit any information to be obtained inside of
these prison walls.”

“I am sure that it would never be known. I would never divulge the
secret.”

“I have confidence in you, but I should not be obeying rules here, and I
could not allow you the privilege under any circumstances.”

“I shall have to go, as I am unable to learn anything. Oh! could I not
see him, just for one short conversation?”

“I am sorry. I must repeat that I can not allow you your wish, so please
do not insist. It makes me feel bad to know, as I do, your predicament,
and to hear you plead. I can not help you. There, I would not do that!
The guard is coming. It is not necessary to let him see you shedding
tears, and I would rather you would go before he comes in.”

“I will go. I thank you for your sympathy, and I am certain you would
have granted my request if it had been in your power to do so.”

“I would, certainly. Good-bye.”

“Good day, sir.”

“Well, now I am getting in deeper. Even the poor young man’s heart is
broken. Engaged to the belle of the city, and not allowed to marry on
account of the misdeeds of her father. Poor boy! My heart did ache for
him when he broke down and cried.”

“Well, I am after coming back. Do you need me?”

“I don’t think I do, Pat. I am looking for some very important news.
Outside of that, I would let you take charge of the office and I would
take a stroll through the prison. I get very tired, sitting here from
morning until night, and I like to take a walk around the inside walls,
now and then, for exercise.”

“You may do so. I will watch the place. I will see that no one comes in.”

“Will you see that no one goes out, Pat? That is what I am here for. Very
few want to break in and many would like to break out.”

“You are not thinking of any one in particular, are you?”

“Oh, no! Almost any one of the prisoners would walk out if he had the
chance.”

“If they did, I surely would walk out with them.”

“We are not looking for trouble, Pat. It probably will come soon enough.
Open the door. I thought I heard a rap.”

“So you did, and so did I.”

It was a messenger-boy. The communication read:

“We have a prisoner here, a confessed murderer. Will leave for your place
in the morning.”

“All right, no answer,” the superintendent called to the waiting
messenger.

“I am so glad to receive this.”

“Is that the looked-for message?”

“It is, and the self-confessed murderer will be here to-morrow evening.
With him they will bring the papers releasing No. 78, Clarence Pearson,
an innocent man. Do you know anything about this, Pat? You sit there and
do not look alarmed or excited over anything I am telling you. I usually
act so when I understand it all.”

“Well, I have nothing to say. If I did, I would say it without you asking
me to. If I am not wanted, I’ll stroll around; or do you want me to keep
house and you stroll around? It is nearly bed-time.”

“No; I think I shall retire, as I have been somewhat worried to-day. I
shall lock up at once, and try to get around early in the morning, Pat.
We shall have a new man to take care of to-morrow.”

“I’ll do that, sir.”

“Now Pat is gone, and he will no doubt go at once to 77 cell and tell
Pearson all he has learned. I wanted him to know that the man is coming
and the brother would be a free man. I think I had best get some more
information, so I’ll just drop around and rest a while in 76 cell and see
what the plot will be, as Pearson must know that he will have his trial
soon. I feel certain that the officials have been prolonging matters
through pity for the family. Mr. McHenry was probably slow to take
action because his son was engaged to Pearson’s daughter. Of course he
would try to avoid scandal as much as possible. I’ll probably find Pat
busy with his prisoner, fixing up their plot, so I’ll lock up here and
step around. What? I see Pat’s going in now. I must hurry to get the
first of the plot.”

“I’m here, me friend.”

“I’m glad to see you, Pat. We must decide to-night upon some way to make
our get-away from here.”

“Yes, and if we are not careful, the brother will bate us out.”

“Have you heard anything?”

“Have I? Well, I heard it all. The real murderer will be here to-morrow,
and then what will they hold him for?”

“My brother?”

“Yes, your brother.”

“We must be out of here before to-morrow comes. What can we do? Now, Pat,
make your wits work fast.”

“I am thinking, and the main thing I’m thinking about is the money to
make the gentleman out of me. Where is the money?”

“Don’t let that worry you, Pat. I have plenty.”

“Well, if you have plenty, if you give your brother back his money, you
would be out of here as soon as he would, and save all scandal, and he a
poor man freed from here, wouldn’t he keep his mouth shut if he could be
made a gentleman out of?”

“Pat, you do not understand.”

“Well, then, explain it to me so I can understand. Can you do it?”

“I have told you that you would never have to work any more and you could
be wearing fine clothes all the rest of your life, have I not?”

“That you have, but does that make it so? I’d like to see a pile of
greenbacks in front of me before I explain anny further.”

“You see I am here tied up and can not get away. How can I show you the
money?”

“Well, me friend, what is better than a clear conscience? Do you think
money and a gentleman could show you a better time?”

“Oh, yes! I would not let a conscientious mind prevent me from having a
good time the rest of my life.”

“Me friend, your money is not showing you a good time, and the rest of
your life your conscience will hurt you, and the pity and shame you
have brought on your family—and those beautiful daughters—their lives
are ruined, all by yourself, your greediness for money. No, me friend, I
think I would rather be a hard-working Irishman all the rest of me life
and have a clear conscience.

“Pat, you are a coward. I thought you would help me out of here.”

“I did not help you in here, and why should I help you out?”

“Do you mean to go back on all the arrangements we have talked over?”

“That is what I do. Now I’ll be telling you.”

“Tell me what made you change your mind and talk this way?”

“Because I heard someone talk the other way.”

“You heard someone talk the other way?”

“Yes, I fully intended to be a gentleman and help you out of this prison,
and I thought I would walk around and think it over and see how bad I
wanted to be a gentleman, and I got tired and sit meself down in the
comfortable chair in the hospital, and there I was thinking it over and
I was trying to think if I wanted to be a gentleman all the rest of
me life, and when I asked meself the question I heard the answer, and,
faith, I never had me mind made up yet—I was going to think about it a
while—and I listened, as if I was hearing someone talking, and behold!
I did, and I looked around, and not a soul was in sight, and I asked
another question, and I got the answer again, and I thought: ‘If you know
so much and can answer all of my questions, I’ll be giving you a job.’
And I had a regular conversation with them, and in the conversation I
asked them how much money you had, and they told me not enough to get out
of the trouble you was in, so I think you will need it all, and I had
better not try to handle anny of it for you.”

“Who was this you were talking with that gave you all of this
information?”

“Well, me friend, I don’t know. I did not see annyone, but I surely did
hear someone.”

“What are you going to do—let me stay here and serve whatever time is
given me?”

“Well, what have I got to do with getting you out?”

“Look here! I’ve got you now where you will have to get me out, or I will
get you in here to occupy the next cell, 76.”

“I hardly think! That is taken. The murderer that is coming to-morrow
will have that.”

“Well, I am going to get away from here before to-morrow. I shall report
to the office, if you do not help me out, of your accepting a bribe, as
you agreed to do, to assist me in getting away. And they will look at it
this way: If you can be bought off, you would not be a competent man to
have in here. And that means you would lose your job, and you would find
it hard to get employment elsewhere, for your dishonesty would follow you
wherever you went.”

“Just as yours have done. And, me friend Pearson, I have not committed
the crime yet, and now I know, I never shall, so you just as well keep
your head shut, for I am now in a position where I might show you some
favors that I will do; but I will never show you the way out of this
place.”

“I am doomed to die here! It will kill me to have sentence passed on me
in court, and I am guilty, and it will be proved. Pat, won’t you please
help me out? I will do anything for you. I will give you my beautiful
daughter Gertie, whom you so much admire.”

“You are very kind. I am after seeing one young man in trouble because
he is in love with one of your beautiful daughters, and I’ll be after
loving a girl whose dad is out. I won’t have to come to the penitentiary
to ask for his girl.”

“Then you have decided to allow me to remain here, have you, Pat?”

“I’m not the court.”

“You are not going to help me out?”

“I am not.”

“You shall rue this day. I shall explain everything to the office
to-morrow.”

“I’ll go, then, and let you think about it, so you will have a good story
to tell. Good night, Pearson.”

“So Pat has weakened! I’ll see how he talks in the morning. I feel
certain that to-morrow the officials will take steps to bring Pearson to
trial, and I know that with what proof we have—and he has also pleaded
guilty in the presence of the officials themselves—he will be sentenced
for a number of years. I must now return to the office. I think Pat is
out of sight. The crisis will come to-morrow.”

“Well, me friend is mad because I do not help him out of his trouble and
help meself into trouble. I wonder where I heard that voice. I’m glad I
heard it when I did, and not after I did the dirty work.”

“_My boy, I was following you all the time, and would not have allowed
you to commit the crime._”

“What do I hear? Another voice, or is it the same? Well, me friend, I am
a brave Irishman, and just as long as you want to talk to me you may do
so. I’ll sit here the rest of the night, and I won’t have long to wait.
It’s nearly morning now. But I would of lost manny a night’s sleep,
perhaps, if you had not of told me. Whoever you are—I don’t know.”

“_And I am not going to tell you, now._”

“I heard the words: ‘I am not going to tell you, now.’ I must be after
getting out of this, for I’m hearing things, I am. I wonder if that
strange voice has returned. I thought they—whoever it was, or whatever it
was—had gone, never to return, but I do belave they have come back.”

“I think Pat will be around soon, and I will pretend that I have had a
restless night, and that I will not go to bed at this late hour,” thought
the superintendent. “He will be thinking this over and will not get it
off from his mind. I shall be anxious, for I have been worried very much
in the last few weeks. Yes, here he comes.

“Good morning, Pat.”

“I’m not feeling anny too good, officer.”

“What is wrong, Pat?”

“Well, I’m after telling you at once. I’ve got meself in the
penitentiary.”

“Of course; we’re all in here, but not from force.”

“And I never would be here by choice, but I’m deserving of punishment,
and I wish you would give it to me unbeknown to annyone of the higher
officials, and I would plead guilty.”

“Pat, what is wrong? I never heard you talk so before.”

“And I never did do so before.”

“Have you committed a murder?”

“No, your honor. But I come near liberating a convict. You have not the
confidence in me anny more you once had, or never—”

“Well, I am sorry, for I had a friend in you—or, at least, I felt so.”

“And now I’m friendless, a lone Irishman, and I will soon be a convict.”

“You don’t seem to want to tell me what is wrong, and I want to talk with
Pearson to-day. The telephone always rings when I am talking.

“Hello! Yes. You want me to bring Pearson to the office and read to him
the warrant which I shall receive this morning? In the mail? His day for
trial is set? All right, sir; I will obey orders. Good-bye.

“Pat, you may bring Pearson in. I see the mail is here, or soon will be.”

“May I ask of you one favor?”

“Yes. What is it, Pat?”

“If a fellow—scoundrel, I think, is the best name for me—should repent
of a crime before it is committed and never was committed, would you or
could you forgive him? Could they send one of them things you are looking
for when the postman comes in? Could they send one of them after me to—”

“Yes, Pat, if you are self-confessed criminal of some deed you have
committed, you surely would receive one of those warrants.”

“Why didn’t I die when I was a babe, instead of me poor mother, and she
here in me shoes and I in hers?”

“You must bring Pearson in here. Here is the postman.”

“I will, your honor.

“And now for the dirty work of me poor self to be found out. I could see
the wrong in others, and could not see when I was tempted the wrong I was
doing, and I, like those here who committed crimes, will have to pay the
penalty for it. I do not like to see this man Pearson go to the office
this morning, but that is the orders, and I must bring him in. Here I’ve
been wandering along and thinking of me own case, so I ’most forgot what
I was sent for. This is his cell, and he is fast asleep, but I must awake
him and take him to the office at once.

“Say! you! here! wake up! I want to take you for a walk.”

“I am not asleep. I was just resting.”

“Very well; come along. Your presence is wanted.”

“And your presence will be wanted too, some day, if you don’t change your
mind before we get to the office.”

“I shall never change my mind, not after I was told as I was and given
such good advice from some unseen force.”

“I’ve been thinking how to tell the whole story, and you will regret the
day you changed your mind.”

“I may do so. Here we are. The office is waiting for us, so come along.”

“I say, Pat, are you going to change your mind before we enter the
office?”

“Well, Pat, what are you debating about? Come along here. Time is
flying,” said the superintendent.

To the prisoner he said: “You are under arrest. You have been here
accused of obtaining money under false affidavit, and I shall have to
say—Pearson, I regret very much to have to read this to you, but I am
sworn to do my duty, and I have done so in this case, as I would do in
all others. Your trial is set for one week from to-day.

“You may take him back, Pat.”

“Your honor, I have something to say.”

“What have you to say, Pearson?”

“I will ask you if you have ever noticed Pat acting strangely, as if he
was in a deep study?”

“I don’t know as I have noticed it. I have had so many things to think
of in the last three or four months. I do not really know if I have been
noticing Pat very much, as he is one of the guards whom I can trust among
all of the prisoners. I think Pat is very reliable—a very reliable man to
have here.”

“If I ever get out of this. I will never do anny more dishonest work, or
even talk or think about it. I pray me poor mother may help me. Now, you
never did annything for me here on earth, mother, come down from Heaven,
if you are there, and help me, plase do help me keep me reputation up in
this Pearson case, in the eyes of the whole world. I now realize what it
means for a boy to make his first mistake. He is ruined for life, and if
all of the young men knew what I do now, they would never start to commit
anny crime.”

“What are you doing, Pat? Mumbling to yourself? No one can understand
those sounds.”

“I understand what he is doing. He has himself just where I will be soon,
locked up in this place.”

“Oh, Mr. Pearson! you always had a grievance against Pat. I have never
seen any cause for it—none at all, I say.”

“You will have, after I have explained all.”

“You may take him back, Pat. It will soon be time for the Southwest
Limited to arrive. Due in a half-hour. Make haste.”

He mused: “Pearson is one of those men who, after he has been caught,
wants to catch everyone else, and he will tell all on poor old Pat. I am
so sorry for him. His first mistake, and a bad one at that, but I hope
Pearson will be enough of a gentleman not to make him suffer for it. His
conscience will hurt him enough for his part. I always placed so much
confidence in Pat. I am heartily sick of the whole affair. One man can
commit a crime and drag others down with him. Here comes Pat. He looks
tired and worried.”

“Well, your honor, I am back after a hard time I had getting the officer
into his cell.”

“Pat, why should he say what he did? Have you had some trouble with him,
that you did not tell me about?”

“Your question shall be answered, but not to-day, not to-day.”



CHAPTER XX.

THE MURDERER ARRIVES.


“Here is our new prisoner, the self-confessed murderer, and Clarence
Pearson will be released.

“Open the door, Pat.”

“Good morning, sir. I have a prisoner for you.”

“Very well. Please register, here.”

“You will have to, for me. My wrists hurt so I am not able to hold a pen
in my hand, to say nothing of writing.”

“Your name is—”

“William Devenart.”

“A very odd name you have, Mr. Devenart.

“Pat, you may take care of him. Give him his bath and shave and new suit,
then return to the office with Clarence Pearson.”

“You poor, unfortunate fellow, you come along with me. Tell me all about
yourself. I’m a guard here, and will trate you nice if you trate yourself
so; but I want to give you a tip: Do not disobey rules. It will be better
for you. How long are you sentenced here for?”

“Life.”

“My man! A life sentence, indade! You will eat manny a meal with us, and
I am not sure but what I will ate some off the same table.”

“Do the guards and prisoners all eat together?”

“No, not always; but sometimes the guards turns into prisoners.”

“I do not understand you.”

“I do not know what I did mane, to do what I did. Here is the place.
Clane yourself up and don the new suit, and very seldom do the styles
change—I belave once in ten years, from stripes to checks. You will feel
cool after you have been shaved and have a hair-cut. One advantage,
you’ll not be needing a comb very soon.”

“Don’t they allow you to comb your hair?”

“Oh, yes; but you don’t have anny to comb.”

“Going to cut my hair off?”

“Sure, Mike—do all of ’em. And won’t I be a peach if I have to get me own
hair cut?

“The poor boy don’t look like a criminal. I will be kind to him. I could
see tears in his eyes when he was talking. If all of the young men could
see some of these heart-rending cases, I do feel we would have less
crime.”

“What! A lady coming here? I do believe it is.”

“Mrs. Pearson, come in,” said the superintendent. “How do you do, Mrs.
Pearson?”

“Good morning. I should like to see Mr. Pearson.”

“Your husband?”

“No, sir; I have disowned him, but I want to talk with him. I have some
papers I want him to sign. I also have an order from Mr. McHenry allowing
me to see him, as your rules could not be broken to accommodate anyone.”

“No, madam, I could not break the rules, but with this order I can let
you see him. I’ll ring for a guard to bring him.”

“I am to have a private conversation with him.”

“I can not allow that, madam. You must say what you have to say in my
presence, in this office.”

“You are one of the most accommodating men, I must say, that I ever saw.”

“I am sorry, very. I have heard you express your opinion of me, but I am
here to do my duty, and will at all events. Here comes the guard. I will
have your husband brought in at once.

“Bring the prisoner from cell 77.”

“Oh dear! You have him locked up, and call for him by his number, do you?
And he has not had a trial, nor has he been convicted of any crime.”

“We have a warrant for his arrest. His trial will be this week. I hope
that he will be able to prove his innocence. I am very sorry for him. I
have grieved over the matter considerably.”

“Well, I have not grieved at all. I am going to disown him after I get
his signature. Then I shall have all the property in my own name, and I
shall try to forget that I ever had a husband—a criminal. My daughter
Amelia will be married one week from to-day, and we can not be disgraced
by coming here after the marriage takes place, and that is why I am here
to-day. Is that he coming?”

“No; I have a prisoner who is to receive his freedom, and that is Pat,
bringing him in. By the way, that is your brother-in-law.”

“How dare you insult me in that way? I acknowledge a criminal as a
relative? No, never!”

“Well, here is your ‘fellow,’ No. 78. I can’t say ‘prisoner’ anny longer.
He gets his freedom to-day, and me old shoes will have to go with him,
for I don’t think I can get them to track anny other direction after the
prisoner 78 is gone out. Have you sent for the officer convict? Here he
comes.”

“Yes, Pat. Don’t you see Mrs. Pearson sitting there?”

“I beg your pardon, madam. I very seldom see a lady.”

“All brutes of men are alike.”

“Pearson, you may come in. Your wife is here to see you, and you may be
seated over there. I will look after your brother, here. He gets his
freedom to-day. The real murderer is in his new suit, and will be given
his occupation in the morning.”

“Did I hear that I am a free man?”

“You are, Clarence. Here are the papers.”

“And my brother? Oh! what will you do with him? Turn him loose?”

“No; not until we hear from the court. He will have his trial this week,
and I hope we will then be able to turn him loose.”

Mrs. Pearson addressed her husband as he approached her: “I want you to
sign over all of your part and interest in this home we, your daughters
and I, occupy. I will not live under a roof owned by a criminal, and you
shall be disowned at once. I have already made application—before my
daughter is married, I shall have all ties broken with you.”

“I am not going to sign over any of the property. It is not mine at all.
It belongs to my brother here. I spent and lost all of my estate, and
that is why I am here to-day. I swore that he was dead and in that way
got his share, and what we now have is his. He is alive and free, and he
is innocent, and here am I, a criminal and guilty, and bound down here
for no one knows how long.”

“Oh, dear brother! is this your wife? And she spoke of your daughters.
You have not told me anything about them. I can not see you separated
from them all for the loss of my money. What would I do with it, now,
to know that I would cause so much misery to obtain it. I could not be
happy. Oh, if I could only step in your shoes and you in mine! I would
gladly do so. And you, my dear sister-in-law, how sorry I am to know that
this has happened!”

“If you had never committed a murder—you, I say—feigning mercy for your
brother, we would not have to suffer.”

“I am not a murderer. Here are my papers of freedom, and the real
murderer is here in my place—self-confessed, and he will be punished for
the crime. If my dear brother could only be found as innocent as I am,
you would have your beautiful home always. As it is, I shall claim what
is due me, and what was left me by the will of my dear mother.”

“You may have a hard time to get it.”

“I am willing to turn all over to my brother. He is entitled to it, and
it belongs to him,” said the husband.

“Get some water, Pat. Mrs. Pearson has fainted.”

As she revived Mrs. Pearson asked that a carriage be called.

The superintendent replied: “You may step into this room. I will call one.

“Mr. Pearson, you may return to your cell. Pat, take him back to 77.”

“Oh, brother! what can I do for you?”

“Pray for me. You got me here. Except for you, I would be a free man.”

“Clarence, you may sign here. Here are the papers of freedom. I want to
shake hands with you. I hope that you will never again be placed in such
a position,” said the superintendent.

“I thank you, sir. I am under obligations to you for many favors, and I
hope that you will always be as just to all the other prisoners as you
have been to me.”

“I shall try to be. Good-bye.”

“Good-bye, sir.”

“Your carriage is here, Mrs. Pearson.”

“Good-bye, officer.”

“Good-bye, madam.”

“Drive to 1715 North Twenty-third Street,” said Mrs. Pearson.



CHAPTER XXI.

REMORSE.


“Now, Clarence has his freedom and has left the prison. Next comes the
trial of the officer, and poor Pat, what a predicament he is in! I must
have him for a witness in this case. I must try to find out all he knows,
and if it will not assist any in the Pearson case, I will try to get
along without him. Well, I thought Pat just stepped out to avoid the
Pearson scene. I hope that he will return soon. I shall have to notify
the officials of the new prisoner’s arrival. Here comes Pat.

“Well, Pat, I thought you had walked away with Clarence Pearson. The poor
fellow was a happy man when he left this place.”

“They will have the same thing to say when someone else walks away from
here.”

“Pat, I did not say ‘they’; I said ‘I.’ To whom are you alluding as
‘they,’ and when who walks away?”

“Well, your honor, I am the next to give the papers to, and please give
me my papers of resignment. I don’t believe I want the job anny longer.
I am not after looking for a long job here.”

“It is bed-time now, Pat. To-morrow will bring forth something new.
Pearson’s trial will take place, and probably you may have to fill his
office, as assistant, here with me. We shall have to have another man in
his place. I think you could do it.”

“Yes, I could probably fill the place he is now about to fill. I am not
looking for the job, indade I am not.”

“Pat, you are worried to-night. So much excitement the last three or four
months has upset you. It will have to be settled—all will be settled
after Pearson gets located, and now it is late, and we must retire. Good
night.”

“Good night, officer.”

Pat muttered: “As I hear the big iron door slam after me it makes me
blood run cold. I am in a fix. What is money for? To make criminals, I
belave. I belave every convict under this blooming roof is here for or
on account of money. The vile stuff! We get a living, and have to work,
or should if we don’t, and it only keeps us out of mischief—and then it
don’t. I am in it now, and I have been working too, but there it leads
up to money, for the fine clothes and the gentleman, and the good times
that would go with it. I would be able to go and lay me head down on
me pillow to-night and slape if it wasn’t for money. Instead of that,
I have to pace around this place all the night. Yes, here it is nearly
morning, and not a wink of slape. I’d just as soon be guilty, as so near
and not, for I am taking on the same guilty condition. I belave I’ll walk
around and see if me friend is worrying over me as much as I am meself.
What? I hear him talking to the new prisoner. I’ll see if he is telling
him how to behave himself. I don’t belave they placed the new man in
78—yes, indade, they did. I remember, he said the real murderer would be
occupying Clarence’s cell and Clarence would have his freedom. Well, he
is talking very nice to the new man. I will see what the conversation is
about.”

“Tell me about it,” said Pearson. “How did you come to confess that you
were the real murderer of this woman? They had a man serving time for the
crime.”

“Yes; that is why I confessed, and for other reasons.”

“What were the other reasons? Would you mind telling me?”

“I am trying to forget it. I will tell you, and then I shall never repeat
it again. It is too horrid; I can not stand it to talk about it. I was
married only a short time, and a difference arose, one day, between my
dear wife and myself. I became angry, and was talking loudly, when the
door opened and this fellow who was serving time here for the crime came
rushing in unannounced, and asked my wife if he could assist her. She was
afraid of me, but she declined to accept his help. He left with apologies
for intruding. I grew more excited, and in a fit of uncontrollable temper
I choked her to death. I came to myself and found her lying at my feet
dead. Oh, man! can you picture the agony I was in? I thought of that man,
and how I could lay the murder on him. I ran from the house and met an
officer. I told him my wife was just murdered by a man whom I had just
seen leave the house. The officer rushed up the street, and I recognized
the man as the same who had offered to help my poor wife, and I shouted,
‘There he is!’ and to jail the officer took him. At the trial I swore
that he was the murderer, knowing that I myself was the guilty one, and
he was the man who was given his freedom to-day. I will tell you all, as
I have started. I know that all the time he was here I suffered more than
he ever could.”

“In what way, Devenart?—is that your name?”

“Yes; but just call me ‘Will.’ I do not want to disgrace my father and
mother by causing their name to be spoken.

“I can not tell you in what way. I can tell you the mysterious way I was
punished. I never lay down and closed my eyes that I did not see my poor
dead wife, and presently another woman would come up to me and point her
finger at me with scorn. After many terrible nights, I began to hear
noises. I could not at first understand, and one night I was touched by
some unknown hand, and I was frightened beyond words. I thought, ‘If I
could only die and get away from it all!’ I am so excited now I can not
talk longer.”

“I should like to have you finish. We may not get a chance again, as you
know the rules are, ‘No talking among the prisoners.’”

“I am glad that I have rested to-night without seeing her face, and I
will never tell the story again. As I am here for life, I know that I
never shall, if we can not talk.

“One night, as I was sitting on the side of my bed, I could not lie down
and close my eyes, and I saw my wife walk up to me, and by her side came
an elderly lady, and I tried to close my eyes so I could not see them,
but I could see them as plainly with my eyes closed as with them open.
I stood up and begged them to go away and let me rest for the remainder
of the night. Then, for the first time, I heard a voice, and it was the
motherly lady who spoke, and these were her words—oh! I am telling the
terrible story under a dreadful strain; I am living it all over again.
I thought I saw the same lady standing by your side, as I am looking
through these bars.”

“You will have strength, I hope, to tell me all. Please finish the story.”

“I will finish now, if I am—oh, she spoke to me! Was that where I left
off? I believe it was. The elderly lady came closer than my poor wife
did, and as she spoke I can never explain the feelings I had. I called
for help. I prayed and fell down on my knees and asked for mercy and
help. The voice answered:

“‘_So did your wife pray for her life, and it was not spared—by the hands
of a brute, and that was you. Now you suffer as you have caused her to
suffer—I say suffer!_’

“My friend, can you think of a punishment like that? I could bear
punishment from the hands of my fellow-men, but when I know not from
whence it comes or what it is, it is terrible. I am suffering for all the
sins I ever committed.

“My man, I see, I do see, the same lady by your side, and my wife!

“O Father, come to me in this hour of need. I am being punished for
the terrible crime I have committed. May I not be shown mercy? I am
guilty, and have pleaded so, and will plead guilty, even in my prayers
to Thee. Help and forgive me. How I have suffered! Thou knowest, and
Thou alone. From this on I shall live as I should—pray every day for the
forgiveness of my sins. Each day will I pray for guidance and help in all
my undertakings. Help me to live the way I should live. Turn not a deaf
ear to me, O Father. I am in sorrow and need Thy help. I am here that the
one who has received his freedom may go forth with Thy blessing; that the
whole world may look on him as an innocent man, and not as a murderer,
as I swore that he was. I ask also for help for him. May he forgive me.
I may never have the opportunity to meet him on this earth, but I hope
to meet him in Heaven, as innocent of all crime as he was of that of
which I accused him. O blessed Father, I do feel that Thou wilt answer my
prayers. Amen!”

“Well, well, you can pray as well as murder,” said Pearson. “I was
wondering if you ever prayed before.”

“No, my friend, and if you would experience the heavy burden lifted from
your shoulders as I did from that prayer, you would pray, or try to, as I
did.”

“I think I had better get away from here, if they are going to have
prayer-meeting,” muttered Pat. “I wonder if a bit of a prayer would do me
good. The first chance I get, I belave I will do a little of it. Well,
here is another day, and nearly time for the trial. I had better step in
the office a bit.”

“Pat, your absence this morning makes me think you had a good night’s
rest.”

“I will call it rest when I get it. Indade, I never closed me eyes.”

“Was anything wrong with the prisoners? I was going to ask you to go by
cell 78 and see our new prisoner, and it passed from my mind.”

“I did the very thing that passed from your mind. I guess it came to my
mind.”

“Is everything all right?”

“Yes. We had some prayers, and I think it helped the fellow that prayed,
and I am thinking of doing a little of it meself, when I get a chance.”

“The poor man! Remorse always sets in after they get in behind the
bars, Pat. Do you know that this is a hard place to be—to work for a
livelihood? You have no trouble of your own, but you worry about the
other fellow’s trouble.”

“Faith, and if I had no troubles of me own, I would let the other fellow
worry about his own.”

“You have no troubles to worry over. See how long you have been here, and
you could not get into trouble here, could you?”

“No, I couldn’t, but I have.”

“You have? Tell me, Pat, what is wrong.”

“We had better put that off.”

“It will soon be time for Pearson’s trial, and you will be one of the
witnesses. As he has confessed that he is guilty, I think it will go hard
with him.”

“Now, me friend, your honor, I’m not going to kape the secret anny
longer. I just as well have it out with, and you may cut down expenses
and have two trials at once. I have a secret to tell you. Every bit of
it is the truth, and I too am going to confess, and then, when I get the
chance, I’ll pray, and perhaps I too will feel better.”

“Go ahead, Pat.”

“I am after listening, and I heard the man to be tried to-day trying to
spend five thousand dollars easy, and I thought: ‘If you have it to give
away, I meself would take a little of it.’ And I in a way as much as told
him so, and then I changed me mind. I thought I would like this job the
best. Now he insists I spend his money, and I don’t want it at all, and I
told him so. Now he has threatened to turn me over to the officials here
if I don’t be a gentleman, and I never was one, and now I know I couldn’t
be one, so there is the secret.”

“Well, we must now attend court. You will have to tell all you know, Pat.
You may go for Pearson and take him to court. I will be there presently.”

“Here is me punishment beginning now. I am after getting a taste of it
meself. I may be the next poor devil to court. For the love of Mike!
what will I do? Pray? I haven’t the time now. I will after I get through
with this trial, and then I may have something to pray for. Here I am at
the cell, and I belave he’s aslape. Now, I wonder if he was awake all
night. I’m not aslape, and I was up too, all night. I will get him out of
here.”

“Come, Officer Pearson! Your trial is at hand, and I have come for you.”

“I’m willing to go, Pat—and say, Pat, are you for me, or against me?”

“I am neither, if I don’t have to be.”

“If you are called to the stand, what will you say—anything about our
plot to get away?”

“Will you say anything about it if I am not called to the stand?”

“I’m not quite sure if I will or not, Pat. I must be out of here, and if
you will get me out, I will not mention anything about your offering to
liberate me.”

“If you think you can get away without my help, you may do so—if I don’t
see you; but if I see you, you won’t get away. Here we are at the court.”



CHAPTER XXII.

PAT’S TESTIMONY.


“You are taking your time, Pat. We are waiting for you.”

When court had been opened and the preliminaries had been gone through,
Mr. Pearson was examined.

“You are registered under your correct name, are you not?”

“I am.”

“Mr. Pearson, how long has your mother been dead?”

“Twenty-one years.”

“Did she leave a will?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Did you know that you were the only heir?”

“No, sir—well, I thought so.”

“But you did not know for sure?”

“No, sir.”

“Mr. Pearson, did you take oath that you knew your brother was dead?”

“I did; yes, sir. I thought he was. We had never heard from him.”

“Did you look for him, or try to find him?”

“Well, no.”

“Did you acknowledge him as a brother when you did find him?”

“I did.”

“Not until you had to.”

“Well, I tried to do for him after I found him.”

“In what way?”

“I told him I would help him.”

“Out of prison, or financially?”

“Well, I don’t know,”

“You don’t know what you were going to do, but you were going to do
something for him?”

“I felt that I should.”

“Will you tell the court what you were going to do, or thought of doing?
Now, Mr. Pearson, you have been holding a position of authority, have you
not?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Have you done an officer’s duty?”

“I have tried to.”

“You tried to, but did you?”

“I don’t know.”

“You are excused.”

Pat was called to the stand.

“Your name?”

“Me name is Pat Dugan.”

“Well, Pat, what do you know about this Officer Pearson?”

“Your honor, I wish I had never seen the man.”

“That is not answering my question.”

“Well, I don’t know what he did all the time, but I know I wish I did not
know what he did anny of the time.”

“Answer the question.”

“Plase repeat it, I am after forgetting the question.”

“Tell what you know in regard to this case. Did Officer Pearson fill his
position as an officer should?”

“Now, me friend, I don’t think that is the same question at all.”

“Well, answer it, if you do or don’t think the question was worded just
the same.”

“I did not hear the last question. I was thinking of how to answer the
first one. Now, me friend, I will ask you to repate the last once more,
and I might answer them both.”

“I suppose we must have patience with you, for I don’t think you were
ever in court before, and I know it is hard for you. Now, once more, I
ask you about Officer Pearson’s conduct as an officer. That is a short
question and you should be able to answer it without hesitation.”

“I will say that I think the job is a hard one for me, and I will give
you my club and quit at once.”

“Sit down, Pat! Sit down there and answer these questions the attorney is
asking you, or I shall fine you for contempt of court.”

“Could I get off—out of that fine for contempt of court—as aisy if I told
the truth?”

“I am asking you a question now, and I wish you would answer.”

“Faith, and you have been asking me some questions I didn’t know how
to answer, and I am only a ignorant Irishman, and you are one of the
know-alls, or should be. I’ve always thought that if annything ever came
up with a business consideration, ‘I will ask me lowyer about that.’ This
is the first time I have ever been smart enough to talk to one of them
lowyers.”

“Well, you are taking your time to talk. You must like our company.”

“I like to hear a smart man talk, indade I do.”

“Well, the court would like to know if this is a trial, or a
complimentary case.”

“Your honor, I am trying to get the witness to answer my questions.”

“Put the question to him again.”

“Now pay attention, Pat, and we will soon be through with you.”

“Couldn’t you turn me loose now? I am feeling sick, me man. I am sick.”

“Get him a drink.

“Here is water. Take this, Pat. Drink some water. You are all right now.”

“You know everything in the books, but you don’t know how a fellow feels
inside, and plase don’t talk to me—plase don’t. I wonder, if I would
pray, would I feel better? I am going to pray, gentlemen. I belave me
toime has come right now.

“O Father in Heaven, if You ever send blessings to the Irish, send this
one Irishman some now. I need it. O me God, I did not do annything. I
changed me mind before I let him go, and he is here, and You can do as
You plase with him. I am through with him. I think You will know what
he needs, and give it to him. Have mercy on me, and him too, if he is
deserving of it. I don’t think he is, but Your judgment is best, and
use it, and be sure You use good judgment in my case, and help me out of
this terrible perdicament, and if I never get in another, I won’t pray
anny more. You will see I am in earnest and don’t delay the job. I am
awfully sick, but I think I feel better now, and if the court will have
mercy on me, and You do likewise, I know I will be well in a few minutes.
Help Your wandering one all alone in this country. Me poor mother has
been with You a long time, and if I was there too, I would not be here,
in this fix. And now I have prayed for the first time in all me life, and
if You don’t answer, I shall say my prayers were all in vain; but if You
will let me know that they were heard, I will let you hear them again, if
I get in trouble. Amen.”

“The judge spoke: ‘Stand up, Pat. You are good on praying, and you have
a nice way of doing it, if you did convict yourself. Go. I don’t think
your crime is punishable, and I want to give you some orders. You had
better learn to pray now, and do some of it. Don’t wait until you are in
trouble and then ask the Lord to help you. Serve Him all the time, and
you will then be guided, so you will not have to ask for help in time
of trouble. Too many wayward boys like you, Pat, get in trouble before
they ever think of praying. I hope that the Father to whom you prayed has
heard your prayers. I feel that He did, and that is why I am going to
turn you loose; so you may say your prayers were not in vain, but go from
this court-room with prayers on your lips, and pray often. It will do you
good. Now you may go, and may God bless you.’

“Well, if I ever get me another job, I will never get it in a prison—I
may not get out so aisy next time; but the poor man, he is there yet,
and I never told a word of his trying to give me all his money and fine
clothes.

“Well, I’ll be willing to work, now, for all I get. And I’ll say to
meself: ‘Didn’t the man who was boss of the job make a fine spache to
me?’ He must know nearly as much as the lowyer did, and I felt sorry for
him when he felt sorry for me and told me to pray. Faith, and I will
pray, and I will kape it up as long as I live, and after I am dead I will
come back and scare some of the poor devils and make them pray like the
new man. Oh, how he did pray when he thought he saw the dead woman! And
it was that very thing got me started to praying, and only for that I
belave they would of hanged me this very day of me life.”

“Well, here I am back to the office, and I have me clothes all here, and
I want to bid me old friend good-bye before I go. I can’t kape the tears
back. I guess I am feeling pretty bad again. I belave I’ll just step in
here and pray to meself now, while I’m waiting for me old friend that
thought so much of me.”

In the court-room the trial proceeded. At length the judge arose, saying:

“I am not of the opinion that a crime of as long standing as this one is
punishable in the eyes of the law. Twenty-one years would outlaw it. If
the prisoner will give his penniless brother a home for life, I will set
him free.

“What have you to say to that, Pearson? Are you willing to share your
home with your brother?”

“I thank your honor. I am more than willing, and I will see that he
shares my home as a brother should, without feeling under obligations.”

“Pearson, I feel that you mean all right, and I will ask you to let me
hear from you as soon as you find your unfortunate brother who was freed
several days ago. I want you to help him to live down the disgrace of
his long imprisonment, and live as brothers should. We have all learned
to pray through this unfortunate affair, or we should have learned, and
that not waiting until we are in trouble, and then expect our prayers to
be heard, but we have learned to pray at all times—not as Pat did, if
we get help, say we won’t pray any more until the next time we are in
trouble.”

Later, when Pearson appeared at the office, he said: “Officer, I am
discharged from all, including my position, am I?”

“Well, Pearson, we have been holding consultation in the side room—the
officials and I, and we have decided to reinstate you, and Pat also. We
have decided that this lesson will make honest men out of you and Pat,
and trusty. You did not betray Pat and he did not betray you. It was a
good principle that you both showed this morning, and we feel that you
will work hand in hand together in the future. I wonder if Pat has gone.
We will step over to his room and see.”

“I hope that Pat will feel kindly toward me. I have forgotten all, and
will always remember that trial—how poor Pat feigned sickness to avoid
answering those questions. Poor old Pat! He is a good Irishman.”

“I do believe that he is gone. This is his room, is it not?”

“Yes. Here he has left a note. He has written: ‘Good-bye to all the
poor fellows in here. I have served me term and am ready to go, but
with tears. I am thinking I am all alone, save God. He is ever near me.
Good-bye to all fellow-men!’”



CHAPTER XXIII.

PRAYER-MEETING IN PRISON.


“That is the first time I have seen you break down.”

“Yes, Pearson, I am heart-broken. I shall never forget Pat, not for the
sickness he feigned, but for the feeling that came over me when he was
praying. I have never prayed, but I am going to this day. And the very
next Sabbath I am going to start a prayer-meeting in this prison. If
it helps all as much as it did Pat, I will feel repaid for all these
mysterious voices and visions which we have heard and seen here. Besides,
it may lift up many a sad heart inside these walls, that could get no
help except through prayer.”

“You locked the door as you left the office, did you?”

“Only the outside door.”

“I see bundles in there. They belong to Pat. He has not gone.”

“Take a look into the room next the office, Pearson.”

“Oh, my God!”

“What? suicide?”

“No; praying.”

“Pearson, close the door.”

“I am after being through and I feel better. I have been praying to me
Father to help me find another job, or to get this one back for me.”

“Pat, your prayer is answered, once again. You may remain and do as you
have done. Outside of this little trouble, you have been a good, faithful
man, and I feel that you and Officer Pearson will from this day on be
faithful to the trust which is imposed in you, and that you will show
brotherly love and kindness toward each other and all your fellow-men. I
want you to be sure to be at prayer-meeting Sunday morning, and open the
meeting with prayer.

“I shall expect you, Pearson, to close the meeting with prayer. I will
take a hand at it myself, and I hope that we may hear the voices of all
in this prison, asking for help and guidance and peace.

“Now, Pat, see that all is right.

“Well, Pearson, I am glad to see you sitting there under different
circumstances, and I hope this will be a lesson for us all. Honesty is
always the best policy. If you follow that precept, you will never get
into trouble,” said the superintendent, addressing Mr. Pearson.

“Well, here is one good Irishman the rest of me life, and I will be after
being a Sunday-school teacher; I think that would bate being a gentleman
anny time. And now I’ll see if the officer has not forgot to put the poor
man that was brought in to work. Forgot? I know he did. I’ll be after
going and asking where will I take the poor fellow to work, and I’ll ask
mercy for him, for it means a job for life with him, poor fellow. I am
after passing the knowledge-seat. I will walk in and tell me business at
once. I got enough knowledge to do me at that resting-place.

“What do I see? The poor fellow that was turned out of here sitting in
the office? I will pretend not to know him, and make my business be known
and lave at once.

“Officer!”

“Yes. What is it, Pat?”

“You have been after forgetting to give the poor man his life job.”

“So I have, Pat. I will find a place in a trade where he will not have
to toil so hard, for it means a long time for him. I will take care of
that Monday morning, Pat. Don’t bother him. Let him get used to his new
clothes and room. You may go, Pat. I’ll take care of him Monday.”

“So you have come back to see us, have you, Clarence?”

“Yes, officer. I could not rest and know that my brother was here in
prison, all on my account. I am the cause of it all. I should have
written home after I left. I should have written to my dear mother. Then
I could have been notified when she died, and poor Oliver would not be in
this trouble. That is why I am taking all this disgrace upon myself.

“Brother, I am going to help you, but not in the way I asked you to be
helped at first. I am going to take you home now, and introduce you to my
family, and try to have a family reunion, in honor of the prodigal son’s
return—in honor of poor mother.”

“You may go now, Mr. Pearson. I can spare you for a few hours.”

“Come along, brother. Clasp my hand and we will walk hand in hand to my
home—or, rather, yours, and we will spend the rest of our days together.”

“Oh, how beautiful your voice sounds to me, Oliver! As I walk along by
your side I feel as if we were indeed beginning a new life.”

“By the way, we shall have a wedding soon. My daughter Amelia is to be
married to-night, at ten o’clock—yes. And we shall be there on time, I
see. The place is all aglow. I wonder—”

“Yes, and I wonder how I will be received.”

“You must be treated as my brother, and the family will do so. Music?
Yes, Gertie, playing ‘Home, Sweet Home.’ There is no place like home. Oh,
how true! We will surprise them. Just step in, Clarence.”

“Oh, papa, papa!”

“Yes, Gertie; I heard you playing just as I feel, that there is no place
like home.”

“Mother, see who is here.”

“My dear wife, I want you to meet my brother, as a gentleman—which he is,
and has been proved to be.

“And, Clarence, this is Gertie, my pet now, as I must soon give Amelia to
someone else.

“I hope that he will be as kind to you, Amelia, as your father has always
been.”

[Illustration: “THE PLACE IS ALL AGLOW.”]

“Father, you have been good and kind to me. You gave me all I ever asked
for, and I want you to forgive me for the way I treated you when you
were in trouble, I am truly sorry.”

“Yes; and, dear husband, I shall always look on that time as the mistake
of my life. For doing as I did I will ask you in the presence of your
brother, and mine also, to forgive me.”

“My dear family, you are all forgiven. Now I ask that you show love and
kindness to my dear brother and share our home with him—or, rather, thank
him for sharing his home with us.”

“We shall always treat you as one of the family, brother.”

“Oh, Uncle Clarence, we are going to have a wedding to-night! Sister
Amelia is going to get married to Mr. McHenry.”

“And, Uncle Clarence, I want you to stand up with us.”

“Gertie, go to the piano and play ‘We’ll Sin and Sorrow No More.’”





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