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By CONVICT 49,068 S I write these lines I am sitting
“Percy the Penman,” brush in hand, in a six by-eight cell in the Ohio
practicing show-card lettering instead of Penitentiary. The music bell ITHIN the cell which
forged signatures, and his cell buddy, has just rung, and the harmonicas, Vic
guarded 0. Henry the
“Silk Hat Harry,” studying ad writing trolas, mandolins, and so on are all going
author of this article has his
as thoroughly as he would a gullible full tilt, each one trying to make more
residence. Convict 49,068 tells
prospect to whom he wished to make a noise than the other. Just now a har- of the change that has come quick cash sale of the Brooklyn Bridge. monica seems to be leading the noisy over the Ohio Penitentiary He would find "Second-Story Pete" and pack; and the windy gent playing it is since O.Henry(Convict 30,664) "Jerry the Yegg," their wrinkled foreabusing “What'll I Do?" to such an ex- published in The Outlook the heads resembling the corrugations of an tent that I keep expecting to hear some second story from his pen to
old-fashioned washboard, delving deeply one suggest something at any moment.
appear in any magazine.
into the perplexing mysteries of cube and Down on the lower ranges I can hear
square root, and their next-door neighthem taking the "chorus girls" for our
bors, "Two Gun Mike" and "Shorty the annual prison "Follies" out of their cells stead of his former cell buddy, Al Jen- Dip,” handicapped by the life-long habit for rehearsal. Two of them are murder- nings, who used to be so fond of in- of talking out of the corner of their ers, one a bank robber, and the rest just terrupting Western mail trains. And, mouths, conjugating French verse or common every-day dips, prowlers, forg- secondly, if he should walk on down spelling down as though their very lives ers, and bootleggers--the last predomi- the tier, he might easily imagine that he depended upon the outcome. And if, at nating:
had stumbled into a vocational training last, O. Henry's bump of curiosity should And as I sit here waiting for the Hour school by mistake, for that—through the get the better of him and he should deof Bedlam to pass—it would be foolish indefatigable efforts of Warden Thomas mand to know what on earth they were to attempt to write in all this clamor-I and Chaplain Reed—is just what the doing, he would get this reply: “Learnin' can't help but think of a real writer, one Ohio Penitentiary is to-day.
somethin', chump. Gwan, git away from of our "alumni," the late 0. Henry, and And there, in the same old unsanitary here!” of the difficult task one would have con- building where General Morgan of Civil This is how it happened: Some time vincing him, could he drop in for an in- War fame tunneled to freedom, O. Henry ago Chaplain Reed, whose duties include formal call, that the Ohio Penitentiary would find that an astonishing change
would find that an astonishing change those of librarian, noticed that a great of to-day is the same old Alma Mater had taken place—that some one, with a many of the prisoners were in the habit where he was known as student 30,664. magic wand, had transformed the dark, of drawing out books on technical sub
In the first place, if force of habit gloomy prison cells into individual jects and were returning them within a should direct his footsteps toward his old schoolrooms where men might become few days. Being himself a student, he "apartment” in the C & D block, he better through teaching and thinking. knew these books could not be assimiwould find it occupied by the writer in- He would find the 1925 edition of lated in so short a time. Upon investi
gating, he discovered that, instead of being the “master minds” the newspapers are so fond of calling them, thirtytwo per cent of the prisoners could neither read nor write and forty-seven per cent had called it an education upon reaching the third grade. Realizing that these men had a thirst for knowledge, but that they did not know how to study, he decided to teach them how.
So one morning he called his assistants, a few of the better-educated prisoners, into his office. "Boys," he said, "there are a number of men in the shops and Idle House who ought to be in school. There isn't room for them, so I've decided to start a school. Will you help me?”
“When do we begin?" was the reply, and the Intra-Wall Correspondence School of the Ohio Penitentiary—the most practical effort toward prison reform in the history of our penal institutions—was born.
They started with just a few carbon copies of lessons and a half-dozen students. But the news that "de sky pilot's dishin' out learnin'” spread around the big prison like wildfire, and within a few weeks two hundred additional students had courses, and more were clamoring to be enrolled. This new system began to show such
A corner of the prison library. More than 22,000 volumes—all donated-are kept
here. marked improvement in the men making
A few of the Intra-Wall faculty are shown in the foreground ; one of them
reads, writes, and speaks fluently seven different languages use of it that it attracted the attention of Warden Thomas, who encouraged for useful service in the outside world?” shone, and when they were erected saniand assisted the chaplain to extend it By this sort of an appeal he raised tary conveniences were unheard of. throughout the prison as widely as pos- sufficient funds to keep almost 1,700 How long could you live in that sort sible. Before long more than one-half students in supplies and to furnish 320, of environment without losing all hope, the prison population of three thousand or the most advanced, with a complete without becoming bitter, without plotting were busy at their lessons, which em- course of instruction in a useful vocation. revenge? How long could you live in an braced practically every subject taught Since then many generous contribu- Idle House, where you had to sit all day in primary school or university.
tions have flowed in (enough to install on a long wooden bench, thinking, broodIt was then that Chaplain Reed's real this school in both the men's and wo- ing, doing nothing for days, weeks, at a troubles commenced. To furnish all men's reformatories), but none of them time? How long could you sit there these students with books, paper, pens, is so appreciated as the soiled and wrin- without losing your mind, or coming out, etc., cost money, and there was 'none at kled dollar bill that arrived the other as so many have done, with the firm dehis disposal. Something had to be done. day. “This ain't much," read the boy- termination to get even? And why not? So the chaplain asked for and obtained a ish scrawl that accompanied it, “but I To make a man think normally you must ninety-day leave of absence, and began had to sell a lot of rags and junk before let him live normally. a tour of the State to raise funds. I got it. My brother's in the pen, and This school is no "sob stuff;" it's a
In his talks before churches, clubs, maybe this will help make a better man business proposition. "Sob sisters" and fraternal organizations—any interested of him."
"gush brothers" who infest prisons and group of public-spirited citizens-the To help you understand what this other such places, always wanting to do chaplain described life behind prison school means to us, I will try to give you something, and usually ending by doing walls as it actually exists. He painted a an idea of our routine. We get up at nothing, don't fool the officials, and they word picture of the morbid surroundings, 6 A.M. After working all day in the don't fool us. What we want is somethe dark, gloomy cells where prisoners shops or sitting in the Idle House—as thing practical, not pampering or codidled away precious hours, brooding, pos- hundreds, through lack of work, are com- dling. sibly plotting the revenge they would pelled to do with just a short time out Under this system we can devote the take when the State considered their debt for dinner, we are again locked in our long, weary hours. hitherto spent in to society paid.
"drums" at 4:30 P.M. Lights are turned brooding over our condition, or listening "Ninety per cent of the men in prison out at 8:30 P.M. On Sundays, except to a “hard-boiled” cell partner tell how are coming back some day,” the chap- for the short time we are at meals or in many "peters" he had blown and the lain would say. “The question is, how chapel, we spend the entire day in our hundreds of "soft touches” he'd made, to do you want them to come back-hard- cells—cells in which no reasonably sane learning a trade. And if, upon our reened criminals, fitted for lives of worse man would care to house his dog; for lease, we are given a fair chance crime, or better men, fitted by education into many of them the sun has never at it, and not the "bum's rus]
payers will have fewer convicts to sup- what the world called an habitual crim- man entirely. And if any one wanted to port.
inal. He was only twenty-six years old, talk to Spike, the pièce de résistance of Getting away from the subject for a but had spent almost seventeen of those the conversation would have to be chickmoment, let me tell you of an incident behind prison bars. We locked together ens. Spike's been out for over a year that happened last Sunday, which will do for a while, and he told me something of now (just eight months longer than he very well to illustrate just how much his life's history. He had never known ever managed to stay before), and the some of the "would-be” reformers really his mother-she died bringing him into last I heard from him was a jubilant know about prisoners and prisons. We the world—and a switch engine got his note stating that he was working on a were at dinner, and a party of visitors father when Spike was eight. Two years chicken farm, where he was chamberwho had attended chapel services came later the Boys' Industrial School got maid to a large flock of full-blooded into the dining-room.
Spike, and the State has been his host Plymouth Rocks. "Why, you have knives and forks, on and off ever since.
There are some who insist that Spike's haven't you?" exclaimed one, her eyes as There has been some real tough reformation is just a flash in the pan, big as saucers.
"mugs” in this old quadrangle of granite that he'll come back. But I'm betting “Yes, ma'am," replied a joker on my at one time or another, but Spike stood that he doesn't. For he also stated in right. “An' some of us even got teeth!” head and shoulders above any of them. his note that whenever he felt the urge
Warden Thomas and Chaplain Reed And as a consequence he not only earned to shatter the Seventh Commandment he cannot reform any of us; that is one the sobriquet of the "Prison Demon," simply opened one of those roadside chore we simply have to do for ourselves. but served about two-thirds of his time vegetable stands, and that's one form of But they can, and have, made brilliant in the whole.” One day Spike walked highway robbery our lawmakers have scholars and even teachers of some of the into the chaplain's office and rather completely overlooked. Besides, Spike most troublesome and unruly prisoners sheepishly asked if he could have a didn't have to go to work when he was this place has ever known-men who
released; he could have gone back to the have been in and out of prison so often "Certainly you can, Spike,” was the old mob or into politics. So, if he has that one might say that they were doing chaplain's reply. "But I don't want you not reformed, he has at least developed "life" on the installment plan; and any to take one unless you will promise m some commendable scruples, and that's a one who can do that has done more go through with it.”
step in the right direction. Hats off to toward helping us back on the slippery Spike promised. And when the chap- Chaplain Reed and his college, which, | strait and narrow path than all the lain asked him what study he wished to even though it has crowbars for window legislation our assemblies can write onto pursue, he asked for a course in poultry screens, is making our greatest failurethe books.
raising! Can you beat it? Well, he got our prison system--pay dividends in reThere's Spike, for instance. Spike was one; and from then on Spike was another habilitated men and women.
A Letter from Russia
wrote this letter from
Y dear B
As you have shown in your last
letter a great interest in the conditions of my work at our factory, I can tell you that one's position at a higher post is by far not all "beer and skittles.” One has always to balance between three fires: the administration at Moscow, the Workmen's Committee, and the workingmen themselves. You have to satisfy all three if you wish to stay. These are the more or less technical resorts which you have to consider; politically you are kept in fear and horror by the local cell at the factory and the Country Executive Committee.
As to the work itself, one is generally kept busy from early morning till late at night-unfortunately, most of it unproductively. One's time is fully taken up by endless meetings and discussions with the Workmen's Committee, the Workmen's Conflict Committee, and different traveling officials.
Besides all these there are the reports in writing to the administration at Moscow and to other Government institutions. You see, one cannot complain of
young men submit our activity and our
conduct to a severe public criticism, Russia ? That's our se
which appears later on in all newspapers.
In order to attract a larger audience, the cret. Even though The Outlook
passing of the final sentence upon us is is not permitted to enter Rus
being transacted in an absolutely farcical sia, the publication of this
manner, and on the top of that we are letter from an employee of represented as more or less ridiculous. the Soviet under his own name Well, then, listen: would certainly make trouble There is a certain excitement at the for the author. Although it is factory: the crocodile is being expected! anonymous, we trust that it
A fortnight before its arrival an urn is will be found to contain stim- put up in one of the rooms of the faculating suggestions for Amer. tory, wherein everybody may throw comican factory experts.
plaints, written on small slips of paper; complaints against everybody-adminis
tration, employees, workingmen, just as want of work. One is expected to hold everybody thinks fit. Night and day a cultural lectures at the club. This latter militiaman is sitting by the urn to watch I have not done for principle's sake,
in order that it should not be turned I do not see the reason why I should over and to prevent anything happening educate the "comrades” in any form. to it. This seemed the more necessary,
For your benefit, I will illustrate in as a few days ago the monument of Karl this letter a little episode out of our fac- Marx, which was standing in the markettory life. It will show you in what an place of our little town, had been uncongenial dependency we employees knocked over. . are placed. We are, for instance, obliged By the day of the arrival of the crocoto tolerate having three inexperienced dile the urn was full of slips of paper
What, again ? The Outlook was barred from Russia under the Czar. That was because George Kennan, of The Outlook's staff, worked with the revolutionists against the old régime. Now, under the edict of the Communist Government, we are barred again, as this reproduction from a wrapper containing Outlooks sent to Russia clearly shows. Toe Russian Censor found it neces
sary to stamp the wrapper three times with the direction, “ Returned because forbidden admission by the Press Bureau and the expectation great; nobody knew be read at once and a just investigation It does not matter that Citizen Hwhat would happen. In the afternoon should take place; the guilty ones would is a foreigner, neither does it matter that the director of the factory sent a circular be severely punished. The crocodile he draws a comparatively high salary, to all the higher employees. We were being tired from the journey from Mos- because he earns it, being a specialist and obliged to give a written guaranty to ap- cow, he would have the honor to preside is being fully occupied in the factory pear at the session of the crocodile. at the meeting. Again the monster clat- from early morning till late at night, ac
When I entered the great school-room tered with its teeth, the music played, cording to the statement of the workmen. of the factory at nine o'clock P.M., and the session began.
He has no right to live in a separate full of people, who fought desperately, in The complaints had in the meantime house by himself; it is desirable that a expectation of what was to happen, for apparently been sorted, because one of comrade should be lodged with him; the the best seats. When at last the curtain the young men pulled out of the urn question about the curtained windows rose, we saw the crocodile and three quite three complaints against my person at would be settled then. young men from Moscow on the stage,
As it appeared later, there had That the accused does not do anything who were seated round a table, on which not been left in the urn any complaints for the education of the workmen is a the aforementioned urn was standing. In at all against comrades (i. e., members proof of want of interest and is to be the background there sat the director of of the Communist Party); these had
of the Communist Party); these had regretted. There should be taken steps the factory, the members of the cell, the been in wise forethought destroyed and in this matter. Workmen's Committee, and different the whole material had been carefully (2) Why doesn't Citizen H— split other comrades of high standing in a looked through and sorted. And so it his firewood himself, but allows it to be solemn semicircle. The appearance of began at once with me, and that pretty done by workmen from the factory? The the crocodile corresponded to the highest sharp.
following resolution was carried after a expectations: It was clothed in a scarlet (1) Why is this expensive foreigner long debate: Citizen H-, being pretty dress, had a mouth full of dreadful teeth, here? He gets high wages, lives in a de- stout, it would only do him good if he and held in its paw a pitchfork. The tached house, and does not do anything would split his firewood himself. orchestra behind the stage was playing either for the factory or for the cul- (3) Why has Citizen H- received a triumphal march, the crocodile rattled, ture of the Communist Party. Goodness so much good furniture from the factory? keeping time with its jaws, and the three knows what he is doing in his house! In The furniture is the property of the strange young men bowed,
bowed, smiling the evening the windows are shut off with workmen and should be given to the emproudly, in all directions.
blinds, and it is impossible to peep in. ployees only in small quantities. The audience, in expectation, held its These were the contents of the first slip. Again there followed long discussions. breath and was enthusiastic about the The discussion of the separate points As they could not come to an agreement appearance of the red monster. Pres- lasted for over an hour, wherein I was in this important question, this matter ently one of the
and attacked by several comrades, but pro- was given over to the Workmen's Comdelivered a humorous address: The croc- tected, to my great satisfaction, by the mittee for a further investigation. Evenodile had come to the factory to discover workmen, so that I escaped compara- tually nothing was taken away from me; misuses and to punish undutiful employ- tively lightly. The resolution of the there appeared only constantly delegates, ees. The slips of paper in the urn would crocodile was as follows:
who made a note of each piece of furni
ture for at least ten times, and disturbed Other employees of the factory did not Finishing this narration, I wish to me and my family by their presence and fare so well; most of them were found mention that this whole comedy was by the many questions.
guilty and were impaled upon the pitch- far not so innocent as it may appear to With this point ended the discussion fork or the great corner tooth of the be. The minutes with the resolutions about my person. I did not get any
crocodile, figuratively of course—that is, were handed over to the Executive Compunishment, thanks only to the work- this was done with their slips of accusa- mittee, and the newspapers brought demen, who defended me the whole time tion along with the verdict; at each tailed reviews of the debates. A regretagainst the comrades. I escaped with a execution the music played a flourish, the table result of this was the discharge of few admonitions, administered by the crocodile clattered madly with its teeth several able employees. president in the name of the crocodile. and the audience screamed with pleasure.
HThere will be other letters from this author to follow
By WILLARD WATTLES
Music she loved and friendly greetings,
Kind words spoken and ill forgot;
She never faltered at any grievance
Though her heart was hurt and her eyes were hot. ...
There was nothing honest and wise and merry
Long ago in a lonely garden
Where dim leaves of the olive stir
Died for his truth and been laid in myrrh
And God's great mercy—because of her.
Guns and Game
By HENRY BANNON
from the menacing combination of automatic and automobile T always has been, and always will for conserving game in order that there have more game, we must kill less. All
be, quite impossible to secure har- may be hunting is a present problem agree with that, but differ, and sometimes
mony, either in thought or in legis- which should be met dispassionately, needlessly quarrel, over how to restrict lative action, concerning the limitation though firmly. The problem is compli- hunting of a natural right. Sportsmen regard the cated by the inevitable invasion of the In some States, such as Ohio, the right to hunt and to fish as such a right, natural right to hunt. And this is no hunting of quail has been restricted and too many of them resist all efforts to new thing. Almost two hundred years by the extreme of not permitting them restrain them in the exercise of that ago Gilbert White wrote in one of his to be hunted at all. The reasons for the right. To the common law, game birds letters to Thomas Pennant, Esq., which widespread increase in hunting during the and animals are known as feræ naturæ, go to make up the charming “Natural past fifteen years is found in the fact which is to say, they are of a wild nature History of Selborne," these reflections that it has become so easy. When the and their ownership is in the State until over the unlawful killing of game: “The hunter was under the necessity of dereduced to actual individual possession temptation is irresistible; for most men pending on the horse and buggy for conas permitted by statute law. This legal are sportsmen by constitution; and there veyance to the hunting-grounds and the theory had its origin centuries ago in the is such an inherent spirit for hunting in double-barrel gun for his firearm, hunting necessity for conserving food supply and human nature, as scarce any inhibitions was not so easy as with the motor car for insuring food for the pioneers who can restrain." Therein is found the ob- for conveyance and the automatic and went into unsettled lands. Except in re- stacle which has caused the legislative repeater for his firearm. Well do we remote regions of Alaska, such necessity no pendulum to swing from one extreme to member how, in the late eighties and in longer exists in the United States, and no the other, both equally wrong.
the nineties, the hunter was under the longer is there necessity for conserving
The Less We Kill, the More
necessity of getting up long before day for food supply such game birds as
and facing a cold buggy ride for from two
We Have grouse, wild turkey, quail, geese, and
to three hours before reaching the game
E are firm in the opinion that the fields; and also do we remember the reand for recreation, and for a most valu
problem in itself is a simple one, turn in the star-lit frosty night. There able training of our youth, the necessity capable of a just solution. If we would were but few quail hunters then. The
ducks. For the sportsmen themselves