Page images
PDF
EPUB

cheap ? " " To whom have I the honour of speaking ?"I replied. “I am the chaplain," said he. “I don't suppose you will have much need of me. If you have you can send for me." He turned on his heel and disappeared. I never saw him again save in the distance at chapel when he went through the services in a way unintelligible to me where I sat, but I was told he had a rather good voice. His name was Stocken.* He had admonished Jacques for mixing himself up with the Salvation Army --poor Jacques was certainly guiltless of that crime. This was the only creature whom I met among all those to whose care, spiritual and temporal, I was entrusted who ever said an unkind word. Governors, chief warders, principal warders, and ordinary turnkeys and gaolers, together with the other chaplains, assistant chaplains, Scripture readers, etc., were all most courteous and humane, not merely to me, but, as far as I could see, to all my fellow-prisoners.

SHIVERING IN THE DARK. After Stocken departed, I was left alore for some hours. The breakfast of bread and skilly had been served out, my bedclothes had been rolled up, and I sat alone in the darkness. A dense fog lay heavy upon the outside world. In the cell nothing but darkness was visible. It was a strange and somewhat weird experience. Yesterday the crowed court, with letters, telegrams, enthusiastic friends; to-day, darkr:ess as of Egypt, in a solitary cell. There was nothing to do It was too dark to read. And as the hours stole on the cold made itself felt, and I shivered in the cell. Might I wrap myself in the blankets? Yes, if I liked, although it was contrary to regulations. After a while we were marched to the doctor; he weighed us. In prison costume I weighed 9 st. 11 lh. l complained of the cold. “The cells," said he, in the usual dry official way, “are heated to a temperature of 60 degrees”; and there was an end of that. No doubt they ought to be, but as a matter of fact the reception cells wero not heated to 60 degrees, or anything like 60 degrces. When transferred to B wing, where the cells were heated properly, the change was as if November had given place to May. The warders admitted it readily, and excused it by assuring us that our permanent cells would be much warmer. The doctor, however, took no trouble about the matter; but I would like to know whether, as it is the law that cells must be heated to 60 degrees, some one ought not to be punished when prisoners are allowed to shiver with cold at a temperature of 45 or 50 degrees ?

A SYMPATHETIC GOVERNOR. Before we saw the doctor we were inspected by the Governor. Captain Helby is a retired naval officer, pleasant and sympathetic. Just twelve months ago I was down at Portsmouth interviewing the Admirals and rejoicing with the authorities in her Majesty's dockyard over the unexpected success of “ The Truth about the Navy," and now here I was in the custody of a retired captain in one of her Majesty's prisons. Captain Helby addresse | me very kindly. “Whatever sympathy I may have," he said, “ with you and your work (and in my private capacity I sympathise very much with you), Í can only treat you as an ordinary criminal convict prisoner, who must be subject to the ordinary rules and regulations laid down for the treatment of criminal convict prisoners. I hope, therefore, that you will conform

yourselves thereto, and that you will not subject me to the painful necessity of subjecting you to discipline." “Sir," I replied, “ I think I understand the position in which I am placed, and to the best of my ability I will conform to the regulations laid down for my guidance." I have often wondered since then what on earth he thought I was likely to do that might necessitate the infliction of discipline, which, being interpreted, I slippose meant crank, treadwheel, “ cells,” bread and water, and I know not what else. Editors no doubt are somewhat rare birds in Coldbath-in-the-Fields, but even editors could hardly be expected to assault their warders, or refuse to pick oakum or to wash out their cells. *

DINNER AND VISITORS. At twelve o'clock the door of the cell was opened, and a tin pot and the usual brown little loaf handed inside. At the bottom of the tin was a tough, gluey composition, which on reference to the dietary scale I found was called a suet pudding. I pecked a little hole in it, tasted it as a kind of sample, and then desisted. More hours passed, and then I was asked whether I would like to see a gentleman of the name of “ Waugh”? “Wouldn't I just”? although I confess the kindness of it upset me not a little. It was so like him, and so unexpected. And as I shuffled along the echoing corridors, and was locked in and out of great barred gates, I felt sadder at the thought of his kindness than at all the rest. We sat at the opposite ends of a long table. We were not allowed to shake hands. He read me some kind telegrams and letters. Mr. Waugh wished to present me in gaol with a copy of his " Gaol Cradle," an excellent book which he has allowed to go out of print; but that was forbidden. Nothing must pass from the outer world to a prisoner. He must read nothing but that which is provided in the gaol library, and only as much of that as is doled out to him by the chaplain. So Mr. Waugh had sorrowfully to carry his “ Gaol Cradle” back again. Then came another surprise: Dr. Clifford, armed with a Home Office order, succeeded Mr. Waugh, and we had a pleasant little talk. After he went away I was tramped back to my cell, which, however, I had to vacate almost immediately.

MY SECOND CELL. I was taken away to the B wing, ard there placed in cell No. 8 in the second floor. I got a new label, B2, and had a brass number sewed upon the other side of my coat. Jacques was taken off to another wing, and I saw him to speak to no more. I was placed under the charge of a warder whose name I think was Smithers, a kindly, courteous official, whom I regretted not being able to thank when I was so unexpectedly carried off to Holloway.

What a welcome change it was to my new cell can only be appreciated by those who have sluivered for hours in an unwarmed cell. For my new cell was really heated. up to 60 degrees, and the pleasure of the change was immense. All pleasures are comparative. If you feed a man on bread and water he will rejoice more over skilly than an epicure over a Lord Mayor's banquet. The great secret of enjoyment is to do without for a time. I never thought I could have hungered and thirsted so keenly for a bit of chop as after my three days on low diet. As for a cup of teit, that seemed a beatific vision of unattainable bliss.

* This notable chaplain was at Pentonville when Cunningham Grahame and John Burns did their bit" for Trafalgar Square. He lectured them on the sin of rebelliou !

* At this time William breeches,

O'Brien had not made his historic fight for his

HOW TO SLEEP ON A PLANK BED.

The plank bed is raised from the floor just high enough My pleasure at the warmth was somewhat damped by to allow mice free space to frolic under the planks. The the announcement that I was to have no mattress. bedclothes are rolled up tight every morning and the Criminal convicts must sleep on bare boards. I winced roll stood on end on the highest of these shelves in the a bit, but I remembered poor William's receipt, and took corner. There is a little whitening for polishing the courage. As some may not have seen that receipt, I will drinking can, the can itself, a piece of soap, and the salt repeat it here. When you have to sleep on bare boards cellar. you will discover that the weight

THE MESSAGE IN THE SALT CELLAR. of your body rests almost entirely

In my salt cellar I found a pathetic little note from on your shoulders and your hip the joints.

the previous occupant of my cell. I envied him his lead Wrap your coat round pencil: the paper was one of the ordinary your shoulders, your breeches brown sheets supplied to all prisoners. round your loins, and, if you have He had written it. apparently, the first no oakum, put your waistcoat in day of his in

day of his imprisonment and buried it your hat for a pillow, and you will

in the salt cellar, where he had forgotten be able to sleep without waking

it. This message-half illegible now-I at midnight with aching bones.

retain as one of the most pathetic If you are found out you will be

SALT-CELLAR. mementoes of my incarceration. But in reported; you are not allowed to

the hope that this letter from within the sleep in your clothes. There is a

prison walls may yet perchance meet the eye of the poor peep-hole in the door of every cell

mother whose son occupied my cell, I reproduce it here. THE WARDER.

through which the warder looks to
see that you are all right according

“ 24 (illegible), 1885. to regulations, but unless he has a spite against you he

“My dear Mother,—This is my first day here after my will not, as a rule, discover that your clothes are round

unjust conviction. The solitude is really dreadful to bear, but your hips instead of being outside the bed.

must go through with it bravely. Comfort Fanny and the LIFE AS A CRIMINAL CONVICT.

children, and do not let them want for anything. They had I enjoyed my two days in B very much. The change

better move into the little cottage I was after, as then

Arthur would live with them and do something towards the from the cold of R3 was very great. The dense fog lifted,

rent. Do look after Fanny, as if anything were to happen to and I could see to read. There was in the cell a Bible, her it would break my heart, and nothing would be worth a Prayer Book, and a library book, Dean Vaughan's

living for.” “ Consolation for the Sorrowful.” Then, again, I was

How my heart went out to the unknown writer of these allowed the luxury of having something to do. I scoured

lines !* Dear soul, how I wondered and still wonder out my cell in the morning with hearty goodwill, and scrubbed my table and stool. Then I set to work to

where he is. Whether anything has happened to Fanny. pick oakum. It was not the proper oakum, but coir

And who was Fanny? His daughter, his sister, or some fibre. I had to pick from ten ounces to one pound. It

one whom he loved! Who knows? But there the dingy

little paper lies, with its message of love and kindly foreis an excellent meditative occupation. But it is hard at first on the finger-nails. Mine wanted trimming; for, if

thought for dear mother and the children, but especially

for Fanny-life would not be worth living if anything the nails are not short, the leverage on the nail in disentangling the fibre causes considerable suffering. “How

happens to her. It was a blessed message to me, cheering do prisoners do when they want their nails cut?” I

me in my cell as no chapel service or printed word cheered asked. “ Bite 'em,” laconically replied the warder. You

me in Coldbath. For I thought, mayhap if Fanny is don't know how strange it feels to have neither knife nor

under sixteen or even eighteen, there is less danger of

anything happening to her now; and she is but one, and scissors, nor pens, nor pencils, nor pockets, although of

there are many Fannys. And yet even for that poor course it may be said that you don't need pockets if you have nothing to put into them. Those who say this

prisoner's sake alone was it not worth while ? forget that even prisoners use hands. Here is a diagram

MY NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOUR. of my cell :

In No. 7 was an elderly man, not there for the first

time, who was in for stealing a pail. Dusi Pan

He sang a good deal by himself. His
Brush Clout
PLANK Beo

voice was good, and he seemed to Scrub Brush

have many hymns by heart. On the Dish Clout Three Planed Plarks

other side was a young fellow who

had eighteen months for passing and Wooden Pillow

counterfeit coin. He had been there

six months, and had still twelve more fesselated Black and Red

to serve. Six months! What a

contrast between his last half-year Water Can

and mine! He was a kindly soul,

and his sympathetic word to me as Oahum Washing

we trudged to chapel in single file, Basin

that my “ three months would soon Table

be done,” was very pleasant. On |- Gas y Jer

the whole I liked my fellow-prisoners,

with one or two exceptions, very The ventilator, which can be opened and closed at will,

* Alas! the authorities at Coldbath felt no such kindly sentiments. Erery

salt-cellar was turned out and examined, afier this article appeared, to discover is under the window. The gas jet is over the table.

and destroy any similar message.

[graphic]

Wooden Pillow

Door

with Eye-hole

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Sol

Three Shelves

At a

AT CHAPEL.

much, and I felt a strange new sense of brotherhood with eight. You are not allowed to go to bed before the bell convicts and criminals, which was in itself a boon worth rings, why, I don't exactly know. I have a somewbat coming to gaol to gain.

weak spine, and my back ached so badly sometimes; but EARLY MORNING IN GAOL.

a stretch, even on a plank bed, is forbidden till a quarter This was the order of our day at Coldbath.

past eight. quarter to six the bell rang. You rise and dress in the

The monotony of my day was broken by several visits. dark. At six the warder opens the door, and you throw

Amongst others my solicitor called about pending cases, your bedclothes over the polished iron balustrade that and swore a good comfortable oath at the " degradation" runs round the corridor outside the cells. The door is of my costume. I did not feel degraded one whit. All locked again, and you scour out your cell. Then the door the same, I enjoyed the sympathy much more, I fear, is unlocked, and you bring in your bedelothes and roll

than I condemned the immorality of the oath. At last, them up, strap them tightly, and set them away on the after being three days in Coldbath, 1 was summoned to shelf. You are asked if you have any applications to

receive another visitor, who brought me news that the make for the governor, doctor, or chaplain, and your

Home Secretary had decided to transfer me to Holloway application is duly noted and reported. Then you take

without waiting to communicate with the judge. An your oakum, picked and unpicked, to the warder who

hour afterwards I doffed my prison garb, and was drivics weighs it, examines its quality, and gives you out a fresli

in i hansom to Holloway Gaol. quantum for the day. It is a strange sight, a great gaol

II.-IN HOLLOWAY PRISON AS FIRST-CLASS all stone and iron, with innumerable gas jets twinkling

MISDEMEANANT. down the corridors and the prisoners moving to and fro with their bundles of oakum. When peoplo run all “I did not know," said Lord Beaconsfield, as Mr. round the world in search of novel sights and strange Torrens drove him round the northern heights of the sensations, what a mine of unexplored novelties they great city, “ that you had a feudal castle in the north of neglect in London gaols! At eight o'clock your skilly London.” Mr. Torrens explained that the feudal castle and bread are handed in, and then about half-past eight was only a modern gaol. I was as ignorant as Lord the summons comes for chapel. You turn out of your Beaconsfield on the subject, for not until I was driven to cell, put on your hai, and stand with your face to the the gate of the gaol did I know how noble a pile of door of your cell till the word is given to march. Then masonry had been reared in Holloway for the accommoyou face about and mirch in single file along the corri

dation of the criminals of London. The stately building dors, upstairs, and along many passages.

with its castellated keep and its spacious wings I hail

seen many years ago from the top of the Monument, and The road to chapel is like the road to heaven-it is a

wondered what it was, little dreaming that the next tim

I saw it I was about to enter its gates as a prisoner. narrow way, and it winds upward still. Both at Coldbath and Holloway the chapel is perched as ncar the sky

Not that any feelings of regret passed even for a moment as the building perinits. Chapel at Coldbath was a

through my mind. mockery. We filed in, and took our seats about a couple

A DELIGHTFUL HOLIDAY. of feet apart; very few prisoners brought their Prayer The exhilaration of the change from the other gaol, books or their Bibles. A distant and more or less the pleasure of being once more at home in my own inarticulate sound as of reading is heard. Now and again clothes, and the keen interest excited by the sight of the we stump down on our knees, but do not bend our heads, imposing edifice in which I was to enjoy the hospitality or close our eyes, or take part in any responses. Oh! of the Crown for a couple of months, left no room for how I longed for a stave of song, or even for the melodious anything but the liveliest feelings of curiosity and gratimusic of the inarticulate organ. But there was not a

tude. And my stay in Holloway, excepting for one or sound, save the voice of Chaplain Stocken droning away

two dark shadows from outside, which filled my room from the desk. When that ceased, we were marched back with the gloom of the grave, was a period of unbroken again to our cells, where we picked oakum.

joy. Never had I a pleasanter holiday, a more charming INSPECTION, EXERCISE, AND MEALS.

season of repose. I had been trying in vain to get rest

ever since the famous fiasco of Penjdeh left England and At eleven the governor or the chief warder came round. You have to stand with your back to the wall with your

Russia at peace, and at last it had come. I had sought hat in your hand, and answer any questions that are put

it in vain in Switzerland, but I found it in Holloway.

Here, as in an enchanted castle, jealously guarded by to you. The inspection is brief. If your cell is clean

liveried retainers, I was kept secure from the strife of and neat and you have no complaint to make, it is almost

tongues, and afforded the rare luxury of journalistic momentary, and the door is locked. The door is locked

leisure. From the governor, Colonel Milman, to the and unlocked about twelve times in the day. After inspection, or sometimes after dinner, you go out for

poor fellow who scrubbed out my room, every one was

as kind as kind could be. From all parts of the Empire, exercise. We marched in single file round and round the exercise ground. It was a pleasant sight for me to see

even from distant Fiji, rained down upon me every

morning the benedictions of men and women who had the sky again, and the green grass, and to hear from over

felt in the midst of their lifelong labours for the outcast the high walls of the prison the welcome sounds of common life. The rumble and the roar of the traffic, the

the unexpected lift of the great outburst of compassion cries of the street sellers, and even the strains of a barrel

and indignation which followed the publication of the organ sounded pleasanter to the prisoner and captive everything that heart could wish.

· Maiden Tribute.” I had papers, books, letters, flowers, than they do to the free man outside. Dinner is served at twelve-once we had soup which tasted well but did not digest, and another day two whole potatoes boiled Twice a week my wife brought the sunlight of her in their jackets, together with the unvarying six ounces presence into the pretty room, all hung round with of wholemeal bread. Supper-bread and skilly-comes Christmas greetings from absent friends, and twice a at five, and then your gas is lit, and you can read till week she brought with her one of the children. On the

CHRISTMAS IN GAOL,

dar after Christmas the whole fainily came, excepting at Holloway by saying that if ever I am in a position to the little two-year-old, and what high jinks we had in 'ask a guerdon from my country for my profession, I will the old gaol with all the bairns! The room was rather humbly petition the powers that be to permit any editor small for blind man's buff, but we managed it somehow, of a daily newspaper to convert himself into a first-class and never was there a merrier little party than that misdemeanant at will, for terms of one, two, or three which met in cell No. 2 on the ground floor of the E months. There is nothing like being in gaol for getting wing of Holloway Gaol, which that Christmas was in the rid of bores and getting on with work, and I am not sure occupation of a certain “misdemeanant of the first that if a small voluntary gaol were started by a limited llivision," named Stead. Mr. Talbot, my minister at liability company to be run on first-class misdemeanant Wimblelon, whose thoughtful kindness has never varied, principles, and managed as admirably as Holloway Gaol, came once a week, while I had visitors from my staff it would not pay a handsome dividend. It would cerevery other day. ;

tainly be an incalculable boon to the over-driven, muchVISITORS.

worried writers of London. The magistrates placed a veto upon the visits of all

MY THIRD CELL. persons who had taken part in the recent agitation. If I was warmer in Holloway Gaol than I have been since any one wished to see me I had to submit his name to I carre out of it. I was immeasurably quieter. On the governor, who submitted it to the visiting magis page 274 is an inside view of my“ little room," as the good trates, and when they gave it their sanction, the person chaplain always euphemistically described our cells. It named was allowed to visit me, not in my room, but in is a double cell, just like a college room. I had the same the ordinary visiting cell, for half an hour between two cell as Mr. Yates, of whom traditions still linger in the and five. I interviewed Mr. T. P. O'Connor in Holloway gaol. I was well supplied with flowers and fruit. I got Gaol as to the part which he had played in the general some lovely boxes of flowers from the South of France, election, but I did not see more than half-a-dozen M.P.'s bunches of fragrant violets from Glasgow in the north and about half-a-dozen others altogether, excluding the and Devon in the south. Pots of lilies of the valley, regular weekly visitants. It is specially laid down in forced into premature bloom, sweetened, and gay tulips the rules for the guidance of misdemeanants of the first and graceful cyclamen brightened the cell. At Christmas division that they may work at their trades, and I time the walls were bright with the holly berries, shining worked at mine all through my term. I got the news red amid the dark leaves. No Yule log was supplied on papers every morning at a quarter past seven, and at ten Christmas Eve, but with that exception nothing was o'clock the messenger got his copy. It was rather wanting. On Christmas night the warder entered with amusing to me to receive lamentations over the erratica grave face, carrying a roaring lion in his arms. It was course which the Pall Mall Gazette was taking“ in the muzzled with one of Sir Edmund Henderson's patent dog absence of my guiding hand,” while the erratic articies muzzles, but it roared like life. As it opened its mouth complained of were often from my own pen. Thero was to roar and showed its glistening teeth it could no longer no restriction placed upon me as to what I wrote with hold a card entrusted to its keeping. I read the inscriptwo exceptions. I was not to allude in any way to the tion: “To our muzzled chief, from four of his staff.” discipline of the gaol or to any of the subjects connected

The rascals, to pick such fun out of their imprisoned with the New Crusade. I could publish what I pleased cditor! That lion was for the rest of the time the object when I came out, but during my incarceration nothing

of universal admiration. It is true he could only be was to appear from me in print that related directly or made to roar by pulling a patent bellows concealed in indirectly to my judge, my trial, to the Criminal Law

his chest, but even when he stood quite still, with his Amendment Act, or to anything thereunto belonging.

tail erect, he used to alarm those who saw him for the This gave me leisure to write a paper which I had long first time. “The man that made that lion,” said one of brooded over, on the gradual development of “ Govern

my warders,“ knows how to make a beast, I reckon," mont by Journalism," together with some speculations as

and he was right. The animal is now at Wimbledon, to the modifications necessary to enable the editor to

where he has succeeded in nearly frightening little Jack ield his sovereignty with greater knowledge and better

into fits. credentials than he can boast of at present.*

MY MICE IN THE CELL.
FIRST CLASS TO BE "FIRST CLASS."

The lion was not the only quadruped in the cell, nor I do not think that I have ever been in better spirits

the noisiest. Until I was in gaol I never knew what a in my life or enjoyed existence more intensely than in

racket a single mouse can make. A little midget that these two months. So far as I could, I let all my friends

would hardly fill a couple of know how jolly I was, and how entirely the prayers

thimbles can keep you awake ail of all my kind supporters had been answered so far as

night, as it practises gymnastics my inward peace and joy were concerned. But they did

among your empty boxes, and

your not seem to be able to believe it.

dances quadrilles upon

I was constantly receiving letters exhorting me to keep up my heart under

newspapers. Lively little fellows this tribulation, and all the while I was far happier and

were the brown - coated comless tribulated than any of my correspondents. My wife

panions of my solitude. At first declared that she saw more of me since I went to gaol

I thought they must be rats,

their footfall was so heavy, but than she had done for the previous six months. Of course

I never found traces of anything I was cut off from many of my best friends, but they wrote constantly, and although I lost their company I

but mice. The little wretches gained time to do work that they all wanted to have

kept me awake many an hour, and if they had done it on done. Altogether, I can best sum up my estimate of the

purpose I could have slain them, but I could not find the

heart to punish them for their sport. The capers they “punishment” inflicted on a first-class misdemeanant

cut after the gas was down were most amusing. A * Since published in the Contemporary Review.

mouse is as good as a kitten or a kid, if not better, for

10

a solitary mousekin will romp

turned the corner, when they all by itself all round the cell

came back immediately. If with as much liveliness as if

the sparrow is the mouse of it were a couple of kittens

the air, the starling is the rat, boiled down into one little

and there were four of these whiskered rascal with a long

bold, saucy feathered rats, tail. One of my small friends,

which used to come to gobble presuming upon my forbear

up the crumbs among the ance, took to waltzing over my

sparrows. Other birds I saw bead as I lay asleep. So I

none, save once I believe I saw thought it time to teach him

a hen chaffinch in the grounds; a lesson. I smuggled a penny

and another time there passed into the cell, and set the mug

far overhead, flying due south, trap on my supper-table. A

a string of wild ducks. What little piece of chewed bread is

a view of London they must affixed to the inside of a penny,

have had that clear day, and which is stood erect by the

how I wonder what they edge of the mug being

thought of all these miles and Lalanced on its rim. The

miles of sooty roofs and mouse comes, nibbles the

smoking vent holes which we bread, displaces the penny,

call London! A pigeon now and down comes the mug on

and then flew over the gaol, the top of him, and he is

and once a rook. But of robin, yours. I set my trap, and

blackbird, thrush, or wren I waited. Nothing came, so I

saw none. went to sleep. Waking as I usually did about two, I see

EXERCISE. the mug has fallen. Is there

I could take exercise when a mouse inside ? I peep

I pleased, as long as I pleased,

THE RECREATION GROUND. cautiously under the tilted

in the daytime, but always in rim, and see to my horror that

one appointed place—round the wretched mouse has gnawed a large hole through my and round the prison hospital, a neat and commodious clean new table-cloth. In my disgust I raise the mug a structure, built by the present governor almost little too high and away scoots the little rascal, leaving entirely with prison labour. The walk round the me with a spoiled table-cloth and two little heaps of lint hospital is about one-eighth of a mile, and when there by the side of an ugly hole to bear witness to his pre- was any sun it was sunny on one side. I constructed an sence. Moral: never set a mug trap on a table-cloth. improvised sundial with sticks stuck in the walk, and by Undeterred by this failure, I set another trap. I pasted their aid and that of the shadow of the hospital knew a piece of paper over a small box, cut a cross in the almost to a minute when it was time to go in. But the centre, and sprinkled crumbs over the cross, arranged an sun did not often shine, and sometimes when it did it inclined plane from the floor to the box, and waited. glared lurid red through smoky fog, beautifully TurnerPresently a hurried scramble and a sudden plop told me esque, but emitting too little light to cast a shadow. mousie was in quod. I jumped up and shut down the From my study windows on the first Sunday in the new lid. There was enough food for a couple of mice inside, year, the great blood-red sun as it rolled along suffered and I left him till morning. Once more the mouse got an odd eclipse from time to time by the tall chimneys the better of me. Instead of resigning itself to its fate that seemed darkling through the fog. The view is not it began to try to gnaw its way out. Imagine a nutmeg- extensive, but how grateful it was after having had no grater kept going all night, and you will understand the view at all but the walls of a cell for three days, only "success" of my attempt to silence my little friends. those can know who have experienced the change. Next morning the warder insisted that "it must be

RENT AND SERVICE. extinct," but I exercised the captive's prerogative of

At Holloway I paid 6s. a week for the rent of my mercy, confessed myself beaten, and let the little

room, 3s. 6d. a week for service, and 2s. 6d. a week I prisoner go.

believe for something else— possibly fires and gas. I had THE MICE OF THE AIR.

my own little kettle and made my own tea : fresh eggs The mice of the cell were not my only pensioners. I were sent me by some unknown benefactor in Dunville had others in those mice of the air, the London sparrows, in Ireland, and anything in the shape of food was ordered whom I used to feed every noon in the hospital grounds. outside. The hours were the same as at Cold bath. But The sketch on page 25 is a highly imaginative version of instead of planks I had a comfortable bed. I was the feeding-place at the north-east corner of the ground, allowed my own hearthrug and easy chairs, as well as a which was by a large tree. I used to scatter crumbs writing desk and a cosy little tea table. At a quarter to daily, and sometimes as many as thirty sparrows would six I rose and made my bed, and dressed, then shook be seen feeding together. But it is an artistic exaggera- and rolled up the hearthrugs and matting, and set to tion of the confidence of the birds to show them descend- work. At half-past six the surety-a poor fellow who is ing for the crumbs before my back was turned. I tried in for six months because he cannot find two sureties of them many a time, but they never would leave the tree £25 to answer for his abstention from threats—"I was or the wall until I turned the corner. Then there was a forsworn,” he said to me, “and my brother-in-law said I general swoop, and they picked up the crumbs till I came would be forsworn again”-came in, lighted the fire, round again, when a general stampede took place, and washed up the crockery, and generally put things to rights. the wall would be lined with birds until once more I At a quarter past seven came the papers, which I read at

« PreviousContinue »