way had written his concluding paragraph a dozen
times, and Bronson had conscientiously polished
and repolished a three -line "personal" he was
writing, concerning a gentleman unknown to fame,
and who would remain unknown to fame until that
paragraph appeared in print.
The city editor blocked the door for the third
time, and looked at Bronson with a faint smile of
" Is that very important ?" he asked.
Bronson said, " Not very," doubtfully, as
though he did not think his opinion should be
trusted on such a matter, and eyed the paragraph
with critical interest. Conway rushed his pencil
over his paper, with the tip of his tongue showing
between his teeth, and became suddenly absorbed.
" Well, then, if you are not very busy," said the
city editor, "I wish you would go down to Moy-
amensing. They release that bank-robber Quinn
to-night, and it ought to make a good story. He
was sentenced for six years, I think, but he has
been commuted for good conduct and bad health.
There was a preliminary story about it in the pa-
per this morning, and you can get all the facts
from that. It's Christmas Eve, and all that sort
of thing, and you ought to be able to make some-
thing of it."
There are certain stories written for a Philadel-
phia newspaper that circle into print with the
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 109
regularity of the seasons. There is the "First
Sunday in the Park," for example, which comes
on the first warm Sunday in the spring, and which
is made up of a talk with a park policeman who
guesses at the number of people who have passed
through the gates that day, and announcements
of the re-painting of the boat-houses and the near
approach of the open-air concerts. You end this
story with an allusion to the presence in the park
of the " wan-faced children of the tenement," and
the worthy workingmen (if it is a one-cent paper
which the workingmen are likely to read), and
tell how they worshipped nature in the open air,
instead of saying that in place of going properly to
church, they sat around in their shirt-sleeves and
scattered egg-shells and empty beer bottles and
greasy Sunday newspapers over the green grass
for which the worthy men who do not work pay
taxes. Then there is the "Hottest Sunday in the
Park," which comes up a month later, when you
increase the park policeman's former guess by
fifteen thousand, and give it a news value by
adding a list of the small boys drowned in bath*
The "First Haul of Shad" in the Delaware is
another reliable story, as is also the first ice fit
for skating in the park ; and then there is always
the Thanksgiving story, when you ask the theat-
rical managers what they have to be thankful for,
and have them tell you, " For the best season that
this theatre has ever known, sir," and offer you a
200 OUTSIDE THE PEISON
pass for two ; and there is the New Year's story,
when you interview the local celebrities as to
what they most want for the new year, and turn
their commonplace replies into something clever.
There is also a story on Christmas Day, and the
one Conway had just written on the street scenes
of Christmas Eve. After you have written one of
these stories two or three times, you find it just
as easy to write it in the office as anywhere else.
One gentleman of my acquaintance did this most
unsuccessfully. He wrote his Christmas-day story
with the aid of a directory and the file of a last
year's paper. From the year-old file he obtained
the names of all the charitable institutions which
made a practice of giving their charges presents
and Christmas trees, and from the directory he
drew the names of their presidents and boards
of directors ; but as he was unfortunately lacking
in religious knowledge and a sense of humor, he
included all the Jewish institutions on the list,
and they wrote to the paper and rather objected
to being represented as decorating Christmas trees,
or in any way celebrating that particular day.
But of all stale, flat, and unprofitable stories, this
releasing of prisoners from Moyamensing was the
worst. It seemed to Bronson that they were al-
ways releasing prisoners ; he wondered how they
possibly left themselves enough to make a county
prison worth while. And the city editor for some
reason always chose him to go down and see them
come out. As they were released at midnight,
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 201
and never did anything of moment when they
were released but to immediately cross over to
the nearest saloon with all their disreputable
friends who had gathered to meet them, it was
trying to one whose regard for the truth was at
first unshaken, and whose imagination at the last
became exhausted. So, when Bronson heard he
had to release another prisoner in pathetic de-
scriptive prose, he lost heart and patience, and
"Andy," he said, sadly and impressively, "if
I have written that story once, I have written it
twenty times. I have described Moyamensing
with the moonlight falling on its walls ; I have
described it with the walls shining in the rain ; I
have described it covered with the pure white
snow that falls on the just as well as on the
criminal ; and I have made the bloodhounds in
the jail-yard howl dismally and there are no
bloodhounds, as you very well know ; and I have
made released convicts declare their intention to
lead a better and a purer life, when they only
said, * If youse put anything in the paper about
me, I'll lay for you ;' and I have made them fall
on the necks of their weeping wives, when they
only asked, 'Did you bring me some tobacco?
I'm sick for a pipe ;' and I will not write any
more about it ; and if I do, I will do it here in
the office, and that is all there is to it."
" Oh yes, I think you will," said the city editor,
202 OUTSIDE THE PRISON
"Let some one else do it," Bronson pleaded
"some one who hasn't done the thing to death,
who will get a new point of view " Conway,
who had stopped writing, and had been grinning
at Bronson over the city editor's back, grew sud-
denly grave and absorbed, and began to write
again with feverish industry. " Conway, now,
he's great at that sort of thing. He's "
The city editor laid a clipping from the morn-
ing paper on the desk, and took a roll of bills
from his pocket.
" There's the preliminary story," he said. " Con-
way wrote it, and it moved several good people
to stop at the business office on their way down-
town and leave something for the released con-
vict's Christmas dinner. The story is a very good
story, and impressed them," he went on, counting
out the bills as he spoke, "to the extent of fifty-
five dollars. You take that and give it to him,
and tell him to forget the past, and keep to the
narrow road, and leave jointed jimmies alone.
That money will give you an excuse for talking
to him, and he may say something grateful to the
paper, and comment on its enterprise. Come,
now, get up. I've spoiled you two boys. You've
been sulking all the evening because Conway got
that story, and now you are sulking because you
have got a better one. Think of it getting out
of prison after four years, and on Christmas Eve !
It's a beautiful story just as it is. But," he added,
grimly, "you'll try to improve on it, and grow
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 203
maudlin. I believe sometimes you'd turn a red
light on the dying gladiator."
The conscientiously industrious Conway, now
that his fear of being sent out again was at rest,
laughed at this with conciliatory mirth, and Bron-
son smiled sheepishly, and peace was restored
But as Bronson capitulated, he tried to make
conditions. " Can I take a cab ?" he asked.
The city editor looked at his watch. "Yes,"
ho said ; " you'd better ; it's late, and we go to
press early to-night, remember."
"And can I send my stuff down by the driver
and go home ?" Bronson went on. " I can write
it up there, and leave the cab at Fifteenth Street,
near our house. I don't want to come all the way
" No," said the chief ; " the driver might lose
it, or get drunk, or something."
" Then can I take Gallegher with me to bring
it back ?" asked Bronson. Gallegher was one of
The city editor stared at him grimly. " Would-
n't you like a type-writer, and Conway to write
the story for you, and a hot supper sent after
you ?" he asked.
" No ; Gallegher will do," Bronson said.
Gallegher had his overcoat on and a night-
hawk at the door when Bronson came down
the stairs and stopped to light a cigar in the hall-
204 OUTSIDE THE PEISON
" Go to Moyamensing," said Gallegher to the
Gallegher looked at the man to see if he would
show himself sufficiently human to express sur-
prise at their visiting such a place on such a night,
but the man only gathered up his reins impas-
sively, and Gallegher stepped into the cab, with
a feeling of disappointment at having missed a
point. He rubbed the frosted panes and looked
out with boyish interest at the passing holiday-
makers. The pavements were full of them and
their bundles, and the street as well, with waver-
ing lines of medical students and clerks blowing
joyfully on the horns, and pushing through the
crowd with one hand on the shoulder of the man
in front. The Christmas greens hung in long
lines, and only stopped where a street crossed,
and the shop fronts were so brilliant that the
street was as light as day.
It was so light that Bronson could read the
clipping the city editor had given him.
" What is it we are going on ?" asked Gallegher.
Gallegher enjoyed many privileges ; they were
given him principally, I think, because if they had
not been given him he would have taken them.
He was very young and small, but sturdily built,
and he had a general knowledge which was enter-
taining, except when he happened to know more
about anything than you did. It was impossible
to force him to respect your years, for he knew
all about you, from the number of lines that had
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 205
been cut off your last story to the amount of your
very small salary ; and there was an awful sim-
plicity about him, and a certain sympathy, or it
may have been merely curiosity, which showed
itself towards every one with whom he came in
contact. So when he asked Bronson what he was
going to do, Bronson read the clipping in his
" l Henry Quinn,' " Bronson read, " ' who was
sentenced to six years in Moyamensing Prison for
the robbery of the Second National Bank at Ta-
cony, will be liberated to-night. His sentence has
been commuted, owing to good conduct and to
the fact that for the last year he has been in very
ill health. Quinn was night watchman at the
Tacony bank at the time of the robbery, and, as
was shown at the trial, was in reality merely the
tool of the robbers. He confessed to complicity
in the robbery, but disclaimed having any knowl-
edge of the later whereabouts of the money, which
has never been recovered. This was his first of-
fence, and he had, up to the time of the robbery,
borne a very excellent reputation. Although but
lately married, his married life had been a most
unhappy one, his friends claiming that his wife
and her mother were the most to blame. Quinn
took to spending his evenings away from home,
and saw a great deal of a young woman who was
supposed to have been the direct cause of his dis-
honesty. He admitted, in fact, that it was to get
money to enable him to leave the country with
206 OUTSIDE THE PRISON
her that he agreed to assist the bank-robbers. The
paper acknowledges the receipt of ten dollars from
M. J. C. to be given to Quinn on his release, also
two dollars from Cash and three from Mary. "
Gallegher's comment on this was one of disdain.
" There isn't much in that," he said, " is there ?
Just a man that's done time once, and they're let-
ting him out. Now, if it was Kid McCoy, or Billy
Porter, or some one like that eh ?" Gallcgher
had as high a regard for a string of aliases after
a name as others have for a double line of K. C.
B.'s and C. S. L.'s, and a man who had offended
but once was not worthy of his consideration.
" And you will work in those bloodhounds again,
too, I suppose," he said, gloomily.
The reporter pretended not to hear this, and to
doze in the corner, and Gallegher whistled softly
to himself and twisted luxuriously on the cushions.
It was a half-hour later when Bronson awoke to
find he had dozed in all seriousness, as a sudden
current of cold air cut in his face, and he saw
Gallegher standing with his hand on the open
door, with the gray wall of the prison rising be-
Moyamensing looks like a prison. It is solidly,
awfully suggestive of the sternness of its duty
and of the hopelessness of its failing in it. It
stands like a great fortress of the Middle Ages in
a quadrangle of cheap brick and white dwelling-
houses, and a few mean shops and tawdry saloons.
It has the towers of a fortress, the pillars of an
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 207
Egyptian temple ; but more impressive than either
of these is the awful simplicity of the bare, un-
compromising wall that shuts out the prying eyes
of the world and encloses those who are no longer
of the world. It is hard to imagine what effect it
has on those who remain in the houses about it.
One would think they would sooner live overlook-
ing a graveyard than such a place, with its mys-
tery and hopelessness and unending silence, its
hundreds of human inmates whom no one can see
or hear, but who, one feels, are there.
Bronson, as he looked up at the prison, familiar
as it was to him, admitted that he felt all this, by
a frown and a slight shrug of the shoulders. " You
are to wait here until twelve," he said to the
driver of the nighthawk. " Don't go far away."
Bronson and the boy walked to an oyster-saloon
that made one of the line of houses facing the
gates of the prison on the opposite side of the
street, and seated themselves at one of the tables
from which Bronson could see out towards the
northern entrance of the jail. He told Gallegher
to eat something, so that the saloon-keeper would
make them welcome and allow them to remain,
and Gallegher climbed up on a high chair, and
heard the man shout back his order to the kitchen
with a faint smile of anticipation. It was eleven
o'clock, but it was even then necessary to begin to
watch, as there was a tradition in the office that
prisoners with influence were sometimes released
before their sentence was quite fulfilled, and
208 OUTSIDE THE PRISON
Bronson eyed the " released prisoners' gate " from
across the top of his paper. The electric lights
before the prison showed every stone in its wall,
and turned the icy pavements into black mirrors
of light. On a church steeple a block away a
round clock-face told the minutes, and Bronson
wondered, if they dragged so slowly to him, how
tardily they must follow one another to the men
in the prison, who could not see the clock's face.
The office-boy finished his supper, and went out
to explore the neighborhood, and came back later
to say that it was growing colder, and that he
had found the driver in a saloon, but that he was,
to all appearances, still sober. Bronson suggest-
ed that he had better sacrifice himself once again
and eat something for the good of the house,
and Gallegher assented listlessly, with the com-
ment that one "might as well be eatin' as doin'
nothin'." He went out again restlessly, and was
gone for a quarter of an hour, and Bronson had
re-read the day's paper and the signs on the wall
and' the clipping he had read before, and was
thinking of going out to find him, when Galle-
gher put his head and arm through the door and
beckoned to him from the outside. Bronson
wrapped his coat up around his throat and fol-
lowed him leisurely to the street. Gallegher halt-
ed at the curb, and pointed across to the figure of
a woman pacing up and down in the glare of the
electric lights, and making a conspicuous shadow
on the white surface of the snow.
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 209
" That lady," said Gallegher, " asked me what
door they let the released prisoners out of, an' I
said I didn't know, but that I knew a young fel-
low who did."
Bronson stood considering the possible value of
this for a moment, and then crossed the street
slowly. The woman looked up sharply as he ap-
proached, but stood still.
"If you are waiting to see Quinn," Bronson
said, abruptly, "he will come out of that upper
gate, the green one with the iron spikes over it."
The woman stood motionless, and looked at
him doubtfully. She was quite young and pret-
ty, l^ut her face was drawn and wearied-looking,
as though she were a convalescent or one who
was in trouble. She was of the working class.
" I am waiting for him myself," Bronson said,
to reassure her.
"Are you?" the girl answered, vaguely. "Did
you try to see him?" She did not wait for an
answer, but went on, nervously : " They wouldn't
let me see him. I have been here since noon. I
thought maybe he might get out before that, and
I'd be too late. You are sure that is the gate,
are you ? Some of them told me there was an-
other, and I was afraid I'd miss him. I've waited
so long," she added. Then she asked, " You're a
friend of his, ain't you ?"
"Yes, I suppose so," Bronson said. "I am
waiting to give him some money."
" Yes ? I have some money, too," the girl said,
210 OUTSIDE THE PRISON
slowly. " Not much." Then she looked at Bron-
son eagerly and with a touch of suspicion, and
took a step backward. "You're no friend of
hern, are you ?" she asked, sharply.
" Her? Whom do you mean ?" asked Bronson.
But Gallegher interrupted him. " Certainly
not," he said. " Of course not."
The girl gave a satisfied nod, and then turned
to retrace her steps over the beat she had laid out
" Whom do you think she means?" asked Bron-
son, in a whisper.
" His wife, I suppose," Gallegher answered, im-
The girl came back, as if finding some comfort
in their presence. " Shtfs inside now," with a nod
of her head towards the prison. " Her and her
mother. They come in a cab," she added, as if
that circumstance made it a little harder to bear.
"And when I asked if I could see him, the man
at the gate said he had orders not. I suppose she
gave him them orders. Don't you think so?"
She did not wait for a reply, but went on as
though she had been watching alone so long that
it was a relief to speak to some one. " How much
money have you got ?" she asked.
Bronson told her.
" Fifty-five dollars !" The girl laughed, sadly.
"I only got fifteen dollars. That ain't much, is
it?" That's all I could make I've been sick
that and the fifteen I sent the paper."
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 211
" Was it you that did you send any money to
a paper ?" asked Bronson.
" Yes ; I sent fifteen dollars. I thought maybe
I wouldn't get to speak to him if she came out with
him, and I wanted him to have the money, so I sent
it to the paper, and asked them to see he got it.
I give it under three names : I give my initials,
and ' Cash,' and just my name ' Mary.' I wanted
him to know it was me give it. I suppose they'll
send it all right. Fifteen dollars don't look like
much against fifty-five dollars, does it ?" She took
a small roll of bills from her pocket and smiled
down at them. Her hands were bare, and Bron-
son saw that they were chapped and rough. She
rubbed them one over the other, and smiled at
Bronson could not place her in the story he was
about to write ; it was a new and unlooked-for
element, and one that promised to be of moment.
He took the roll of bills from his pocket and hand-
ed them to her. "You might as well give him
this too," he said. " I will be here until he comes
out, and it makes no difference who gives him the
money, so long as he gets it."
The girl smiled confusedly. The show of con-
fidence seemed to please her. But she said, " No,
I'd rather not. You see, it isn't mine, and I did
work for this," holding out her own roll of money.
She looked up at him steadily, aud paused for a
moment, and then said, almost defiantly, " Do you
know who I am ?"
212 OUTSIDE THE PRISON
" I can guess," Bronson said.
"Yes, I suppose you can," the girl answered.
"Well, you can believe it or not, just as you
please " as though he had accused her of some-
thing "but, before God, it wasn't my doings."
She pointed with a wave of her hand towards the
prison wall. " I did not know it was for me he
helped them get the money until he said so on the
stand. I didn't know he was thinking of running
off with me at all. I guess I'd have gone if he
had asked me. But I didn't put him up to it as
they said I'd done. I knew he cared for me a
lot, but I didn't think he cared as much as that.
His wife " she stopped, and seemed to consider
her words carefully, as if to be quite fair in what
she said il his wife, I guess, didn't know just how
to treat him. She was too fond of going out, and
having company at the house, when he was away
nights watching at the bank. When they was first
married she used to go down to the bank and sit
up with him to keep him company ; but it was
lonesome there in the dark, and she give it up.
She was always fond of company and having men
around. Her and her mother are a good deal
alike. Henry used to grumble about it, and then
she'd get mad, and that's how it begun. And then
the neighbors talked too. It was after that that
he got to coming to see me. I was living out in
service then, and he used to stop in to see me on
his way back from the bank, about seven in the
morning, when I was up in the kitchen getting
OUTSIDE THE PRISON 213
breakfast. I'd give him a cup of coffee or some-
thing, and that's how we got acquainted."
She turned her face away, and looked at the
lights farther down the street. "They said a
good deal about me and him that wasn't true."
There was a pause, and then she looked at Bron-
son again. "I told him he ought to stop coming
to see me, and to make it up with his wife, but he
said he liked me best. I couldn't help his saying
that, could I, if he did? Then he then this
come," she nodded to the jail, " and they blamed
me for it. They said that I stood in with the
bank-robbers, and was working with them ; they
said they used me for to get him to help them."
She lifted her face to the boy and the man, and
they saw that her eyes were wet and that her face
was quivering. " That's likely, isn't it ?" she de-
manded, with a sob. She stood for a moment
looking at the great iron gate, and then at the
clock-face glowing dully through the falling snow :
it showed a quarter to twelve. " When he was
put away," she went on, sadly, "I started in to
wait for him, and to save something against his
coming out. I only got three dollars a week and
my keep, but I had saved one hundred and thirty
dollars up to last April, and then I took sick, and
it all went to the doctor and for medicines. I
didn't want to spend it that way, but I couldn't
die and not see him. Sometimes I thought it
would be better if I did die and save the money
for him, and then there wouldn't be any more
214 OUTSIDE THE PRISON
trouble, anyway. But I couldn't make up my
mind to do it. I did go without taking medicines
they laid out for me for three days ; but I had to
live I just had to. Sometimes I think I ought
to have given up, and not tried to get well. What
do you think ?"
Bronson shook his head, and cleared his throat
as if he were going to speak, but said nothing.
Gallegher was looking up at the girl with large,
open eyes. Bronson wondered if any woman
would ever love him as much as that, or if he
would ever love any woman so. It made him
feel lonesome, and he shook his head. " Well ?"
he said, impatiently.
" Well, that's all ; that's how it is," she said.
" She's been living on there at Tacony with her
mother. She kept seeing as many men as before,
and kept getting pitied all the time ; everybody
was so sorry for her. When he was took so bad
that time a year ago with his lungs, they said in
Tacony that if he died she'd marry Charley Oakes,
the conductor. He's always going to see her.
Them that knew her knew me, and I got word
about how Henry was getting on. I couldn't see
him, because she told lies about me to the war-
den, and they wouldn't let me. But I got word
about him. He's been fearful sick just lately.
He caught a cold walking in the yard, and it got
down to his lungs. That's why they are letting
him out. They. say he's changed so. I wonder
if I'm changed much ?" she said. " I've fallen off