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Newspaper Page Text
THE DOUBLE TRANSFER
Sulliyan sat alone at a small
table in the riverside saloon,
drinking moodily from his schoo
ner of foaming beer. His
thoughts were not pleasant ones;
but when he saw the object of
them cross stealthily to his table
and take his seat opposite, a shock
of terror gripped his heart fast
and left hirfi speechless. For he
had not seen James for two years
His thoughts went flying back
ward during that brief interval.
iThey began with his incarcera
tion in the prison at Atlanta, to
which, he had been sentenced for
life for murder. After some
months he was leased out, with
'other convicts, to work for a con
tractor in the turpentine camps.
(They were led out in pairs chain
ed, thro'ugh the streets to the
depot. Inside the railroad car it
was possible to talk.
"What's your term?" asked his
partner, a wizened man about his
age, but wasted by disease almost
to a skeleton.
"Lifer !" grunted Sullivan sulk
Sly. "Mine's a five stretch," whis
pered the other. "Only one more
year to serve, and, heaven help
me, I'll never see it through." He
raised his mancled hands toward
his chest. "Lungs all hut gone.
No chance, says the doc. And my
poor old mother's starving in the
poorhouse. I was a big fellow
when I came in like you," he
added, looking admirably at Sul
livan's "broad chest. "You'll live
your term out, and they'll let you
out when you're 60," he sneered.
"My God!" said Sullivan in a
strident whisper. "Thirty-five
years more, thirty-five more ! But
I'll get free,' he continued. "I'll
do it if I died for it. I'm a New
York man; I'd never seen Atlan
ta until a Week before I killed
Healy. Lost my job and tried
cracking a crib; feller pinched me
and I shot him. Say, do you know
New York? There's a riverside
saloon foot of the bridge and a
girl there r" He rambled on as
convicts do when their past
seems closed upon them forever.
The wizened man shot a keen
glance at him.
"Say, Bo, how'd you like to be
in my shoes?" he asked.
"What?" cried Sullivan.
"I'll change with you, if you'll
take care of my old mother after
I'm dead. What's a life term to
me when I'm dying? The guard
will hand in our names, but so
long as none's missing he won't
pick us out and identify .us. Come,
Bo, I'm Sullivan, the lifer, and
your's James that's me, with a
year more to serve. What? You'll
work for her till she dies?"
Thus they entered the turpen
tine camp. Sullivan became
James; James, Sullivan. And a
year later when Sullivan walked
out, a free man, James grasped
him by the hand.
"Well, Bo, I've lingered," he
said. "But my time's short now,
I guess, and I don't regret it.
You'll care for her till she dies?"
Sullivan assented. But he had
no intention of going to Atlanta,
to hunt up the old woman in the
ttit .-&,, -iJSLUA.Wj.