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Newspaper Page Text
THE CASTING VOTE
By" 'Harold Carter.-
(Copyright by W., G. Chapman.,
The pardons board was divided,
three- against three, in the case of
James Jones, and the casting vote
rested with Harry Alton. The matter
was a perplexing one. Jones, was
now five and thirty years of age and
had spent Dine years "in the .state
penitentiary .for killing a fellow man
in a drunken brawl. His sentence
Spent Nine yearc in the State Peni-,
had eleven years more to run. A lit
tle p'ublic- sentiment - had b een - dis
played in favor of the prisoner, but
this was of a purely sentimental or
der. It had been aroused by the loy
alty t of ,the prisoner's sweejtheart,
Mary Lbmax, who.had petitioned: sucr
cessive governors and boards -in' vain
and. who, it was known, was waiting
for ,his release tcf marry him. She
had- stuck to hini since his, convic,-Jion.?-
m . i 1
Henry iUton was a- gbodmah In. the
eyes of the world, but what is. more,
he was actually good. He lived up to
his convictions. A deacon in his
church, a leader of the anti-liquor
movement; he passed as a shrewd,
hard, conscientious type of citizen.
He "knew that justice was not tem
peramentally mixed with mercy'in his
mind and wished to do his duty to the
state, and the accused. Therefore he
did not -visit Jones, lest he should be
swayed by sentiment, but went away
for a week to think over the matter.
He went to Lake hotel, Fairview,
and affer three days h had come to
no decision. On. the fourth day he
resolved to vote against the pardon.
As he got into the train ,on his home
ward journey . a young 'woman .fol
lowed him and took the vacant half
of his seat, although the coach was
nearly empty13 When Alton looked at
her-in mild surprise' he saw that her
eyes-were Ted. from weeping.
"yMy dear madam!'.' he said, rather
shocked,- "is anything-the matter?
Can I. help you in any way?"
"Yes, Mr. Alton.' she answered.
"My iiabieis'-Mary Lomax."
The train was rushing toward the
metropolis. Alton was disconcerted.
Po.r three -days, he had read petitions
by. Mary Lomax addressed to succes
sive governors; now the young woman-
was at jhis side. She was a
sweet-looking, comely girl, perhaps
about eight and twenty.. She was
simply .dressed; she impressed Alton
very1 f avorablyl
-"-You. have come to ask-me to vote
for "the pardon? " he said to her.
She bo wed her head. "I heard .you"
were at Fairview. I followed you
there and learned you were on your
vay homeward. I hurried to the sta
tion and here I am."
Henry Alton was distinctly annoy
ed. He assumed his most- judicial
"I may as well tell you," he said,
"that I have decided to vote against
pardoning Jones. I have looked into
the case very thoroughly. A man
who takes the life of a fellow man"