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Newspaper Page Text
Today Porter Charlton sees prac
tically no .one. Visits' -.from his
legal advisers, are prohibited. He
cannot receive known journalists. An
accredited acquaintance permitted a
half-hojir interviesw-in" the presence of
government- 'interpreters must first
promise to maKe no reference to the
tragedy or tne trial.
The prisoner must receive no ad
vice on how to state his case to the
judge who hears him in Camera. He
cannot change that first statement.
On it he. will be tried. This is Italian
Alfred Catapano, Italian lawyer
who will defend Porter Charlton
when brought to trial.
law. Anything he may say will be
used against him.
Two English speaking officials
went with ine to Como prison lest. I
attempt to convey forbidden informa
tion during the interview.
It is impossible to speak of the pris
oner as a man. Hejooks like a boy
of 20, a short, slight boy, weighing
130 pounds, of no great physical
strength. His face is pale, but
healthy; hair light, eyes blue, with
the peculiar look of youth strained
to the breaking point.
""It is not a strong face, neither is
it furtive nor vicious. Certainly not
of the criminal type. The lines which
once revealed his dissipation have
disappeared during three years of
regular living; the mouth has gained
firmness. But a pleasure-loving na
ture, highly nervous and an easy prey
to emotion is proven by every con
tour. Watching him, I recalled that the
nervous, ill-balanced child was moth
erless at 10; the undisciplined boy
without systematic moral training;
the attractive youth overwhelmed by
the fascination of much older women
who knew life and its seamy side.
With quick wit Porter Charlton
realizes that the visit is a newspaper
interview. Yet he speaks of himself
only in answer to direct questions.
"Occupations? Well, I have' an
hour in the-yard every day, and I do
"No," with a courteous laugh, "I
don't smoke, and I have given up
writing poetry. But I study Italian.
That passes the time best occupies
the mind, you know.
"Tne Italian authorities have treat
ed me with unwavering considera
tion. . Even the Carbiniari, who.
brought me from home were kind.
This prison is an old one, but I have
the best cell it affords. The food is
of the country, coarse and whole
some. But the silence is awful!" In
the painful pause that followed we all
thought of the 30 years of solitary
confinement with which this boy is
Porter Charlton alone could trust
himself to speak. Boy-like, he want
ed to know the news from home
"If Cobb had signed up with De
troit?" "Who won the pennant?"
and "How Tammany came out?"
their relative relation, he uses Italian
phrases to include the listening offi
cials In the conversation. I quote a
Tammany heeler in his native jargon.
The prisoner chuckles, ''Oh, bully;
go on, please," he urges. The sus
picious interpreter interrupts.