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Newspaper Page Text
By Harold Carter
"Cheer up, my lad! You've had
your lesson, and if you've only
learned your lesson it-will be the best
thing that ever happened to you. No
man but can live down his past."
Harry Lawson looked up at the
man who was addressing him in a
hopeless manner. Should he tell
him? Why not?
Since his release from the state
penitentiry, where he had served the
greater part of a seven years' sen
tence, Lawson had been living at a
cheap hotel, a huge place put up for
the poor. There, while the remnants
of his money lasted, he had stayed,
planning a burglary which might
bring him in enough to start his
criminal career with full equipment.
There, too, John Mannering, the cler
gyman noted for his social work, had
found him. The two had become
friends. Mannering had been at
tracted by the young man, and soon
had from him the story of his past
life all save one thing.
Lawson had been married. Most
crooks are. They have the natural
human instincts, the same as honest
folks. Besides, any of us honest
folks may become a crook some day.
It is largely a matter of circumstances
Elsie had been an honest girl when
he married her. During their two
years together he had slowly and de
liberately poisoned her soul and
mind. Bit by bit he had lifted the
curtain that concealed his life from
her. He told her that life was a bat
tle of the strong. He had thoroughly
initiated her into his pernicious doc
trines before he let her know that his
"night work" was burglary, and his
"traveling salesmanship" journeys to
other cities for pulling off coups.
Before the two years were ended
she was his foil and confederate. And
so well had he done his work that
jftQAfisjisiLectei in. the SHeet-ioiced.
girl as daring and skilled a crook as
The judge had pitied her when he
sentenced Lawson to seven years.
She had been advised to secure a di
vorce. But she had clung to him;
she had paid him visits in the peni
tentiary for six or seven months.
Then her visits stopped. She disap
peared, and Lawson had been unable
to trace her.
Crook as he was, the man was hu
man enough to enjoy the pastor's
The Recognition Was Mutual.
discourses. Lawson was an educat
ed man. Together they had frankly
discussed the advantages and dis
advantages of crime. John Manner
ing was shrewd enough to see that
he could not win a man of intellect
by platitudes. But all the while Law
son pretended gradually to be con
vinced, secretly he was planning an
If only he had Elsie. She had left
him six years and more. None of his
old pals could trace her. If she
would take him, he would live a de-