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Newspaper Page Text
By Harold Carter
(Copyright, 1916, W. G. Chapman.)
Big Ben lay on the hillside, -well
within sight of the jail from which
he' had escaped. But that implied no
particular danger to Big Ben, for one
could see 20 miles in the clear at
mosphere of the hills dhd the peni
tentiary was at least 12 miles away,
and that lay across forest and moun
tain. Big Ben was a lifer. He had killed
a fellow man while, mad with drink.
He had served four years and had
been made a trusty. He had not
planned to escape, but the way was
open and he walked out.
That had been eight days before.
Big Ben had raided a hencoop, seized
a dozen struggling fowls, tied them
into a bundle and taken them to his
retreat. They were busy laying eggs
for his breakfast what were left of
them. Big Ben had no appetite. He
had also stolen a sack" of flour and a
dozen boxes of matches, as well as a
goodly supply of chewing tobacco.
Now he was at peace with Ihe world.
He meant to stay there another
week, until the hue and cry had died
down, and then to make his way
across the hills to the railroad.
They had been firing guns all the
night before, but that could not be
on account of his escape. Big Ben
wondered whether another prisoner
had escaped. He felt sorry for Tra
vis, the warden, who had always
treated him so well. Travis would
get into trouble about him. If an
other prisoner had made his getaway
Travis would probably lose his job,
and the prison system would be more
severe. Big Ben was sorry for Tra
vis. Heywas sorry for his wife and
the little girl, Maisie, who had
Drought him flowers sometimes.
Maisie was 5, and had a way which
went straight to the heart of the
most hardened prisoner. Still, If the
way lay open, a man must try to-tjet
The appetite for liquor had quite
left Big Ben. He meant to live a de
cent life henceforward, once he
could strike the track and jump a
freight to Halsworthy. There he
would lose himself and after a while
strike west again. Big Ben was a
Facing Him, Across the Stream, Was
good sort of a man. He saw his past
life and regretted it.
He meant to make the best of his
chances now. And he swore that he
would die rather than go back to the
penitentiary life. '
A little stream ran purling down
beside the cave in which he slept Big
Ben rose to get a drink of water. As
. . -f,j