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Newspaper Page Text
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ON THE BREAST OF THE
By H. M. Egbert
The prisoner in cell 45 was fortu
nate, for he had an unobstructed
view of what was called the finest
view in the world the great stretch
of the river by moonlight, and the
high buildings opposite, lit like-fairyland.
But what are city views to a
man who is serving a sentence of 15
Fifteen years! Dent's blood had run
cold when the judge pronounced that
inexorable verdict. And Dent was
considered , lucky. He had killed a
man whom, in his insane jealousy, he
supposed to have betrayed his young
wife. Before he went to the peniten
tiary he knew that Lucille had for
gotten liim. Later he learned of the
Fifteen years! He had watched
Lucile's face that last time they met
and in the forgiveness he had seen
no love. He had killed that forever.
When he learned the she was, seek
ing a divorce he bowed to the inevi
table. Fifteen years means the best
part of a man's life at any time.
Then he learned of her divorce,
later news came of her remarriage.
They had ceased to ctm-espond and
all the convict's hope of life
shrank to that spot of future free
dom, unbelievably small and distant.
There were twelve long years still
to be served. And he seemed to have
lived through a life's agony already.
Dent looked down through the slit
of a window. It was just wide
enough to admit the passage of a
man's body if any man was willing
to risk a leap of 70 feet into the flood
tide of the river below. Dent occu
pied that cell temporarily. It was
the quarantine cell, but there was an
overflow of prisoners in the cells un
derneath and he was trusted trust
ed not to commit suicide. He smiled.
The rusty bars were more a pre
tense than anything else. Dent had
worked them loose from the mason
ry. He had resolved that night to
make the leap not for freedom but
for eternal sleep, under the waves.
H looked up and down the river. A
steamer from the coast was putting .
into port. Dent could see her in the
distance, her brilliantly lit windows
looking like eyes. He saw, too, that
she was belching smoke from her
funnels, as if burning soft coal. But
he did not think long about that
Dent Removed the Bars
The river below was tempting in its
promise of peace.
Dent removed the bars one by one
and flung them upon the floor of the
cell. He wanted to finish the leap
quickly, for his mind was full of un
happy thoughts. What -sort of man
had Lucille married? Was he good
to her? Did he care for the child
whom he had never seen? It was
well that very soon no thoughts like
that would come to trouble him.
He squeezed his body upon the
narrow ledge and crouched there,
measuring the distance. Even now