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Vol. 1. No. 18. Stillwater, Minn., Wednesday, DeG. Y, IBBY.
For Tlic Mirror. TO 3IY MOTHER. I am lonely and weary, dear mother. As I lay down to deep in my cell; No kind, loving face comes to greet me. Ere 1 rise at the toll of the bell. * Oh, it’s often I dream of you, mother, And I fancy your vision I see; But alas, when 1 wake from niv slumber I find I am not with thee. Oh. it’s often my thoughts back do wander To the home and the ones loved so well, And though I’m a convict in prison, I hope that in heaven we’ll dwell. Now I pray you will forgive me. dear mother, For the pa>n and the sorrow you’ve had, And I hope that you still love me mother, Though tears I have caused you to shed. Nov. 30, ISB7. J. D. IN DANNEMORA PRISON. Daily Routine Life of a Famous Penal Institution. At present there are 737 convicts con fined in Dannemora state prison, with terms ranging from one year to life sentences. Of the latter there are thirty-five. Upon the arrival of a convict., says the Albany (N. Y.) Argus, he is taken into the main office, where Iris name, age, nativity, etc., are asked him and placed in the prison re cords. lie is then searched and everything found upon him is placed upon a table; next he is taken into another room where he is thoroughly examined by a physician, lie is then placed in a batli and thoroughly ’washed. Then comes the prison suit, which consists first of a heavy shirt made of bed ticking, pants and coat made of heavy gray material, with black stripes, and a cap of the same material. The shoes are of a heavy, durable kind (warranted not to crack.) Arrayed in these garments the convict is assigned to his cell, and the next day after his arrival is given a certain work. The clothing worn by the convict to the prison is never returned to him, but when his time expires lie is given a suit made at the prison and a reasonable amount of mon •ey to carry him to his journey’s end. No newspapers are given to a convict, but all such sent by friends are stopped by the deputy warden and carefully placed in a waste-paper basket. Occasionlly a religious paper is given to them, and even the most liardeued criminal in the institution reads every word in it, not with the intention of receiving any benefit, but simply that it is a newspaper and came from the outside world. The convicts are still employed in making clothing. A market for these goods is found in the far west and south west, and about four hundred suits are turned out daily, which are guaranteed to “fit like the paper on the wall.” At the workshop the men are allowed to talk with those working alongside of them, but in a low tone of voice, Consequently, when a new arrival comes in, the following ques tions are always put to him: “llello, .John ny, what’s your name? How long are you in for? and what’s the racket?” (meaning his crime.) Then he is questioned as to the events in the outside world, llis answers are passed up and known the long line of tables, and soon every convict in the prison has his “pedigree.” At 0:30 a. in. the pris on bell is sounded and all hands make ready for their day’s work. Breakfast is served in the cells, after which they are inarched to the workshop, where they remain until 11:45. They then inarch to their dinner, which is placed in pans, and return to tiie shop where it is eaten. At six they enter the cells, and soon after “lights out” is sounded, and they retire. A certain amount of work is laid out for eacli man for the day. and three-fourths of them are •able to finish it by three or four o’clock in the afternoon, after which they may return to their cells for the balance of the day. ■When marching to and from meals or work- “ IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO MEND.” shop, should a.convict speak with another, or chance to look at a visitor, he is either placed in a dark cell and given a gill of water and a small slice of bread daily, with a stone floor for a bed, or he is taken to the guard-house and strung up by the wrists. One dose of the latter medicine generally lasts the convict some time. The punishment is one in which the offender is hung up by the wrists by a catgut cord. By his side stands the prison doctor, who holds a watch in his hand and keeps his eye on the face of the convict. After hanging a minute the fingers turn black, and later the prisoner loses con sciousness and his head drops over on his breast. At the instant lie is let down on the floor, a bucket of water is dashed in his face and on his coming to lie is taken back to his cell to recover his strength. Hardly any prisoner, especially if he is a heavy person, can stand it to he hung up over two minutes, and no keeper will go oil with the punishment unless the physician is stand ing by. A standing offer of fifty dollars is made by the state for the return of an escaped convict, and the Frenchmen who live in that locality always keep a sharp eye on the prison walls and surrounding coun try. Every Saturday every convict is allowed a plug of tobacco and a pound package of smoking tobacco. These plugs are used the same as money, and if a convict wants a favor of another convict he pays him in in plug tobacco. Should his plug be used up before the next one is due. lie can borrow of his shop neighbor. One convict is here w'lio is the child of wealthy parents residing in New York city. Having committed a murder he received a life sentence. The other week he received a visit from his two sisters, who had not seen him for eleven years, and who remain ed at Dannemora for nearly a week, pay ing him a visit every day. The man is still young, and lias the same hopes, as do all the convicts, that lie will soon he pardoned. His cell is covered with Brussels carpet, and upon the wall hang expensive pictures, all with the object of making the unfortu nate young man feel as homelike as pos sible. Selected for The Mirror. Items of Interest. The deepest place in the ocean is said to pe at Behring strait, where it is eleven miles deep. The rock over which Niagara pours wears away from one to three feet a year. The present falls are seven miles further back than they were years ago, as shown by the rocks. In order to preserve order in China, every tenth man is held responsible for the behavior of his nine neighbors in that street. Watches were invented about four hun dred years ago, in Germany, and were called Nuremberg eggs, because they closely re sembled eggs in shape and size. Queen Elizabetli of England had a dress for every day in the year. America lias more millionaires than any other country in the world. Prof. Davis, of Harvard university, lias discovered the remains of an extinct volcano in Connecticut. The water of Lake Superior is so cold that a person cannot live an hour in it, even in the summer. The unusually large number of young men who have been sent to the state insane asylums of Michigan, the past year, lias led to the discovery that nearly ail of them smoked cigarettes to excess. In many cases it is said to be absolutely certain that cigar ette smoking was the cause of insanity. “Say, Bub, 1 hear your folks are going to have a conversation club at your house this winter.” “Yep; we got one.” “Who are the members?” “Me and mother. I furnish the conver sation and mother provides the club. Enny more?” —Ex. 44 The Relation of Liquor to Crime.” Editor Mirror: After carefully and studiously perusing for the seventh time the article entitled “The Relation of Liquor to Crime,” penned by my esteemed neighbor, “G. E..” my mind has been in a decidedly melancholy, despondent and unceitain condition. My melancholy and despondency is caused by the thought that possibly, through all these years in which I have indulged in periodi cal sprees. I have been carrying a false im pression of my real self. My uncertainty is occasioned by the thought that the stan dard of conviction ventilated by “G. E.” is more generally accepted as the true solu tion than 1 suspected. 1 sincerely trust such is not the case, not alone on my account, but 1 have seen and heard people do and say many things while under the influence of liquor whom I knew would no more be capable of doing and saying the same things in their sober minds, than 1, at this moment, would be capable of taking entire and reliable control of the United States navy (L know of no better compari son.) If practical experience is considered authority on this subject, then, indeed am I authority. I have had the misfortune in tiie course of my life, of having drank to excess with all classes and conditions of men and (ahem!) “boys,” and mind you, my dear, darling and doubtless delinquents, it would not be well for you to remind some of them of their mistakes made at such times. I think that “G. E.” lias got tilings a little mixed. 1 know men wlie were never drunk in their lives will, when they get into trouble of a criminal nature, plead drunk at the time, because they know that drunk ness always was and always will be con sidered a mitigating circumstance in every case where the fact is satisfactorily estab lished. Again, 1 know persons who are addicted to excessive drinking, imagine that they have a license to do and say tilings that if done or said at other times they would expect to be held accountable for. 1 admit that 1, myself, have taken advan tage of this imaginary license to escape re sults that would otherwise prove disastrous to me, and in some cases to others. To make this point more clear to tiie boys, 1 will relate a little story that I once told to a girl who accused me of proposing marriage to her on an occasion when I was laboring under the effects arising from the too fre quent and too copious potations taken on the particular day in question. If some of the boys will commit this story to memory they will never regret it, unless, indeed, they are contemplating connection with our total abstinence society. In the year seveiiteen-liundred-aiid-I-for get, in the village of Yonkers, on the Hud son, in the state of New York, was situated a distillery. The proprietor of said dis tillery had, among his other possessions, a cat, on whom lie would at any time bet four dollars and a half againsi a continental postage stamp that he (that is the cat,) would naver let a mouse or rat get away alive, if he (the cat) once got his eye on it. In this lie was destined to be disap pointed. On a summer afternoon the cat, feeling unusually indolent, and in conse quence less alert, walked out into the front yard and laid down under a shady tree and soon fell asleep. The cat had been gone but a short time, when a little mouse popped its head out of his hole, looked around, and not seeing its dreaded enemy in sight skipped .around, foraging for some thing to eat. On previous occasions tiie mouse cautiously confined his explorations to narrow limits, but emboldened by the prolonged absence of the cat he extended liis boundary so far as to climb one of the liquor vats or tubs. Arriving at the top he went gleefully skipping around tiie edge, when suddenly there was a slip and a Pi\re Gents. squeak, and Mr. Mouse tumbled into the liquor. The cat awaking by this time got up and returned to his post, resolved to make amends for past negligence by ad ditional vigilance. Nearing the base of the vat, his quick ear detected an unusual noise from above. Thinking all was not right lie, too, climbed to tiie top, looked into the liquor, and tumbled (not into the liquor blit to the situation.) The mouse was struggling to clime the slimy margin left between the top edge and the liquor. Failing in this, and knowing for the time being siie was comparatively safe from the cat, but feeling assured that the only alter native to being gobbled up by his majesty was inevitable drowning, with true femi nine sagacity she determined to proceed to strategy. So swimming to tiie center of tiie circle she raised her tearful eyes and addressed him as follows: “I know, my dear sir, that lam in your power; I ac knowledge it is all my fault, but believing you to be as generous as you are at present powerful, 1 will venture to ask a last favor of you. Are you a father? Have you any dear little ones? If so, pitty me. I ask not for my life. 1 know that by the law that established our relations I have delib erately forfeited my existence but. do. oil, Mr. Cat, piease help me out of this liquor. Give me just a few minutes to embrace my children and bid them a final good bye, and on honor I will return to you prepared to submit to my fate.” Now, tilt cat. being a whole-souled fel low, agreed to the condition, and hanging liis forepaws down over the inside of the tub allowed the mouse to climb up over his head down his back and off to her abode, as lie supposed to acquaint her family of tiie above circumstances and say good bye. But alas, for misplaced confidence. A reasonable time elapsed before tiie cat ex hibited any uneasiness or loss of confidence in the mouse, but finally thinking that excess of grief arising from the fact that she was taking a final leave of her dear ones might cause her to falter in her duty, he concluded to call her up and remind her of her promises. In answer to his call, she appeared in person at the entrance of her abode, and in a voice that bespoke unutter able astonishment, inquired, “What on earth do you want?” When the cat recov ered from his astonishment he timidly asked. “Are you ready to fulfill your part in our agreement? Mouse: “Our agreement? My dear sir, you have surely taken leave of your senses. I declare I don’t know wlnt you refer to.” Cat: ‘‘Now, surely, you don’t pretend to say that you have forgotten your promises made when 1 helped you out of the liquor vat?” Mouse: “Oh. ah! Yes, I see. Well, well, Mr. Cat. 1 thought you were old e:: >.igh to know that when one is in liquor they are not responsible for what they say; neither can they be Held entirely accountable for what they do. Good day sir ” What’s that. Doc? Take something? Ah, don’t care if 1 do. Soberly yours. AVe Claim. That a joint acouut is a butcher’s bill. Eh. Butcher Berry? That Ole Nortronie A Co. have some fine house plants. That Doc Elliot can convert an eye tooth into a wisdom tooth. That Itev. Bowdish has drawn an exact likeness of Napoleon’s milk-white saddle horse —trilling black flourishes excepted. That Ed Davey still thinks that he is a justice, for last week he christened the choir “Boiled Eggs,” because they are hard to beat. That conceited ignorance and insolent tongues aie banetul enemies to mankind. THE PRISON MIRROR, a neat, lour- olumn pa per published in tiie state prison at Stillwater, Minn., is on our exchange table. THE MIRROR is published by the prisoners, and proceeds derived from its publication are expended in buying a pub lic library. It is pure in tone, and of a high moral standing. We wish it unbounded success, and those desirous of helping a worthy cause should send $1 to the editor tor one year's subscription.—< Smithfield (N .C.) Herald. 11. .J. Clifton.