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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, January 28, 1897, Image 1

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn90060762/1897-01-28/ed-1/seq-1/

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Yol. X.—No. 27
Written for Tin Prison Mirror
What do you here within these walls?
What crime makes you to blush?
Why did you seek the pits and falls
Amid the world’s mad rush?
I came uot here by foul misdeed.
But cheer I bring to those
Whose hearts are homeless and in need:—
I own. a prison rose!
But here my life of sweet perfume.
With friends distressed I share.
Because misfortune is the loom
That weaves the gal l) they wear.
They pass me by in measured tread.
I wait to greet them here;
For loss I give them hope instead.—
A mother's kiss and tear!
I live to cheer; no place is mine.—
In desert or in town:
I grew by will of One divine;
He sends my sunlight down.
And as this place is given me
For such unseltish ends.
1 gladly greet each face I see—
My fellow prison-friends!
Written fur Tin Prison Mirror
Some wise man has said: “Scanning
the Surface, we count the wicked hap
py; we know not the frightful dreams
and visions that crowd about a bad
man’s pillow." And he says truly, but
happiness is not the proper word to de
fine the enjoyment of the wicked; the
word pleasure is the more proper term.
The wicked find pleasure but not hap
piness. No one knows the difference
between pleasure and happiness so
well as he who has had a surfeit of
wicked pleasure. Different persons find
pleasure in different things; some in
gambling, some in wine, some in lewd
debauchery: others in the prize ring,
the cock pit. and many other evils and
brutalities. Those who have sought
happiness in any of these have failed.
If happiness could be bought as pleas
ure may be, then the wealthiest would
be the happiest; which we know is not
the case. Pleasure may be bought or
stolen, but happiness is a jewel whose
price is noble deeds and generous self
denial. Moments of happiness leave a
record upon the brain that time cannot
efface while memory keeps house in
the skull, and when distress overtakes
us and we hunger for comfort, the
careful housekeeper sets these before
us and our souls are refreshed. But
pleasures, wicked pleasures, they are
the pleasures in memory’s closet that
mar all hopes of true felicity; and their
contemplation can afford us no conso
lation when they can no longer be in
dulged in. The convict knows this.
He finds no comfort in the recollection
of the wicked pleasures he enjoyed
when a free man; they have no power
to mitigate his mental sufferings, but
they do have the power to add to his
punishment if he allows his mind to
dwell upon them with anticipations of
renewed indulgence on regaining his
freedom. Such hopes will prolong the
days of his sentence beyond their nat
ural length and will unfit him for ef
forts of self-improvement; and he will
think more of killing time than of
making the best use of it, which will
result in his leaving prison weakened
in mind and devoid of laudable aspi
rations. No; there is no comfort to be
derived by recalling wicked pleasures,
but ofttimes much to bring regret and
bitterness, for in many instances those
pleasures were the direct cause of our
present unhappy condition. But when
the happy moments of the past are re-
| By K. \V. Dutoher.]
called we lind comfort and consolation,
for they are the results of* good and
pure acts the remembrance of which
puts us in better humor and causes our
heart to bound with gladness and sat
isfaction. Happy remembrances will
never cause us to regret their occasion,
but will be the bright golden links in
the leaden chain stretching backward
to the happy days of innocent child
hood. Tony.
Written for The Prison Mirror
Some men have an unhappy faculty
for making enemies, just as others have
the happy faculty of making friends
wherever they go. We have all known
men whom we could never take a lik
ing to although we could give no defi
nite reason for disliking them; men
who make a bad impression among all
with whom they come in contact. We
speak now out of those whom we in
stinctively dislike, but rather of those
whose general appearance and first ac
quaintance impress us favorably. We
meet a man who is a good entertainer,
seemingly a gentleman in every respect,
and whose converse and manners are
all that we can wish for. He is to all
appearance what we would like in a
companion; but for some reason his
conversation and company begin to
pall on us, not in the sense that he is
insipid, on the contrary he is too inter
esting at times, leans considerably to
egotism, and causes us to feel by some
unaccountable means, that he is un
trustworthy and treacherous. We are
very often ashamed of this for the
reason that we can not explain it. But
it is within us, if we can not reason it
out we still are governed by it, and we
can no longer look upon our acquaint
ance as a friend. The question now is,
what causes this feeling? Sometimes
an action of such a man will support
the course we have taken; and just as
often we can see no wrong action in
the life of such a man although we may
know him for years. In either case our
estimate of him will always remain the
same; we may treat him in a formal,
friendly manner, but we can never be
confidential with him; we will never
seek such a one when we need solacing
words; we can never depend on him to
aid us in any difficulty.
It would seem, therefore, that we all
have the occult power of discerning be
tween the good and the bad in our fel
lowmen, provided we have sufficient
time to mature our thoughts. In this
respect it may be mentioned that the
business of the confidence man would
not be very remunerative were it not
that his schemes are always so planned
as to demand instant action on the
part of his intended victim. For ex
ample: the granger who is approached
on a train by a “college chum of his
son’s,” and asked to accomodate Mr.
Chum by advancing some ready cash
on a draft or bond, would not do so if
he had a reasonable length of time to
consider the matter—be unsophisti
cated greenness and gullibility to the
contrary. The necessity of immediate
action in such cases is the key to the
confidence man’s success.
Those men whose countenances so
vividly depicts their character as to
give us a repulsive feeling towards
them on first sight, are comparatively
harmless; that is, we are on our guard
against them, hence will leave no op
portunity whereby they may openly
deceive us. It is the insinuating, oily
tongued class we must battle against;
those whom we have mentioned as
making a good impression upon first
acquaintance are the ones we must
contend with. Very often our gener
osity and good nature will cause us to
blame ourselves for feeling a repug
nance towards this class. We will
usually find that the innate power
which decides us in such cases is gen-
erally reliable. It is a power which
does not deal with material circum
stances, but seems to sink into the
minds of others and be affected for
good or bad by the sou! secrets drawn
It is not in keeping with true manli
ness to search out the faults of others,
while passing over their good qualities;
but when our inner self finds some
thing radically wrong in another, we
must heed the warning thus given us.
Individually, the writer can recollect
several men he has come in contact
with and. though he was really anxious
to have them as friends and could see
nothing bad in them, felt an abhor
rence for them that could not and can
not yet be overcome. lie may be
wrong, but the power that warns him
against such men has proved trust
worthy thus lar. and if its warnings
had been more closely followed in the
past, his condition would have been
different today.
To discern between our friends and
enemies, between those who mean well
and those of opposite intentions, is a
necessity, both for our protection and
with the possible view of changing
those of evil intent into honorable
men. But we must always be as char
itable as possible in our judgment and
weigh carefully the pros and cons be
fore deciding against a fellowman.
C. F.. C’.
Written for The Prison Mirror
The bane of man's existence is his
own fellow creatures, and, paradoxical
as it may seem, it is nevertheless true.
In the everyday transactions of life a
man is uncertain of the acts and in
tentions of his nearest neighbor or co
laborer towards himself; and he often
suffers detraction at the hand of those
in whom he has placed his confidence
and in whom he would have every rea
son to expect different feelings to
wards himself. This is caused by that
inordinate and contemptible desire for
self-advancement; and, as a rule, it is
at the expense of peace and good-will,
and is often the ruin of a friend or
To believe one person will traduce
the character of another for a selfish
end, and that it is often willfully done,
one has only to dissect the average
mind of humanity. It is more often
done by covert actions and the many
by-ways known only to those who de
sire to accomplish the end sought, and
that it is done from the rising to the
setting of the sun every day the year
round must be evident to all. Now it
is a natural and laudable prerogative
of every one to advance their own in
dividual interest in life, socially, finan
cially and morally, but with this dis
tinction—that it be done with a
religious and rigid fidelity to honesty
and integrity irrespective of legal
authority. But when one must pass
over the quivering form of friend or
fellowman to attain the end sought,
the law of God and humanity, if no
other, must cry a halt. The merchant
in his store, the clerk at his desk,
fathers and sons at the work bench,
wives at home and children at school,
the high and the low, the rich and the
poor, all are subjected to the sword of
envy by a more or less number of their
fellows. The mechanic who has steady
work in dull times and owes his good
fortune to tried abilities or other polit
ic reasons, engenders enmity and envy
from that fact alone; and while he is
diligently working to earn his scant
wages, his less fortunate neighbor is
trying to supplant him, and is under
mining the foundation on which he
stands in ordei to obtain his place.
The politician seeks in all the devious
ways known to the art to undermine
the man who fills the office he desires
for himself. He visits by stealth the
haunts at which his pride, but not his
principle revolts to sow seed that will
rot the root of his friend or neighbor's
reputation and ripen for his own gain.
The same applies to the merchant who
has for long years toiled to attain a
competence and thinking his fame and
fortune were built upon a sure founda
tion awakes to find them built upon
sand and crumbling around him by
storms of malice and envy.
This flat headed copper-colored ser
pent is no respecter of persons or sex.
It comes and goes as the wind, and,
like the wind, one can not tell from
whence it comes or whither it goes.
But we do know that it emanates from
thoughtless, treacherous minds devoid
of that heavenly maxim given to er
ring humanity in the Bolden Buie. It
is a dark and slimy phase in human
nature. .
It often happens that slander wings
its flight from a word lightly spoken
by a person whose social standing in
the community in which he or she lives
gives weight to their words. At the
same time, no reflection upon the char
acter of the person in question was
meant, but when falling upon the ear of
the fox, furnished him the material
from which to manufacture the tale
and a cloak at the same time. Who
will not deprecate the man who would
say of another what he would not say
in his face? I’nless he be repeating
what he personally knows to be facts,
if it be a detraction of character, he is
circulating a slander, which is equal,
and very often greater than that which
comes from first hands. And yet, nine
men out of ten will listen to the tale,
deprecate the absent one as the story
goes on, and at the conclusion the
mind is far from what it was before, if
it be of one's own acquaintance, and
how much worse if it be of a stranger
and one not known.
Do we ever think how easy it is to
drink in the vile draught brewed by
the tongue of slander or detraction ?
Then how easy is it to imagine what
great harm is done to one of whom we
know scarcely anything more than
name? If one can say of another
nothing good, say nothing at all, is a
wise and just maxim, and if adhered
to would save many a tear or heart
ache, for truly the tongue is “mightier
than the sword.” Jasper.
Written for The Prison Mirroi
Few young persons are able to fore
see the value of an untarnished reputa
tion. If they could be made to com
prehend the pleasure and satisfaction
it would afford them in the evening of
life to look backward along the way
and read the perfect record they had
made, they would travel cautiously
that no blunder might occur to de
prive them of the full enjoyment of the
reward of a well-spent life. If they
could fully appreciate the power that a
good reputation gives its possessor
they would strive more earnestly to
make one for themselves. See how
brave the man is whose character can
not be impeached, when he chooses to
champion an unpopular cause or op
pose a deep-seated wrong that is hedged
about and protected by selfish interests.
The public will believe him and follow
and protect him and all because of his
faultless reputation. Those whose in
terests and wrongs he attacks, tremble
in fear for he is invulnerable to any
action they may take to break down
the confidence the public has in his in
tegrity of purpose. His reputation is
an armor proof against the shafts of
malicious slander and falsehood. Such
a man is a power for good in the world.
But how is it with the man with a
tarnished reputation? No difference
how noble his impulse may be, how
honest his motives, if a man’s reputa
tion is bad, his very advocacy of a
cause will often prejudice instead of
further it; and when he rises up to
SI.OO per year, in advance
' i Six Mouths 00cents.
oppose the wrong and selfish interests
of a person or of persons they will
laugh in Ids face, then turn to the
public and ask, “Who is this man that
he should be believed? He is a rascal
and we can prove it." It was not
George Washington's great general
ship that carried him successfully
through one of the most unequal wars
in the history of warfare and won for
him an immortal name, it was the con
fidence his llawless reputation inspired
in the breasts of his countrymen.
Against slander there is no defense.
It starts with a word -with a nod —
with a shrug, with a look, a smile. It is
pestilence walking in darkness, spread
ing contagion far and wide, which the
most wary traveler can not avoid: it is
the heart-searching dagger of the dark
assassin; the poisoned arrow whose
wounds are incurable; the mortal sting
of the deadly adder: murder its em
ployment, innocence its prey and ruin
its sport. The man who breaks into
my dwelling, or meets me in the pub
lic road and robs me of my property,
does injury. lie stops me on the way
to wealth, he strips me of my hard
earned savings, involves me in diffi
culty, and brings my family to penury
and want. f>ut he does me an injury
that can be repaired. Industry and
economy may again bring me into cir
cumstances of ease and affluence. The
man who, coming at the midnight hour,
fires my dwelling, does me an injury
lie burns my roof, my pillow, my rai
ment, my very shelter from the storm
and tempest; but he does me an injury
that can be repaired. The storm may
indeed beat upon me, and chilling
blasts assail me, but charity will re
ceive me into her dwelling; will give
me food to eat and raiment to put on;
will timely assist me, raising a new
roof over the ashes of the old and I
shall again sit by my own fireside and
taste the sweets of friendship and of
home. But the man who circulates
false reports concerning my character,
who exposes every act of my life wliich
may be presented to my disadvantage,
who goes first to this, then to that in
dividual, tells them he is very tender
of my reputation, he enjoins upon
them the strictest secrecy, and then
fills their ears with hearsays and ru
mors, and what is worse, leaves them
to dwell upon the hints and suggestions
of his own busy imagination—the man
who thus “filches from me my good
name/* does me an injury which nei
ther industry, nor charity, nor time it
self can repair.—Fraternal News.
Look here my lad, you, with a quid
of tobacco in your mouth, an oath on
your lips, a cigarette between your
teeth, who loaf about saloons, or are
prowling the streets at all hours of the
night, you are the kind of a boy that
grows up to be a tramp or a criminal.
J ust stop a moment and think who,
among your companions, as well as
yourself, could get a job of work in a
single place where your habits are
known, or who know enough to do any
kind of work but that of the common
est kind of cheap labor. Everybody in
the town where you live knows that
you are lazy, shiftless and unreliable,
and they know just enough to suspect
and be suspicious of you, and think
very probably that you are a good deal
worse than you probably are. A boy
to be respected must have self-respect;
to be trusted he must conduct himself
properly; and to get along in the world,
he must prove that he is worthy of
confidence. A lad who wants to be
something must have neither bad hab
its or evil associates, for the one pulls
him down and the other keeps him
down. No one likes the boy loafer a
bit better than they do the man tramp.
—Morris Sun

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