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The mirror. (Stillwater, Minn.) 1894-1925, May 13, 1897, Image 1

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Vol. X.—No. 42
in from school or play.
This is what the children say.
Trooping, crowding, big and small
On the threshold, in the hall
joining in the constant cry.
Ever as the days go by,
"Where’s mother?”
From the weary bed of pain
This same question comes again;
From the boy with sparkling eyes,
Bearing home his earliest prize:
From the bronzed and bearded son
Perils past and honors won:
“Where’s mother?”
Burdened with a lonely task.
One day we may vainly ask
For the comfort of her face,
For the rest of her embrace;
Let us love her while we may
Well for us that we can say:
“Where’s mother?”
Mother with untiling hands
At the post of duty stands;
Patient, seeking not her own
Anxious for the good alone
Of her children as they cry,
Ever as the days go by;
“Where’s mother?”
—Good Housekeeping,
Written for The Prison Mirror.
By Edward W. Bok, Editor Ladies’
Home Journal
So far as a young man “sowing his
wild oats’’ is concerned, it has always
seemed a pity to me that the man who
framed that sentence didn’t die before
he constructed it. From the way some
people talk one would imagine that
every man had instilled into him at his
birth a certain amount of deviltry
which he must get rid of before he can
become a man of honor. Xow, what is
called “sowing wild oats’’ is nothing
more nor less than self-degradation to
any young man. It doesn’t make a
man one particle more of a man be
cause he has passed through a siege of
riotous living and indiscretion when he
was nineteen or twenty; it makes him
just so much less of a man. It dwarfs
his views of life far more than it
broadens them. And he realizes this
afterward. And he doesn't know one
iota more of “life,” except a certain
phase of it, which, if it has glitter for
him in youth, becomes a repellant re
membrance to him when he is matured.
There is no such thing as an investi
gating period in a man’s life; at one
period it is as important to him to be
honorable and true to the teachings of
his mother as at another.
Xo young man need seek the “darker
side of life.” The good Lord knows
that it forces itself upon our attention
soon enough. It does not wait to be
sought. A young man need not be
afraid that he will fail to see it. He
will see plenty of it, and without any
seeking on his part either. And even
if he does fail he is the gainer. There
are a great many things which we can
accept by inference as existing in this
world. It is not a liberal education to
see them. Too many young men have
a burning itch to see wickedness—not
to indulge in it, as they are quick to ex
plain, but simply to see it. But the
thousands of-men who have never seen
it have never felt themselves the losers.
If anything, they are glad of it. It
does not raise a man’s ideal to come in
to contact with certain types of man
hood or womanhood which are only re
moved from the lowest types of the
animal kingdom by virtue of the fact
that the Creator chose to have them
get through the world on two legs in
stead of four. The loftiest ideal of
womanhood that a young man can
form in his impressionable days will
prove none too high for him in his
years of maturity. To be true to the
best that is within a man means, above
all, to be an earnest believer in the very
best qualities of womanhood. Let him
take by inference that there are two
types of women, the good and the bad.
But he will be wiser and happier if he
associate only with the former. There
are hundreds of good women in this
world to every one of the contrasting
element. No young man has, there
fore, a vallid excuse for seeking the
A broad view of life means the cul
tivation of a mind that can take in
every part of the horizon of the truest
living; that can see good in everything;
that accepts the good and rejects, not
investigates, the bad. Leave that to
some one else to do. The outlook from
the wheel house of an ocean steamer is
far better than it is from the stoke
hole. Curiosity may lead some people
to go down and look into the stoke
holes of life, but take my word for it,
you will find the atmosphere purer and
the vision clearer if you stay in the
wheel-house. To see “the wheels go
round” is a very instructive thing to
do in directions where the motive is a
good one, prompted by lofty ideas.
But some “wheels” are far better un
seen. Satisfy a healthy curiosity al
ways, but shun the other kind, There
is no satisfaction to be had, and a man
whose curiosity overcomes him is al
ways disgusted with the poor return he
receives for his trouble.
The young man who reaches man
hood without a knowledge of the dark
and vicious side of human nature is far
better off than the one who has seen it.
He will lose nothing by not having
seen it; not an ounce less of respect
will be meted out to him. But he will
feel prouder himself, and men will re
spect him infinitely more for the
strength of his will-power.
The great trouble with young men
nowadays is that their ideas are alto
gether too much influenced by a few
unfortunate examples of apparent suc
cess which are prominent—too promi
nent, alas —in American life today.
These examples—for the most part rep
resenting politicians—are regarded in
the eyes of the world as successful.
That is, they are talked about inces
santly; interviewed by reporters; they
buy lavish diamonds for their wives
and build costly houses—all duly re
ported in the newspapers—and young
men read these things and ask them
selves, “If he can, why not I?” Then
they begin to look around for some
“short cut to success,” as one young
fellow expressed it to me not long since.
And it is precisely through this method
of “cutting across lots” in business that
scores of young men find themselves,
after a while, completely bathed. How
often we see some young man in busi
ness, representative of the very quali
ties that should win success. Every
one agrees that he is brilliant. “He is
clever” is the general verdict. He im
presses one well in his manner, he is
thoroughly businesslike, is energetic,
and yet, somehow or other, he never
seems to get into a place and stick
there. People wonder at it, and excuse
it on the ground that he hasn’t quite
found his right place. But some day
the secret is explained. “Yes, he is
clever,” says some old business man,
“but do you know he isn’t—well, he
isn’t just safe!” “Just safe!” How
much that expresses; how clearly that
defines hundreds and hundreds of the
smartest young men in business today.
He is everything else—but he isn’t
“quite safe!” He is not dishonest in
any way, but he is, what is equally as
bad, not quite reliable. To attain suc
cess he has, in other words, tried to
“cut across lots.” And rainbow-chas
ing is really a very commendable busi
ness in comparison to a young man’s
search for the “royal road to success.”
No success worth attaining is easy; the
greater the obstacles to overcome, the
surer is the success when attained.
“Royal roads” are poor highways to
travel in any pursuit, and especially in
a business calling.
It is strange how reluctant young
men are to accept, as the most vital
truth in life, that the most absolute
honesty is the only kind of honesty
that succeeds in business. It isn't a
question of religion or religious beliefs.
Honesty does not depend upon any re
ligious creed or dogma that was ever
conceived. It is a question of a young
man’s own conscience. He knows what
is right and what is wrong. And yet,
simple as the matter is, it is astonish
ing how difficult it is of understanding.
An honest course in business seems too
slow to the average young man. “I
can’t afford to plod along. 1 must
strike and strike quickly,” is the senti
ment. Ah, yes, my friend, but not dis
honestly, No young man can afford to
even think of dishonesty. Success on
honorable lines may sometimes seem
slower in coming, but when it does
come it outrivals in permanency all the
so-called successes gained by other
methods. To look at the methods of
others is always a mistake. The suc
cesses of today are not given to the im
itator but to the originator. It makes
no difference how other men may suc
ceed —their success is theirs and not
yours. You cannot partake of it.
Every man is a law unto himself. The
most absolute integrity is the one and
the only sure foundation of success.
Such a success is lasting. Other kinds
of successes may seem so, but it is all
in the seeming and not in the reality.
Let a young man swerve from the path
of honesty and it will surprise him how
quickly every avenue of a lasting suc
cess is closed against him. Making
money dishonestly is the most difficult
thing to accomplish in the world, just
as lying is the practice most wearing
to the mind. It is the young man of
unquestioned integrity who is selected
for the important position. No busi
ness man ever places his business in
the hands of a young man whom he
feels he cannot absolutely trust. And
to be trusted means to be honest.
Honesty, and that alone, commands
confidence. An honest life, well di
rected, is the only life for a young man
to lead. It is the one life that is com
patible with the largest and surest busi
ness success.
Written for The Prison Mirror.
Considerable stress has been laid on
the statement that the unequal organi
zation of the social system is the cause
of the existence of such evils as gross
intemperance and crime. But the great
trouble is that we do not look upon
ourselves as forming a responsible
unit in what we term the social sys
tem. We look away to some populous
centre where wealth is enjoying the
“sweet doing nothing,” and exclaim,
“those people have no right to revel in
such luxury while I have to labor all
day for a mere pittance.” However
logical this statement may be in a the
oretical sense, it lacks substantial
backing, inasmuch as these people
came by their money, if not honestly,
at least within the pale of the law, and
consequently have a right to do as they
please with it. If anything is wrong it
is the laxity of the law that is, or
should be, made by the majority of the
people—which means the workingmen,
or poorer classes. It may sound well
to say that some rich man has acquired
his wealth by dishonest methods; but
we have yet to hear of any one of the
thousands who make the statement at
tempting to prove it. It is all silly
anarchical babble; we are not at all
outraged by the man breaking the laws,
but it is a bare possibility that we are
envious of his good fortune.
If there is any fault with money, it
is that its glare excites the cupidity of
a few silly moths who in attempts to
possess it by means not recognized in
law, find themselves hustled off to
prison where they howl about the evil
effects of its possession by others. Of
course it is well understood that
money will save a man a great deal of
inconvenience in this world; it will
keep a man from getting into prison,
and it may also have a potent influence
in getting him out. But it is not the
owners of the money who are to blame.
If a few members of a jury should con
descend to accept a largess in order
the better to reach a decision, who is
at fault, the giver or the taker? You
say both; very true, but if either party
was honest, both, as a natural sequence
would have to be. It is the man who
accepts the bribe that is the really
guilty one. It is all very well to say
“jt is hard for a poor man to be honest
Under such circumstances, and that
the temptation was great,” but honor
is the attribute of a true man and if
he lacks it in such a case, he will in
any other emergency.
I do not wish you to understand that
I think the possessors of colossal for
tunes immaculate and only lacking
the wings to make them cherubims.
On the contrary, it is more than proba
ble that they are far from what they
should be. And yet, I will say that
they are not always as bad as we paint
them. We are all on the hunt for the
mighty dollar and will use means to
gain our end that are permissible by
roundabout construction of the law,
which our own conscience and the
spirit of the law tell us are dishonest.
It is a sort of an unwritten law with
men, that if they keep within the
bounds of the human law, they are ful
filling all the obligations of the higher
moral law. The only remedy is to
make human law so simple that every
lawyer in the land cannot make it read
to suit any particular case that he un
dertakes. As a proof of the intricate
technicalities that surround simple
laws we need but look at any of the
many suits daily tried in probate
courts. If a rich man dies and slights
some relative in his will, the latter will
bring a horde of witnesses to prove
that the legator was insane at the time
or was unduly influenced by some
other relative, while they know’ per
fectly well that the deceased w r as as
sane as could be. The same loopholes
exist in nearly every law 7 ; and just as
long as it is so will we hear about the
evil effects of money. J. L.
Written for The Prison M irror.
There has been quite an amount of
newspaper talk lately, both in and out
of prison, about airships. Being a
sailor I am naturally interested in ships
of all kinds, and 1 often think that men
discharged from this place create an
airship, as it were, about themselves,
to sail away to freedom. But, alas!
many of them are shipwrecked by
putting on “too much air,” and wander
back to this place for repairs.
I think an airship would be a good
thing in its place. I should certainly
not refuse the position of coxswain on
such a ship were it offered to me. If
we, as convicts, could navigate the air
our dreams of freedom would be real
ized. And I believe we would give
that moon said to be used as a penal
institution a wide berth.
The planet Neptune, said to be the
home of departed sailors and their
sweethearts, would be more to our
liking. It is said they have grand
times up there sailing through eternity,
under a bright sky, over a smooth sea
said to be free from land and water
sharks, and also from tough captains.
And from there we could sail out
Tn OUC , j SI.OO per year, in advance
i turns.si X Months 50 cents.
over the beautiful Pacilic ocean and I
could point out to you a land (the
Pitcairn islands,) on this wicked earthly
planet where crime is absolutely un
known; where the people are happy
and contented, with no lawyers’ fees to
pay and no sleepy policemen to keep
Then we could sail on to the west
ward and we would find a land (Tas
mania,) that is a proof of what an ex
convict and his posterity may accom
plish if he but tries. In this land the
sons and daughters of ex-convicts are
living proofs that if crime is hereditary
it is also curable. They are as honest,
pure, and noble as the children of the
chosen elect or the “I am clean, go thou
and.be likewise” people that one meets
occasionally on this planet.
“What a small thing will keep a man
from Insanity when in solitary con
finement,” said a prison warden, re
cently. “I read the case of a prisoner
who somehow ill solitary Confinement
had managed to keep his silver watch
secreted on his person. For a time he
kept up very well, and as his crime
was a terrible one, we did not feel like
releasing him; but one day he became
violent and crazy, and we finally de
cided to remove him to the hospital.
In his cell we found his w T atch, with
the mainspring broken.
“It seems that as long as the watch
continued to tick in his ear at night he
felt as if he had a companion and his
dark cell did not seem so solitary. He
caressed the watch fondly, talked to it,
and it talked to him. Hour after hour
it spoke and he was enabled to endure
the terrible loneliness with this cheer
ing and gossipy companion. He told
me afterward that he put words to that
ticking and the w r atch seemed almost
like a thing of life.
“But one night something snapped
and its voice ceased. He wound it up
anxiously and still it was silent. It
was like the death of something be
loved, the passing away of the dearest
thing on earth. Before it had been an
imated and full of life, with a tongue
that wagged and wagged. Xow it
was a bit of dead, lifeless metal. The
long hours of the night weighed upon
him. He seemed to see strange vis
ions. His loneliness was frightful.
And then—next morning they found
him raving crazy.”—Detroit Free
We try to remove crime by hunting
down and capturing the criminal, and
neglect to seek a remedy by removing
the sources of crime. The conditions
of our civilization which makes it im
possible for a large proportion of the
population to gain a living should be
radically changed. The problem of
crime, in a very significant sense, is the
problem of civilization. The very
fountains of human generation must
be cleansed until the environment is
improved. Humanity will respond
even more readily to social, political,
and industrial improvement than men
have ever dreamed. Every conceiva
ble problem up for solution today has
its roots in the deep, wide underbed of
human generation. We must breed
better. Better breeding implies better
conditions. The people must be eman
cipated. The monopoly of the earth’s
bounties must not be enjoyed by the
few. Equal and equitable distribu
tion are necessary for uniform prog
ress and safety. We can empty the
prisons by the dispensation of justice.
—Progressive Age.
The only faith that wears well and
holds its color in all kinds of weather
is that which is woven of conviction
and set with the sharp mordant of

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