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The telephone in my office rang one night and a lady at the other end of the wire said: "Hello, has little Willie got there yet?" "Which Willie, Madam?" was my answer, "we have so many Willies here." "Who is this anyway? I thought it was Mrs. Jones." "No Madam, this is the penitentiary, and we will take good care of Willie when he comes." "No, for heavens sake, no; don't believe that my Willie will ever come to the penitentiary." Maybe Willie will, and maybe Willie won't; and let us hope that Willie don't; but man not being master of his own destiny can never tell what may happen to him. There are three hundred and sixty men in the prison now and there is capacity for a hundred more; but if all those who by rights should be in prison, but did not get caught, were to go there, it would be necessary to enlarge it many times. The three hundred



and sixty happened to get caught, and that is why they are there. There has been behind these gloomy walls some of the brightest men in the country, bankers, lawyers, state officials, judges, doctors, merchants, and others. If you had told any one of these men that he was to land in the penitentiary some day, he would not believe it. I shall mention one particular case, a man who had been a banker for years, and a mine owner in a western state, and for a while everything seemed to come his way. He lived in regal style at one of the finest hotels and moved in the best of society.

One evening he called the head waiter to his table and scolded him for putting carnations on his table instead of roses. "You know well, that I do not enjoy my meals except with plenty of roses on my table." The head waiter bowed deeply and apologized, for the mine owner was a liberal patron. He would see that this awful mistake should not happen again.


The mine owner was a heavy plunger and speculator and when the panic came along it wiped him off the financial map. Within a month he became penniless, gave a check where there were not sufficient funds to meet it - results: a year and some months in Lancaster. He was assigned to work in the inmates' dining room to scrub the floors, and had to walk in water when he scrubbed. As he sat in the corner by his lonesome eating his dinner, he saw no roses, no cut glass, no waiters in full dress suits, no fashionable ladies and no soft music. No, he sat on a wooden bench, and ate his pork and beans out of a rusty tin plate. A large roach and several small ones devoured what crumbs of the coarse corn bread fell upon the floor. How the mighty have fallen! How things have changed! To this man, his trip became a lesson and changed him entirely. Never again for him!

If you had told this man a year previous to his coming here that he was to land in the



penitentiary, he would have told you that you were to land in an insane asylum; but it is easy to get into Lancaster, and hard to get out; so if you, dear reader, should happen to overdraw your bank account, or if you should carry a gun, concealed in your pocket, or if you should happen to love a young girl slightly under eighteen, or something else, you too, might become a guest at Lancaster, providing that you got caught. Here is what would happen to you:

His honor, the judge, would say to you: "It is now adjudged by the court, that you, Willie Jones, be imprisoned in the penitentiary, located in or near the city of Lincoln, Nebraska, for a period of not less than one, nor more than twenty years, at hard labor, Sundays and holidays excepted, none of this time to be spent in solitary confinement. The sheriff will, with all possible speed and within thirty days, take you hence and deliver you to the warden of the penitentiary." This is what is called the indeterminate sen-