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"I easily traced you to San Francisco, and found the hotel at which you had stopped. Here I obtained fresh news of you, and learned that you had started East, and that the destination of the party was believed to be Philadelphia. I had hoped that I should meet with you before you left California; but supposing that by that time you had reached your destination, or were, at least, far on your way, I yielded to the solicitations of my sister and made some excursions in California, intending then to follow you to Philadelphia and there to advertise for Mr. Craig, if he could not otherwise be found. However, by the rarest and most fortunate of chances, we have met thus early, and for this I can never be too devoutly thankful."
"Nor we," said I earnestly; "for our greatly desired acquaintance with you and your family could not have begun too soon.”
"Now," said Mr. Dusante, "I will perform the duty for which my journey was undertaken, and I assure you it is a great pleasure to me to be able, so soon, to carry out this cherished purpose."
He then took up from the floor by his side the package which he had so safely guarded during his swift and perilous descent of the mountain-side, and which he had since kept close by him. Placing this upon his knee, he removed the light shawl in which it had been rolled, and then several pieces of wrappingpaper, revealing to our eyes the familiar fat little ginger-jar which had stood on the mantel-piece of the dining-room in the house on the island, and in which we had deposited our board-money.
"It would be simply impossible for me," said Mr. Dusante, "to consent to retain in my possession money paid for the aid which I involuntarily rendered to shipwrecked people. Had I been present on the island that aid would have been most heartily and freely given, and the fact of my absence makes no difference whatever in regard to my feelings on the subject of your paying for the food and shelter you found at my house. Having understood from Mr. Craig's letter that it was Mrs. Lecks who superintended the collection and depositing of the money, I now return to you, madam, this jar with its contents."
"And which," said Mrs. Lecks, sitting up very rigidly, with her hands clasped behind her," I don't take. If it had been a day and a night, or even two nights and over a Sunday, it would n't have mattered; but when me and Mrs. Aleshine and the rest of the party can speak for themselves - stays for weeks and weeks, without leave or license, in a man's house, we pay our board-of course, deductin' services. Good-night."
With that she arose, and walked very erect into the adjoining room.
"It was all very well, Mr. Dusante," said Mrs. Aleshine, "for you to try to carry out what you thought was right, but we have our ideas as to what our duty is, and you have your ideas as to what your duty is, an' consciences is even."
And she followed her friend.
Mr. Dusante looked surprised and troubled, and he turned towards me. "My dear sir," said I," those two good women are very sensitive in regard to right and justice, and I think it will be well not to press this subject upon them. As for my wife and I, neither of us would consent to touch money which was placed in that jar by Mrs. Lecks with the expectation that no one but you or one of your family would take it out."
Very well, sir," said Mr. Dusante, replacing the wrapping-paper around the jar; “I will drop the subject for the present. But you will allow me to say, sir, that I also am very sensitive in regard to right and justice."
Early the next morning the man who had been sent to the railroad station came back bringing news that a four-horse wagon would shortly be sent for us, and also bearing a letter from Mr. Enderton to Ruth. In this that gentleman informed his daughter that he was quite well, but that he had suffered anxiety on account of her probable hardships in the abandoned stage-coach. He had hoped, however, that the snow which had precluded his return with assistance had fallen lightly in the elevated position in which she had been left; and he had trusted also that Mr. Craig had bethought himself to build a fire somewhere near the coach, where his daughter might be warmed; and that the provisions, of which he knew an ample quantity had been packed for the trip, had been properly heated for her and given to her at suitable intervals. This anxiety, he said, had added very much to his own mental disquietude occasioned by the violent vituperations and unjust demands of the driver of the stage-coach, who had seen fit to attack him with all manner of abuse, and might even have resorted to personal violence had it not been for the interference of bystanders and the locking of his room-door. He was now, however, much relieved by the departure of this driver, and by the news that his daughter had reached a place of safety, which, of course, he had supposed she would do, her detention having occurred on an ordinary route of travel.
While waiting for the arrival of the wagon, the adventures of Mrs. Lecks, Mrs. Aleshine, and myself, as well as those of Ruth and her father, from the time the one party left Amer
ica and the other China, were related at length to the Dusantes, who showed a deep interest in every detail and asked many questions.
Mrs. Dusante, whose nervous equilibrium had been fully restored by her night's rest, and who, although feeling a little stiff and bruised, now declared herself quite well, proved to be a very pleasant lady of fifty-five or thereabouts. She was of a quiet disposition, but her speech and manner showed that in former years, at least, she had been a woman of society, and I soon found out that she was much interested in the study of character. This interest was principally shown in the direction of Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine, whom she evidently looked upon as most remarkable women. If any of her sentiments were those of admiration, however, they were not returned in kind: Mrs. Lecks and Mrs Aleshine had but a small opinion of her.
"There's mother-in-laws, and step-mothers, and real mothers, and grandmothers, and sometimes great-grandmothers livin'," said Mrs. Lecks to me apart; "but though Mr. Dusante may be a well-meanin' man - and I don't doubt he is—and wishin', I have n't the least reason to disbelieve, to do his whole duty by his fellow-men, still, I must say, bein' brought up as I was, he has n't any right to make a new kind of mother. To be sure, a man can adopt children, but that is n't goin' backward like this is, which is agen nat'ral law, and gospel."
"I expect," said Mrs. Aleshine, who was with us, "that them French has got fashions that we don't know about, and thankful we ought to be that we don't! I never had no patience with French heels an' French arsenic-green beans, an' now if there's to be adoptin' of mothers in this country, the next thing will be gullotynes."
"I don't see," said I, "why you look upon the Dusantes as French people. They are just as much American as French."
"Well," said Mrs. Lecks, "it's not for me and Mrs. Aleshine to set ourselves up to judge other people. In our part of the country we don't adopt mothers, but if they do it in France, or the Sandwich Islands, or down East, I don't know that we ought to have anythin' to say." "He might as well have adopted a father at the same time," said Mrs. Aleshine, "although, to be sure, he would 'a' had to been particular to take one that was acquainted with Mrs. Dusante, and not had 'em strangers to each other, though parents to him."
"If I was you, Barb'ry Aleshine," said Mrs. Lecks," I'd adopt some sort of rag to the top of my head to serve for a bonnet, for here comes the wagon, and I suppose now we 'll be off."
We took leave of the kind-hearted ranch people, who looked upon us as a godsend into their lonely life, and disposed ourselves as comfortably as we could in the large wagon. Our journey of seven or eight miles to the railroad station was slow, and over ways that were rough. Mrs. Dusante was a delicate woman and not used to hardship, whereas Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine were exceedingly vigorous and tough. The consequence of this difference was that the kindly hearts of the latter prompted them to do everything they could to prevent Mrs. Dusante feeling the bumps and jolts, and to give her such advantages of wraps and position as would help her to bear better the fatigues of the journey. In doing this these good women gradually forgot the adopted mother and came to think only of the very pleasant lady who needed their attentions, and who took such a lively and agreeable interest in their family histories, their homes, their manner of living, and everything that pertained to them; and before we reached the end of our trip, these three were talking together like old friends. Ruth and Miss Lucille had also struck up a warm acquaintance, while I found Mr. Dusante a very entertaining man,- of sedate and careful speech, ingenious ideas, and of a very courteous disposition.
When we arrived at the railroad station we were met by Mr. Enderton, who showed a moderate degree of pleasure at seeing us and an immoderate amount of annoyance, exhibited principally to me, in being obliged to give up to the women of our party the large room he had occupied in the only lodging-house in the little settlement.
When I informed him that the strangers with us were the Dusantes, on whose island we had been staying, he at first listened vaguely. He had always looked upon the Dusante family as a sort of fable used by Mrs. Lecks to countenance her exactions of money from the unfortunate sojourners on the island. But when I told him what Mr. Dusante had done, and related how he had brought the board-money with him, and had offered to pay it back to us, an eager interest was aroused in him.
"I do not wonder," he exclaimed," that the conscience-stricken man wishes to give the money back, but that any one should refuse what actually belongs to him or to her is beyond my comprehension! One thing is certain-I shall receive my portion. Fifteen dollars a week for my daughter and myself that woman charged me, and I will have it back."
"My dear sir," I said, "your board was reduced to the same sum as that paid by the rest of us,- four dollars a week each."
"I call to mind no reduction," said Mr.
Enderton. "I remember distinctly the exorbi- on this subject. Mr. Dusante's statement of tant sum charged me for board on a desert island. It made a deep impression upon me." "I do not care to talk any further on this subject," I said. "You must settle it with Mrs. Lecks."
Mr. Enderton gave a great sniff, and walked away with dignity. I could not but laugh as I imagined his condition two minutes after he had stated his opinions on this subject to Mrs. Lecks.
When Mr. Dusante had started from San Francisco on his search for us he had sent his heavy baggage ahead of him to Ogden City, where he purposed to make his first stop. He supposed that we might possibly here diverge from our homeward route in order to visit the Mormon metropolis; and, if we had done so, he did not wish to pass us. It was therefore now agreed that we should all go to Ogden City, and there await the arrival of our effects left in the snowed-up vehicles on the mountain-side. We made arrangements with the station-master that these should be forwarded to us as soon as the stage-coach and the carriage could be brought down. All the baggage of my party was on the coach, and it consisted only of a few valises bought in San Francisco, and a package containing two life-preservers, which Mrs. Lecks and Mrs. Aleshine said they would take home with them, if they took nothing else.
On the morning after our arrival at Ogden City, Mr. Dusante took me aside. "Sir," he said, "I wish to confide to you my intentions regarding the jar containing the money left by your party in my house, and I trust you will do nothing to thwart them. When your baggage arrives, you, with your party, will doubtless continue your eastern way, and we shall return to San Francisco. But the jar, with its contents, shall be left behind to be delivered to Mrs. Lecks. If you will take charge of the jar and hand it to her, sir, I shall be obliged greatly."
I promised Mr. Dusante that I would not interfere with his intentions, but asserted that I could, on no account, take charge of the jar. The possession of that piece of pottery, with its contents, was now a matter of dispute between him and Mrs. Lecks, and must be settled by them.
"Very well, then, sir," he said. "I shall arrange to depart before you and your company, and I shall leave the jar, suitably packed, in the care of the clerk of this hotel, with directions to hand it to Mrs. Lecks after I am gone. Thus there will be nothing for her to do but to receive it."
Some one now came into the smoking-room, where we were sitting, and no more was said
his intention very much amused me, for Mrs. Lecks had previously taken me into her confidence in regard to her intentions in this matter. "Mr. Dusante," she had said, "has n't dropped a word more about the money in that ginger-jar, but I know just as well as he does what he is goin' to do about it. When the time comes to go, he's goin' to slip off quietly, leavin' that jar behind him, thinkin' then I'll be obliged to take it, there bein' nobody to give it back to. But he 'll find me just as sharp as he is. I've got the street and number of his business place in Honolulu from his sister,- askin' about it in an off-hand way, as if it did n't mean anythin',- an if that jar is left for me, I'll pack it in a box, money and all, and I'll express it to Mr. Dusante; and when he gets to Honolulu he 'll find it there, and then he 'll know that two can play at that sort of game."
Knowing Mr. Dusante, and knowing Mrs. Lecks, I pictured to myself a box containing a ginger-jar, and covered with numerous halfobliterated addresses, traveling backward and forward between the Sandwich Islands and Pennsylvania during the lifetime of the contestants, and, probably, if testamentary desire should be regarded, during a great part of the lifetime of their heirs. That the wear and tear of the box might make it necessary to inclose it in a keg, and that, eventually, the keg might have to be placed in a barrel, and that, after a time, in a hogshead, seemed to me as likely as any other contingencies which might befall this peregrinating ginger-jar.
We spent three days in Ogden City, and then, the weather having moderated very much, and the snow on the mountains having melted sufficiently to allow the vehicles to be brought down, our effects were forwarded to us, and my party and that of Mr. Dusante prepared to proceed on our different ways. An eastwardbound train left that evening an hour after we received our baggage, but we did not care to depart upon such short notice, and so determined to remain until the next day.
In the evening Mr. Dusante came to me to say that he was very glad to find that the westward train would leave Ogden City early in the morning, so that he and his family would start on their journey some hours before we left. "This suits my plans exactly," he said. "I have left the ginger-jar, securely wrapped, and addressed to Mrs. Lecks, with the clerk of the hotel, who will deliver it tomorrow immediately after my departure. All our preparations are made, and we purpose this evening to bid farewell to you and our other kind friends, from whom, I assure you, we are most deeply grieved to part."
I had just replied that we also regretted extremely the necessity for this separation, when a boy brought me a letter. I opened it, and found it was from Mr. Enderton. It read as follows: MY DEAR SIR: I have determined not to wait here until to-morrow, but to proceed eastward by this evening's train. I desire to spend a day in Chicago, and as you and the others will probably not wish to stop there, I shall, by this means, attain my object without detaining you. My sudden resolution will not give me time to see you all before I start, but I have taken a hurried leave of my daughter, and this letter will explain my departure to the rest.
I will also mention that I have thought it proper, as the natural head of our party, both by age and position, to settle the amicable dispute in regard to the reception and disposition of the money paid, under an (To be concluded in
excusable misapprehension, for our board and lodging
P. S. I shall stop at Brandiger's Hotel, where I
paid to the classification and separation of prisoners - insolvent debtors being shut up with hardened criminals of the worst type; prisoners were not properly supplied with clothing, and many of them were barefooted and in rags; men and women sick with contagious diseases were allowed to remain for days without care in crowded "kameras"; † the hospitals were in a "very unsatisfactory condition," and the medical authorities failed properly to discharge their duties; prisoners were illegally detained beyond the periods of confinement to which they had been sentenced, and the prison wardens, with rare exceptions, were negligent, incompetent, and unfit for their places.‡
RUSSIAN PROVINCIAL PRISONS.* HERE are in Russia outside of the city of St. Petersburg no prisons intended primarily for political offenders and devoted exclusively to that class of criminals. Persons arrested upon political charges in the provinces await trial in prisons which were originally built for the detention of common vagrants, thieves, forgers, burglars, and murderers, and which are always filled to overflowing with felons of that class. Although the politicals are separated by cell partitions from the common criminals, they necessarily share with the latter all the evils and miseries that result from the overcrowding, bad management, and bad sanitary condition of the prison buildings. How terrible and sometimes intolerable such evils and miseries are, only those who have had an opportunity to inspect Russian prisons can imagine, and only those who have been shut up in them can fully understand. Attempts-and apparently earnest and sincere attempts-have been made again and again by the Ministry of the Interior and the Central Prison Administration to improve the condition of the penal institutions of the empire, but with very little success. As long ago as 1867 Baron Velio, Chief of the Department of Executive Police, made a report to the Minister of the Interior based on an inspection of forty-nine provincial prisons, in which he said that in every one of the institutions visited he found violations of law of a more or less flagrant character. He reported, for example, that little attention was
"[These articles are prefatory to Mr. Kennan's illustrated papers on "Siberia and the Exile System." -THE EDITOR.]
A "kamera" is a large room or cell in which from twenty to a hundred and sixty prisoners are shut up.
In 1869-two years later - Actual State Councilor Kossagofski made another inspection of provincial prisons, which resulted in "the discovery of many disorders, abuses, and violations of law," which are set forth with specifications in a circular letter to provincial governors. The Minister of the Interior "observes," he says, "with regret that most of the prison disorders found by State Councilor Kossagofski to exist in 1869 were the same which had been reported upon by Baron Velio in 1867." In other words, there had been no improvement. §
In 1872 the Minister of the Interior again earnestly called the attention of provincial governors to the disorders and violations of law which continued to prevail in the prisons subject to their control, and referred "with regret" to the fact that although seven previous circulars had been issued on the same subject, there had been little if any change for the better. ||
Circular letter of the Minister of the Interior to provincial governors, No. 151, July 8th, 1867.
Circular letter No. 220, August 18th, 1869.
The evils complained of were evidently too deeply-rooted and had existed too long to be eradicated by Ministerial circulars, however mandatory their tone.
In 1879 the Ministry of the Interior sent still another letter to provincial governors, based on a report from Senator Grote calling attention once more to the glaring defects of the prison system, and urging the adoption of measures to remedy them and to secure a more rigid enforcement of the laws.*
Most of the circular letters above cited related to disorders which were the direct result of bad management and incompetent supervision; † but coincident with them there was issued another series, devoted more particularly to the overcrowding and bad sanitary condition of the prison buildings. From the letters comprised in this latter series it appears that "most of the prisons of the empire" were overcrowded, many of them containing twice or three times the number of prisoners for which they were intended. ‡ In a report made by the Chief of the Central Prison Administration to the Minister of the Interior in 1883, it was stated that in the province of Sedlets there were 484 persons in a prison intended for 207; in the province of Suvalki there were 433 in a prison built for 165; and in the province of Petrokof there were 652 in a prison designed for 125. In the annual report of the Central Prison Administration for 1882 it was admitted that there was not a prison in the empire which afforded its occupants one cubic fathom of air space per capita; § that in more than half the prisons the per capita air space was little more than a third of a cubic fathom, and that in some cases the overcrowding went to such an extent as to reduce the per capita air space to one-fifth of a cubic fathom. In other words, there were prisons where five human beings lived together and tried to breathe, in a volume of air which might have been contained in a packing-box seven feet square and seven feet high. I
Much of this overcrowding is due to the slowness of judicial procedure in Russia, and still more, perhaps, is attributable to the provision of law which makes it a criminal offense to be without a passport or to allow one's passport to lapse. In some parts of the empire
* Circular letter No. 33, March 6th, 1879. + Thirteen such letters were sent to provincial gov. ernors between 1859 and 1879, besides seventeen other circular letters aimed at specific abuses.
Circular letters No. 9650, Nov. 5th, 1864; No. 33, March 6th, 1879; No. 4560, Nov. 28th, 1879; and No. 8, April 6th, 1883.
The Russian fathom is seven English feet. Abstract of the Report of the Central Prison Administration for 1882. Newspaper "Sibir," May 1st, 1883.
twenty-five and even thirty per cent. of the so-called "criminals" in the jails are mere vagrants and "bezpassportni "-persons not provided with the papers necessary to prove their identity. ¶
792,933 persons were received into the prisons of the empire in 1884 and 698,418 were discharged therefrom, leaving 94,515 in prison on the first of January, 1885. Of this last number 26,307 were awaiting trial. **
It further appears from the series of circular letters above referred to, that in many prisons women were not adequately separated from the men, and male overseers were allowed to search the persons of female prisoners; tt officials took bribes from the criminals in their custody and furnished them secretly with intoxicating liquor; ‡‡ the sanitary condition of the prison buildings was almost everywhere bad, the wells being poisoned by leakage from neglected and improperly constructed privies, and the air in the overcrowded cells being polluted and rendered unfit for respiration by miasmatic exhalations from the same sources; §§ the prison hospitals were in an “extremely unsatisfactory condition," and many of them were so small and so ill provided with medicines as to be of little use to the sick; |||| and the hospital officers sometimes neglected their duties to such an extent as to render themselves liable to criminal prosecution. In one case, cited by the Minister of the Interior as an illustration, a prison surgeon in a provincial town, wishing to get rid of a troublesome patient who had been left there sick by a passing criminal party, ordered the man to be sent forward to his destination, notwithstanding the fact that he was in a dying condition. The unfortunate prisoner lived only long enough to reach the first etape, fifteen or twenty miles away.¶¶
The condition of the provincial prisons, as it appears from these circulars, is, to adopt the words of the Minister of the Interior, “an extremely unsatisfactory" one; but the picture thus outlined still falls far short of a full and true representation of the real state of affairs. Prison inspectors like Baron Velio and State Councilor Kossagofski necessarily see the penal institutions of the empire at their best. The provincial governors and the prison officials