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About The news-herald. (Plattsmouth, Neb.) 1909-1911 | View Entire Issue (July 22, 1909)
he material facts In this k
story of circumstantial evidence
are drawn from an actual re
corded case, only such change
of names and local color being
made as to remove them from
the classification of legal re
ports to that of fiction. All the
essential points of evidence,
however, are retained.
UK Calf Skin club ex
pected a good story
from Judge Adams,
and when his turn
came upon the list,
every member was In
ula seat around the
long table. It was
with further satisfac
tion that they watched
him take from his
pocket a manuscript.
That meant careful
preparation and that
full justice would be
done to the story.
When the pipes were all going well
Judge Adams arose in his place and
took up the sheets before him; and
here is what they contained:
The tale that I shall tell you this
evening Is one that occurred in my
own experience. For reasons that will
appear, it never became a cause
celebre, yet I think it offers sufficient
of the unusual to be entitled to a
place among these records of the club.
As did many of our members I made
my first acquaintance with the law
in a small town. Almost every mem
ber of the company of young men
with which I was raised was either
a lawyer, the son of a lawyer or a
student of the law. Our loafing place
In the day time and our meeting
place in the evening was always soiue
one or the other of the ninny law
offices. We grew up in fact amid an
atmosphere of law calf and briefs.
It was a fantastic crowd, full of
qunlru conceits and odd fancies. One
of these resulted in the formation of
an organization the like of which I
have not known before or since. They
called it "The Gentleman's Club," but
had It been named the "Practical
Joker's Club" the title would have
been more fitting. Its members
well, to enumerate them by their
blzaare titles will give you the best
Idea of the vagaries of our idle brains.
There was the Governor of the Cigar
Islands in the person of Davlcs, a
brilliant student who had already
made his mark as a stump speaker.
There was Garrity, otherwise the Duke
of Vermillion, who could cite by sec
tion and chapter a parallel to any
case you might mention In the Illinois
reports up to the one hundred and
thirty-fourth volume; he quit at Vol.
134 and went back to Hlackstone.
There was little Tom Childress, digni
fied by the title of Lord Mayor of
Conlogue, who used to amuse himself
by turning Cooley's Constitutional Law
into tatin blank verse. And thero
was Diaz, a ranting Irishman with
a Spanish name, who claimed to be
the sole surviving member of the
Patriotic Order of Sons of Shay's
Rebellion, who loved a Joke as ho did
the smoky distillations of his ances
tors' native isle and who gloried in
the title of tord High Admiral of the
Iloyne, which, all history to the con
trary, he declared to be the scene
of a great Irish victory.
There were lesser lights with lesser
titles and lastly there was "The
Pawn." "The Pawn" was too hand
some to be popular. He was also too
quiet. He certainly thought a great
deal, but he seldom said anything.
He was admitted to the club only on
sulfrance and only in the capacity of
a pawn. His two consuming ambi
tions were to try a case before a Jury
and to bo a full fledged member of
the "Gentleman's Club," with a title.
If Englund's queen had offered him
the ribbon of the bath he would huve
declined it for these. His nunio,
which is unimportant, as he was never
known otherwise than as "The Pawn,"
was Chester Easter.
The club was In session in the
office of Diaz. "The Pawn" was not
"I think," Bald Diaz, solemnly, "it Is
about time 'The Pawo' war laltluted.
We haven't done
anything to him late
ly. If we don't stir
him up he will for
set he's living."
Then the club
went Into executive
session and plotted
the undoing of "The
"The Pawn" at
this time was giving
little thought to any
tliing save the whims
and caprices of
Ashton. Mary was
the soul of fickle
ness, and having
broken every youth
ful heart in the town
except that of "The
Pawn," she be
thought herself of
him and she found
in him a willing, yet
a determined sub
ject. "The Pawn"
loved deeply as he
could hate deeply.
He was not one who
would give up easily an object he had
set out to win. especially If that ob
ject had flashing black eyes, shining
Jet hair and cheeks and lips that would
set the bipod coursing through colder
veins than his.
To accomplish the plan which the
"Gentleman's Club" had fixed upon it
was necessary that "The Pawn"
should be enticed to one of the nightly
meetings. This at last was brought
about by Diaz, arch diplomat of the
crowd. The club was gathered in the
paternal Diaz' law office when "The
Pawn" slipped in, took his seat and
sat in discreet silence.
"I see," said Davles, addressing Tom
Childress, "that you and Mary Ash
ton have made it up.
"The Pawn" shifted uneasily in his
chair nnd his cheeks flamed. Ills
persecutors had no Idea of the con
suming Jealousy of Childress that had
Ions obsessed him. -t
Pefore he could decide which course
to pursue a diversion occurred. Gar
rity Jumped to his feet, strode over to
Childress, and shaking his fist in his
"Tom Childress, you're an Infernal
liar. I'm going to that dance with
Mary Ashton. She promised me this
"I'm a liar, am I," said Childress
slowly rising, to the full limit of his
five feet five and squaring off fop bat
tie. "You've got to prove those words,
"I'll prove them on you, you lying
pup," Bhoutcd Garrity. "You can't
come up here and talk lightly of the
girl I love. There, take that!"
The blow fell and Instantly was
returned. Then somebody put out the
light. In the fitful light from tho win
dows the room seethed with tho con
fusion of crashing chairs, the thud
thud of rapidly exchanged blows and
the labored breathing of the combat
nnts. Then the door opened lotting in
a Hood of cool air. There was a rush
of struggling bodies and, "Tho Pawn,"
still clasping an open knife, felt him
self borne along with the crowd.
ChlldrcBS was in the fore and under
the ray tt e electrlo light on the
corner his face showed red and
bloody. He seemed to be dripping
with gore. He was. It took a whole
bottle of red ink.
He saw "The Pawn" nnd started up
the stairway shouting:
"There he is! He cut me! See,
fellows; he's got a knife!"
The conspirators slipped quietly
away while Diaz went back to lock
up the office and, perchance, manu
facture additional evidence.
When he entered "The Pawn" was
still standing In the middle of the
floor with his knife gripped tightly.
"Come, come, Chess," said Diaz,
"you'd better quiet down. You've
done enough for to-night. Childress
Is cut pretty bad, I guess. The boys
are taking him home. What possessed
you to butt in. anyway?"
"Look here, Diaz," Bald "The Pawn,"
"you're a friend of mine. Now I -tldn't
cut Childress, but I wish I had. I'd
like to kill him. I'm afraid that's all
true that he said about Mary."
"Well, what if It is? She's not worth
fighting for," answered Diaz. "Come
on, you'd better go home and In the
morning It won't bother you a bit."
In the meantime the further details
of the plot were worked out over a
table in the back end of "Tho Gold
Eagle Exchange," where other con
spirators were waiting.
When they reached McCurdy's office
the "court" was already In session.
Had "The Pawn's" mind been enpa
bio of connected thought he would
have observed that the court, tha at
torneys and the spectators, all were
members of the "Gentleman's Club."
"The Pawn" was led to a chair in
front of tho magistrate's desk. Mc
Curdy read several docketed entries
and each case was continued at the
request of Borne one of tho young at
torneys present until ho reached the
"Tho People of the State of Illinois
against Chester Easter; Assault with
Intent to Kill."
"Is the state's attorney present?" In
quired the magistrate.
"If the court please," said Davlcs,
"the state's attorney has deputized mo
to try this case, as ho is out of town
and it seems to be the wish of nil tho
parties to avoid publicity as much as
"Who is for the defense?" inquired
Walter Linton, a brilliant young at
torney, went over to "The Pawn" and
held a whispered conversation. Then
he announced that he would defend
"Will the defendant have a Jury?"
"We elect to try the caso before the
court," said Linton.
Davles opened for the slate at.d In
words of fire he painted tho awful
treachery of "The Pawn" who, too
cowardly to battle in his own behalf,
had waited until his rival was en
gaged in a "friendly scuffle" with an
other and then had slipped in and de
livered the poltroon's blow. He trust
ed that the real cause of tho rivalry
might not be made apparent. It was
no wish of the state to drag in tho
mire the name of ono of Its most love
ly daughters if tho ends of Justice
could be subserved without it. But
the state would be able to show a mo
tive, a powerful, compelling motive.
While ho was a friend of the accused
ho had still his duty to perform, and
he felt that he must put friendship
out of his heart and do that duty with
all the power that lay within him.
And where was Tom Childress?
Why was he not there to ask the
vengeance of the law upon his assail
ant? The state would seek to show
why. If the accused had any special
knowledge of the whereabouts of his
victim tho state would be very likely
to discover it. Put he had no charges
to make; the present charge was se
rious enough, and he was willing to
let what might come out in the evi
dence. Linton then outlined the defense
nnd said he would seek to show that
not Chester Easter but Tom Garrity
had struck the blow.
Put this hope for "Tho Pawn" was
dashed when Garrity went on the
stand and swore that he had no knife,
and was fully corroborated by all the
rest. They swore with equal positive
ness that "Tho Pawn" did have a
knife. All had seen it as he stood
brandishing it at the top of the stair
way. Diaz had seen it when he re
turned to the office. Diaz also heard
the threat against the life of Childress.
He did not know what had become of
Childress. He lived near lilm, and his
family knew nothing of his where
abouts. He believed that Easter could
tell where he was if he wanted to.
This objected to by defendant's coun
sel, and objection sustained.
Through it all "The Pawn" sat with
bloodless face and with eyes far, far
away. He seemed to take no interest
in the proceedings until Linton said:
"I will now put the defendant on the
stand In his own behalf. He Bworn,
McCurdy mumbled the oath: "Do
you swear to tell the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth con
cerning the matters and facts pertain
ing to this caso which shall be asked
of you by counsel, so help you, and so
"The Pawn" took the stand like an
automaton. If the object of the con
spiracy was to daze him nothing could
have succeeded better. The mystery
Is how they kept their faces straight.
Several of tho less experienced at tho
noble art of practical Joking had to
leave the room to indulge in smother
ed shouts of laughter.
"Now, Chester, tell your version of
this affair," Bald Linton.
"I will tell It all," began "The
Pawn" in a volco choking with emo
tion. "I will tell everything. I can't
keep it back any longer. Tom Chil
dress face Is with me day and night.
I wake up and see it in tho dead of
night. If I sleep It Is with me in my
dreams. O, great God, if only I could
shut that terrible vision from my
mind:" He rose and, throwing up his
hands, wildly clutched his hair and
"You want to know whero Tom Chil
dress is. You'll never know whore ho
is If I don't tell. Hut I'm going to tell.
I'm not. going to keep that vision with
me any longer. Tom Childress Is at
tho bottom of tho water works well.
I killed him."
Tho conspirators started back in
amazement. It almost sounded like
the truth, so well was It done.
"Magnificent," returned Linton.
"He's done us. I didn't think ho had
It in him. Hut let's carry it out. Go
on, Chester; tell tho whole story."
"The Pawn" had sunk down in his
chair and burled his face In bis hands.
"Yes, I'll feel better to tell It all."
he continued. "I made up my mind
to kill him when I left the offico. I
waited for him In the alley and when
ho passed on his way home I followed
him. When we got to the dark place
by tho water works well I caught up
with him. We had some words. I
dared him to throw away the gun I
had seen him flash and fight mo fair.
All tho time I had the knife in my
sleeve. Then he struck me and I let
him have It He dropped. I bent over
him and he was dead. Then I found
a heavy rock and a rope and I tied tho
rock to him and dropped him over into
the well. There's wasn't much blood
and what there was I washed away
with the hoso they sprinkle tho flower
beds with. I saw nothing of the
watchman and I thought I was safe.
1 didn't know what a terribly relent
less accuser conscience Is. I wish tho
court to bind mo over without bail."
Justice McCurdy looked, up gravely
from the docket.
"The decision of this court," he said,
"Is that tho prisoner at the bar hag
played his part nobly, and that he ba
elected to full membership In tho 'Gen
tlemen's Club'," and his face broke
Into a broad smile.
There came a loud knocking at the
door nnd excited voices demanding ad
mission. It was opened and the chief
of police rushed In.
"Tom Childress has been mur
dered!" he shouted. "Ills body haf
Just been found In the water works
well. Do any of you know how he
The smile died from McCurdy's Hps.
"There Is your man," he said, pointing
to "The Pawn." "He has Just con
fessed it all to ub."
With eyes that looked neither to the
right or the left "The Pawn", placed
his arm in that of the chief aad walk
ed out and to the Jail. Already the
news was on tho streets, how it had
been found necessary to drain the
well, how the body of Childress, dead
from a knife wound and weighted
down with a stone, had been found at
the bottom. It was all too horribly
A Beared and horror-stricken band of
conspirators filed .out of McCurdy's
office and gathered' the news from ex
cited groups. While the first shock
was still tingling in tho nerves of the
public a second one ran like electricity
through the town. A terriblo sequel
to the tragedy had been recorded
Chester Easter had committed suicide
immediately on being placed In a cell
The provincial Bearch had failed to
discover In his shoe the very knife
that slew Tom Childress.
Tho last meeting of the "Gentle
man's Club" took plnce that afternoon
in the back end of the "Gold Eagle
Exchange," when the members with
sad and troubled faces took a solemn
oath never to disclose the true facts
of tho proving of "The Pawn."
(Copyright, by W. O. Chapman.)
No Place for the Artist.
It may be regrettable, but the artist
today lives more apart from the gen
erality of men than in almost any
other age, nnd the reason is plain it
Is because he has no definite place In
the present economy. Neither can a
place be established for him by con
federations of nrtlsts and such like
nonsense. Solemn humbug of this sort
is of use only for the glorification of
a set of professional men of taste,
from whose tyranny good Lord de
liver us. New yor Evening Sua.
iLBUR D NESftIT
O, smudgo-fiiccd boy, your checks are
With din that tolls of romping
Of fences scaled, of tree you'vo
Of conflicts after "callln' niimci!"
Why, hero In dust from off the street,
Anil there lire patches of Mark lomri
That toll you crept on stealthy feet
Through guidons ere you wandered
And lu-re nro little, straggling
at roii kh, -
That Dhow whoro dripped tho tell
And loft their Imprint on your cheeks
When gome one hailed your wrath
And here upon your rounded chin
Are hint of drying apple Juice.
You've milled aumo one's apple bin!
I'd prent-h to you, but what's the
Ah, when you Btiiile, then little rifts
llreak through those toll-talus of
As though a laughing earthquake lifts
And shakos a bare cheok-breadtli of
Dut when I look at you I seem
To see myself In years gone by;
Those old (lays pnsa me In a dream,
And, thinking of them all, I sigh.
And I would give, I know not what
If I once more might loiter In
With souvenirs of each play spot
Bcplaxtcrlng my check and chin.
It I might know again the feel
Of honest dirt, of scratch and
Age comes creeping on to steal
Tho days thnt we are doomed to
So, wash your face! It does not
You lanisH know yet what I mean.
A smudge-fiicn Is of small amount
So long as your boy-heart Is clean.
One Good Turn Deserves, Etc.
'"Alfred," says the beauteous crea
ture, "I have a little Christmas re
membrance for you, and I hope you
will llko it, although I know it is not
half as nice as it might be. Here it
Is. It is a necktie that I have made
for you all by myself. I do so hope
It will please you.
"Thank you, Ermyntrudo," says Al
fred, with a wan smile. "And know
ing that you would give me something
that you made with your own fair
hands, I, too, have made something
for you. Here it Is, or they are, Just
as you choose to look at It, or them.
It is a pair of gloves, really, although
I confess it does resemble a pair of
sofa pillows. Why, Ermyntrude, what
can be the matter?"
But Ermyntrude, with a haughty air,
Lis left the room.
Worked Both Ways.
We come upon two men, each of
whom is weeping and walling miser
ably. "What is wrong?' we ask.
"Ah," replies the first man, "I have
made a great many enemies in my
"And so have I," weeps the second
"Hut what did you do?" we ask.
"I told lies," sobs the first man.
"And I told the truth," grieves the
Not being able to think of any good
advice that will cover tho ground, we
walk on softly.
Jutt as Good. '
"Yes, sir," said the man with the
white apron, "I've invented a new
drink that I call 'A Trip to the Sea
"What's it Hl-.e?" asks the man with
"Nothing but stale water. I let yot
swallow enough of it to choke you
then rub sand in your hair and eyes
and charge you $50 a day for the use
of the drink."
"I am worried to death," says the
friend, coming Into the man's office.
"I don't know where my next meal it
"I am worried also," answers the
man, glancing across tho street at the
quick-lunch restaurant. "Put I am
worried because I know where inj
next meal is coming from."
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