The news-herald. (Plattsmouth, Neb.) 1909-1911, July 22, 1909, Image 7
i roooootoooosoosocoeoset AUTHOR'S NOTE. 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 present "I think," Bald Diaz, solemnly, "it Is about time 'The Pawo' war laltluted. llJ Ml liTHE 1 if A 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 Pawn." "The Pawn" at this time was giving little thought to any tliing save the whims and caprices of black-eyed Mary 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" 1 sl 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 face shouted: "Tom Childress, you're an Infernal liar. I'm going to that dance with Mary Ashton. She promised me this afternoon." "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, Garrity." "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 PBOVINGr A CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE JTOR 1 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 entry: "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 possible." "Who is for the defense?" inquired McCurdy. Walter Linton, a brilliant young at torney, went over to "The Pawn" and held a whispered conversation. Then he announced that he would defend the prisoner. "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, Mr. Easter." 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 forth?" "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 ii 3i hands, wildly clutched his hair and shouted: "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 came there?" 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 true. 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 DOY, O, smudgo-fiiccd boy, your checks are grimed With din that tolls of romping cnmi'i, Of fences scaled, of tree you'vo cllmhed, 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 homo. And lu-re nro little, straggling at roii kh, - That Dhow whoro dripped tho tell tale tours And loft their Imprint on your cheeks When gome one hailed your wrath with Jeers. 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 use? Ah, when you Btiiile, then little rifts llreak through those toll-talus of your apoll, As though a laughing earthquake lifts And shakos a bare cheok-breadtli of soil. 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 lose. So, wash your face! It does not count 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 time." "And so have I," weeps the second man. "Hut what did you do?" we ask. "I told lies," sobs the first man. "And I told the truth," grieves the second man, 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 shore.' " "What's it Hl-.e?" asks the man with the eyeglasses. "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." Fellow Feeling. "I am worried to death," says the friend, coming Into the man's office. "I don't know where my next meal it coming from." "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."