Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 23, 1904)
Cbt J) a i l? flebraaftan
pendcd. In the barber shop the mayor
and the justice of the peaco hold a
spirited dialogue. The mayor was a
portly, pompous man, with a smooth
red face with large folds of fat that
seemed to press about his eyes. The
justice was a scrawny, shiny-elbowed
man, with unlimited confidence in his
'Seems to mo too clear a case
against Bobs," began the justice
"With my experience in cases, never
seen one plainer."
The mayor ahemmed judicially. "I
suppose so," and the Justice leaned
forward clasping his knees.
"You see it's this way. The post
master at Greenwood'll swear the bag
came on the train and the three mail
clerks'll swear It was thrown off. And
at the station the agent and Gambler
Pete saw five bags put on the dray.
They'll swear to it that there was
five just before he left for the post
office. Now, Bobs drew Into the nllev
and says ho wus gone into the house
a minute to see the woman, and when
he got to the postofftce the bag was
gone. Says he dunno how many he
started with, dunno how many he left
at the postoffice. Nobody seen him
drive into the alley. Nobody ever
heard of him doin' It before. The clerk
at the postofflco says he acted queer
and druv away without callln' fer IiIf
mail as he alius does, (which ain't
funny, fer his mail alius comes in the
bag that was lost). 'Pears like a
mighty clear case."
"Well," drawled the mayor, shift
ing himself to one side as the lather
was applied. "Bobs has been a good
man. He's had a hard struggle here to
make a llvin' for them eight young
sters of hls'n. The temptation was
maybe greater'n we imagine. At $3 no
a day it's almost a hopeless case to
over get up in the world, fixed as he is
But then, we can't afford to have rob
bln' right here in our midst if he is a
respected citizen. It hurts our fair
name, our civic pride. The hand of
justice can't be stayed. The law'll
have to take its course," and the
mayor ahemmed several times.
By this time tho justice was stand
ing in front of the mayor's chair with
one foot on tho rest.
"But what beats me, though, for all
tho oases I've seen, Is where he's got
the bag hid. O' course they didn't
make the search until this morning
when- they arrested him. but it's
ama.in' how ho could o' hid it. he was
so infernal clumsy In stealln' it. Any
body knowed he'd bo found out. Old
Dad's been stormln' around. Heard
me say Bobs was In a bad fix, and the
old tiger id like to eat me up ; called
me more infernal names in Chinee
and Hebrew than I ever heard of be
fore. The old -varmint lays a heap by
Bobs. Tho angels ho wouldn't believe
if they said Bobs was guilty. Con
traryist old bat 'hove ground
"But Bobs is in fer it, though lie
made a mighty good job o' hidin'
Might a got scared and burned it, of
The trial progressed rapidly. The
evidence seemed to be all on one side
The postmaster at Greenwood, the
three mail clerks, the agent and Gam
bler Pete all agreed on one point at
least, that the pouch had been put or
tho dray. Further than this, no tracr
-of it could be found. Bobs himsel'
sat during tho trial stolid, sullen anc"
dejected. The justice sat in the front
row of seats, alert, pricking up his
ears and noting things on an old en
velope as if following very closely im
portant threads of evidence. Bobs
lawyer conducted the cross-examination
rather half-heartedly, seeming tr
leel the odds against him. The onlj
shadow of escape seemed to bo in Uv
fact that I3ol had left Ihe dray for a
moment to speak to his wife Some
one could havo taken the bag then
But this was supported only by Bobs'
own testimony, which that of his wife
teemed to contradict.
At first she hod heard Bobs in the
kitchen and went to speak to him--but
hero in her testimony she faltered,
and said, "I don't remember, m
head feels funny." and sh was led
from the stand with tears on her face
Then Bobs' shoulders were seen to
raise once and he coughed deeply.
When Dad was called to the stand, a
titter went round. The old man stood
a sorry spectacle, gingerly fingeiing
his Hat-crowned little hat." His fac
was pale, almost haggard, and his un
combed hair stood out from his head
Bobs stared at him open-mouthed
"Where were you on the night of
this alleged robbery?"
"In the cooler, sir "
There was an audible smile in the
audience, and the judge frowned oei
"Were you there all night?"
"Until eight o'clock, sir."
"Were you at the postollh o that
"Yes-sir." Here he fingered the hat
ery nervously, with a swift side
glance at Bobs.
"At what time?"
"About nine o'clock "
"Where were you between eight and
The old man staggered back' and
faced the court almost fiercely, with
his scrawny right hand raised high in
the air. In a shrill voice lie nlmos.
Bcriamcd between his teeth:
"Yer. honor, I was cuttin' open the
The judge looked helplessly at him
A few men in the court room stood up
The justice forgot to take notes Bobs
half raised in his chair, his mouth
opened as if to say something, but Dad
went on in a harsh, hoarse voice
"Yes-sir, that man is innocent I'm
the man, sir. The mail bag is in the
ash pile under the shop There's a
cut in it right near the lock."
The news spread like wildfire Dad
and Bobs were both in jail. The
sheriff and his deputy were sent at
once to the old paint shop and, sur
enough, there was the mail bag. with
the cut just where old Dad had said M
was. Only one or two letters and ha-lf
a hundred papers remained.
When the shorlff visited Dad in hit
cell the old man lay with one hand
shading his face, the other on his
breast. Ho did not even look up when
the sheriff entered.
"What'd you watt so long for before
owning up, Dad?"
Without moving. Dad said, "Didn't
think they'd prove it on him. That
he'd get through and I'd be safe
Couldn't see a good man as he is, with
eight children, go to jail fer an old
worthless like me He'll try to say lie
did it to shield mo, but it's a lie I
A new trial was set for a week Less
interest, however, was shown in this
than in Bobs' trial. There co.ild be
little interest in trying a self-confessed
criminal. Before Dad's confes
sion everyoife7 had expressed them
selves as believing Bobs guilty. "I;
was too plain a case.," but now even
those most outspoken before Bobs'
trial declared that although things
looked dark, they couldn't quite see
how honest Bobs would do it. Cir
cumstantial evidence was a humbug
thoy had always believed.
"Jest as I reckoned all the time,"
said the justice to a knot of eager loaf
ers that sat on the cracker boxes In
front of tho restaurant. "With my ex
(Contlnued on pago 5.)
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