About this time my elder sister was married and moved to New York. Her husband was a mechanic and made good money. He liked me, and when the theft was discovered I went and put up with him, staying there until I made money enough to leave, then I got out. All this time I was going from bad to worse, my associates being thieves and crooks and gamblers.
I shall never forget the first time I was arrested. I was with a hardened crook, and we had made a haul of some hundred dollars. But as luck would have it we were caught and sent away for nine months on a “technicality.” If we had received our just dues the lowest term would have been five years each. I thought my time in prison would never come to an end, but it did at last, and I was free. But where was I to go? My mother had moved to New York to be near my sister, so I went and called on them. Mother asked me where I had been. I made some kind of an excuse, but I could see by mother’s eye that she did not take much stock in it.
I remained at home, and finally got work in a fruit house on Washington Street, at eight dollars a week. I was quite steady for a while, and mother still had hopes of her boy. But through the same old company and drink I lost that job.
About this time I ran across a girl who I thought would make a good wife, and we were married. I was then in the crockery business in a small way, and if I had stuck to business I should be worth something now. I’ll never forget the day of the wedding. The saying is, “Happy is the bride the sun shines on,” but there was no sunshine that day. It rained, it simply poured. Mother tried to get the girl to throw me over; she told her I would never make her a good husband; and I guess Mary was sorry afterward that she did not take her advice.
The night of the wedding we had quite a blowout, and I was as drunk as I could be. I’d ring in right here a bit of advice to my girl readers: Don’t ever try to convert a man—I mean one who drinks—by marrying him, for in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred you won’t succeed. In my case I was young and did not care how the wind blew. I stayed out nights and neglected my home, but I must say, bad as I was, I never hit my wife. I think any man that raises his hand to hit a woman is worse than a cur, and that he will certainly be punished in some way for it.
Things went from bad to worse, and one day I came home to the store and there was no wife. She had gone. Married and deserted in two months! I felt sore, and all I thought about was to get even with my wife. I sold out the business, got a couple hundred dollars together, and started after her. I found out that she had gone to Oswego, and I sent her a telegram and was met at the station by her brother. It did not take me long to get next to him. In a very short time I had him thinking there was no one like Ranney. Mary and I made up and I promised never to drink again, and we started for New York. My promises were easily broken, for before we got to Syracuse both her brother and I were pretty drunk.