“Isn’t it awful!” and the woman held up her hands in horror. “You should be afraid to speak that way, and you in such danger. Read this, poor man,” and she held forth a tract she had been holding in her hand.
Jasper glanced at it and read the heading, “Flee from Hell Fire.” He took it, and then crushing it in his hand, threw it from him.
“I’ve had enough of this,” he cried, “and I’ll stand no more. Leave me alone, is all I ask. Hell can be no worse than what you people are dealing out to me now.”
Jasper’s look and attitude caused those near him to shrink back, and during the rest of the voyage he had peace from the clatter of tongues, at least.
It was a great relief to him when at last he was lodged in the cell of the county jail. Here he was alone and free from all curious eyes, and he had time and quietness for thought. His heart was nevertheless heavy as he sat there in his solitude. He brooded over all that had taken place, and the one and only ray of brightness which came to him in his misery was the thought of Lois and the vision of her standing where he last saw her with such deep sympathy expressed in her eyes.
The following day Mr. Westcote’s lawyer came to see him, and they had a long talk together. Dr. Turnsell was greatly impressed by Jasper and the straightforward manner in which he told about his visit to David the night of the murder.
“We shall do the best we can for you,” the lawyer informed him as he bade him good-bye. “We have tried to get you out on bail, but so far have been unsuccessful.”
This visit somewhat encouraged Jasper. He knew that able men were working for him and that Mr. Westcote would spare no money on his behalf. As he sat there in his cell he thought over his past life and of the many struggles he had made to succeed. He brooded over the injustice he had received from so many simply because he was poor and forced to fight his own battles against almost overwhelming odds. “And is this the end?” he asked himself. “Will all my efforts amount to nothing?” He thought of several of his college companions, sons of rich men, who knew not what it was to fight in order to win their way, and who were now occupying important positions in life. He knew what they would say about him now. “Poor Spuds,” would be their laconic comment. “He was always an odd one, anyway.” Yes, that was the way they would talk, and then dismiss him from their minds.
The afternoon slowly passed, and after a while he rose and paced up and down his small room. He looked through the barred window and saw the clouds sweeping across the “long savannahs of the blue.” How precious freedom seemed to him, and he longed to be once more in the open. He thought of Lois, and wondered if she were thinking of him. Perhaps she was out on the river in her little boat watching those same clouds. There would be no one near now to rescue her should the water get rough.