Seven Wives and Seven Prisons; Or, Experiences in the Life of a Matrimonial Monomaniac. a True Story eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 129 pages of information about Seven Wives and Seven Prisons; Or, Experiences in the Life of a Matrimonial Monomaniac. a True Story.

We arrived at Windsor and I was safely inside of the prison at three o’clock in the afternoon.  Warden Harlow met me with a joke, to the effect that, had it not been for my handcuffs he should have taken the officer who brought me, to be the prisoner, I was so much the better dressed of the two.  He then talked very seriously to me for a long time.  He was sorry, and surprised, he said, to see a man of my appearance brought to such a place for such a crime; he could not understand how a person of my evident intelligence should get into such a scrape.

I told him that he understood it as well as I did, at all events; that I could not conceive why I should get into these difficulties, one after the other; but that I believed I was a crazy man on this one subject-matrimonial monomania; that when I had gone through with one of these scrapes, and had suffered the severe punishment that was almost certain to follow, the whole was like a dream to me-a nightmare and nothing more.  With regard to what was before me in this prison I should try and behave myself, and make the best of the situation; but I notified the Warden that I did not mean to do one bit of work if I could help it.

He took me inside, where my fine clothes were taken away, and I. was dressed in the usual particolored prison uniform.  I was told the rules, and was warned that if I did not observe them it would go hard with me.  Then followed twenty-four hours solitary confinement, and the next afternoon I was taken from my cell to a shop in which scythe snaths were made.

It had transpired during my trial at Montpelier, that when I was a young man, I was a blacksmith by trade.  This information had been transmitted to prison and I was at once put to work making heel rings.  It was some years since I had worked at a forge and handled a hammer.  Consequently, in three or four days, my hands were terribly blistered, and as the Warden happened to come into the shop, I showed them to him, and quietly told him that I would do that work no longer.  He told me that I must do it; he would make me do it.  I answered that he might kill me, or punish me in any way he pleased, but he could not make me do that kind of labor, and I threw down my hammer and refused to work a moment longer.

The Warden left me and sent Deputy Warden Morey to try me.  He approached me in a kindly way, and I showed my blistered hands to him.  He thought that was the way to “toughen” me.  I thought not, and said so, and, moreover, told him I would never make another heel ring in that prison, and I never did.

He sent me to my cell and I stayed there a week, till my hands were well.  Then the Deputy came to me and asked me if I was willing to learn to hew out scythe snaths in the rough for the shavers, who finished them?  I said I would try.  I went into the shop and was shown how the work was to be done.  Every man was expected to hew out fifty snaths in a day.  In three or four days the shop-keeper came and overlooked me while I was working in my bungling way, and said if I couldn’t do better than that I must clear out of his shop and do something else.  My reply was that I did not understand the business, and had no desire or intention to learn it.  He sent for the Deputy Warden, who came and expressed the opinion that I could not do anything.  I said I was willing to do anything I could understand.

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Seven Wives and Seven Prisons; Or, Experiences in the Life of a Matrimonial Monomaniac. a True Story from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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