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.

There was a great excitement over this attempt to murder the Deputy, and for a few hours, with wardens and keepers, I was a hero.  I had been in the prison more than a year, and was generally regarded as one of the worst prisoners, one of the “hardest cases;” a mere chance had suddenly made me one of the most commendable men within those dreary walls.  As for Hall, he was taken to the dungeon and securely chained by the feet to a ring in the center of the stone floor.  There is no doubt whatever that the man was a raving maniac.  He howled night and day so that he could be heard everywhere in the prison-"Murder, murder! they are murdering me in this black hole; why don’t they take me out and kill me?”

The Warden said it could not be helped; that the man must be kept there; he was dangerous to himself and others; the dark cell was the only place for him.  So Hall stayed there and howled, his cries growing weaker from day to day; by-and-by we heard him only at intervals, and after that not at all.

One morning there was a little knot of men around the open dungeon door, the Deputy Warden and two or three keepers.  Mr. Morey called to me to go and get the tools and come there and take off Hall’s irons.  I went into the cell and in a few minutes I unfastened his feet from the ring; then I took the shackles off his limbs.  I thought he held his legs very stiff, but knew he was obstinate, and only wondered he was so quiet.

Somebody brought in a candle and I looked at Hall’s face.  I never saw a more ghastly sight.  The blood from his mouth and nostrils had clotted on the lower part of his face, and his wild eyes, fixed and glassy, were staring at the top wall of the dungeon.  He must have been dead several hours.  The Depu ty and the rest knew he was dead-the man who carried in the bread and water told them-me it came with a shock from which I did not soon recover.

They buried Hall in the little graveyard which was in the yard of the prison.  An Episcopal clergyman, who was chaplain of the prison, read the burial service over him.  The prisoners were brought out to attend the homely funeral.  The ball and chain, all the personal property left by Hall, were put aside for the next murderer sentenced for life, or for the next “ugly” prisoner.  “If I were only treated better, and not abused so, I should be a better man.”  This is what Hall used to say to me whenever he had an opportunity.  The last and worst and best in that prison had been done for him now.

From the day when I rescued Morey from the hands of Hall, his whole manner changed towards me, and he treated me with great kindness, frequently bringing me a cup of tea or coffee, and something good to eat.  He also promised to present the circumstances of the Hall affair to the Governor, and to urge my pardon, but I do not think he ever did so, at least I heard nothing of it.  When I pressed the matter upon Morey’s attention he said it would do no good till I had served out half my sentence, and then he would see what could be done.

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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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