The Oregon statesman. (Salem, Or.) 1916-1980, December 05, 1920, Page 14, Image 14

Below is the OCR text representation for this newspapers page. It is also available as plain text as well as XML.

(Continued from Last Week) !
Such is the story of Jimmy'
Valentine as it unfolded itself in
the Ohio penitentiary O. Henry
takes the one great episode in that
futile, life and with it he wins the
tears; and the grateful smites of
the nation. In that throbbing si
lence when the ex-con opens the
safe and the little sister of the
girl he loves is saved from suffo
cation. Jimmy as he might have
bett,5.not Jimmy as he was. is be
fore us. Few who have breathed
hard in that gripping" moment
! woufd have denied Dick Price his
chawce, would have refused him
the pardon he earned, would have
doomed him to his forlorn and
lonely death in the prison hospi
tal. .
Bill Porter was not the grim '.
artist to paint harsh picture
for the world. He loved a happy,
ending- He could not even give
the exact details of the' safe open
ing. It was too cruel for his win
tome fancy.
-That was ever Bill's way. He
tookthe facts, but he twisted
therm as he would. I asked him
aftoui it later. In the story he
gives the hero a costly set of tools
wherewith to open the vault. He
does not have him' file his nails.
-Toleration One
Of Porter's Traits.
i ' " '
"Colonel. It chills my teeth td:
think of that gritting operation."
he said. "I prefer the set of tools.
I don't like to make my victims
suffer. And then, yon see. the
tools enable Jimmy to make a
present. to a friend. That gift il
lustrates the toleration of the man
who has been in prison.
-Jimmy decided to quit the
game himself, but he does not ex
pect the whole world to share his
fervor of reform. - Instead of bury
ing the Instruments of his former
profession, as youp reformed citi
zen would have done, he straight
way sends them to a former pal. I
like that my spirit in my charac
ter. "The ordinary man who takes
a New Year's resolution immedi
ately sends down censure on the
fellow who isn't perched on the
wagon with him. Jimmy does no
ouch thing. That's one of the ad
vantages of spending a few vaca
tions in prison. You grow me'low
in your judgments."
This soft, golden toleration was
-wo, of the gracious traits in Pot
tcr's character. It won him
friends even though his aloof dig
nity forbade familiarity. In the
"pen" he was universally respect
ed. The meanest cut-throat in the
ranges felt honored to serve him.
Ira-" With Barber
Makes Club Sport.
Porter's "drag" with th prison
barber, was the subject oriraillery
at the club. 'The barber was not a
hirsute artist. He seemed to take
a mean delight in turning out gro
tesque, futuristic patterns in
headdress. But for Porter the
most exquisite precision was ob
served. His thin, yellow hair was
trimmed to a nicety. The kind,
easy manner of the man had com
pletely captivated the burly
hearted convict barber.
If it had not been for this hum
orous, penetrative understanding
in Porter, the Recluse;club would
not have endured a month. He
was Its equilibrium. Many a vio
lent clash ended in laugh be
cause of an odd fling! Bill' Porter
would interject Into the turmoil.
Men who have been walled off
Irom tree contact with their fel
lows become excessively quarrel
some and "touchy." We were
cooped together like children in
m over-large family. We had no
.scape from each other's society.
The isolation of prison life
vhets antagonism. Men; who
could' travel to the ends of the
arthj in friendship would, in a
udden raging bitterness, spring
ike tigers at each other's throat.
;ven in the happiness of our
Sunday dinners these explovivej
vould break out among the mem
bers. -
"Soap in Soup"
Starts ITub Clash.
amg mam mm
I . w
? we can influence the cluing of a
I Savings Account by every youngster
and grown-up, too, in Salem, then
the TJnited States National Bank will
ha!e done much to help balance those
much overworked spending accounts of
the past several years.
Christmas Gift Savings Accounts may
be opened here by "anyone for anyone.
It would start with the merest
trifle, and all at once there would
b fiercely angry- taunts flung
from - one to the other. In one
of these uncalled for eruptions" I
feeiit' Jn my resignation to the
club. '
Hilly Haidler had protested
that he could taste the soapsuds
on the dishes. I was the chief
dishwasher. I did not like the
imputation. I would not' have
minded Billy's protest, but old
man Carnot hacked him up with
further criticism.
"Most assuredly we can taste
the soap." he paid. "But worse
than that I do not like the garlic.
Now. Mr. Jennings, why ran you
not pisk the odious vegetable out
ot the toast?"
Carnot was an Irasnible old
epicure. He wanted his napkin
folded oblong and 'his knife and
fork laid - down in a certain mil
lionaire fashion. He never failed
to reeent the introduction of the
garlic Louisa loved.
Every one at the table took up
the issue. They could all taste
the soapsuds, they said. "Damn
pigs, all of yon! Take the honor
at the dishpan yourselves." I
was furious with resentment. I i
could have hurled the pots and
skillets at them. The next Sun
day I did not go to the club. I
told Billy I was finished with
them. Billy had no patience with
the sulks and left me in a huff.
Porter Reconciles . .
Dishwasher Al. -
Porter came over to ' the ' post
office and knocked at the door.
"Colonel." he said, and there was
such understanding indulgence in
his tone I felt immediately ap
peased, "don't yon think yon bet
ter reconsider?"
"You're the very salt or the
earth. The clnb is absolutely flat
without your presence. You see.
we only agreed with Billy to sus
tain him. He's a cripple. He can't
stand alone.
It was just the sort of pamper
ing to mollify unreasonable hot
temper. ' Porter was always
ready to smooth us down. He was
always ready to bear our griev
ances. His own troubles he bore
alone. '
Whenever he did reveal his
thought It was by an accidental
out-cropping In a lightsome talk.
He and Louisa used to indulge in
long discussions on astronomy and
evolution. Porter was facetious.
Louisa serious and very scientific.
Louisa would be mixing up a
gravy or a sauce.
"You're something of a little
creator in the culinary line, Lou
isa," Porter would say. "What do
you suppose were the Ingredients
used in the creation of the
Porter Talks of
lnUmrd Tiger.
Louisa's attention was instant.
He wonld talk about protoplasm
and the gradual accommodation of
living organism to environment.
"Tut. tut." Porter would mock.
"I hold fast to the Biblical story.
What else should men be made of
but a handful of mud? The Crea
tor was right, men are but dirt.
Take Ira Maralatt. for Instance."
A queer, yellowish pallor spread
over Bill's face. I knew that the
name had slipped from Porter's
lip3 unconsciously
"Colonel, it is a ghastly thing
to cce a man degraded into a
beast like Maralatt." he said.
"Last night they beat him to
strips again. I had to go down
to the basement to sponge him
off. , I tell you it would take a
floor mop to do the Job right
he is such a giant."
It was the first time I had ever
heard Porter speak of Maralatt.
the prison 'lemon, yet he had
perhaps io sponge him oft two
or three times a week. ( Maralatt
was the untamed tiger of tho
"Etir." He was the prison horror.
He had attacked and stabbed a
dozen guards.
Terrific Screams
Indicate Murder.
For fourteen years he had been
in solitary, practically buried
alive in the black hole In the
basement without a bed, without
blankets, without light.'
When the guards would at
tempt to clean out the cell Ira
would spring at them. They
would overpower him, beat him
and hang him up by the wrists.
Still he was unsubdued. He kept
the prison la Incurring spasms of
No one knew who wonld be his
next victim. He was as ferocious
as a mad bulL
I had never seen him. Porter's
exclamation filled me with curi
osity. I went over the next eve
ning to ask him about Maralatt.
we were standing In one of the
wards just above the nunishm'ent
A sudden wild, terrific screwn
tortured and agonized, split th
air. There was a frenzif imr.
fie. a booming thud, and a guard's
voice snniied out in fraatle ter-ror.
Porter'a tranquil face antrer.
ea. "Maralatt." ha whiiur
.Muraer at last!"
: ' ictor ; Reeords y
- What- could be more appropriate to gweour: friends
Jytho have a Vietrola? 7 B ; ;r
'y 74436 Adeste Fideles (Chorus and Chimes) John ftcCor-"
mack.: ;
45145 Silent Hight, Holy Night Trinity Choir.
Holy; Night Lucy Marsh.
64913 When You and I Were Young John McCormack.
87305 Vieni SuT Mar Enrico Caruso.
88614 Oh Thou That Tellest Good Tidings Louise Homer.
. .1- . . . ' j . i . ;
74628 Prelude in G Minor (Piano) Rachmaninoff.
74626 Introduction and Tarantelle (Violin) Heifetz.
74594 Oh. Tors e Lui (Traviata) Galli Curci.
35413 Grms from Robin Hood Part 1 and 2-Victor Opera
. ( -: . Chorus. . -j : ' ; '
88093 Leggiero Invisible ( Bolero) Schuman Heink.
The next mornlnr excttemet
shot like a flash rrom rM to
face.' A big secret was ont Mra-
lait nad nearly strangled a guard
me nigni Defore. He vii tn be
moved from his dungeon in soli
tary to a steel cage built In solid
stone at the end of the east cor
For months they had been
building the cage. It was a evok
ing thing, made as if to house
some ferocious jungle 4east. It
opened into a niche in the stons
about four by eight feet. In the
niche Ira was to sleep.
we got the tin from the war
den 8 orrtce. I had been sent on
message across the campus.
came into the alley-like corridor.
passing a few gnards. A look of
nven terror held them staring and
silent. Their frightened eyes
were fastened on the door that
led to the solitary cells.
The door sprang open, and
spectacle to freeze the heart with
its terrific and grisly horror was
before us. I saw the prison de
mon. HuiK-sbonidered, gigantic
lurched forward, he towerea
above the dozen guards like
huge, ferocious gorilla-man. 1
could see his face. The half was
matted about him the clothing
torn in ragged strips.
( The guards stood at a distance,
pushing him forward with long
poles. They stood on either side.
The demon could not escape. At
the ends of the poles were strong
iron hooks, fastened into his flesh
a,nd af the guards pushed the
hooks jagged into the prisoner's
bones. He was compelled to walk.
On his foot was the monstrous
Oregon boot Every step must
have been an agony. There was
no sound from the prison demon
Across the grass to the new-made
dungeon in the old A and I) bloc a
the hellish procession took its
way. Ira Maralatt was riveted to
his steel cage and a sign. "Prison
Demon." pasted above the grat
The prison demon became an
attraction at the penitentiary.
His fame had spread over the
city almost over the state. He
was known as the brute man
the hell fiend. Visitors wanted
a sight of him. The old warden
saw a chance to turn a penny.
For 25 cents citizens were taken
down the east corridor, and al
lowed to start at the degraded
thing that had once been a man.
Prisoner Tries
To Dodge Gazers.
Ira was not always 'a willing
party to. the bargain. He had a
mean habit of crouching down in
the far corner ot his black cage
and cheating the visitors of their
money's worth. One day a dis
tinguished citizen stood in the
alley half an hour waiting for the
demon to exhibit himself. Threats
and prods from the guards were
fruitless. The matter was report
ed to the warden. Incensed and
blustering, he came running down
the corridor.
"Open the door." he called to
me of the guards. No one moved.
They did not dare obey the reck
less order. .
"Open th door." Coffin yelled,
snatching the club from one of
the guards. He sprang into the
cage, the club raised, rushing
furiously toward the crouching
giant In tha corner,
"Come out. you fiend!" he
bawled. The demon reared,
hurled himself upright and lung
ed with the violence of a raglns
Colosus against the warden. The
sudden mad impact bowled the
warden over.
Ira snatched the club and flung
It forth for a crashing blow on
Coffin's head. Two guards dash
ed Into the case, caught Ira by
the feet and sent him thundering
backward against the wall.
rThe visitor got his 25 cents
worth that day.
The warden's escape was little
short of a miracle. It taught him
a lesson. He dtvlred a safer
scheme for bringing Maralatt out
of his wretched hole. From a
window in the inner 'hail he had
a hose attached to the cage. It
would send down a storming cur
rent of Ire cold watr that would
cut the flesh of the cowering de
Ira wonld come roaring like an
Infuriated lion to the bars of the
cage. He would grab the steel In
his mighty hands, shaking it. and
filling tbo alley with wild, maniac
This practice continued two or
three months. The new warden
came in, took down the sign from
Ira s cage and prevented the
shameful exhibits.
Th9 sequel io Ira's tragic his
tory camq many months later.
after I had teen appointed pri
vate secrstary" to Warden V. N.
Darby. Darby had a kind, mag
niricent sympathy in his enthu
siastic nature. He had an eager
ear for suggestions, even from the
meanest convict. A chance Inci
dent opened the dark book of Ira
Maralatt's ghastly life.
One evening I was walking
down the east corridor on my way
to the asylum. I had taken an
apple from the warden's table
where I ate. I was bringing the
fruit to a poor fellow in the pris
on "Doghouse. He had lost his
mind and his eyesight In the hoe
polishing shop. The hoes were
polished on emery wheels.
Millions of steel particles dart
ed about, often puncturing the
convicts in the face and neck.
The sparks had gotten this poor
devil in the forehead and eyes.
used to bring him an extra bit I
to eat. !
As I passed the prison demon's
cage I caught a glimpse of a hag
gard face at the low opening into
the stone cell. Like a dumb, pa
thetic apparition, wretched and
uncertain, the lumbermg figure
groped from corner to corner. The
red. sunken eyes seemed to be
burning deep Into the smeared and
pallid cheeks.
One hand that was but a mam
moth yellow claw waa pressed
against the rough mat of black
hair. More like a hurt and brok-.
en Samson than like a bell fiend.
Ira Maralatt looked as his eye
met mine In startled fear.
Something In the defenseless
misery of his glance held me. I
ran back to hi cage, took the
apple from my pocket, pressed It
through the bars, rolling It over
to Maralatt. He drew back. I
called to him.
"There's an apple for yon. Ira."
He made no answer. I stepped
into a shadow in the corridor and
In a moment I saw the huge
creature creeping stealthily for
ward on his bands and kneea. The
great yellow claw reached out.
the broken cuir and link on nis
arm clanked on the cement. The
chain wit Imbedded into his wrist
and the fleh bulged out over It.
The hand closed over the apple.
The demon leaped
fConlaued Nit
o n rm
It attracts thoscwho arc thoughtful
about the quality of the thincs
they use, but &!io also keep a
can-f::1 rye on their spending and
Th ttr mfl(t H aruoI)y hah
Marlon and Polk County Distributors
Ferry and Commercial Sis. Salem. Oregon
The Removal
from The Salem Bank of Commerce Bldg.
to our
on the corner of
Trade and High Streets
Watch paper for announcement
of Our Opening
C I'
.... ,
t 'I