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* a project Gutenberg of Australia eBook * - 100

unbelieving and hating crowd--he now drew nearer, at times so close
as to put one foot on the witness stand, or if not that to lean
forward and lay a hand on the arm of the chair in which Clyde sat.
And all the while saying, "Yay-uss--Yay-uss." "And then what?"
"And then?" And invariably at the strong and tonic or protective
sound of his voice Clyde stirring as with a bolstering force and
finding himself able, and without shaking or quavering, to tell
the short but straitened story of his youth.
"I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan. My parents were conducting
a mission there at that time and used to hold open air meetings. . ."

Chapter 24
Clyde's testimony proceeded to the point where the family had
removed from Quincy, Illinois (a place resorted to on account of
some Salvation Army work offered his father and mother), to Kansas
City, where from his twelfth to his fifteenth year he had browsed
about trying to find something to do while still resenting the
combination of school and religious work expected of him.
"Were you up with your classes in the public schools?"
"No, sir. We had moved too much."
"In what grade were you when you were twelve years old?"
"Well, I should have been in the seventh but I was only in the
sixth. That's why I didn't like it."
"And how about the religious work of your parents?"
"Well, it was all right--only I never did like going out nights on
the street corners."
And so on, through five-and-ten cent store, soda and newspaper
carrier jobs, until at last he was a bell-hop at the Green-
Davidson, the finest hotel in Kansas City, as he informed them.
"But now, Clyde," proceeded Jephson who, fearful lest Mason on the
cross-examination and in connection with Clyde's credibility as a
witness should delve into the matter of the wrecked car and the
slain child in Kansas City and so mar the effect of the story he
was now about to tell, was determined to be beforehand in this.
Decidedly, by questioning him properly he could explain and soften
all that, whereas if left to Mason it could be tortured into
something exceedingly dark indeed. And so now he continued:
"And how long did you work there?"
"A little over a year."
"And why did you leave?"
"Well, it was on account of an accident."
"What kind of an accident?"
And here Clyde, previously prepared and drilled as to all this
plunged into the details which led up to and included the death of
the little girl and his flight--which Mason, true enough, had been
intending to bring up. But, now, as he listened to all this, he
merely shook his head and grunted ironically, "He'd better go into
all that," he commented. And Jephson, sensing the import of what
he was doing--how most likely he was, as he would have phrased it,
"spiking" one of Mr. Mason's best guns, continued with:
"How old were you then, Clyde, did you say?"
"Between seventeen and eighteen."
"And do you mean to tell me," he continued, after he had finished
with all of the questions he could think of in connection with all
this, "that you didn't know that you might have gone back there,
since you were not the one who took the car, and after explaining
it all, been paroled in the custody of your parents?"
"Object!" shouted Mason. "There's no evidence here to show that he
could have returned to Kansas City and been paroled in the custody
of his parents."
"Objection sustained!" boomed the judge from his high throne. "The
defense will please confine itself a little more closely to the
letter of the testimony."
"Exception," noted Belknap, from his seat.
"No, sir. I didn't know that," replied Clyde, just the same.
"Anyhow was that the reason after you got away that you changed
your name to Tenet as you told me?" continued Jephson.
"Yes, sir."
"By the way, just where did you get that name of Tenet, Clyde?"
"It was the name of a boy I used to play with in Quincy."
"Was he a good boy?"
"Object!" called Mason, from his chair. "Incompetent, immaterial,
"Oh, he might have associated with a good boy in spite of what you
would like to have the jury believe, and in that sense it is very
relevant," sneered Jephson.
"Objection sustained!" boomed Justice Oberwaltzer.
"But didn't it occur to you at the time that he might object or
that you might be doing him an injustice in using his name to cover
the identity of a fellow who was running away?"
"No, sir--I thought there were lots of Tenets."
An indulgent smile might have been expected at this point, but so
antagonistic and bitter was the general public toward Clyde that
such levity was out of the question in this courtroom.
"Now listen, Clyde," continued Jephson, having, as he had just
seen, failed to soften the mood of the throng, "you cared for your
mother, did you?--or didn't you?"
Objection and argument finally ending in the question being
"Yes, sir, certainly I cared for her," replied Clyde--but after a
slight hesitancy which was noticeable--a tightening of the throat
and a swelling and sinking of the chest as he exhaled and inhaled.
"Yes, sir--much." He didn't venture to look at any one now.
"Hadn't she always done as much as she could for you, in her way?"
"Yes, sir."
"Well, then, Clyde, how was it, after all that, and even though
that dreadful accident had occurred, you could run away and stay
away so long without so much as one word to tell her that you were
by no means as guilty as you seemed and that she shouldn't worry
because you were working and trying to be a good boy again?"
"But I did write her--only I didn't sign my name."
"I see. Anything else?"
"Yes, sir. I sent her a little money. Ten dollars once."
"But you didn't think of going back at all?"
"No, sir. I was afraid that if I went back they might arrest me."
"In other words," and here Jephson emphasized this with great
clearness, "you were a moral and mental coward, as Mr. Belknap, my
colleague, said."
"I object to this interpretation of this defendant's testimony for
the benefit of the jury!" interrupted Mason.
"This defendant's testimony really needs no interpretation. It is
very plain and honest, as any one can see," quickly interjected
"Objection sustained!" called the judge. "Proceed. Proceed."
"And it was because you were a moral and mental coward as I see it,
Clyde--not that I am condemning you for anything that you cannot
help. (After all, you didn't make yourself, did you?)"
But this was too much, and the judge here cautioned him to use more
discretion in framing his future questions.
"Then you went about in Alton, Peoria, Bloomington, Milwaukee, and
Chicago--hiding away in small rooms in back streets and working as
a dishwasher or soda fountain man, or a driver, and changing your
name to Tenet when you really might have gone back to Kansas City
and resumed your old place?" continued Jephson.
"I object! I object!" yelled Mason. "There is no evidence here to
show that he could have gone there and resumed his old place."
"Objection sustained," ruled Oberwaltzer, although at the time in
Jephson's pocket was a letter from Francis X. Squires, formerly
captain of the bell-hops of the Green-Davidson at the time Clyde
was there, in which he explained that apart from the one incident
in connection with the purloined automobile, he knew nothing
derogatory to Clyde; and that always previously, he had found him
prompt, honest, willing, alert and well-mannered. Also that at the
time the accident occurred, he himself had been satisfied that
Clyde could have been little else than one of those led and that if
he had returned and properly explained matters he would have been
reinstated. It was irrelevant.
Thereafter followed Clyde's story of how, having fled from the
difficulties threatening him in Kansas City and having wandered
here and there for two years, he had finally obtained a place in
Chicago as a driver and later as a bell-boy at the Union League,
and also how while still employed at the first of these places he
had written his mother and later at her request was about to write
his uncle, when, accidentally meeting him at the Union League, he
was invited by him to come to Lycurgus. And thereupon, in their
natural order, followed all of the details, of how he had gone to
work, been promoted and instructed by his cousin and the foreman as
to the various rules, and then later how he had met Roberta and
still later Miss X. But in between came all the details as to how
and why he had courted Roberta Alden, and how and why, having once
secured her love he felt and thought himself content--but how the
arrival of Miss X, and her overpowering fascination for him, had
served completely to change all his notions in regard to Roberta,
and although he still admired her, caused him to feel that never
again as before could he desire to marry her.
But Jephson, anxious to divert the attention of the jury from the
fact that Clyde was so very fickle--a fact too trying to be so
speedily introduced into the case--at once interposed with:
"Clyde! You really loved Roberta Alden at first, didn't you?"
"Yes, sir."
"Well, then, you must have known, or at least you gathered from her
actions, from the first, didn't you, that she was a perfectly good
and innocent and religious girl."
"Yes, sir, that's how I felt about her," replied Clyde, repeating
what he had been told to say.
"Well, then, just roughly now, without going into detail, do you
suppose you could explain to yourself and this jury how and why and
where and when those changes came about which led to that
relationship which we all of us" (and here he looked boldly and
wisely and coldly out over the audience and then afterwards upon
the jurors) "deplore. How was it, if you thought so highly of her
at first that you could so soon afterwards descend to this evil
relationship? Didn't you know that all men, and all women also,
view it as wrong, and outside of marriage unforgivable--a statutory
The boldness and ironic sting of this was sufficient to cause at
first a hush, later a slight nervous tremor on the part of the
audience which, Mason as well as Justice Oberwaltzer noting, caused
both to frown apprehensively. Why, this brazen young cynic! How
dared he, via innuendo and in the guise of serious questioning,
intrude such a thought as this, which by implication at least
picked at the very foundations of society--religious and moral!
At the same time there he was, standing boldly and leoninely, the
while Clyde replied:
"Yes, sir, I suppose I did--certainly--but I didn't try to seduce
her at first or at any time, really. I was in love with her."
"You were in love with her?"
"Yes, sir."
"Very much?"
"Very much."
"And was she as much in love with you at that time?"
"Yes, sir, she was."
"From the very first?"
"From the very first."
"She told you so?"
"Yes, sir."
"At the time she left the Newtons--you have heard all the testimony
here in regard to that--did you induce or seek to induce her in any
way, by any trick or agreement, to leave there?"
"No, sir, I didn't. She wanted to leave there of her own accord.
She wanted me to help her find a place."
"She wanted you to help her find a place?"
"Yes, sir."
"And just why?"
"Because she didn't know the city very well and she thought maybe I
could tell her where there was a nice room she could get--one that
she could afford."
"And did you tell her about the room she took at the Gilpins'?"
"No, sir, I didn't. I never told her about any room. She found it
herself." (This was the exact answer he had memorized.)
"But why didn't you help her?"
"Because I was busy, days and most evenings. And besides I thought
she knew better what she wanted than I did--the kind of people and
"Did you personally ever see the Gilpin place before she went
"No, sir."
"Ever have any discussion with her before she moved there as to
the kind of a room she was to take--its position as regards to
entrance, exit, privacy, or anything of that sort?"
"No, sir, I never did."
"Never insisted, for instance, that she take a certain type of room
which you could slip in and out of at night or by day without being
"I never did. Besides, no one could very well slip in or out of
that house without being seen."
"And why not?"
"Because the door to her room was right next to the door to the
general front entrance where everybody went in and out and anybody
that was around could see." That was another answer he had
"But you slipped in and out, didn't you?"
"Well, yes, sir--that is, we both decided from the first that the
less we were seen together anywhere, the better."
"On account of that factory rule?"
"Yes, sir--on account of that factory rule."
And then the story of his various difficulties with Roberta, due to
Miss X coming into his life.
"Now, Clyde, we will have to go into the matter of this Miss X a
little. Because of an agreement between the defense and the
prosecution which you gentlemen of the jury fully understand, we
can only touch on this incidentally, since it all concerns an
entirely innocent person whose real name can be of no service here
anyhow. But some of the facts must be touched upon, although we
will deal with them as light as possible, as much for the sake of
the innocent living as the worthy dead. And I am sure Miss Alden
would have it so if she were alive. But now in regard to Miss X,"
he continued, turning to Clyde, "it is already agreed by both sides
that you met her in Lycurgus some time in November or December of
last year. That is correct, is it not?"
"Yes, sir, that is correct," replied Clyde, sadly.
"And that at once you fell very much in love with her?"
"Yes, sir. That's true."
"She was rich?"
"Yes, sir."
"I believe it is admitted by all that she is," he said to the court
in general without requiring or anticipating a reply from Clyde,
yet the latter, so thoroughly drilled had he been, now replied:
"Yes, sir."
"Had you two--yourself and Miss Alden, I mean--at that time when
you first met Miss X already established that illicit relationship
referred to?"
"Yes, sir."
"Well, now, in view of all that--but no, one moment, there is
something else I want to ask you first--now, let me see--at the
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