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Grupo Miguel A. Figueroa

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Dam Swindle - Good Woman

A great example of using a slow original and speeding it up, but not noticeable. You would simply think it was sung by a woman instead of Leon Ware, a well-renowned male soul singer. Adding just the right amount of percussion to make every sound system grunt with pleasure.

Dam Swindle - Good Woman

When I got up to go, she went to the front steps with me, and at thelast yearning minute a warm tear had splashed on the back of my hand.At that I kissed her and told her not to worry another minute. Andthis brings me back to that other evening just twenty-four hours later;I in the bank, with the accusing account books spread out under theelectric light on the high desk, and old John Runnels, looking never awhit less the good-natured, easy-going town marshal in hisbrass-buttoned uniform and gilt-banded cap, stumbling over thethreshold as he let himself in at the side door which had been left onthe latch.

Afterward, when we were in the street together, and Runnels was walkingme around the square to the police station, the dead thing inside of mecame alive. It had gone to sleep a pretty decent young fellow, with asoft spot in his heart for his fellow men, and a boy's belief in theultimate goodness of all women. It awoke a raging devil. It was all Icould do to keep from throttling unsuspecting John Runnels as wetramped along side by side. I could have done it. I had inherited myfather's well-knit frame and serviceable muscles, and all through myoffice experience I had kept myself fit with long walks and a few bitsof home-made gymnastic apparatus in my room at Mrs. Thompson's. Andthe new-born devil was ready with the suggestion.

Out of the first twenty-four hours, when my little raft ofrespectability and good report was going to pieces under me, I havebrought one heart-mellowing recollection. In the morning it was oldJohn Runnels himself who brought me my cell breakfast, and he did it tospare me the shame of being served by the police-station turnkey. Pastthat, he sat on the edge of the iron cot and talked to me while I triedto eat.

There was more of it; a good bit more in which I stubbornly asserted myinnocence while Whitredge used every trick and wile known to his craftto entrap me into admitting that I was guilty, in the act if not in theintention.

Having lived in Glendale practically all my life, I had a good right toexpect that at least a few of my friends would rally to my support inthe time of trouble. They came, possibly a half-dozen of them in all,between Whitredge's visit and old John Runnels's bringing of my dinnerat one o'clock.

Later, when the reaction came, it is more than likely that I swung backto the other extreme, writing Agatha Geddis down in the book of bitterremembrances as a cold-blooded, plotting fiend in woman's form. Shewas not that. It may be said that, at this earlier period, she wasmerely a loosely bound fagot of evil potentialities. Doubtless thethreatened cataclysm appeared sufficiently terrifying to her, and shewas willing to use any means that might offer to avert it. But it maybe conceded, in bare justice, that in this stage of her development shewas nothing worse than a self-centered young egoist, immature, andstruggling, quite without malice, to make things come her way.

"We're going to ignore the question of your culpability for thepresent, Bert, and wrestle with the plain facts of the case," was theway he began on me. "From what you said this morning, I was led toinfer that you had some notion of trying to shift the responsibility toMr. Geddis. I won't say that something couldn't be done along thatline; not to do you any good, you understand, but to do other folks alot of harm. You could probably roil the water and stir up the mudpretty badly for all concerned. But in the outcome, and before a jury,you'd be likely to get the hot end of it. I'll be frank with you. IfI were in your shoes, I'd rather have Geddis for me than against me.He has money and influence, and you are a young man without either."

The town clock in the tower of the new city hall was striking elevenwhen good old John Runnels and the constable came for me. At the finalmoment I was telling myself feverishly that it would be of no use forme to try to bribe honest Sam Jorkins; that this was the fatal weaknessin my plan of escape. Hence, I could have shouted for joy when Runnelsunlocked the cell door and turned me over, not to Jorkins, but to astranger; a hard-faced man roughly dressed, and with the scar of aknife slash across his right cheek.

So, with the prisoner's counsel making no motion to the contrary, thetrial date stood, and shortly I found myself in the dock, with good oldJudge Haskins peering down at me over the top of his spectacles. Likemany of the older people in the county, the judge had known my fatherwell, and I am willing to believe that it was not easy for him to sitin judgment upon that father's son.

When the prosecution rested, Whitredge took up his line of defense. Hetried to show, rather lamely, I thought, that I had always lived withinmy means, hadn't been dissipated, and had never been known to bet,either on horse races or on the stock market; that whatever I had donehad been done without criminal intent. In this part of the trial I hada heart-warming surprise. The afternoon train from Glendale brought abig bunch of young people, and a good sprinkling of older ones, alleager to testify to my former good character. I saw then how unfair Ihad been in the bitterness of that first day. The shock of my arresthad simply dammed up the sympathy stream like a sudden frost; but nowthe reaction had come and I was not without friends. That littledemonstration went with me though many a long and weary day afterward.

Chandler said nothing about my attempt to escape until he came toaddress the jury. But then he drove the nail in good and hard. Thedeputy sheriff, Simmons, bruised and beaten, was shown to the jurors,and the prosecuting attorney made much of the fact that I had notstopped at a possible murder in shutting Simmons up in the bank vault.There was nothing said about the bribe to the other deputy who hadfigured as the hack driver; from which I inferred that the Irishman hadpocketed my money and held his peace.

"Brace up and be a man!" Whitredge leaned over to whisper in my ear;and then the good old judge, with his voice shaking a little,pronounced my sentence. Five years was the minimum for the offensewith which I stood charged. But a law recently passed gave the judgesa new power. Within the nominal period of five years my sentence wasmade indeterminate. The law was vindicated and I became a convict.

So it was this motive at first that made me jealous of my good-conductmarks; made me study the prison regulations and live up to them with arigidity that knew no lapses. I am not defending the motive; Icheerfully admit that it was unworthy. None the less, I owe itsomething: it sustained me and kept me sane and cool-headed at a timewhen, without some such stimulus, I might have lost my reason.

During the three years I received but one letter from home, and wrote butone. Almost as soon as my sentence period began I had a heart-brokenletter from my sister. She and my mother had returned from Canada, onlyto find me dead and buried to the world. I answered the letter, beggingher not to write again, or to expect me to write. It seemed a refinementof humiliation to have the home letters come addressed to me in a prison;and besides, I was like the sick man who turns his face to the wall,wishing neither to see nor to hear until the paroxysm has passed. I maysay here that both of these good women respected my wishes and my foolishscruples. They wrote no more; and, what was still harder for my mother,I think, they made no journeys half across the State on the prisonvisiting days.

It will be seen that I have cut the time down from the five-year limitimposed by my sentence; and so it was cut down in reality. After I hadbeen promoted to the work in the prison offices my life settled into amonotonous routine, with nothing eventful or disturbing to mark thepassing weeks and months; and by living strictly within the prisonrequirements, working faithfully, and never once earning even a reprimandfrom the kindly warden or his deputy, I was given the full benefit of my"good time," and at the end of the third year, with a prison-providedsuit on my back and five dollars of the State's money in my pocket, I wasparoled.

Having thus made my cast for fortune and secured the foothold, it took meless than a week to learn that I had made a capital mistake in choosing asmall town. Under that condition of my parole which required me toreport in my true character to the town marshal I assured myself that Imight as well have published my story in the county newspaper. Beforethe end of the week half of my customers on the delivery route werebeginning to look askance at me, and when the Saturday night came I wasdischarged. I knew perfectly well what was coming when the boss, abig-bodied, good-natured man who had made his money as a farmer and wasnow losing it as the town grocer, called me into his little box of anoffice at the back of the shop.

It was a splendid bit of kindness; and when I could swallow the lump itbrought into my throat I accepted joyfully. And as the disappearancewas planned, so it was carried out. In the dusk of the evening thegood old man drove me the ten miles across to the neighboring village,and after thanking him out of a full heart I boarded a train and beganmy wanderings afresh.

"I don't admit your right to say such things to me, Mr. Haddon," Iprotested, after the reproach had been well rubbed in. "I have givenyou good service for small pay, and there was no reason why I shouldhave furnished you with an autobiography when you didn't ask it. Inthe circumstances it seems that I am the one to be aggrieved, but I'llwaive the right to defend myself if you'll tell me where you got yourinformation."

The train was in and the conductor was waving his lantern. Whitleygrasped my hand and wrung it. "Be a man, and God bless you!" he saidin low tones. "And when the pinch comes again and you are tempted tothe limit, just remember that there is a fellow back here inSpringville who believes in you, and who will limp a little all therest of his days if you stumble and fall and refuse to get up.Good-night and good-by!" 041b061a72

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