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2 corrections, most recently by peter-macinnis - Show corrections

i ,Beh eind yPrison B r13 s. L BYuE-. OUTCAST. H C 'PARe IV. " This-building," resumed the indc fatiguable X----, lapsing into his t customary popular lecturer style; ." is, if I may coin a word, the purgatorial 1 initiatoritun of. Pentridge. Why I so term it, I will explain: " This prison you must know, con sists 'of three divisions, A, B and C, through. which every prisoner has to pass before his sentence is expired. The first is the one our consideration is now devoted to, the others will come in later on. This is the department where we 'break in' the new arrivals or 'fresh men' as we call them at school. Let us suppose a case. When any festive youth of Little Bourke street, overcome, perhaps, by copious libations at the shrine of Bacchus, winds up his revelry by 'stoushing a Chow,' or, if remonstrated with by a guardian of the peace, punctuates his arguments with a brick, he is promptly run in, tried, and sentenced to say, five, years. He is then sent out to   Pentridge in the 'Black Maria,' with     a little band of kindred souls, all chained together, and whiling away the tedium of the journey by defiantly warbling 'Home, sweet Home,' or ' A Bandit's life for Me,' in various sharps and flats. When they reach the prison   and are safely within its sheltering   fold, they are let gently down from the van, each dragging out his mate by   the handcuffed wrist, till they all stand   in a long line, when the officer in   charge unlocks their fetters, and after   their sentences (interlarded with   numerous references to 'twenty lashes'   and ' solitary') are again read to them,   a posse of warders appears and escorts   them to the dismal-looking domicile   we are now entering. It is here that our newly-fledged gaolbird begins his term of seclusion. Although he has been roughly trimmed up during his   a brief stay in the Melbourne gaol, he has yet to undergo a more extensive process in the way of toilet, &c. After having listened to a long list of prison   regulations, wherein he learns the cheering intelligence that if he attempts to escape, he will be promptly riddled with bullets, he is stripped of his   travelling outfit, searched and ran into a bath, where he is introduced to the   possible novelty of a thorough wash.   After this the liberal gentleman in   charge provides him with a new suit,   orders him a clean shave and hair cut,   takes his brands, collar-marks, &c., (in   case he bolts); then provides him   with a Bible, prayer and regulation   books, and stows him away in a nice little white-washed apartment, where he may sit in solemn silence for a few months, chewing the rag of remorse. While there he is modelled into that becoming condition ofsubservience, proper in.one who is now merely a numerical nonentity. By this process of modelling' the division gets its   official:name of 'The Model ' -a name which strikes wholesome awe into the hearts of the unruly, who dread it, as much as a certain gentleman is said to dread holy water. Before entering, please observe the notice above 'Visitors are requested to keep with the officer showing the prison. Com- munication with the prisoners strictly prohibited.' " Then we entered, and after passing down a long passage-our approach heralded by an invisible bell-we reached the interior. A high vaulted building, constructed in the form of the letter T, and 'resembling more than anything, a great cathedral with its arched windows, high stair-cases, brilliantly-polished steel railings, and over-powering ' catacomb-like silence coupled with a " dim religious light," pervading all. "How remarkably quiet it all is," I observed; " have you any prisoners here' at present ?" X smiled. " Rather ! " he said, "quiet as the place is, there 'are nearly one hundred ''and fifty men in these cells, each kept, separate' and working at various trades. Most of' them have been months' here without seeing or speaking to a soul but the warder in charge; They are securely locked ini, aiid oinly once in the twenty-four hours are they allowed out in a barred yard--each ,man by himself, there to exercise his stiffened limbs by walking up and down for one hoiir under the inevitable official eye of thie blue coated Argis watching him from the turret-window above. Let us, now see the cell of one of these men, who are out for exercise," and, suiting the action to the word he led us to one of the long row of cells in the wing im mediately facing us. Taking another breath, our long winded' penalogical' exponent led off again. " Here we have, gentlemen, a Ie sample of the cells throughout this division. Though I must confess that ydu could not swing the proverbial cat around it without inflicting cephalic contusions on the unfortunate feline, it is plenty big enough for all require ments, and in fact many of our old hands have, when starting a fresh sentence, given vent to a sigh of relief e as they were thrust into the cell, and - gratefully murmured, 'Ah, well, this is better than sleeping on the wharf in No. z boiler. Gimme dear old Pen tridge and its blankets and soup; the place where there ain't no traps to hunt yet round, and where a feller can get his bit o' chuck and a chew o' terbacker when he wants it." Yes, there are lots of men make gaol their home, and I can tell you we have a rare time of it sometimes, getting them out when their time is up. Many's - the time i've had to run a fellow down before Icould catch him in order to discharge him. Is it to be wondered E at when you see the various home comforts of such a cell as this facing you. Look at this neatly trimmed bed of half-a-dozen thick blankets and a rug. With his rolled up coat for a pillow and his pants spread under him as a - * hipper,' oqr convict is as snug and qs warn as they make'm, Though the deal table and stool are not suggestive of reckless prodigality in the matter of furniture, the gentle burglar makes the most of them, and by a little ingenuity he can make them do duty in various ways. He eats his dinner from the table, writes his letters on it, and after

1 boring holes up the legs, he hides his bit of ` toby' iii them, covers it up with a plug of chewed paper, and draws his daily toothful therefrom until the 'Rajah''(the overseer) or the warder comes along and pinches the plant. He is a cunning old joker, is the' Rajah,' and I knocks a lot of work out of the lazy beggars. Besides the luxuries you have already. noticed. observe also, that pile of books, (mostly works calculated to . bring about a pious, I-want-to-be-an-angel sort of feeling in the ungodly cut throat), above which you will see the polished gas-jet by which he reads till S p.m. Here is the bell-pull with I which the languid occupant, rings fdr t his uniformed valet when ordering 3 'brandy and sodah' to wash down the t the luncheon of salt-junk and 'spuds.' I Needless to say, the B-and-S never - comes, despite poor Fred Leslie's sug 5 gestions to the contrary."