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MALLOCK W.
In an enchanted island
page 167

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seen was guilty. He consulted a scrap of paper posted against the wall with the prisoner's name and offence on it, and placidly said, ' Murder.' We passed on, and I now began to realise that half of these cells, which I had thought empty, were tenanted ; and we were constantly invited to pause before this one or that one, exactly as if we were being taken round a menagerie. Some of the forms within looked hardened and desperate enough, and there was a certain grim satisfaction in seeing that the iron had closed on them ; but for the most part it seemed to me, as I glanced reluctantly into the shadow, that their aspect betokened a humble, lamentable resignation, as if some weight had fallen on them, they knew not how nor whence, and they could only bear it with the amazement of dumb animals. At these poor creatures I was unable to look steadily. One instinctively turned away from them with the reverence due to sorrow. And yet from time to time I could not help enquiring what this man or what that man had done to bring him here. I could hardly believe my ears when my questions, one after the other, with a sinister sameness, met with the answer, ' Murder.' Here and there was somebody who had only robbed with violence ; in one cell was a forger, and in another was a veteran pirate ; but murder seemed to preponderate over every other crime. I expressed my surprise at this to the sergeant, an intelligent Englishman. He answered, shrugging his shoulders, Ί saw you, sir, stop just now to look at a 164 IN AN ENCHANTED ISLAND

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