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is no difficulty in finding them; they are well known to every police officer. The evil that they do is incalculable. In Glasgow at the present moment, within a stone's throw of each other, are two of these vile places of amusement."
Here, before the age of twelve, Jane Cameron had her first "sweetheart." John Ewan, or "Cannie Jock," as he was called, a professional thief, though only two or three years her senior, was the object of her passion. She was not twelve years of age when she thought herself a woman old enough to consider this lad her lover, one for whom she would go through fire or water, were the occasion necessary to stand by-in the face of all opposition from the mother in the New Vennel." In after-life, when he and she had been separated, she often wondered at this fascination, for even according to the thieves' standard he was undeserving-untrue to her, a sneak," and unskilled in his evil art. Yet so it was.
Her profession was, of course, now a settled point; and though occasionally her one good adviser-now that poor Mrs. Macvee had vanished-" a kindhearted detective," who saw and compassionated her among the polluted frequenters of the skeel," would take the trouble to warn Jane of the way she was drifting, she had plenty of counsellors the other way, who sought to confirm her in her dangerous choice, and sooth her apprehensions. "Prison's naething," said Mary Loggie, her close friend and contemporary, who had herself made a trial of it; "they take care of ye, and gie ye eno' to eat more than ye get at hame. There's naethin' to frighten ye a bit.' The Prison Matron records this encouragement offered to a trembling probationer in the school of crime, in no harsh spirit, and apparently without seeing its bearing upon a great question. Those, however, who are for making imprisonment a recreation will do well to lay this evidence of the tendency of the system to heart. Herlover was untrue to Jane, whose wild paroxysms of jealousy amaze one in a child of twelve. The Frazer lasses were the objects of his divided attentions, and to gain access to the "skeel,' when she learned that he and they were at that moment possibly dancing together, was the object with which her first theft
was committed. "Jane was desperate that night, and went into Highstreet like a young lioness, followed by the breathless Mary Loggie." After much debate the only resource available was to try her luck in a first essay at shop-lifting :
"Jane, full of the perfidy of her juvenile lover, and buoyed up with the hope of confronting him at the 'skeel,' went suddenly into the shop, and took her place at the side of the two women deep in the purchase of a few trifling articles. The shopkeeper glanced at Jane, and then resumed his attentions to the earlier arrivals. cheap goods that had been examined were within handy reach of Cameron: if he would only turn his face for a moment and forget them!' thought the child, with a heart which throbbed fearfully with the excitement of the first experiment. thought my heart would burst,' was her comment on this incident, I was sae afeard o' bein' foond oot-naethin' else. I didna think o' anythin' but my Johnnie dancing with the Frazers, and if I could only get at the ribbons or the gloves and mak' awa' wi' them! She forgot Mary Loggie's injunction to sweep something off the counter with her elbow; she was anxious to secure a roll of ribbon. It was narrow blue
ribbon with a silver edging-I can see it now,' was her remark. It was very handy to her grasp, if the shopkeeper's vigilance would only relax for an instant. And it did relax-the man turned aside, and Jane slid the ribbon off the counter, and stood holding it in her hand whilst trembling at
the boldness of the crime which she had committed.
what to do wi' it,' she related. 'I stood all "When I had got it, I did not ken stupid like, holding it in my hand behind me. If he had only looked at me, he would have guessed at ance that I had stolen
"But the man suspected nothing, and, before he had turned round, Jane felt the ribbon
taken softly from her hand by Mary Loggie. How to get out of the shop herself was now her perplexity. She stood revolving in her mind what to ask for-what it was possible to ask for which the man possessed not. When
he turned round she feared that he would
miss the little blue roll of ribbon and charge her with the theft, and her knees continued to knock together with fright. The suspense of waiting was too much for her, and she asked at last, whilst the man was speaking to his customers, if he had any gloves as low as three halfpence a pair; a wild question, which the man answered by a sharp no,' and left Jane with an excuse to retire. He looked along the counter again, missing not the ribbon, but drawing the other articles, with which it was strewn, nearer to him, as if by instinct, and Jane
crept slowly, painfully out of the shop, as though there were leaden weights at her heels. In the street she flew like a mad thing down the nearest close, and made her way towards the dancing school, expecting to meet Mary Loggie at the door thereof."
There is a curious and dramatic episode concerning this Mary Loggie, the companion, the tempter, and, in her strange way, the friend of Jane Cameron. It so happened that these two girls were alternately several times imprisoned, so that their close intimacy was a good deal interrupted. When Jane Cameron emerged upon one of these occasions she found that her friend Mary had disappeared from her accustomed haunts. Her family and friends took the matter easily. There was little curiosity and less interest about her. She had written to tell Jane, while in prison, that she had left her old ways and married a carpenter, and the letter seemed to intimate a sort of farewell. It seemed improbable, and Jane did not know whether to believe it. She could learn nothing of her from her former associates, and she had given up the idea of discovering anything more about her; when one morning, in the depth of winter, about four months after her discharge from prison, she met Mary Loggie, on Hutcheson's-bridge.
“Jane had strayed that way in a listless fashion. She had had a headache from deep drinking yesternight, and had ventured forth in search of fresh air, when she came face to face with the old friend. The old friend was well but plainly dressed, and there was so quiet and new a look upon her face, that Jane did not recognise her until she had passed her. When she had gone by, Jane felt a little aggrieved at the "cut direct," and turned and looked after her. Mary Loggie had increased her pace, as though she had been afraid of Jane following her; but Cameron merely stood on the pavement, and gazed at the receding figure of her whom she had liked best in the world. At this moment Mary Loggie looked over her shoulder, paused, and then turned and came rapidly back. "Jennie! "Mary!'
"Jennie shook the outstretched hand of the past friend, and continued to stare at the transformation before her.
"It's a' true then, Mary?'
"That I'm married? Ay!'
that ye dropped into luck's way like that,
Then Mary told the story, which is worth repeating.
time at Glasgow Prison, Mary Loggie had "Whilst Jane Cameron was serving her taken to cotton-spinning again-hands had been wanted. The trade of thieving had been slack, and Mary joined the mill hands. Here she became acquainted with a poor little factory-girl-a delicate child of ten or eleven years of age. This child fainted away one day in the mill, and after recovering from her stupor, was too ill to continue her work for the day. Mary acfaint, to her mother's house-whereat was companied the child, who was still very lodging at that period the carpenter who took a sudden fancy to Mary. The carpenter was out of work, and at home; and
a conversation ensued between him and
Mary before the latter went back to the mill. He was a middle-aged Englishman, who had recently crossed the Tweed in search of better fortune; and he had hoped in Glasgow to find some distant relatives, who, however, had contrived to elude his and might recollect some one of the name; search. Mary was a native of Glasgow, and Mary recollected one or two people in the city who bore the very name which he had been anxious to discover."
Next day the carpenter met her coming from the mill, whither he had gone to thank her for her information which had conducted him to a second-cousin, who promised in a week or two to find work for him.
"So the intimacy commenced, and Mr. Simmons, the carpenter, began to cross Mary Loggie's path with a suspicious frequency. Mary did not understand it for a while; he was a plain, matter-of-fact man, who paid no compliments, and put one or two awkward questions to Mary that were difficult to answer. One day he asked her where she was living-how she managed to live on the money earned at the cotton-mill. Mary told him that she went shares in one room down a close, and that she had no relations in the world. When he informed her that he was a widower, and had had one little child, who had died before it was five years old, Mary began to suspect that he had taken a fancy to her; and when he asked her one afternoon if she would go to church with him next Sunday, she felt ready to burst out crying, with a strange, new sense of happiness."
So they were married-he suspect ing nothing, she avoiding her "auld
"How did ye manage it? How was it acquaintance" with a sort of terror.
Mrs. Simmons née Loggie exhibited all her treasures of furniture-pots and pans, her best china tea-things, her Sunday gown, for "Kirk" and expatiated upon her comforts. The place was indeed, in cleanliness and dimensions, a palace compared Iwith the miserable den she had been accustomed to inhabit.
"It's na like the Vennel.' "Naethin' like it-naethin.' "Jane's description of this new 'hoose,' of her feelings at the sight of it, of the envy that stole into her heart and disturbed her equanimity; I should have liked to set down in her own broad Scotch accent. It affords an insight into that natural character which adverse circumstances had warped and disturbed.
"She felt as if she would have liked to have had a good cry at Mary's luck-then aggrieved that Mary should have attained to such an eminence above her, and been made an honest woman by doing so little to deserve it. There was a lump in her throat which she thought would suffocate her, and her knees knocked together in a strange manner that was altogether unaccountable. Here was a contrast between honesty and vice; and she felt how far she had drifted away from all that was good
and praiseworthy, and how past praying
and hoping for she was.
"Still Jane Cameron was not an envious girl; and the first pangs over, her evil temper subsided, and she congratulated Mary in her own fashion, and Mary, who had strangely altered for the better, laughed and cried, told Jane of her fears lest the truth should escape, and her husband turn her out of doors, spoke of her love for this confiding, hardworking, earnest man, whom she was trying to deserve by a new and exemplary life."
In the midst of these confidences, and poor Mary's display of her household treasures-
"Mr. Simmons came home ten minutes
before his time, and found a Glasgie lassie sitting on the edge of a chair, talking to his young wife.
"That's his step,' Mary had said 'My God, Jennie, sit ye still, and say naething, or it's a' up wi' me!'"
Terror lest her old friend should be ruined was now the only feeling in Jane Cameron's breast. She would have done or said anything to save her. "I felt," she said, while relating the adventure, "it was a narro squeak then, and my heart beat unco' fast."
"Mr. Simmons entered-a middle-aged man with a fierce expression of countenance, with iron-grey whiskers, and eyes that were very sharp and piercing—and looked hard at Jane Cameron, who rose, and in her embarrassment, dropped a courtesy-the courtesy which she had been accustomed to make in Glasgow prison to the governor, chaplain, head warder, matron, and all visitors.
"The carpenter stared at Jane's respectful demeanour, and then turned to his wife, who was standing by the mantelpiece looking as white as a ghost.
"This is Jennie Smith, who used to work wi' me at the cotton mill, John.'
"How do you do, Miss Smith ?' he said, nodding toward her. Sit down, my lassyou're welcome.""
Jane, however, notwithstanding the unsuspecting urgency of his invitation, got away as quickly as she could ; and at the door, Mary, who had followed her, and was still white with horrorat the jeopardy in which she stood, caught her by the arm, and said"Dinna coom again, Jennie; dinna ken me ony mair, or I shall gae mad. Dinna tell ane that ye hae met me today.'
A month after this, one Saturday the Bridge-gate when he met Jane night, Mr. Simmons was walking up Cameron face to face, and instantly recognised her. She was embarrassed, and at the moment was walking with one of her worst companions, Ann Ryan, who was dressed "Glasgie fashion" with a shawl over her head.
"About both girls there was something suspicious that evening-their hair was glossy with pomatum, their cheeks had a tinge of artificial colouring, and there was bly of the cruel life of the streets. a boldness in their looks telling unmistaka
"Mr Simmons stared at Jane, and then stopped, saying 'Jennie Smith!"
"Jane stammered out Mr. Simmons,' and asked for Mary.
arms; she begged him to hear her; she prayed him to believe that she loved him
'She's quite well. Where are you going very dearly, and had been living an upright
so late at night?'
666 Only a little way.'"
Ann Ryan, however, accosted him in a style perfectly in keeping with the appearance they both presented, and the carpenter's suspicions being now effectually aroused, he crossed the street, keeping them in view, and obtained from a policeman a true and astounding relation of Jennie Cameron's adventures, occupation, character, and name. He went home and cross-examined his horrified wife, but still keeping his worst suspicions in the background.
Piece by piece, he gathered, from others, the whole history of Jane Cameron-worse than that, the whole past history of Mary Loggie; and then he sought Cameron again, and asked her to come with him to see Mary. When they entered the room together poor Mary "dropped down in a chair by the fireside and stared at them."
"I never saw in my life before sic a luke as hers,' commented Jane Cameron long afterwards upon the scene.
"This woman's name is Cameron-let her deny it if she can now?' he said on entering.
"I dinna deny it,' said Jane defiantly. "And she was a bad character when you knew her, Mary, and you knew that too, and was a bad one yourself. There, that's the truth, and you can't say no to it.'
"Mary wrung her hands and looked piteously towards her husband. There was no sympathy with her alarm, and she turned on Jane like a fury.
"Ye hae doon this-ye hae told him a', ye jealous, wicked woman; ye hae turned against me, because ye could na bear ane to live honest, or be anythin' but the thief I was before I married him.'
"I hae said naething,' screamed Jane, anxious to put Mary on her guard against self-confession; I knew naething. I hae ony come hither 'cause he asked me, Mary.'
But I know all; don't let us have any lies,' said he roughly. After a while he turned to his wife, saying
"Mary, I took you for an honest girl, and married you. If I had known what you had been all your life-a thief, and worse -I would have blown my brains out first.
You led me to believe that you were a good girl, and made me play the fool and marry you. You've disgraced me, and you must go! "Oh! John, John, dinna say that!' Mary flung herself on her knees before him, and clasped his legs round with her
life ever since she had known him. She told her whole story between her choking sobs, and called God to witness how she had lived only for him, thought only of him since their marriage; how the secret of her guilty life had preyed upon her, because she feared to tell him the whole truth.
"You are in league with this girl still?' said Simmons in reply to this.
"Cameron took a fearful oath on the
spot, that they had only met once by chance had made her promise never to see her on Hutcheson's-bridge, and that Mary again. Cameron, in tears, too, moved by this scene as she had never before been
moved in her life, pleaded for the old friend until he bade her be silent-he did not want to hear her speak again.
"Mary Loggie continued to plead like one whose life was at stake. She had had a glimpse of a new existence, and fought
hard not to be hurled back to the old; she swore to be always true and faithful to him, and keep away from such as Jane for ever; she lay on the floor at last and moaned for mercy at his feet. The fate of Mary's future trembled in the balance, but the man had a generous heart, and was moved by his wife's pleading. He was a poor man, with not over-refined feelings, and she had been a help, even a comfort to him. Before the discovery they had lived very happily together, and it did seem hard to cast her When he was con
back to the streets. vinced that Mary had wished to keep away from all who belonged to the past, he softened, and at last he told her to get up and give over crying-he would not say any more about it--he would try her.
"You can go as soon as you like,' he said to Cameron, and Jane went down stairs wondrously relieved in mind to know that it had all ended satisfactorily.
"So the romance ended; and it is to be trusted that Mary made Simmons a good wife. Jane believed that she did; acting on her belief, I think so too. Jane saw her again once or twice in the Glasgow streets, but Mary had always turned her head away when they met and hurried past for her life.
was clever as a burglar, and he was inimitable as a garotter. He had broken out of gaol twice, and this feat of prison-breaking was the nimbus of glory round his head." Black Barney, his appellation in these pages, was a lady's inan, and his wooing is worth recording. He had, no doubt, excellent reasons for his quitting London just then, and to these, be they what they might, the profession in the provinces owed the privilege of beholding the "star"“Barney was a man of sudden fancies, even eccentric tastes. Though there were many prettier girls in the room, he devoted himself to Jane Cameron, till some jokes, more forcible than select, at his preference showered upon him from all sides. Still Barney loved a jest, and was not to be laughed out of his preference, and Jane was
elated at her victory, and took no heed of invidious comments. The lion of the night was a low-browed, villanous fellow, short, thick-set, and with one shoulder higher than the other; but he was the clever thief who had made money, and been more than commonly successful; and that we are valued according to our success rather than our merit, a writer of old days has observed very satirically, but very truthfully.
Therefore Jane Cameron may be said to
have fallen in love with this successful
scoundrel. He singled her out and flattered
her, and Jane's head was turned on the instant. She felt that she could go through
fire and water, even die for him, if need
If she were lucky enough to secure him for a companion she would consider herself the happiest woman in the world -happier than even Mary Loggie, who had so fine a home of her own! She did her best to captivate this hero; she was a quick-witted girl, with a certain amount of humour; she had a good voice, she could dance well, she was young and rather pretty, and the "lion," Barney, was smitten by the Scotch lassie.
66 Matches between thieves
struck up, and generally known. Barney's choice was avowed, and Barney's choice respected from that time forth."
With this man Jane consorted until their joint perpetration of the crime for which she was tried, and received her last sentence, separated them finally. Together they effected, in a sort of masquerade in a railway train, a robbery which placed them in possession of a gold watch and chain, and more than a hundred pounds in banknotes and gold. With this they re
solved on "a holiday," and away they went, as lady and gentleman, to London, where they lived like princes, and visited a different theatre every night; but, determined to enjoy themselves thoroughly, never once attempted a stroke of "business" during this frolic, which, however, terminated in a ludicrous way, by Black Barney's pocket being picked by a clever brother of the craft of every farthing of their store. He, however, was expert and shifty, and repaired his loss by the exercise of his profession, sufficiently to enable them to return to Glasgow, wherein their room, to which Jane inveigled an unwary sea captain—was committed by her partner that "robbery with violence," which very nearly amounted to murder; and which consigned her for many years to penal servitude. In estimating Jane's character, however, it must be borne in mind, that she was as much horrorstricken, probably, as the victim himself, when Black Barney, declining to rely on the effect of the drug which had half "dazed" him, felled him to the earth with a night protector, and repeated his blow as he lay there.
The account of this poor woman's love of her dying baby, for she had one in her precocious girlhood; of her devotion to the Prison Matron, who had spoken kindly to her; of her wild, tender, and most grateful and affectionate nature; of her strange but inflexible honesty; her pride, daring, and good-nature; her struggles against her habits, and ultimate establishment in an honest with the Matron, who had been her way of life; her agonized parting first real friend; and her early death, not a break-up, but a gradual subsidence of the vital powers, in a strange land, but among kind and Christian people, complete one of the most singular and touching pictures of human nature, strength and weakness, sorrow and hope, which has yet been studied by the psychologist and the moralist. The book gives us at once higher and lower notions of the class from which Jane Cameron was taken, and is on the whole one of the most peculiar and powerful we have ever happened to light upon.