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Modern Persecution, or Insane Asylums Unveiled
As I have before stated, orders were expressly given on my removal to the eighth ward, that I be not allowed to go out of it at all except to chapel service.
These orders were strictly enforced for about five months, when orders were received that I might be allowed to ride and walk out with the patients.
I have reason to think myself indebted to Miss Lynch for this privilege, as she was the first who bore to me the message in these words:
"Mrs. Packard, the Doctor has given me permission to take you to ride to-day in company with his daughter Hattie."
Availing myself of this privilege, I took with me the only capital I owned in the whole world, viz. -- a silver dime -- which Dr. McFarland had given me, and which by an unac-countable combination of circumstances, he supposed was justly my due, determining if possible to invest this capital in paper -- now the great want of my existence.
At my request, Miss Lynch left me at Dr. Shirley's office, to get some unfinished work done on my teeth, while she and Hattie rode off.
While they were gone I took occasion to step out to make my investment. But recollecting that five months before, in settling up my account at the "Philadelphia Store," I found myself indebted five cents above what I was able to pay, and accordingly asked Mr. Woodman to trust me for it, assuring him I should pay him the first opportunity. He however gallantly replied, "it is of no consequence, you are welcome to it."
But as I felt bound, in honor to fulfill my promise, I went directly to this store, and after stating the circumstances, offered my dime to meet my obligation, secretly praying how-ever, that he would still insist upon it that it was of "no consequence" to him, for it was of great value to me -- half my fortune!
But in this I was disappointed, for it was now his clerk with whom I was doing my business instead of the kind Mr. Woodman, the owner. So after searching his money drawer over in vain to find the five cents my due, he left me alone in the store long enough to steal half his goods had I been so disposed, and went to the bank to get my dime changed, and thus obtained my five cents.
But having no paper, as I had before offered to take it in paper, I hastened to the nearest bookstore, where I bought five cents worth of damaged foolscap, which amounted to eight sheets!
Overjoyed at the success of my investment, being three ex-tra sheets above the current price, I, with the lightest heart and quickest step possible, returned to Dr. Shirley's office, lest Mary get there before me.
But alas! the tardy bank was so long in changing my dime, that she drove up to the door just as I returned to be thus caught! But by carefully concealing my long roll of foolscap under my shawl as best I could, I thought I had satisfied her inquiry as to where I had been, by telling her I had been to the Philadelphia Store to pay a debt.
But alas! the long roll of foolscap would so protrude itself against my shawl as to lead her to suspect I had not told the whole truth in reporting myself. However she did not express these thoughts to me until that evening when just before chapel, she came to me with this question:
"Mrs. Packard, did you get any paper when I took you to ride to day?"
"Why do you ask me that question, Mary?"
"Because I thought I saw something under your shawl which you seemed to try to conceal from me."
"What if I did? haven't I a right to carry things without your knowledge?"
"You have no right to carry paper without my knowledge, for the Doctor has expressly forbidden me to let you have a scrap of writing paper, and if you have used the privilege I granted you of riding out, by getting yourself paper, I must report you to the Doctor. Did you get paper, or did you not?"
"I did, Mary, get five cents' worth?"
"I must report you to the Doctor -- it is my duty."
"I am sorry, Mary, your conscience dictates such a course, still if it does, obey it, for I know you will favor me whenever you can conscientiously do so."
As she left the hall, I as quickly as possible, took the three extra sheets from my roll and hid them about my person, leav-ing the roll in the top of an old box which I was using as a trunk to keep my things in, with one dress simply covering the roll.
After chapel, when the ladies were nearly all locked up for the night in their rooms, the Doctor's steps were heard in our hall, and as he entered at one end, I left my room at the opposite end, and as we approached, each other we met at about the middle of the hall, when standing directly in front of me, he remarked, with his eye fixed most intently upon me:
"Mrs. Packard, did you get some paper when you went to ride with Miss Lynch, to-day?"
"Yes sir!" said I looking him also full in the eye.
"Will you give me the paper if I ask you for it?"
"No sir!" with emphasis, said I.
"Will you give it to me if I demand it of you?"
"No sir!" with greater emphasis.
For a moment we stood looking at each other in silent amazement, then he said: