A stout healthy woman, named Mary Norris
was continually taken up as a vagrant, or committed for petty larceny.
As soon as she was discharged from the penalty of one misdemeanor, she was committed for another.
One day, Friend Hopper
, who was then inspector, said to her, ‘Well, Mary, thy time is cut next week.
Dost thou think thou shalt come back again?’
‘Yes,’ she replied sullenly.
‘Dost thou like
to come back?’
‘No, to be sure I don't,’ rejoined the prisoner.
‘But I've no doubt I shall
come back before the month is out.’
‘Why dost thou not make a resolution to behave better?’
said the kindly inspector.
‘What use would it be?’
‘You would n't take me into your family.
The doctor would n't take me into his family.
No respectable person would have anything to do with me. My associates must
be such acquaintances as I make here.
If they steal, I am taken up for it; no matter whether I am guilty or not. I am an old convict, and nobody believes what I say. O, yes, I shall come back again.
To be sure I shall come back,’ she repeated bitterly.
Her voice and manner excited Friend Hopper