The Library Company of Philadelphia has wireless. Yay!
I love short morality fiction about real events.
Take, for example, take the plight of Cromwell Hicks, who in this story was just recently expelled from Yale for a few petty jokes -- abducting a prof's daughter in the dead of night and planting explosives in one of the academic halls....
What does he to do in that kind of situation? Kill blacks and kidnap women of course. But first, he robs the bank owned by his dad.
Oh well. He was an illegitimate child anyway.
Where was the legitimate child that his mother had hidden from her husband? In Eastern State Penitentiary of course. And yes, his real (and rich) father had put him in jail for trying to pass counterfeit money. And no, he didn't know he had a son at the time. Well, he thought Cromwell was his son, but he was wrong.
Oh, it all works out in the end. Everyone dies -- almost. The wronged, legitimate son survives in his attempt to rescue his "sister" (they were raised together, but didn't know they weren't biological siblings) from the flames of the riot where she was imprisoned by the illegitimate son.
One presumes that they married and lived happily ever after.
Like I said, gotta love good ol' 19th century literature.
As I was reading, Phil Lapansky, research librarian here at the Library Company, peeked over my shoulder, got excited, and handed me a bookled he has compiled on George Lippard, the author of this story. It turns out that Lippard published this book under a number of titles -- I'm currently sitting in front of two of them.
Lapansky has actually photocopied all editions and done a textual criticism with a detailed annotation of all revisions between editions...
One final thing. I hereby resolve never to name any character "Mr. Snick"