The Henry More Smith who stepped off the boat in Windsor, Nova Scotia bore no resemblance to the wretched prisoner who had spent the previous year in Kingston Jail. He had tossed off the mad man pose as easily as his prison garb.
Unrepentant, he took up his old trade quickly replacing the belongings he’d left behind by lifting from homes and Inns in the area. Along the way, he also gathered up watches, jewellery and silverware. Perhaps prompted by the fact that there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest in Nova Scotia, Henry spent only a short time there before boarding a ship for Eastport, Maine.
Records show that for the next 2 decades in the U.S., Henry continued as before. There were countless stories of a mysterious stranger who charmed his hosts and then disappeared abruptly with their valuables. There were also a string of arrests followed by the inevitable, astounding escapes. During some longer stays in jail, Henry even went back into puppet production.
Henry did eventually return to Canada some 20 years later. The last record of him was on August 4, 1835 when, charged with burglary, he was imprisoned in a Toronto jail.
By today’s standards, Henry would be called a petty thief. He was a cheat and a liar with no sense of loyalty. But he was also a charming and witty man of astounding talent and ingenuity. There is no record of a single act of kindness on his part, yet neither is there recorded any act of violence and it is perhaps the absence of this character trait that allows us to view him through the passage of time as a truly remarkable rogue.
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