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The Story of the Lunar Rogue

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Henry More Smith seemed quietly resigned to his imprisonment and willingly allowed his shackles and chains to be checked frequently. On the twelfth day, however, a Mrs. Perkins announced to the Sheriff that she had heard a sound like filing coming from the jail during the night and feared the prisoner was trying to escape. Knowing Henry was chained in such a way that he couldn’t reach the double grated window by 5 or 6 feet, the Sheriff told Mrs. Perkins that although it was unlikely the sound came from the jail, he would investigate.

The Sheriff found Henry chained and lying on his bunk as usual and, at first, all seemed in order. A closer examination, however, revealed that one bar in the inner grate was cut through so cleanly, top and bottom, that it could be removed and replaced with ease and that a bar in the outer grate was cut two thirds through.

Asked how he had done it, Henry produced from under his bunk, a knife with its steel blade cut in fine teeth and a common hand saw file. As to how he had reached the grate, Henry had cut his chain in the joint of the links where it was not easily seen. Realizing the knife blade was too thick to have made such a fine cut, a search of the cell turned up a neat spring saw with a cord attached.

New chains and handcuffs were applied but, within 24 hours, Henry had freed himself and had almost completed the job of filing through the window grates again before he was discovered. It was Bates vs. the Lunar Rogue and it was anyone’s game.