This Occasion We Stayed On, Feeling Rather Forlorn And Helpless,
Until We Saw That Everyone Else Had Piled Off.
We gathered up our
belongings and piled off too.
By that time all the available porters had been engaged; so we
took up our luggage and walked. We walked the length of the
trainshed - and then we stepped right into the recreation hall of
the State Hospital for the Criminal Insane, at Matteawan, New York.
I knew the place instantly, though the decorations had been changed
since I was there last. It was a joy to come on a home institution
so far from home - joysome, but a trifle disconcerting too, because
all the keepers had died or gone on strike or something; and the
lunatics, some of them being in uniform and some in civilian dress,
were leaping from crag to crag, uttering maniacal shrieks.
Divers lunatics, who had been away and were just getting back, and
sundry lunatics who were fixing to go away and apparently did not
expect ever to get back, were dashing headlong into the arms of
still other lunatics, kissing and hugging them, and exchanging
farewells and sacre-bleuing with them in the maddest fashion
imaginable. From time to time I laid violent hands on a flying,
flitting maniac and detained him against his will, and asked him
for some directions; but the persons to whom I spoke could not
understand me, and when they answered I could not understand them;
so we did not make much headway by that.
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