Each hour as the sentry made his rounds, he saw the prisoner sitting in that same hopeless attitude and despair. A month before when he first heard his sentence he had raved and fought impotently. Night after night, and day after day he had paced his narrow cell like a caged animal, but now that was over. Already the shadow of the doom which was so near had fallen upon him.
Presently there was a sound of footsteps, and the prisoner heard two people in conversation coming down the corridor. But he did not stir; events of that day had no interest for him: he was to be electrocuted on the morrow. The steps stopped outside his cell, and he heard the attendant saying, "I am sorry, Doctor Van Home, but I can give you only an hour. Orders are orders, you know."The heavy barred door swung open, was closed and locked again, and the turnkey walked away. Jean Lescaut looked up wearily and without curiosity. He saw a tall clerical gentleman regarding him intently.
"Jean Lescaut," began the stranger, stepping close to the prisoner, "I have come here today to offer you the only thing on earth which you care for — liberty."