Sturdy Old Scotch Lady Foils Asylum “Escape”

The following is an excerpt of a news article about the Hamilton Asylum for the Insane. It recalls “an amusing incident” that had occurred some years prior. I hope you find it as humorous as I did! (This appeared in the August 17, 1910 edition of The Ottawa Citizen. Text is transcribed below for easier reading.)

“The escape of the two murderers from Hamilton asylum recalls an amusing incident which occurred in connection with that institution some years ago. There resided in that ambitious burg a bank clerk who had a very fine tenor voice in the process of development; and it was his habit to take long walks in the country during which, on lonely roads, he would test his voice by emitting shouts pitched in various keys. It so happened then, as now, that inmates frequently escaped from the asylum, which is situated on the top of the mountain, and, usually, after wandering about the country for a time, would be secured and returned to the asylum. On the edge of the mountain, a mile or so from the asylum, was the residence of a sturdy old Scotch lady, and on the mountain side below the house ran a road somewhat like the lover’s walk along the face of Parliament Hill. This fine summer afternoon the old lady was in the garden when she heard strange noises on the path below, and looking through the hedge observed a young man trudging along with his coat over his arm, the while he emitted at intervals strange screams and outcries. Though the old lady was alone at the time, she did not hesitate a moment, but proceeding to the gate invited the young man, as the afternoon was hot, to come up to the house and have a glass of cold milk. He responded with alacrity, and was led into the drawing room, after which the old lady departed to get the milk, rather carefully closing the door. Some time elapsed, and, as his hostess did not appear, he got up and tried the door, only to find it locked, whereupon he commenced to knock and finally to pound, while the old lady stayed outside and exhorted him to be patient. Soon there was a tramp of running feet, the door was swiftly unlocked, and the young man found himself pinioned by two asylum guards. Thinking he was an escaped lunatic the old lady had locked him up and telephoned to the asylum. When the guards brought him out from the dusky depths of the drawing-room the mistake was at once apparent, and the young tenor was released, but the story leaked out, and he had to get transferred to a branch in a distant city.”

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