Sheriff Whitehill felt the late Mrs. Antrim would approve of him scaring her son into gallantry by locking him up in the county jail on the charge of larceny. Whitehill’s children, however, were friends of Henry, sharing a pretty Englishwoman’s classes in the one-room public school, and those seven children raised their voices against their father in high dudgeon that evening, and even the sheriff’s wife wanted him to at least escort the fourteen-year-old to their house for a nice breakfast in the morning.
Sombrero Jack, by then, had heard of the Kid’s arrest and skinned his way out of town and out of this narrative, but he would find Jesus and finally reform his life and wind up a justice of the peace in Colorado.
According to a jailer, the circuit court would meet in session in Silver City the third week of November, six weeks hence, so, forlorn with fear of a final conviction, the Kid conceived a plan to extricate himself from his dilemma. Working on the sheriff’s instinct for leniency, Henry conned him into a free half hour of exercise each morning in the corridor outside his cell, and then when a jailer for once wasn’t watching, the Kid ducked down into the fireplace and, skinny as he was, clawed and scraped and laddered his way up the narrow chimney flue until he could fall out onto the roof and then hurtfully to the ground.
A gardener with a hoe saw the Kid’s soot-blackened hands and face and asked, “You playing in a minstrel show?”
“You won’t tell on me, will you?”
“Oh, I’ll tell. The fix you’re in don’t mean nothing to me.”
Hearing of the escape and getting on his knees to peer up the tight fit of the chimney, Sheriff Whitehill was impressed, telling the jailer, “Henry has an ingenuity with which I have heretofore not been acquainted.”
“You could tell he’s a hard case,” the jailer said. “He’s got them dancing eyes.”