The Magistrate's Conscience (1908)
Short, Drama · 26 September 1908
A man sacrifices his wife and child to his ambition. The first picture shows the ill-mated couple engaged in a violent quarrel, the husband heaping insults upon the defenseless woman because he considers her his social inferior and a bar to his social aspirations. In his rage he leaves the house, and his family never hears from him again. The good woman raises her boy to manhood, and we next see him employed as a messenger in a large manufacturing concern. His salary, however, is barely sufficient to keep them in the necessities of life and altogether inadequate to secure the nourishment that his mother, now a helpless invalid, requires. We see the doctor as he enters their humble home and impresses upon the young man the necessity of sending his mother to a warmer climate. The boy is at his wit's end to know how he will be able to comply with the doctor's orders, for the poor lad is without funds and knows of no one from whom he could obtain a loan. Finally he sneaks out, and going to the office of his employer, gains an entrance, and after unlocking the safe steals a large quantity of money. The night watchman catches him in the act, but the young man knocks him down and makes good his escape. When he returns home he is horrified to find that during his absence his invalid mother has passed away. In the midst of his grief an officer enters and places him under arrest. Next we see him arraigned before the magistrate, and when he tells his name mid the nature of the circumstances the judge recognizes in him his own son. He sends the unfortunate boy to prison as a matter of form, but follows shortly and visits him in his cell, where father-love masters him and he gives orders to have the boy released. In the final picture we see the judge accompany the young man down to the wharf and presenting him with a large sum of money as he boards a vessel bound for foreign shores.
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