The room was full of reporters as Mary entered, and men jostled their positions to catch a better glimpse of the wealthy woman who had just arrived on the morning train. Sheriff Lom Trevors had met her at the station and escorted her to the hotel where she managed to freshen up a bit before making her appearance before this circus-like crowd.
“Gentlemen, if I could have your attention,” Sheriff Trevors stood at the front of the room as Mary was led to a chair on the make-shift dais. “May I present Mrs. Mary Cunningham-Lewis. Mrs. Lewis was acquainted with Hannibal Heyes and Kid Curry through their work for her in her late husband’s saloon. It was through the assistance of both Heyes and Curry that Mrs. Lewis has been able to return to the east where she is a newly remarried woman who is a respectable member of Baltimore society. She is a member of the Temperance League, the Charitable Trust, and the Friends of the Wayward. Gentlemen, I give you Mrs.Lewis.”
Mary stood and the powder flash of cameras blinded her momentarily. She smiled demurely and held her handkerchief tightly to keep her shaking hands still.
“Good morning,” she began. “I met Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry nearly three years ago when I was struggling to run my late husband’s saloon and casino. I was being taken advantage of by unscrupulous merchants, underhanded employees and dealers, and was simply overwhelmed. It was difficult to raise my children in such an environment. When Mr. Heyes and Mr. Curry worked for me managing the saloon, I saw an increase in profits nearly overnight. They kept the dealers and employees honest; they looked out for my welfare and the welfare of my children at great personal cost to their own safety. I believe that these two men, whatever they have done in their past, are two of the most upstanding, honest, courageous men whom I have ever had the pleasure to know. They do not deserve the treatment they have received, and I would like to recommend that they receive what was promised to them by the governor of this state. Thank you.”
Mary sat down as the reporters clamored toward the dais shouting questions to her. “All right now, gentlemen,” Sheriff Trevors held his hands up to the crowd. Mrs. Lewis will answer questions in the courthouse later today. We just wanted you to have the opportunity to meet her and see the caliber of citizen who is willing to stand up in public for Hannibal Heyes and Jed Curry and allow you to compare these fine citizens to the cowardly actions of the governor.”