" ... Fornaro, that you be imprisoned[Pg 25] for one year at hard labor in the penitentiary...." The fly stopped buzzing as the judge lifted his head to look at me.Considering my hopeless predicament and my helplessness, I am astonished at the sneering and insulting manner of the prosecuting attorney. Why this unseemly desire[Pg 2] to swat as insignificant a gnat as I? During lunch at recess I hear that my victim and accuser is very much embarrassed and annoyed at the pertinent questions asked by the prosecutor and translated by an interpreter.I tried to pacify him, but he was in a state of abject terror. So, thinking it best to do so, I offered him what he imagined to be poison. He drank it quickly and with great relish, waiting impatiently, with gleaming eyes and a sickly, malicious grin, for the death that was to come. But death did not come; the medicine was only a strong dose of salts. This second cathartic potion cured him effectively of his suicidal mania, for thus he came finally to the conclusion that all the alleged poisons in the hospital were only snares and delusions.Never a month passes but some convict is brought up to the hospital to be kept under observation to determine whether he is insane or faking insanity. 五分pk拾下载 "Nothing doing," he said. "The bulls won't give me a chance. They'll spot me and job me if I don't put up the dough. It's a fight to a finish. At the other end there is either Sing Sing or the death chair. There ain't no hope. I'll live and die a crook." The other day a quarrel broke out between two prisoners. A keeper tried to stop it by hitting one of the offenders with his stick, and at the same time calling him an unmentionable name. The convict retaliated with a punch on the jaw that floored the keeper.[Pg 28]Under the pretext of helping me, a young convict comes over to my side of the shop. He shows me the intricate workings of the machine which turns out the uncut cloth for the prisoners. Later it is cut and fashioned into prison underwear. When we remarked at the astonishing change, he answered, speaking through one side of his mouth: "Ah, quit your kiddin'! You talk like a preacher. I ain't no sissy no more. When I gets out o' here I'll pull something big that'll knock you stiff. You get me?" And he spat sideways on the floor in supreme contempt. But when we laughed at his pretence and strutting, he blushed in anger and disappointment."Yes, sir," answered the Italian, "and never in two thousand years did they pick out an Irish Pope."Everybody wondered how the poor man had managed to keep a flicker of life in a body which was mere bone and skin.Under the rules visitors are permitted only once a month, but twice by a card from the prison commissioner.After two weeks the man was finally sent back to the Tombs. Although he had eaten[Pg 126] only once in that time, it took half a dozen sturdy men to dress him up and turn him over to the sheriff. Never a month passes but some convict is brought up to the hospital to be kept under observation to determine whether he is insane or faking insanity.I felt as if hundreds of unspeakable and undreamed of sins, taking shape of gliding snakes, noiseless and black, with glittering eyes and fiery tongues, were descending upon me, winding round my body and my legs and arms, fastening their pin-like fangs in my flesh to poison my brain and body.No opportunity was given him to concentrate his mind. He was racked by a[Pg 23] gnawing hunger, a parched throat, a delirious thirst; by painful stinging wounds of cut lips, bleeding teeth, two half closed black eyes and a constant hopping on the radiator to keep the soles of his feet from burning.The sturdy young sailor who had worked at my side in the tailor shop was brought to the hospital. He was so changed that I hardly recognized him. I had to ask him his name, and if he remembered having worked in the same shop with me, before I became convinced that he was the same man. 五分pk拾下载 At lunch time the sick convicts ask their keepers for permission to see the doctor. They are kept waiting in line near the head keeper's desk. The head keeper is a person of great power in the prison, only third in importance of rank, but as he comes in daily contact with the convicts, his good or ill will is felt more keenly than the warden's. The discipline of the prison, the distribution of the mails, of the clothes, underwear, shoes, all the details of management, are carried on through him.I have grown fat and pale in prison, but my spirit is as light and quick as the spirit of a humming bird. Everybody greets me as a traveller returned from a strange, unknown, and very distant land—and yet all the while I have been living in the very heart of the metropolis. Everybody seems to realize and to reassure me that the acceptance of a pardon would have been a grievous mistake. To refuse it meant a great sacrifice, but making that sacrifice has confirmed a general suspicion that unfair methods, dangerous to American traditions, have been used against me.The mental calibre of these men is similar to that of naughty, precocious children, or of savages; they have streaks of yellow and streaks of insanity; they often have a strong will, but no morality; a keen intelligence, but no principle; a purpose, but no good or high-minded ambition. Almost without exception they are gamblers; they lack imagination, but they are possessed of an over-weening, childish vanity; they have great stubbornnesses, but no sense of proportion or responsibility.On the twentieth night, at about twelve o'clock, I was awakened by the moans of the dying man, who was calling in a faint voice. His face was flushed and it seemed as if all the blood had gone to his head; but[Pg 83] he seemed suddenly to turn deadly white, and he lay back still.One of the men in charge of the gang is a blond, powerful, fine-looking convict of German parentage. He belongs to the[Pg 110] high caste among the prisoners, and shows it by his manner toward the lesser castes. The situation was saved by an old Irish keeper who added laughingly, "That's right, you wouldn't be getting twenty-five per a week to keep a chair from flying out of a window, if it wasn't for those dirty bums."The day of reckoning will come in time. Meanwhile, how beautiful, perfect, intoxicating is the sense of untrammelled liberty! It repays me for many a dark, tragic hour.In prison the ethical standard is as simple as the cave dweller's, or as that of savage tribes. Caste among convicts is a sop to their vanity, to their outraged and primitive sense of justice; society made them outcasts, and they retaliate by creating a society of outcasts wherein they strive to become the leaders, the greatest, the bravest, the cleverest among the Pariahs; and like the Pariahs they consider other castes outside as lower than their own. Under the rules visitors are permitted only once a month, but twice by a card from the prison commissioner.When we took him downstairs later, he refused to change his striped suit for his street clothes, and shouted that he had made up his mind to die in the "cooler" at nine o'clock. His wife had to be brought over from the 54th Street side, and she induced him to dress and go home.The book begins with the author's imprisonment, and ends with his release or discharge from prison. It is the tale of his punishment, but it tells nothing of the "crime" that brought the punishment upon him. We watch the visitors come in from the boats; the doctors, the officials, the prisoners arriving escorted by the sheriffs. The [Pg 170]average prisoner is well dressed; some of them are quite dandified in their appearance, while others are poorly dressed, some of them even without an overcoat in winter time. One day a bum came, escorted by a sheriff, all alone, with a straw hat, at the height of the winter season. 五分pk拾下载 He had been sentenced to two months in the penitentiary for stealing two packages of cigarettes, and the judge did not realize that it was his death sentence. The tenacity of the man in clinging to life was amazing; it exemplified anew the remarkable vitality of his race.He began in Chicago, with the old Times-Herald, but the greatest part of his work was done in New York, on the Herald, the Telegraph, the World and the Evening Sun. In 1906 he went to Mexico to visit a friend—and he stayed three years. A pungent, musty, sickening smell pervades the old prison, which is barely lighted by a dismal and gray reflection filtering through the small windows. An inscription on the wall shows the date of construction to be 1864. The cell where Boss Tweed died is pointed out to me.From that day on he was tamed; he became more talkative, and even polite. [Pg 90]During the long winter evenings he broke the morose silences to tell us of his adventures, and to relate the story of his tragic and terrible life.We who are on the ground floor have more walking space than those above us. The side walls have four rows of barred windows which give poor ventilation and poorer light. The air has a pungent, mouldy smell. The rumbling noise of the city traffic on the Centre Street side is heard plainly through the din in the prison.