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Full text of "Prison memoirs of an anarchist"

rbor] 



Presented to the 

LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

MULTICULTURAL HISTORY 
SOCIETY 
OF ONTARIO 



PRISON MEMOIRS 
OF AN ANARCHIST 



PRISON MEMOIRS 

OF AN 

ANARCHIST 



BY 

ALEXANDER BERKMAN 



NEW YORK 

Mother Earth publishing Association 

1912 




Published September, 1912 
Second Edition, 1920 



41 GRAPHIC PRESS, NEW TOBK 



Xo all those who m and out of prison 
right against tneir bonaage 



But this I know, tnat every Law 
Xnat men nave made xor Man, 

Since first Man took Lis trotker s life. 
And tke sad w^orld began. 

But straws tke wkeat and saves tke ckaff 

Witk a most evil fan." 

Oscar Wilde 



AS INTRODUCTORY 

I WISH that everybody in the world would read this 
book. And my reasons are not due to any desire on my 
part that people should join any group of social philos- 
ophers or revolutionists. I desire that the book be 
widely read because the general and careful reading of 
it would definitely add to true civilization. 

It is a contribution to the writings which promote 
civilization; for the following reasons: 

It is a human document. It is a difficult thing to be 
sincere. More than that, it is a valuable thing. To be 
so, means unusual qualities of the heart and of the head ; 
unusual qualities of character. The books that possess 
this quality are unusual books. There are not many 
deliberately autobiographical writings that are markedly 
sincere; there are not many direct human documents. 
This is one of these few books. 

Not only has this book the interest of the human 
document, but it is also a striking proof of the power of 
the human soul. Alexander Berkman spent fourteen 
years in prison; under perhaps more than commonly 
harsh and severe conditions. Prison life tends to destroy 
the body, weaken the mind and pervert the character. 
Berkman consciously struggled with these adverse, de- 
structive conditions. He took care of his body. He 
took care of his mind. He did so strenuously. It was 
a moral effort. He felt insane ideas trying to take pos- 
session of him. Insanity is a natural result of prison 
life. It always tends to come. This man felt it, 
consciously struggled against it, and overcame it. That 



AS INTRODUCTORY 

the prison affected him is true. It always does. But he 
saved himself, essentially. Society tried to destroy him, 
but failed. 

If people will read this book carefully it will tend 
to do away with prisons. The public, once vividly 
conscious of what prison life is and must be, would not 
be willing to maintain prisons. This is the only book 
that I know which goes deeply into the corrupting, de- 
moralizing psychology of prison life. It shows, in pic- 
ture after picture, sketch after sketch, not only the obvious 
brutality, stupidity, ugliness permeating the institution, 
but, very touching, it shows the good qualities and in- 
stincts of the human heart perverted, demoralized, help- 
lessly struggling for life ; beautiful tendencies basely ex- 
pressing themselves. And the personality of Berkman 
goes through it all; idealistic, courageous, uncompromis- 
ing, sincere, truthful; not untouched, as I have said, by 
his surroundings, but remaining his essential self. 

What lessons there are in this book ! Like all truth- 
ful documents it makes us love and hate our fellow 
men, doubt ourselves, doubt our society, tends to make 
us take a strenuous, serious attitude towards life, and 
not be too quick to judge, without going into a situation 
painfully, carefully. It tends to complicate the present 
simplicity of our moral attitudes. It tends to make us 
more mature. 

The above are the main reasons why I should like to 
have everybody read this book. 

But there are other aspects of the book which are 
interesting and valuable in a more special, more limited 
way; aspects in which only comparatively few persons 
will be interested, and which will arouse the opposition 
and hostility of many. The Russian Nihilistic origin of 
Berkman, his Anarchistic experience in America, his at- 
tempt on the life of Frick — an attempt made at a violent 



AS INTRODUCTORY 

industrial crisis, an attempt made as a result of a sincere 
if fanatical belief that he was called on by his destiny 
to strike a psychological blow for the oppressed of the 
community — this part of the book will arouse extreme 
disagreement and disapproval of his ideas and his act. 
But I see no reason why this, with the rest, should not 
rather be regarded as an integral part of a human docu- 
ment, as part of the record of a life, with its social and 
psychological suggestions and explanations. Why not 
try to understand an honest man even if he feels called 
on to kill? There,* too, it may be deeply instructive. 
There, too, it has its lessons. Read it not in a combative 
spirit. Read to understand. Do not read to agree, of 
course, but read to see. 

HUTCHINS HaPGOOD. 



CONTENTS 



Part I : The Awakening and Its Toll 

Chapter Page 

I. The Call of Homestead i 

II. The Seat of War 23 

III. The Spirit of Pittsburgh 28 

IV. The Attentat 33 

V. The Third Degree 36 

VI. The Jail 44 

VII. The Trial 89 

Part II: The Penitentiary 

I. Desperate Thoughts 95 

II. The Will to Live 113 

III. Spectral Silence 120 

IV. A Ray of Light 124 

V. The Shop 128 

VI. My First Letter 136 

VII. WiNGiE 140 

VIIL To the Girl 148 

IX. Persecution 152 

X. The Yegg 159 

XI. The Route Sub Rosa 174 

XII. *'Zuchthausbluethen" 176 

XIIL The Judas 185 

XIV. The Dip 195 

XV. The Urge of Sex 201 

XVI. The Warden's Threat 209 

XVII. The "Basket'' Cell 219 

XVIIL The Solitary 221 

XIX. Memory-Guests 232 

XX. A Day in the Cell-House 240 

XXI. The Deeds of the Good to the Evil. .264 

XXII. The Grist of the Prison-Mill 270 

XXIII. The Scales of Justice 287 

XXIV. Thoughts that Stole Out of Prison.. 297 
XXV. How Shall the Depths Cry? 300 

XXVI. Hiding the Evidence 307 



CONTENTS 
Chapter Page 

XXVII. Love's Dungeon Flower 316 

XXVIII. For Safety 328 

XXIX. Dreams of Freedom 330 

XXX. Whitewashed Again 337 

XXXI. "And by All Forgot, We Rot and Rot"342 

XXXII. The Deviousness of Reform Law 

Applied 352 

XXXIII. The Tunnel -355 

XXXIV. The Death of Dick 363 

XXXV. An Alliance With the Birds 364 

XXXVI. The Underground 375 

XXXVIL Anxious Days 382 

XXXVIII. "How Men Their Brothers Maim". . .389 

XXXIX. A New Plan of Escape 395 

XL. Done to Death 401 

XLL The Shock at Buffalo 409 

XLII. Marred Lives 418 

XLIII. "Passing the Love of Woman"' 430 

XLIV. Love's Daring 441 

XLV. The Bloom of "The Barren Staff".. 446 

XLVI. A Child's Heart-Hunger 453 

XLVII. Chum 458 

XLVIIL Last Days 465 

Part III 

The Workhouse 473 

Part IV 
The Resurrection 4^3 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Alexander Berkman (Frontispiece) 

The Author at the Time of the Homestead Stuike 

Western Penitentiary of Pennsylvania 

Facsimile of Prison Letter 

"Zuchthausbluethen" 

Cell Ranges 

The Tunnel 



PART 1 



THE AWAKENING AND ITS TOLL 



CHAPTER I 
THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 



Clearly every detail of that day is engraved on my 
mind. It is the sixth of July, 1892. We are quietly 
sitting in the back of our little flat — Fedya and I — 
when suddenly the Girl enters. Her naturally quick, 
energetic step sounds' more than usually resolute. As 
I turn to her, I am struck by the peculiar gleam in her 
eyes and the heightened color. 

"Have you read it?" she cries, waving the half-open 
newspaper. 

"What is it?" 

"Homestead. Strikers shot. Pinkertons have killed 
women and children." 

She speaks in a quick, jerky manner. Her words 
ring like the cry of a wounded animal, the melodious 
voice tinged with the harshness of bitterness — the 
bitterness of helpless agOny. 

I take the paper from her hands. In growing excite- 
ment I read the vivid account of the tremendous 
struggle, the Homestead strike, or, more correctly, the 
lockout. The report details the conspiracy on the 
part of the Carnegie Company to crush the Amalga- 
mated Association of Iron and Steel Workers; the se- 
lection, for the purpose, of Henry Clay Frick, whose 
attitude toward labor is implacably hostile; his secret 
military preparations while designedly prolonging the 

I 



2 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

peace negotiations with the Amalgamated; the fortifica- 
tion of the Homestead steel- works; the erection of a 
high board fence, capped by barbed wire and provided 
with loopholes for sharpshooters ; the hiring of an army 
of Pinkerton thugs ; the attempt to smuggle them, in the 
dead of night, into Homestead; and, finally, the terrible 
carnage. 

I pass the paper to Fedya. The Girl glances at me. 
We sit in silence, each busy with his own thoughts. 
Only now and then we exchange a word, a searching, 
significant look. 

II 

It is hot and stuflfy in the train. The air is oppres- 
sive with tobacco smoke; the boisterous talk of the 
men playing cards near by annoys me. I turn to the 
window. The gust of perfumed air, laden with the 
rich aroma of i resh-mown hay, is soothingly invigorating. 
Green woods and yellow fields circle in the distance, 
whirl nearer, close, then rush by, giving place to other 
circling fields and woods. The country looks young and 
alluring in the early morning sunshine. But my thoughts 
are busy with Homestead. 

The great battle has been fought. Never before, in 
all its history, has American labor won such a signal 
victory. By force of arms the workers of Homestead 
have compelled three hundred Pinkerton invaders to sur- 
render, to surrender most humbly, ignominiously. What 
humiliating defeat for the powers that be ! Does not the 
Pinkerton janizary represent organized authority, forever 
crushing the toiler in the interest of the exploiters? 
Well may the enemies of the People be terrified at the 
unexpected awakening. But the People, the workers of 
America, have joyously acclaimed the rebellious man- 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 3 

hood of Homestead. The steel-workers were not the 
aggressors. Resignedly they had toiled and suffered. Out 
of their flesh and bone grew the great steel industry; 
on their blood fattened the powerful Carnegie Com- 
pany. Yet patiently they had waited for the promised 
greater share of the wealth they were creating. Like 
a bolt from a clear sky came the blow: wages were 
to be reduced ! Peremptorily the steel magnates refused 
to continue the sliding scale previously agreed upon as 
a guarantee of peace. The Carnegie firm challenged the 
Amalgamated Association by the submission of condi- 
tions which it knew the workers could not accept. 
Foreseeing refusal, it flaunted warlike preparations 
to crush the union under the iron heel. Perfidious 
Carnegie shrank from the task, having recently pro- 
claimed the gospel of good will and harmony. "I would 
lay it down as -a maxim," he had declared, "that there 
is no excuse for a strike or a lockout until arbitration 
of differences has been offered by one party and refused 
by the other. The right of the workingmen to combine 
and to form trades-unions is no less sacred than the 
right of the manufacturer to enter into association and 
conference with his fellows, and it must sooner or later 
be conceded. Manufacturers should meet their men 
more than half-way." 

With smooth words the great philanthropist had 
persuaded the workers to indorse the high tariff. 
Every product of his mills protected, Andrew 
Carnegie secured a reduction in the duty on steel 
billets, in return for his generous contribution to 
the Republican campaign fund. In complete control of 
the billet market, the Carnegie firm engineered a 
depression of prices, as a seeming consequence of a 
lower duty. But the market price of billets was the sole 
standard of wages in the Homestead mills. The wages 



4 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

of the workers must be reduced! The offer of the 
Amalgamated Association to arbitrate the new scale met 
with contemptuous refusal: there was nothing to 
arbitrate; the men must submit unconditionally; the 
union was to be exterminated. And Carnegie selected 
Henry C. Frick, the bloody Frick of the coke regions, 
to carry the program into execution. 

Must the oppressed forever submit? The manhood 
of Homestead rebelled: the millmen scorned the des- 
potic ultimatum. Then Frick's hand fell. The war was 
on! Indignation swept the country. Throughout the 
land the tyrannical attitude of the Carnegie Company 
was bitterly denounced, the ruthless brutality of Frick 
universally execrated. 

I could no longer remain indifferent. The moment 
was urgent. The toilers of Homestead had defied the 
oppressor. They were awakening. But as yet the 
steel-workers were only blindly rebellious. The vision of 
Anarchism alone could imbue discontent with conscious 
revolutionary purpose ; it alone could lend wings to the 
aspirations of labor. The dissemination of our ideas 
among the proletariat of Homestead would illumine the 
great struggle, help to clarify the issues, and point the 
way to complete ultimate emancipation. 

My days were feverish with anxiety. The stirring 
call, "Labor, Awaken !" would fire the hearts of the dis- 
inherited, and inspire them to noble deeds. It would 
carry to the oppressed the message of the New Day, and 
prepare them for the approaching Social Revolution. 
Homestead might prove the first blush of the glorious 
Dawn. How I chafed at the obstacles my project 
encountered! Unexpected difficulties impeded every 
step. The efforts to get the leaflet translated into 
popular English proved unavailing. It would endanger 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD J 

me to distribute such a fiery appeal, my friend remon- 
strated. Impatiently I waived aside his objections. As 
if personal considerations could for an instant be 
weighed in the scale of the great Cause! But in vain 
I argued and pleaded. And all the while precious 
moments were being wasted, and new obstacles barred 
the way. I rushed frantically from printer to com- 
positor, begging, imploring. None dared print the 
appeal. And time was fleeting. Suddenly flashed the 
news of the Pinkerton carnage. The world stood 
aghast. 

The time for speech was past. Throughout the land 
the toilers echoed the defiance of the men of Homestead. 
The steel- workers had rallied bravely to the defence ; the 
murderous Pinkertons were driven from the city. But 
loudly called the blood of Mammon's victims on the 
banks of the Monongahela. Loudly it calls. It is the 
People calling. Ah, the People ! The grand, mysterious, 
yet so near and real. People. . . . 

In my mind I see myself back in the little Russian 
college town, amid the circle of Petersburg students, home 
for their vacation, surrounded by the halo of that vague 
and wonderful something we called "Nihilist." The rush- 
ing train, Homestead, the five years passed in America, all 
turn into a mist, hazy with the distance of unreality, of 
centuries; and again I sit among superior beings, rever- 
ently listening to the impassioned discussion of dimly 
understood high themes, with the oft-recurring refrain of 
"Bazarov, Hegel, Liberty, Chernishevsky, v narod." To 
the People! To the beautiful, simple People, so noble 
in spite of centuries of brutalizing sufifering! Like a 
clarion call the note rings in my ears, amidst the din of 
contending views and obscure phraseology. The People ! 
My Greek mythology moods have often pictured him 



6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

to me as the mighty Atlas, supporting on his shoulders 
the weight of the world, his back bent, his face the 
mirror of unutterable misery, in his eye the look of 
hopeless anguish, the dumb, pitiful appeal for help. 
Ah, to help this helplessly suffering giant, to lighten his 
burden! The way is obscure, the means uncertain, but 
in the heated student debate the note rings clear: To 
the People, become one of them, share their joys and 
sorrows, and thus you will teach them. Yes, that is the 
solution! But what is that red-headed Misha from 
Odessa saying? *Tt is all good and well about going to 
the People, but the energetic men of the deed, the 
Rakhmetovs, blaze the path of popular revolution by 
individual acts of revolt against — " 

"Ticket, please !" A heavy hand is on my shoulder. 
With an effort I realize the situation. The card-players 
are exchanging angry words. With a deft movement 
the conductor unhooks the board, and calmly walks 
away with it under his arm. A roar of laughter greets 
the players. Twitted by the other passengers, they soon 
subside, and presently the car grows quiet. 

I have difficulty in keeping myself from falling back 
into reverie. I must form a definite plan of action. My 
purpose is quite clear to me. A tremendous struggle is 
taking place at Homestead: the People are manifesting 
the right spirit in resisting tyranny and invasion. My 
heart exults. This is, at last, what I have always 
hoped for from the American workingman: once 
aroused, he will brook no interference; he will fight all 
obstacles, and conquer even more than his original 
demands. It is the spirit of the heroic past reincarnated 
in the steel-workers of Homestead, Pennsylvania. What 
supreme joy to aid in this work! That is my natural 
mission. I feel the strength of a great undertaking. No 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 7 

shadow of doubt crosses my mind. The People — ^the 
toilers of the world, the producers— comprise, to me, 
the universe. They alone count. The rest are para- 
sites, who have no right to exist. But to the People 
belongs the earth — by right, if not in fact. To make it 
so in fact, all means are justifiable; nay, advisable, even 
to the point of taking life. The question of moral right 
in such matters often agitated the revolutionary circles 
I used to frequent. I had always taken the extreme 
view. The more radical the treatment, I held, the 
quicker the cure. Society is a patient; sick constitu- 
tionally and functionally. Surgical treatment is often im- 
perative. The removal of a tyrant is not merely justifi- 
able; it is the highest duty of every true revolutionist. 
Human life is, indeed, sacred and inviolate. But 
the killing of a tyrant, of an enemy of the People, 
is in no way to be considered as the taking of a 
life. A revolutionist would rather perish a thousand 
times than be guilty of what is ordinarily called murder. 
In truth, murder and Attentat* are to me opposite terms. 
To remove a tyrant is an act of liberation, the giving of 
life and opportunity to an oppressed people. True, the 
Cause often calls upon the revolutionist to commit an 
unpleasant act; but it is the test of a true revolutionist — 
nay, more, his pride — to sacrifice all merely human 
feeling at the call of the People's Cause. If the latter 
demand his life, so much the better. 

Could anything be nobler than to die for a 
grand, a sublime Cause? Why, the very life of a 
true revolutionist has no other purpose, no signifi- 
cance whatever, save to sacrifice it on the altar of 
the beloved People. And what could be higher in 
life than to be a true revolutionist? It is to be a man, 



An act of political assassination. 



8 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

a complete man. A being who has neither personal 
interests nor desires above the necessities of the Cause; 
one who has emancipated himself from being merely 
human, and has risen above that, even to the height 
of conviction which excludes all doubt, all regret; in 
short, one who in the very inmost of his soul feels 
himself revolutionist first, human afterwards. 

Such a revolutionist I feel myself to be. Indeed, 
far more so than even the extreme radicals of my own 
circle. My mind reverts to a characteristic incident in 
connection with the poet Edelstadt. It was in New 
York, about the year 1890. Edelstadt, one of the 
tenderest of souls, was beloved by every one in our 
circle, the Pioneers of Liberty, the first Jewish Anarchist 
organization on American soil. One evening the closer 
personal friends of Edelstadt met to consider plans for 
aiding the sick poet. It was decided to send our comrade 
to Denver, some one suggesting that money be drawn 
for the purpose from the revolutionary treasury. I 
objected. Though a dear, personal friend of Edelstadt, 
and his former roommate, I could not allow — I argued — 
that funds belonging to the movement be devoted to 
private purposes, however good and even necessary 
those might be. The strong disapproval of my senti- 
ments I met with this challenge: "Do you mean to 
help Edelstadt, the poet and man, or Edelstadt the 
revolutionist? Do you consider him a true, active revo- 
lutionist? His poetry is beautiful, indeed, and may 
indirectly even prove of some propagandistic value. Aid 
our friend with your private funds, if you will; but no 
money from the movement can be given, except for 
direct revolutionary activity." 

"Do you mean that the poet is less to you than 
the revolutionist?" I was asked by Tikhon, a young 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 9 

medical student, whom we playfully dubbed "Lingg," 
because of his rather successful affectation of the 
celebrated revolutionist's physical appearance. 

*'I am revolutionist first, man afterwards," I replied, 
with conviction. 

**You are either a knave or a hero," he retorted. 

"Lingg" was quite right. He could not know me. 
To his bourgeois mind, for all his imitation of the 
Chicago martyr, my words must have sounded knavish. 
Well, some day he may know which I am, knave or 
revolutionist. I do not think in the term "hero," for 
though the type of revolutionist I feel myself to be 
might popularly be so called, the word has no significance 
for me. It merely means a revolutionist who does 
his duty. There is no heroism in that: it is neither 
more nor less than a revolutionist should do. Rakhmetov 
did more, too much. In spite of my great admiration 
for Chernishevsky, who had so strongly influenced 
the Russian youth of my time, I can not suppress 
the touch of resentment I feel because the author 
of "What's To Be Done?" represented his arch- 
revolutionist Rakhmetov as going through a system of 
unspeakable, self-inflicted torture to prepare himself for 
future exigencies. It was a sign of weakness. Does a 
real revolutionist need to prepare himself, to steel his 
nerves and harden his body ? I feel it almost a personal 
insult, this suggestion of the revolutionist's mere 
human clay. 

No, the thorough revolutionist needs no such self- 
doubting preparations. For I know / do not need them. 
The feeling is quite impersonal, strange as it may 
seem. My own individuality is entirely in the back- 
ground; aye, I am not conscious of any personality 
in matters pertaining to the Cause. I am simply a, 



lO PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

revolutionist, a terrorist by conviction, an instrument 
for furthering the cause of humanity; in short, a 
Rakhmetov. Indeed, I shall assume that name upon 
my arrival in Pittsburgh. 



The piercing shrieks of the locomotive awake me with 
a start. My first thought is of my wallet, containing 
important addresses of Allegheny comrades, which I was 
trying to memorize when I must have fallen asleep. 
The wallet is gone! For a moment I am overwhelmed 
with terror. What if it is lost? Suddenly my foot 
touches something soft. I pick it up, feeling tremen- 
dously relieved to find all the contents safe: the 
precious addresses, a small newspaper lithograph of 
Frick, and a dollar bill. My joy at recovering the wallet 
is not a whit dampened by the meagerness of my funds. 
The dollar will do to get a room in a hotel for the first 
night, and in the morning I'll look up Nold or Bauer. 
They will find a place for me to stay a day or two. '*I 
won't remain there long," I think, with an inward smile. 

We are nearing Washington, D. C. The train is to 
make a six-hour stop there. I curse the stupidity of the 
delay: something may be happening in Pittsburgh or 
Homestead. Besides, no time is to be lost in striking a 
telling blow, while public sentiment is aroused at the 
atrocities of the Carnegie Company, the brutality of 
Frick. 

Yet my irritation is strangely dispelled by the beautiful 
picture that greets my eye as I step from the train. The 
sun has risen, a large ball of deep red, pouring a flood of 
gold upon the Capitol. The cupola rears its proud head 
majestically above the pile of stone and marble. Like a 
living thing the light palpitates, trembling with passion 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD II 

to kiss the uppermost peak, striking it with blinding bril- 
liancy, and then spreading in a broadening embrace down 
the shoulders of the towering giant. The amber waves 
entwine its flanks with soft caresses, and then rush 
on, to right and left, wider and lower, flashing upon 
the stately trees, dallying amid leaves and branches, 
finally unfolding themselves over the broad avenue, and 
ever growing more golden and generous as they scatter. 
And cupola-headed giant, stately trees, and broad avenue 
quiver with new-born ecstasy, all nature heaves the 
contented sigh of bliss, and nestles closer to the golden 
giver of life. 

At this moment I realize, as perhaps never before, 
the great joy, the surpassing gladness, of being. But in 
a trice the picture changes. Before my eyes rises the 
Monongahela river, carrying barges filled with armed 
men. And I hear a shot. A boy falls to the gangplank. 
The blood gushes from the centre of his forehead. The 
hole ploughed by the bullet yawns black on the crimson 
face. Cries and wailing ring in my ears. I see men 
running toward the river, and women kneeling by the 
side of the dead. 

The horrible vision revives in my mind a similar in- 
cident, lived through in imagination before. It was the 
sight of an executed Nihilist. The Nihilists! How 
much of their precious blood has been shed, how 
many thousands of them line the road of Russia's 
suffering ! Inexpressibly near and soul-kin I feel to those 
men and women, the adored, mysterious ones of my 
youth, who had left wealthy homes and high station to 
*^go to the People," to become one with them, though 
despised by all whom they held dear, persecuted and 
ridiculed eyen by the benighted objects of their great 
sacrifice. 



t2 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Clearly there flashes out upon my memory my first 
impression of Nihilist Russia. I had just passed my 
second year's gymnasium examinations. Overflowing 
with blissful excitement, I rushed into the house to 
tell mother the joyful news. How happy it will make 
her! Next week will be my twelfth birthday, but 
mother need give me no present. I have one for 
her, instead. "Mamma, mamma!" I called, when sud- 
denly I caught her voice, raised in anger. Something 
has happened, I thought; mother never speaks so 
loudly. Something very peculiar, I felt, noticing the 
door leading from the broad hallway to the dining-room 
closed, contrary to custom. In perturbation I hesitated 
at the door. "Shame on you, Nathan," I heard my 
mother's voice, "to condemn your own brother because 
he is a Nihilist. You are no better than" — her voice 
fell to a whisper, but my straining ear distinctly caught 
the dread word, uttered with hatred and fear — "a 
paldtch/'"^ 

I was struck with terror. Mother's tone, my rich 
uncle Nathan's unwonted presence at our house, the 
fearful word paldtch — something awful must have hap- 
pened. I tiptoed out of the hallway, and ran to my 
room. Trembling with fear, I threw myself on the 
bed. What has the paldtch done? I moaned. ''Your 
brother," she had said to uncle. Her own youngest 
brother, my favorite uncle Maxim. Oh, what has hap- 
pened to him? My excited imagination conjured up 
horrible visions. There stood the powerful figure of 
the giant paldtch, all in black, his right arm bare to the 
shoulder, in his hand the uplifted ax. I could see the 
glimmer of the sharp steel as it began to descend, slowly, , 
so torturingly slowly, while my heart ceased beating and 



Hangman. 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD I3 

my feverish eyes followed, bewitched, the glowing black 
coals in the paldtch's head. Suddenly the two fiery eyes 
fused into a large ball of flaming red; the figure of the 
fearful one-eyed cyclop grew taller and stretched higher 
and higher, and everywhere was the giant — on all sides 
of me was he — then a sudden flash of steel, and 
in his monster hand I saw raised a head, cut close to the 
neck, its eyes incessantly blinking, the dark-red blood 
gushing from mouth and ears and throat. Something 
looked ghastly familiar about that head with the broad 
white forehead and expressive mouth, so sweet and sad. 
'*Oh, Maxim, Maxim!" I cried, terror-stricken: the 
next moment a flood of passionate hatred of the paldtch 
seized me, and I rushed, head bent, toward the one- 
eyed monster. Nearer and nearer I came, — another 
quick rush, and then the violent impact of my body 
struck him in the very centre, and he fell, forward and 
heavy, right upon me, and I felt his fearful weight 
crushing my arms, my chest, my head. ... 

"Sasha! Sashenka! What is the matter, goluh- 
chikf I recognize the sweet, tender voice of my 
mother, sounding far away and strange, then coming 
closer and growing more soothing. I open my eyes. 
Mother is kneeling by the bed, her beautiful black eyes 
bathed in tears. Passionately she showers kisses upon 
my face and hands, entreating: "Goluhchik, what is it?" 

*'Mamma, what happened to Uncle Maxim?" I 
ask, breathlessly watching her face. 

Her sudden change of expression chills my heart 
with fear. She turns ghostly white, large drops of 
perspiration stand on her forehead, and her eyes grow 
large and round with terror. "Mamma!" I cry, throw- 
ing my arms around her. Her lips move, and I feel 
her warm breath on my cheek; but, without uttering a 
word, she bursts into vehement weeping. 



14 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Who — told — you? You — know?" she whispers be- 
tween sobs. 



The pall of death seems to have descended upon our 
home. The house is oppressively silent. Everybody 
walks about in slippers, and the piano is kept locked. 
Only monosyllables, in undertone, are exchanged at the 
dinner-table. Mother's seat remains vacant. She is 
very ill, the nurse informs us; no one is to see her. 

The situation bewilders me. I keep wondering what 
has happened to Maxim. Was my vision of the paldtch 
a presentiment, or the echo of an accomplished tragedy ? 
Vaguely I feel guilty of-mother's illness. The shock of 
my question may be responsible for her condition. Yet 
there must be more to it, I try to persuade my troubled 
spirit. One afternoon, finding my eldest brother Maxim, 
named after mother's favorite brother, in a very cheerful 
mood, I call him aside and ask, in a boldly assumed con- 
fidential manner: "Maximushka, tell me, what is a Ni- 
hilist?" 

"Go to the devil, molokossoss"^ you!" he cries, angrily. 
With a show of violence, quite inexplicable to me, Maxim 
throws his paper on the floor, jumps from his seat, up- 
setting the chair, and leaves the room. 

The fate of Uncle Maxim remains a mystery, the 
question of Nihilism unsolved. I am absorbed in my 
studies. Yet a deep interest, curiosity about the mys- 
terious and forbidden, slumbers in my consciousness, 
when quite unexpectedly it is roused into keen activity 
by a school incident. I am fifteen now, in the fourth 
grade of the classic gymnasium at Kovno. By direction 



* Literally, milk-sucker. A contemptuous term applied to 
inexperienced youth. 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 15 

of the Ministry of Education, compulsory religious in- 
struction is being introduced in the State schools. Spe- 
cial classes have been opened at the gymnasium for the 
religious instruction of Jewish pupils. The parents of 
the latter resent the innovation; almost every Jewish 
child receives religious training at home or in cheidar* 
But the school authorities have order-ed the gymnasiasts 
of Jewish faith to attend classes in religion. 

The roll-call at the first session finds me missing. 
Summoned before the Director for an explanation, I state 
that I failed to attend because I have a private Jewish 
tutor at home, and, — anyway, I do not believe in reli- 
gion. The prim Director looks inexpressibly shocked. 

"Young man," he addresses me in the artificial gut- 
tural voice he aflfects on solemn occasions. "Young 
man, when, permit me to ask, did you reach so pro- 
found a conclusion?" 

His manner disconcerts me; but the sarcasm of 
his words and the offensive tone rouse my resentment. 
Impulsively, defiantly, I discover my cherished secret. 
"Since I wrote the essay. There Is No God,'" I 
reply, with secret exultation. But the next instant I 
realize the recklessness of my confession. I have a 
fleeting sense of coming trouble, at school and at home. 
Yet somehow I feel I have acted like a man. Uncle 
Maxim, the Nihilist, would act so in my position. I 
know his reputation for uncompromising candor, and 
love him for his bold, frank ways. 

"Oh, that is interesting," I hear, as in a dream, the 
unpleasant guttural voice of the Director. "When did 
you write it?" 

"Three years ago." 

"How old were you then ?" 



* Schools for instruction in Jewish religion and laws. 



l6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Twelve." 

"Have you the essay?" 

"Yes." 

"Where?" 

"At home." 

"Bring it to me to-morrow. Without fail, remember." 

His voice grows stern. The words fall upon my ears 
with the harsh metallic sound of my sister's piano that 
memorable evening of our musicale when, in a spirit of 
mischief, I hid a piece of gas pipe in the instrument 
tuned for the occasion. 

"To-morrow, then. You are dismissed." 

The Educational Board, in conclave assembled, reads 
the essay. My disquisition is unanimously condemned. 
Exemplary punishment is to be visited upon me for "pre- 
cocious godlessness, dangerous tendencies, and insubor- 
dination." I am publicly reprimanded, and reduced to 
the third class. The peculiar sentence robs me of a 
year, and forces me to associate with the "children" my 
senior class looks down upon with undisguised contempt. 
I feel disgraced, humiliated. 

Thus vision chases vision, memory succeeds memory, 
while the interminable hours creep towards the after- 
noon, and the station clock drones like an endless old 
woman. 



Ill 



Over at last. "All aboard !" 

On and on rushes the engine, every moment bringing 
me nearer to my destination. The conductor drawling 
out the stations, the noisy going and coming produce 
almost no conscious impression on my senses. Seeing 
and hearing every detail of my surroundings, I am 



The call of homestead if 

'nevertheless oblivious to them. Faster than the train 
rushes my fancy, as if reviewing a panorama of vivid 
scenes, apparently without organic connection with each 
other, yet somehow intimately associated in my thoughts 
of the past. But how different is the present! I am 
speeding toward Pittsburgh, the very heart of the 
industrial struggle of America. America I I dwell won- 
deringly on the unuttered sound. Why in America? 
And again unfold pictures of old scenes. 

I am walking in the garden of our well-appointed 
country place, in a fashionable suburb of St. Petersburg, 
where the family generally spends the summer months. 
As I pass the veranda. Dr. Semeonov, the celebrated 
physician of the resort, steps out of the house and 
beckons to me. 

"Alexander Ossipovitch," he addresses me in his 
courtly manner, "your mother is very ill. Are you alone 
with her?" 

"We have servants, and two nurses are in attend- 
ance," I reply. 

"To be sure, to be sure," the shadow of a smile 
hovers about the corners of his delicately chiseled lips. 
"I mean of the family." 

"Oh, yes ! I am alone here with my mother." 

"Your mother is rather restless to-day, Alexander 
Ossipovitch. Could you sit up with her to-night?" 

"Certainly, certainly," I quickly assent, wondering at 
the peculiar request. Mother has been improving, the 
nurses have assured me. My presence at her bedside 
may prove irksome to her. Our relations have been 
strained since the day when, in a fit of anger, she slapped 
Rose, our new chambermaid, whereupon I resented 
mother's right to inflict physical punishment on the 
servants. I can see her now, erect and haughty, facing 



l8 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

me across the dinner-table, her eyes ablaze with 
indignation. 

"You forget you are speaking to your mother, 
Al-ex-an-der" ; she pronounces the name in four distinct 
syllables, as is her habit when angry with me. 

"You have no right to strike the girl," I retort, 
defiantly. 

"You forget yourself. My treatment of the menial 
is no concern of yours." 

I cannot suppress the sharp reply that springs to my 
lips : "The low servant girl is as good as you." 

I see mother's long, slender fingers grasp the heavy 
ladle, and the next instant a sharp pain pierces my 
left hand. Our eyes meet. Her arm remains motionless, 
her gaze directed to the spreading blood stain on the 
white table-cloth. The ladle falls from her hand. She 
closes her eyes, and her body sinks limply to the chair. 

Anger and humiliation extinguish my momentary 
impulse to rush to her assistance. Without uttering a 
word, I pick up the heavy saltcellar, and fling it violently 
against the French mirror. At the crash of the glass 
my mother opens her eyes in amazement. I rise and 
leave the house. 

My heart beats fast as I enter mother's sick-room. 
I fear she may resent my intrusion: the shadow of 
the past stands between us. But she is lying quietly 
on the bed, and has apparently not noticed my 
entrance. I sit down at the bedside. A long time passes 
in silence. Mother seems to be asleep. It is growing 
dark in the room, and I settle down to pass the night in 
the chair. Suddenly I hear "Sasha!" called in a weak, 
faint voice. I bend over her. "Drink of water." As I 
hold the glass to her lips, she slightly turns away her 
head, saying very low, "Ice water, please." I start to 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 19 

leave the room. "Sasha !" I hear behind me, and, quickly 
tiptoeing to the bed, I bring my face closely, very closely 
to hers, to catch the faint words: "Help me turn to the 
wall." Tenderly I wrap my arms around the weak, 
emaciated body, and an overpowering longing seizes me 
to touch her hand with my lips and on my knees beg 
her forgiveness. I feel so near to her, my heart is over- 
flowing with compassion and love. But I dare not kiss 
her — we have become estranged. Affectionately I hold 
her in my arms for just the shadow of a second, 
dreading lest she suspect the storm of emotion raging 
within me. Caressingly I turn her to the wall, and, as 
I slowly withdraw, I feel as if some mysterious, yet 
definite, something has at the very instant left her body. 
In a few minutes I return with a glass of ice water. 
I hold it to her lips, but she seems oblivious of my 
presence. "She cannot have gone to sleep so quickly," 
I wonder. "Mother !" I call, softly. No reply. "Little 
mother ! Mamotchka !" She does not appear to hear me. 
"Dearest, golubchickT I cry, in a paroxysm of sudden 
fear, pressing my hot lips upon her face. Then I become 
conscious of an arm upon my shoulder, and hear the 
measured voice of the doctor: "My boy, you must bear 
up. She is at rest." 

IV 

"Wake up, young feller! Whatcher sighin' for?" 
Bewildered I turn around to meet the coarse, yet not 
unkindly, face of a swarthy laborer in the seat back 
of me. 

"Oh, nothing; just dreaming," I reply. Not wishing 
to encourage conversation, I pretend to become absorbed 
in my book. 

How strange is the sudden sound of English! 



^0 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Almost as suddenly had I been transplanted to Amer- 
ican soil. Six months passed after my mother's death. 
Threatened by the educational authorities with a ''wolf's 
passport" on account of my "dangerous tendencies" — 
which would close every professional avenue to me, in 
spite of my otherwise very satisfactory standing — the 
situation aggravated by a violent quarrel with my 
guardian, Uncle Nathan, I decided to go to America. 
There, beyond the ocean, was the land of noble achieve- 
ment, a glorious free country, where men walked erect in 
the full stature of manhood, — the very realization of 
my youthful dreams. 

And now I am in America, the blessed land. The 
disillusionment, the disappointments, the vain struggles ! 
. . . The kaleidoscope of my brain unfolds them all 
before my view. Now I see myself on a bench in Union 
Square Park, huddled close to Fedya and Mikhail, my 
roommates. The night wind sweeps across the cheerless 
park, chilling us to the bone. I feel hungry and tired, 
fagged out by the day's fruitless search for work. My 
heart sinks within me as I glance at my friends. 
"Nothing," each had morosely reported at our nightly 
meeting, after the day's weary tramp. Fedya groans in 
uneasy sleep, his hand groping about his knees. I pick 
up the newspaper that had fallen under the seat, spread 
it over his legs, and tuck the ends underneath. But a 
sudden blast tears the paper away, and whirls it off into 
the darkness. As I press Fedya's hat down on his head, 
I am struck by his ghastly look. How these few weeks 
have changed the plump, rosy-cheeked youth! Poor 
fellow, no one wants his labor. How his mother would 
suffer if she knew that her carefully reared boy 
passes the nights in the . . . What is that pain I feel? 
Some one is bending over me, looming unnaturally 
large in the darkness. Half -dazed I see an arm swing 



THE CALL OF HOMESTEAD 21 

to and fro, with short, semicircular backward strokes, 
and with every movement I feel a sharp sting, as of a 
lash. Oh, it's in my soles! Bewildered I spring to my 
feet. A rough hand grabs me by the throat, and I face 
a policeman. 

"Are you thieves?" he bellows. 

Mikhail replies, sleepily: "We Russians. Want 
work." 

"Git out o' here ! Off with you !" 

Quickly, silently, we walk away, Fedya and I in front, 
Mikhail limping behind us. The dimly lighted streets 
are deserted, save for a hurrying figure here and 
there, closely wrapped, flitting mysteriously around the 
corner. Columns of dust rise from the gray pavements, 
are caught up by the wind, rushed to some distance, 
then carried in a spiral upwards, to be followed by 
another wave of choking dust. From somewhere a 
tantalizing odor reaches my nostrils. "The bakery on 
Second Street," Fedya remarks. Unconsciously our steps 
quicken. Shoulders raised, heads bent, and shivering, 
we keep on to the lower Bowery. Mikhail is steadily 
falling behind. "Dammit, I feel bad," he says, catching 
up with us, as we step into an open hallway. A thorough 
inspection of our pockets reveals the possession of 
twelve cents, all around. Mikhail is to go to bed, we 
decide, handing him a dime. The cigarettes purchased 
for the remaining two cents are divided equally, each 
taking a few puffs of the "fourth" in the box. Fedya 
and I sleep on the steps of the city hall. 



"Pitt-s-burgh ! Pitt-s-burgh !" 

The harsh cry of the conductor startles me with the 
violence of a shock. Impatient as I am of the long 
journey, the realization that I have reached my destina- 



22 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

tion comes unexpectedly, overwhelming me with the dread 
of unpreparedness. In a flurry I gather up my things, 
but, noticing that the other passengers keep their places, 
I precipitately resume my seat, fearful lest my agitation 
be noticed. To hide my confusion, I turn to the open 
window. Thick clouds of smoke overcast the sky, 
shrouding the morning with sombre gray. The air is 
heavy with soot and cinders; the smell is nauseating. 
In the distance, giant furnaces vomit pillars of fire, the 
lurid flashes accentuating a line of frame structures, 
dilapidated and miserable. They are the homes of the 
workers who have created the industrial glory of Pitts- 
burgh, reared its millionaires, its Carnegies and Fricks. 

The sight fills me with hatred of the perverse social 
Justice that turns the needs of mankind into an Inferno 
of brutalizing toil. It robs man of his soul, drives the 
sunshine from his life, degrades him lower than the 
beasts, and between the millstones of divine bliss and 
hellish torture grinds flesh and blood into iron and steel, 
transmutes human lives into gold, gold, countless gold. 

The great, noble People! But is it really great and 
noble to be slaves and remain content? No, no! They 
are awakening, awakening! 



CHAPTER II 
THE SEAT OF WAR 

Contentedly peaceful the Monongahela stretches 
before me, its waters lazily rippling in the sunlight, and 
softly crooning to the murmur of the woods on the hazy 
shore. But the opposite bank presents a picture of sharp 
contrast. Near the edge of the river rises a high board 
fence, topped with barbed wire, the menacing aspect 
heightened by warlike watch-towers and ramparts. The 
sinister wall looks down on me with a thousand hollow 
eyes, whose evident murderous purpose fully justifies 
the name of "Fort Frick." Groups of excited people 
crowd the open spaces between the river and the fort, 
filling the air with the confusion of many voices. Men 
carrying Winchesters are hurrying by, their faces grimy, 
eyes bold yet anxious. From the mill-yard gape the 
black mouths of cannon, dismantled breastworks bar the 
passages, and the ground is strewn with burning cinders, 
empty shells, oil barrels, broken furnace stacks, and 
piles of steel and iron. The place looks the aftermath 
of a sanguinary conflict, — the symbol of our industrial 
life, of the ruthless struggle in which the stronger, the 
sturdy man of labor, is always the victim, because he 
acts weakly. But the charred hulks of the Pinkerton 
barges at the landing-place, and the blood-bespattered 
gangplank, bear mute witness that for once the battle 
went to the really strong, to the victim who dared. 

A group of workingmen approaches me. Big, stal- 
es 



24 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

wart men, the power of conscious strength in their step 
and bearing. Each of them^ carries a weapon : some Win- 
chesters, others shotguns. In the hand of one I notice 
the gleaming barrel of a navy revolver. 

"Who are you?" the man with the revolver sternly 
asks me. 

"A friend, a visitor." 

"Can you show credentials or a union card?" 

Presently, satisfied as to my trustworthiness, they 
allow me to proceed. 

In one of the mill-yards I come upon a dense crowd 
of men and women of various types: the short, broad- 
faced Slav, elbowing his tall American fellow-striker; 
the swarthy Italian, heavy-mustached, gesticulating and 
talking rapidly to a cluster of excited countrymen. The 
people are surging about a raised platform, on which 
stands a large, heavy man. 

I press forward. "Listen, gentlemen, listen !" I hear 
the speaker's voice. ''J^^t a few words, gentlemen! 
You all know who I am, don't you?" 

"Yes, yes, Sheriff!" several men cry. "Go on!" 

"Yes," continues the speaker, "you all know who I 
am. Your Sheriff, the Sheriff of Allegheny County, of 
the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania." 

"Go ahead !" some one yells, impatiently. 

"If you don't interrupt me, gentlemen, I'll go ahead." 

"S-s-sh! Order!" 

The speaker advances to the edge of the platform. 
"Men of Homestead! It is my sworn duty, as Sheriff, 
to preserve the peace. Your city is in a state of lawless- 
ness. I have asked the Governor to send the militia and 
I hope—" 

"No ! No !" many voices protest. "To hell with you !" 
The tumult drowns the words of the Sheriff. Shaking 
his clenched fist, his foot stamping the platform, he 



THE SEAT OF WAR 2$ 

shouts at the crowd, but his voice is lost amid the 
general uproar. 

"O'Donnell! O'Donnell!" comes from several sides, 
the cry swelling into a tremendous chorus, **0'Donnell !" 

I see the popular leader of the strike nimbly ascend 
the platform. The assembly becomes hushed. 

"Brothers," O'Donnell begins in a flowing, ingra- 
tiating manner, "we have won a great, noble victory 
over the Company. We have driven the Pinkerton 
invaders out of ocir city — " 

"Damn the murderers!" 

"Silence! Order!" 

"You have won. a big victory," O'Donnell continues, 
"a great, significant victory, such as was never before 
known in the history of labor's struggle for better 
conditions." 

Vociferous cheering interrupts the speaker, "But," 
he continues, "you must show the world that you desire 
to maintain peace and order along with your rights. 
The Pinkertons were invaders. We defended our 
homes and drove them out; rightly so. But you are 
law-abiding citizens. You respect the law and the 
authority of the State. Public opinion will uphold you 
in your struggle if you act right. Now is the time, 
friends!" He raises his voice in waxing enthusiasm, 
"Now is the time! Welcome the soldiers. They are 
not sent by that man Frick. They are the people's 
militia. They are our friends. Let us welcome them 
as friends!" 

Applause, mixed with cries of impatient disapproval, 
greets the exhortation. Arms are raised in angry argu- 
ment, and the crowd sways back and forth, breaking 
into several excited groups. Presently a tall, dark 
man appears on the platform. His stentorian voice 



2() PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

gradually draws the assembly closer to the front. 
Slowly the tumult subsides. 

"Don't you believe it, men!" The speaker shakes 
his finger at the audience, as if to emphasize his 
warning. "Don't you believe that the soldiers are 
coming as friends. Soft words these, Mr. O'Donnell. 
They'll cost us dear. Remember what I say, brothers. 
The soldiers are no friends of ours. I know what I am 
talking about. They are coming here because that 
damned murderer Frick wants them." 

"Hear! Hear!" 

"Yes!" the tall man continues, his voice quivering 
with emotion, "I can tell you just how it is. The 
scoundrel of a Sheriff there asked the Governor for 
troops, and that damned Frick paid the Sheriff to do 
it, I say!" 

"No ! Yes ! No !" the clamor is renewed, but I can 
hear the speaker's voice rising above the din: "Yes, 
bribed him. You all know this cowardly Sheriff. Don't 
you let the soldiers come, I tell you. First they'Vi come ; 
then the blacklegs. You want 'em?" 

"No! No!" roars the crowd. 

"Well, if you don't want the damned scabs, keep 
out the soldiers, you understand? If you don't, they'll 
drive you out from the homes you have paid for with 
your blood. You and your wives and children they'll 
drive out, and out you will go from these" — the speaker 
points in the direction of the mills — "that's what they'll 
do, if you don't look out. We have sweated and bled 
in these mills, our brothers have been killed and maimed 
there, we have made the damned Company rich, and 
now they send the soldiers here to shoot us down like 
the Pinkerton thugs have tried to. And you want to 
welcome the murderers, do you? Keep them out, I 
tell you!" 



wm 



THE SEAT OF WAR 27 

Amid shouts and yells the speaker leaves the 
platform. 

"McLuckie ! 'Honest' McLuckie !" a voice is heard on 
the fringe of the crowd, and as one man the assembly 
takes up the cry, "'Honest' McLuckie!" 

I am eager to see the popular Burgess of Homestead, 
himself a poorly paid employee of the Carnegie Com- 
pany. A large-boned, good-natured-looking working- 
man elbows his way to the front, the men readily making 
way for him with nods and pleasant smiles. 

"I haven't prepared any speech," the Burgess begins 
haltingly, "but I want to say, I don't see how you are 
going to fight the soldiers. There is a good deal of truth 
in what the brother before me said; but if you stop to 
think on it, he forgot to tell you just one little thing. 
The hozvf How is he going to do it, to keep the soldiers 
out? That's what I'd like to know. I'm afraid it's bad 
to let them in. The blacklegs might be hiding in the 
rear. But then again, it's bad not to let the soldiers in. 
You can't stand up against 'em : they are not Pinkertons. 
And we can't fight the Government of Pennsylvania. 
Perhaps the Governor won't send the militia. But if 
he does, I reckon the best way for us will be to make 
friends with them. Guess it's the only thing we can do. 
That's all I have to say." 

The assembly breaks up, dejected, dispirited. 



CHAPTER III 
THE SPIRIT OF PITTSBURGH 



Like a gigantic hive the twin cities jut out on the 
banks of the Ohio, heavily breathing the spirit of 
feverish activity, and permeating the atmosphere with 
the rage of Hfe. Ceaselessly flow the streams of human 
ants, meeting and diverging, their paths crossing and 
recrossing, leaving in their trail a thousand winding 
passages, mounds of structure, peaked and domed. 
Their huge shadows overcast the yellow thread of 
gleaming river that curves and twists its painful way, 
now hugging the shore, now hiding in affright, and 
again timidly stretching its arms toward the wrathful 
monsters that belch fire and smoke into the midst of 
the giant hive. And over the whole is spread the gloom 
of thick fog, oppressive and dispiriting — the symbol 
of our existence, with all its darkness and cold. 

This is Pittsburgh, the heart of American indus- 
trialism, whose spirit moulds the life of the great Nation. 
The spirit of Pittsburgh, the Iron City! Cold as steel, 
hard as iron, its products. These are the keynote of the 
great Republic, dominating all other chords, sacrificing 
harmony to noise, beauty to bulk. Its torch of liberty is 
a furnace fire, consuming, destroying, devastating: a 
country-wide furnace, in which the bones and marrow 
of the producers, their limbs and bodies, their health and 

28 



THE SPIRIT OF PITTSBURGH 29 

blood, are cast into Bessemer steel, rolled into armor 
plate, and converted into engines of murder to be con- 
secrated to Mammon by his high priests, the Carnegies, 
the Fricks. 

The spirit of the Iron City characterizes the nego- 
tiations carried on between the Carnegie Company and 
the Homestead men. Henry Clay Frick, in absolute 
control of the firm, incarnates the spirit of the furnace, 
is the living emblem of his trade. The olive branch 
held out by the w^orkers after their victory over the 
Pinkertons has been refused. The ultimatum issued by 
Frick is the last word of Caesar : the union of the steel- 
workers is to be crushed, completely and absolutely, even 
at the cost of shedding the blood of the last man in 
Homestead; the Company will deal only with individual 
workers, who must accept the terms offered, without 
question or discussion; he, Frick, will operate the mills 
with non-union labor, even if it should require the 
combined military power of the State and the Union to 
carry the plan into execution. Millmen disobeying the 
order to return to work under the new schedule of 
reduced wages are to be discharged forthwith, and 
evicted from the Company houses. 

II 

In an obscure alley, in the town of Homestead, 
there stands a one-story frame house, looking old and 
forlorn. It is occupied by the widow Johnson and her 
four small children. Six months ago, the breaking of a 
crane buried her husband under two hundred tons of 
metal. When the body was carried into the house, the 
distracted woman refused to recognize in the mangled 
remains her big, strong "J^ck." For weeks the neigh- 



30 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

borhood resounded with her frenzied cry, "My husband ! 
Where's my husband?" But the loving care of kind- 
hearted neighbors has now somewhat restored the poor 
woman's reason. Accompanied by her four little 
orphans, she recently gained admittance to Mr. Frick. 
On her knees she implored him not to drive her out 
of her home. Her poor husband was dead, she pleaded ; 
she could not pay off the mortgage; the children were 
too young to work; she herself was hardly able to 
walk. Frick was very kind, she thought ; he had prom- 
ised to see what could be done. She would not listen 
to the neighbors urging her to sue the Company for 
damages. "The crane was rotten," her husband's 
friends informed her; "the government inspector had 
condemned it." But Mr. Frick was kind, and surely 
he knew best about the crane. Did he not say it was 
her poor husband's own carelessness? 

She feels very thankful to good Mr. Frick for 
extending the mortgage. She had lived in such mortal 
dread lest her own little home, where dear John had 
been such a kind husband to her, be taken away, and 
her children driven into the street. She must never 
forget to ask the Lord's blessing upon the good Mr. 
Frick. Every day she repeats to her neighbors the 
story of her visit to the great man; how kindly he 
received her, how simply he talked with her. "Just like 
us folks," the widow says. 

She is now telling the wonderful story to neighbor 
Mary, the hunchback, who, with undiminished interest, 
hears the recital for the twentieth time. It reflects such 
importance to know some one that had come in intimate 
contact with the Iron King ; why, into his very, presence ! 
and even talked to the great magnate! 

" 'Dear Mr. Frick,' says I," the widow is narrating, 



THE SPIRIT OF PITTSBURGH 3I 

" 'dear Mr. Frick,' I says, look at my poor little 
angels — ' " 

A knock on the door interrupts her. "Must be one- 
eyed Kate," the widow observes. "Come in ! Come in !" 
she calls out, cheerfully. "Poor Kate!" she remarks 
with a sigh. "Her man's got the consumption. Won't 
last long, I fear." 

A tall, rough-looking man stands in the doorway. 
Behind him appear two others. Frightened, the widow 
rises from the chair. One of the children begins to cry, 
and runs to hide behind his mother. 

"Beg pard'n, ma'am," the tall man says. "Have no 
fear. We are Deputy Sheriffs. Read this." He pro- 
duces an official-looking paper. "Ordered to dispossess 
you. Very sorry, ma'am, but get ready. Quick, got a 
dozen more of — " 

There is a piercing scream. The Deputy Sheriff 
catches the limp body of the widow in his arms. 



Ill 



East End, the fashionable residence quarter of Pitts- 
burgh, lies basking in the afternoon sun. The broad 
avenue looks cool and inviting: the stately trees touch 
their shadows across the carriage road, gently nodding 
their heads in mutual approval. A steady procession of 
equipages fills the avenue, the richly caparisoned horses 
and uniformed flunkies lending color and life to the 
scene. A cavalcade is passing me. The laughter of the 
ladies sounds joyous and care-free. Their happiness 
irritates me. I am thinking of Homestead. In mind 
I see the sombre fence, the fortifications and cannon; 
the piteous figure of the v/idow rises before me, the 
little children weeping, and again I hear the anguished 
cry of a broken heart, a shattered brain. . . . 



32 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

And here all is joy and laughter. The gentlemen 
seem pleased; the ladies are happy. Why should they 
concern themselves with misery and want? The 
common folk are fit only to be their slaves, to feed and 
clothe them, build these beautiful palaces, and be content 
with the charitable crust. "Take what I give you," 
Frick commands. Why, here is his house ! A luxurious 
place, with large garden, barns, and stable. That stable 
there, — it is more cheerful and habitable than the widow's 
home. Ah, life could be made livable, beautiful! Why 
should it not be? Why so much misery and strife? 
Sunshine, flowers, beautiful things are all around me. 
That is life ! Joy and peace. . . . No ! There can be no 
peace with such as Frick and these parasites in carriages 
riding on our backs, and sucking the blood of the work- 
ers. Fricks, vampires, all of them — I almost shout aloud 
— they are all one class. All in a cabal against my 
class, the toilers, the producers. An impersonal con- 
spiracy, perhaps; but a conspiracy nevertheless. And 
the fine ladies on horseback smile and laugh. What is 
the misery of the People to themf Probably they are 
laughing at me. Laugh ! Laugh ! You despise me. I am 
of the People, but you belong to the Fricks. Well, it 
may soon be our turn to laugh. . . . 

Returning to Pittsburgh in the evening, I learn that 
the conferences between the Carnegie Company and the 
Advisory Committee of the strikers have terminated in 
the final refusal of Frick to consider the demands of 
the millmen. The last hope is gone! The master \z 
determined to crush his rebellious slaves. 



CHAPTER IV 
THE ATTENTAT 

The door of Prick's private office, to the left of the 
reception-room, swings open as the colored attendant 
emerges, and I catch a flitting glimpse of a black- 
bearded, well-knit figure at a table in the back of the 
room. 

"Mistah Frick is engaged. He can't see you now, 
sah," the negro says, handing back my card. 

I take the pasteboard, return it to my case, and walk 
slowly out of the reception-room. But quickly retracing 
my steps, I pass through the gate separating the clerks 
from the visitors, and, brushing the astounded attendant 
aside, I step into the office on the left, and find myself 
facing Frick. 

For an instant the sunlight, streaming through the 
windows, dazzles me. I discern two men at the further 
end of the long table. 

"Fr — ," I begin. The look of terror on his face 
strikes me speechless. It is the dread of the conscious 
presence of death. "He understands," it flashes through 
my mind. With a quick motion I draw the revolver. 
As I raise the weapon, I see Frick clutch with both 
hands the arm of the chair, and attempt to rise. I aim 
at his head. "Perhaps he wears armor," I reflect. With 
a look of horror he quickly averts his face, 'as I pull 
the trigger. There is a flash, and the high-ceilinged 

33 



34 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

room reverberates as with the booming of cannon. I 
hear a sharp, piercing cry, and see Frick on his knees, 
his head against the arm of the chair. I feel calm and 
possessed, intent upon every movement of the man. He 
is lying head and shoulders under the large armchair, 
without sound or motion. "Dead?" I wonder. I must 
make sure. About twenty-five feet separate us. I take 
a few steps toward him, when suddenly the other man, 
whose presence I had quite forgotten, leaps upon me. 
I struggle to loosen his hold. He looks slender and 
small. I would not hurt him: I have no business with 
him. Suddenly I hear the cry, "Murder! Help!" My 
heart stands still as I realize that it is Frick shouting. 
"Alive?" I wonder. I hurl the stranger aside and fire 
at the crawling figure of Frick. The man struck my 
hand, — I have missed! He grapples with me, and we 
wrestle across the room. I try to throw him, but spying 
an opening between his arm and body, I thrust the 
revolver against his side and aim at Frick, cowering 
behind the chair. I pull the trigger. There is a click — 
but no explosion! By the throat I catch the stranger, 
still clinging to me, when suddenly something heavy 
strikes me on the back of the head. Sharp pains shoot 
through my eyes. I sink to the floor, vaguely conscious 
of the weapon slipping from my hands. 

"Where is the hammer? Hit him, carpenter!" 
Confused voices ring in my ears. Painfully I strive to 
rise. The weight of many bodies is pressing on me. 
Now — it's Frick's voice! Not dead? ... I crawl in 
the direction of the sound, dragging the struggling men 
with me. I must get the dagger from my pocket — I 
have it! Repeatedly I strike with it at the legs of the 
man near the window. I hear Frick cry out in pain — 
there is much shouting and stamping — my arms are 
pulled and twisted, and I am lifted bodily from the floor. 



THE ATTENTAT 35 

Police, clerks, workmen in overalls, surround me. 
An officer pulls my head back by the hair, and my 
eyes meet Prick's. He stands in front of me, supported 
by several men. His face is ashen gray; the black 
beard is streaked with red, and blood is oozing from 
his neck. For an instant a strange feeling, as of 
shame, comes over me ; but the next moment I am filled 
with anger at the sentiment, so unworthy of a revolu- 
tionist. With defiant hatred I look him full in the face. 

"Mr. Frick, do you identify this man as your 
assailant ?" 

Frick nods weakly. 

The street is lined with a dense, excited crowd. A 
young man in civilian dress, who is accompanying the 
police, inquires, not unkindly: 

"Are you hurt? You're bleeding." 

I pass my hand over my face. I feel no pain, but 
there is a peculiar sensation about my eyes. 

"I've lost my glasses," I remark, involuntarily. 

"You'll be damn lucky if you don't lose your head," 
an officer retorts. 



CHAPTER V 

THE THIRD DEGREE 



The clanking of the keys grows fainter and fainter; 
the sound of footsteps dies away. The officers are gone. 
It is a relief to be alone. Their insolent looks and 
stupid questions, insinuations and threats, — how dis- 
gusting and tiresome it all is! A sense of complete 
indifference possesses me. I stretch myself out on the 
wooden benck, running along the wall of the cell, and 
at once fall asleep. 

I awake feeling tired and chilly. All is quiet and 
dark around me. Is it night? My hand gropes blindly, 
hesitantly. Something wet and clammy touches my 
cheek. In sudden affright I draw back. The cell is 
damp and musty ; the foul air nauseates me. Slowly 
my foot feels the floor, drawing my body forward, all 
my senses on the alert. I clutch the bars. The feel of 
iron is reassuring. Pressed close to the door, my 
mouth in the narrow opening, I draw quick, short 
breaths. I am hot, perspiring. My throat is dry to 
cracking; I cannot swallow. ''Water! I want water!" 
The voice frightens me. Was it I that spoke? The 
sound rolls up; it rises from gallery to gallery, and 
strikes the opposite corner under the roof ; now it crawls 
underneath, knocks in the distant hollows, and abruptly 
ceases. 

36 



THE THIRD DEGREE 3? 

"Holloa, there! Whatcher in for?" 

The voice seems to issue at once from all sides of 
the corridor. But the sound relieves me. Now the air 
feels better; it is not so difficult to breathe. I begin to 
distinguish the outline of a row of cells opposite mine. 
There are dark forms at the doors. The men within 
look like beasts restlessly pacing their cages. 

* Whatcher in for?" It comes from somewhere 
alongside. ''Can't talk, eh? 'Sorderly, guess." 

What am I in for? Oh, yes! It's Frick. Well, I 
shall not stay here long, anyhow. They will soon take 
me out — they will lean me against a wall — a slimy 
wall like this, perhaps. They will bandage my eyes, and 
the soldiers there. . . . No : they are going to hang me. 
Well, I shall be glad when they take me out of here. 
I am so dry. I'm suffocating. . . . 

. . . The upright irons of the barred door grow 
faint, and melt into a single line; it adjusts itself cross- 
wise between the upper and side sills. It resembles 
a scaffold, and there is a man sinking the beam into 
the ground. He leans it carefully against the wall, and. 
picks up a spade. Now he stands with one foot in the 
hole. It is the carpenter! He hit me on the head. 
From behind, too, the coward. If he only knew what 
he had done. He is one of the People: we must go to 
them, enlighten them. I wish he'd look up. He doesn't 
know his real friends. He looks like a Russian peasant, 
with his broad back. What hairy arms he has ! If he 
would only look up. . . . Now he sinks the beam into the 
ground; he is stamping down the earth. I will catch 
his eye as he turns around. Ah, he didn't look ! He has 
his eyes always on the ground. Just like the muzhik. 
Now he is taking a few steps backward, critically exam- 
ining his work. He seems pleased. How peculiar the 



38 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

cross-piece looks. The horizontal beam seems too long; 
out of proportion. I hope it won't break. I remember 
the feeling I had when my brother once showed me the 
picture of a man dangling from the branch of a tree. 
Underneath was inscribed, The Execution of Stenka 
Razin. "Didn't the branch break?" I asked. "No, 
Sasha," mother replied, "Stenka — well, he weighed 
nothing"; and I wondered at the peculiar look she 
exchanged with Maxim. But mother smiled sadly 
at me, and wouldn't explain. Then she turned to my 
brother: "Maxim, you must not bring Sashenka 
such pictures. He is too young." "Not too young, 
mamotchka, to learn that Stenka was a great man." 
"What! You young fool," father bristled with anger, 
"he was a murderer, a common rioter." But mother 
and Maxim bravely defended Stenka, and I was deeply 
incensed at father, who despotically terminated the dis- 
cussion. "Not another word, now! I won't hear any 
more of that peasant criminal." The peculiar diver- 
gence of opinion perplexed me. Anybody could tell the 
difference between a murderer and a worthy man. Why 
couldn't they agree? He must have been a good man, I 
finally decided. Mother wouldn't cry over a hanged 
murderer: I saw her stealthily wipe her eyes as she 
looked at that picture. Yes, Stenka Razin was surely a 
noble man. I cried myself to sleep over the unspeakable 
injustice, wondering how I could ever forgive "them" 
the killing of the good Stenka, and why the weak- 
looking branch did not break with his weight. Why 
didn't it break? . . . The scaffold they will prepare for 
me might break with my weight. They'll hang me like 
Stenka, and perhaps a little boy will some day see the 
picture — and they will call me murderer — and only a 
few will know the truth — and the picture will show me 
hanging from . . . No, they shall not hang me! 



THE THIRD DEGREE 39 

My hand steals to the lapel of my coat, and a deep 
sense of gratification comes over me, as I feel the nitro- 
glycerine cartridge secure in the lining. I smile at the 
imaginary carpenter. Useless preparations! I have, 
myself, prepared for the event. No, they won't hang me. 
My hand caresses the long, narrow tube. Go ahead! 
Make your gallows. Why, the man is putting on his coat. 
Is he done already? Now he is turning around. He is 
looking straight at me. Why, it's Frick! Alive? . . . 

My brain is on fire. I press my head against the 
bars, and groan heavily. Alive? Have I failed? 
Failed? . . . 



II 



Heavy footsteps approach nearer; the clanking of 
the keys grows more distinct. I must compose myself. 
Those mocking, unfriendly eyes shaU not witness my 
agony. They could allay this terrible uncertainty, but I 
must seem indifferent. 

Would I "take lunch with the Chief"? I decline, 
requesting a glass of water. Certainly; but the Chief 
wishes to see me first. Flanked on each side by a 
policeman, I pass through winding corridors, and finally 
ascend to the private office of the Chief. My mind is 
busy with thoughts of escape, as I carefully note the 
surroundings. I am in a large, well-furnished room, 
the heavily curtained windows built unusually high 
above the floor. A brass railing separates me from the 
roll-top desk, at which a middle-aged man, of distinct 
Irish type, is engaged with some papers. 

"Good morning," he greets me, pleasantly. "Have a 
seat," pointing to a chair inside the railing. "I under- 
stand you asked for some water?" 

"Yes." 



40 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Just a few questions first. Nothing important. 
Your pedigree, you know. Mere matter of form. 
Answer frankly, and you shall have everything you 
want." 

His manner is courteous, almost ingratiating. 

"Now tell me, Mr. Berkman, what is your name? 
Your real name, I mean." 

"That's my real name." 

"You don't mean you gave your real name on the 
card you sent in to Mr. Frick?" 

"I gave my real name." 

"And you are an agent of a New York employment 
firm?" 

"No." 

"That was on your card." 

"I wrote it to gain access to Frick." 

"And you gave the name 'Alexander Berkman' to 
gain access?" 

"No. I gave my real name. Whatever might 
happen, I did not want anyone else to be blamed." 

"Are you a Homestead striker?" 

"No." 

"Why did you attack Mr. Frick?" 

"He is an enemy of the People." 

"You got a personal grievance against him?" 

"No. I consider him an enemy of the People." 

"Where do you come from?" 

"From the station cell." 

"Come, now, you may speak frankly, Mr. Berkman. 
I am your friend. I am going to give you a nice, com- 
fortable cell. The other—" 

"Worse than a Russian prison," I interrupt, angrily. 



THE THIRD DEGREE 4* 

"How long did you serve there?" 

"Where?" 

"In the prison in Russia." 

"I was never before inside a cell." 

"Come, now, Mr. Berkman, tell the truth." 

He motions to the officer behind my chair. The 
window curtains are drawn aside, exposing me to the 
full glare of the sunlight. My gaze wanders to the 
clock on the wall. The hour-hand points to V. The 
calendar on the desk reads, July — 23 — Saturday. Only 
three hours since my arrest? It seemed so long in the 
cell. . . . 

"You can be quite frank with me," the inquisitor is 
saying. "I know a good deal more about you than you 
think. We've got your friend Rak-metov." 

With difficulty I suppress a smile at the stupidity of 
the intended trap. In the register of the hotel where 
I passed the first night in Pittsburgh, I signed '*Rakh- 
metov," the name of the hero in Chernishevsky's famous 
novel. 

"Yes, we've got your friend, and we know all about 
you." 

"Then why do you ask me?" 

"Don't you try to be smart now. Answer my ques- 
tions, d'ye hear?" 

His manner has suddenly changed. His tone is 
threatening. 

"Now answer me. Where do you live?" 
"Give me some water. I am too dry to talk." 
"Certainly, certainly," he replies, coaxingly. "You 
shall have a drink. Do you prefer whiskey or beer?" 
"I never drink whiskey, and beer very seldom. 
I want water." 



42 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Well, you'll get it as soon as we get through. Don't 
let us waste time, then. Who are your friends?" 

"Give me a drink." 

"The quicker we get through, the sooner you'll get 
a drink. I am having a nice cell fixed up for you, too. 
I want to be your friend, Mr. Berkman. Treat me 
right, and I'll take care of you. Now, tell me, where 
did you stop in Pittsburgh?" 

"I have nothing to tell you." 

"Answer me, or I'll — " 

His face is purple with rage. With clenched fist 
he leaps from his seat; but, suddenly controlling him- 
self, he says, with a reassuring smile: 

"Now be sensible, Mr. Berkman. You seem to be 
an intelligent man. Why don't you talk sensibly?" 

"What do you want to know?" 

"Who went with you to Mr. Prick's office?" 

Impatient of the comedy, I rise with the words : 

"I came to Pittsburgh alone. I stopped at the Mer- 
chants' Hotel, opposite the B. and O. depot. I signed 
the name Rakhmetov in the register there. It's a 
fictitious name. My real name is Alexander Berkman. 
I went to Prick's office alone. I had no helpers. That's 
all I have to tell you." 

"Very good, very good. Take your seat, Mr. Berk- 
man. We're not in any hurry. Take your seat. You 
may as well stay here as in the cell; it's pleasanter. 
But I am going to have another cell fixed up for you. 
Just tell me, where do you stay in New York?" 

"I have told you all there is to tell." 

"Now, don't be stubborn. Who are your friends?" 

"I won't say another word." 



THE THIRD DEGREE 43 

"Damn you, you'll think better of it. Officers, take 
him back. Same cell." 

Every morning and evening, during three days, the 
scene is repeated by new inquisitors. They coax and 
threaten, they smile and rage in turn. I remain indiffer- 
ent. But water is refused me, my thirst aggravated 
by the salty food they have given me. It consumes me, 
it tortures and burns my vitals through the sleepless 
nights passed on the hard wooden bench. The foul 
air of the cell is stifling. The silence of the grave 
torments me ; my soul is in an agony of uncertainty. 



CHAPTER VI 
THE JAIL 



The days ring with noisy clamor. There is constant 
going and coming. The clatter of levers, the slamming 
of iron doors, continually reverberates through the 
corridors. The dull thud of a footfall in the cell above 
hammers on my head with maddening regularity. In 
my ears is the yelling and shouting of coarse voices. 

"Cell num-ber ee-e-lev-ven ! To court! Right 
a-way !" 

A prisoner hurriedly passes my door. His step is 
nervous, in his look expectant fear. 

"Hurry, there! To court!" 

"Good luck, Jimmie." 

The man flushes and averts his face, as he passes 
a group of visitors clustered about an overseer. 

"Who is that, Officer?" One of the ladies advances, 
lorgnette in hand, and stares boldly at the prisoner. 
Suddenly she shrinks back. A man is being led past 
by the guards. His face is bleeding from a deep gash, 
his head swathed in bandages. The officers thrust 
him violently into a cell. He falls heavily against 
the bed. "Oh, don't! For Jesus' sake, don't!" The 
shutting of the heavy door drowns his cries. 

The visitors crowd about the cell. 

"What did he do ? He can't come out now. Officer ?" 
44 



THE JAIL 45 

"No, ma*am. He's safe." 

The lady's laugh rings clear and silvery. She 
steps closer to the bars, eagerly peering into the 
darkness. A smile of exciting security plays about 
her mouth. 

"What has he done, Officer?" 

"Stole some clothes, ma'am." 

Disdainful disappointment is on the lady's face. 
"Where is that man who — er — we read in the papers 
yesterday? You know — the newspaper artist who 
killed — er — that girl in such a brutal manner." 

"Oh, Jack Tarlin. Murderers' Row, this way, 
ladies." 

II 

The sun is slowly nearing the blue patch of sky, 
visible from my cell in the western wing of the jail. 
I stand close to the bars to catch the cheering rays. 
They glide across my face with tender, soft caress, 
and I feel something melt within me. Closer I press 
to the door. I long for the precious embrace to surround 
me, to envelop me, to pour its soft balm into my aching 
soul. The last rays are fading away, and something 
out of my heart is departing with them. . . . But the 
lengthening shadows on the gray flagstones spread 
quiet. Gradually the clamor ceases, the sounds die out. 
I hear the creaking of rusty hinges, there is the click 
of a lock, and all is hushed and dark. 

The silence grows gloomy, oppressive. It fills me 
with mysterious awe. It lives. It pulsates with slow, 
measured breathing, as of some monster. It rises 
and falls; approaches, recedes. It is Misery asleep. 
Now it presses heavily against my door. I hear its quick- 



46 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

ened breathing. Oh, it is the guard! Is it the death 
watch ? His outline is lost in the semi-darkness, but I see 
the whites of his eyes. They stare at me, they watch 
and follow me. I feel their gaze upon me, as I 
nervously pace the floor. Unconsciously my step 
quickens, but I cannot escape that glint of steel. It 
grimaces and mocks me. It dances before me: it is 
here and there, all around me. Now it flits up and 
down; it doubles, trebles. The fearful eyes stare at 
me from a hundred depressions in the wall. On 
every side they surround me, and bar my way. 

I bury my head in the pillow. My sleep is restless 
and broken. Ever the terrible gaze is upon me, 
watching, watching, the white eyeballs turning with 
my every movement. 

Ill 

The line of prisoners files by my cell. They walk 
in twos, conversing in subdued tones. It is a motley 
crowd from the ends of the world. The native of the 
western part of the State, the "Pennsylvania Dutch- 
man," of stolid mien, passes slowly, in silence. The 
son of southern Italy, stocky and black-eyed, alert 
suspicion on his face, walks with quick, nervous step. 
The tall, slender Spaniard, swarthy and of classic feature, 
looks about him with suppressed disdain. Each, in 
passing, casts a furtive glance into my cell. The last 
in the line is a young negro, walking alone. He nods 
and smiles broadly at me, exposing teeth of dazzling 
whiteness. The guard brings up the rear. He pauses 
at my door, his sharp eye measuring me severely, 
critically. 

"You may fall in." 

The cell is unlocked, and I join the line. The 



THE JAIL 47 

negro is at my side. He loses no time in engaging 
me in conversation. He is very glad, he assures me, 
that they have at last permitted me to "fall in." It 
was a shame to deprive me of exercise for four days. 
Now they will "call de night-dog off. Must been afeared 
o' soocide," he explains. 

His flow of speech is incessant; he seems not a 
whit disconcerted by my evident disinclination to talk. 
Would I have a cigarette? May smoke in the cell. 
One can buy "de weed" here, if he has "de dough"; 
buy anything 'cept booze. He is full of the prison 
gossip. That tall man there is Jack Tinford, of 
Homestead — sure to swing — threw dynamite at the 
Pinkertons. That little "dago" will keep Jack company — 
cut his wife's throat. The "Dutchy" there is "bugs" — 
choked his son in sleep. Presently my talkative com- 
panion volunteers the information that he also is 
waiting for trial. Nothing worse than second degree 
murder, though. Can't hang him, he laughs gleefully. 
"His" man didn't "croak" till after the ninth day. 
He lightly waves aside my remark concerning the 
ninth-day superstition. He is convinced they won't 
hang him. "Can't do't," he reiterates, with a happy 
grin. Suddenly he changes the subject. "Wat am 
yo doin' heah? Only murdah cases on dis ah gal'ry. 
Yuh man didn' croak!" Evidently he expects no 
answer, immediately assuring me that I am "all right." 
"Guess dey b'lieve it am mo' safe foah yo. But can't 
hang yo, can't hang yo." He grows excited over the 
recital of his case. Minutely he describes the details. 
"Dat big niggah, guess 'e t'ot I's afeared of 'm. He 
know bettah now," he chuckles. "Dis ah chile am 
afeared of none ov'm. Ah ain't. *Gwan 'way, niggah,' 
Ah says to 'm; 'yo bettah leab mah gahl be.' An' dat 
big black niggah grab de cleaveh, — we's in d'otel 



4B PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

kitchen, yo see. 'Niggah, drop dat/ Ah hollos, an' he 
come at me. Den dis ah coon pull his trusty li'Ue 
brodeh," he taps his pocket significantly, "an* Ah lets de 
ornery niggah hab it. Plum' in de belly, yassah, Ah 
does, an' he drop his cleaveh an' Ah pulls mah knife 
out, two inches, 'bout, an' den Ah gives it half twist 
like, an' shoves it in 'gen." He illustrates the ghastly 
motion. "Dat bad niggah neveh botheh me 'gen, noh 
nobody else. Ah guess. But dey can't hang me, no 
sah, dey can't, 'cause mah man croak two weeks later. 
Ah's lucky, yassah. Ah is." His face is wreathed in 
a broad grin, his teeth shimmer white. Suddenly he 
grows serious. "Yo am strikeh? No-o-c? Not a 
steel- woikeh ?" with utter amazement. "What yo wan' 
teh shoot Frick f oah ?" He does not attempt to disguise 
his impatient incredulity, as I essay an explanation. 
"Afeared t' tell. Yo am deep all right, Ahlick — dat 
am yuh name? But yo am right, yassah, yo am 
right. Doan' tell nobody. Dey's mos'ly crooks, dat dey 
am, an' dey need watchin' sho'. Yo jes' membuh dat." 

There is a peculiar movement in the marching 
line. I notice a prisoner leave his place. He casts 
an anxious glance around, and disappears in the 
niche of the cell door. The line continues on its 
march, and, as I near the man's hiding place, I hear 
him whisper, "Fall back, Aleck." Surprised at being 
addressed in such familiar manner, I slow down my 
pace. The man is at my side. 

"Say, Berk, you don't want to be seen walking 
with that 'dinge.' " 

The sound of my shortened name grates harshly 
on my ear. I feel the impulse to resent the mutilation. 
The man's manner suggests a lack of respect, offensive 
to my dignity as a revolutionist. 



THE JAIL 49 

"Why?" I ask, turning to look at him. 

He is short and stocky. The thin lips and pointed 
cnin of the elongated face suggest the fox. He meets 
my gaze with a sharp look from above his smoked-glass 
spectacles. His voice is husky, his tone unpleasantly 
confidential. It is bad for a white man to be seen with 
a "nigger," he informs me. It will make feeling against 
me. He himself is a Pittsburgh man for the last 
twenty years, but he was "born and raised" in the 
South, in Atlanta. They have no use for "niggers" 
down there, he assures me. They must be taught to 
keep their place, and they are no good, anyway. 
I had better take his advice, for he is friendly disposed 
toward me. I must be very careful of appearances 
before the trial. My inexperience is quite evident, 
but he "knows the ropes." I must not give "them" 
an opportunity to say anything against me. My 
behavior in jail will weigh with the judge in determining 
my sentence. He himself expects to ' "get off easy." 
He knows some of the judges. Mostly good men. 
He ought to know : helped to elect one of them ; voted 
three times for him at the last election. He closes 
the left eye, and playfully pokes me with his elbow. 
He hopes he'll "get before that judge." He will, if 
he is lucky, he assures me. He had always had 
pretty good luck. Last time he got off with three 
years, though he nearly killed "his" man. But it was 
in self-defence. Have I got a chew of tobacco about 
me? Don't use the weed? Well, it'll be easier in 
the "pen." What's the pen? Why, don't I know? 
The penitentiary, of course. I should have no fear. 
Frick ain't going to die. But what did I want to kill 
the man for? I ain't no Pittsburgh man, that he 
could see plain. What did I want to "nose in" for? 
Help the strikers? I must be crazy to talk that way. 



50 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Why, it was none of my "cheese." Didn't I come from 
New York? Yes? Well, then, how could the strike 
concern me? I must have some personal grudge 
against Frick. Ever had dealings with him? No? 
Sure? Then it's plain ''bughouse," no use talking. 
But it's different with his case. It was his partner 
in business. He knew the skunk meant to cheat him 
out of money, and they quarreled. Did I notice the 
dark glasses he wears? Well, his eyes are bad. He 
only meant to scare the man. But, damn him, he 
croaked. Curse such luck. His third offence, too. 
Do I think the judge will have pity on him? Why, 
he is almost blind. How did he manage to "get 
his man"? Why, just an accidental shot. He didn't 
mean to — 

The gong intones its deep, full bass. 

"All in!" 

The line breaks. There is a simultaneous clatter 
of many doors, and I am in the cell again. 



IV 



Within, on the narrow stool, I find a tin pan filled 
with a dark-brown mixture. It is the noon meal, but 
the "dinner" does not look inviting: the pan is old 
and rusty; the smell of the soup excites suspicion. 
The greasy surface, dotted here and there with specks 
of vegetable, resembles a pool of stagnant water covered 
with green slime. The first taste nauseates me, and I 
decide to "dine" on the remnants of my breakfast — a 
piece of bread. 

I pace the floor in agitation over the conversation 
with my fellow-prisoners. Why can't they understand 



I THE JAIL 51 

the motives that prompted my act? Their manner of 
pitying condescension is aggravating. My attempted 
explanation they evidently considered a waste of effort. 
Not a striker myself, I could and should have had no 
interest in the struggle, — the opinion seemed final with 
both the negro and the white man. In the purpose of the 
act they refused to see any significance, — nothing beyond 
the mere physical effect. It would have been a good 
thing if Frick had died, because "he was bad." But 
it is "lucky" for me that he didn't die, they thought, 
for now "they" can't hang me. My remark that the 
probable consequences to myself are not to be weighed 
in the scale against the welfare of the People, they had 
met with a smile of derision, suggestive of doubt as 
to my sanity. It is, of course, consoling to reflect 
that neither of those men can properly be said to 
represent the People. The negro is a very inferior 
type of laborer; and the other — he is a bourgeois, 
"in business." He is not worth while. Besides, he 
confessed that it is his third offence. He is a common 
criminal, not an honest producer. But that tall man — 
the Homestead steel-worker whom the negro pointed 
out to me — oh, he will understand: he is of the real 
People. My heart wells up in admiration of the 
man, as I think of his participation in the memorable 
struggle of Homestead. He fought the Pinkertons, 
the myrmidons of Capital. Perhaps he helped to 
dynamite the barges and drive those Hessians out of 
town. He is tall and broad-shouldered, his face strong 
and determined, his body manly and powerful. He is 
of the true spirit; the embodiment of the great, 
noble People: the giant of labor grown to his full 
stature, conscious of his strength. Fearless, strong, 
and proud, he will conquer all obstacles; he will break 
his chains and liberate mankind. 



52 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHISt 

V 

Next morning, during exercise hour, I watch with 
beating heart for an opportunity to converse with the 
Homestead steel-worker. I shall explain to him the 
motives and purpose of my attempt on Frick. He 
will understand me; he will himself enlighten his 
fellow-strikers. It is very important they should 
comprehend my act quite clearly, and he is the very 
man to do this great service to humanity. He is the 
rebel-worker; his heroism during the struggle bears 
witness. I hope the People will not allow the enemy 
to hang him. He defended the rights of the Homestead 
workers, the cause of the whole working class. No, the 
People will never allow such a sacrifice. How well he 
carries himself ! Erect, head high, the look of conscious 
dignity and strength — 

"Cell num-b-ber fi-i-ve!" 

The prisoner with the smoked glasses leaves the 
line, and advances in response to the guard's call. 
Quickly I pass along the gallery, and fall into the 
vacant place, alongside of the steel-worker. 

"A happy chance," I address him. "I should like 
to speak to you about something important. You are 
one of the Homestead strikers, are you not?" 

"Jack Tinford," he introduces himself. "What's 
your name?" 

He is visibly startled by my answer. "The man 
who shot Frick?" he asks. 

An expression of deep anxiety crosses his face. 
His eye wanders to the gate. Through the wire net- 
work I observe visitors approaching from the Warden's 
office. 

"They'd better not see us. together," he says, 
impatiently. "Fall in back of me. Then we'll talk." 



THE JAIL 53 

Pained at his manner, yet not fully realizing its 
s'<Tnificance, I slowly fall back. His tall, broad figure 
completely hides me from view. He speaks to me in 
monosyllables, unwillingly. At the mention of Home- 
stead he grows more communicative, talking in an 
undertone, as if conversing with his neighbor, the 
Sicilian, who does not understand a syllable of English. 
I strain my ear to catch his words. The steel-workers 
merely defended themselves against armed invaders, 
I hear him say. They are not on strike: they've been 
locked out by Frick, because he wants to non-unionize 
the works. That's why he broke the contract with 
the Amalgamated, and hired the damned Pinkertons 
two months before, when all was peace. They shot 
many workers from the barges before the millmen 
"got after them." They deserved roasting alive for 
their unprovoked murders. Well, the men "fixed them 
all right." Some were killed, others committed suicide 
on the burning barges, and the rest were forced to 
surrender like whipped curs. A grand victory all 
right, if that coward of a sheriff hadn't got the 
Governor to send the militia to Homestead. But it 
was a victory, you bet, for the boys to get the best 
of three hundred armed Pinkertons. He himself, 
though, had nothing to do with the fight. He was sick 
at the time. They're trying to get the Pinkertons to 
swear his life away. One of the hounds has already 
made an affidavit that he saw him. Jack Tinford, throw 
dynamite at the barges, before the Pinkertons landed. 
But never mind, he is not afraid. No Pittsburgh jury 
will believe those lying murderers. He was in his 
sweetheart's house, sick abed. The girl and her mother. 
will prove an alibi for him. And the Advisory Com- 
mittee of the Amalgamated, too. They know he wasn't 
on the shore. They'll swear to ii in court, anyhow — 



54 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Abruptly he ceases, a look of fear on his face. For 
a moment he is lost in thought. Then he gives me a 
searching look, and smiles at me. As we turn the 
comer of the walk, he whispers: "Too bad you didn't 
kill him. Some business misunderstanding, eh?" he 
adds, aloud. 

Could he be serious, I wonder. Does he only pre- 
tend? He faces straight ahead, and I am unable to see 
his expression. I begin the careful explanation I had 
prepared : 

"Jack, it was for you, for your people that I — " 

Impatiently, angrily he interrupts me. I'd better 
be careful not to talk that way in court, he warns me. 
If Frick should die, I'd hang myself with such "gab." 
And it would only harm the steel-workers. They 
don't believe in killing; they respect the law. Of 
course, they had a right to defend their homes and 
families against unlawful invaders. But they welcomed 
the militia to Homestead. They showed their respect 
for authority. To be sure, Frick deserves to die. He 
is a murderer. But the mill-workers will have nothing 
to do with Anarchists. What did I want to kill him 
for, anyhow? I did. not belong to the Homestead 
men. It was none of my business. I had better not 
say anything about it in court, or — 

The gong tolls. 

"All in!" 

VI 

I pass a sleepless night. The events of the day 
have stirred me to the very depths. Bitterness and 
anger against the Homestead striker fill my heart. 
My hero of yesterday, the hero of the glorious struggle 
of the People, — how contemptible he has proved himself, 
how cravenly small! No consciousness of the great 



THE JAIL 55 

mission of his class, no proud realization of the part 
he himself had acted in the noble struggle. A cowardly, 
overgrown boy, terrified at to-morrow's punishment for 
the prank he has played! Meanly concerned only with 
his own safety, and willing to resort to lying, in order 
to escape responsibility. 

The very thought is appalling. It is a sacrilege, 
an insult to the holy Cause, to the People. To myself, 
too. Not that lying is to be condemned, provided it 
is in the interest of the Cause. All means are justified 
in the war of humanity against its enemies. Indeed, 
the more repugnant the means, the stronger the test 
of one's nobility and devotion. All great revolutionists 
have proved that. There is no more striking example 
in the annals of the Russian movement than that 
peerless Nihilist — what was his name? Why, how 
peculiar that it should escape me just now! I knew it 
so well. He undermined the Winter Palace, beneath 
the very dining-room of the Tsar. What debasement, 
what terrible indignities he had to endure in the role 
of the servile, simple-minded peasant carpenter. How 
his proud spirit must have suffered, for weeks and 
months, — all for the sake of his great purpose. Wonder- 
ful man! To be worthy of your comradeship. . . . 
But this Homestead worker, what a pigmy by com- 
parison. He is absorbed in the single thought of saving 
himself, the traitor. A veritable Judas, preparing to 
forswear his people and their cause, willing to lie and 
deny his participation. How proud I should be in his 
place: to have fought on the barricades, as he did! 
And then to die for it, — ah, could there be a more 
glorious fate for a man, a real man? To serve even 
as the least stone in the foundation of a free society, 
or as a plank in the bridge across which the triumphant 
People shall finally pass into the land of promise? 



56 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

A plank in the bridge. ... In the most* What a 
significant name! How it impressed me the first time 
I heard it! No, I saw it in print, I remember quite 
clearly. Mother had just died. I was dreaming of 
the New World, the Land of Freedom Eagerly I 
read every line of "American news." One day, in the 
little Kovno library — how distinctly it all comes back 
to me — I can see myself sitting there, perusing the 
papers. Must get acquainted with the country. What 
is this? ''Anarchists hanged in Chicago." There are 
many names — one is "Most." "What is an Anarchist?" 
I whisper to the student near by. He is from Peter,** 
he will know. "S — sh! Same as Nihilists." "In free 
America?" I wondered. 

How little I knew of America then 1 A free country, 
indeed, that hangs its noblest men. And the misery, 
the exploitation, — it's terrible. I must mention all this 
in court, in my defence. No, not defence — some fitter 
word. Explanation! Yes, my explanation. I need 
no defence: I don't consider myself guilty. What did 
the Warden mean? Fool for a client, he said, when 
I told him that I would refuse legal aid. He thinks I 
am a fool. Well, he's a bourgeois, he can't understand. 
I'll tell him to leave me alone. He belongs to the 
enemy. The lawyers, too. They are all in the capitalist 
camp. I need no lawyers. They couldn't explain my 
case. I shall not talk to the reporters, either. They 
are a lying pack, those journalistic hounds of capitalism. 
They always misrepresent us. And they know better, 
too. They wrote columns of interviews with Most 
when he went to prison. All lies. I saw him oflF 
myself; he didn't say a word to them. They are 
our worst enemies. The Warden said that they'll 

♦Russian for "bridge." 
** Popular abbreviation of St. Petersburg. 



THE JAIL 57 

come to see me to-morrow. I'll have nothing to say 
to them. They're sure to twist my words, and thus 
impair the effect of my act. It is not complete without 
my explanation. I shall prepare it very carefully. Of 
course, the juty won't understand. They, too, belong 
to the capitalist class. But I must use the trial to 
talk to the People. To be sure, an Attentat on a Frick 
is in itself splendid propaganda. It combines the 
value of example with terroristic effect. But very 
much depends upon my explanation. It offers me a 
rare opportunity for a broader agitation of our ideas. 
The comrades outside will also use my act for 
propaganda. The People misunderstand us: they have 
been prejudiced by the capitalist press. They must 
be enlightened; that is our glorious task. Very difficult 
and slow work, it is true; but they will learn. Their 
patience will break, and then — the good People, they 
have always been too kind to their enemies. And brave, 
even in their suffering. Yes, very brave. Not like that 
fellow, the steel-worker. He is a disgrace to Homestead, 
the traitor. ... 

I pace the cell in agitation. The Judas-striker is 
not fit to live. Perhaps it would be best they should 
hang him. His death would help to open the eyes of the 
People to the real character of legal justice. Legal 
justice — what a travesty! They are mutually exclusive 
terms. Yes, indeed, it would be best he should be 
hanged. The Pinkerton will testify against him. He 
saw Jack throw dynamite. Very good. Perhaps others 
will also swear to it. The judge will believe the Pinker- 
tons. Yes, they will hang him. 

The thought somewhat soothes my perturbation. 
At least the cause of the People will benefit to some 
extent. The man himself is not to be considered. 



58 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

He has ceased to exist: his interests are exclusively 
personal; he can be of no further benefit to the People. 
Only his death can aid the Cause. It is best for him 
to end his career in the service of humanity. I hope 
he will act like a man on the scaffold. The enemy 
should not gloat over his fear, his craven terror. 
They'll see in him the spirit of the People. Of course, 
he is not worthy of it. But he must die like a rebel- 
worker, bravely, defiantly. I must speak to him about it. 
The deep bass of the gong dispels my reverie. 

VII 

There is a distinct sense of freedom in the solitude 
of the night. The day's atmosphere is surcharged with 
noisome anxiety, the hours laden with impending 
terrors. But the night is soothing. For the first time I 
feel alone, unobserved. The "night-dog has been called 
ofif." How refinedly brutal is this constant care lest the 
hangman be robbed of his prey! A simple precaution 
against suicide, the Warden told me. I felt the naive 
stupidity of the suggestion like the thrust of a dagger. 
What a tremendous chasm in our mental attitudes! 
His mind cannot grasp the impossibility of suicide 
before I have explained to the People the motive and 
purpose of my act. Suicide? As if the mere death 
of Frick was my object! The very thought is impos- 
sible, insulting. It outrages me that even a bourgeois 
should so meanly misjudge the aspirations of an active 
revolutionist. The insignificant reptile, Frick, — as if 
the mere man were worth a terroristic effort! I aimed 
at the many-headed hydra whose visible representative 
was Frick. The Homestead developments had given 
him temporary prominence, thrown this particular hydra- 
head into bold relief, so to speak. That alone made him 



THE JAIL 59 

worthy of the revolutionist's attention. Primarily, as 
an object lesson; it would strike terror into the soul 
of his class. They are craven-hearted, their conscience 
weighted with guilt, — and life is dear to them. Their 
strangling hold on labor might be loosened. Only for 
a while, no doubt. But that much would be gained, 
due to the act of the Attentdter. The People could not 
fail to realize the depth of a love that will give its 
own life for their cause. To give a young life, full of 
health and vitality, to give all, without a thought of self ; 
to give all, voluntarily, cheerfully ; nay, enthusiastically — 
could any one fail to understand such a love? 

But this is the first terrorist act in America. The 
People may fail to comprehend it thoroughly. Yet they 
will know that an Anarchist committed the deed. I will 
talk to them from the courtroom. And my comrades 
at liberty will use the opportunity to the utmost to shed 
light on the questions involved. Such a deed must draw 
the attention of the world. This first act of voluntary 
Anarchist sacrifice will make the workingmen think 
deeply. Perhaps even more so than the Chicago martyr- 
dom. The latter was preeminently a lesson in capitalist 
justice. The culmination of a plutocratic conspiracy, 
the tragedy of 1887 lacked the element of voluntary 
Anarchist self-sacrifice in the interests of the People. 
In that distinctive quality my act is initial. Perhaps 
it will prove the entering wedge. The leaven of 
growing oppression is at work. It is for us, the 
Anarchists, to educate labor to its great mission. Let the 
world learn of the misery of Homestead. The sudden 
thunderclap gives warning that beyond the calm horizon 
the storm is gathering. The lightning of social protest — 

"Quick, Ahlick ! Plant it." Something white flutters 
between the bars. Hastily I read the newspaper clipping. 



6o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Glorious! Who would have expected it? A soldier in 
one of the regiments stationed at Homestead called upon 
the line to give "three cheers for the man who shot 
Frick." My soul overflows with beautiful hopes. Such 
a wonderful spirit among the militia; perhaps the sol- 
diers will fraternize with the strikers. It is by no means 
an impossibility: such things have happened before. 
After all, they are of the People, mostly workingmen. 
Their interests are identical with those of the strikers, 
and surely they hate Frick, who is universally con- 
demned for his brutality, his arrogance. This soldier — 
what is his name? lams, W. L. lams — he typifies the 
best feeling of the regiment. The others probably lack 
his courage. They feared to respond to his cheers, 
especially because of the Colonel's presence. But 
undoubtedly most of them feel as lams does. It would 
be dangerous for the enemy to rely upon the Tenth 
Pennsylvania. And in the other Homestead regiments, 
there must also be such noble lamses. They will not 
permit their comrade to be court-martialed, as the 
Colonel threatens. lams is not merely a militia man. 
He is a citizen, a native. He has the right to express 
his opinion regarding my deed. If he had condemned 
it, he would not be punished. May he not, then, voice 
a favorable sentiment? No, they can't punish him. 
And he is surely very popular among the soldiers. 
How manfully he behaved as the Colonel raged before 
the regiment, and demanded to know who cheered for 
**the assassin of Mr. Frick," as the imbecile put it. 
lams stepped out of the ranks, and boldly avowed 
his act. He could have remained silent, or denied it. 
But he is evidently not like that cowardly steel-worker. 
He even refused the Colonel's offer to apologize. 

Brave boy! He is the right material for a revo- 
lutionist. Such a man has no business to belong to 



THE JAIL 6l 

the militia. He should know for what purpose it is 
intended: a tool of capitalism in the enslavement of 
labor. After all, it will benefit him to be court- 
martialed. It will enlighten him. I must follow the 
case. Perhaps the negro will give me more clippings. 
It was very generous of him to risk this act of friend- 
ship. The Warden has expressly interdicted the passing 
of newspapers to me, though the other prisoners are 
permitted to buy them. He discriminates against me 
in every possible way. A rank ignoramus: he cannot 
even pronounce ''Anarchist." Yesterday he said to me: 
"The Anachrists are no good. What do they want, 
anyhow?" I replied, angrily: "First you say they 
are no good, then you ask what they want." He 
flushed. "Got no use for them, anyway." Such an 
imbecile! Not the least sense of justice — he con- 
demns without knowing. I believe he is aiding the 
detectives. Why does he insist I should plead guilty? 
I have repeatedly told him that, though I do not deny 
the act, I am innocent. The stupid laughed outright. 
"Better plead guilty, you'll get off easier. You did it, 
so better plead guilty." In vain I strove to explain to 
him: "I don't believe in your laws, I don't acknowledge 
the authority of your courts. I am innocent, morally." 
The aggravating smile of condescending wisdom kept, 
playing about his lips. "Plead guilty. Take my advice, 
plead guilty." 

Instinctively I sense some presence at the door. The 
small, cunning eyes of the^ Warden peer intently 
through the bars. I feel him an enemy. Well, he may 
have the clipping now if he wishes. But no torture 
shall draw from me an admission incriminating the 
negro. The name Rakhmetov flits through my mind. 
I shall be true to that memory. 



62 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"A gentleman in my office wishes to see you," the 
Warden informs me. 

"Who IS he?" 

"A friend of yours, from Pittsburgh." 

"I know no one in Pittsburgh. I don't care to see 
the man." 

The Warden's suave insistence arouses my sus- 
picions. Why should he be so much interested in 
my seeing a stranger? Visits are privileges, I have 
been told. I decline the privilege. But the Warden 
insists. I refuse. Finally he orders me out of the cell. 
Two guards lead me into the hallway. They halt me 
at the head of a line of a dozen men. Six are counted 
off, and I am assigned to the seventh place. I notice 
that I am the only one in the line wearing glasses. The 
Warden enters from an inner office, accompanied by 
three visitors. They pass down the row, scrutiniz- 
ing each face. They return, their gaze fixed on the 
men. One of the strangers makes a motion as if to put 
his hand on the shoulder of the man on my left. The 
Warden hastily calls the visitors aside. They con- 
verse in whispers, then walk up the line, and pass 
slowly back, till they are alongside of me. The tall 
stranger puts his hand familiarly on my shoulder, 
exclaiming : 

"Don't you recognize me, Mr. Berkman? I met you 
on Fifth Avenue, right in front of the Telegraph 
building."* 

"I never saw you before in my life." 

"Oh, yes! You remember I spoke to you — " 

"No, you did not," I interrupt, impatiently. 

"Take him back," the Warden commands. 



* The building in which the offices of the Carnegie Company 
were located. 



THE JAIL 63 

r protest against the perfidious proceeding. "A 
positive identification," the Warden asserts. The de- 
tective had seen me "in the company of two friends, 
inspecting the office of Mr. Frick." Indignantly I deny 
the false statement, charging him with abetting the con- 
spiracy to involve my comrades. He grows livid with 
rage, and orders me deprived of exercise that afternoon. 

The Warden's role in the police plot is now apparent 
to me. I realize him in his true colors. Ignorant 
though he is, familiarity with police methods has devel- 
oped in him a certain shrewdness: the low cunning of 
the fox seeking its prey. The good-natured smile masks 
a depth of malice, his crude vanity glorying in the 
successful abuse of his wardenship over unfortunate 
human beings. 

This new appreciatio'n of his character clarifies 
various incidents heretofore puzzling to me. My mail is 
being detained at the office, I am sure. It is impossible 
that my New York comrades should have neglected me 
so long: it is now over a week since my arrest. As a 
matter of due precaution, they would not communicate 
with me at once. But two or three days would be 
sufficient to perfect a Deckadresse* Yet not a line has 
reached me from them. It is evident that my mail is 
being detained. 

My reflections rouse bitter hatred of the Warden. 
His infamy fills me with rage. The negro's warning 
against the occupant of the next cell assumes a new 
aspect. Undoubtedly the man is a spy; placed there 
by the Warden, evidently. Little incidents, insignificant 
in themselves, add strong proof to justify the suspicion. 
It grows to conviction as I review various circumstances 



* A "disguise" address, to mask the identity of the corre- 
spondent. 



64 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHISt 

concerning my neighbor. The questions I deemed 
foolish, prompted by mere curiosity, I now see in the 
light of the Warden's role as volunteer detective. The 
young negro was sent to the dungeon for warning me 
against the spy in the next cell. But the latter is never 
reported, notwithstanding his continual knocking and 
talking. Specially privileged, evidently. And the 
Warden, too, is hand-in-glove with the police. I am 
convinced he himself caused the writing of those letters 
he gave me yesterday. They were postmarked Home- 
stead, from a pretended striker. They want to blow up 
the mills, the letter said; good bombs are needed. I 
should send them the addresses of my friends who know 
how to make effective explosives. What a stupid trap! 
One of the epistles sought to involve some of the strike 
leaders in my act. In another, John Most was mentioned. 
Well, I am not to be caught with such chaff. But I must 
be on my guard. It is best I should decline to accept 
mail. They withhold the letters of my friends, anyhow. 
Yes, I'll refuse all mail. 

I feel myself surrounded by enemies, open and secret. 
Not a single being here I may call friend; except the 
negro, who, I know, wishes me well. I hope he will 
give me more clippings, — perhaps there will be news of 
my comrades. I'll try to "fall in" with him at exercise 
to-morrow. . . . Oh ! they are handing out tracts. To- 
morrow is Sunday, — no exercise! 



VIII 



The Lord's day is honored by depriving the prisoners 
of dinner. A scanty allowance of bread, with a tincup- 
ful of black, unsweetened coffee, constitutes breakfast. 
Supper is a repetition of the morning meal, except that 



THE JAIL 65 

the coffee looks thinner, the tincup more rusty. I force 
myself to swallow a mouthful by shutting my eyes. It 
tastes like greasy dishwater, with a bitter suggestion of 
burnt bread. 

Exercise is also abolished on the sacred day. The 
atmosphere is pervaded with the gloom of unbroken 
silence. In the afternoon, I hear the creaking of the 
inner gate. There is much swishing of dresses: the 
good ladies of the tracts are being seated. The doors 
on Murderers' Row are opened partly, at a fifteen-degree 
angle. The prisoners remain in their cells, with the 
guards stationed at the gallery entrances. 

All is silent. I can hear the beating of my heart in 
the oppressive quiet. A faint shadow crosses the dark- 
some floor; now it oscillates on the bars. I hear the 
muffled fall of felt-soled steps. Silently the turnkey 
passes the cell, like a flitting mystery casting its shadow 
athwart a troubled soul. I catch the glint of a revolver 
protruding from his pocket. 

Suddenly the sweet strains of a violin resound in 
the corridor. Female voices swell the melody, "Nearer 
my God to Thee, nearer to Thee." Slowly the volume 
expands; it rises, grows more resonant in contact with 
the gallery floor, and echoes in my cell, "Nearer to 
Thee, to Thee." 

The sounds die away. A deep male voice utters, 
"Let us pray." Its metallic hardness rings like a com- 
mand. The guards stand with lowered heads. Their 
lips mumble after the invisible speaker, "Our Father 
who art in Heaven, give us this day our daily bread. . . . 
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that tres- 
pass against us " 

"Like hell you do !" some one shouts from the upper 
gallery. There is suppressed giggling in the cells. 
Pellmell the officers tush up the stairs. The uproar 



(^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

increases. "Order!" Yells and catcalls drown the 
Warden's voice. Doors are violently opened and shut. 
The thunder of rattling iron is deafening. Suddenly all 
is quiet: the guards have reached the galleries. Only 
hasty tiptoeing is heard. 

The offender cannot be found. The gong rings the 
supper hour. The prisoners stand at the doors, cup in 
hand, ready to receive the coffee. 

"Give the s of b no supper! No supper!" 

roars the Warden. 

Sabbath benediction! 

The levers are pulled, and we are locked in for 
the night. 

IX 

In agitation I pace the cell. Frick didn't die! He 
has almost recovered. I have positive information: the 
"blind" prisoner gave me the clipping during exercise. 
"You're a poor shot," he teased me. 

The poignancy of the disappointment pierces my 
heart. I feel it with the intensity of a catastrophe. My 
imprisonment, the vexations of jail life, the future — 
all is submerged in the flood of misery at the realization 
of my failure. Bitter thoughts crowd my mind; self- 
accusation overwhelms me. I failed! Failed! ... It 
might have been different, had I gone to Frick's resi- 
dence. It was my original intention, too. But the house 
in the East End was guarded. Besides, I had no time to 
wait: that very morning the papers had announced 
Frick's intended visit to New York. I was determined 
he should not escape me. I resolved to act at once. It 
was mainly his cowardice that saved him — he hid under 
the chair! Played dead! And now he lives, the vam- 
pire. . . . And Homestead? How will it affect condi- 



THE JAIL ^ 

tions there? If Frick had died, Carnegie would have 
hastened to settle with the strikers. The shrewd Scot 
only made use of Frick to destroy the hated union. He 
himself was absent, he could not be held accountable. 
The author of 'Triumphant Democracy" is sensitive to 
adverse criticism. With the elimination of Frick, 
responsibility for Homestead conditions would rest 
with Carnegie. To support his role as the friend of 
labor, he must needs terminate the sanguinary struggle. 
Such a development of affairs would have greatly 
advanced the Anarchist propaganda. However some 
may condemn my act, the workers could not be blind to 
the actual situation, and the practical effects of Frick's 
death. But his recovery .... 

Yet, who can tell? It may perhaps have the same 
results. If not, the strike was virtually lost when the 
steel-workers permitted the militia to take possession 
of Homestead. It afforded the Company an opportunity 
to fill the mills with scabs. But even if the strike be 
lost, — our propaganda is the chief consideration. The 
Homestead workers are but a very small part of the 
American working class. Important as this great struggle 
is, the cause of the whole People is supreme. And their 
true cause is Anarchism. All other issues are merged in 
it ; it alone will solve the labor problem. No other con- 
sideration deserves attention. The suffering of indi- 
viduals, of large masses, indeed, is unavoidable under 
capitalist conditions. Poverty and wretchedness must 
constantly increase; it is inevitable. A revolutionist 
cannot be influenced by mere sentimentality. We bleed 
for the People, we suffer for them, but we know the 
real source of their misery. Our whole civilization, false 
to the core as it is, must be destroyed, to be born anew. 
Only with the abolition of exploitation will labor gain 
justice. Anarchism alone can save the world. 



68 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

These reflections somewhat soothe me. My failure 
to accomplish the desired result is grievously exasperat- 
ing, and I feel deeply humiliated. But I shall be the 
sole sufferer. Properly viewed, the merely physical 
result of my act cannot affect its propagandistic value; 
and that is, always, the supreme consideration. The 
chief purpose of my Attentat was to call attention to our 
social iniquities ; to arouse a vital interest in the sufferings 
of the People by an act of self-sacrifice; to stimulate 
discussion regarding the cause and purpose of the act, 
and thus bring the teachings of Anarchism before the 
world. The Homestead situation offered the psychologic 
social moment. What matter the personal consequences 
to Frick? the merely physical results of my Attentat? 
The conditions necessary for propaganda are there: the 
act is accomplished. 

As to myself — my disappointment is bitter, indeed. 
I wanted to die for the Cause. But now they will send 
me to prison — they will bury me alive. . . . 

Involuntarily my hand reaches for the lapel of my 
coat, when suddenly I remember my great loss. In 
agony, I live through again the scene in the police sta- 
tion, on the third day after my arrest. . . . Rough hands 
seize my arms, and I am forced into a chair. My head 
is thrust violently backward, and I face the Chief. He 
clutches me by the throat. 

"Open your mouth ! Damn you, open your mouth !" 

Everything is whirling before me, the desk is circling 
the room, the bloodshot eyes of the Chief gaze at me 
from the floor, his feet flung high in the air, and 
everything is whirling, whirling. . . . 

"Now, Doc, quick !" 

There is a sharp sting in my tongue, my jaws are 
gripped as by a vise, and my mouth is torn open^ 

"What d'ye think of that, eh?" 



The jail 69 

The Chief stands before me, in his hand the dynamite 
cartridge. 

"What's this?" he demands, with an oath. 
*'Candy," I reply, defiantly. 



How full of anxiety these two weeks have been! 
Still no news of my comrades. The Warden is not 
offering me any more mail; he evidently regards my 
last refusal as final. But I am now permitted to purchase 
papers; they may contain something about my friends. 
If I could only learn what propaganda is being made out 
of my act, and what the Girl and Fedya are doing! I 
long to know what is happening with them. But my 
interest is merely that of the revolutionist. They are so 
far away, — I do not count among the living. On the out- 
side, everything seems to continue as usual, as if nothing 
had happened. Frick is quite well now; at his desk 
again, the press reports. Nothing else of importance. 
The police seem to have given up their hunt. How 
ridiculous the Chief has made himself by kidnaping my 
friend Mollock, the New York baker! The impudence 
of the authorities, to decoy an unsuspecting workingman 
across the State line, and then arrest him as my accom- 
plice! I suppose he is the only Anarchist the stupid 
Chief could find. My negro friend informed me of the 
kidnaping last week. But I felt no anxiety : I knew the 
"silent baker" would prove deaf and dumb. Not a word 
could they draw from him. MoUock's discharge by the 
magistrate put the Chief in a very ludicrous position. 
Now he is thirsting for revenge, and probably seeking a 
victim nearer home, in Allegheny. But if the comrades 
preserve silence, all will be well, for I was careful to 



yo PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

leave no clew. I had told them that my destination was 
Chicago, where I expected to secure a position. I can 
depend on Bauer and Nold. But that man E., whom 
I found living in the same house with Nold, impressed 
me as rather unreliable. I thought there was something 
of the hang-dog look about him. I should certainly not 
trust him, and I'm afraid he might compromise the 
others. Why are they friendly, I wonder. He is prob- 
ably not even a comrade. The Allegheny Anarchists 
should have nothing in common with him. It is not 
well for us to associate with the hourgeois-rmnd&d. 

My meditation is interrupted by a guard, who 
informs me that I am "wanted at the office." There is 
a letter for me, but some postage is due on it. Would 
I pay? 

"A trap," it flits through my mind, as I accompany 
the overseer. I shall persist in my refusal to accept 
decoy mail. 

**More letters from Homestead?" I turn to the 
Warden. 

He quickly suppresses a smile. "No, it is post- 
marked, Brooklyn, N. Y." 

I glance at the envelope. The writing is apparently 
a woman's, but the chirography is smaller than the Girl's. 
I yearn for news of her. The letter is from Brooklyn 
— perhaps a Deckadresse! 

"I'll take the letter. Warden." 

"All right. You will open it here." 

"Then I don't want it." 

I start from the office, when the Warden detains me : 

"Take the letter along, but within ten minutes you 
must return it to me. You may go now." 

I hasten to the cell. If there is anything important 
in the letter, I shall destroy it: I owe the enemy no 



THE JAIL 71 

obligations. As with trembling hand I tear open the 
envelope, a paper dollar flutters to the floor. I glance 
at the signature, but the name is unfamiliar. Anxiously 
I scan the lines. An unknown sympathizer sends greet- 
ings, in the name of humanity. "I am not an Anarchist," 
I read, "but I wish you well. My sympathy, however, 
is with the man, not with the act. I cannot justify your 
attempt. Life, human life, especially, is sacred. None 
has the right to take what he cannot give." 

I pass a troubled night. My mind struggles with 
the problem presented so unexpectedly. Can any one 
understanding my motives, doubt the justification of the 
Attentat f The legal aspect aside, can the morality of 
the act be questioned? It is impossible to confound 
law with right ; they are opposites. The law is immoral : 
it is the conspiracy of rulers and priests against the 
workers, to continue their subjection. To be law- 
abiding means to acquiesce, if not directly participate, 
in that conspiracy. A revolutionist is the truly moral 
man: to him the interests of humanity are supreme; 
to advance them, his sole aim in life. Government, with 
its laws, is the common enemy. All weapons are justi- 
fiable in the noble struggle of the People against this 
terrible curse. The Law ! It is the arch-crime of the 
centuries. The path of Man is soaked with the blood it 
has shed. Can this great criminal determine Right? Is 
a revolutionist to respect such a travesty? It would 
mean the perpetuation of human slavery. 

No, the revolutionist owes no duty to capitalist 
morality. He is the soldier of humanity. He has con- 
secrated his life to the People in their great struggle. 
It is a bitter war. The revolutionist cannot shrink from 
the service it imposes upon him. Aye, even the duty 
of death. Cheerfully and joyfully he would die a 



^2 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

thousand times to hasten the triumph of liberty. His 
Hfe belongs to the People. He has no right to live or 
enjoy while others suffer. 

How often we had discussed this, Fedya and I. He 
was somewhat inclined to sybaritism; not quite eman- 
cipated from the tendencies of his bourgeois youth. 
Once in New York — I shall never forget — at the time 
when our circle had just begun the publication of the 
first Jewish Anarchist paper in America, we came to 
blows. We, the most intimate friends; yes, actually 
came to blows. Nobody would have believed it. They 
used to call us the Twins. H I happened to appear 
anywhere alone, they would inquire, anxiously, "What 
is the matter ? Is your chum sick ?" It was so unusual ; 
we were each other's shadow. But one day I struck 
him. He had outraged my most sacred feelings: to 
spend twenty cents for a meal! It was not mere 
extravagance; it was positively a crime, incredible in a 
revolutionist. I could not forgive him for months. 
Even now, — two years have passed, — yet a certain 
feeling of resentment still remains with me. What right 
had a revolutionist to such self-indulgence? The 
movement needed aid; every cent was valuable. To 
spend twenty cents for a single meal ! He was a traitor 
to the Cause. True, it was his first meal in two days, 
and we were economizing on rent by sleeping in the 
parks. He had worked hard, too, to earn the money. 
But he should have known that he had no right to his 
earnings while the movement stood in such need of 
funds. His defence was unspeakably aggravating: he 
had earned ten dollars that week — he had given seven 
into the paper's treasury — he needed three dollars for 
his week's expenses — his shoes were torn, too. I had 
no patience with such arguments. They merely proved 



THE JAIL 73 

his bourgeois predilections. Personal comforts could not 
be of any consideration to a true revolutionist. It was 
a question of the movement; its needs, the first issue. 
Every penny spent for ourselves was so much taken 
from the Cause. True, the revolutionist must live. 
But luxury is a crime; worse, a weakness. One could 
exist on five cents a day. Twenty cents for a single 
meal! Incredible. It was robbery. 

Poor Twin! He was deeply grieved, but he knew 
that I was merely just. The revolutionist has no per- 
sonal right to anything. Everything he has or earns 
belongs to the Cause. Everything, even his affections. 
Indeed, these especially. He must not become too much 
attached to anything. He should guard against strong 
love or passion. The People should be his only great 
love, his supreme passion. Mere human sentiment is 
unworthy of the real revolutionist : he lives for humanity, 
and he must ever be ready to respond to its call. The 
soldier of Revolution must not be lured from the field 
of battle by the siren song of love. Great danger lurks 
in such weakness. The Russian tyrant has frequently 
attempted to bait his prey with a beautiful woman. 
Our comrades there are careful not to associate with 
any woman, except of proved revolutionary character. 
Aye, her mere passive interest in the Cause is not 
sufficient. Love may transform her into a Delilah to 
shear one's strength. Only with a woman consecrated 
to active participation may the revolutionist associate. 
Their perfect comradeship would prove a mutual inspira- 
tion, a source of increased strength. Equals, thoroughly 
solidaric, they would the more successfully serve the 
Cause of the People. Countless Russian women bear 
witness — Sophia Perovskaya, Vera Figner, Zassulitch, 
and many other heroic martyrs, tortured in the 
casemates of Schliisselburg, buried alive in the Petro- 



74 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

pavlovka. What devotion, what fortitude! Perfect 
comrades they were, often stronger than the men. 
Brave, noble women that fill the prisons and Stapes, 
tramp the toilsome road. . . . 

The Siberian steppe rises before me. Its broad 
expanse shimmers in the sun's rays, and blinds the eye 
with white brilliancy. The endless monotony agonizes 
the sight, and stupefies the brain. It breathes the chill 
of death into the heart, and grips the soul with the 
terror of madness. In vain the eye seeks relief from 
the white Monster that slowly tightens his embrace, and 
threatens to swallow you in his frozen depth. . . . 
There, in the distance, where the blue meets the white, a 
heavy line of crimson dyes the surface. It winds along 
the virgin bosom, grows redder and deeper, and ascends 
the mountain in a dark ribbon, twining and wreathing 
its course in lengthening pain, now disappearing in the 
hollow, and again rising on the height. Behold a man 
and a woman, hand in hand, their heads bent, on their 
shoulders a heavy cross, slowly toiling the upward way, 
and behind them others, men and women, young and 
old, all weary with the heavy task, trudging along the 
dismal desert, amid death and silence, save for the 
mournful clank, clank of the chains. . . . 

"Get out now. Exercise!" 

As in a dream I walk along the gallery. The voice 
of my exercise mate sounds dully in my ears. I do 
not understand what he is saying. Does he know about 
the Nihilists, I wonder? 

''Billy, have you ever read anything about Nihilists?" 

**Sure, Berk. When I done my last bit in the 
dump below, a guy lent me a book. A corker, too, it 
was. Let's .see, what you call 'em again?" 

"Nihilists." 



THE JAIL 75 

"Yes, sure. About some Nihirists. The book's 
called Aivan Strodjoff." 
"What was the name?" 

"Somethin' like that. Aivan Strodjoff or Strogoff." 
"Oh, you mean Ivan Strogov, don't you?" 

"That's it. Funny names them foreigners have. A 
fellow needs a cast-iron jaw to say it every day. But 
the story was a corker all right. About a Rooshan 
patriot or something. He was hot stuff, I tell you. 
Overheard a plot to kill th' king by them fellows — er — 
what's you call 'em?" 

"Nihilists?" 

"Yep. Nihilist plot, you know. Well, they wants to 
kill his Nibs and all the dookes, to make one of their 
own crowd king. See? Foxy fellows, you bet. But 
Aivan was too much for 'em. He plays detective. Gets 
in all kinds of scrapes, and some one burns his eyes 
out. But he's game. I don't remember how it all ends, 
but—" 

"I know the story. It's trash. It doesn't tell the 
truth about—" 

"Oh, t'hell with it! Say, Berk, d'ye think they'll 
hang me? Won't the judge sympathize with a blind 
man? Look at me eyes. Pretty near blind, swear to 
God, I am. Won't hang a blind man, will they?" 

The pitiful appeal goes to my heart, and I assure 
him they will not hang a blind man. His eyes brighten, 
his face grows radiant with hope. 

Why does he love life so, I wonder. Of what value 
is it without a high purpose, uninspired by revolutionary 
ideals? He is small and cowardly: he lies to save his 
neck. There is nothing at all wrong with his eyes. But 
why should / lie for his sake? 

My conscience smites me for the moment of weak- 



76 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

ness. I should not allow inane sentimentality to influ- 
ence me: it is beneath the revolutionist. 

"Billy," I say with some asperity, "many innocent 
people have been hanged. The Nihilists, for instance — " 

"Oh, damn 'em! What do / care about 'em! Will 
they hang me, that's what I want to know." 

"May be they will," I reply, irritated at the profana- 
tion of my ideal. A look of terror spreads over his 
face. His eyes are fastened upon me, his lips parted. 
"Yes," I continue, "perhaps they will hang you. Many 
innocent men have suffered such a fate. I don't think 
you are innocent, either; nor blind. You don't need 
those glasses; there is nothing the matter with your 
eyes. Now understand, Billy, I don't want them to 
hang you. I don't believe in hanging. But I must tell 
you the truth, and you'd better be ready for the worst." 

Gradually the look of fear fades from his face. Rage 
suffuses his cheeks with spots of dark red. 

"You're crazy! What's the use talkin' to you, any- 
how? You are a damn Anarchist. I'm a good Catholic, 
I want you to know that! I haven't always did right, 
but the good father confessed me last week. I'm no 
damn murderer like you, see? It was an accident. I'm 
pretty near blind, and this is a Christian country, thank 
God ! They won't hang a blind man. Don't you ever 
talk to me again!" 



XI 



The days and weeks pass in wearying monotony, 
broken only by my anxiety about the approaching trial. 
It is part of the designed cruelty to keep me ignorant 
of the precise date. "Hold yourself ready. You may 
be called any time," the Warden had said. But the 



THE JAIL ^7 

shadows are lengthening, the days come and go, and 
still my name has not appeared on the court calendar. 
Why this torture? Let me have over v^ith it. My 
mission is almost accomplished, — the explanation in 
court, and then my life is done. I shall never again 
have an opportunity to work for the Cause. I may 
therefore leave the world. I should die content, but for 
the partial failure of my plans. The bitterness of dis- 
appointment is gnawing at my heart. Yet why? The 
physical results of my act cannot affect its propagandistic 
value. Why, then, these regrets? I should rise above 
them. But the gibes of officers and prisoners wound 
me. "Bad shot, ain't you?" They do not dream how 
keen their thoughtless thrusts. I smile and try to appear 
indifferent, while my heart bleeds. Why should I, the 
revolutionist, be moved by such remarks? It is weak- 
ness. They are so far beneath me; they live in the 
swamp of their narrow personal interests; they cannot 
understand. And yet the croaking of the frogs may 
reach the eagle's aerie, and disturb the peace of the 
heights. 

The "trusty" passes along the gallery. He walks 
slowly, dusting the iron railing, then turns to give my 
door a few light strokes with the cat-o'-many-tails. 
Leaning against the outer wall, he stoops low, pretending 
to wipe the doorsill, — there is a quick movement of his 
hand, and a little roll of white is shot between the lower 
bars, falling at my feet. "A stiff," he whispers. 

Indifferently I pick up the note. I know no one in 
the jail; it is probably some poor fellow asking for 
cigarettes. Placing the roll between the pages of a 
newspaper, I am surprised to find it in German. 
From whom can it be? I turn to the signature. Carl 
Nold? It's impossible; it's a trap! No, but that 



78 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

handwriting, — I could not mistake it: the small, clear 
chirography is undoubtedly Nold's. But how did he 
smuggle in this note? I feel the blood rush to my head 
as my eye flits over the penciled lines : Bauer and he are 
arrested; they are in the jail now, charged with con- 
spiracy to kill Frick; detectives swore they met them in 
my company, in front of the Frick office building. They 
have engaged a lawyer, the note runs on. Would I 
accept his services? I probably have no money, and I 
shouldn't expect any from New York, because Most — 
what's this? — because Most has repudiated the act — 

The gong tolls the exercise hour. With difficulty 
I walk to the gallery. I feel feverish: my feet drag 
heavily, and I stumble against the railing. 

*Ts yo sick, Ahlick?" It must be the negro's voice. 
My throat is dry ; my lips refuse to move. Hazily I see 
the guard approach. He walks me to the cell, and lowers 
the berth. "You may lie down." The lock clicks, and 
I'm alone. 

The line marches past, up and down, up and down. 
The regular footfall beats against my brain like hammer 
strokes. When will they stop? My head aches dread- 
fully — I am glad I don't have to walk — it was good of 
the negro to call the guard — I felt so sick. What was it? 
Oh, the note! Where is it? 

The possibility of loss dismays me. Hastily I pick 
the newspaper up from the floor. With trembling hands 
I turn the leaves. Ah, it's here ! If I had not found it, 
I vaguely wonder, were the thing mere fancy? 

The sight of the crumpled paper fills me with dread. 
Nold and Bauer here ! Perhaps — if they act discreetly — 
all will be well. They are innocent; they can prove 
it. But Most! How can it be possible? Of course, 
he was displeased when I began to associate with the 



THE JAIL 79 

autonomists. But how can that make any difference? 
.11 such a time! What matter personal Hkes and dis- 
likes to a revolutionist, to a Most — the hero of my first 
years in America, the name that stirred my soul in that 
little library in Kovno — Most, the Bridge of Liberty! 
My teacher — the author of the Kriegswissenschaft — 
the ideal revolutionist — he to denounce me, to repudiate 
propaganda by deed? 

It's incredible ! I cannot believe it. The Girl will not 
fail to write to me about it. I'll wait till I hear from 
her. But, then, Nold is himself a great admirer of 
Most; he would not say anything derogatory, unless 
fully convinced that it is true. Yet — it is barely con- 
ceivable. How explain such a change in Most? To 
forswear his whole past, his glorious past! He was 
always so proud of it, and of his extreme revolu- 
tionism. Some tremendous motive must be back of such 
apostasy. It has no parallel in Anarchist annals. But 
what can it be? How boldly he acted during the Hay- 
market tragedy — publicly advised the use of violence to 
avenge the capitalist conspiracy. He must have realized 
the danger of the speech for which he was later doomed 
to Blackwell's Island. I remember his defiant manner 
on the way to prison. How I admired his strong spirit, 
as I accompanied him on the last ride! That was only 
a little over a year ago, and he is just out a few months. 
Perhaps — is it possible? A coward? Has that prison 
experience influenced his present attitude? Why, it is 
terrible to think of. Most — a coward? H;e who has 
devoted his entire life to the Cause, sacrificed his seat in 
the Reichstag because of uncompromising honesty, stood 
in the forefront all his life, faced peril and danger, — 
he a coward? Yet, it is impossible that he should have 
suddenly altered the views of a lifetime. What could 
have prompted his denunciation of my act? Personal 



8o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

dislike? No, that was a matter of petty jealousy. His 
confidence in me, as a revolutionist, was unbounded. 
Did he not issue a secret circular letter to aid my plans 
concerning Russia? That was proof of absolute faith. 
One could not change his opinion so suddenly. More- 
over, it can have no bearing on his repudiation of a 
terrorist act. I can find no explanation, unless — can it 
be? — fear of personal consequences. Afraid he might 
be held responsible, perhaps. Such a possibility is not 
excluded, surely. The enemy hates him bitterly, and 
would welcome an opportunity, would even conspire, to 
hang him. But that is the price one pays for his love 
of humanity. Every revolutionist is exposed to this 
danger. Most especially; his whole career has been a 
duel with tyranny. But he was never before influenced 
by such considerations. Is he not prepared to take the 
responsibility for his terrorist propaganda, the work of 
his whole life ? Why has he suddenly been stricken with 
fear? Can it be? Can it be? . . . 

My soul is in the throes of agonizing doubt. Despair 
grips my heart, as I hesitatingly admit to myself the 
probable truth. But it cannot be ; Nold has made a mis- 
take. May be the letter is a trap ; it was not written by 
Carl. But I know his hand so well. It is his, his ! Per- 
haps I'll have a letter in the morning. The Girl — she is 
the only one I can trust — she'll tell me — 

My head feels heavy. Wearily I lie on the bed. 
Perhaps to-morrow ... a letter . . . 



XII 



"Your pards are here. Do you want to see them?" 
the Warden asks. 
"What^pards'?" 



THE JAIL 8l 

' Your partners, Bauer and Nold." 

''My comrades, you mean. I have no partners." 

"Same thing. Want to see them? Their lawyers 
are here." 

"Yes, ril see them." 

Of course, I myself need no defence. I will conduct 
my own case, and explain my act. But I shall be glad 
to meet my comrades. I wonder how they feel about 
their arrest, — perhaps they are inclined to blame me. 
And what is their attitude toward my deed? If they side 
with Most — 

My senses are on the alert as the guard accompanies 
me into the hall. Near the wall, seated at a small table, 
I behold Nold and Bauer. Two other men are with 
them; their attorneys, I suppose. All eyes scrutinize me 
curiously, searchingly. Nold advances toward me. His 
manner is somewhat nervous, a look of intense serious- 
ness in his heavy-browed eyes. He grasps my hand. 
The pressure is warm, intimate, as if he yearns to pour 
boundless confidence into my heart. For a moment a 
wave of thankfulness overwhelms me : I long to embrace 
him. But curious eyes bore into me. I glance at Bauer. 
There is a cheerful smile on the good-natured, ruddy 
face. The guard pushes a chair toward the table, and 
leans against the railing. His presence constrains me: 
he will report to the Warden everything said. 

I am introduced to the lawyers. The contrast in 
their appearance suggests a lifetime of legal wrangling. 
The younger man, evidently a recent graduate, is quick, 
alert, and talkative. There is an air of anxious 
expectancy about him, with a look of Semitic shrewd- 
ness in the iong, narrow face. He enlarges upon the 
kind consent of his distinguished colleague to take 
charge of my case. His demeanor toward the elder 



82 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

lawyer is deeply respectful, almost reverential. The 
latter looks bored, and is silent. 

"Do you wish to say something. Colonel?" the young 
lawyer suggests. 

''Nothing." 

He ejects the monosyllable sharply, brusquely. His 
colleague looks abashed, like a schoolboy caught in a 
naughty act. 

''You, Mr. Berkman?" he asks. 

I thank them for their interest in my case. But I 
need no defence, I explain, since I do not consider my- 
self guilty. I am exclusively concerned in making a 
public statement in the courtroom. If I am represented 
by an attorney, I should be deprived of the opportunity. 
Yet it is most vital to clarify to the People the purpose 
of my act, the circumstances — 

The heavy breathing opposite distracts me. I glance 
at the Colonel. His eyes are closed, and from the parted 
lips there issues the regular respiration of sound sleep. 
A look of mild dismay crosses the young lawyer's face. 
He rises with an apologetic smile. 

"You are tired, Colonel. It's awfully close here." 

"Let us go," the Colonel replies. 

Depressed I return to the cell. The old lawyer, — 
how little my explanation interested him! He fell 
asleep! Why, it is a matter of life and death, an issue 
that involves the welfare of the world ! I was so happy 
at the opportunity to elucidate my motives to intelligent 
Americans, — and he was sleeping! The young lawyer, 
too, is disgusting, with his air of condescending pity 
toward one who "will have a fool for a client," as he 
characterized my decision to conduct my own case. He 
may think such a course suicidal. Perhaps it is, in re- 
gard to consequences. But the length of the sentence 



THE JAIL 83 

is a matter of indifference to me : I'll die soon, anyway. 
The only thing of importance now is my explanation. 
And that man fell asleep! Perhaps he considers me a 
criminal. But what can I expect of a lawyer, when even 
the steel- worker could not understand my act? Most 
himself — 

With the name, I recollect the letters the guard had 
given me during the interview. There are three of 
them; one from the Girl! At last! Why did she not 
write before? They must have kept the letter in the 
office. Yes, the postmark is a week old. She'll tell me 
about Most, — but what is the use? I'm sure of it now; 
I read it plainly in Nold's eyes. It's all true. But I 
must see what she writes. 

How every line breathes her devotion to the Cause! 
She is the real Russian woman revolutionist. Her letter 
is full of bitterness against the attitude of Most and 
his lieutenants in the German and Jewish Anarchist 
circles, but she writes words of cheer and encourage- 
ment in my imprisonment. " She refers to the financial 
difficulties of the little commune consisting of Fedya, 
herself, and one or two other comrades, and closes with 
the remark that, fortunately, I need no money for legal 
defence or attorneys. 

The staunch Girl ! She and Fedya are, after all, the 
only true revolutionists I know in our ranks. The others 
all possess some weakness. I could not rely on them. 
The German comrades, — they are heavy, phlegmatic; 
they lack the enthusiasm of Russia. I wonder how they 
ever produced a Reinsdorf. Well, he is the exception. 
There is nothing to be expected from the German move- 
ment, excepting perhaps the autonomists. But they are 
a mere handful, quite insignificant, kept alive mainly by 
the Most and Peukert feud. Peukert, too, the life of 



\ 



^4 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

their circle, is chiefly concerned with his personal re- 
habilitation. Quite natural, of course. A terrible injus- 
tice has been done him.* It is remarkable that the false 
accusations have not driven him into obscurity. There 
is great perseverance, aye, moral courage of no mean 
order, in his survival in the movement. It was that 
which first awakened my interest in him. Most's ex- 
planation, full of bitter invective, suggested hostile per- 
sonal feeling. What a tremendous sensation I created 
at the first Jewish Anarchist Conference by demanding 
that the charges against Peukert be investigated! The 
result entirely failed to substantiate the accusations. But 
the Mostianer were not convinced, blinded by the vitu- 
perative eloquence of Most. And now . . . now, again, 
they will follow, as blindly. To be sure, they will not 
dare take open stand against my act; not the Jewish 
comrades, at least. After all, the fire of Russia still 
smolders in their hearts. But Most's attitude toward 
me will influence them : it will dampen their enthusiasm, 
and thus react on the propaganda. The burden of 
making agitation through my act will fall on the Girl's 
shoulders. She will stand a lone soldier in the field. 
She will exert her utmost efforts, I am convinced. But 
she will stand alone. Fedya will also remain loyal. But 
what can he do? He is not a speaker. Nor the rest 
of the commune circle. And Most? We had all been 
so intimate. . . . It's his cursed jealousy, and cowardice, 
too. Yes, mostly cowardice — he can't be jealous of me 



* Joseph Peukert, at one time a leading Anarchist of Austria, 
was charged with betraying the German Anarchist Neve into the 
hands of the pohce. Neve was sentenced to ten years' prison. 
Peukert always insisted that the accusation against him originated 
with some of his political enemies among the Socialists. It is 
certain that the arrest of Neve was not due to calculated 
treachery on the part of Peukert, but rather to indiscretion. 



THE JAIL 85 

now! He recently left prison, — it must have terrorized 
him. The weakling ! He will minimize the effect of my 
act, perhaps paralyze its propagandistic influence alto- 
gether. . . . Now I stand alone — except for the Girl 
— quite alone. It is always so. Was not *'he" alone, 
my beloved, ''unknown" Grinevitzky, isolated, scorned 
by his comrades? But his bomb . . . how it thun- 
dered. . . . 

I was just a boy then. Let me see, — it was in 1881. 
I was about eleven years old. The class was assembling 
after the noon recess. I had barely settled in my seat, 
when the teacher called me forward. His long pointer 
was dancing a fanciful figure on the gigantic, map of 
Russia. 

"What province is that?" he demanded. 
"Astrakhan." 

"Mention its chief products." 

Products? The name Chernishevsky flitted through 
my mind. He was in Astrakhan, — I heard Maxim tell 
mother so at dinner. 

"Nihilists," I burst out. 

The boys tittered; some laughed aloud. The teacher 
grew purple. He struck the pointer violently on the 
floor, shivering the tapering end. Suddenly there broke 
a roll of thunder. One — two — With a terrific crash, 
the window panes fell upon the desks; the floor shook 
beneath our feet. The room was hushed. Deathly pale, 
the teacher took a step toward the window, but hastily 
turned, and dashed from the room. The pupils rushed 
after him. I wondered at the air of fear and suspicion 
on the streets. At home every one spoke in subdued 
tones. Father looked at mother severely, reproachfully, 
and Maxim was unusually silent, but his face seemed 
radiant, an unwonted brilliancy in his eye. At night, 
alone with me in the dormitory, he rushed to my bed, 



86 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

knelt at my side, and threw his arms around me and 
kissed me, and cried, and kissed me. His wildness 
frightened me. "What is it, Maximotchka ?" I breathed 
softly. He ran up and down the room, kissing me and 
murmuring, "Glorious, glorious I Victory !" 

Between sobs, solemnly pledging me to secrecy, he 
whispered mysterious, awe-inspiring words : Will of the 
People — tyrant removed — Free Russia. . . . 



XIII 



The nights overwhelm me with the sense of solitude. 
Life is so remote, so appallingly far away — it has aban- 
doned me in this desert of silence. The distant puffing 
of fire engines, the shrieking of river sirens, accentuate 
my loneliness. Yet it feels so near, this monster Life, 
huge, palpitating with vitality, intent upon its wonted 
course. How unmindful of myself, flung into the dark- 
ness, — like a furnace spark belched forth amid fire and 
smoke into the blackness of night. 

The monster! Its eyes are implacable; they watch 
every gate of life. Every approach they guard, lest 
I enter back — I and the others here. Poor unfortunates, 
how irritated and nervous they are growing as their 
trial day draws near! There is a hunted look in their 
eyes; their faces are haggard and anxious. They walk 
weakly, haltingly, worn with the long days of waiting. 
Only "Blackie," the j^oung negro, remains cheerful. But 
I often miss the broad smile on the kindly face. I am 
sure his eyes were moist when the three Italians returned 
from court this morning. They had been sentenced to 
death. Joe, a boy of eighteen, walked to the cell with 
a firm step. His brother Pasquale passed us with both 
hands over his face, weeping silently. But the old man, 



THE JAIL 87 

their father — as he was crossing the hallway, we saw 
him suddenly stop. For a moment he swayed, then 
lurched forward, his head striking the iron railing, his 
body falling limp to the floor. By the arms the guards 
dragged him up the stairway, his legs hitting the stone 
with a dull thud, the fresh crimson spreading over his 
white hair, a glassy torpor in his eyes. Suddenly he 
stood upright. His head thrown back, his arms up- 
raised, he cried hoarsely, anguished, ''O Santa Maria! 
Sio innocente, inno — " 

The guard swung his club. The old man reeled and 
fell. 

"Ready! Death-watch!" shouted the Warden. 

"In-no-cente 1 Death-watch !" mocked the echo under 
the roof. 

The old man haunts my days. I hear the agonized 
cry; its black despair chills my marrow. Exercise hour 
has become insupportable. The prisoners irritate me: 
each is absorbed in his own case. The deadening 
monotony of the jail routine grows unbearable. The con- 
stant cruelty and brutality is harrowing. I wish it were 
all over. The uncertainty of my trial day is a ceaseless 
torture. I have been waiting now almost two months. 
My court speech is prepared. I could die now, but they 
would suppress my explanation, and the People thus 
remain ignorant of my aim and purpose. I owe it to 
the Cause — and to the true comrades — to stay on the 
scene till after the trial. There is nothing more to bind 
me to life. With the speech, my opportunities for pro- 
paganda will be exhausted. Death, suicide, is the only 
logical, the sole possible, conclusion. Yes, that is self- 
evident. If I only knew the date of my trial, — that 
day will be my last. The poor old Italian, — he and his 
sons, they at least know when they are to die. They 



88 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

count each day; every hour brings them closer to the 
end. They will be hanged here, in the jail yard. Per- 
haps they killed under great provocation, in the heat 
of passion. But the sheriff will murder them in cold 
blood. The law of peace and order! 

I shall not be hanged — yet I feel as if I were 
dead. My life is done; only the last rite remains to be 
performed. After that — well, I'll find a way. When the 
trial is over, they'll return me to my cell. The spoon is 
of tin : I shall put a sharp edge on it — on the stone floor 
— very quietly, at night — 

"Number six, to court! Num-ber six!" 

Did the turnkey call "six"? Who is in cell six? 
Why, it's my cell! I feel the cold perspiration running 
down my back. My heart beats violently, my hands 
tremble, as I hastily pick up the newspaper. Nervously 
I turn the pages. There must be some mistake: my 
name didn't appear yet in the court calendar column. 
The list is published every Monday — why, this is Satur- 
day's paper — ^yesterday we had service — it must be Mon- 
day to-day. Oh, shame ! They didn't give me the paper 
to-day, and it's Monday — yes, it's Monday — 

The shadow falls across my door. The lock clicks. 

"Hurry, To court!" 



CHAPTER VII 
THE TRIAL 

The courtroom breathes the chill of the graveyard. 
The stained windows cast sickly rays into the silent 
chamber. In the sombre light the faces look funereal, 
spectral. 

Anxiously I scan the room. Perhaps my friends, the 
Girl, have come to greet me. . . . Everywhere cold eyes 
meet my gaze. Police and court attendants on every side. 
Several newspaper men draw near. It is humiliating 
that through them I must speak to the People. 
. "Prisoner at the bar, stand up !" 

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania — the clerk 
vociferates — charges me with felonious assault on H. C. 
Frick, with intent to kill ; felonious assault on John G. A. 
Leishman; feloniously entering the offices of the Car- 
negie Company on three occasions, each constituting a 
separate indictment; and with unlawfully carrying con- 
cealed weapons. 

"Do you plead guilty or not guilty?" 

I protest against the multiplication of the charges. I 
do not deny the attempt on Frick, but the accusation of 
having assaulted Leishman is not true. I have visited 
the Carnegie offices only — 

"Do you plead guilty or not guilty?" the judge inter- 
rupts. 

"Not guilty. I want to explain — " 

"Your attorneys will do that." 

"I have no attorney." 

89 



90 , PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"The Court will appoint one to defend you." 

"I need no defence. I want to make a statement." 

"You will be given an opportunity at the proper 
time." 

Impatiently I watch the proceedings. Of what use 
are all these preliminaries ? My conviction is a foregone 
conclusion. The men in the jury box there, they are to 
decide my fate. As if they could understand! They 
measure me with cold, unsympathetic looks. Why were 
the talesmen not examined in my presence? They were 
already seated when I entered. 

"When was the jury picked?" I demand. 

"You have four challenges," the prosecutor retorts. 

The names of the talesmen sound strange. But what 
matter who are the men to judge me? They, too, belong 
to the enemy. They will do the master's bidding. Yet 
I may, even for a moment, clog the wheels of the Jugger- 
naut. At random, I select four names from the printed 
list, and the new jurors file into the box. 

The trial proceeds. A police officer and two negro 
employees of Frick in turn take the witness stand. They 
had seen me three times in the Frick office, they testify. 
They speak falsely, but I feel indifferent to the hired 
witnesses. A tall man takes the stand. I recognize the 
detective who so brazenly claimed to identify me in the 
jail. He is followed by a physician who states that each 
wound of Frick might have proved fatal. John G. A. 
Leishman is called. I attempted to kill him, he testifies. 
"It's a lie!" I cry out, angrily, but the guards force me 
into the seat. Now Frick comes forward. He seeks to 
avoid my eye, as I confront him. 

The prosecutor turns to me. I decline to examine the 
witnesses for the State. They have spoken falsely ; there 
is no truth in them, and I shall not participate in the 
mockery. 



THE TRIAL 91 

"Call the witnesses for the defence," the judge 
commands. 

I have no need of witnesses. I wish to proceed with 
my statement. The prosecutor demands that I speak 
English. But I insist on reading my prepared paper, in 
German. The judge rules to permit me the services of 
the court interpreter. 

"I address myself to the People," I begin. "Some 
may wonder why I have declined a legal defence. My 
reasons are twofold. In the first place, I am an An- 
archist: I do not believe in man-made law, designed to 
enslave and oppress humanity. Secondly, an extraor- 
dinary phenomenon like an Attentat cannot be measured 
by the narrow standards of legality. It requires a view 
of the social background to be adequately understood. 
A lawyer would try to defend, or palliate, my act from 
the standpoint of the law. Yet the real question at 
issue is not a defence of myself, but rather the expla- 
nation of the deed. It is mistaken to believe me on trial. 
The actual defendant is Society — the system of injustice, 
of the organized exploitation of the People." 

The voice of the interpreter sounds cracked and 
shrill. Word for word he translates my utterance, the 
sentences broken, disconnected, in his inadequate Eng- 
lish. The vociferous tones pierce my ears, and my heart 
bleeds at his meaningless declamation. 

"Translate sentences, not single words," I remon- 
strate. 

With an impatient gesture he leaves me. 

"Oh, please, go on!" I cry in dismay. 

He returns hesitatingly. 

"Look at my paper," I adjure him, "and translate 
each sentence as I read it." 

The glazy eyes are turned to me, in a blank, unseeing 
stare. The man is blind! 



92 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

*'Let — us — continue," he stammers. 

"We have heard enough," the judge interrupts. 

"I have not read a third of my paper," I cry in con- 
sternation. 

"It will do." 

"I have declined the services of attorneys to get time 
to—" 

"We allow you five more minutes." 

"But I can't explain in such a short time. I have the 
right to be heard." 

"We'll teach you differently." 

I am ordered from the witness chair. Several jury- 
men leave their seats, but the district attorney hurries 
forward, and whispers to them. They remain in the 
jury box. The room is hushed as the judge rises. 

"Have you anything to say why sentence should not 
be passed iipnn you ?" 

"You would not let me speak," I reply. "Your jus- 
tice is a farce." 

"Silence!" 

In a daze, I hear the droning voice on the bench. 
Hurriedly the guards lead me from the courtroom. 

"The judge was easy *>« ycj, ' the Warden jeers. 
"Twenty-two years! Pretty stiff, eh?" 




(^ZA^^auJ^^^^— ^/St^^ 



PART N 



THE PENITENTIARY 



CHAPTER I 
DESPERATE THOUGHTS 



"Make yourself at home, now. You'll stay here a 
while, huh, huh !" 

As in a dream I hear the harsh tones. Is the man 
speaking to me, I wonder. Why is he laughing? I feel 
so weary, I long to be alone. 

Now the voice has ceased; the steps are receding. 
All is silent, and I am alone. A nameless weight 
oppresses me. I feel exhausted, my mind a void. 
Heavily I fall on the bed. Head buried in the straw 
pillow, my heart breaking, I sink into deep sleep. 



My eyes burn as with hot irons. The heat sears my 
sight, and consumes my eyelids. Now it pierces my 
head; my brain is aflame, it is swept by a raging fire. 
Oh! 

I wake in horror. A stream of dazzling light is 
pouring into my face. Terrified, I press my hands to 
my eyes, but the mysterious flow pierces my lids, and 
blinds me with maddening torture. 

"Get up and undress. What's the matter with you, 
anyhow ?" 

The voice frightens me. The cell is filled with a con- 
tinuous glare. Beyond, all is dark, the guard invisible. 

95 



96 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Now lay down and go to sleep." 

Silently I obey, when suddenly all grows black before 
my eyes. A terrible fear grips my heart. Have I gone 
blind? I grope for the bed, the wall ... I can't see! 
With a desperate cry I spring to the door. A faint click 
reaches my tense ear, the streaming lightning burns into 
my face. Oh, I can see! I can see! 

"What t' hell's the matter with you, eh? Go to 
sleep. You hear?" 

Quiet and immovable I lie on the bed. Strange 
horrors haunt me. . . . What a terrible place this must 
be! This agony — I cannot support it. Twenty-two 
years ! Oh, it is hopeless, hopeless. I must die. I'll die 
to-night. . . . With bated breath I creep from the bed. 
The iron bedstead creaks. In affright I draw back, 
feigning sleep. All remains silent. The guard did not 
hear me. I should feel the terrible bull's-eye even with 
closed lids. Slowly I open my eyes. It is dark all 
around. I grope about the cell. The wall is damp, 
musty. The odors are nauseating. ... I cannot live 
here. I must die. This very night .... Something 
white glimmers in the corner. Cautiously I bend over. 
It is a spoon. For a moment I hold it indifferently ; then 
a great joy overwhelms me. Now I can die! I creep 
back into bed, nervously clutching the tin. My hand 
feels for my heart. It is beating violently. I will put 
the narrow end of the spoon over here — like this — I 
will force it in — a little lower — a steady pressure — just 
between the ribs. . . . The metal feels cold. How hot 
my body is! Caressingly I pat the spoon against my 
side. My fingers seek the edge. It is dull. I must 
press it hard. Yes, it is very dull. If I only had my 
revolver. But the cartridge might fail to explode. 
That's why Frick is now well, and I must die. How he 
Jpoked at me in court ! There was hate in his eyes, and 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS 97 

fear, too. He turned his head away, he could not face 
me. I saw that he felt guilty. Yet he lives. I didn't 
crush him. Oh, I failed, I failed. . . . 

"Keep quiet there, or Til put you in the hole." 
The gruff voice startles me. I must have been moan- 
ing, ril draw the blanket over my head, so. What was 
I thinking about? Oh, I remember. He is well, and 
I am here. I failed to crush him. He lives. Of course, 
it does not really matter. The opportunity for propa- 
ganda is there, as the result of my act. That was the 
main purpose. But I meant to kill him, and he lives. 
My speech, too, failed. They tricked me. They kept 
the date secret. They were afraid my friends would be 
present. It was maddening the way the prosecuting 
attorney and the judge kept interrupting me. I did not 
read even a third of my statement. And the whole 
effect was lost. How that man interpreted! The poor 
old man ! He was deeply offended when I corrected his 
translation. I did not know he was blind. I called him 
back, and suffered renewed torture at his screeching. I 
was almost glad when the judge forced me to discon- 
tinue. That judge! He acted as indifferently as if the 
matter did not concern him. He must have known that 
the sentence meant death. Twenty-two years! As if 
it is possible to survive such a sentence in this terrible 
place! Yes, he knew it; he spoke of making an example 
of me. The old villain! He has been doing it all his 
life: making an example of social victims, the victims 
of his own class, of capitalism. The brutal mockery of 
it — had I anything to say why sentence should not be 
passed? Yet he wouldn't permit me to continue my 
statement. "The court has been very patient!" I am 
glad I told him that I didn't expect justice, and did not 
get it. Perhaps I should have thrown in his face the 
epithet that sprang to my lips. No, it was best that I 



98 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

controlled my anger. Else they would have rejoiced to 
proclaim the Anarchists vulgar criminals. Such things 
help to prejudice the People against us. We, criminals? 
We, who are ever ready to give our lives for liberty, 
criminals? And they, our accusers? They break their 
own laws: they knew it was not legal to multiply the 
charges against me. They made six indictments out of 
one act, as if the minor "offences" were not included in 
the major, made necessary by the deed itself. They 
thirsted for blood. Legally, they could not give me more 
than seven years. But I am an Anarchist. I had 
attempted the life of a great magnate ; in him capitalism 
felt itself attacked. Of course, I knew they would take 
advantage of my refusal to be legally represented. 
Twenty-two years ! The judge imposed the maximum 
penalty on each charge. Well, I expected no less, and 
it makes no difference now. I am going to die, anyway. 

I clutch the spoon in my feverish hand. Its narrow 
end against my heart, I test the resistance of the flesh. 
A violent blow will drive it between the ribs. . . . 

One, two, three — the deep metallic bass floats upon 
the silence, resonant, compelling. Instantly all is 
motion: overhead, on the sides, everything is vibrant 
with life. Men yawn and cough, chairs and beds are 
noisily moved about, heavy feet pace stone floors. In the 
distance sounds a low rolling, as of thunder. It grows 
nearer and louder. I hear the officers' sharp command, 
the familiar click of locks, doors opening and shutting. 
Now the rumbling grows clearer, more distinct. With 
a moan the heavy bread-wagon stops at my cell. A 
guard unlocks the door. His eyes rest on me curiously, 
suspiciously, while the trusty hands me a small loaf of 
bread. I have barely time to withdraw my arm before 
the door is closed and locked. 

"Want coffee? Hold your cup." 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS 99 

Between the narrow bars, the beverage is poured into 
my bent, rusty tin can. In the semi-darkness of the cell 
the steaming liquid overflows, scalding my bare feet. 
With a cry of pain I drop the can. In the dimly-lit hall 
the floor looks stained with blood. 

"What do you mean by that?" the guard shouts 
at me. 

'1 couldn't help it." 

''Want to be smart, don't you? Well, we'll take it 
out of you. Hey, there, Sam," the officer motions to the 
trusty, "no dinner for A 7, you hear !" 

"Yes, sir. Yes, sir!" 

"No more coffee, either." 

"Yes, sir." 

The guard measures me with a look of scornful 
hatred. Malice mirrors in his face. Involuntarily I step 
back into the cell. His gaze falls on my naked feet. 

"Ain't you got no shoes ?" 

"Yes." 

" Ye-e-s ! Can't you say *sir' ? Got shoes ?" 

"Yes." 

"Put 'em on, damn you." 

His tongue sweeps the large quid of tobacco from one 
cheek to the other. With a hiss, a thick stream of brown 
splashes on my feet. "Damn you, put 'em on." 

The clatter and noises have ceased; the steps have 
died away. All is still in the dark hall. Only occasional 
shadows flit by, silent, ghostlike. 



n 



"Forward, march !" 

The long line of prisoners, in stripes and lockstep, 
resembles an undulating snake, wriggling from side to 



100 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

side, its black-and-gray body moving forward, yet appar- 
ently remaining in the same spot. A thousand feet strike 
the stone floor in regular tempo, with alternate rising 
and falling accent, as each division, flanked by officers, 
approaches and passes my cell. Brutal faces, repulsive 
in their stolid indifference or malicious leer. Here and 
there a well-shaped head, intelligent eye, or sympathetic 
expression, but accentuates the features of the striped 
line : coarse and sinister, with the guilty-treacherous look 
of the ruthlessly hunted. Head bent, right arm extended, 
with hand touching the shoulder of the man in front, all 
uniformly clad in horizontal black and gray, the men 
seem will-less cogs in a machine, oscillating to the 
shouted command of the tall guards on the flanks, 
stern and alert. 

The measured beat grows fainter and dies with the 
hollow thud of the last footfall, behind the closed double 
door leading into the prison yard. The pall of silence 
descends upon the cell-house. I feel utterly alone, de- 
serted and forsaken amid the towering pile of stone and 
iron. The stillness overwhelms me with almost tangible 
weight. I am buried within the narrow walls; the 
massive rock is pressing down upon my head, my sides. 
I cannot breathe. The foul air is stifling. Oh, I can't, 
I can't live here ! I can't suffer this agony. Twenty-two 
years ! It is a lifetime. No, it's impossible. I must die. 
I will! Now! 

Clutching the spoon, I throw myself on the bed. 
My eyes wander over the cell, faintly lit by the light in 
the hall : the whitewashed walls, yellow with damp — the 
splashes of dark-red blood at the head of the bed — 
the clumps of vermin around the holes in the wall — the 
small table and the rickety chair — the filthy floor, black 
and gray in spots. . . . Why, it's stone ! I can sharpen 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS IC)1 

the spoon. Cautiously I crouch in the corner. The tin 
glides over the greasy surface, noiselessly, smoothly, 
till the thick layer of filth is worn off. Then it scratches 
and scrapes. With the pillow I deaden the rasping 
sound. The metal is growing hot in my hand. I pass 
the sharp edge across my finger. Drops of blood trickle 
down to the floor. The wound is ragged, but the blade 
is keen. Stealthily I crawl back into bed. My hand 
gropes for my heart. I touch the spot with the blade. 
Between the ribs — here — I'll be dead when they find 
me. ... If Frick had only died. So much propaganda 
could be made — that damned Most, if he hadn't turned 
against me! He will ruin the whole effect of the act. 
It's nothing but cowardice. But what is he afraid of? 
They can't implicate him. We've been estranged for 
over a year. He could easily prove it. The traitor! 
Preached propaganda by deed all his life — ^now he 
repudiates the first Attentat in this country. What 
tremendous agitation he could have made of it! Now 
he denies me, he doesn't know me. The wretch! He 
knew me well enough and trusted me, too, when together 
we set up the secret circular in the Freiheit office. 
It was in William Street. We waited for the other 
compositors to leave; then we worked all night. It was 
to recommend me: I planned to go to Russia then. 
Yes, to Russia. Perhaps I might have done something 
important there. Why didn't I go? What was it? 
Well, I can't think of it now. It's peculiar, though. But 
America was more important. Plenty of revolutionists m 
Russia. And now. . . . Oh, I'll never do anything more. 
I'll be dead soon. They'll find me cold — a pool of blood 
under me — the mattress will be red — no, it will be 
dark-red, and the blood will soak through the straw . . . 
I wonder how much blood I have. It will gush from 
my heart — I must strike right here — strong and quick 



t02 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

— it will not pain much. But the edge is ragged — it may- 
catch — or tear the flesh. They say the skin is tough. 
I must strike hard. Perhaps better to fall against the 
blade? No, the tin may bend. I'll grasp it close — like 
this — then a quick drive — right into the heart — it's the 
surest way. I must not wound myself — I would bleed 
slowly — they might discover me still alive. No, no! 
I must die at once. They'll find me dead — my heart — 
they'll feel it — not beating — the blade still in it — they'll 
call the doctor — ''He's dead." And the Girl and Fedya 
and the others will hear of it — she'll be sad — but she 
will understand. Yes, she will be glad — they couldn't 
torture me here — she'll know I cheated them — ^yes, 
she. . . . Where is she now? What does she think of 
it all? Does she, too, think I've failed? And Fedya, 
also? If I'd only hear from her — just once. It would 
be easier to die. But she'll understand, she — 

"Git off that bed! Don't you know the rules, eh? 
Get out o' there !" 

Horrified, speechless, I spring to my feet. The spoon 
falls from my relaxed grip. It strikes the floor, clinking 
on the stone loudly, damningly. My heart stands still 
as I face the guard. There is something repulsively 
familiar about the tall man, his mouth drawn into a 
derisive smile. Oh, it's the officer of the morning! 

"Foxy, ain't you? Gimme that spoon.'* 

The coffee incident flashes through my mind. Loath- 
ing and hatred of the tall guard fill my being. For a 
second I hesitate. I must hide the spoon. I cannot 
afford to lose it — ^not to this brute — 

"Cap'n, here!" 

I am dragged from the cell. The tall keeper care- 
fully examines the spoon, a malicious grin stealing over 
his face. 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS 103 

"Look, Cap'n* Sharp as a razor. Pretty des- 
p'ratc, eh?" 

"Take him to the Deputy, Mr. Fellings." 



Ill 



In the rotunda, connecting the north and south 
cell-houses, the Deputy stands at a high desk. Angular 
and bony, with slightly stooped shoulders, his face is 
a mass of minute wrinkles seamed on yellow parchment. 
The curved nose overhangs thin, compressed lips. The 
steely eyes measure me coldly, unfriendly. 

"Who is this?" 

The low, almost feminine, voice sharply accentuates 
the cadaver-like face and figure. The contrast is 
startling. 

"A 7." 

"What is the charge. Officer?" 

"Two charges, Mr. McPane. Layin' in bed and 
tryin' soocide." 

A smile of satanic satisfaction slowly spreads over 
the Deputy's wizened face. The long, heavy fingers of 
his right hand work convulsively, as if drumming stiffly 
on an imaginary board. 

"Yes, hm, hm, yes. A 7, two charges. Hm, hm. 
How did he try to, hm, hm, to commit suicide?" 

"With this spoon, Mr. McPane. Sharp as a razor." 

"'Yes, hm, yes. Wants to die. We have no such 
charge as, hm, hm, as trying suicide in this institution. 
Sharpened spoon, hm, hm; a grave offence. Til see 
about that later. For breaking the rules, hm, hm, by 
lying in bed out of hours, hm, hm, three days. Take him 
down, Officer. He will, hm, hm, cool off." 



I04 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

I am faint and weary. A sense of utter indifference 
possesses me. Vaguely I am conscious of the guards 
leading me through dark corridors, dragging me down 
steep flights, half undressing me, and finally thrusting 
me into a black void. I am dizzy; my head is awhirl. 
I stagger and fall on the flagstones of the dungeon. 



The cell is filled with light. It hurts my eyes. 
Some one is bending over me. 

"A bit feverish. Better take him to the cell." 

"Hm, hm, Doctor, he is in punishment." 

"Not safe, Mr. McPane." 

"We'll postpone it, then. Hm, hm, take him to the 
cell. Officers." 

"Git up." 

My legs seem paralyzed. They refuse to move. 
I am lifted and carried up the stairs, through corridors 
and halls, and then thrown heavily on a bed. 

I feel so weak. Perhaps I shall die now. It would 
be best. But I have no weapon! They have taken 
away the spoon. There is nothing in the cell that I 
could use. These iron bars — I could beat my head 
against them. But oh ! it is such a horrible death. My 
skull would break, and the brains ooze out. . . . But the 
bars are smooth. Would my skull break with one blow ? 
I'm afraid it might only crack, and I should be too weak 
to strike again. If I only had a revolver; that is the 
easiest and quickest. I've always thought I'd prefer such 
a death — to be shot. The barrel close to the temple 
— one couldn't miss. Some people have done it in 
front of a mirror. But I have no mirror. I have no 
revolver, either. . . . Through the mouth it is also 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS I05 

fatal. . . . That Moscow student — Russov was his 
name; yes, Ivan Russov — he shot himself through 
the mouth. Of course, he was foolish to kill himself 
for a woman ; but I admired his courage. How coolly he 
had made all preparations ; he even left a note directing 
that his gold watch be given to the landlady, because — 
he wrote — after passing through his brain, the bullet 
might damage the wall. Wonderful ! It actually 
happened that way. I saw the bullet imbedded in the 
wall near the sofa, and Ivan lay so still and peaceful, 
I thought he was asleep. I had often seen him like that 
in my brother's study, after our lessons. What a 
splendid tutor he was ! I liked him from the first, when 
mother introduced him: "Sasha, Ivan Nikolaievitch will 
be your instructor in Latin during vacation time." My 
hand hurt all day; he had gripped it so powerfully, like 
a vise. But I was glad I didn't cry out. I admired 
him for it; I felt he must be very strong and manly to 
have such a handshake. Mother smiled when I told 
her about it. Her hand pained her too, she said. Sister 
blushed a little. "Rather energetic," she observed. And 
Maxim felt so happy over the favorable impression 
made by his college chum. "What did I tell you?" he 
cried, in glee; "Ivan Nikolaievitch molodets!* Think 
of it, he's only twenty. Graduates next year. The 
youngest alumnus since the foundation of the university. 
MolodetzT But how red were Maxim's eyes when he 
brought the bullet home. He would keep it, he said, 
as long as he lived: he had dug it out, with his own 
hands, from the wall of Ivan Nikolaievitch's room. At 
dinner he opened the little box, unwrapped the cotton, 
and showed me the bullet. Sister went into hysterics, 
and mamma called Max a brute. "For a woman, an 



* Qever, brave lad. 



Io6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

unworthy woman!" sister moaned. I thought he was 
foolish to take his Hfe on account of a woman. I felt 
a little disappointed : Ivan Nikolaievitch should have been 
more manly. They all said she was very beautiful, the 
acknowledged belle of Kovno. She was tall and stately, 
but I thought she walked too stiffly; she seemed self- 
conscious and artificial. Mother said I was too young 
to talk of such things. How shocked she would have 
been had she known that I was in love with Nadya, my 
sister's chum. And I had kissed our chambermaid, too. 
Dear little Rosa, — I remember she threatened to tell 
mother. I was so frightened, I wouldn't come to dinner. 
Mamma sent the maid to call me, but I refused to go 
till Rosa promised not to tell. . . . The sweet girl, with 
those red-apple cheeks. How kind she was! But the 
little imp couldn't keep the secret. She told Tatanya, 
the cook of our neighbor, the Latin instructor at the 
gymnasium. Next day he teased me about the servant 
girl. Before the whole class, too. I wished the floor 
would open and swallow me. I was so mortified. 

. . . How far off it all seems. Centuries away. 
I wonder what has become of her. Where is Rosa now ? 
Why, she must be here, in America. I had almost for- 
gotten, — I met her in New York. It was such a surprise. 
I was standing on the stoop of the tenement house where 
I boarded. I had then been only a few months in the 
country. A young lady passed by. She looked up at me, 
then turned and ascended the steps. "Don't you know 
me, Mr. Berkman? Don't you really recognize me?" 
Some mistake, I thought. I had never before seen this 
beautiful, stylish young woman. She invited me into 
the hallway. "Don't tell these people here. I am Rosa. 
Don't you remember? Why, you know, I was your 
mother's — your mother's maid." She blushed violently. 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS I07 

Those red cheeks — why, certainly, it's Rosa! I thought 
of the stolen kiss. "Would I dare it now?" I wondered, 
suddenly conscious of my shabby clothes. She seemed 
so prosperous. How our positions were changed! She 
looked the very barishnya* like my sister. "Is your 
mother here?" she asked. "Mother? She died, just 
before I left." I glanced apprehensively at her. Did 
she remember that terrible scene when mother struck 
her? "I didn't know about your mother." Her voice 
was husky; a tear glistened in her eye. The dear girl, 
always generous-hearted. I ought to make amends to 
her for mother's insult. We looked at each other in 
embarrassment. Then she held out a gloved hand. 
Very large, I thought; red, too, probably. "Good-bye, 
Gospodirff Berkman," she said. "I'll see you again soon. 
Please don't tell these people who I am." I experienced 
a feeling of guilt and shame. Gospodin Berkman — 
somehow it echoed the servile barinyaX with which the 
domestics used to address my mother. For all her finery, 
Rosa had not gotten over it. Too much bred in, poor 
girl. She has not become emancipated. I never saw 
her at our meetings ; she is conservative, no doubt. She 
was so ignorant, she could not even read. Perhaps she 
has learned in this country. Now she will read about 
me, and she'll know how I died. . . . Oh, I haven't the 
spoon ! What shall I do, what shall I do ? I can't live. 
I couldn't stand this torture. Perhaps if I had seven 
years, I would try to serve the sentence. But I couldn't, 
anyhow. I might live here a year, or two. But twenty- 
two, twenty-two years! What is the use? No man 
could survive it. It's terrible, twenty-two years! Their 
cursed justice — they always talk of law. Yet legally I 
shouldn't have gotten more than seven years. Legally! 



♦Young lady, f Mister. tLady. 



Io8 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

As if they care about ^'legality." They wanted to make 
an example of me. Of course, I knew it beforehand; 
but if I had seven years — ^perhaps I might live through 
it ; I would try. But twenty-two — it's a lifetime, a whole 
lifetime. Seventeen is no better. That man Jamestown 
got seventeen years. He celled next to me in the jail. 
He didn't look like a highway robber, he was so small 
and puny. He must be here now. A fool, to think he 
could live here seventeen years. In this hell — what an 
imbecile he is! He should have committed suicide long 
ago. They sent him away before my trial ; it's about three 
weeks ago. Enough time ; why hasn't he done something? 
He will soon die here, anyway; it would be better to 
suicide. A strong man might live five years; I doubt it, 
though; perhaps a very strong man might. / couldn't; 
no, I know I couldn't; perhaps two or three years, at 
most. We had often spoken about this, the Girl, Fedya, 
and I. I had then such a peculiar idea of prison: I 
thought I would be sitting on the floor in a gruesome, 
black hole, with my hands and feet chained to the wall; 
and the worms would crawl over me, and slowly devour 
my face and my eyes, and I so helpless, chained to the 
wall. The Girl and Fedya had a similar idea. She said she 
might bear prison life a few weeks. I could for a year, I 
thought ; but was doubtful. I pictured myself fighting the 
worms off with my feet; it would take the vermin that 
long to eat all my flesh, till they got to my heart; that 
would be fatal. . . . And the vermin here, those big, 
brown bedbugs, they must be like those worms, so vicious 
and hungry. Perhaps there are worms here, too. There 
must be in the dungeon: there is a wound on my foot. 
I don't know how it happened. I was unconscious in 
that dark hole — it was just like my old idea of prison. 
I couldn't live even a week there: it's awful. Here it 
is a little better ; but it's never light in this cell, — always 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS I09 

in semidarkness. And so small and narrow; no 
windows; it's damp, and smells so foully all the time. 
The walls are wet and clammy ; smeared with blood, too. 
Bedbugs — augh! it's nauseating. Not much better than 
that black hole, with my hands and arms chained to the 
wall. Just a trifle better, — ^my hands are not chained. 
Perhaps I could live here a few years: no more than 
three, or may be five. But these brutal officers ! No, no, 
I couldn't stand it. I want to die! I'd die here soon, 
anyway; they will kill me. But I won't give the enemy 
the satisfaction; they shall not be able to say that they 
are torturing me in prison, or that they killed me. No ! 
I'd rather kill myself. Yes, kill myself. I shall have 
to do it — with my head against the bars — no, not now ! 
At night, when it's all dark, — they couldn't save me then. 
It will be a terrible death, but it must be done. . . . 
If I only knew about "them" in New York— the Girl 
and Fedya — it would be easier to die then. . . . What are 
they doing in the case? Are they making propaganda 
out of it? They must be waiting to hear of my suicide. 
They know I can't live here long. Perhaps they wonder 
why I didn't suicide right after the trial. But I could 
not. I thought I should be taken from the court to my 
cell in jail; sentenced prisoners usually are. I had 
prepared to hang myself that night, but they must have 
suspected something. They brought me directly here 
from the courtroom. Perhaps I should have been 
dead now — 

*'Supper! Want coffee? Hold your tin !" the trusty 
shouts into the door. Suddenly he whispers, "Grab it, 
quick!" A long, dark object is shot between the bars 
into the cell, dropping at the foot of the bed. The man 
is gone. I pick up the parcel, tightly wrapped in brown 
paper. What can it be? The outside cover protects 
two layers of old newspaper; then a white object comes 



no PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

to view. A towel! There is something round and 
hard inside — it's a cake of soap. A sense of thankfulness 
steals into my heart, as I wonder who the donor may 
be. It is good to know that there is at least one being 
here with a friendly spirit. Perhaps it's some one I 
knew in the jail. But how did he procure these things? 
Are they permitted? The towel feels nice and soft; it 
is a relief from the hard straw bed. Everything is so 
hard and coarse here — the language, the guards. . . . 
I pass the towel over my face; it soothes me somewhat. 
I ought to wash up — my head feels so heavy — I haven't 
washed since I got here. When did I come? Let me 
see; what is to-day? I don't know, I can't think. But 
my trial — it was on Monday, the nineteenth of Septem- 
ber. They brought me here in the afternoon; no, in 
the evening. And that guard — ^he frightened me so with 
the bull's-eye lantern. Was it last night? No, it must 
have been longer than that. Have I been here only 
since yesterday ? Why, it seems such a long time ! Can 
this be Tuesday, only Tuesday? I'll ask the trusty the 
next time he passes. I'll find out who sent this towel, 
too. Perhaps I could get some cold water from him; 
or may be there is some here — 

My eyes are growing accustomed to the semi- 
darkness of the cell. I discern objects quite clearly. 
There is a small wooden table and an old chair; in 
the furthest corner, almost hidden by the bed, is the 
privy; near it, in the center of the wall opposite the 
door, is a water spigot over a narrow, circular basin. 
The water is lukewarm and muddy, but it feels refresh- 
ing. The rub-down with the towel is invigorating. 
The stimulated blood courses through my veins with a 
pleasing tingle. Suddenly a sharp sting, as of a needle, 
pricks my face. There's a pin in the towel. As I draw 
it out, something white flutters to the floor. A note! 



DESPERATE THOUGHTS III 

With ear alert for a passing step, I hastily read the 
penciled writing: 

Be shure to tare this up as soon as you reade it, it's from 
a friend. We is going to make a break and you can come along, 
we know you are on the level. Lay low and keep your lamps 
lit at night, watch the screws and the stools they is worse than 
bulls. Dump is full of them and don't have nothing to say. 
So long, will see you tomorrow. A true friend. 

I read the note carefully, repeatedly. The peculiar 
language baffles me. Vaguely I surmise its meaning: 
evidently an escape is being planned. My heart beats 
violently, as I contemplate the possibilities. If I could 
escape. . . . Oh, I should not have to die ! Why haven't 
I thought of it before? What a glorious thing it would 
be ! Of course, they would ransack the country for me. 
I should have to hide. But what does it matter? 
I'd be at liberty. And what tremendous effect! It 
would make great propaganda: people would become 
much interested, and I — why, I should have new 
opportunities — 

The shadow of suspicion falls over my joyous 
thought, overwhelming me with despair. Perhaps a 
trap ! I don't know who wrote the note. A fine con- 
spirator Fd prove, to be duped so easily. But why 
should they want to trap me ? And who ? Some guard ? 
What purpose could it serve? But they are so mean, 
so brutal. That tall officer — the Deputy called him 
Fellings — he seems to have taken a bitter dislike to me. 
This may be his work, to get me in trouble. Would 
he really stoop to such an outrage? These things 
happen — they have been done in Russia. And he looks 
like a provocateur, the scoundrel. No, he won't get me 
that way. I must read the note again. It contains so 
many expressions I don't understand. I should "keep 
my lamps lit." What lamps? There are none in the 



112 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

cell; where am I to get them? And what "screws" 
must I watch? And the "stools," — I have only a chair 
here. Why should I watch it? Perhaps it's to be used 
as a weapon. No, it must mean something else. The 
note says he will call to-morrow. I'll be able to tell by 
his looks whether he can be trusted. Yes, yes, that 
will be best. I'll wait till to-morrow. Oh, I wish it 
were here ! 



CHAPTER II 
THE WILL TO LIVE 



The days drag interminably in the semidarkness 
of the cell. The gong regulates my existence with 
depressing monotony. But the tenor of my thoughts 
has been changed by the note of the mysterious corre- 
spondent. In vain I have been waiting for his appear- 
ance, — yet the suggestion of escape has germinated 
hope. The will to live is beginning to assert itself, 
growing more imperative as the days go by. I wonder 
that my mind dwells upon suicide more and more rarely, 
ever more cursorily. The thought of self-destruction 
fills me with dismay. Every possibility of escape must 
first be exhausted, I reassure my troubled conscience. 
Surely I have no fear of death — when the proper time 
arrives. But haste would be highly imprudent; 
worse, quite unnecessary. Indeed, it is my duty as a 
revolutionist to seize every opportunity for propaganda : 
escape would afford me many occasions to serve the 
Cause. It was thoughtless on my part to condemn that 
man Jamestown. I even resented his seemingly unfor- 
givable delay in committing suicide, considering the 
impossible sentence of seventeen years. Indeed, I was 
unjust: Jamestown is, no doubt, forming his plans. It 
takes time to mature such an undertaking: one must 
first familiarize himself with the new surroundings, get 

113 



114 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

one's bearings In the prison. So far I have had but little 
chance to do so. Evidently, It Is the policy of the 
authorities to keep me in solitary confinement, and in 
consequent ignorance of the intricate system of hallways, 
double gates, and winding passages. At liberty to leave 
this place, it would prove difficult for me to find, unaided, 
my way out. Oh, if I possessed the magic ring I dreamed 
of last night ! It was a wonderful talisman, secreted — I 
fancied in the dream — by the goddess of the Social 
Revolution. I saw her quite distinctly: tall and com- 
manding, the radiance of all-conquering love In her eyes. 
She stood at my bedside, a smile of surpassing gentleness 
sufifusing the queenly countenance, her arm extended 
above me, half in blessing, half pointing toward the 
dark wall. Eagerly I looked in the direction of the 
arched hand — there, in a crevice, something luminous 
glowed with the brilliancy of fresh dew In the morning 
sun. It was a heart-shaped ring cleft in the centre. 
Its scintillating rays glorified the dark corner with the 
aureole of a great hope. Impulsively I reached out, and 
pressed the parts of the ring into a close-fitting whole, 
when, lo! the rays burst into a fire that spread and in- 
stantly melted the iron and steel, and dissolved the prison 
walls, disclosing to my enraptured gaze green fields and 
woods, and men and women playfully at work in the 
sunshine of freedom. And then . . . something dis- 
pelled the vision. 

Oh, if I had that magic heart now! To escape, 
to be free! May be my unknown friend will yet keep 
his word. He is probably perfecting plans, or perhaps 
it IS not safe for him to visit me. If my comrades 
could aid me, escape would be feasible. But the Girl 
and Fedya will never consider the possibility. No doubt 
they refrain from writing because they momentarily 
expect to hear of my suicide. How distraught the poor 



I 



THE WILL TO LIVE "5 

Girl must be! Yet she should have written: it is now 
four days since my removal to the penitentiary. Every 
day I anxiously await the coming of the Chaplain, 
who distributes the mail. — There he is! The quick, 
nervous step has become familiar to my ear. 
Expectantly I follow his movements; I recognize the 
vigorous slam of the door and the click of the spring 
lock. The short steps patter on the bridge connect- 
ing the upper rotunda with the cell-house, and 
pass along the gallery. The solitary footfall amid the 
silence reminds me of the timid haste of one crossing 
a graveyard at night. Now the Chaplain pauses: he is 
comparing the number of the wooden block hanging 
outside the cell with that on the letter. Some one has 
remembered a friend in prison. The steps continue and 
grow faint, as the postman rounds the distant corner. 
He passes the cell-row on the opposite side, ascends the 
topmost tier, and finally reaches the ground floor con- 
taining my cell. My heart beats faster as the sound 
approaches: there must surely be a letter for me. He 
is nearing the cell — he pauses. I can't see him yet, but 
I know he is comparing numbers. Perhaps the letter is 
for me. I hope the Chaplain will make no mistake: 
Range K, Cell 6, Number A 7. Something light flaps 
on the floor of the next cell, and the quick, short step 
has passed me by. No mail for me! Another twenty- 
four hours must elapse before I may receive a letter, 
and then, too, perhaps the faint shadow will not pause 
at my door. 

II 

^ The thought of my twenty-two-year sentence is 

driving me desperate. I would make use of any means, 

1 however terrible, to escape from this hell, to regain 



Il6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

liberty. Liberty ! What would it not offer me after this 
experience? I should have the greatest opportunity for 
revolutionary activity. I would choose Russia. The 
Mostianer have forsaken me. I will keep aloof, but they 
shall learn what a true revolutionist is capable of accom- 
plishing. If there is a spark of manhood in them, they 
will blush for their despicable attitude toward my act, 
their shameful treatment of me. How eager they will 
then be to prove their confidence by exaggerated devo- 
tion, to salve their guilty conscience ! I should not have to 
complain of a lack of financial aid, were I to inform 
our intimate circles of my plans regarding future activity 
in Russia. It would be glorious, glorious ! S — sh — 

It's the Chaplain. Perhaps he has mail for me 
to-day. . . . May be he is suppressing letters from my 
friends ; or probably it is the Warden's fault : the mailbag 
is first examined in his office. — Now the Chaplain is 
descending to the ground floor. He pauses. It must be 
Cell 2 getting a letter. Now he is coming. The shadow 
is opposite my door, — gone! 

"Chaplain, one moment, please." 

"Who's calling?" 

"Here, Chaplain. Cell 6 K." 

"What is it, my boy?" 

"Chaplain, I should like something to read." 

"Read? Why, we have a splendid library, m' boy; 
very fine library. I will send you a catalogue, and you 
can draw one book every week." 

"I missed library day on this range. I'll have to 
wait another week. But I'd like to have something in 
the meantime. Chaplain." 

"You are not working, m' boy?" 

"No." 

"You have not refused to work, have you?" 

"No, I have not been offered any work yet," 



THE WILL- TO LIVE 117 

"Oh, well, you will be assigned soon. Be patient, 
m' boy." 

"But can't I have something to read now?" 

"Isn't there a Bible in your cell?" 

"AJBible? I don't believe in it, Chaplain." 

"My boy, it will do you no harm to read it. It may 
do you good. Read it, m' boy." 

For a moment I hesitate. A desperate idea crosses 
my mind. 

"All right. Chaplain, I'll read the Bible, but I don't 
care for the modern English version. Perhaps you have 
one with Greek or Latin annotations?" 

"Why, why, m' boy, do you understand Latin or 
Greek?" 

"Yes, I have studied the classics." 

The Chaplain seems impressed. He steps close to 
the door, leaning against it in the attitude of a man 
prepared for a long conversation. We talk about the 
classics, the sources of my knowledge, Russian schools, 
social conditions. An interesting and intelligent man, 
this prison Chaplain, an extensive traveler whose visit to 
Russia had impressed him with the great possibilities of 
that country. Finally he motions to a guard : 

"Let A 7 come with me." 

With a suspicious glance at me, the officer unlocks 
the door. "Shall I come along. Chaplain?" he asks, 

"No, no. It is all right. Come, m' boy." 

Past the tier of vacant cells, we ascend the stairway 
to the upper rotunda, on the left side of which is the 
Chaplain's office. Excited and alert, I absorb every 
detail of the surroundings. I strive to appear indiffer- 
ent, while furtively following every movement of the 
Chaplain, as he selects the rotunda key from the large 
bunch in his hand, and opens the door. Passionate 
longing for liberty is consuming me. A plan of escape 



Il8 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

is maturing in my mind. The Chaplain carries all the 
keys — he lives in the Warden's house, connected with 
the prison — he is so fragile — I could easily overpower 
him — there is no one in the rotunda — I'd stifle his cries —  
take the keys — 

"Have a seat, my boy. Sit down. Here are some 
books. Look them over. I have a duplicate of my 
personal Bible, with annotations. It is somewhere here." 

With feverish eyes I watch him lay the keys on the 
desk. A quick motion, and they would be mine. That 
large and heavy one, it must belong to the gate. It is 
so big, — one blow would kill him. Ah, there is a safe! 
The Chaplain is taking some books from it. His back 
is turned to me. A thrust — and I'd lock him in. . . . 
Stealthily, imperceptibly, I draw nearer to the desk, my 
eyes fastened on the keys. Now I bend over them, 
pretending to be absorbed in a book, the while my hand 
glides forward, slowly, cautiously. Quickly I lean over; 
the open book in my hands entirely hides the keys. My 
hand touches them. Desperately I clutch the large, 
heavy bunch, my arm slowly rises^ — 

"My boy, I cannot find that Bible just now, but I'll 
give you some other book. Sit down, my boy. I am 
so sorry about you. I am an officer of the State, but I 
think you were dealt with unjustly. Your sentence is 
quite excessive. I can well understand the state of 
mind that actuated you, a young enthusiast, in these 
exciting times. It was in connection with Homestead, 
is it not so, m' boy?" 

I fall back into the chair, shaken, unmanned. That 
deep note of sympathy, the sincerity of the trembling 
voice — no, no, I cannot touch him. . . . 



THE WILL TO LIVE II9 

III 

At last, mail from New York! Letters from the 
Girl and Fedya. With a feeling of mixed anxiety 
and resentment, I gaze at the familiar handwriting. 
Why didn't they write before? The edge of expectancy 
has been dulled by the long suspense. The Girl and 
the Twin, my closest, most intimate friends of yesterday, 
— but the yesterday seems so distant in the past, its very 
reality submerged in the tide of soul-racking events. 

There is a note of disappointment, almost of bitter- 
ness, in the Girl's letter. The failure of my act will 
lessen the moral effect, and diminish its propagandistic 
value. The situation is aggravated by Most. Owing 
to his disparaging attitude, the Germans remain in- 
different. To a considerable extent, even the Jewish 
revolutionary element has been influenced by him. The 
Twin, in veiled and abstruse Russian, hints at the at- 
tempted completion of my work, planned, yet impossible 
of realization. 

I smile scornfully at the "completion" that failed 
even of an attempt. The damningly false viewpoint of 
the Girl exasperates me, and I angrily resent the dis- 
approving surprise I sense in both letters at my continued 
existence. 

I read the lines repeatedly. Every word drips 
bitterness into my soul. Have I grown morbid, or do 
they actually presume to reproach me with my failure 
to suicide ? By what right ? Impatiently I smother the 
accusing whisper of my conscience, "By the right of 
revolutionary ethics." The will to live leaps into being 
peremptorily, more compelling and imperative at the 
implied challenge. 

No, I will struggle and fight! Friend or enemy, 
they shall learn that I am not so easily done for. I will 
live, to escape, to conquer! 



CHAPTER III 
SPECTRAL SILENCE 

The silence grows more oppressive, the solitude 
unbearable. My natural buoyancy is weighted down by 
a nameless dread. With dismay I realize the failing 
elasticity of my step, the gradual loss of mental vivacity. 
I feel worn in body and soul. 

The regular tolling of the gong, calling to toil or 
meals, accentuates the enervating routine. It sounds 
ominously amid the stillness, like the portent of some 
calamity, horrible and sudden. Unshaped fears, the 
more terrifying because vague, fill my heart. In vain 
I seek to drown my riotous thoughts by reading and 
exercise. The walls stand, immovable sentinels, hemming 
me in on every side, till movement grows into torture. 
In the constant dusk of the windowless cell the letters 
dance before my eyes, now forming fantastic figures, 
now dissolving into corpses and images of death. The 
morbid pictures fascinate my mind. The hissing gas 
jet in the corridor irresistibly attracts me. With eyes 
half shut, I follow the flickering light. Its diffusing 
rays form a kaleidoscope of variegated pattern, now 
crystallizing into scenes of my youth, now converging 
upon the image of my New York life, with grotesque 
illumination of the tragic moments. Now the flame is 
swept by a gust of wind. It darts hither and thither, 
angrily contending with the surrounding darkness. It 
whizzes and strikes into its adversary, who falters, then 

120 



SPECTRAL SILENCE 121 

advances with giant shadow, menacing the light with 
frenzied threats on the whitewashed wall. Look! The 
shadow grows and grows, till it mounts the iron gates 
that fall heavily behind me, as the officers lead me 
through the passage. "You're home now," the guard 
mocks me. I look back. The gray pile looms above me, 
cold and forbidding, and on its crest stands the black 
figure leering at me in triumph. The walls frown upon 
me. They seem human in their cruel immobility. 
Their huge arms tower into the night, as if to crush 
me on the instant. I feel so small, unutterably weak 
and defenceless amid all the loneliness, — the breath of 
the grave is on my face, it draws closer, it surrounds 
me, and shuts the last rays from my sight. In horror 
I pause. . . . The chain grows taut, the sharp edges 
cut into my wrist. I lurch forward, and wake on the 
floor of the cell. 

Restless dream and nightmare haunt the long nights. 
I listen eagerly for the tolling of the gong, bidding 
darkness depart. But the breaking day brings neither 
hope nor gladness. Gloomy as yesterday, devoid of 
interest as the to-morrows at its heels, endlessly dull and 
leaden: the rumbling carts, with their loads of half- 
baked bread; the tasteless brown liquid; the passing 
lines of striped misery ; the coarse commands ; the heavy 
tread; and then — the silence of the tomb. 

Why continue the unprofitable torture? No advan- 
tage could accrue to the Cause from prolonging this 
agony. All avenues of escape are closed ; the institu- 
tion is impregnable. The good people have generously 
fortified this modern bastille; the world at large may 
sleep in peace, undisturbed by the anguish of Calvary. 
No cry of tormented soul shall pierce these walls of 
stone, much less the heart of man. Why, then, prolong 



122 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

the agony? None heeds, none cares, unless perhaps 
my comrades, — and they are far away and helpless. 

Helpless, quite helpless. Ah, if our movement were 
strong, the enemy would not dare commit such outrages, 
knowing that quick and merciless vengeance would 
retaliate for injustice. But the enemy realizes our weak- 
ness. To our everlasting shame, the crime of Chicago 
has not yet been avenged. Vae victis! They shall 
forever be the victims. Only might is respected ; it alone 
can influence tyrants. Had we strength, — but if the 
judicial murders of 1887 failed to arouse more than 
passive indignation, can I expect radical developments 
in consequence of my brutally excessive sentence? It 
is unreasonable. Five years, indeed, have passed since 
the Haymarket tragedy. Perhaps the People have since 
been taught in the bitter school of oppression and defeat. 
Oh, if labor would realize the significance of my deed, 
if the worker would understand my aims and motives, 
he could be roused to strong protest, perhaps to active 
demand. Ah, yes! But when, when will the dullard 
realize things? When will he open his eyes? Blind 
to his own slavery and degradation, can I expect him 
to perceive the wrong suffered by others? And who 
is to enlighten him ? No one conceives the truth as 
deeply and clearly as we Anarchists. Even the Socialists 
dare not advocate the whole, unvarnished truth. They 
have clothed the Goddess of Liberty with a fig-leaf; 
religion, the very fountain-head of bigotry and injustice, 
has officially been declared Privatsache. Henceforth 
these timid world-liberators must be careful not to tread 
upon the toes of prejudice and superstition. Soon they 
will grow to bourgeois respectability, a party of "prac- 
tical" politics and "sound" morality. What a miserable 
descent from the peaks of Nihilism that proclaimed 
defiance of all established institutions, because they were 



SPECTRAL SILENCE I23 

established, hence wrong. Indeed, there is not a single 
institution in our pseudo-civilization that deserves to 
exist. But only the Anarchists dare wage war upon all 
and every form of wrong, and they are few in number, 
lacking in power. The internal divisions, too, aggravate 
our weakness ; and now, even Most has turned apostate. 
The Jewish comrades will be influenced by his attitude. 
Only the Girl remains. But she is young in the move- 
ment, and almost unknown. Undoubtedly she has talent 
as a speaker, but she is a woman, in rather poor 
health. In all the movement, I know of no one capable 
of propaganda by deed, or of an avenging act, except 
the Twin. At least I can expect no other comrade to 
undertake the dangerous task of a rescue. The 
Twin is a true revolutionist; somewhat impulsive and 
irresponsible, perhaps, with slight aristocratic leanings, 
yet quite reliable in matters of revolutionary import. 
But he would not harbor the thought. We held such 
queer notions of prison: the sight of a police uniform, 
an arrest, suggested visions of a bottomless pit, irrevo- 
cable disappearance, as in Russia. How can I broach 
the subject to the Twin? All mail passes through 
the hands of the censor; my correspondence, especially 
— a long-timer and an Anarchist — will be minutely 
scrutinized. There seems no possibility. I am buried 
alive in this stone grave. Escape is hopeless. And this 
agony of living death — I cannot support it. . . . 



CHAPTER IV 



A RAY OF LIGHT 



I yearn for companionship. Even the mere sight 
of a human form is a relief. Every morning, after 
breakfast, I eagerly listen for the familiar swish-swash 
on the flagstones of the hallway : it is the old rangeman* 
''sweeping up." The sensitive mouth puckered up in 
an inaudible whistle, the one-armed prisoner swings the 
broom with his left, the top of the handle pressed under 
the armpit. 

''Hello, Aleck ! How^re you feeling to-day ?" 

He stands opposite my cell, at the further end of 
the wall, the broom suspended in mid-stroke. I catch 
an occasional glance of the kind blue eyes, while his 
head is in constant motion, turning to right and left, 
alert for the approach of a guard. 

"How're you, Aleck?" 

"Oh, nothing extra." 

*'I know how it is, Aleck, IVe been through the 
mill. Keep up your nerve, you'll be all right, old boy. 
You're young yet." 

"Old enough to die," I say, bitterly. 

"S — sh! Don't speak so loud. The screw's got 
long ears." 



* Prisoner taking care of a range or tier of cells. 
124 



A RAY OF LIGHT I25 

*The screw?" 

A wild hope trembles in my heart. The "screw"! 
The puzzling expression in the mysterious note, — perhaps 
this man wrote it. In anxious expectancy, I watch the 
rangeman. His back turned toward me, head bent, he 
hurriedly plies the broom with the quick, short stroke 
of the one-armed sweeper. "S — sh!" he cautions, with- 
out turning, as he crosses the line of my cell. 

I listen intently. Not a sound, save the regular 
swish-swash of the broom. But the more practiced ear 
of the old prisoner did not err. A long shadow falls 
across the hall. The tall guard of the malicious eyes 
stands at my door. 

"What you pryin* out for?" he demands. 

"1 am not prying." 

"Don't you contradict me. Stand back in your hole 
there. Don't you be leanin' on th' door, d'ye hear?" 

Down the hall the guard shouts : "Hey you, cripple ! 
Talkin' there, wasn't you?" 

"No, sir." 

"Don't you dare lie to me. You was." 

"Swear to God I wasn't." 

"W-a-all, if I ever catch you talkin' to that s of 

a b , I'll fix you." 

The scratching of the broom has ceased. The 
rangeman is dusting the doors. The even strokes of 
the cat-o'-nine-tails sound nearer. Again the man stops 
at my door, his head turning right and left, the while 
he diligently plies the duster. 

"Aleck," he whispers, "be careful of that screw. 
He's a . See him jump on me?" 

"What would he do to you if he saw you talking 
to me?" 



J26 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

* 'Throw me in the hole, the dungeon, you know. 
I'd lose my job, too." 

'Then better don't talk to me." 

"Oh, I ain't scared of him. He can't catch me, not 
he. He didn't see me talkin'; just bluffed. Can't bluff 
me, though." 

"But be careful." 

"It's all right. He's gone out in the yard now. He 
has no biz in the block,* anyhow, 'cept at feedin' time. 
He's jest lookin' for trouble. Mean skunk he is, that 
Cornbread Tom." 

"Who?" 

"That screw Fellings. We call him Cornbread 
Tom, b'cause he swipes our corn dodger." 

"What's corn dodger?" 

"Ha, ha ! Toosdays and Satoordays we gets a chunk 
of cornbread for breakfast. It ain't much, but better'n 
stale punk. Know what punk is? Not long on lingo, 
are you? Punk's bread, and then some kids is punk." 

He chuckles, merrily, as at some successful bon mot. 
Suddenly he pricks up his ears, and with a quick gesture 
of warning, tiptoes away from the cell. In a few min- 
utes he returns, whispering: 

"All O. K. Road's clear. Tom's been called to the 
shop. Won't be back till dinner, thank th' Lord. Only 
the Cap is in the block, old man Mitchell, in charge of 
this wing. North Block it's called." 

"The women are in the South Block?" 

"Nope. Th' girls got a speshal building. South 
Block's th' new cell-house, just finished. Crowded 
already, an' fresh fish comin' every day. Court's busy 
in Pittsburgh all right. Know any one here?" 

"No." 



* Cell-house. 



A RAY OF LIGHT 127 

"Well, get acquainted, Aleck. It'll give you an 
interest. Guess that's what you need. I know how you 
feel, boy. Thought I'd die when I landed here. Awful 
dump. A guy advised me to take an interest an' make 
friends. I thought he was kiddin' me, but he was on 
the level, all right. Get acquainted, Aleck; you'll go 
bugs if you don't. Must vamoose now. See you later. 
My name's Wingie." 

"Wingie?" 

"That's what they call me here. Fm an old soldier; 
was at Bull Run. Run so damn fast I lost my right 
wing, hah, hah, hah ! S'long." 

Eagerly I look forward to the stolen talks with 
Wingie. They are the sole break in the monotony of 
my life. But days pass without the exchange of a word. 
Silently the one-armed prisoner walks by, apparently 
oblivious of my existence, while with beating heart I 
peer between the bars for a cheering sign of recognition. 
Only the quick wink of his eye reassures me of 
his interest, and gives warning of the spying guard. 

By degrees the ingenuity of Wingie affords us more 
frequent snatches of conversation, and I gather valuable 
information about the prison. The inmates sympa- 
thize with me, Wingie says. They know I'm "on th' 
level." I'm sure to find friends, but I must be careful 
of the "stool pigeons," who report everything to the 
officers. Wingie is familiar with the history of every 
keeper. Most of them are "rotten," he assures me. 
Especially the Captain of the night watch is "fierce an' 
an ex-fly."* Only three "screws" are on night duty 
in each block, but there are a hundred overseers to 
"run th' dump" during the day. Wingie promises to 
be my friend, and to furnish "more pointers bymby." 



 Fly or fly-cop, a detective. 



CHAPTER V 



THE SHOP 



I STAND in line with a dozen prisoners, in the ante- 
room of the Deputy's office. Humiliation overcomes 
me as my eye falls, for the first time in the full light 
of day, upon my striped clothes. I am degraded to a 
beast! My first impression of a prisoner in stripes is 
painfully vivid : he resembled a dangerous brute. Some- 
how the idea is associated in my mind with a wild 
tigress, — and I, too, must now look like that. 

The door of the rotunda swings open, admitting the 
tall, lank figure of the Deputy Warden. 

"Hands up!" 

The Deputy slowly passes along the line, examining 
a hand here and there. He separates the men into 
groups ; then, pointing to the one in which I am included, 
he says in his feminine accents: 

"None crippled. Officers, take them, hm, hm, to 
Number Seven. Turn them over to Mr. Hoods." 

"Fall in! Forward, march!" 

My resentment at the cattle-like treatment is merged 
into eager expectation. At last I am assigned to work! 
I speculate on the character of "Number Seven," and 
on the possibilities of escape from there. Flanked by 
guards, we cross the prison yard in close lockstep. The 
sentinels on the wall, their rifles resting loosely on 

128 



THE SHOP 129 

crooked arm, face the striped line winding snakelike 
through the open space. The yard is spacious and clean, 
the lawn well kept and inviting. The first breath of 
fresh air in two weeks violently stimulates my longing 
for liberty. Perhaps the shop will offer an opportunity 
to escape. The thought quickens my observation. 
Bounded north, east, and south by the stone wall, the 
two blocks of the cell-house form a parallelogram, en- 
closing the shops, kitchen, hospital, and, on the extreme 
south, the women's quarters. 

"Break ranks !" 

We enter Number Seven, a mat shop. With difficulty 
I distinguish the objects in the dark, low-ceilinged room, 
with its small, barred windows. The air is heavy with 
dust; the rattling of the looms is deafening. An 
atmosphere of noisy gloom pervades the place. 

The officer in charge assigns me to a machine 
occupied by a lanky prisoner in stripes. "]im, show 
him what to do." 

Considerable time passes, without Jim taking the 
least notice of me. Bent low over the machine, he 
seems absorbed in the work, his hands deftly manipulat- 
ing the shuttle, his foot on the treadle. Presently he 
whispers, hoarsely: 

"Fresh fish?" 

"What did you say?" 

"You bloke, long here?" 

"Two weeks." 

"Wotcher doin'?" 

"Twenty-one years." 

"Quitcher kiddin'." 

"It's true." 

"Honest? Holy gee!" 

The shuttle flies to and fro. Jim is silent for a while, 
then he demands, abruptly: 



130 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Wat dey put you here for?" 

"I don't know." 

"Been kickin'?" 

"No." 

"Den you'se bugs." 

"Why so?" 

"Dis 'ere is crank shop. Dey never put a mug 'ere 
'cept he's bugs, or else dey got it in for you." 

"How do you happen to be here?" 

"Me ? De God damn got it in for me. See dis ?" 

He points to a deep gash over his temple. "Had a scrap 
wid de screws. Almost knocked me glimmer out. It 
was dat big bull* dere, Pete Hoods. I'll get even wid 
him, all right, damn his rotten soul. I'll kill him. By 
God, I will. I'll croak 'ere, anyhow." 

"Perhaps it isn't so bad," I try to encourage him. 

"It ain't, eh? Wat d'3;o« know 'bout it ? I've got the 
con bad, spittin' blood every night. Dis dust's killin' 
me. Kill you, too, damn quick." 

As if to emphasize his words, he is seized with a 
fit of coughing, prolonged and hollow. 

The shuttle has in the meantime become entangled 
in the fringes of the matting. Recovering his breath, 
Jim snatches the knife at his side, and with a few deft 
strokes releases the metal. To and fro flies the gleaming 
thing, and Jim is again absorbed in his task. 

"Don't bother me no more," he warns me, "I'm 
behind wid me work." 

Every muscle tense, his long body almost stretched 
across the loom, in turn pulling and pushing, Jim bends 
every effort to hasten the completion of the day's task. 

The guard approaches. "How's he doing?" he 
inquires, indicating me with a nod of the head. 



* Guard. 



THE SHOP 131 

"He's all right. But say, Hoods, dis 'ere is no place 
for de kid. He's got a twenty-one spot." * 

"Shut your damned trap !" the officer retorts, angrily. 
The consumptive bends over his work, fearfully eyeing 
the keeper's measuring stick. 

As the officer turns away, Jim pleads : 

"Mr. Hoods, I lose time teachin'. Won't you please 
take off a bit ? De task is more'n I can do, an' I'm sick." 

"Nonsense. There's nothing the matter with you, 
Jim. You're just lazy, that's what you are. Don't be 
shamming,. now. It don't go with me" 

At noon the overseer calls me aside. "You are green 
here," he warns me, "pay no attention to Jim. He 
wanted to be bad, but we showed him different. He's 
all right now. You have a long time ; see that you behave 
yourself. This is no playhouse, you understand?" 

As I am about to resume my place in the line forming 
to march back to the cells for dinner, he recalls me: 

"Say, Aleck, you'd better keep an eye on that fellow 
Jim. He is a little off, you know." 

He points toward my head, with a significant rotary 
motion. 



II 



The mat shop is beginning to affect my health: the 
dust has inflamed my throat, and my eyesight is weak- 
ening in the constant dusk. The officer in charge has 
repeatedly expressed dissatisfaction with my slow 
progress in the work. "I'll give you another chance,'' 
he cautioned me yesterday, "and if you don't make a 
good mat by next week, down in the hole you go." He 
severely upbraided Jim for his inefficiency as instructor. 



 Sentence. 



132 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

As the consumptive was about to reply, he suffered an 
attack of coughing. The emaciated face turned greenish- 
yellow, but in a moment he seemed to recover, and 
continued working. Suddenly I saw him clutch at the 
frame, a look of terror spread over his face, he began 
panting for breath, and then a stream of dark blood 
gushed from his mouth, and Jim fell to the floor. 

The steady whir of the looms continued. The pris- 
oner at the neighboring machine cast a furtive look at 
the prostrate form, and bent lower over his work. Jim 
lay motionless, the blood dyeing the floor purple. I 
rushed to the officer. 

*'Mr. Hoods, Jim has—" 

"Back to your place, damn you!" he shouted at me. 
"How dare you leave it without permission?" 

"I just—" 

"Get back, I tell you!" he roared, raising the heavy 
stick. 

I returned to my place. Jim lay very still, his lips 
parted, his face ashen. 

Slowly, with measured step, the officer approached. 

"What's the matter here?" 

I pointed at Jim. The guard glanced at the uncon- 
scious man, then lightly touched the bleeding face with 
his foot. 

"Get up, Jim, get up !" 

The nerveless head rolled to the side, striking the leg 
of the loom. 

"Guess he isn't shamming," the officer muttered. 
Then he shook his finger at me, menacingly: "Don't 
you ever leave your place without orders. Remember, 
you!" 

After a long delay, causing me to fear that Jim had 
been forgotten, the doctor arrived. It was Mr. Rankin, 
the senior prison physician, a short, stocky man of 



THE SHOP 133 

advanced middle age, with a humorous twinkle in his 
eye. He ordered the sick prisoner taken to the hospital. 
"Did any one see the man fall?" he inquired. 

"This man did," the keeper replied, indicating me. 

While I was explaining, the doctor eyed me curiously. 
Presently he asked my name. "Oh, the celebrated case," 
he smiled. "I know Mr. Frick quite well. Not such a 
bad man, at all. But you'll be treated well here, Mr. 
Berkman. This is a democratic institution, you know. 
By the way, what is the matter with your eyes? They 
are inflamed. Always that way?" 

"Only since I am working in this shop." 

"Oh, he is all right. Doctor," the officer interposed. 
"He's only been here a week." 

Mr. Rankin cast a quizzical look at the g^ard. 

"You want him here?" 

"Y-e-s : we're short of men." 

"Well, / am the doctor, Mr. Hoods." Then, turning 
to me, he added : "Report in the morning on sick list." 

Ill 

The doctor's examination has resulted in my removal 
to the hosiery department. The change has filled me 
with renewed hope. A disciplinary shop, to which are 
generally assigned the "hard cases" — inmates in the first 
stages of mental derangement, or exceptionally unruly 
prisoners — the mat shop is the point of special super- 
vision and severest discipline. It is the best-guarded 
shop, from which escape is impossible. But in the 
hosiery department, a recent addition to the local indus- 
tries, I may find the right opportunity. It will require 
time, of course; but my patience shall be equal to the 
great object. The working conditions, also, are more 
favorable: the room is light and airy, the discipline not 



134 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

so stringent. My near-sightedness has secured for me 
immunity from machine work. The Deputy at first 
insisted that my eyes were "good enough" to see the 
numerous needles of the hosiery machine. It is true, I 
could see them; but not with sufficient distinctness to 
insure the proper insertion of the initial threads. To 
admit partial ability would result, I knew, in being 
ordered to produce the task ; and failure, or faulty work, 
would be severely punished. Necessity drove me to sub- 
terfuge: I pretended total inability to distinguish the 
needles. Repeated threats of punishment failing to 
change my determination, I have been assigned the com- 
paratively easy work of "turning" the stockings. The oc- 
cupation, though tedious, is not exacting. It consists in 
gathering the hosiery manufactured by the knitting ma- 
chines, whence the product issues without soles. I carry 
the pile to the table provided with an iron post, about 
eighteen inches high, topped with a small inverted disk. 
On this instrument the stockings are turned "inside out" 
by slipping the article over the post, then quickly "un- 
dressing" it. The hosiery thus "turned" is forwarded to 
the looping machines, by which the product is finished 
and sent back to me, once more to be "turned," prepara- 
tory to sorting and shipment. 

Monotonously the days and weeks pass by. Prac- 
tice lends me great dexterity in the work, but the hours 
of drudgery drag with heavy heel. I seek to hasten 
time by forcing myself to take an interest in the task. I 
count the stockings I turn, the motions required by each 
operation, and the amount accomplished within a given 
time. But in spite of these efforts, my mind persistently 
reverts to unprofitable subjects: my friends and the 
propaganda; the terrible injustice of my excessive sen- 
tence ; suicide and escape. 



THE SHOP 135 

My nights are restless. Oppressed with a nameless 
weight, or tormented by dread, I awake with a start, 
breathless and affrighted, to experience the momentary 
relief of danger pas'l But the next instant I am over- 
whelmed by the consciousness of my surroundings, and 
plunged into rage and despair, powerless, hopeless. 

Thus day succeeas night, and night succeeds day, in 
the ceaseless struggle of hope and discouragement, of 
life and death, amid the externally placid tenor of my 
Pennsylvania nightmare. 



CHAPTER Vi 
MY FIRST LETTKR 



Direct to Box A 7, 

Allegheny City, Pa., 
October 19th, 1892. 
Dear Sister :* 

It is just a month, a month to-day, since my coming here. 
I keep wondering, can such a world of misery and torture be 
compressed into one short month? . . . How I have longed for 
this opportunity! You will understand: a month's stay is re- 
quired before we are permitted to write. But many, many long 
letters I have written to you — in my mind, dear Sonya. Where 
shall I begin now? My space is very limited, and I have so 
much to say to you and to the Twin. — I received your letters. 
You need not wait till you hear from me: keep on writing. I 
am allowed to receive all mail sent, "of moral contents," in the 
phraseology of the rules. And I shall write whenever I may. 

Dear Sonya, I sense bitterness and disappointment in your 
letter. Why do you speak of failure? You, at least, you and 
Fedya, should not have your judgment obscured by the mere 
accident of physical results. Your lines pained and grieved me 
beyond words. Not because you should write thus; but that 
you, even you, should think thus. Need I enlarge? True 
morality deals with motives, not consequences. I cannot believe 
that we differ on this point. 

I fully understand what a terrible blow the apostasy of 
Wurstf must have been to you. But however it may minimize 



* The Girl ; also referred to as Sonya, Musick, and Sailor, 
t John Most. 

136 



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.< 



A 













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^i^L^^127 




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FACSIMILE OF PRISON LETTER, REDUCED ONE-THIRD 



MY FIRST LETTER 137 

the effect, . it cannot possibly alter the fact, or its character. 
This you seem to have lost sight of. In spite of Wurst, a great 
deal could have been accomplished. I don't know whether it 
has been done : your letter is very meagre on this point. Yet 
it is of supreme interest to me. But I know, Sonya, — of this 
one thing, at least, I am sure — you will do all that is in your 
power. Perhaps it is not much — but the Twin and part of 
Orchard Street* will be with you. 

Why that note of disappointment, almost of resentment, 
as to Tolstogub's relation to the Darwinian theory ?t You 
must consider that the layman cannot judge of the intricacies 
of scientific hypotheses. The scientist would justly object to 
such presumption. 

I embrace you both. The future is dark; but, then, who 
knows? . . . Write often. Tell me about the movement, your- 
self and friends. It will help to keep me in touch with the 
outside world, which daily seems to recede further. I clutch 
desperately at the thread that still binds me to the living — it 
seems to unravel in my hands, the thin skeins are breaking, 
one by one. My hold is slackening. But the Sonya thread, I 
know, will remain taut and strong. I have always called you 
the Immutable. Alex. 



II 



I posted the letter in the prisoners* mail-box when 
the line formed for work this morning. But the moment 
the missive left my hands, I was seized with a great 
longing. Oh, if some occult means would transform me 
into that slip of paper! I should now be hidden in that 
green box — with bated breath I'd flatten myself in the 
darkest recess, and wait for the Chaplain to collect the 
mail. . . . 



* 54 Orchard Street— the hall in which the first Jewish An- 
archist gatherings were held in New York. An allusion to the 
aid of the Jewish comrades. 

tTolstogub — the author's Russian nickname. The ex- 
pression signifies the continued survival of the writer. 



138 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

My heart beats tumultuously as the wild fancy flutters 
in my brain. I am oblivious of the forming lines, the 
sharp commands, the heavy tread. Automatically I turn 
the hosiery, counting one, two, one pair ; three, four, two 
pair. Whose voice is it I hear? I surely know the 
man — there is something familiar about him. He bends 
over the looping machines and gathers the stockings. 
Now he is counting : one, two, one pair ; three, four, two 
pair. Just like myself. Why, he looks like myself ! And 
the men all seem to think it is I. Ha, ha, ha ! the officer, 
also. I just heard him say, "Aleck, work a little faster, 
can't you? See the piles there, you're falling behind." 
He thinks it's I. What a clever substitution! And all 
the while the real "me" is snugly lying here in the green 
box, peeping through the keyhole, on the watch for 
the postman. S-sh! I hear a footstep. Perhaps it is 
the Chaplain: he will open the box with his quick, 
nervous hands, seize a handful of letters, and thrust them 
into the large pocket of his black serge coat. There are 
so many letters here — I'll slip among them into the large 
pocket — the Chaplain will not notice me. He'll think it's 
just a letter, ha, ha ! He'll scrutinize every word, for it's 
the letter of a long-timer; his first one, too. But I am 
safe, I'm invisible; and when they call the roll, they will 
take that man there for me. He is counting nineteen, 
twenty, ten pair; twenty-one, twenty-two . . . What 
was that? Twenty-two — oh, yes, twenty-two, that's my 
sentence. The imbeciles, they think I am going to serve 
it. I'd kill myself first. But it will not be necessary, 
thank goodness ! It was such a lucky thought, this going 
out in my letter. But what has become of the Chaplain ? 
If he'd only come — why is he so long? They might miss 
me in the shop. No, no ! that man is there — he is turning 
the stockings — they don't know I am here in the box. 
The Chaplain won't know it, either : I am invisible ; he'll 



MY FIRST LETTER 139 

think it's a letter when he puts me in his pocket, and then 
he'll seal me in an envelope and address — I must flatten 
myself so his hand shouldn't feel — and he'll address me to 
Sonya. He'll not know whom he is sending to her — he 
doesn't know who she is, either— the Deckadresse is 
splendid — we must keep it up. Keep it up? Why? It 
will not be necessary : after he mails me, we don't need to 
write any more — it is well, too — I have so much to tell 
Sonya — and it wouldn't pass the censor. But it's all 
right now — they'll throw the letters into the mail-carrier's 
bag — there'll be many of them — this is general letter day. 
I'll hide in the pile, and they'll pass me through the post- 
office, on to New York. Dear, dear New York ! I have 
been away so long. Only a month? Well, I must be 
patient — and not breathe so loud. When I get to New 
York, I shall not go at once into the house — Sonya might 
get frightened. I'll first peep in through the window — I 
wonder what she'll be doing — ^and who will be at home? 
Yes, Fedya will be there, and perhaps Claus and Sep. 
How surprised they'll all be ! Sonya will embrace me — 
she'll throw her arms around my neck — they'll feel so 
soft and warm — 

"Hey, there! Are you deaf? Fall in line!" 

Dazed, bewildered, I see the angry face of the guard 
before me. The striped men pass me, enveloped in a 
mist. I grasp the "turner." The iron feels cold. Chills 
shake my frame, and the bundle of hosiery drops from 
my hand. 

"Fallinline, I tellyou!" 

"Sucker!" some one hisses behind me. "Workin' 
after whistle. 'Fraid you won't get 'nough in yer twenty- 
two spot, eh? You sucker, you!" 



CHAPTER VII 



WINGIE 



The hours at work help to dull the acute conscious- 
ness of my environment. The hosiery department is 
past the stage of experiment; the introduction of addi- 
tional knitting machines has enlarged my task, necessi- 
tating increased effort and more sedulous application. 

The shop routine now demands all my attention. It 
leaves little time for thinking or brooding. My physical 
condition alarms me: the morning hours completely 
exhaust me, and I am barely able to keep up with the 
line returning to the cell-house for the noon meal. A 
feeling of lassitude possesses me, my feet drag heavily, 
and I experience great difficulty in mastering my 
sleepiness. 

I have grown indifferent to the meals; the odor of 
food nauseates me. I am nervous and morbid : the sight 
of a striped prisoner disgusts me; the proximity of a 
guard enrages me. The shop officer has repeatedly 
warned me against my disrespectful and surly manner. 
But I am indifferent to consequences : what matter what 
happens ? My waning strength is a source of satisfaction : 
perhaps it indicates the approach of death. The thought 
pleases me in a quiet, impersonal way. There will be 
no more suffering, no anguish. The world at large is 
non-existent ; it is centered in Me ; and yet I myself stand 
aloof, and see it falling into gradual peace and quiet, into 
extinction. 



140 



WINGIE 141 

Back in my cell after the day's work, I leave the 
evening meal of bread and coffee untouched. My candle 
remains unlit. I sit listlessly in the gathering dusk, con- 
scious only of the longing to hear the gong's deep 
bass, — the three bells tolling the order to retire. I 
welcome the blessed permission to fall into bed. The 
coarse straw mattress beckons invitingly; I yearn for 
sleep, for oblivion. 

Occasional mail from friends rouses me from my 
apathy. But the awakening is brief : the tone of the let- 
ters is guarded, their contents too general in character, 
the matters that might kindle my interest are missing. 
The world and its problems are drifting from my horizon. 
I am cast into the darkness. No ray of sunshine holds 
out the promise of spring. 

At times the realization of my fate is borne in upon 
me with the violence of a shock, and I am engulfed in 
despair, now threatening to break down the barriers of 
sanity, now affording melancholy satisfaction in the wild 
play of fancy. . . . Existence grows more and more 
unbearable with the contrast of dream and reality. 
Weary of the day's routine, I welcome the solitude of the 
cell, impatient even of the greeting of the passing convict. 
I shrink from the uninvited familiarity of these men, 
the horizontal gray and black constantly reviving the 
image of the tigress, with her stealthy, vicious cunning. 
They are not of my world. I would aid them, as in 
duty bound to the victims of social injustice. But I 
cannot be friends with them: they do not belong to the 
People, to whose service my life is consecrated. Un- 
fortunates, indeed ; yet parasites upon the producers, less 
in degree, but no less in kind than the rich exploiters. By 
virtue of my principles, rather than their deserts, I must 



142 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

give them my intellectual sympathy ; they touch no chord 
in my heart. 

Only Wingie seems different. There is a gentle note 
about his manner that breathes cheer and encouragement. 
Often I long for his presence, yet he seldom finds oppor- 
tunity to talk with me, save Sundays during church 
service, when I remain in the cell. Perhaps I may see 
him to-day. He must be careful of the Block Captain, 
on his rounds of the galleries, counting the church delin- 
quents.* The Captain is passing on the range now. I 
recognize the uncertain step, instantly ready to halt at the 
sight of a face behind the bars. Now he is at the cell. 
He pencils in his note-book the number on the wooden 
block over the door, A 7. 

''Catholic ?" he asks, mechanically. Then, looking up, 
he frowns on me. 

"You're no Catholic, Berkman. What d'you stay 
in for?" 

"I am an atheist." 

"A what?" 

"An atheist, a non-believer." 

"Oh, an infidel, are you? You'll be damned, shore 
'nough." 

The wooden stairs creak beneath the officer's weight. 
He has turned the corner. Wingie will take advantage 
now. I hope he will come soon. Perhaps somebody is 
watching — 

"Hello, Aleck ! Want a piece of pie ? Here, grab it !" 

"Pie, Wingie?" I whisper wonderingly. "Where do 
you get such luxuries?" 

"Swiped from the screw's poke, Cornbread Tom's 



* Inmates of Catholic faith are excused from attending 
Protestant service, and vice versa. 



WINGIE 143 

dinner-basket, you know. The cheap guy saved it after 
breakfast. Rotten, ain't he ?" 

"Why so?" 

"Why, you greenie, he's a stomach robber, that's what 
he is. It's our pie, Aleck, made here in the bakery. 
That's why our punk is stale, see ; they steals the east* to 
make pies for th' screws. Are you next? How d' you 
like the grub, anyhow ?" 

"The bread is generally stale, Wingie. And the coffee 
tastes like tepid water." 

"Coffee you call it? He, he, coffee hell. It ain't no 
damn coffee; 'tnever was near coffee. It's just bootleg, 
Aleck, bootleg. Know how't's made ?" 

"No." 

"Well, I been three months in th' kitchen. You c'flect 
all the old punk that the cons dump out with their dinner 
pans. Only the crust's used, see. Like as not some syph 
coon spit on 't. Some's mean enough to do't, you know. 
Makes no diff, though. Orders is, cut off th' crusts an' 
burn 'em to a good black crisp. Then you pour boiling 
water over it an' dump it in th' kettle, inside a bag, you 
know, an' throw a little dirty chic'ry in — there's your 
coffee. I never touch th' rotten stuff. It rooins your 
stummick, that's what it does, Aleck. You oughtn't drink 
th' swill." 

"I don't care if it kills me." 

"Come, come, Aleck. Cheer up, old boy. You got a 
tough bit, I know, but don' take it so hard. Don' think 
of your time. Forget it. Oh, yes, you can; you jest 
take my word for't. Make some friends. Think who 
you wan' to see to-morrow, then try t' see 'm. That's 
what you wan' to do, Aleck. It'll keep you hustlin'. Best 
thing for the blues, kiddie." 

♦Yeast 



X44 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

For a moment he pauses in his hurried whisper. The 
soft eyes are full of sympathy, the lips smile encourag- 
ingly. He leans the broom against the door, glances 
quickly around, hesitates an instant, and then deftly slips 
a slender, delicate hand between the bars, and gives my 
cheek a tender pat. 

Involuntarily I step back, with the instinctive dislike 
of a man's caress. Yet I would not offend my kind 
friend. But Wingie must have noticed my annoyance: 
he eyes me critically, wonderingly. Presently picking up 
the broom, he says with a touch of diffidence : 

"You are all right, Aleck. I like ycu for 't. Jest 
wanted t' try you, see ?" 

"How 'try me,' Wingie?" 

"Oh, you ain't next? Well, you see — " he hesitates, 
a faint flush stealing over his prison pallor, "you see, 
Aleck, it's — oh, wait till I pipe th' screw." 

Poor Wingie, the ruse is too transparent to hide his 
embarrassment. I can distinctly follow the step of the 
Block Captain on the upper galleries. He is the sole 
officer in the cell-house during church service. The un- 
locking of the yard door would apprise us of the entrance 
of a guard, before the latter could observe Wingie at my 
cell. 

I ponder over the flimsy excuse. Why did Wingie 
leave me? His flushed face, the halting speech of the 
usually loquacious rangeman, the subterfuge employed to 
"sneak off," — as he himself would characterize his hasty 
departure, — all seem very peculiar. What could he have 
meant by "trying" me? But before I have time to evolve 
a satisfactory explanation, I hear Wingie tiptoeing back. 

"It's all right, Aleck. They won't come from the 
chapel for a good while yet." 

"What did you mean by 'trying' me, Wingie?" 

"Qh, well," he stammers, "never min', Aleck. You 



WINGIE 145 

are a good boy, all right. You don't belong here, that's 
what / say." 

"Well, I am here; and the chances are I'll die here." 

"Now, don't talk so foolish, boy. I 'lowed you looked 
down at the mouth. Now, don't you fill your head with 
such stuff an' nonsense. Croak here, hell! You ain't 
goin' t'do nothin' of the kind. Don't you go broodin', 
now. You listen t'me, Aleck, that's your friend talkin', 
see? You're so young, why, you're just a kid. Twenty- 
one, ain't you? An' talkin' about dyin'! Shame on 
you, shame !" 

His manner is angry, but the tremor in his voice sends 
a ray of warmth to my heart. Impulsively I put my hand 
between the bars. His firm clasp assures me of returned 
appreciation. 

"You must brace up, Aleck. Look at the lifers. 
You'd think they'd be black as night. Nit, my boy, the 
jolliest lot in th' dump. You seen old Henry? No? 
Well, you ought' see 'im. He's the oldest man here; in 
fifteen years. A lifer, an' hasn't a friend in th' woild, 
but he's happy as th' day's long. An' you got plenty 
friends; true blue, too. I know you have." 

"I have, Wingie. But what could they do for me?" 

"How you talk, Aleck. Could do anythin'. You 
got rich friends, I know. You "was mixed up with Frick. 
Well, your friends are all right, ain't they?" 

"Of course. What could they do, Wingie?" 

"Get you pard'n, in two, three years may be, see ? 
You must make a good record here." 

"Oh, I don't care for a pardon." 

"Wha-a-t? You're kiddin'." 

**No, Wingie, quite seriously. I am opposed to it on 
principle." 

"You're sure bugs. What you talkin' 'bout? Prin- 
ciple fiddlesticks. Want to get out o' here ?" 



146 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Of course I do." 

"Well, then, quit your principle racket. What's 
principle got t' do with 't? Your principle's 'gainst get- 
tin' out?" 

"No, but against being pardoned." 

"You're beyond me, Aleck. Guess you're joshin' me." 

"Now listen, Wingie. You see, I wouldn't apply for 
a pardon, because it would be asking favors from the 
government, and I am against it, you understand? It 
would be of no use, anyhow, Wingie." 

"An' if you could get a pard'n for the askin', you 
won't ask, Aleck. That's what you mean?" 

"Yes." 

"You're hot stuff, Aleck. What they call you, Nar- 
chist ? Hot stuff, by gosh ! Can't make you out, though. 
Seems daffy. Lis'n t' me, Aleck. If I was you, I'd take 
anythin' I could get, an' then tell 'em to go t'hell. That's 
what / would do, my boy." 

He looks at me quizzically, searchingly. The faint 
echo of the Captain's step reaches us from a gallery on 
the opposite side. With a quick glance to right and left, 
Wingie leans over toward the door. His mouth between 
the bars, he whispers very low : 

"Principles opposed to a get-a-way, Aleck?" 

The sudden question bewilders me. The instinct of 
liberty, my revolutionary spirit, the misery of my exist- 
ence, all flame into being, rousing a wild, tumultuous 
beating of my heart, pervading my whole being with hope, 
intense to the point of pain. I remain silent. Is it safe to 
trust him ? He seems kind and sympathetic — 

"You may trust me, Aleck," Wingie whispers, as if 
reading my thoughts. "I'm your friend." 

"Yes, Wingie, I believe you. My principles are not 
opposed to an escape. I have been thinking about it, but 
so far—" 



WINGIE 147 

"S-sh ! Easy. Walls have ears." 

"Any chance here, Wingie?" 

"Well, it's a damn tough dump, this 'ere is ; but there's 
many a star in heaven, Aleck, an' you may have a lucky 
one. Hasn't been a get-a-way here since Paddy McGrav^ 
sneaked over th' roof, that's — lemme see, six, seven years 
ago, 'bout." 

"How did he do it ?" I ask, breathlessly. 

"Jest Irish luck. They was finishin' the new block, 
you know. Paddy was helpin' lay th' roof. When he got 
good an' ready, he jest goes to work and slides down th' 
roof. Swiped stuff in the mat shop an' spliced a rope to- 
gether, see. They never got 'im, either." 

"Was he in stripes, Wingie ?" 

"Sure he was. Only been in a few months." 

"How did he manage to get away in stripes? 
Wouldn't he be recognized as an escaped prisoner?" 

''That bother you, 'Aleck? Why, it's easy. Get 
planted till dark, then hold up th' first bloke you see an' 
take 'is duds. Or you push in th' back door of a rag 
joint; plenty of 'em in Allegheny." 

"Is there any chance now through the roof?" 

"Nit, my boy. Nothin' doin' there. But a feller's 
got to be alive. Many -ways to kill a cat, you know. 
R'member the stiff* you got in them things, tow'l an' 
soap?" 

"You know about it, Wingie?" I ask, in amazement. 

"Do I? He, he, you little— " 

The click of steel sounds warning. Wingie disap- 
pears. 

*Nite. 



CHAPTER VHI 
TO THE GIRL 



Direct to Box A 7, 
Allegheny City, Pa., 
November 18, 1892. 
My dear Sonya: 

It seems an age since I wrote to you, yet it is only a month. 
But the monotony of my life weights down the heels of time, — 
the only break in the terrible sameness is afforded me by your 
dear, affectionate letters, and those of Fedya. When I return 
to the cell for the noon meal, my step is quickened by the eager 
expectation of finding mail from you. About eleven in the 
morning, the Chaplain makes his rounds; his practiced hand 
shoots the letter between the bars, toward the bed or on to the 
little table in the corner. But if the missive is light, it will 
flutter to the floor. As I reach the cell, the position of the 
little white object at once apprises me whether the letter is 
long or short. With closed eyes I sense its weight, like the 
warm pressure of your own dear hand, the touch reaching 
softly to my heart, till I feel myself lifted across the chasm 
into your presence. The bars fade, the walb disappear, and the 
air grows sweet with the aroma of fresh air and flowers, — I am 
again with you, walking in the bright July moonlight. . . . The 
touch of the velikorussian in your eyes and hair conjures up 
the Volga, our beautiful bogatir* and the strains of the 
dubinushka,f trembling with suffering and yearning, float 
about me. . . . The meal remains untouched. I dream 
over your letter, and again I read it, slowly, slowly, lest I 
reach the end too quickly. The afternoon hours are hallowed 
by your touch and your presence, and I am conscious only of 



* Brave knight — affectionately applied to the great river, 
t Folk-song. 

148 



TO THE GIRL 149 

the longing for my cell, — in the quiet of the evening, freed from 
the nightmare of the immediate, I walk in the garden of our 
dreams. 

And the following morning, at work in the shop, I pass 
in anxious wonder whether some cheering word from my own, 
my real world, is awaiting me in the cell. With a glow of 
emotion I think of the Chaplain: perhaps at the very moment 
your letter is in his hands. He is opening it, reading. Why should 
strange eyes . . . but the Chaplain seems kind and discreet. 
Now he is passing along the galleries, distributing the mail. The 
bundle grows meagre as the postman reaches the ground floor. 
Oh! if he does not come to my cell quickly, he may have no 
letters left. But the next moment I smile at the childish thought, 
— if there is a letter for me, no other prisoner will get it. Yet 
some error might happen. . . . No, it is impossible — my name 
and prison number, and the cell number marked by the Chaplain 
across the envelope, all insure the mail against any mistake in 
delivery. Now the dinner whistle blows. Eagerly I hasten 
to the cell. There is nothing on the floor! Perhaps on the 
bed, on the table. ... I grow feverish with the dread of dis- 
appointment. Possibly the letter fell under the bed, or in that 
dark corner. No, none there, — ^but it can't be that there is no 
mail for me to-day! I must look again — it may have dropped 
among the blankets. . . . No, there is no letter! 

Thus pass my days, dear friend. In thought I am ever 
with you and Fedya, in our old haunts and surroundings. I shall 
never get used to this life, nor find an interest in the reality 
of the moment. What will become of me, I don't know. I 
hardly care. We are revolutionists, dear: whatever sacrifices 
the Cause demands, though the individual perish, humanity will 
profit in the end. In that consciousness we must find our 
solace. 

Alex. 



150 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Sub rosa, 
Last Day of November, 1892. 
Beloved Girl: ^ 

I thought I would not survive the agony of our meeting, 
but human capacity for suffering seems boundless. All my 
thoughts, all my yearnings, were centered in the one desire to 
see you, to look into your eyes, and there read the beautiful 
promise that has filled my days with strength and hope. . . . 
An embrace, a lingering kiss, and the gift of Lingg* would 
have been mine. To grasp your hand, to look down for a mute, 
immortal instant into your soul, and then die at your hands, 
Beloved, with the warm breath of your caress wafting me into 
peaceful eternity — oh, it were bliss supreme, the realization of 
our day dreams, when, in transports of ecstasy, we kissed the 
image of the Social Revolution. Do you remember that glorious 
face, so strong and tender, on the wall of our little Houston 
Street ballroom? How far, far in the past are those inspired 
moments ! But they have filled my hours with hallowed thoughts, 
with exulting expectations. And then you came. A glance at 
your face, and I knew my doom to terrible life. I read it in 
the evil look of the guard. It was the Deputy himself. Perhaps 
you had been searched! He followed our every moment, like 
a famished cat that feigns indifference, yet is alert with every 
nerve to spring upon the victim. Oh, I know the calculated 
viciousness beneath that meek exterior. The accelerated move- 
ment of his drumming fingers, as he deliberately seated himself 
between us, warned me of the beast, hungry for prey. . . . The 
halo was dissipated. The words froze within me, and I could 
meet you only with a vapid smile, and on the instant it was 
mirrored in my soul as a leer, and I was filled with anger and 
resentment at everything about us — myself, the Deputy (I 
could have throttled him to death), and — at you, dear. Yes, 
Sonya, even at you: the quick come to bury the dead. . . . But 
the next moment, the unworthy throb of my agonized soul was 
stilled by the passionate pressure of my lips upon your hand. 
How it trembled! I held it between my own, and then, as I 
lifted my face to yours, the expression I beheld seemed to 
bereave me of my own self: it was you who were I! The 



* Louis Lingg, one of the Chicago martyrs, who committed I 
ide with a dynamite cartridge in a cigar given him by a 1 

i 



TO THE GIRL 151 

drawn face, the look of horror, your whole being the cry of 
torture — were you not the real prisoner? Or was it my visioned 
suffering that cemented the spiritual bond, annihilating all mis- 
understanding, all resentment, and lifting us above time and 
place in the afflatus of martyrdom? 

Mutely I held your hand. There was no need for words. 
Only the prying eyes of the catlike presence disturbed the sacred 
moment. Then we spoke — mechanically, trivialities. . . . What 
though the cadaverous Deputy with brutal gaze timed the 
seconds, and forbade the sound of our dear Russian, — nor 
heaven nor earth could violate the sacrament sealed with our 
pain. 

The echo accompanied my step as I passed through the 
rotunda on my way to the cell. All was quiet in the block. No 
whir of loom reached me from the shops. Thanksgiving Day: 
all activities were suspended. I felt at peace in the silence. But 
when the door was locked, and I found myself alone, all 
alone within the walls of the tomb, the full significance of your 
departure suddenly dawned on me. The quick had left the dead. 
. . . Terror of the reality seized me and I was swept by a 
paroxysm of anguish — 

I must close. The friend who promised to have this letter 
mailed sub rosa is at the door. He is a kind unfortunate who 
has befriended me. May this letter reach you safely. In token 
of which, send me postal of indifferent contents, casually men- 
tioning the arrival of news from my brother in Moscow. 
Remember to sign "Sister." 

With a passionate embrace. 

Your Sasha. 



CHAPTER IX 
PERSECUTION 



Suffering and ever-present danger are quick teachers. 
In the three months of penitentiary life I have learned 
many things. I doubt whether the vague terrors pictured 
by my inexperience were more dreadful than the 
actuality of prison existence. 

In one respect, especially, the reality is a source of 
bitterness and constant irritation. Notwithstanding all 
its terrors, perhaps because of them, I had always 
thought of prison as a place where, in a measure, nature 
comes into its own : social distinctions are abolished, arti- 
ficial barriers destroyed; no need of hiding one's 
thoughts and emotions; one could be his real self, shed- 
ding all hypocrisy and artifice at the prison gates. But 
how dififerent is this life ! It is full of deceit, sham, and 
Pharisaism — an aggravated counterpart of the outside 
world. The flatterer, the backbiter, the spy, — these find 
here a rich soil. The ill-will of a guard portends dis- 
aster, to be averted only by truckling and flattery, and 
servility fawns for the reward of an easier job. The 
dissembling soul in stripes whines his conversion into 
the pleased ears of the Christian ladies, taking care he 
be not surprised without tract or Bible, — and presently 
simulated piety secures a pardon, for the angels rejoice 
at the sinner's return to the fold. It sickens me to wit- 
ness these scenes. 

152 



PERSECUTION 153 

The officers make the alternative quickly apparent to 
the new inmate: to protest against injustice is unavailing 
and dangerous. Yesterday I witnessed in the shop a 
characteristic incident — a fight between Johnny Davis 
and Jack Bradford, both recent arrivals and mere boys. 
Johnny, a manly-looking fellow, works on a knitting 
machine, a few feet from my table. Opposite him is 
Jack, whose previous experience in a reformatory has 
*'put him wise," as he expresses it. My three months' 
stay has taught me the art of conversing by an almost 
imperceptible motion of the lips. In this manner I 
learned from Johnny that Bradford is stealing his 
product, causing him repeated punishment for shortage 
in the task. Hoping to terminate the thefts, Johnny 
complained to the overseer, though without accusing 
Jack. But the guard ignored the complaint, and con- 
tinued to report the youth. Finally Johnny was sent 
to the dungeon. Yesterday morning he returned to 
work. The change in the rosy-cheeked boy was startling : 
pale and hollow-eyed, he walked with a weak, halting 
step. As he took his place at the machine, I heard him 
say to the officer : 

"Mr. Cosson, please put me somewhere else." 

"Why so?" the guard asked. 

"I can't make the task here. I'll make it on another 
machine, please, Mr. Cosson." 

"Why can't you make it here?" 

"I'm missing socks." 

"Ho, ho, playing the old game, are you? Want to 
go to th' hole again, eh?" 

"I couldn't stand the hole again, Mr. Cosson, swear , 
to God, I couldn't. But my socks's missing here." 

"Missing hell ! Who's stealing your socks, eh ? Don't 
come with no such bluff. Nobody can't steal your socks 



154 pr;son memoirs of an anarchist 

while I'm around. You go to work now, and you'd 
better make the task, understand?" 

Late in the afternoon, when the count was taken, 
Johnny proved eighteen pairs short. Bradford was 
"over." 

I saw Mr. Cosson approach Johnny. 

"Eh, thirty, machine thirty," he shouted. "You 
won't make the task, eh? Put your coat and cap on." 

Fatal words! They meant immediate report to the 
Deputy, and the inevitable sentence to the dungeon. 

"Oh, Mr. Cosson," the youth pleaded, "it ain't my 
fault, so help me God, it isn't." 

"It ain't, eh? Whose fault is it; mine?" 

Johnny hesitated. His eyes sought the ground, then 
wandered toward Bradford, who studiously avoided 
the look. 

"I can't squeal," he said, quietly. 

"Oh, hell! You ain't got nothin' to squeal. Get 
your coat and cap." 

Johnny passed the night in the dungeon. This morn- 
ing he came up, his cheeks more sunken, his eyes more 
hollow. With desperate energy he worked. He toiled 
steadily, furiously, his gaze fastened upon the growing 
pile of hosiery. Occasionally he shot a glance at Brad- 
ford, who, confident of the officer's favor, met the look 
of hatred with a sly winking of the left eye. 

Once Johnny, without pausing in the work, slightly 
turned his head in my direction. I smiled encouragingly, 
and at that same instant I saw Jack's hand slip across the 
table and quickly snatch a handful of Johnny's stockings. 
The next moment a piercing shriek threw the shop into 
commotion. With difficulty they tore away the infuriated 
boy from the prostrate Bradford. Both prisoners were 
taken to the Deputy for trial, with Senior Officer Cosson 
as the sole witness. 



PERSECUTION 155 

Impatiently I awaited the result. Through the open 
window I saw the overseer return. He entered the shop, 
a smile about the corners of his mouth. I resolved to 
speak to him when he passed by. 

"Mr. Cosson," I said, with simulated respectfulness, 
"may I ask you a question?" 

"Why, certainly, Burk, I won't eat you. Fire away 1" 

"What have they done with the boys?" 

"Johnny got ten days in the hole. Pretty stiff, eh? 
You see, he started the fight, so he won't have to make 
the task. Oh, I'm next to him all right. They can't fool 
me so easy, can they, Burk?" 

"Well, I should say not, Mr. Cosson. Did you see 
how the fight started?" 

"No. But Johnny admitted he struck Bradford first. 
That's enough, you know. 'Brad' will be back in the 
shop to-morrow. I got 'im off easy, see; he's a good 
worker, always makes more than th' task. He'll jest 
lose his supper. Guess he can stand it. Ain't much to 
lose, is there, Burk?" 

"No, not much," I assented. "But, Mr. Cosson, it 
was all Bradford's fault." 

"How so?" the guard demanded. 

"He has been stealing Johnny's socks." 

"You didn't see him do 't." 

"Yes, Mr. Cosson. I saw him this — " 

"Look here, Burk. It's all right. Johnny is no 
good anyway; he's too fresh. You'd better say nothing 
about it, see? My word goes with the Deputy.'* 

The terrible injustice preys on my mind. Poor 
Johnny is already the fourth day in the dreaded dungeon. 
His third time, too, and yet absolutely innocent. My 
blood boils at the thought of the damnable treatment 
and the officer's perfidy. It is my duty as a revolutionist 



15^ PRISOlir MEMOIRS OF AIST ANARCHlSt 

to take the part of the persecuted. Yes, I will do so. 
But how proceed in the matter? Complaint against 
Mr. Cosson would in all likelihood prove futile. And 
the officer, informed of my action, will make life miser- 
able for me: his authority in the shop is absolute. 

The several plans I revolve in my mind do not 
prove, upon closer examination, feasible. Considera- 
tions of personal interest struggle against my sense of 
duty. The vision of Johnny in the dungeon, his vacant 
machine, and Bradford's smile of triumph, keep the 
accusing conscience awake, till silence grows unbearable. 
I determine to speak to the Deputy Warden at the first 
opportunity. 

Several days pass. Often I am assailed by doubts: 
is it advisable to mention the matter to the Deputy? 
It cannot benefit Johnny; it will involve me in trouble. 
But the next moment I feel ashamed of my weakness. 
I call to mind the much-admired hero of my youth, 
the celebrated Mishkin. With an overpowering sense 
of my own unworthiness, I review the brave deeds of 
Hippolyte Nikitich. What a man! Single-handed he 
essayed to liberate Chernishevsky from prison. Ah, the 
curse of poverty! But for that, Mishkin would have 
succeeded, and the great inspirer of the youth of Russia 
would have been given back to the world. I dwell 
on the details of the almost successful escape, Mishkin's 
fight with the pursuing Cossacks, his arrest, and his 
remarkable speech in court. Sentenced to ten years of 
hard labor in the Siberian mines, he defied the Russian 
tyrant by his funeral oration at the grave of Dmo- 
khovsky, his boldness resulting in an additional fifteen 
years of kdtorga* Minutely I follow his repeated at- 
tempts to escape, the transfer of the redoubtable prisoner 



Hard labor in the mines. 



PERSECUTION 157 

to the Petropavloskaia fortress, and thence to the terrible 
Schliisselburg prison, where Mishkin braved death by 
avenging the maltreatment of his comrades on a high 
government official. Ah! thus acts the revolutionist; 
and I — yes, I am decided. No danger shall seal my 
lips against outrage and injustice. 

At last an opportunity is at hand. The Deputy enters 
the shop. Tall and gray, slightly stooping, with head 
carried forward, he resembles a wolf following the 
trail. 

"Mr. McPane, one moment, please." 

"Yes." 

"I think Johnny Davis is being punished innocently." 

"You think, hm, hm. And who is this innocent 
Johnny, hm, Davis ?" 

His fingers drum impatiently on the table; he 
measures me with mocking, suspicious eyes. 

"Machine thirty, Deputy." 

"Ah, yes; machine thirty; hm, hm, Reddy Davis. 
Hm, he had a fight." 

"The other man stole his stockings. I saw it, Mr. 
McPane." 

"So, so. And why, hm, hm, did you see it, my good 
man? You confess, then, hm, hm, you were not, hm, 
attending to your own work. That is bad, hm, very 
bad. Mr. Cosson!" 

The guard hastens to him. 

"Mr. Cosson, this man has made a, hm, hm, a charge 
against you. Prisoner, don't interrupt me. Hm, what 
is your number?" 

"A 7." 

"Mr. Cosson, A 7 makes a, hm, complaint against 
the officer, hm, in charge of this shop. Please, hm^ 
hm, note it down," 



158 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Both draw aside, conversing in low tones. The 
words "kicker," "his kid," reach my ears. The Deputy 
nods at the overseer, his steely eyes fastened on me 
in hatred. 

I! 

I feel helpless, friendless. The consolation of 
Wingie's cheerful spirit is missing. My poor friend is 
in trouble. From snatches of conversation in the shop I 
have pieced together the story. "Dutch" Adams, a third- 
timer and the Deputy's favorite stool pigeon, had lost 
his month's allowance of tobacco on a prize-fight bet. 
He demanded that Wingie, who was stakeholder, share 
the spoils with him. Infuriated by refusal, "Dutch" 
reported my friend for gambling. The unexpected 
search of Wingie's cell discovered the tobacco, thus 
apparently substantiating the charge. Wingie was sent 
to the dungeon. But after the expiration of five days 
my friend failed to return to his old cell, and I soon 
learned that he had been ordered into solitary confine- 
ment for refusing to betray the men who had trusted 
him. 

The fate of Wingie preys on my mind. My poor 
kind friend is breaking down under the effects of the 
dreadful sentence. This morning, chancing to pass his 
cell, I hailed him, but he did not respond to my greeting. 
Perhaps he did not hear me, I thought. Impatiently 
I waited for the noon return to the block. "Hello, 
Wingie!" I called. He stood at the door, intently peer- 
ing between the bars. He stared at me coldly, with blank, 
expressionless eyes. "Who are you?" he whimpered, 
brokenly. Then he began to babble. Suddenly the ter- 
rible truth dawned on me. My poor, poor friend, the 
first to speak a kind word to me, — he's gone mad ! 



CHAPTER X 
THE YEGG 



Weeks and months pass without clarifying plans of 
escape. Every step, every movement, is so closely 
guarded, I seem to be hoping against hope. I am restive 
and nervous, in a constant state of excitement. 

Conditions in the shop tend to aggravate my frame 
of mind. The task of the machine men has been 
increased; in consequence, I am falling behind in my 
work. My repeated requests for assistance have been 
ignored by the overseer, who improves every oppor- 
tunity to insult and humiliate me. His feet wide apart, 
arms akimbo, belly disgustingly protruding, he measures 
me with narrow, fat eyes. ''Oh, what's the matter with 
you," he drawls, "get a move on, won't you, Burk?" 
Then, changing his tone, he vociferates, "Don't stand 
there like a fool, d'ye hear? Nex' time I report you, to 
th' hole you go. That's me talkin', understand ?" 

Often I feel the spirit of Cain stirring within me. 
But for the hope of escape, I should not be able to bear 
this abuse and persecution. As it is, the guard is almost 
overstepping the limits of my endurance. His low 
cunning invents numerous occasions to mortify and 
harass me. The ceaseless dropping of the poison is 
making my days in the shop a constant torture. I seek 
relief — forgetfulness rather — in absorbing myself in the 
work: I bend my energies to outdo the efforts of the 

159 



l6o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

previous day ; I compete with myself, and find melancholy 
pleasure in establishing and breaking high records for 
''turning." Again, I tax my ingenuity to perfect means 
of communication with Johnny Davis, my young neigh- 
bor. Apparently intent upon our task, we carry on a 
silent conversation with eyes, fingers, and an occasional 
motion of the lips. To facilitate the latter method, I 
am cultivating the habit of tobacco chewing. The 
practice also affords greater opportunity for exchanging 
impressions with my newly-acquired assistant, an old- 
timer, who introduced himself as "Boston Red." I owe 
this development to the return of the Warden from 
his vacation. Yesterday he visited the shop. A military- 
looking man, with benevolent white beard and stately 
carriage, he approached me, in company with the Super- 
intendent of Prison Manufactures. 

"Is this the celebrated prisoner?" he asked, a faint 
smile about the rather coarse mouth. 

"Yes, Captain, that's Berkman, the man who shot 
Frick." 

"I was in Naples at the time. I read about you in 
the English papers there, Berkman. How is his conduct, 
Superintendent ?" 

"Good." 

"Well, he should have behaved outside." 

But noticing the mountain of unturned hosiery, the 
Warden ordered the overseer to give me help, and thus 
"Boston Red" joined me at work the next day. 

My assistant is taking great pleasure in perfecting 
me in the art of lipless conversation. A large quid of 
tobacco inflating his left cheek, mouth slightly open and 
curved, he delights in recounting "ghost stories," under 
the very eyes of the officers. "Red" is initiating me 
into the world of "de road," with its free life, so full 



THE YEGG i6l 

of interest and adventure, its romance, joys and sorrows. 
An interesting character, indeed, who facetiously pre- 
tends to "look down upon the world from the sublime 
heights of applied cynicism." 

*'Why, Red, you can talk good English," I admonish 
him. "Why do you use so much slang? It's rather 
difficult for me to follow you." 

"I'll learn you, pard. See, I should have said 
'teach' you, not 'learn.' That's how they talk in school. 
Have I been there? Sure, boy. Gone through college. 
Went through it with a bucket of coal," he amplifies, 
with a sly wink. He turns to expectorate, sweeping the 
large shop with a quick, watchful eye. Head bent over 
the work, he continues in low, guttural tones: 

"Don't care for your classic language. I can use 
it all right, all right. But give me the lingo, every 
time. You see, pard, I'm no gun;'*' don't need it in 
me biz. I'm a yegg." 

"What's a yegg. Red?" 

"A supercilious world of cheerful idiots applies to 
my kind the term 'tramp.' " 

"A yegg, then, is a tramp. I am surprised that you 
should care for the life of a bum." 

A flush suffuses the prison pallor of the assistant. 
"You are stoopid as the rest of 'em," he retorts, with 
considerable heat, and I notice his lips move as in 
ordinary conversation. But in a moment he has regained 
composure, and a good-humored twinkle plays about his 
eyes. 

"Sir," he continues, with mock dignity, "to say the 
least, you are not discriminative in your terminology. 
No, sir, you are not. Now, lookee here, pard, you're 
a good boy, but your education has been sadly neglected. 



* Professional thief. 



l62 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Catch on ? Don't call me that name again. It's offensive. 
It's an insult, entirely gratuitous, sir. Indeed, sir, I may 
say without fear of contradiction, that this insult is 
quite supervacaneous. Yes, sir, that's me. I ain't no 
bum, see ; no such damn thing. Eliminate the disgraceful 
epithet from your vocabulary, sir, when you are address- 
ing yours truly. I am a yagg, y — a — double g, sir, of 
the honorable clan of yaggmen. Some spell it y — e — 
double g, but I insist on the a, sir, as grammatically 
more correct, since the peerless word has no etymologic 
consanguinity with hen fruit, and should not be con- 
founded by vulgar misspelling." 

"What's the difference between a yegg and a bum?" 

"All the diff in the world, pard. A bum is a low- 
down city bloke, whose intellectual horizon, sir, revolves 
around the back door, with a skinny hand-out as his 
center of gravity. He hasn't the nerve to forsake his 
native heath and roam the wide world, a free and 
independent gentleman. That's the yagg, me bye. He 
dares to be and do, all bulls notwithstanding. He lives, 
aye, he lives, — on the world of suckers, thank you, sir. 
Of them 'tis wisely said in the good Book, They shall 
increase and multiply like the sands of the seashore," 
or words to that significant effect. A yagg's the salt 
of the earth, pard. A real, true-blood yagg will not 
deign to breathe the identical atmosphere with a city 
bum or gaycat. No, sirree." 

I am about to ask for an explanation of the new term, 
when the quick, short coughs of "Red" warn me of 
danger. The guard is approaching with heavy, meas- 
ured tread, head thrown back, hands clasped behind, — a 
sure indication of profound self-satisfaction. 

"How are you, Reddie?" he greets the assistant. 

"So, so." 

"Ain't been out long, have you?" 



THE YEGG 163 

"Two an' some." 

"That's pretty long for you." 

"Oh, I dunno. I've been out four years oncet." 

"Yes, you have ! Been in Columbus* then, I s'pose." 

"Not on your life, Mr. Cosson. It v^as Sing Sing." 

"Ha, ha! You're all right. Red. But you'd better 
hustle up, fellers. I'm putting in ten more machines, so 
look lively." 

"When's the machines comin', Mr. Cosson?" 

"Pretty soon. Red." 

The officer passing on, "Red" whispers to me: 

"Aleck, 'pretty soon' is jest the time I'll quit. Damn 
his work and the new machines. I ain't no gaycat to 
work. Think I'm a nigger, eh? No, sir, the world 
owes me a living, and I generally manage to get it, you 
bet you. Only mules and niggers work. I'm a free 
man; I can live on my wits, see? I don't never work 
outside; damme if I'll work here. I ain't no office- 
seeker. What d' I want to work for, eh? Can you tell 
me that?" 

"Are you going to refuse work?" 

"Refuse? Me? Nixie. That's a crude word, that. 
No, sir, I never refuse. They'll knock your damn block 
off, if you refuse. I merely avoid, sir, discriminate^ 
and with steadfast purpose. Work is a disease, me bye. 
One must exercise the utmost care to avoid contagion. 
It's a regular pest. You never worked, did you?" 

The unexpected turn surprises me into a smile, which 
I quickly suppress, however, observing the angry frown 
on "Red's" face. 

"You bloke," he hisses, "shut your face; the screw'll 
pipe you. You'll get us in th' hole for chewin' th' rag. 
Whatcher hehawin' about?" he demands, repeating the 



* The penitentiary at Columbus, Ohio. 



l64 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

manoeuvre of pretended expectoration. "D'ye mean t' 
tell me you work?" 

"I am a printer, a compositor," I inform him. 

''Get off! You're an Anarchist. I read the papers, 
sir. You people don't believe in work. You want to 
divvy up. Well, it is all right, I'm with you. Rockefeller 
has no right to the whole world. He ain't satisfied 
with that, either; he wants a fence around it." 

'The Anarchists don't want to 'divvy up,' Red. You 
got your misinformation — " 

"Oh, never min', pard. I don' take stock in reform- 
ing the world. It's good enough for suckers, and as 
Holy Writ says, sir, 'Blessed be they that neither sow 
nor hog; all things shall be given unto them.' Them's 
wise words, me bye. Moreover, sir, neither you nor 
me will live to see a change, so why should I worry 
me nut about 't? It takes all my wits to dodge work. 
It's disgraceful to labor, and it keeps me industriously 
busy, sir, to retain my honor and self-respect. Why, 
you know, pard, or perhaps you don't, greenie, Colum- 
bus is a pretty tough dump; but d'ye think I worked 
the four-spot there? Not me; no, sirree!" 

"Didn't you tell Cosson you were in Sing Sing, not 
in Columbus?" 

'"Corse I did. What of it? Think I'd open my 
guts to my Lord Bighead? I've never been within 
thirty miles of the York pen. It was Hail Columbia 
all right, but that's between you an' I, savvy. Don' 
want th' screws to get next." 

"Well, Red, how did you manage to keep away from 
work in Columbus?" 

"Manage? That's right, sir. 'Tis a word of pro- 
found significance, quite adequately descriptive of my 
humble endeavors. Just what I did, buddy. I managed, 
with a capital M. To good purpose, too, me bye. Not 



THE YEGG 165 

a stroke of work in a four-spot. How? I had Billie 
with me, that's me kid, you know, an' a fine boy he 
was, too. I had him put a jigger on me; kept it up 
for four years. There's perseverance and industry for 
you, sir." 

"What's 'putting a jigger on'?" 

"A jigger? Well, a jigger is — " 

The noon whistle interrupts the explanation. With 
a friendly wink in my direction, the assistant takes 
his place in the line. In silence we march to the cell- 
house, the measured footfall echoing a hollow threat 
in the walled quadrangle of the prison yard. 

II 

Conversation with "Boston Red," Young Davis, and 
occasional other prisoners helps to while away the 
tedious hours at work. But in the solitude of the cell, 
through the long winter evenings, my mind dwells in 
the outside world. Friends, the movement, the growing 
antagonisms, the bitter controversies between the 
Mostianer and the defenders of my act, fill my thoughts 
and dreams. By means of fictitious, but significant, 
names, Russian and German words written backward, 
and similar devices, the Girl keeps me informed of the 
activities in our circles. I think admiringly, yet quite 
impersonally, of her strenuous militancy in championing 
my cause against all attacks. It is almost weak on my 
part, as a terrorist of Russian traditions, to consider 
her devotion deserving of particular commendation. 
She is a revolutionist; it is her duty to our common 
Cause. Courage, whole-souled zeal, is very rare, it is 
true. The Girl, Fedya, and a few others, — hence the 
sad lack of general opposition in the movement to 
Most's attitude. . . . But communications from comrades 



l66 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

and unknown sympathizers germinate the hope of an 
approaching reaction against the campaign of denuncia- 
tion. With great joy I trace the ascending revolutionary 
tendency in Der Arme Teufel. I have persuaded the 
Chaplain to procure the admission of the ingenious Rob- 
ert Reitzel's publication. All the other periodicals ad- 
dressed to me are regularly assigned to the waste basket, 
by orders of the Deputy. The latter refused to make an 
exception even in regard to the Knights of Labor Journal. 
"It is an incendiary Anarchist sheet," he persisted. 

The arrival of the Teufel is a great event. What 
joy to catch sight of the paper snugly reposing between 
the legs of the cell table ! Tenderly I pick it up, fondling 
the little visitor with quickened pulse. It is an animate, 
living thing, a ray of warmth in the dreary evenings. 
What cheering message does Reitzel bring me now? 
What beauties of his rich mind are hidden to-day in the 
quaint German type ? Reverently I unfold the roll. The 
uncut sheet opens on the fourth page, and the stirring 
•paean of Hope's prophecy greets my eye, — 

Cruss an Btcxandcr J3crhmanl 

For days the music of the Dawn rings in my ears. 
Again and again recurs the refrain of faith and proud 
courage, 

Sc^on riiflet jtc^ ber ^retljeit Sc^aar 

§ur Ijciligen <Hntfc^etbungsfc^Iac^t; 

<Es enbcn ^3iDctunb3rpan3ig* 3<i^t' 

PteHeic^t in einer Sturmesnac^tl 

But in the evening, when I return to the cell, reality 
lays its heavy hand upon my heart. The flickering of 
the candle accentuates the gloom, and I sit brooding 
over the interminable succession of miserable days and 
evenings and nights. . . . The darkness gathers around 



THE YEGG 167 

the candle, as I motionlessly watch its desperate struggle 
to be. Its dying agony, ineffectual and vain, presages 
my own doom, approaching, inevitable. Weaker and 
fainter grows the light, feebler, feebler — a last spasm, 
and all is utter blackness. 

Three bells. "Lights out!" 

Alas, mine did not last its permitted hour. . . . 

The sun streaming into the many-windowed shop 
routs the night, and dispels the haze of the fire-spitting 
city. Perhaps my little candle with its bold defiance has 
shortened the reign of darkness, — who knows? Perhaps 
the brave, uneven struggle coaxed the sun out of his 
slumbers, and hastened the coming of Day. The fancy 
lures me with its warming embrace, when suddenly the 
assistant startles me: 

''Say, pard, slept bad last night? You look boozy, 
me lad." 

Surprised at my silence, he admonishes me: 

"Young man, keep a stiff upper lip. Just look at 
me! Permit me to introduce to you, sir, a gentleman 
who has sounded the sharps and flats of life, and faced 
the most intricate network, sir, of iron bars between 
York and Frisco. Always acquitted himself with flying 
colors, sir, merely by being wise and- preserving a stiff 
upper lip; see th' point?" 

"What are you driving at, Red?" 

"They'se goin' to move me down on your row,* now 
that Pm in this 'ere shop. Dunno how long I shall 
choose to remain, sir, in this magnificent hosiery estab- 
lishment, but I see there's a vacant cell next yours, an' 
Pm goin' to try an' land there. Are you next, me bye? 
Pm goin' to learn you to be wise, sonny. I shall, so to 

* Gallery. 



l68 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

speak, assume benevolent guardianship over you; over 
you and your morals, yes, sir, for you're my kid now, 
see?" 

"How, your kid?" 

"How? My kid, of course. That's just what I 
mean. Any objections, sir, as the learned gentlemen 
of the law say in the honorable courts of the blind 
goddess. You betcher life she's blind, blind as an owl 
on a sunny midsummer day. Not in your damn smoky 
city, though; sun's ashamed here. But 'way down in 
my Kentucky home, down by the Suanee River, 
Sua-a-nee-ee Riv — " 

"Hold on. Red. You are romancing. You started 
to tell me about being your *kid'. Now explain, what 
do you mean by it?" 

"Really, you — " He holds the unturned stocking 
suspended over the post, gazing at me with half-closed, 
cynical eyes, in which doubt struggles with wonder. 
In his astonishment he has forgotten his wonted caution, 
and I warn him of the officer's watchful eye. 

"Really, Alex; well, now, damme, I've seen some- 
thing of this 'ere round globe, some mighty strange 
sights, too, and there ain't many things to surprise me, 
lemme tell you. But you do, Alex ; yes, me lad, you do. 
Haven't had such a stunnin' blow since I first met 
Cigarette Jimmie in Oil City. Innocent? Well, I should 
snicker. He was, for sure. Never heard a ghost story; 
was fourteen, too. Well, I got 'im all right, all right. 
Now he's doin' a five-bit down in Kansas, poor kiddie. 
Well, he certainly was a surprise. But many tempestuous 
billows of life, sir, have since flown into the shoreless 
ocean of time, yes, sir, they have, but I never got such 
a stunner as you just gave me. Why, man, it's a body- 
blow, a reg'lar knockout to my knowledge of the world, 
sir, to my settled estimate of the world's supercilious 



THE YEGG 169 

righteousness. Well, damme, if I'd ever believe it. Say, 
how old are you, Alex?" 

'I'm over twenty-two. Red. But what has all this 
to do with the question I asked you?" 

"Everythin', me bye, everythin'. You're twenty-two 
and don't know what a kid is! Well, if it don't beat 
raw eggs, I don't know what does. Green? Well, sir, 
it would be hard to find an adequate analogy to your 
inconsistent immaturity of mind; aye, sir, I may well 
say, of soul, except to compare it with the virtuous 
condition of green corn in the early summer moon. You 
know what 'moon' is, don't you?" he asks, abruptly, 
with an evident effort to suppress a smile. 

I am growing impatient of his continuous avoidance 
of a direct answer. Yet I cannot find it in my heart 
to be angry with him ; the face expressive of a deep-felt 
conviction of universal wisdom, the eyes of humorous 
cynicism, and the ludicrous manner of mixing tramp 
slang with "classic" English, all disarm my irritation. 
Besides, his droll chatter helps to while away the tedious 
hours at work; perhaps I may also glean from this 
experienced old-timer some useful information regarding 
my plans of escape. 

"Well, d'ye know a moon when you see 't?" "Red" 
inquires, chaffingly. 

"I suppose I do." 

"I'll bet you my corn dodger you don't. Sir, I can 
see by the tip of your olfactory organ that you are 
steeped in the slough of densest ignorance concerning 
the supreme science of moonology. Yes, sir, do not 
contradict me. I brook no sceptical attitude regarding 
my undoubted and proven perspicacity of human nature. 
How's that for classic style, eh ? That'll hold you down 
a moment, kid. As I was about to say when you in- 
terrupted — eh, what? You didn't? Oh, what's the 



I70 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

matter with you? Don't yer go now an' rooin the 
elegant flight of my rhetorical Pegasus with an insignifi- 
cant interpolation of mere fact. None of your lip, now, 
boy, an' lemme develop this sublime science of moonol- 
ogy before your wondering gaze. To begin with, sir, 
moonology is an exclusively aristocratic science. Not 
for the pretenders of Broad Street and Fifth Avenue. 
Nixie. But for the only genuine aristocracy of de road, 
sir, for the pink of humankind, for the yaggman, me lad, 
for yours truly and his clan. Yes, sirree !" 

"I don't know what you are talking about." 

"I know you don't. That's why I'm goin' to chap- 
eron you, kid. In plain English, sir, I shall endeavor 
to generate within your postliminious comprehension a 
discriminate conception of the subject at issue, sir, by 
divesting my lingo of the least shadow of imperspicuity 
or ambiguity. Moonology, my Marktwainian Innocent, 
is the truly Christian science of loving your neighbor, 
provided he be a nice little boy. Understand now?" 

"How can you love a boy?" 

"Are you really so dumb? You are not a ref boy, 
I can see that." 

"Red, if you'd drop your stilted language and talk 
plainly, I'd understand better." 

"Thought you liked the classic. But you ain't long 
on lingo neither. How can a self-respecting gentleman 
explain himself to you? But I'll try. You love a boy 
as you love the poet-sung heifer, see? Ever read Billy 
Shakespeare? Know the place, 'He's neither man nor 
woman ; he's punk.' Well, Billy knew. A punk's a boy 
that'll . . ." 

"What!" 

"Yes, sir. Give himself to a man. Now we'se 
talkin' plain. Savvy now. Innocent Abroad?" 

"I don't believe what you are telling me. Red." 



THE YEGG 171 

"You don't be-lie-ve? What th' devil — damn me 
soul t' hell, what d' you mean, you don't b'lieve? Gee, 
look out !" 

The look of bewilderment on his face startles me. 
In his excitement, he had raised his voice almost to a 
shout, attracting the attention of the guard, who is now 
hastening toward us. 

"Who's talkin' here?" he demands, suspiciously 
eyeing the knitters. "You, Davis ?" 

"No, sir." 

"Who was, then?" 

"Nobody here, Mr. Cosson." 

"Yes, they was. I heard hollerin'." 

"Oh, that was me," Davis replies, with a quick glance 
at me. "I hit my elbow against the machine." 

"Let me see 't." 

The guard scrutinizes the bared arm. 

"Wa-a-11," he says, doubtfully, "it don't look sore." 

"It hurt, and I hollered." 

The officer turns to my assistant: "Has he been 
talkin', Reddie?" 

"I don't think he was, Cap'n." 

Pleased with the title, Cosson smiles at "Red," and 
passes on, with a final warning to the boy: "Don't you 
let me catch you at it again, you hear!" 

During the rest of the day the overseers exercise 
particular vigilance over our end of the shop. But 
emboldened by the increased din of the new knitting 

j machinery, "Red" soon takes up the conversation again. 

j "Screws can't hear us now," he whispers, " 'cept 

\ they*s close to us. But watch your lips, boy ; the damn 
bulls got sharp lamps. An' don' scare me again like 

jthat. Why, you talk so foolish, you make me plumb 
forget myself. Say, that kid is all to the good, ain't 



172 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

he? What's his name, Johnny Davis? Yes, a wise kid 
all right. Just like me own Billie I tole you 'bout 
He was no punk, either, an' don't you forget it. True 
as steel, he was; stuck to me through my four-spot 
like th' bark to a tree. Say, what's that you said, you 
don't believe what I endeavored so conscientiously, sir, 
to drive into your noodle? You was only kiddin' me, 
wasn't you?" 

"No, Red, I meant it quite seriously. You're spin- 
ning ghost stories, or whatever you call it. I don't be- 
lieve in this kid love." 

"An' why don't you believe it?" 

"Why — er — well, I don't think it possible." 

'What isn't possible?" 

"You know what I mean. I don't think there can 
be such intimacy between those of the same sex." 

"Ho, ho! That's your point? Why, Alex, you're 
more of a damfool than the casual observer, sir, would 
be apt to postulate. You don't believe it possible, you 
don't, eh? Well, you jest gimme half a chance, and I'll 
show you." 

"Red, don't you talk to me like that," I burst out, 
angrily. "If you — " 

"Aisy, aisy, me bye," he interrupts, good-naturedly. 
"Don't get on your high horse. No harm meant, Alex. 
You're a good boy, but you jest rattle me with your 
crazy talk. Why, you're bugs to say it's impossible. 
Man alive, the dump's chuckful of punks. It's done in 
every prison, an' on th' road, everywhere. Lord, if 
I had a plunk for every time I got th' best of a kid, 
I'd rival Rockefeller, sir; I would, me bye." 

"You actually confess to such terrible practices? 
You're disgusting. But I don't really believe it, Red." 

"Confess hell! I confess nothin'. Terrible, disgust- 
ing! You talk like a man up a tree, you holy sky-pilot.". 



THE YEGG 173 

"Are there no women on the road?" 

"Pshaw ! Who cares for a heifer when you can get a 
kid ? Women are no good. I wouldn't look at 'em when 
I can have my prushun.* Oh, it is quite evident, sir, 
you have not delved into the esoteric mysteries of 
moonology, nor tasted the mellifluous fruit on the for- 
bidden tree of — " 

"Oh, quit!" 

"Well, you'll know better before your time's up, me 
virtuous sonny." 

For several days my assistant fails to appear in the 
shop on account of illness. He has been "excused" by 
the doctor, the guard informs me. I miss his help at 
work; the hours drag heavier for lack of "Red's" 
companionship. Yet I am gratified by his absence. His 
cynical attitude toward woman and sex morality has 
roused in me a spirit of antagonism. The panegyrics 
of boy-love are deeply offensive to my instincts. The 
very thought of the unnatural practice revolts and 
disgusts me. But I find solace in the reflection that 
"Red's" insinuations are pure fabrication; no credence 
is to be given them. Man, a reasonable being, could 
not fall to such depths; he could not be guilty of such 
unspeakably vicious practices. Even the lowest outcast 
must not be credited with such perversion, such 
depravity. I should really take the matter more calmly. 
The assistant is a queer fellow; he is merely teasing 
me. These things are not credible; indeed, I don't 
believe they are possible. And even if they were, no 

i human being would be capable of such iniquity. I must 

 not suffer "Red's" chaffing to disturb me. 



* A boy serving his apprenticeship with a full-fledged tramp. 



CHAPTER XI 

THE ROUTE SUB ROSA 

March 4, 1893. 
Girl and Twin : 

I am writing with despair in my heart. I was taken to 
Pittsburgh as a witness in the trial of Nold and Bauer. I had 
hoped for an opportunity — you understand, friends. It was a 
slender thread, but I clung to it desperately, prepared to stake 
everything on it. It proved a broken straw. Now I am back, 
and I may never leave this place alive. 

I was bitterly disappointed not to find you in the courtroom. 
I yearned for the sight of your faces. But you were not there, 
nor any one else of our New York comrades. I knew what it 
meant: you are having a hard struggle to exist. Otherwise 
perhaps something could be done to establish friendly relations 
between Rakhmetov and Mr, Gebop.* It would require an 
outlay beyond the resources of our own circle; others cannot 
be approached in this matter. Nothing remains but the "inside" 
developments, — a terribly slow process. 

This is all the hope I can hold out to you, dear friends. 
You will think it quite negligible; yet it is the sole ray that has 
again and again kindled life in moments of utmost darkness. 
... I did not realize the physical effects of my stay here (it 
is five months now) till my return from court. I suppose the 
excitement of being on the outside galvanized me for the 
nonce. . . . My head was awhirl ; I could not collect my 
thoughts. The wild hope possessed me, — pobeg! The click of 
the steel, as I was handcuffed to the Deputy, struck my death- 
knell. . . . The unaccustomed noise of the streets, the people 
and loud voices in the courtroom, the scenes of the trial, all 
absorbed me in the moment. It seemed to me as if I were a 
spectator, interested, but personally unconcerned, in the sur- 



 Reading backward, pobeg; Russian for "escape.** 



THE ROUTE SUB ROSA 1^5 

roundings; and these, too, were far away, of a strange world 
in which I had no part. Only when I found myself alone in 
the cell, the full significance of the lost occasion was borne in 
upon me with crushing force. 

But why sadden you? There is perhaps a cheerier side, 
now that Nold and Bauer are here. I have not seen them yet, 
but their very presence, the circumstance that somewhere within 
these walls there are comrades, men who, like myself, suffer 
for an ideal — the thought holds a deep satisfaction for me. 
It brings me closer, in a measure, to the environment of 
political prisoners in Europe. Whatever the misery and torture 
of their daily existence, the politicals — even in Siberia — breathe 
the atmosphere of solidarity, of appreciation. What courage 
and strength there must be for them in the inspiration radiated 
by a common cause! Conditions here are entirely different. 
Both inmates and officers are at loss to "class" me. They 
have never known political prisoners. That one should sacrifice 
or risk his life with no apparent personal motives, is beyond 
their comprehension, almost beyond their belief. It is a desert 
of sordidness that constantly threatens to engulf one. I would 
gladly exchange places with our comrades in Siberia. 

The former podpoilnaya* was suspended, because of the 
great misfortune that befell my friend Wingie, of whom I wrote 
to you before. This dove will be flown by Mr. Tiuremshchick,t 
an old soldier who really sympathizes with Wingie. I believe 
they served in the same regiment. He is a kindly man, who 
hates his despicable work. But there is a family at home, a 
sick wife — you know the old, weak-kneed tale. I had a hint 
from him the other day : he is being spied upon ; it is dangerous 
for him to be seen at my cell, and so forth. It is all quite true; 
but what he means is, that a little money would be welcome. 
You know how to manage the matter. Leave no traces. 

I hear the felt-soled step. It's the soldier. I bid my birdie 
a hasty good-bye. Sasha. 



* Sub rosa route, t Russian for "guard. 



CHAPTER XII 
'2UCHTHAUSBLUETHEN'' 



A DENSE FOG riscs from the broad bosom of the Ohio. 
It ensnares the river banks in its mysterious embrace, 
veils tree and rock with sombre mist, and mocks the 
sun w^ith angry frov^n. Within the House of Death is 
felt the chilling breath, and all is quiet and silent in 
the iron cages. 

Only an occasional knocking, as on metal, disturbs 
the stillness. I listen intently. Nearer and more audible 
seem the sounds, hesitating and apparently intentional. 
I am involuntarily reminded of the methods of com- 
munication practiced by Russian politicals, and I strive 
to detect some meaning in the tapping. It grows clearer 
as I approach the back wall of the cell, and instantly I 
am aware of a faint murmur in the privy. Is it fancy, 
or did I hear my name ? 

"Halloa!" I call into the pipe. 

The knocking ceases abruptly. I hear a suppressed, 
hollow voice: "That you, Aleck?" 

"Yes. Who is it?" 

"Never min'. You must be deaf not to hear me 
callin' you all this time. Take that cott'n out o' yoilr 
ears." 

"I didn't know you could talk this way." 

"You didn't? Well, you know now. Them's empty 

176 



"ZUCHTHAUSBLUETHEN" 177 

pipes, no standin' water, see ? Fine t' talk. Oh, dammit 
to--" 

The words arc lost in the gurgle of rushing water. 
Presently the flow subsides, and the knocking is re- 
sumed. I bend over the privy. 

"Hello, hello! That you, Aleck?" 

"Git off that line, ye jabberin' idiot!" some one shouts 
into the pipe. 

"Lay down, there!" 

"Take that trap out o' the hole." 

"Quit your foolin', Horsethief." 

"Hey, boys, stop that now. That's me, fellers. It's 
Bob, Horsethief Bob. I'm talkin' business. Keep quiet 
now, will you ? Are you there, Aleck ? Yes ? Well, pay 
no 'tention to them dubs. 'Twas that crazy Southside 
Slim that turned th' water on — " 

"Who you call crazy, damn you," a voice interrupts. 

"Oh, lay down, Slim, will you? Who said you was 
crazy ? Nay, nay, you're bugs. Hey, Aleck, you there ?" 

"Yes, Bob." 

"Oh, got me name, have you? Yes, I'm Bob, Horse- 
thief Bob. Make no mistake when you see me ; I'm Big 
Bob, the Horsethief. Can you hear me? It's you, 
Aleck?" 

"Yes, yes." 

"Sure it's you? Got t' tell you somethin'. What's 
your number?" 

"A 7." 

"Right you are. What cell?" 

"6 K." 

"An' this is me, Big Bob, in—" 

"Windbag Bob," a heavy bass comments from above. 

"Shut up, Curley, I'm on th' line. I'm in 6 F, Aleck, 
top tier. Call me up any time I'm in, ha, ha ! You see, 
pipe's runnin' up an' down, an' you can talk to any range 



178 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

you want, but always to th' same cell as you're my Cd/ 
6, understand? Now if you wan' t' talk to Cell 14, tc 
Shorty, you know — " 

"I don't want to talk to Shorty. I don't know him, 
Bob." 

**Yes, you do. You list'n what I tell you, Aleck, an' 
you'll be all right. That's me talkin'. Big Bob, see? 
Now, I say if you'd like t' chew th' rag with Shorty, you 
jest tell me. Tell Brother Bob, an' he'll connect you all 
right. Are you on ? Know who's Shorty ?" 

''No." 

''Yo oughten That's Carl, Carl Nold. Know him, 
don't you?" 

"What!" I cry in astonishment. "Is it true, Bob? 
Is Nold up there on your gallery?" 

"Sure thing. Cell 14." 

"Why didn't you say so at once? You've been talk- 
ing ten minutes now. Did you see him ?" 

"What's your hurry, Aleck? You can't see 'im; not 
jest now, anyway. P'r'aps bimeby, mebbe. There's no 
hurry, Aleck. You got plenty o' time. A few years, 
rather, ha, ha, ha!" 

"Hey, there, Horsethief, quit that!" I recognize 
"Curley's" deep bass. "What do you want to make the 
kid feel bad for?" 

"No harm meant, Curley," Bob returns, "I was jest 
joshin' him a bit." 

"Well, quit it." 

"You don' min' it, Aleck, do you ?" I hear Bob again, 
his tones softened, "I didn' mean t' hurt your feelin's. 
I'm your friend, Aleck, you can bet your corn dodger 
on that. Say, I've got somethin' for you from Shorty, 
I mean Carl, you savvy ?" 

"What have you, Bob ?" 

"Nixie through th' hole, ain't safe. I'm coffee-boy 



"ZUCHTHAUSBLUETHEN" 179 

on this 'ere range. I'll sneak around to you in the 

mornin', when I go t' fetch me can of bootleg. Now, 
jiggaroo,* screw's comin'." 



II 



The presence of my comrades is investing existence 
with interest and meaning. It has brought to me a 
breeze from the atmosphere of my former environment; 
it is stirring the graves, where lie my soul's dead, into 
renewed life and hope. 

The secret exchange of notes lends color to the 
routine. It is like a fresh mountain streamlet joyfully 
rippling through a stagnant swamp. At work in the 
shop, my thoughts are engrossed with our correspond- 
ence. Again and again I review the arguments eluci- 
dating to my comrades the significance of my Attentat: 
they, too, are inclined to exaggerate the importance of 
the purely physical result. The exchange of views grad- 
ually ripens our previously brief and superficial acquaint- 
ance into closer intimacy. There is something in Carl 
Nold that especially attracts me: I sense in him a con- 
genial spirit. His spontaneous frankness appeals to me; 
my heart echoes his grief at the realization of Most's 
unpardonable behavior. But the ill-concealed antag- 
onism of Bauer is irritating. It reflects his desperate 
clinging to the shattered idol. Presently, however, a 
better understanding begins to manifest itself. The 
big> jovial German has earned my respect; he braved 
the anger of the judge by consistently refusing to betray 
the man who aided him in the distribution of the An- 
archist leaflet among the Homestead workers. On the 
other hand, both Carl and Henry appreciate my efforts 



* Look out. 



l8o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

on the witness stand, to exonerate them from complicity 
in my act. Their condemnation, as acknowledged An- 
archists, was, of course, a foregone conclusion, and I 
am gratified to learn that neither of my comrades had 
entertained any illusions concerning the fate that awaited 
them. Indeed, both have expressed surprise that the 
maximum revenge of the law was not visited upon them. 
Their philosophical attitude exerts a soothing effect upon 
me. Carl even voices satisfaction that the sentence of 
five years will afford him a long-needed vacation from 
many years of ceaseless factory toil. He is facetiously 
anxious lest capitalist industry be handicapped by the 
loss of such a splendid carpenter as Henry, whom he 
good-naturedly chaffs on the separation from his newly 
affianced. 

The evening hours have ceased to drag: there is 
pleasure and diversion in the correspondence. The 
notes have grown into bulky letters, daily cementing 
our friendship. We compare views, exchange impres- 
sions, and discuss prison gossip. I learn the history of 
the movement in the twin cities, the personnel of An- 
archist circles, and collect a fund of anecdotes about 
Albrecht, the philosophic old shoemaker whose dimin- 
utive shop in Allegheny is the center of the radical 
inteligenzia. With deep contrition Bauer confesses how 
narrowly he escaped the role of my executioner. My 
unexpected appearance in their midst, at the height of 
the Homestead struggle, had waked suspicion among the 
Allegheny comrades. They sent an inquiry to Most, 
whose reply proved a warning against me. Unknown to 
me, Bauer shared the room I occupied in Nold's house. 
Through the long hours of the night he lay awake, 
with revolver cocked. At the first sign of a suspicious 
move on my part, he had determine 1 to kill me. 



"ZUCHTHAUSBLUETHEN" l8l 

The personal tenor of our correspondence is grad- 
ually broadening into the larger scope of socio-political 
theories, methods of agitation, and applied tactics. The 
discussions, prolonged and often heated, absorb our 
interest. The bulky notes necessitate greater circum- 
spection; the difficulty of procuring writing materials 
assumes a serious aspect. Every available scrap of 
paper is exhausted; margins of stray newspapers and 
magazines have been penciled on, the contents repeatedly 
erased, and the frayed tatters microscopically covered 
with ink. Even an occasional fly-leaf from library books 
has been sacrilegiously forced to leave its covers, and 
every evidence of its previous association dexterously 
removed. The problem threatens to terminate our cor- 
respondence, and fills us with dismay. But the genius 
of our faithful postman, of proud horsethieving procliv- 
ities, proves equal to the occasion : Bob constitutes him- 
self our commissary, designating the broom shop, in 
which he is employed, as. the base of our future supplies. 
The unexpected affluence fills us with joy. The big 
rolls requisitioned by ''Horsethief" exclude the fear of 
famine; the smooth yellow wrapping paper affords the 
luxury of larger and more legible chirography. The 
pride of sudden wealth germinates ambitious projects. 
We speculate on the possibility of converting our cor- 
respondence into a magazinelet, and wax warm over 
the proposed list of readers. Before long the first issue 
of the Zuchthausbliithen'^ is greeted with the encour- 
aging approval of our sole subscriber, whose contribu- 
tion surprises us in the form of a rather creditable poem 
on the blank last page of the publication. Elated at 
the happy acquisition, we unanimously crown him Meis- 
tersinger, with dominion over the department of poetry. 



* Prison Blossoms. 



l82 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Soon we plan more pretentious issues: the outward 
size of the pubHcation is to remain the same, three by five 
inches, but the number of pages is to be enlarged ; each 
issue to have a different editor, to ensure equality of 
opportunity; the readers to serve as contributing ed- 
itors. The appearance of the Bluthen is to be regulated 
by the time required to complete the circle of readers, 
whose identity is to be masked with certain initials, to 
protect them against discovery. Henceforth Bauer, 
physically a giant, is to be known as "G"; because of 
my medium stature, I shall be designated with the 
letter "M"; and Nold, as the smallest, by ^'K."* The 
poet, his history somewhat shrouded in mystery, is 
christened ^'D" for Dichter. "M," "K," "G," are to 
act, in turn, as editor-in-chief, whose province it is to 
start the Bluthen on its way, each reader contributing 
to the issue till it is returned to the original editor, to 
enable him to read and comment upon his fellow-con- 
tributors. The publication, its contents growing in 
transit, is finally to reach the second contributor, upon 
whom will devolve the editorial management of the 
following issue. 

The unique arrangement proves a source of much 
pleasure and recreation. The little magazine is rich in 
contents and varied in style. The diversity of hand- 
writing heightens the interest, and stimulates speculation 
on the personality of our increasing readers-contrib- 
utors. In the arena of the diminutive publication, there 
rages the conflict of contending social philosophies ; here 
a political essay rubs elbows with a witty anecdote, arid 
a dissertation on "The Nature of Things" is interspersed 
with prison small-talk and personal reminiscence. 
Flashes of unstudied humor and unconscious rivalry 



♦Initial of the German klein, small 



"ZUCHTHAUSBLUETHEN" 183 

of orthography lend peculiar charm to the unconven- 
tional editorials, and waft a breath of Josh Billings 
into the manuscript pages. 

But the success of the Zuchthausbluthen soon dis- 
covers itself a veritable Frankenstein, which threatens 
the original foundation and aims of the magazinelet. The 
popularity of joint editorship is growing at the cost of 
unity and tendency; the Bard's astonishing facility at 
versification, coupled with his Jules Vernian imagina- 
tion, causes us grave anxiety lest his untamable Peg- 
asus traverse the limits of our paper supply. The ap- 
palling warning of the commissary that the improvident 
drain upon his resources is about to force him on a strike, 
imperatively calls a halt. We are deliberating policies 
of retrenchment and economy, when unexpectedly the 
arrival of two Homestead men suggests an auspicious 
solution. 

Ill 

The presence of Hugh F. Dempsey and Robert J. 
Beatty, prominent in the Knights of Labor organization, 
offers opportunity for propaganda among workers rep- 
resenting the more radical element of American labor. 
Accused of poisoning the food served to the strike- 
breakers in the mills, Dempsey and Beatty appear to me 
men of unusual type. Be they innocent or guilty, the 
philosophy of their methods is in harmony with revolu- 
tionary tactics. Labor can never be unjus^ '*n its demands : 
is it not the creator of all the wealth in the world? 
Every weapon may be employed to return the despoiled 
People into its rightful ownership. Is not the terrorizing 
of scabbery, and ultimately of the capitalist exploiters, 
an effective means of aiding the struggle? Therefore 
Dempsey and Beatty deserve acclaim. Morally certain 
of their guilt, I respect them the more for it, though I 



184 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

am saddened by their denial of complicity in the scheme 
of wholesale extermination of the scabs. The black- 
leg is also human, it is true, and desires to live. But one 
should starve rather than turn traitor to the cause of his 
class. Moreover, the individual — or any number of 
them — cannot be weighed against the interests of hu- 
manity. 

Infinite patience weaves the threads that bring us 
in contact with the imprisoned labor leaders. In the 
ceaseless duel of vital need against stupidity and malice, 
caution and wit are sharpened by danger. The least 
indiscretion, the most trifling negligence, means dis- 
covery, disaster. But perseverance and intelligent pur- 
pose conquer: by the aid of the faithful "Horsethief," 
communication with Dempsey and Beatty is established. 
With the aggressiveness of strong conviction I present to 
them my views, dwelling on the historic role of the 
Attentat er and the social significance of conscious indi- 
vidual protest. The discussion ramifies, the interest 
aroused soon transcending the limits of my paper sup- 
ply. Presently I am involved in a correspondence with 
several men, whose questions and misinterpretations re- 
garding my act I attempt to answer and correct with 
individual notes. But the method proves an impossible 
tax on our opportunities, and "KGM" finally decide 
to publish an English edition of the Zuchthaushluthen. 
The German magazinelet is suspended, and in its place 
appears the first issue of the Prison Blossoms. 



CHAPTER XIII 



THE JUDAS 



"Ah, there. Sporty!" my assistant greets me in the 
shop. "Stand treat on this festive occasion?" 

"Yes, Red. Have a chew," I reply with a smile, 
handing him my fresh plug of tobacco. 

His eyes twinkle with mischievous humor as he scru- 
tinizes my changed suit of dark gray. The larger part 
of the plug swelling out his cheek, he flings to me the 
remnant across the table, remarking: 

"Don't care for't. Take back your choo. Til keep 
me honor, — your plug, I mean, sonny. A gentleman of 
my eminence, sir, a natural-born navigator on the high 
seas of social life, — are you on, me bye? — a gentleman, 
I repeaty sir, whose canoe the mutations of all that is 
human have chucked on this here dry, thrice damned 
dry latitude, sir, this nocuous plague-spot of civiliza- 
tion, — say, kid, what t' hell am I talkin' about? Damn 
if I ain't clean forgot." 

"I'm sure I don't know. Red." 

"Like hell you don't! It's your glad duds, kid. 
Offerin' me a ch-aw tob-b-bac-co ! Christ, I'm dyin' 
for a drop of booze. This magnificent occasion deserves 
a wetting, sir. And, say, Aleck, it won't hurt your 
beauty to stretch them sleeves of yours a bit. You 

I8S 



l86 PRISON MEMOIRS 01^ A^ ANARCHIST 

look like a scarecrow in them high-water pants. Ain't 
old Sandy the king of skinners, though!" 

"Whom do you mean, Red?" 

"Who I mean, you idjot! Who but that skunk 
of a Warden, the Honorable Captain Edward S. Wright, 
if you please, sir. Captain of rotten old punks, that's 
what he is. You ask th' screws. He's never smelt 
powder ; why, he's been here most o' his life. But some 
o' th' screws been here longer, horned here, damn 'em; 
couldn't pull 'em out o' here with a steam engine, 
you couldn't. They can tell you all 'bout the Cap, 
though. Old Sandy didn' have a plugged nickel to his 
name when he come 'ere, an' now the damn stomach- 
robber is rich. Reg'lar gold mine this dump's for 'im. 
Only gets a lousy five thousan' per year. Got big fam'ly 
an' keeps carriages an' servants, see, an' can 'ford t' 
go to Europe every year, an' got a big pile in th' bank 
to boot, all on a scurvy five thousan' a year. Good 
manager, ain't he ? A reg'lar church member, too, damn 
his rotten soul to hell!" 

"Is he as bad as all that. Red?" 

"Is he ? A hypocrite dyed in th' wool, that's what he 
is. Plays the humanitarian racket. He had a great 
deal t' say t' the papers why he didn't believe in the 
brutal way lams was punished by that Homestead 
colonel — er — what's 'is name?" 

"Colonel Streator, of the Tenth Pennsylvania." 

"That's the cur. He hung up Private lams by the 
thumbs till th' poor boy was almost dead. For nothin', 
too. Suppose you remember, don't you? lams had 
called for 'three cheers for the man who shot Frick,' an' 
they pretty near killed 'im for 't, an' then drummed 'im 
out of th' regiment with 'is head half shaved." 

"It was a most barbarous thing." 



THE JUDAS 187 

"An' that damn Sandy swore in th' papers he didn't 
beheve in such things, an' all th' while th' lyin' murderer 
is doin' it himself. Not a day but some poor con is 
'cuffed up' in th' hole. That's th' kind of humanitarian 
he is! It makes me wild t' think on 't. Why, kid, I 
even get a bit excited, and forget that you, young sir, 
are attuned to the dulcet symphonies of classic Eng- 
lish. But whenever that skunk of a Warden is the 
subject of conversation, sir, even my usually imper- 
turbable serenity of spirit and tranquil stoicism are not 
equal to 'Patience on a monument smiling at grief/ 
Watch me, sonny, that's yours truly spielin'. Why, look 
at them dingy rags of yours. I liked you better in th' 
striped duds. They give you the hand-me-downs of 
that nigger that went out yesterday, an' charge you on 
th' books with a bran' new suit. See where Sandy 
gets his slice, eh ? An' say, kid, how long are you here ?" 

"About eight months. Red." 

"They beat you out o' two months all right. Suppose 
they obey their own rules? Nit, sir. You are aware, 
my precious lamb, that you are entitled to discard your 
polychromic vestments of zebra hue after a sojourn of 
six months in this benevolent dump. I bet you that fresh 
fish at the loopin' machine there, came up 'ere some days 
ago, he won't be kept waitin' more'n six months for 'is 
black clothes." 

I glance in the direction of the recent arrival. He is 
a slender man, with swarthy complexion and quick, 
shifting eye. The expression of guilty cunning is 
repelling. 

"Who is that man?" I whisper to the assistant. 

"Like 'im, don't you? Permit me, sir, to introduce 
to you the handiwork of his Maker, a mealy-mouthed, 
oily-lipped, scurvy gaycat, a yellow cur, a snivelling, 
fawning stool, a filthy, oozy sneak, a snake in the gras^ 



l88 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

whose very presence, sir, is a mortal insult to a self- 
respecting member of my clan, — Mr. Patrick Gallagher, 
pf the honorable Pinkerton family, sir." 

"Gallagher?" I ask, in astonishment. "The inform- 
er, who denounced Dempsey and Beatty?" 

"The very same. The dirty snitch that got those 
fellows railroaded here for seven years. Dempsey was 
a fool to bunch up with such vermin as Gallagher and 
Davidson. He was Master Workman of some district 
of the Knights of Labor. Why in hell didn't he get 
his own men to do th' job? Goes to work an' hires a 
brace of gaycats; sent 'em to the scab mills, you savvy, 
to sling hash for the blacklegs and keep 'im posted on 
the goings on, see? S'pose you have oriented yourself, 
sir, concerning the developments in the culinary experi- 
ment?" 

"Yes. Croton oil is supposed to have been used to 
make the scabs sick with diarrhoea." 

"Make 'em sick? Why, me bye, scores of 'em 
croaked. I am surprised, sir, at your use of such a 
vulgar term as diarrhoea. You offend my aestheticism. 
The learned gentlemen who delve deeply into the bow- 
els of earth and man, sir, ascribed the sudden and phe- 
nomenal increase of unmentionable human obligations 
to nature, the mysterious and extravagant popularity 
of the houses of ill odor, sir, and the automatic obedience 
to their call, as due entirely to the dumping of a lot o' 
lousy bums, sir, into filthy quarters, or to impurities 
of the liquid supply, or to — pardon my frankness, sir — 
to intestinal effeminacy, which, in flaccid excitability, 
persisted in ill-timed relaxation unseemly in well-man- 
nered Christians. Some future day, sir, there may arise 
a poet to glorify with beauteous epic the heroic days 
of the modern Bull Run — an' I kin tell you, laddie, 
they run and kept runnin', top and bottom — or some 



THE JUDAS 189 

lyric bard may put to Hudibrastic verse — watch me 
climbin' th' Parnassus, kid — the poetic feet, the numbers, 
the assonance, and strain of the inspiring days when 
Croton Oil was King. Yes, sirree; but for yours truly, 
me hand ain't in such pies ; and moreover, sir, I make it 
an invariable rule of gentlemanly behavior t' keep me 
snout out o' other people's biz." 

"Dempsey may be innocent, Red." 

"Well, th' joory didn't think so. But there's no 
tellin'. Honest t' God, Aleck, that rotten scab of a 
Gallagher has cast the pale hue of resolution, if I may 
borrow old Billy Shake's slang, sir, over me gener'ly 
settled convictions. You know, in the abundant plen- 
itude of my heterogeneous experience with all sorts 
and conditions of rats and gaycats, sir, fortified by a 
natural genius of no mean order, of 1859 vintage, 
damme if I ever run across such an acute form of 
confessionitis as manifested by the lout on th' loopin' 
machine there. You know what he done yesterday?" 

"What?" 

"Sent for th' distric' attorney and made another 
confesh." 

"Really? How do you know?" 

"Night screw's a particular fren' o' mine, kid. I 
shtands in, see? The mick's a reg'lar Yahoo, can't 
hardly spell 'is own name. He daily requisitions upon 
my humble but abundant intelligence, sir, to make out 
his reports. Catch on, eh? I've never earned a hand- 
out with more dignified probity, sir. It's a cinch. Last 
night he gimme a great slice of corn dodger. It was 
A I, I tell you, an' two hard boiled eggs and half a 
tomato, juicy and luscious, sir. Didn't I enjoy it, 
though! Makes your mouth water, eh, kid? Well, 
you be good t' me, an' you kin have what I got. I'll divvy 
up with you. We-11! Don' stand there an' gape at me 



I90 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

like a wooden Injun. Has the unexpected revelation 
of my magnanimous generosity deprived you of artic- 
ulate utterance, sir?" 

The sly wink with which he emphasizes the offer, 
and his suddenly serious manner, affect me unpleasantly. 
With pretended indifference, I decline to share his del- 
icacies. 

''You need those little extras for yourself, Red," I 
explain. "You told me you suffer from indigestion. A 
change of diet now and then will do you good. But 
you haven't finished telling me about the new con- 
fession of Gallagher." 

"Oh, you're a sly one, Aleck; no flies on you. But 
it's all right, me bye, mebbe I can do somethin' for 
you some day. I'm your friend, Aleck; count on me. 
But that mutt of a Gallagher, yes, sirree, made another 
confession; damme if it ain't his third one. Ever hear 
such a thing? I got it straight from th' screw* all 
right. I can't make the damn snitch out. Unreservedly 
I avow, sir, that the incomprehensible vacillations of 
the honorable gentleman puzzle me noodle, and are cal- 
culated to disturb the repose of a right-thinking yagg 
in the silken lap of Morpheus. What's 'is game, 
anyhow? Shall we diagnoze the peculiar mental 
menstruation as, er — er — what's your learned opinion, 
my illustrious colleague, eh? What you grinnin' for, 
Four Eyes ? It's a serious matter, sir ; a highly instructive 
phenomenon of intellectual vacuity, impregnated with the 
pernicious virus of Pinkertonism, sir, and transmuted in 
the alembic of Carnegie alchemy. A judicious injection 
of persuasive germs by the sagacious jurisconsults of 
the House of Dempsey, and lo ! three brand-new con- 
fessions, mutually contradictory and exclusive. Does 
that strike you in th' right spot, sonny?" 



THE JUDAS 191 

*'In the second confession he retracted his accusations 
against Dempsey. What is the third about, Red?" 

"Retracts his retraction, me bye. Guess why, Aleck." 

"I suppose he was paid to reaffirm his original 
charges." 

"You're not far of¥. After that beauty of a Judas 
cleared the man, Sandy notified Reed and Knox. Them's 
smart guys, all right; the attorneys of the Carnegie 
Company to interpret Madame Justicia, sir, in a man- 
ner—" 

"I know, Red," I interrupt him, "they are the 
lawyers who prosecuted me. Even in court they were 
giving directions to the district attorney, and openly 
whispering to him questions to be asked the witnesses. 
He was just a figurehead and a tool for them, and it 
sounded so ridiculous when he told the jury that he 
was not in the service of any individual or corporation, 
but that he acted solely as an officer of the common- 
wealth, charged with the sacred duty of protecting its 
interests in my prosecution. And all the time he was 
the mouthpiece of Prick's lawyers." 

"Hold on, kid. I don't get a chance to squeeze a 
word in edgewise when you start jawin'. Think you're 
on th' platform haranguing the long-haired crowd ? You 
can't convert me, so save your breath, man." 

"I shouldn't want to convert you. Red. You are 
intelligent, but a hopeless case. You are not the kind 
that could be useful to the Cause." 

"Glad you're next. Got me sized up all right, eh? 
Well, me saintly bye, I'm Johnny-on-the-spot to serve 
the cause, all right, all right, and the cause is Me, with 
a big M, see? A fellow's a fool not t' look out for 
number one. I give it t' you straight, Aleck. What's 
them high-flown notions of yours — oppressed humanity 
and suffering people — fiddlesticks! There you go and 



192 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

shove your damn neck into th' noose for the strikers, 
but what did them fellows ever done for you, eh? Tell 
me that ! They won't do a darned thing f er you. Catch 
me swinging for the peo-pul! The cattle don't deserve 
any better than they get, that's what / say." 

"I don't want to discuss these questions with you, 
Red. You'll never understand, anyhow." 

"Git off, now. You voice a sentiment, sir, that my 
adequate appreciation of myself would prompt me to 
resent on the field of honor, sir. But the unworthy 
spirit of acerbity is totally foreign to my nature, sir, 
and I shall preserve the blessed meekness so becoming 
the true Christian, and shall follow the bidding of the 
Master by humbly offering the other cheek for that 
chaw of th' weed I gave you. Dig down into your 
poke, kid." 

I hand him the remnant of my tobacco, remarking: 

"You've lost the thread of our conversation, as usual, 
Red. You said the Warden sent for the Carnegie 
lawyers after Gallagher had recanted his original con- 
fession. Well, what did they do?" 

"Don't know what they done, but I tole you that 
the muttonhead sent for th' district attorney the same 
day, an' signed a third confesh. Why, Dempsey was 
tickled to death, 'cause — " 

He ceases abruptly. His quick, short coughs warn 
me of danger. Accompanied by the Deputy and the 
shop officer, the Warden is making the rounds of the 
machines, pausing here and there to examine the work, 
and listen to the request of a prisoner. The youthfully 
sparkling eyes present a striking contrast to the sedate 
manner and seamed features framed in grayish-white. 
Approaching the table, he greets us with a benign smile : 

"Good morning, boys." 



THE JUDAS 193 

Casting a glance at my assistant, the Warden inquires : 
"Your time must be up soon, Red?" 

''Been out and back again, Cap*n," the officer laughs. 

"Yes, he is, hm, hm, back home." The thin feminine 
accents of the Deputy sound sarcastic. 

"Didn't like it outside. Red?" the Warden sneers. 

A flush darkens the face of the assistant. "There's 
more skunks out than in," he retorts. 

The Captain frowns. The Deputy lifts a warning 
finger, but the Warden laughs lightly, and continues on 
his rounds. 

We work in silence for a while. "Red" looks restive, 
his eyes stealthily following the departing officials. 
Presently he whispers: 

"See me hand it to 'im, Aleck? He knows I'm on 
to 'im, all right. Didn't he look mad, though ? Thought 
he'd burst. Sobered 'im up a bit. Pipe 'is lamps, kid ?" 

"Yes. Very bright eyes." 

"Bright eyes your grandmother I Dope, that's what's 
th' matter. Think I'd get off as easy if he wasn't chuck 
full of th' stuff? I knowed it the minute I laid me 
eyes on 'im. I kin tell by them shinin' glimmers and 
that sick smile of his, when he's feelin' good; know th* 
signals, all right. Always feelin' fine when he's hit th' 
pipe. That's th' time you kin get anythin' you wan' 
of 'im. Nex' time you see that smirk on 'im, hit 'im 
for some one t' give us a hand here; we's goin' t' be 
drowned in them socks, first thing you know." 

"Yes, we need more help. Why didn't you ask him ?" 

"Me? Me ask a favor o' the damn swine? Not on 
your tintype ! You don' catch me to vouchsafe the high 
and mighty, sir, the opportunity — " 

"All right. Red. I won't ask him, either." 

"I don't give a damn. For all I care, Aleck, and 
— well, confidentially speaking, sir, they may ensconce 



194 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

their precious hosiery in the infundibular dehiscence of 
his Nibs, which, if I may venture my humble opinion, 
young sir, is sufficiently generous in its expansiveness 
to disregard the rugosity of a stocking turned inside 
out, sir. Do you follow the argument, me bye?" 

"With difficulty. Red," I reply, with a smile. "What 
are you really talking about? I do wish you'd speak 
plainer." 

"You do, do you? An' mebbe you don't. Got to 
train you right; gradual, so to speak. It's me dooty 
to a prushun. But we'se got t' get help here. I ain't 
goin* t' kill meself workin' like a nigger. I'll quit first. 
D' you think — s-s-ss!" 

The shop officer is returning. "Damn your impu- 
dence. Red," he shouts at the assistant. "Why don't you 
keep that tongue of yours in check?" 

"Why, Mr. Cosson, what's th' trouble?" 

"You know damn well what's the trouble. You made 
the old man mad clean through. You ought t' know 
better'n that. He was nice as pie till you opened that 
big trap of yourn. Everythin' went wrong then. He 
gave me th' dickens about that pile you got lyin' aroun' 
here. Why don't you take it over to th' loopers, Burk?" 

"They have not been turned yet," I reply. 

"What d' you say? Not turned !" he bristles. "What 
in hell are you fellows doin', I'd like t' know." 

"We're doin' more'n we should," "Red" retorts, 
defiantly. 

"Shut up now, an' get a move on you." 

"On that rotten grub they feed us?" the assistant 
persists. 

"You better shut up. Red." 

"Then give us some help." 

"I will like hell!" 

The whistle sounds the dinner hour. 



CHAPTER XIV 



THE DIP 



For a week "Boston Red" is absent from work. 
My best efforts seem ineffectual in the face of the 
increasing mountain of unturned hosiery, and the officer 
grows more irritable and insistent. But the fear of 
clogging the industrial wheel presently forces him to 
give me assistance, and a dapper young man, keen-eyed 
and nervous, takes the vacant place. 

''He's a dip,"* Johnny Davis whispers to me. "A 
top-notcher," he adds, admiringly. 

I experience a tinge of resentment at the equality 
implied by the forced association. I have never before 
come in personal contact with a professional thief, and 
I entertain the vaguest ideas concerning his class. But' 
they are not producers; hence parasites who deliberately 
prey upon society, upon the poor, mostly. There can 
be nothing in common between me and this man. 

The new helper's conscious superiority is provoking. 
His distant manner piques my curiosity. How unlike 
his scornful mien and proudly independent bearing is 
my youthful impression of a thief ! Vividly I remember 
the red-headed Kolya, as he was taken from the class- 
room by a fierce gendarme. The boys had been missing 
their lunches, and Kolya confessed the theft. Vv^e ran 

* Pickpocket. 

195 



196 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

after the prisoner, and he hung his head and looked 
frightened, and so pale I could count each freckle on his 
face. He did not return to school, and I wondered 
what had become of him. The terror in his eyes 
haunted my dreams, the brown spots on his forehead 
shaping themselves into fiery letters, spelling the fearful 
word vor.^ 

'That's a snap," the helper's voice breaks in on my 
reverie. He speaks in well-modulated tones, the accents 
nasal and decided. "You needn't be afraid to talk," he 
adds, patronizingly. 

"I am not afraid," I impatiently resent the insinua- 
tion. "Why should I be afraid of you ?" 

"Not of me; of the officer, I meant." 

"I am not afraid of him, either." 

"Well, then, let's talk about something. It will help 
while away the time, you know." 

His cheerful friendliness smooths my ruffled temper. 
The correct English, in striking contrast with the 
peculiar language of my former assistant, surprises me. 

"I am sorry," he continues, "they gave you such a 
long sentence, Mr. Berkman, but — " 

"How do you know my name?" I interrupt. "You 
have just arrived." 

"They call me 'Lightning Al'," he replies, with a 
tinge of pride. "I'm here only three days, but a fellow 
in my line can learn a great deal in that time. I had 
you pointed out to me." 

"What do you call your line? What are you 
here for?" 

For a moment he is silent. With surprise I watch 
his face blush darkly. 



 Thief. 



THE DIP ^7 

''You're a dead give-away. Oh, excuse me, Mr. 
Berkman," he corrects himself, "I sometimes lapse into 
lingo, under provocation, you know. I meant to say, 
it's easy to see that you are not next to the way — not 
familiar, I mean^ with such things. You should never 
ask a man what he is in for." 

"Why not?" 

"Well, er— " 

"You are ashamed." 

"Not a bit of it. Ashamed to fall, perhaps, — I mean, 
to be caught at it — it's no credit to a gun's rep, his 
reputation, you understand. But I'm proud of the jobs 
I've done. I'm pretty slick, you know." 

"But you don't like to be asked why you were sent 
here." 

"Well, it's not good manners to ask such questions." 

"Against the ethics of the trade, I suppose?" 

"How sarcastic we can be, Mr. Berkman. But it's 
true, it's not the ethics. And it isn't a trade, either ; it's 
a profession. Oh, you may smile, but I'd rather be a 
gun, a professional, I mean, than one of your stupid 
factory hands." 

"They are honest, though. Honest producers, while 
you are a thief." 

"Oh, there's no sting in that word for me. I take 
pride in being a thief, and what's more, I am an A 
number one gun, you see the point? The best dip in 
the States." 

"A pickpocket? Stealing nickels off passengers on 
the street cars, and — " 

"Me? A hell of a lot you know about it. Take me 
for such small fry, do you ? I work only on race tracks." 

"You call it work?" 



198 PRISON "MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Sure. Damned hard work, too. Takes more 
brains than a whole shopful of your honest producers 
can show." 

"And you prefer that to being honest?" 

"Do I? I spend more on gloves than a bricklayer 
makes in a year. Think I'm so dumb I have to slave 
all week for a few dollars?" 

"But you spend most of your life in prison." 

"Not by a long shot. A real good gun's always got 
his fall money planted, — I mean some ready coin in case 
of trouble, — and a smart lawyer will spring you most 
every time; beat the case, you know. I've never seen 
the fly-cop you couldn't fix if you got enough dough; 
and most judges, too. Of course, now and then, the 
best of us may fall ; but it don't happen very often, and 
it's all in the game. This whole life is a game, Mr. 
Berkman, and every one's got his graft." 

"Do you mean there are no honest men?" I ask, 
angrily. 

"Pshaw! I'm just as honest as Rockefeller or 
Carnegie, only they got the law with them. And I work 
harder than they, I'll bet you on that. I've got to eat, 
haven't I? Of course," he adds, thoughtfully, "if I 
could be sure of my bread and butter, perhaps — " 

The passing overseer smiles at the noted pickpocket, 
inquiring pleasantly: 

"How're you doin', Al?" 

"Tip-top, Mr. Cosson. Hope you are feeling good 
to-day." 

"Never better, Al." 
, "A friend of mine often spoke to me about you, Mr. 
Cosson." 

"Who was that?" 



THE DIP 199 

"Barney. Jack Barney" 

"Jack Barney! Why, he worked for me in the 
broom shop." 

"Yes, he did a three-spot. He often said to me, 'Al, 
if you ever land in Riverside,' he says, *be sure you 
don't forget to give my best to Mr. Cosson, Mr. Ed. 
Cosson,' he says, 'he's a good fellow.' " 

The officer looks pleased. "Yes, I treated him white, 
all right," he remarks, continuing on his rounds. 

"I knew he'd swallow it," the assistant sneers after 
him. "Always good to get on the right side of them," 
he adds, with a wink. "Barney told me about him all 
right. Said he's the rottenest sneak in the dump, a 
swell-head yap. You see, Mr. Berkman, — may I call 
you Aleck? It's shorter. Well, you see, Aleck, I make 
it a point to find things out. It's wise to know the 
ropes. I'm next to the whole bunch here. That Jimmy 
McPane, the Deputy, he's a regular brute. Killed his 
man, all right. Barney told me all about it; he was 
doing his bit, then, — I mean serving his sentence. You 
see, Aleck," he lowers his voice, confidentially, "I don't 
like to use slang; it grows on one, and every fly-cop 
can spot you as a crook. It's necessary in my business 
to present a fine front and use good English, so I must 
not get the lingo habit. Well, I was speaking of Barney 
telling me about the Deputy. He killed a con in cold 
blood. The fellow was bughouse, D. T., you know; 
saw snakes. He ran out of his cell one morning, 
swinging a chair and hollering 'Murder ! Kill 'em !' The 
Deputy was just passing along, and he out with his 
gat — I mean his revolver, you know — and bangs away. 
He pumped the poor loony fellow full of holes; he 
did, the murderer. Killed him dead. Never was tried, 
either. Warden told the newspapers it was done in 
self-defence. A damn lie. Sandy knew better; every- 



200 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

body in the dump knew it was a cold-blooded murder, 
with no provocation at all. It*s a regular ring, you see, 
and that old Warden is the biggest grafter of them all; 
and that sky-pilot, too, is an A i fakir. Did you hear 
about the kid born here? Before your time. A big 
scandal. Since then the holy man's got to have a screw 
with him at Sunday service for the females, and I tell 
you he needs watching all right." 

The whistle terminates the conversation. 



CHAPTER XV 
THE URGE OF SEX 

Sunday night: my new cell on the upper gallery is 
hot and stuffy ; I cannot sleep. Through the bars, I gaze 
upon the Ohio. The full moon hangs above the river, 
bathing the waters in mellow light. The .strains of a 
sweet lullaby wander through the woods, and the banks 
are merry with laughter. A girlish cadence rings like 
a silvery bell, and voices call in the distance. Life is 
joyous and near, terribly, tantalizingly near, — ^but all is 
silent and dead around me. 

For days the feminine voice keeps ringing in my 

ears. It sounded so youthful and buoyant, so fondly 

alluring. A beautiful girl, no doubt. What joy to feast 

my eyes on her! I have not beheld a woman for many 

months : I long to hear the soft accents, feel the tender 

touch. My mind persistently reverts to the voice on the 

river, the sweet strains in the woods ; and fancy wreathes 

sad-toned fugues upon the merry carol, paints vision 

and image, as I pace the floor in agitation. They live, 

they breathe ! I see the slender figure with the swelling 

I bosom, the delicate white throat, the babyish face with 

I large, wistful eyes. Why, it is Luba ! My blood tingles 

1 violently, passionately, as I live over again the rapturous 

i wonder at the first touch of her maiden breast. How 

I temptingly innocent sounded the immodest invitation on 

jthe velvety lips, how exquisite the suddenness of it all! 

5Ve were in New Haven then. One by one we had 

 1 201 



202 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

gathered, till the little New York commune was complete. 
The Girl joined me first, for I felt lonely in the strange 
city, drudging as compositor on a country weekly, the 
evenings cold and cheerless in the midst of a conservative 
household. But the Girl brought light and sunshine, 
and then came the Twin and Manya. Luba remained 
in New York; but Manya, devoted little soul, yearned 
for her sister, and presently the three girls worked 
side by side in the corset factory. All seemed happy 
in the free atmosphere, and Luba was blooming into 
beautiful womanhood. There was a vague something 
about her that now and then roused in me a fond longing, 
a rapturous desire. Once — it was in New York, a year 
before — I had experienced a sudden impulse toward her. 
It seized me unheralded, unaccountably. I had called 
to try a game of chess with her father, when he informed 
me that Luba had been ill. She was recovering now, 
and would be pleased to see me. I sat at the bedside, 
conversing in low tones, when I noticed the pillows 
slipping from under the girl's head. Bending over, I 
involuntarily touched her hair, loosely hanging down the 
side. The soft, dark chestnut thrilled me, and the next 
instant I stooped and stealthily pressed the silken waves 
to my lips. The momentary sense of shame was lost in 
the feeling of reverence for the girl with the beautiful 
hair, that bewildered and fascinated me, and a deep 
yearning suddenly possessed me, as she lay in exquisite 
disarray, full of grace and beauty. And all the while we 
talked, my eyes feasted on her ravishing form, and I felt 
envious of her future lover, and hated the desecration. 
But when I left her bedside, all trace of desire disap- 
peared, and the insj^iration of the moment faded like a 
vision affrighted by the dawn. Only a transient, vague 
inquietude remained, as of something unattainable. 
Then came that unforgettable moment of undreamed 



Trtt£ Urge of sex ^03 

bliss. We had just returned from the performance 
of Tosca, with Sarah Bernhardt in her inimitaDie 
role. I had to pass through Luba's room on my wa)'^ 
to the attic, in the little house occupied by the . com- 
mune. She had already retired, but was still awake. I 
sat down on the edge of the bed, and we talked of the 
play. She glowed with the inspiration of the great 
tragedienne; then, somehow, she alluded to the decollete 
of the actresses. 

"I don't mind a fine bust exposed on the stage," I 
remarked. ''But I had a powerful opera glass: their 
breasts looked fleshy and flabby. It was disgusting." 

"Do you think — mine nice?" she asked, suddenly. 

For a second I was bewildered. But the question 
sounded so enchantingly unpremeditated, so innocently 
eager. 

"I never — Let me see them," I said, impulsively. 

"No, no!" she cried, in aroused modesty; "I can't, I 
can't!" 

"I won't look, Luba. See, I close my eyes. Just a 
touch." 

"Oh, I can't, I'm ashamed! Only over the blanket, 
please, Sasha," she pleaded, as my hand softly stole 
under the covers. She gripped the sheet tightly, and 
my arm rested on her side. The touch of the firm, 
round breast thrilled me with passionate ecstasy. In 
fear of arousing her maidenly resistance, I strove to 
hide my exultation, while cautiously and tenderly I re- 
leased the coverlet. 
. "They are very beautiful, Luba," I said, controlling 

I the tremor of my voice. 

i "You— like them, really, Sasha?" The large eyes 
' looked lustrous and happy. 

"They are Greek, dear," and snatching the last cov^r- 
I ing aside, I kissed her between the breasts. 



204 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"I'm so glad I came here/' she spoke dreamily. 

"Were you very lonesome in New York?" 

"'It was terrible, Sasha." 

"You like the change?" 

"Oh, you silly boy ! Don't you know ?" 

"What, Luba?" 

"I wanted you, dear." Her arms twined softly 
about me. 

I felt appalled. The Girl, my revolutionary plans, 
flitted through my mind, chilling me with self-reproach. 
The pale hue of the attained cast its shadow across the 
spell, and I lay cold and quiet on Luba's breast. The 
coverlet was slipping down, and, reaching for it, my 
hand inadvertently touched her knee. 

"Sasha, how can you !" she cried in alarm, sitting up 
with terrified eyes. 

"I didn't mean to, Luba. How could you think 
that of me?" I was deeply mortified. 

My hand relaxed on her breast. We lay in silent 
embarrassment. 

"It is getting late, Sasha." She tenderly drew my 
head to her bosom. 

"A little while yet, dear," and again the enchant- 
ment of the virgin breasts was upon me, and I showered 
wild kisses on them, and pressed them passionately, 
madly, till she cried out in pain. 
• "You must go now, dear." 

"Good night, Luba." 

"Good night, dearest. You haven't kissed me, 
Sashenka." 

I felt her detaining lips, as I left. 



In the wakeful hours of the night, the urge of s< 
grows more and more insistent. Scenes from the p^st 



THE URGE OF SEX 205 

live in my thoughts; the cell is peopled with familiar 
faces. Episodes long dead to memory rise animated 
before me ; they emerge from the darkest chambers of my 
soul, and move with intense reality, like the portraits 
of my sires come to life in the dark, fearful nights of 
my childhood. Pert Masha smiles at me from her win- 
dow across the street, and a bevy of girls pass me de- 
murely, with modestly averted gaze, and then call 
back saucily, in thinly disguised voices. Again I am 
with my playmates, trailing the schoolgirls on their 
way to the river, and we chuckle gleefully at their af- 
fright and confusion, as they discover the eyes glued to 
the peep-holes we had cut in the booth. Inwardly I 
resent Nadya's bathing in her shirt, and in revenge dive 
beneath the boards, rising to the surface in the midst of 
the girls, who run to cover in shame and terror. But 
I grow indignant at Vainka who badgers the girls with 
"Tsiba,* tsiba, ba-aa!" and I soundly thrash Kolya for 
shouting nasty epithets across the school yard at little 
Nunya, whom I secretly adore. 

But the note of later days returns again and again, 
and the scenes of youth recede into their dim frames. 
Clearer and more frequently appear Sonya and Luba, and 
the little sweetheart of my first months in America. What 
a goose she was! She v/ould not embrace me, because 
it's a great sin, unless one is married. But how slyly 
she managed to arrange kissing games at the Sunday 
gatherings at her home, and always lose to me! She 
must be quite a woman now, with a husband, chil- 
dren . . . Quickly she flits by, the recollection even 
of her name lost in the glow of Anarchist emotionalism 
and the fervent enthusiasm of my Orchard Street days. 
There flames the light that irradiates the vague long- 



* Goat: derisively applied to schoolgirls. 



2(^ 'l^RISbN MEMblT^ OF Xn anarchisI: 

ings of my Russian youth, iand gives rapt iriterpfetatioh 
to obscurely Ipulsating idealism. It sheds the halo of 
iiilurrtinatitiyE^ jjustifieation upon my blindly rebellious 
iSpirit, ^nd ^vtSUailii^es tt^y 'breams on the sunlit moun- 
tains. tThe sordid misery of my "greenhorn" days as- 
sumes -a new aspect. Ah, the wretchedness of those 
ifirst years in America! .... And still Time's woof and 
^arp unroll the tapestry of life in the New World, its 
joys and heart-throbs. I stand a lone stranger, bewil- 
dered by the flurry of Castle Garden, yet strong with 
hope and courage to carve my fate in freedom. The 
Tsar is far away, and the fear of his hated Cossacks is 
past. How inspiring is liberty! The very air breathes 
enthusiasm and strength, and with confident ardor I em- 
brace the new life. I join the ranks of the world's pro- 
ducers, and glory in the full manhood conferred by the 
dignity of labor. I resent the derision of my adopted 
country on the part of my family abroad, — resent it 
hotly. I feel wronged by the charge of having disgraced 
my parents' respected name by turning ''a low, dirty 
workingman." I combat their snobbishness vehemently, 
and revenge the indignity to labor by challenging com- 
parison between the Old and the New World. Behold 
the glory of liberty and prosperity, the handiwork of a 
nation that honors labor ! . . . The loom of Time keeps 
weaving. Lone and friendless, I struggle in the new 
land. Life in the tenements is sordid, the fate of the 
worker dreary. There is no "dignity of labor." Sweat- 
shop bread is bitter. Oppression guards the golden prom- 
ise, and servile brutality is the only earnest of success. 
Then like a clarion note in the desert sounds the call of 
the Ideal. Strong and rousing rolls the battle-cry of 
Revolution. Like a flash in the night, it illumines my 
groping. My life becomes full of new meaning and in- 
terest, translated into the struggle of a world's emancipa- 



THE URGE OF SEX 30/ 

tion. Fedya joins me, and together we are absorbed in 
the music of the new humanity. 

It is all far, far — yet every detail is sharply etched 
upon my memory. Swiftly pass before me the years of 
complete consecration to the movement, the self-im- 
posed poverty and sacrifices, the feverish tide of agi- 
tation in the wake of the Chicago martyrdom, the eve- 
nings of spirited debate, the nights of diligent study. 
And over all loom the Fridays in the little dingy hall 
in the Ghetto, where the handful of Russian refugees 
gather; where bold imprecations are thundered against 
the tyranny and injustice of the existing, and winged 
words prophesy the near approach of a glorious Dawn. 
Beshawled women, and men, long-coated and piously 
bearded, steal into the hall after synagogue prayers, and 
listen with wondering eyes, vainly striving to grasp the 
strange Jewish, so perplexedly interspersed with the 
alien words of the new evangel. How our hearts re- 
joice, as, with exaggerated deference, we eagerly en- 
courage the diffident questioner, "Do you really mean — 
may the good Lord forgive me — there is no one in 
heaven above?" . . . Late in the evening the meeting 
resolves into small groups, heatedly contending over 
the speaker's utterances, the select circle finally adjourn- 
ing to "the corner." The obscure little tea room re- 
sounds with the joust of learning and wit. Fascinat- 
ing is the feast of reason, impassioned the flow of soul, 
as the passage-at-arms grows more heated with the 
advance of the night. The alert-eyed host diplomatically 
pacifies the belligerent factions, "Gentlemen, gentlemen, 
s-sh ! The police station is just across the street." There 
is a lull in the combat. The angry opponents frown at 
each other, and in the interim the Austrian Student in his 
mellow voice begins an interminable story of personal 



2o8 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

reminiscence, apropos of nothing and starting nowhere, 
but intensely absorbing. With sparkling eyes he holds us 
spellbound, relating the wonderful journey, taking us 
through the Nevsky in St. Petersburg, thence to the 
Caucasus, to engage in the blood-feuds of the Tcherkessi ; 
or, enmeshed in a perilous flirtation with an Albanian 
beauty in a Moslem harem, he descants on the philosophy 
of Mohammed, imperceptibly shifting the scene to the 
Nile to hunt the hippopotamus, and suddenly interrupting 
the amazing adventures by introducing an acquaintance 
of the evening, ''My excellent friend, the coming great 
Italian virtuoso, from Odessa, gentlemen. He will 
entertain us with an aria from TrovatoreJ' But the 
circle is not in a musical mood: some one challenges 
the Student's familiarity with the Moslem philosophy, 
and the Twin hints at the gossiped intimacy of the 
Austrian with Christian missionaries. There are pro- 
testations, and loud clamor for an explanation. The 
Student smilingly assents, and presently he is launched 
upon the Chinese sea, in the midst of a strange caravan, 
trading tea at Yachta, and aiding a political to escape 
to Vladivostok. . . . The night pales before the waking 
sun, the Twin yawns, and I am drowsy with — 

"Cof-f ee ! Want coffee ? Hey, git up there ! Didn't 
you hear th' bell?" 



CHAPTER XVI 
THE WARDEN'S THREAT 



The dying sun grows pale with haze and fog. Slowly 
the dark-gray line undulates across the shop, and draws 
its sinuous length along the gloaming yard. The shadowy 
waves cleave the thickening mist, vibrate ghostlike, and 
are swallowed in the yawning blackness of the cell-house. 

"Aleck, Aleck!" I hear an excited whisper behind 
me, "quick, plant it. The screw's goin' t' frisk* me." 

Something small and hard is thrust into my coat 
pocket. The guard in front stops short, suspiciously 
scanning the passing men. 

"Break ranks!" 

The overseer approaches me. "You are wanted in 
the office. Berk." 

The Warden, blear-eyed and sallow, frowns as I 
am led in. 

"What have you got on you?" he demands, abruptly. 

"I don't understand you." 

"Yes, you do. Have you money on you?" 

"I have not." 

"Who sends clandestine mail for you?" 

"What mail?" 



Search. 

209 



2IO PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

''The letter published in the Anarchist sheet in New 
York;-*^ 

I feel greatly relieved. The letter in question passed 
through official channels. 

"It went through the Chaplain's hands," I reply, 
boldly. 

"It isn't true. Such a letter could never pass Mr. 
Milligan. Mr. Cosson," he turns to the guard, "fetch 
the newspaper from my desk." 

The Warden's hands tremble as he points to the 
marked item. "Here it is ! You talk of revolution, and 
comrades, and Anarchism. Mr. Milligan never saw 
that, I'm sure. It's a nice thing for the papers to say 
that you are editing — from the prison, mind you — editing 
an Anarchist sheet in New York." 

"You can't believe everything the papers say," I 
protest. 

"Hm, this time the papers, hm, hm, may be right," 
the Deputy interposes. "They surely didn't make the 
story, hm, hm, out of whole cloth." 

"They often do," I retort. "Didn't they write that 
I tried to jump over the wall — it's about thirty feet 
high — and that the guard shot me in the leg?" 

A smile flits across the Warden's face. Impulsively 
I blurt out: 

"Was the story inspired, perhaps?" 

"Silence!" the Warden thunders. "You are not to 
speak, unless addressed, remember. Mr. McPane, please 
search him." 

The long, bony fingers slowly creep over my neck 
and shoulders, down my arms and body, pressing in my 
armpits, gripping my legs, covering every spot, and 
immersing me in an atmosphere of clamminess. The 
loathsome touch sickens me, but I rejoice in the thought 
of my security: I have nothing incriminating about me. 



THE WARDEN'S THREAT 211 

Suddenly the snakelike hand dips into my coat pocket. 

"Hm, what's this?" He unwraps a small, round 
object. *'A knife, Captain." 

''Let me see!" I cry in amazement. 

"Stand back!" the Warden commands. "This knife 
has been stolen from the shoe shop. On whom did you 
mean to use it?" 

"Warden, I didn't even know I had it. A fellow 
dropped it into my pocket as we — " 

"That'll do. You're not so clever as you think." 

"It's a conspiracy!" I cry. 

He lounges calmly in the armchair, a peculiar smile 
dancing in his eyes. 

"Well, what have you got to say?" 

"It's a put-up job." 

"Explain yourself." 

"Some one threw this thing into my pocket as we were 
coming — " 

"Oh, we've already heard that. It's too fishy." 

"You searched me for money and secret letters — " 

"That will do now. Mr. McPane, what is the sentence 
for the possession of a dangerous weapon?" 

"Warden," I interrupt, "it's no weapon. The blade 
is only half an inch, and — " 

"Silence ! I spoke to Mr. McPane." 

"Hm, three days, Captain." 

"Take him down." 

In the storeroom I am stripped of my suit of dark 
gray, and again clad in the hateful stripes. Coatless and 
shoeless, I am led through hallways and corridors, down 
a steep flight of stairs, and thrown into the dungeon. 



Total darkness. The blackness is massive, palpable, — 



212 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

I feel its hand upon my head, my face. I dare not move, 
lest a misstep thrust me into the abyss. I hold my hand 
close to my eyes — I feel the touch of my lashes upon 
it, but I cannot see its outline. Motionless I stand on one 
spot, devoid of all sense of direction. The silence is 
sinister; it seems to me I can hear it. Only now and 
then the hasty scrambling of nimble feet suddenly rends 
the stillness, and the gnawing of invisible river rats 
haunts the fearful solitude. 

Slowly the blackness pales. It ebbs and melts; out 
of the sombre gray, a wall looms above; the silhouette 
of a door rises dimly before me, sloping upward and 
growing compact and impenetrable. 

The hours drag in unbroken sameness. Not a sound 
reaches me from the cell-house. In the maddening quiet 
and darkness I am bereft of all consciousness of time, 
save once a day when the heavy rattle of keys apprises 
me of the morning: the dungeon is unlocked, and the 
silent guards hand me a slice of bread and a cup of 
water. The double doors fall heavily to, the steps grow 
fainter and die in the distance, and all is dark again in 
the dungeon. 

The numbness of death steals upon my soul. The 
floor is cold and clammy, the gnawing grows louder and 
nearer, and I am filled with dread lest the starving rats 
attack my bare feet. I snatch a few unconscious mo- 
ments leaning against the door; and then again I pace 
the cell, striving to keep awake, wondering whether it be 
night or day, yearning for the sound of a human voice. 

Utterly forsaken ! Cast into the stony bowels of the 
underground, the world of man receding, leaving no 
trace behind. . . . Eagerly I strain my ear — only the 
ceaseless, fearful gnawing. I clutch the bars in despera- 



THE WARDEN'S THREAT 213 

tion — a hollow echo mocks the clanking iron. My hands 
tear violently at the door — "Ho, there! Any one here?" 
All is silent. Nameless terrors quiver in my mind, weav- 
ing nightmares of mortal dread and despair. Fear shapes 
convulsive thoughts: they rage in wild tempest, then 
calm, and again rush through time and space in a rapid 
succession of strangely familiar scenes, wakened in my 
slimibering consciousness. 

Exhausted and weary I droop against the wall. A 
slimy creeping on my face startles me in horror, and 
again I pace the cell. I feel cold and hungry. Am I 
forgotten? Three days must have passed, and more. 
Have they forgotten me? . . . 

The clank of keys sends a thrill of joy to my heart. 
My tomb will open — oh, to see the light, and breathe the 
air again. ... 

"Officer, isn't my time up yet?" 

"What's your hurry? You've only been here one 
day." 

The doors fall to. Ravenously I devour the bread, 
so small and thin, just a bite. Only one day! Despair 
enfolds me like a pall. Faint with anguish, I sink to the 
floor. 



II 



The change from the dungeon to the ordinary cell 
is a veritable transformation. The sight of the human 
form fills me with delight, the sound of voices is sweet 
music. I feel as if I had been torn from the grip of 
death when all hope had fled me, — caught on the very 
brink, as it were, and restored to the world of the living. 
How bright the sun, how balmy the air! Tn keen 
sensuousness I stretch out on the bed. The tick is soiled, 
the straw protrudes in places, but it is luxury to rest, 



214 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

secure from the vicious river rats and the fierce vermin. 
It is almost liberty, freedom! 

But in the morning I awake in great agony. My eyes 
throb with pain; every joint of my body is on the rack. 
The blankets had been removed from the dungeon ; three 
days and nights I lay on the bare stone. It was unneces- 
sarily cruel to deprive me of my spectacles, in pretended 
anxiety lest I commit suicide with them. It is very 
touching, this solicitude for my safety, in view of the 
flimsy pretext to punish me. Some hidden motive must 
be actuating the Warden. But what can it be? Prob- 
ably they will not keep me long in the cell. When I 
am returned to work, I shall learn the truth. 

The days pass in vain expectation. The continuous 
confinement is becoming distressing. I miss the little 
comforts I have lost by the removal to the ''single" cell, 
considerably smaller than my previous quarters. My 
library, also, has disappeared, and the pictures I had so 
patiently collected for the decoration of the walls. The 
cell is bare and cheerless, the large card of ugly-printed 
rules affording no relief from the irritating whitewash. 
The narrow space makes exercise difficult: the necessity 
of turning at every second and third step transforms 
walking into a series of contortions. But some means 
must be devised to while away the time. I pace the 
floor, counting the seconds required to make ten turns. 
I recollect having heard that five miles constitutes a 
healthy day's walk. At that rate I should make 3,771 
turns, the cell measuring seven feet in length. I divide 
the exercise into three parts, adding a few extra laps to 
make sure of five miles. Carefully I count, and am 
overcome by a sense of calamity when the peal of the 
gong confuses my numbers. I must begin over again. 

The change of location has interrupted communica- 



THE WARDEN'S THREAT 21$ 

tion with my comrades. I am apprehensive of the fate 
of the Prison Blossoms: strict surveillance makes the 
prospect of restoring connections doubtful. I am 
assigned to the ground floor, my cell being but a few feet 
distant from the officers' desk at the yard door. Watch- 
ful eyes are constantly upon me; it is impossible for 
any prisoner to converse with me. The rangeman alone 
could aid me in reaching my friends, but I have been 
warned against him: he is a "stool" who has earned his 
position as trusty by spying upon the inmates. I can 
expect no help from him; but perhaps the coffee-boy 
may prove of service. 

I am planning to approach the man, when I am 
informed that prisoners from the hosiery department 
are locked up on the upper gallery. By means of the 
waste pipe, I learn of the developments during my stay 
in the dungeon. The discontent of the shop employees 
with the insufficient rations was intensified by the arrival 
of a wagon-load of bad meat. The stench permeated the 
yard, and several men were punished for passing uncom- 
plimentary remarks about the food. The situation was 
aggravated by an additional increase of the task. The 
knitters and loopers were on the verge of rebellion. 
Twice within the month had the task been enlarged. They 
sent to the Warden a request for a reduction; in reply 
came the appalling order for a further increase. Then 
a score of men struck. They remained in the cells, 
refusing to return to the shop unless the demand for 
better food and less work was complied with. With the 
aid of informers, the Warden conducted a quiet investi- 
gation. One by one the refractory prisoners were forced 
to submit. By a process of elimination the authorities 
sifted the situation, and now it is whispered about that 
a decision has been reached, placing responsibility for 
the unique episode of a strike in the prison. 



2l6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

An air of mystery hangs about the guards. 
Repeatedly I attempt to engage them in conversation, 
but the least reference to the strike seals their lips. I 
wonder at the peculiar looks they regard me with, when 
unexpectedly the cause is revealed. 



Ill 



It is Sunday noon. The rangeman pushes the dinner 
wagon along the tier. I stand at the door, ready to 
receive the meal. The overseer glances at me, then 
motions to the prisoner. The cart rolls past my cell. 

"Officer," I call out, "you missed me." 

"Smell the pot-pie, do you?" 

"Where's my dinner ?" 

"You get none." 

The odor of the steaming delicacy, so keenly looked 
forward to every second Sunday, reaches my nostrils 
and sharpens my hunger. I have eaten sparingly all 
week in expectation of the treat, and now — I am 
humiliated and enraged by being so unceremoniously 
deprived of the rare dinner. Angrily I rap the cup 
across the door; again and again I strike the tin against 
it, the successive falls from bar to bar producing a 
sharp, piercing clatter. 

A guard hastens along. "Stop that damn racket," 
he commands. "What's the matter with you ?" 

"I didn't get dinner." 

"Yes, you did." 

"I did not." 

"Well, I s'pose you don't deserve it." 

As he turns to leave, my can crashes against the 
door — one, two, three — 

"What t'hell do you want, eh?" 

"I want to see the Warden." 



THE WARDEN'S THREAT 517 

"You can't see 'im. You better keep quiet now." 

"I demand to see the Warden. He is supposed to 
visit us every day. He hasn't been around for weeks. 
I must see him now." 

"If you don't shut up, I'll— 

The Captain of the Block approaches. 

"What do you want, Berkman?" 

"I want to see the Warden." 

"Can't see him. It's Sunday." 

"Captain," I retort, pointing to the rules on the wall 
of the cell, "there is an excerpt here from the statutes 
of Pennsylvania, directing the Warden to visit each 
prisoner every day — " 

"Never mind, now," he interrupts. "What do you 
want to see the Warden about?" 

"I want to know why I got no dinner." 

"Your name is off the list for the next four Sundays." 

"What for?" 

"That you'll have to ask the boss. I'll tell him you 
want to see him." 

Presently the overseer returns, informing me in a 
confidential manner that he has induced "his Nibs" to 
grant me an audience. Admitted to the inner office, I 
find the Warden at the desk, his face flushed with anger. 

"You are reported for disturbing the peace," he 
shouts at me. 

"There is also, hm, hm, another charge against him," 
the Deputy interposes. 

"Two charges," the Warden continues. "Disturb- 
ing the peace and making demands. How dare you 
demand ?" he roars. "Do you know where you are ?" 

"I wanted to see you." 

"It is not a question of what you want or don't want. 
Understand that clearly. You are to obey the rules 
implicitly." 



2i8 PRISON MEMOIRS OB" AH ANARCHIST 

"The rules direct you to visit — " 
• ''Silence! What is your request?" 

"I want to know why I am deprived of dinner." 

"It is not, hm, for you to know. It is enough, hm, 
hm, that we know," the Deputy retorts. 

"Mr. McPane," the Warden interposes, "I am going 
to speak plainly to him. From this day on," he turns 
to me, "you are on 'Pennsylvania diet' for four weeks. 
During that time no papers or books are permitted you. 
It will give you leisure to think over your behavior. 
I have investigated your conduct in the shop, and I am 
satisfied it was you who instigated the trouble there. 
You shall not have another chance to incite the men, 
even if you live as long as your sentence. But," he 
pauses an instant, then adds, threateningly, "but you 
may as well understand it now as later — your life is not 
worth the trouble you give us. Mark you well, whatever 
the cost, it will be at your expense. For the present 
you'll remain in solitary,, where you cannot exert your 
pernicious influence. Officers, remove him to the 
'basket.' " 



CHAPTER XVII 

THE "BASKET" CELL 

Four weeks of 'Tennsylvania diet" have reduced me 
almost to a skeleton. A slice of wheat bread with a 
cup of unsweetened black coffee is my sole meal, with 
twice a week dinner of vegetable soup, from which every 
trace of meat has been removed. Every Saturday I 
am conducted to the office, to be examined by the 
physician and weighed. The whole week I look forward 
to the brief respite from the terrible "basket" cell. The 
sight of the striped men scouring the floor, the friendly 
smile on a stealthily raised face as I pass through the 
hall, the strange blue of the sky, the sweet-scented aroma 
of the April morning — how quickly it is all over! But 
the seven deep breaths I slowly inhale on the way to the 
office, and the eager ten on my return, set my blood 
aglow with renewed life. For an instant my brain 
reels with the sudden rush of exquisite intoxication, 
and then — I am in the tomb again. 

The torture of the ''basket" is maddening; the con- 
stant dusk is driving me blind. Almost no light or air 
reaches me through the close wire netting covering the 
barred door. The foul odor is stifling ; it grips my throat 
with deathly hold. The walls hem me in; daily they 
press closer upon me, till the cell seems to contract, and 
I feel crushed in the coffin of stone. From every point 
the whitewashed sides glare at me, unyielding, inexorable, 
in confident assurance of their prey. 

The darkness of despondency gathers day by day; 
"the hand of despair weighs heavier. At night thq 

219 



220 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

screeching of a crow across the river ominously voices 
the black raven keeping vigil in my heart. The windows 
in the hallway quake and tremble in the furious wind. 
Bleak and desolate wakes the day — another day, then 
another — 

Weak and apathetic I lie on the bed. Ever further 
recedes the world of the living. Still day follows night, 
and life is in the making, but I have no part in the pain 
and travail. Like a spark from the glowing furnace, 
flashing through the gloom, and swallowed in the dark- 
ness, I have been cast upon the shores of the forgotten. 
No sound reaches me from the island prison where beats 
the fervent heart of the Girl, no ray of hope falls across 
the bars of desolation. But on the threshold of Nirvana 
life recoils; in the very bowels of torment it cries out 
to he! Persecution feeds the fires of defiance, and 
nerves my resolution. Were I an ordinary prisoner, I 
should not care to suffer all these agonies. To what pur- 
pose, with my impossible sentence? But my Anarchist 
ideals and traditions rise in revolt against the vampire 
gloating over its prey. No, I shall not disgrace the 
Cause, I shall not grieve my comrades by weak sur- 
render! I will fight and struggle, and not be daunted 
by threat or torture. 

With difficulty I walk to the office for the weekly 
weighing. My step falters as I approach the scales, and 
I sway dizzily. As through a mist I see the doctor bend- 
ing over me, his head pressing against my body. Some- 
how I reach the "basket," mildly wondering why I did 
not feel the cold air. Perhaps they did not take me 
through the yard — Is it the Block Captain's voice? 
"What did you say?" 

"Return to your old cell You're on full diet now," 



CHAPTER XVIII 



THE SOLITARY 



Direct to Box A 7, 
Allegheny City, Pa. 
March 25, 1894. 
Dear Fedya : 

This letter is somewhat delayed: for certain reasons I missed 
mail-day last month. Prison life, too, has its ups and downs, 
and just now I am on the down side. We are cautioned to 
refrain from referring to local affairs; therefore I can tell 
you only that I am in solitary, without work. I don't know how 
long I am to be kept "locked up." It may be a month, or a year, 
but I hope it will not be the latter. 

I was not permitted to receive the magazines and delicacies 
you sent. . . . We may subscribe for the daily papers, and you 
can easily imagine how religiously I read them from headline to 
the last ad: they keep me in touch, to some extent, with the 
living. . . . Blessed be the shades of Guttenberg! Hugo and 
Zola, even Gogol and Turgenev, are in the library. It is like 
meeting an old friend in a strange land to find our own Bazarov 

discoursing — in English Page after page unfolds the past — 

the solitary is forgotten, the walls melt away, and again I roam 
with Leather Stocking in the primitive forest, or sorrow with 
poor Oliver Twist. But the "Captain's Daughter" irritates me, 
and Pugatchev, the rebellious soul, has turned a caricature in 
the awkward hands of the translator. And now comes Tarass 
Bulba — is it our own Tarass, the fearless warrior, the scourge 
of Turk and Tartar? How grotesque is the brave old hetman 
storming maledictions against the hated Moslems — in long-winded 
German periods! Exasperated and offended, I turn my back 
upon the desecration, and open a book of poems. But instead of 

221 



222 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

the requested Robert Burns, I find a volume of Wordsworth. 
Posies bloom on his pages, and rosebuds scent his rhymes, but 
the pains of the world's labor wake no chord in his soul. . . . 
Science and romance, history and travel, religion and philosophy — 
all come trooping into the cell in irrelevant sequence, for the 
allowance of only one book at a time limits my choice. The 
variety of reading affords rich material for reflection, and helps 
to perfect my English. But some passage in the "Starry Heavens" 
suddenly brings me to earth, and the present is illumined with 
the direct perception of despair, and the anguished question 
surges through my mind, What is the use of all this study and 
learning? And then — but why harrow you with this tenor. 

I did not mean to say all this when I began. It cannot be 
undone: the sheet must be accounted for. Therefore it will 
be mailed to you. But I know, dear friend, you also are not 
bedded on roses. And the poor Sailor? 

My space is all. 

Alex. 

II 

The lengthening chain of days in the solitary drags 
its heavy links through every change of misery. The 
cell is suffocating with the summer heat; rarely does 
the fresh breeze from the river steal a caress upon my 
face. On the pretext of a ''draught" the unfriendly guard 
has closed the hall windows opposite my cell. Not a 
breath of air is stirring. The leaden hours of the night 
are insufferable with the foul odor of the perspiration 
and excrement of a thousand bodies. Sleepless, I toss 
on the withered mattress. The ravages of time and the 
weight of many inmates have demoralized it out of all 
semblance of a bedtick. But the Block Captain per- 
sistently ignores my request for new straw, directing me 
to "shake it up a bit." I am fearful of repeating the 
experiment : the clouds of dust almost strangled me ; for 
days the cell remained hazy with the powdered filth. 
Impatiently I await the morning : the yard door will open 



THE SOLITARY 523 

before the marching lines, and the fresh air be wafted 
past my cell. I shall stand ready to receive the precious 
tonic that is to give me life this day. 

And when the block has belched forth its striped 
prey, and silence mounts its vigil, I may improve a 
favorable moment to exchange a greeting with Johnny 
Davis. The young prisoner is in solitary on the tier 
above me. Thrice his request for a ''high gear" machine 
has been refused, and the tall youth forced to work 
doubled over a low table. Unable to exert his best 
efforts in the cramped position, Johnny has repeatedly 
been punished with the dungeon. Last week he suffered 
a hemorrhage ; all through the night resounds his hollow 
cough. Desperate with the dread of consumption, 
Johnny has refused to return to work. The Warden, 
relenting in a kindly mood, permitted him to resume 
his original high machine. But the boy has grown 
obdurate: he is determined not to go back to the shop 
whose officer caused him so much trouble. The 
prison discipline takes no cognizance of the situation. 
Regularly every Monday the torture is repeated: the 
youth is called before the Deputy, and assigned to the 
hosiery department; the unvarying refusal is followed 
by the dungeon, and then Johnny is placed in the solitary, 
to be cited again before the Warden the ensuing Monday. 
I chafe at my helplessness to aid the boy. His course 
is suicidal, but the least suggestion of yielding enrages 
him. "I'll die before I give in," he told me. 

From whispered talks through the waste pipe I learn 
the sad story of his young life. He is nineteen, with a 
sentence of five years before him. His father, a brake- 
. man, was killed in a railroad collision. The suit for 
i damages was dragged through years of litigation, leaving 
the widow destitute. Since the age of fourteen young 
Johnny had to support the whole family. Lately he 



224 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

was employed as the driver of a delivery wagon, 
associating with a rough element that gradually drew 
him into gambling. One day a shortage of twelve dol- 
lars was discovered in the boy's accounts: the mills of 
justice began to grind, and Johnny was speedily clad 
in stripes. 

In vain I strive to absorb myself in the library book. 
The shoddy heroes of Laura Jean wake no response in 
my heart; the superior beings of Corelli, communing 
with mysterious heavenly circles, stalk by, strange and 
unhuman. Here, in the cell above me, cries and moans 
the terrible tragedy of Reality. What a monstrous thing 
it is that the whole power of the commonwealth, all the 
machinery of government, is concentrated to crush this 
unfortunate atom! Innocently guilty, too, the poor boy 
is. Ensnared by the gaming spirit of the time, the feeble 
creature of vitiating environment, his fate is sealed by 
a moment of weakness. Yet his deviation from the path 
of established ethics is but a faint reflection of the lives 
of the men that decreed his doom. The hypocrisy of 
organized Society ! The very foundation of its existence 
rests upon the negation and defiance of every professed 
principle of right and justice. Every feature of its face 
is a caricature, a travesty upon the semblance of truth; 
the whole life of humanity a mockery of the very name. 
Political mastery based on violence and Jesuitry; industry 
gathering the harvest of human blood ; commerce ascend- 
ant on the ruins of manhod — such is the morality of 
civilization. And over the edifice of this stupendous 
perversion the Law sits enthroned, and Religion weaves 
the spell of awe, and varnishes right and puzzles wrong, 
and bids the cowering helot intone, "Thy will be done !" 

Devoutly Johnny goes to Church, and prays for- 
giveness for his "sins." The prosecutor was "very 



THE SOLITARY 225 

hard" on him, he told me. The blind mole perceives 
only the immediate, and is embittered against the per- 
sons directly responsible for his long imprisonment. 
But greater minds have failed fully to grasp the 
iniquity of the established. My beloved Burns, even, 
seems inadequate, powerfully as he moves my spirit 
with his deep sympathy for the poor, the oppressed. 
But "man's inhumanity to man" is not the last word. 
The truth lies deeper. It is economic slavery, the 
savage struggle for a crumb, that has converted 
mankind into wolves and sheep. In liberty and com- 
munism, none would have the will or the power "to make 
countless thousands mourn." Verily, it is the system, 
rather than individuals, that is the source of pollution 
and degradation. My prison-house environment is 
but another manifestation of the Midas-hand, whose 
cursed touch turns everything to the brutal service of 
Mammon. Dullness fawns upon cruelty for advance- 
ment ; with savage joy the shop foreman cracks his whip, 
for his meed of the gold-transmuted blood. The fam- 
ished bodies in stripes, the agonized brains reeling 
in the dungeon night, the men buried in "basket" and 
solitary, — what human hand would turn the key upon 
a soul in utter darkness, but for the dread of a like fate, 
and the shadow it casts before? This nightmare is but 
an intensified replica of the world beyond, the larger 
prison locked with the levers of Greed, guarded by the 
spawn of Hunger. 

My mind reverts insistently to the life outside. It 
is a Herculean task to rouse Apathy to the sordidness 
of its misery. Yet if the People would but realize the 
depths of their degradation and be informed of the 
means of deliverance, how joyously they would embrace 
Anarchy! Quick and decisive would be the victory of 



226 PRISON MEMOIRS OP AN ANARCHIST 

the workers against the handful of their despoilers. An 
hour of sanity, freed from prejudice and superstition, 
and the torch of liberty would flame 'round the world, 
and the banner of equality and brotherhood be planted 
upon the hills of a regenerated humanity. Ah, if the 
world would but pause for one short while, and under- 
stand, and become free! 

Involuntarily I am reminded of the old rabbinical 
lore: only one instant of righteousness, and Messiah 
would come upon earth. The beautiful promise had 
strongly appealed to me in the days of childhood. The 
merciful God requires so little of us, I had often 
pondered. Why will we not abstain from sin and evil, 
for just "the twinkling of an eye-lash"? For weeks I 
went about weighed down with the grief of impenitent 
Israel refusing to be saved, my eager brain pregnant 
with projects of hastening the deliverance. Like a 
divine inspiration came the solution : at the stroke of the 
noon hour, on a preconcerted day, all the men and 
women of the Jewry throughout the world should bow 
in prayer. For a single stroke of time, all at once — behold 
the Messiah come! In agonizing perplexity I gazed at 
my Hebrew tutor shaking his head. How his kindly 
smile quivered dismay into my thrilling heart! The 
children of Israel could not be saved thus, — he spoke 
sadly. Nay, not even in the most circumspect manner, 
affording our people in the farthest corners of the earth 
time to prepare for the solemn moment. The Messiah 
will come, the good tutor kindly consoled me. It had 
been promised. "But the hour hath not arrived," he 
quoted; "no man hath the power to hasten the steps of 
the Deliverer." 

With a sense of sobering sadness, I thiok of the new 
hope, the revolutionary Messiah. Truly the old rabbi 
was wise beyond his ken : it hath been given to no man to 



I 



THE SOLITARY 227 

hasten the march of delivery. Out of the People's need, 
from the womb of their suffering, must be born the hour 
of redemption. Necessity, Necessity alone, with its iron 
heel, will spur numb Misery to effort, and waken the 
living dead. The process is tortuously slow, but the 
gestation of a new humanity cannot be hurried by impa- 
tience. We must bide our time, meanwhile preparing the 
workers for the great upheaval. The errors of the past 
are to be guarded against: always has apparent victory 
been divested of its fruits, and paralyzed into defeat, 
because the People were fettered by their respect for 
property, by the superstitious awe of authority, and by 
reliance upon leaders. These ghosts must be cast out, 
and the torch of reason lighted in the darkness of men's 
minds, ere blind rebellion can rend the midway clouds 
of defeat, and sight the glory of the Social Revolution, 
and the beyond. 

Ill 

A heavy nightmare oppresses my sleep. Confused 
sounds ring in my ears, and beat upon my head. I wake 
in nameless dread. The cell-house is raging with uproar : 
crash after crash booms through the hall; it thunders 
against the walls of the cell, then rolls like some 
monstrous drum along the galleries, and abruptly ceases. 

In terror I cower on the bed. All is deathly still. 
Timidly I look around. The cell is in darkness, and only 
a faint gas light flickers unsteadily in the corridor. 
Suddenly a cry cuts the silence, shrill and unearthly, 
bursting into wild laughter. And again the fearful 
thunder, now bellowing from the cell above, now mutter- 
ing menacingly in the distance, then dying with a growl. 
And all is hushed again, and only the unearthly laughter 
rings through the hall. 



228 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Johnny, Johnny!" I call in alarm. "Johnny!" 

"Th' kid's in th' hole," comes hoarsely through the 
privy. "This is Horsethief. Is that you, Aleck?" 

"Yes. What wit, Bob?" 

"Some one breakin' up housekeepin'." 

"Who?" 

"Can't tell. May be Smithy." 

"What Smithy, Bob?" 

"Crazy Smith, on crank row. Look out now, they're 
comin'." 

The heavy doors of the rotunda groan on their hinges. 
Shadowlike, giant figures glide past my cell. They walk 
inaudibly, felt-soled and portentous, the long riot clubs 
rigid at their sides. Behind them others, and then the 
Warden, a large revolver gleaming in his hand. With 
bated breath I listen, conscious of the presence of other 
men at the doors. Suddenly wailing and wild laughter 
pierce the night: there is the rattling of iron, violent 
scuffling, the sickening thud of a falling body, and all 
is quiet. Noiselessly the bread cart flits by, the huge 
shadows bending over the body stretched on the boards. 

The gong booms the rising hour. The morning sun 
glints a ray upon the bloody trail in the hall, and hides 
behind the gathering mist. A squad of men in gray and 
black is marched from the yard. They kneel on the 
floor, and with sand and water scour the crimson flag- 
stones. 

With great relief I learn that "Crazy Smithy" is not 
dead. He will recover, the rangeman assures me. The 
doctor bandaged the man's wounds, and then the prisoner, 
still unconscious, was dragged to the dungeon. Little 
by little I glean his story from my informant. Smith 
has been insane, at times violently, ever since his impris- 



THE SOLITARY 229 

onment, about four years ago. His "partner," Burns, has 
also become deranged through worry over his sentence of 
twenty-five years. His madness assumed such revolting 
expression that the authorities caused his commitment 
to the insane asylum. But Smith remains on "crank 
row," the Warden insisting that he is shamming to gain 
an opportunity to escape. 

IV 

The rare snatches of conversation with the old range- 
man are events in the monotony of the solitary. Owing 
to the illness of Bob, communication with my friends is 
almost entirely suspended. In the forced idleness the 
hours grow heavy and languid, the days drag in unvary- 
ing sameness. By violent efforts of will I strangle the 
recurring thought of my long sentence, and seek for- 
getfulness in reading. Volume after volume passes 
through my hands, till my brain is steeped with the 
printed word. Page by page I recite the history of the 
Holy Church, the lives of the Fathers and the Saints, or 
read aloud, to hear a human voice, the mythology of 
Greece and India, mingling with it, for the sake of 
variety, a few chapters from Mill and Spencer. But 
in the midst of an intricate passage in the "Unknowable," 
or in the heart of a difficult mathematical problem, I 
suddenly become aware of my pencil drawing familiar 
figures on the library slate: 22 X 12 = 264. What is 
this, I wonder. And immediately I proceed, in semi- 
conscious manner, to finish the calculation: 

264 X 30 = 7,920 days. 
7,920 X 24 = 190,080 hours. 
190,080X60=11,404,800 minutes. 
11,404,800X60 = 684,288,000 seconds. 

But the next moment I am aghast at the realization 



230 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

that my computation allows only 30 days per month, 
whereas the year consists of 365, sometimes even of 
366 days. And again I repeat the process, multiplying 
22 by 365, and am startled to find that I have almost 
700,000,000 seconds to pass in the solitary. From the 
official calendar alongside of the rules the cheering 
promise faces me. Good conduct shortens time. But I 
have been repeatedly reported and punished — they will 
surely deprive me of the commutation. With great care 

1 figure out my allowance: one month on the first year, 
one on the second ; two on the third and fourth ; three on 
the fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth; four months' 
"good time" on each succeeding year. I shall therefore 
have to serve fifteen years and three months in this place, 
and then eleven months in the workhouse. I have been 
here now two years. It still leaves me 14 years and 

2 months, or more than 5,170 days. Appalled by 
the figures, I pace the cell in agitation. It is hopeless! 
It is folly to expect to survive such a sentence, especially 
in view of the Warden's persecution, and the petty 
tyranny of the keepers. 

Thoughts of suicide and escape, wild fancies of 
unforeseen developments in the world at large that will 
somehow result in my liberation, all struggle in con- 
fusion, leaving me faint and miserable. My absolute 
isolation holds no promise of deliverance; the days of 
illness and suffering fill me with anguish. With a sharp 
pang I observe the thinning of my hair. The evidence 
of physical decay rouses the fear of mental collapse, 
insanity. ... I shudder at the terrible suggestion, and 
lash myself into a fever of irritation with myself, the 
rangeman, and every passing convict, my heart seething 
with hatred of the Warden, the guards, the judge, and 
that unembodied, shapeless, but inexorable and merciless, 
thing — the world. In the moments of reacting calm I 



THE SOLITARY 231 

apply myself to philosophy and science, determinedly, 
with the desperation born of horror. But the dread ghost 
is ever before me; it follows me up and down the cell, 
mocks me with th.t ^s^ild laughter oi *'Crazy Smith" in 
the stillness of the nignt, and with the moaning and 
wailing of my neighbor suddenly fione mad. 



CHAPTER XIX 

MEMORY-GUESTb 

Often the Chaplain pauses at my door, and speaks 
words of encouragement. I feel deeply moved by his 
sympathy, but my revolutionary traditions forbid the 
expression of my emotions: a cog in the machinery of 
oppression, he might mistake my gratitude for the 
obsequiousness of the fawning convict. But I hope he 
feels my appreciation in the simple ''thank you." It is 
kind of him to lend me books from his private library, 
and occasionally also permit me an extra sheet of writing 
paper. Correspondence with the Girl and the Twin, 
and the unfrequent exchange of notes with my com- 
rades, are the only links that still bind me to the liv- 
ing. I feel weary and life-worn, indifferent to the trivial 
incidents of existence that seem to hold such exciting 
interest for the other inmates. "Old Sammy," the range- 
man, grown nervous with the approach of liberty, invents 
a hundred opportunities to unburden his heart. All day 
long he limps from cell to cell, pretending to scrub the 
doorsills or dust the bars, meanwhile chattering volubly 
to the solitaries. Listlessly I suffer the oft-repeated 
recital of the "news," elaborately discussed and com- 
mented upon with impassioned earnestness. He inter- 
rupts his anathemas upon the "rotten food" and the 
"thieving murderers," to launch into enthusiastic details, 
of the meal he will enjoy on the day of release, the] 
imprisoned friends he will remember with towels and] 

232 



MEMORY-GUESTS 233 

handkerchiefs. But he grows pensive at the mention of 
the folks at home: the "old woman" died of a broken 
heart, the boys have not written a line in three years. 
He fears they have sold the little farmhouse, and flown 
to the city. But the joy of coming freedom drives away 
the sad thought, and he mumbles hopefully, "I'll see, 
ril see," and rejoices in being "alive and still good for 
a while," and then abruptly changes the conversation, and 
relates minutely how "that poor, crazy Dick" was yester- 
day found hanging in the cell, and he the first to discover 
him, and to help the guards cut him down. And last 
week he was present when the physician tried to revive 
"the little dago," and if the doctor had only returned 
quicker from the theatre, poor Joe might have been 
saved. He "took a fit" and "the screws jest let 'im lay; 
'waitin' for the doc,' they says. Hope they don't kill me 
yet," he comments, hobbling away. 

The presence of death daunts the thought of self- 
destruction. Ever stronger asserts itself the love of life ; 
I the will to be roots deeper. But the hope of escape 
j recedes with the ebbing of my vitality. The constant 
harassing has forced the discontinuation of the Blossoms. 
The eccentric Warden seems to have conceived a great 
if ear of an Anarchist conspiracy: special orders have 
been issued, placing the trio under extraordinary 
isurveillance. Suspecting our clandestine correspondence, 
yet unable to trace it, the authorities have decided to 
separate us in a manner excluding all possibility of com- 
nunication. Apparently I am to be continued in the 
jolitary indefinitely, while Nold is located in the South 
iVing, and Bauer removed to the furthest cell on an 
ipper gallery in the North Block. The precious maga- 
:ine is suspended, and only the daring of the faithful 
Horsethief" enables us to exchange an occasional note. 



234 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Amid the fantastic shapes cast by the dim candle 
light, I pass the long winter evenings. The prison day 
between 7 a. m. and 9 p. m. I divide into three parts, 
devoting four hours each to exercise, English, and 
reading, the remaining two hours occupied with meals 
and "cleaning up." Surrounded by grammars and dic- 
tionaries, borrowed from the Chaplain, I absorb myself 
in a sentence of Shakespeare, dissecting each word, 
studying origin and derivation, analyzing prefix and 
suffix. I find moments of exquisite pleasure in tracing 
some simple expression through all the vicissitudes of its 
existence, to its Latin or Greek source. In the history 
of the corresponding epoch, I seek the people's joys and 
tragedies, contemporary with the fortunes of the word. 
Philology, with the background of history, leads me into 
the pastures of mythology and comparative religion, 
through the mazes of metaphysics and warring philos- 
ophies, to rationalism and evolutionary science. 

Oblivious of my environment, I walk with the dis- 
ciples of Socrates, flee Athens with the persecuted 
Diagoras, ''the Atheist," and listen in ecstasy to the 
sweet-voiced lute of Arion; or with Suetonius I pass in 
review the Twelve Caesars, and weep with the hostages 
swelling the triumph of the Eternal City. But on the 
very threshold of Cleopatra's boudoir, about to enter l| 
with the intrepid Mark Antony, I am met by three giai 
slaves with the command: 

"A 7, hands up 1 Step out to be searched !" 

For days my enfeebled nerves quiver with the shock. 
With difficulty I force myself to pick up the thread of 
my life amid the spirits of the past. The placid waters 
have been disturbed, and all the miasma of the quagmire 
seethes toward the surface, and fills my cup with the 
terness of death. 



MEMORY-GUESTS 235 

The release of "Old Sammy" stirs me to the very- 
depths. Many prisoners have come and gone during 
my stay; with some I merely touched hands as they 
passed in the darkness and disappeared, leaving no trace 
in my existence. But the old rangeman, with his smiling 
I eyes and fervid optimism, has grown dear to me. He 
shared with me his hopes and fears, divided his extra 
slice of cornbread, and strove to cheer me in his own 
homely manner. I miss his genial presence. Some- 
thing has gone out of my life with him, leaving a void, 
saddening, gnawing. In thought I follow my friend 
through the gates of the prison, out into the free, the 
alluring "outside," the charmed circle that holds the 
promise of life and joy and liberty. Like a horrible 
nightmare the sombre walls fade away, and only a dark 
shadow vibrates in my memory, like a hidden menace, 
iaint, yet ever-present and terrible. The sun glows 
brilliant in the heavens, shell-like wavelets float upon 
the azure, and sweet odors are everywhere about me. 
A.11 the longing of my soul wells up with violent pas- 
sion, and in a sudden transport of joy I fling myself 
ipon the earth, and weep and kiss it in prayerful 
>liss 

The candle sputters, hisses, and dies. I sit in the 
iark. Silently lifts the veil of time. The little New 
fork flat rises before me. The Girl is returning home, 
he roses of youth grown pallid amid the shadows of 
eath. Only her eyes glow firmer and deeper, a look 
£ challenge in her saddened face. As on an open page, 
read the suffering of her prison experience, the 
arper lines of steadfast purpose. . . . The joys and 
rrows of our mutual past unfold before me, and again 
live in the old surroundings. The memorable scene 
f our first meeting, in the little cafe at Sachs', projects 



2z(i PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

clearly. The room is chilly in the November dusk, as 
I return from work and secure my accustomed place. 
One by one the old habitues drop in, and presently I am 
in a heated discussion with two Russian refugees at the 
table opposite. The door opens, and a young woman 
enters. Well-knit, with the ruddy vigor of youth, she 
diffuses an atmosphere of strength and vitality. I 
wonder who the newcomer may be. Two years in the 
movement have familiarized me with the personnel of 
the revolutionary circles of the metropolis. This girl 
is evidently a stranger; I am quite sure I have never 
met her at our gatherings. I motion to the passing 
proprietor. He smiles, anticipating my question. "You 
want to know who the young lady is?" he whispers; 
"ni see, ril see." — Somehow I find myself at her table. 
Without constraint, we soon converse like old acquaint- 
ances, and I learn that she left her home in Rochester 
to escape the stifling provincial atmosphere. She is 
a dressmaker, and hopes to find work in New York. 
I like her simple, frank confidence ; the "comrade" on her 
lips thrills me. She is one of us, then. With a sense 
of pride in the movement, I enlarge upon the activities 
of our circle. There are important meetings she ought 
to attend, many people to meet; Hasselmann is conduct- 
ing a course in sociology; Schultze is giving splendid 
lectures. "Have you heard Most?" I ask suddenly. 
"No? You must hear our Grand Old Man. He speaks 
to-morrow; will you come with me?" — Eagerly I look 
forward to the next evening, and hasten to the cafe. 
It is frosty outdoors as I walk the narrow, dark streets 
in animated discussion with "Comrade Rochester." Th 
ancient sidewalks are uneven and cracked, in spoi 
crusted with filth. As we cross Delancey Street, the girl 
slips and almost falls, when I catch her in my arms just 
in time to prevent her head striking the curbstone. "You 



rl 



MEMORY-GUESTS ^37 

have saved my life," she smiles at me, her eyes .'.ancing 

vivaciously With great pride I introduce my new 

friend to the inteligentzia of the Ghetto, among the 
exiles of the colony. Ah, the exaltation, the joy of 
being! .... The whole history of revolutionary Russia 
is mirrored in our circles ; every shade of temperamental 
Nihilism and political view is harbored there. I see 
Hartman, surrounded by the halo of conspirative mys- 
tery ; at his side is the velikorussian, with flowing beard 
and powerful frame, of the older generation of the 
narodovoiltzy ; and there is Schewitsch, big and broad of 
feature, the typical dvoryanin who has cast in his lot 
with the proletariat. The line of contending faiths is 
not drawn sharply in the colony: Cahan is among us, 
stentorian of voice and bristling with aggressive vitality ; 
Solotaroff, his pale student face peculiarly luminous; 
Miller, poetically eloquent, and his strangely-named 
brother Brandes, looking consumptive from his ex- 
p>erience in the Odessa prison. Timmermann and 
Aleinikoff, Rinke and Weinstein — all are united in 
enthusiasm for the common cause. Types from Tur- 
geneV and Chernishevski, from Dostoyevski and Ne- 
krassov, mingle in the seeming confusion of reality, in- 
dividualized with varying shade and light. And other 
elements are in the colony, the splashed quivers of the 
simmering waters of Tsardom. Shapes in the making, 
still being kneaded in the mold of old tradition and 
new environment. Who knows what shall be the amal- 
gam, some day to be recast by the master hand of a 
new Turgenev? . . . 

Often the solitary hours are illumined by scenes of 

the past. With infinite detail I live again through the 

I years of the inspiring friendship that held the Girl, the 

1 .^Ewin, and myself in the closest bonds of revolutionary 



23^ PRISON MEMblRS OP AN ANX:rCHIST 

aspiration and personal intimacy. How full of intere^ 
and rich ipromise was life in 'those days, ^so Sar away, 
vwhen-af t^r tthe hours of ^humiliating drudgery iintthe fac- 
ttory U would -hasten ^to tthe ^little room m Suffolk Street ! 
vSmall vand inarTOW, wiih iits 'diminutive table and solitary 
fidhair, iihe c^e-ilike Ibedroom would be transfigured into 
tihe sandtified chamber of fate, holding the balance of 
the world's weal. Only two could sit on the little cot, 
the third on the rickety chair. And if somebody else 
called, we would stand around the room, filling the 
air with the glowing hope of our young hearts, in the 
firm consciousness that we were hastening the steps of 
progress, advancing the glorious Dawn. 

The memory of the life "outside" intensifies the 
misery of the solitary. I brood over the uselessness of 
my suffering. My mission in life terminated with the 
Attentat. What good can my continued survival do? 
My propagandistic value as a living example of class 
injustice and political persecution is not of sufficient im- 
portance to impose upon me the duty of existence. And 
even if it were, the almost three years of my imprison- 
ment have served the purpose. Escape is out of con- 
sideration, so long as I remain constantly under lock 
and key, the subject of special surveillance. Communi- 
cation with Nold and Bauer, too, is daily growing more 
difficult. My health is fast failing; I am barely able to 
walk. What is the use of all this misery and torture? 
What is the use? .... 

In such moments, I stand on the brink of eternity. 
Is it sheer apathy and languor that hold the weak thread 
of life, or nature's law and the inherent spirit of re- 
sistance ? Were I not in the enemy's power, I should 
unhesitatingly cross the barrier. But as a pioneer of 
the Cause, I must live and struggle. Yet life without 



MEMORY-GUESTS 239 

activity or interest is terrifying. ... I long for sympathy 
and affection. With an aching heart I remember my 
comrades and friends, and the Girl. More and more 
my mind dwells upon tender memories. I wake at night 
with a passionate desire for the sight of a sweet face, 
the touch of a soft hand. A wild yearning fills me for 
the women I have known, as they pass in my mind's 
eye from the time of my early youth to the last kiss of 
feminine lips. With a thrill I recall each bright look 
and tender accent. My heart beats tumultuously as I 
meet little Nadya, on the way to school, pretending I 
do not see her. I turn around to admire the golden locks 
floating in the breeze, when I surprise her stealthily 
watching me. I adore her secretly, but proudly decline 
my chum's offer to introduce me. How foolish of me! 
But I know no timid shrinking as I wait, on a cold 
winter evening, for our neighbor's servant girl to cross 
the yard ; and how unceremoniously I embrace her ! She 
is not a barishnya; I need not mask my feelings. And 
she is so primitive; she accuses me of knowing things 
"not fit for a boy" of my age. But she kisses me again, 
and passion wakes at the caress of the large, coarse hand. 
. . . My Eldridge Street platonic sweetheart stands be- 
fore me, and I tingle with every sensual emotion of my 
first years in New York. . . . Out of the New Haven 
days rises the image of Luba, sweeping me with unutter- 
able longing for the unattained. And again I live 
through the experiences of the past, passionately visual- 
izing every detail with images that flatter my erotic 
palate and weave exquisite allurement about the urge of 
sex. 






CHAPTER XX 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 



To K. & G. 

Good news! I was let out of the cell this morning. The 
coffee-boy on my range went home yesterday, and I was put 
in his place. 

It's lucky the old Deputy died — he was determined to keep 
me in solitary. In the absence of the Warden, Benny Greaves, 
the new Deputy, told me he will "risk" giving me a job. But 
he has issued strict orders I should not be permitted to step 
into the yard. I'll therefore still be under special surveillance, 
and I shall not be able to see you. But I am in touch with 
our "Faithful," and we can now resume a more regular corre- 
spondence. 

Over a year in solitary. It's almost like liberty to be out 
of the cell! 

M. 



II 



My position as coflFee-boy affords many opportunities 
for closer contact with the prisoners. I assist the range- 
man in taking care of a row of sixty- four cells situated 
on the ground floor, and lettered K. Above it are, suc- 
cessively, I, H, G, and F, located on the yard side of 
the cell-house. On the opposite side, facing the river, 
the ranges are labelled A, B, C, D, and E. The galleries 
form parallelograms about each double cell-row ; bridged 
at the centre, they permit easy access to the several 

240 



« 




CELL RANGES — SOUTH BLOCK 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 241 

ranges. The ten tiers, with a total of six hundred and 
forty cells, are contained within the outer stone build- 
ing, and comprise the North Block of the penitentiary. 
It connects with the South Wing by means of the 
rotunda. 

The bottom tiers A and K serve as "receiving" 
ranges. Here every new arrival is temporarily "celled," 
before he is assigned to work and transferred to the gal- 
lery occupied by his shop- fellows. On these ranges are 
also located the men undergoing special punishment in 
basket and solitary. The lower end of the two ranges 
is designated "bughouse row." It contains the "cranks," 
among whom are classed inmates in different stages of 
mental aberration. 

My various duties of sweeping the hall, dusting the 
cell doors, and assisting at feeding, enable me to become 
acquainted and to form friendships. I marvel at the 
inadequacy of my previous notions of "the criminal." 
I resent the presumption of "science" that pretends to 
evolve the intricate convolutions of a living human brain 
out of the shape of a digit cut from a dead hand, and 
labels it "criminal type." Daily association dispels the 
myth of the "species," and reveals the individual. Grow- 
ing intimacy discovers the humanity beneath fibers coars- 
ened by lack of opportunity, and brutalized by misery and 
fear. There is "Reddie" Butch, a rosy-cheeked young 
fellow of twenty-one, as frank-spoken a boy as ever 
honored a striped suit. A jolly criminal is Butch, with 
his irrepressible smile and gay song. He was "just dying 
to take his girl for a ride," he relates to me. But he 
couldn't afford it ; he earned only seven dollars per week, 
as butcher's boy. He always gave his mother every 
penny he made, but the girl kept taunting him because 
he couldn't spend anything on her. "And I goes to work 
and swipes a rig, and say, Aleck, you ought to see me 



242 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

drive to me girl's house, big-like. In I goes. Tut on 
your glad duds, Kate,' I says, says I, 'I'll give you the 
drive of your Hfe.' And I did; you bet your sweet Hfe, 
I did, ha, ha, ha!" But when he returned the rig to its 
owner, Butch was arrested. " *Just a prank, Your 
Honor,' I says to the Judge. And what d' you think, 
Aleck? Thought I'd die when he said three years. I was 
foolish, of course; but there's no use crying over spilt 
milk, ha, ha, ha! But you know, the worst of it is, me 
girl went back on me. Wouldn't that jar you, eh? Well, 
I'll try hard to forget th' minx. She's a sweet girl, 
though, you bet, ha, ha, ha!" 

And there is Young Rush, the descendant of the 
celebrated family of the great American physician. The 
delicate features, radiant with spirituality, bear a strik- 
ing resemblance to Shelley; the limping gait recalls the 
tragedy of Byron. He is in for murder ! He sits at the 
door, an open book in his hands, — the page is moist with 
the tears silently trickling down his face. He smiles at 
my approach, and his expressive eyes light up the dark- 
ened cell, like a glimpse of the sun breaking through 
the clouds. He was wooing a girl on a Summer night; 
the skiff suddenly upturned, "right opposite here," — he 
points to the river, — "near McKees Rocks." He was 
dragged out, unconscious. They told him the girl was 
dead, and that he was her murderer! He reaches for 
the photograph on his table, and bursts into sobs. 

Daily I sweep the length of the hall, advancing from 
cell to cell with deliberate stroke, all the while watching 
for an opportunity to exchange a greeting, with the 
prisoners. My mind reverts to poor Wingie. How he 
cheered me in the first days of misery; how kind he 
was! In gentler tones I speak to the unfortunates, and 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 243 

encourage the new arrivals, or indulge some demented 
prisoner in a harmless whim. The dry sweeping of the 
hallway raises a cloud of dust, and loud coughing follows 
in my wake. Taking advantage of the old Block Cap- 
tain's ''cold in the head," I cautiously hint at the danger 
of germs lurking in the dust-laden atmosphere. *'A 
little wet sawdust on the floor, Mr. Mitchell, and you 
wouldn't catch colds so often." A capital idea, he thinks, 
and thereafter I guard the precious supply under the bed 
in my cell. 

In little ways I seek to help the men in solitary. 
Every trifle means so much. "Long Joe," the rangeman, 
whose duty it is to attend to their needs, is engrossed 
with his own troubles. The poor fellow is serving 
twenty-five years, and he is much worried by ''Wild 
Bill" and "Bighead" Wilson. They are constantly 
demanding to see the Warden. It is remarkable that 
they are never refused. The guards seem to stand in 
fear of them. "Wild Bill" is a self-confessed invert, and 
there are peculiar rumors concerning his intimacy with 
the Warden. Recently Bill complained of indigestion, 
and a guard sent me to deliver some delicacies to him. 
"From the Warden's table," he remarked, with a sly 
wink. And Wilson is jocularly referred to as "the 
Deputy," even by the officers. He is still in stripes, but 
he seems to wield some powerful influence over the new 
Deputy; he openly defies the rules, upbraids the guards, 
and issues orders. He is the Warden's "runner," clad 
with the authority of his master. The prisoners regard 
Bill and Wilson as stools, and cordially hate them; but 
none dare offend them. Poor Joe is constantly harassed 
by "Deputy" Wilson; there seems to be bitter enmity 
between the two on account of a young prisoner who 
prefers the friendship of Joe. Worried by the complex 
intrigues of life in the block, the rangeman is indifferent 



244 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

to the unfortunates in the cells. Butch is devoured by 
bedbugs, and "Praying" Andy's mattress is flattened into 
a pancake. The simple-minded life-timer is being neg- 
lected: he has not yet recovered from the assault by 
Johnny Smith, who hit him on the head with a hammer. 
I urge the rangeman to report to the Captain the need 
of "bedbugging" Butch's cell, of supplying Andy with a 
new mattress, and of notifying the doctor of the increas- 
ing signs of insanity among the solitaries. 

Ill 

Breakfast is over; the lines form in lockstep, and 
march to the shops. Broom in hand, rangemen and 
assistants step upon the galleries, and commence to 
sweep the floors. Officers pass along the tiers, closely 
scrutinizing each cell. Now and then they pause, facing 
a ^'delinquent." They note his number, unlock the door, 
and the prisoner joins the "sick line" on the ground floor. 

One by one the men augment the row; they walk 
slowly, bent and coughing, painfully limping down the 
steep flights. From every range they come; the old and 
decrepit, the young consumptives, the lame and asth- 
matic, a tottering old negro, an idiotic white boy. All 
look withered and dejected, — a ghastly line, palsied and 
blear-eyed, blanched in the valley of death. 

The rotunda door opens noisily, and the doctor en- 
ters, accompanied by Deputy Warden Greaves and 
Assistant Deputy Hopkins. Behind them is a prisoner, 
dressed in dark gray and carrying a medicine box. Dr. 
Boyce glances at the long line, and knits his brows. He 
looks at his watch, and the frown deepens. He has 
much to do. Since the death of the senior doctor, the 
young graduate is the sole physician of the big prison. 
He must make the rounds of the shops b^ore noon, 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 245 

and visit the patients in the hospital before the Warden 
or the Deputy drops in. 

Mr. Greaves sits down at the officers' desk, near the 
hall entrance. The Assistant Deputy, pad in hand, 
places himself at the head of the sick line. The doctor 
leans against the door of the rotunda, facing the Deputy. 
The block officers stand within call, at respectful dis- 
tances. 

"Two-fifty-five !" the Assistant Deputy calls out. 

A slender young man leaves the line and approaches 
the doctor. He is tall and well featured, the large eyes 
lustrous in the pale face. He speaks in a hoarse voice : 
"Doctor, there is something the matter with my side. 
I have pains, and I cough bad at night, and in the morn- 
ing—" 

"All right," the doctor interrupts, without looking 
up from his note book. "Give him some salts," he adds, 
with a nod to his assistant. 

"Next!" the Deputy calls. 

"Will you please excuse me from the shop for a few 
days?" the sick prisoner pleads, a tremor in his voice. 

The physician glances questioningly at the Deputy. 
The latter cries, impatiently, "Next, next man !" striking 
the desk twice, in quick succession, with the knuckles of 
his hand. 

"Return to the shop," the doctor says to the prisoner. 

"Next!" the Deputy calls, spurting a stream of 
tobacco juice in the direction of the cuspidor. It strikes 
sidewise, and splashes over the foot of the approaching 
new patient, a young negro, his neck covered with bulg- 
ing tumors. 

"Number?" the doctor inquires. 

"One-thirty-seven, A one-thirty-seven!" the Deputy 
mumbles, his head thrown back to receive a fresh hand- 
ful of "scrap" tobacco. 



246 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Guess Ah's got de big neck, Ah is, Mistah Boyce," 
the negro says hoarsely. 

''Salts. Return to work. Next!" 

"A one-twenty-six !" 

A young man with parchment-like face, sere and 
yellow, walks painfully from the line. 

"Doctor, I seem to be gettin' worser, and I'm 
afraid—" 

"What's the trouble?" 

"Pains in the stomach. Gettin' so turrible, I — " 

"Give him a plaster. Next!" 

"Plaster hell 1" the prisoner breaks out in a fury, his 
face growing livid. "Look at this, will you?" With a 
quick motion he pulls his shirt up to his head. His chest 
and back are entirely covered with porous plasters; not 
an inch of skin is visible. "Damn yer plasters," he cries 
with sudden sobs, "I ain't got no more room for plasters. 
I'm putty near dyin', an' you won't do nothin' fer me." 

The guards pounce upon the man, and drag him 
into the rotunda. 

One by one the sick prisoners approach the doctor. 
He stands, head bent, penciling, rarely glancing up. The 
elongated ascetic face wears a preoccupied look; he 
drawls mechanically, in monosyllables, "Next! Numb'r? 
Salts! Plaster! Salts! Next!" Occasionally he glances 
at his watch; his brows knit closer, the heavy furrow 
deepens, and the austere face grows more severe and 
rigid. Now and then he turns his eyes upon the Deputy 
Warden, sitting opposite, his jaws incessantly working, 
a thin stream of tobacco trickling down his chin, and 
heavily streaking the gray beard. Cheeks protruding, 
mouth full of juice, the Deputy mumbles unintelligently, 
turns to expectorate, suddenly shouts "Next!" and gives 
two quick knocks on the desk, signaling to the physician 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE ^47 

to order the man to work. Only the withered and the 
lame are temporarily excused, the Deputy striking the 
desk thrice to convey the permission to the doctor. 

Dejected and forlorn, the sick line is conducted to 
the shops, coughing, wheezing, and moaning, only to 
repeat the ordeal the following morning. Quite often, 
breaking down at the machine or fainting at the task, 
the men are carried on a stretcher to the hospital, to 
receive a respite from the killing toil, — a short intermis- 
sion, or a happier, eternal reprieve. 

The lame and the feeble, too withered to be useful 
in the shops, are sent back to their quarters, and locked 
up for the day. Only these, the permitted delinquents, 
the insane, the men in solitary, and the sweepers, remain 
within the inner walls during working hours. The pall 
of silence descends upon the House of Death. 

IV 

The guards creep stealthily along the tiers. Officer 
George Dean, lank and tall, tiptoes past the cells, his 
sharply hooked nose in advance, his evil-looking eyes 
peering through the bars, scrutinizing every inmate. 
Suddenly the heavy jaws snap. *'Hey, you. Eleven- 
thirty-nine! On the bed again! Wha-at? Sick, hell! 
No din-ner!" Noisily he pretends to return to the desk 
"in front," quietly steals into the niche of a cell door, 
and stands motionless, alertly listening. A suppressed 
murmur proceeds from the upper galleries. Cautiously 
the guard advances, hastily passes several cells, pauses 
a moment, and then quickly steps into the center of the 
hall, shouting: ''Cells forty-seven K, I, H! Talking 
through the pipe! Got you this time, all right." He 
grins broadly as he returns to the desk, and reports to 
the Block Captain. The guards ascend the galleries. 



24^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHISt 

Levers are pulled, doors opened with a bang, and the 
three prisoners are marched to the office. For days 
their cells remain vacant: the men are in the dungeon. 

Gaunt and cadaverous, Guard Hughes makes the 
rounds of the tiers, on a tour of inspection. With 
bleary eyes, sunk deep in his head, he gazes intently 
through the bars. The men are out at work. Leisurely 
he walks along, stepping from cell to cell, here tearing a 
picture off the wall, there gathering a few scraps of 
paper. As I pass along the hall, he slams a door on the 
range above, and appears upon the gallery. His pockets 
bulge with confiscated goods. He glances around, as 
the Deputy enters from the yard. "Hey, Jasper!" the 
guard calls. The colored trusty scampers up the stairs. 
"Take this to the front." The officer hands him a 
dilapidated magazine, two pieces of cornbread, a little 
square of cheese, and several candles that some weak- 
eyed prisoner had saved up by sitting in the dark for 
weeks. "Show 't to the Deputy," the officer says, in an 
undertone. "I'm doing business, all right!" The trusty 
laughs boisterously, "Yassah, yassah, dat yo sure am." 

The guard steps into the next cell, throwing a quick 
look to the front. The Deputy is disappearing through 
the rotunda door. The officer casts his eye about the 
cell. The table is littered with magazines and papers. 
A piece of matting, stolen from the shops, is on the 
floor. On the bed are some bananas and a bunch of 
grapes, — forbidden fruit. The guard steps back to the 
gallery, a faint smile on his thin lips. He reaches for 
the heart-shaped wooden block hanging above the cell. 
It bears the legend, painted in black, A 480. On the 
reverse side the officer reads, "Collins Hamilton, dated 

." His watery eyes strain to decipher the penciled 

marks paled by the damp, whitewashed wall. "Jasper I" 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 249 

he calls, "come up here." The trusty hastens to him. 

"You know who this man is, Jasper? A four- 
eighty." 

^^Ah sure knows. Dat am Hamilton, de bank 'bez- 
!eh," 

'''^Where's he working?" 

"Wat he wan' teh work foh? He am de Cap'n's 
clerk. In de awfice, he am." 

"All right, Jasper." The guard carefully closes the 
clerk's door, and enters the adjoining cell. It looks clean 
and orderly. The stone floor is bare, the bedding smooth ; 
the library book, tin can, and plate, are neatly arranged 
on the table. The officer ransacks the bed, throws the 
blankets on the floor, and stamps his feet upon the 
pillow in search of secreted contraband. He reaches 
up to the wooden shelf on the wall, and takes down the 
little bag of scrap tobacco, — the weekly allowance of 
the prisoners. He empties a goodly part into his hand, 
shakes it up, and thrusts it into his mouth. He produces 
a prison "plug" from his pocket, bites off a piece, spits 
in the direction of the privy, and yawns; looks at his 
watch, deliberates a moment, spurts a stream of juice 
into the corner, and cautiously steps out on the gallery. 
He surveys the field, leans over the railing, and squints 
at the front. The chairs at the officers' desk are vacant. 
The guard retreats into the cell, yawns and stretches, 
and looks at his watch again. It is only nine o'clock. 
He picks up the library book, listlessly examines the 
cover, flings the book on the shelf, spits disgustedly, 
then takes another chew, and sprawls down on the bed. 



At the head of the hall, Senior Officer Woods and 
Assistant Deputy Hopkins sit at the desk. Of superb 



250 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

physique and glowing vitality, Mr. Woods wears his 
new honors as Captain of the Block with aggressive 
self-importance. He has recently been promoted from 
the shop to the charge of the North Wing, on the morn- 
ing shift, from 5 A. M. to i P. M. Every now and 
then he leaves his chair, walks majestically down the 
hallway, crosses the open centre, and returns past the 
opposite cell-row. 

With studied dignity he resumes his seat and ad- 
dresses his superior, the Assistant Deputy, in measured, 
low tones. The latter listens gravely, his head slightly 
bent, his sharp gray eyes restless above the heavy- 
rimmed spectacles. As Mr. Hopkins, angular and stoop- 
shouldered, rises to expectorate into the nearby sink, he 
espies the shining face of Jasper on an upper gallery. 
The Assistant Deputy smiles, produces a large apple 
from his pocket, and, holding it up to view, asks : 

"How does this strike you, Jasper?" 

"Looks teh dis niggah like a watahmelon, Gunnel." 

Woods struggles to suppress a smile. Hopkins 
laughs, and motions to the negro. The trusty joins them 
at the desk. 

"ril bet the coon could get away with this apple in 
two bites," the Assistant Deputy says to Woods. 

"Hardly possible," the latter remarks, doubtfully. 

"You don't know this darky, Scot," Hopkins rejoins. 
"I know him for the last — let me see — fifteen, eighteen, 
twenty years. That's when you first came here, eh, Jas- 
per?" 

"Yassah, 'bout dat." 

"In the old prison, then?" Woods inquires. 

"Yes, of course. You was there, Jasper, when 'Shoe- 
box' Miller got out, wasn't you?" 

"Yo 'member good, Cunnel. Dat Ah was, sure 'nuf, 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 251 

En mighty slick it was, bress me, teh hab imsef nailed 
in dat shoebox, en mek his get-away." 

*'Yes, yes. And this is your fourth time since then, 
I believe." 

'*No, sah, no, sah ; dere yo am wrong, Cunnel. Youh 
remnishent am bad. Dis jus' free times, jus' free." 

"Come off, it's four." 

"Free, Cunnel, no moah." 

"Do you think, Mr. Hopkins, Jasper could eat the 
apple in two bites?" Woods reminds him. 

"I'm sure he can. There's nothing in the eating line 
this coon couldn't do. Here, Jasper, you get the apple if 
you make it in two bites. Don't disgrace me, now." 

The negro grins. "Putty big, Cunnel, but Ah'm a 
gwine teh try powful hard." 

With a heroic effort he stretches his mouth, till his 
face looks like a veritable cavern, reaching from ear to 
ear, and edged by large, shimmering tusks. With both 
hands he inserts the big apple, and his sharp teeth come 
down with a loud snap. He chews quickly, swallows, 
repeats the performance, and then holds up his hands. 
The apple has disappeared. 

The Assistant Deputy roars with laughter. "What 
did I tell you, eh, Scot? What did I tell you, ho, ho, 
ho!" The tears glisten in his eye. 

They amuse themselves with the negro trusty by the 
hour. He relates his experiences, tells humorous anec- 
dotes, and the officers are merry. Now and then Deputy 
Warden Greaves drops in. Woods rises. 

"Have a seat, Mr. Greaves." 

"That's all right, that's all right, Scot," the Deputy 
mumbles, his eye searching for the cuspidor. "Sit down, 
Scot; I'm as young as any of you." 

With mincing step he walks into the first cell, re- 



252 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

served for the guards, pulls a bottle from his hip pocket, 
takes several quick gulps, wabbles back to the desk, and 
sinks heavily into Woods's seat. 

"Jasper, go bring me a chew," he turns to the trusty. 

*'Yassah. Scrap, Dep'ty?" 

*'Yah. A nip of plug, too." 

''Yassah, yassah, immejitly." 

"What are you men doing here?" the Deputy blusters 
at the two subordinates. 

Woods frowns, squares his shoulders, glances at the 
Deputy, and then relaxes into a dignified smile. Assis- 
tant Hopkins looks sternly at the Deputy Warden from 
above his glasses. "That's all right. Greaves," he says, 
familiarly, a touch of scorn in his voice. "Say, you 
should have seen that nigger Jasper swallow a great, 
big apple in two bites; as big as your head, I'll swear," 

"That sho ?" the Deputy nods sleepily. 

The negro comes running up with a paper of scrap 
in one hand, a plug in the other. The Deputy slowly 
opens his eyes. He walks unsteadily to the cell, remains 
there a few minutes, and returns with both hands fum- 
bling at his hip pocket. He spits viciously at the sink, 
sits down, fills his mouth with tobacco, glances at the 
floor, and demands, hoarsely: 

"Where's all them spittoons, eh, you men?" 

"Just being cleaned, Mr. Greaves," Woods replies. 

"Cleaned, always th' shame shtory. I ordered — ya — 
ordered — hey, bring shpittoon, Jasper." He wags his 
head drowsily. 

"He means he ordered spittoons by the wagonload," 
Hopkins says, with a wink at Woods. "It was the very 
first order he gave when he became Deputy after Jimmie 
McPane died. I tell you, Scot, we won't see so soon 
another Deputy like old Jimmie. He was Deputy all 
right, every inch of him. Wouldn't stand for the qH 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE ^53 

man, the Warden, interfering with him, either. Not 
Hke this here," he points contemptuously at the snoring 
Greaves. ''Here, Benny," he raises his voice and slaps 
the Deputy on the knee, "here's Jasper with your spit- 
toon." 

Greaves wakes with a start, and gazes stupidly about ; 
presently, noticing the trusty with the large cuspidor, 
he spurts a long jet at it. 

**Say, Jasper," Hopkins calls to the retiring negro, 
"the Deputy wants to hear that story you told us a while 
ago, about how you got the left hind foot of a she-rabbit, 
on a moonlit night in a graveyard." 

"Who shaid I want to hear 't?" the Deputy bristles, 
suddenly wide awake. 

"Yes, you do. Greaves," Hopkins asserts. "The rab- 
bit foot brings good luck, you know. This coon here 
wears it on his neck. Show it to the Deputy, Jasper." 

Prisoner Wilson, the Warden's favorite messenger, 
enters from the yard. With quick, energetic step he 
passes the officers at the desk, entirely ignoring their 
presence, and walks nonchalantly down the hall, his un- 
naturally large head set close upon the heavy, almost 
neckless shoulders. 

"Hey, you, Wilson, what are you after?" the Deputy 
shouts after him. 

Without replying, Wilson continues on his way. 

"Dep'ty Wilson," the negro jeers, with a look of 
hatred and envy. 

Assistant Deputy Hopkins rises in his seat. "Wil- 
son," he calls with quiet sternness, "Mr. Greaves is 
speaking to you. Come back at once." 

His face purple with anger, Wilson retraces his steps. 
"What do you want, Deputy?" he demands, savagely. 

The Deputy looks uneasy and fidgets in his chair, 



254 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

but catching the severe eye of Hopkins, he shouts ve- 
hemently: "What do you want in the block?" 

"On Captain Edward S. Wright's business," Wilson 
replies with a sneer. 

"Well, go ahead. But next time I call you, you better 
come back." 

"The Warden told me to hurry. I'll report to him 
that you detained me with an idle question," Wilson 
snarls back. 

"That'll do, Wilson," the Assistant Deputy warns him. 

"Wait till I see the Captain," Wilson growls, as he 
departs. 

"If I had my way, I'd knock his damn block off," 
the Assistant mutters. 

"Such impudence in a convict cannot be tolerated," 
Woods comments. 

"The Cap'n won't hear a word against Wilson," the 
Deputy says meekly. 

Hopkins frowns. They sit in silence. The negro 
busies himself, wiping the yellow-stained floor around 
the cuspidor. The Deputy ambles stiflly to the open 
cell. Woods rises, steps back to the wall, and looks 
up to the top galleries. No one is about. He crosses to 
the other side, and scans the bottom range. Long and 
dismal stretches the hall, in melancholy white and gray, 
the gloomy cell-building brooding in the centre, like some 
monstrous hunchback, without life or motion. Woods 
resumes his seat. 

"Quiet as a church," he remarks with evident satis- 
faction. 

"You're doing well, Scot," the Deputy mumbles. 
"Doing well." 

A faint metallic sound breaks upon the stillness. The 
officers prick up their ears. The rasping continues and 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 255 

grows louder. The negro trusty tiptoes up the tiers. 

"It's somebody with his spoon on the door," the 
Assistant Deputy remarks, indifferently. 

The Block Captain motions to me. "See who^s rap- 
ping there, will you?" 

I walk quickly along the hall. By keeping close to 
the wall, I can see up to the doors of the third gallery. 
Here and there a nose protrudes in the air, the bleached 
face glued to the bars, the eyes glassy. The rapping 
grows louder as I advance. 

"Who is it?" I call. 

"Up here, 18 C." 

"Is that you, Ed?" 

"Yes. Got a bad hemorrhage. Tell th' screw I must 
see the doctor." 

I run to the desk. "Mr. Woods," I report, "18 C 
got a hemorrhage. Can't stop it. He needs the doctor." 

"Let him wait," the Deputy growls. 

"Doctor hour is over. He should have reported in 
the morning," the Assistant Deputy flares up. 

"What shall I tell him, Mr. Woods?" I ask. 

"Nothing! Get back to your cell." 

"Perhaps you'd better go up and take a look, Scot," 
the Deputy suggests. 

Mr. Woods strides along the gallery, pauses a mo- 
ment at 18 C, and returns. 

"Nothing much. A bit of blood. I ordered him to 
report on sick list in the morning." 

A middle-aged prisoner, with confident bearing and 
polished manner, enters from the yard. It is the "French 
Count," one of the clerks in the "front office." 

"Good morning, gentlemen," he greets the officers. 
He leans familiarly over the Deputy's chair, remarking : 



^5^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"I've been hunting half an hour for you. The Captain is 
a bit ruffled this morning. He is looking for you." 

The Deputy hurriedly rises. "Where is he?" he 
asks anxiously. 

"In the office, Mr. Greaves. You know what's 
about?" 

"What? Quick, now." 

"They caught Wild Bill right in the act. Out in the 
yard there, back of the shed." 

The Deputy stumps heavily out into the yard. 

"Who's the kid?" the Assistant Deputy inquires, an 
amused twinkle in his eye. 

"Bobby." 

"Who? That boy on the whitewash gang?" 

"Yes, Fatty Bobby." 

The clatter on the upper tier grows loud and violent. 
The sick man is striking his tin can on the bars, and 
shaking the door. Woods hastens to C i8. 

"You stop that, you hear!" he commands angrily. 

"I'm sick. I want th' doctor." 

"This isn't doctor hour. You'll see him in the morn- 
ing." 

"I may be dead in the morning. I want him now." 

"You won't see him, that's all. You keep quiet 
there." 

Furiously the prisoner raps on the door. The hall 
reverberates with hollow booming. 

The Block Captain returns to the desk, his face 
crimson. He whispers to the Assistant Deputy. The 
latter nods his head. Woods claps his hands, deliber- 
ately, slowly — one, two, three. Guards hurriedly descend 
from the galleries, and advance to the desk. The range- 
men appear at their doors. 



A DAY IN THE ^ELL-HOUSE 257 

"Everybody to his cell. Officers, lock 'em in!" 
Woods commands. 

"You can stay here, Jasper," the Assistant Deputy 
remarks to the trusty. 

The rangemen step into their cells. The levers are 
pulled, the doors locked. I hear the tread of many feet 
on the third gallery. Now they cease, and all is quiet.., 

"C 18, step out here !" 

The door slams, there is noisy shuffling and stamp- 
ing, and the dull, heavy thuds of striking clubs. A loud 
cry and a moan. They drag the prisoner along the range,, 
and down the stairway. The rotunda door creaks, and 
the clamor dies away. 

A few minutes elapse in silence. Now some one whis- 
pers through the pipes; insane solitaries bark and crow. 
Loud coughing drowns the noises, and then the rotunda 
door opens with a plaintive screech. 

The rangemen are unlocked. I stand at the open 
door of my cell. The negro trusty dusts and brushes 
the officers, their backs and arms covered with white- 
wash, as if they had been rubbed against the wall. 

Their clothes cleaned and smoothed, the guards loll 
in the chairs, and sit on the desk. They look somewhat 
ruffled and flustered. Jasper enlarges upon the piquant 
gossip. "Wild Bill," notorious invert and protege of 
the Warden, he relates, had been hanging around the 
kids from the stocking shop; he has been after "Fatty 
Bobby" for quite a while, and he's forever pestering 
"Lady Sally," and Young Davis, too. The guards are 
astir with curiosity; they ply the negro with questions. 
He responds eagerly, raises his voice, and gesticulates 
excitedly. There is merriment and laughter at the ofH- 
cers' desk. 




258 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

VI 

Dinner hour is approaching. Officer Gerst, in charge 
of the kitchen squad, enters the cell-house. Behind him, 
a score of prisoners carry large wooden tubs filled with 
steaming liquid. The negro trusty, his nostrils expanded 
and eyes glistening, sniffs the air, and announces with 
a grin: "Dooke's mixchoor foh dinneh teh day!" 

The scene becomes animated at the front. Tables are 
noisily moved about, the tinplate rattles, and men talk and 
shout. With a large ladle the soup is dished out from 
the tubs, and the pans, bent and rusty, stacked up in 
long rows. The Deputy Warden flounces in, splutters 
some orders that remain ignored, and looks critically at 
the dinner pans. He produces a pocket knife, and ambles 
along the tables, spearing a potato here, a bit of floating 
vegetable there. Guard Hughes, his inspection of the 
cells completed, saunters along, casting greedy eyes at 
the food. He hovers about, waiting for the Deputy to 
leave. The latter stands, hands dug into his pockets, 
short legs wide apart, scraggy beard keeping time with 
the moving jaws. Guard Hughes winks at one of the 
kitchen men, and slinks into an open cell. The prisoner 
fusses about, pretends to move the empty tubs out of 
the way, and then quickly snatches a pan of soup, and 
passes it to the guard. Negro Jasper, alert and watchful, 
strolls by Woods, surreptitiously whispering. The officer 
walks to the open cell and surprises the guard, his head 
thrown back, the large pan covering his face. Woods 
smiles disdainfully, the prisoners giggle and chuckle. 

"Chief Jim," the head cook, a Pittsburgh saloonkeeper 
serving twelve years for murder, promenades down the 
range. Large-bellied and whitecapped, he wears an air 
of prosperity and independence. With swelling chest, 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 259 

stomach protruding, and hand wrapped in his dirty 
apron, the Chief walks leisurely along the cells, nodding 
and exchanging greetings. He pauses at a door: it's 
Cell 9 A, — the "Fat Kid." Jim leans against the wall, 
his back toward the dinner tables; presently his hand 
steals between the bars. Now and then he glances 
toward the front, and steps closer to the door. He draws 
a large bundle from his bosom, hastily tears it open, and 
produces a piece of cooked meat, several raw onions, 
some cakes. One by one he passes the delicacies to the 
young prisoner, forcing them through the narrow open- 
ings between the bars. He lifts his apron, fans the 
door sill, and carefully wipes the ironwork; then he 
smiles, casts a searching look to the front, grips the bars 
with both hands, and vanishes into the deep niche. 

As suddenly he appears to view again, takes several 
quick steps, then pauses at another cell. Standing away 
from the door, he speaks loudly and laughs boisterously, 
his hands fumbling beneath the apron. Soon he leaves, 
advancing to the dinner tables. He approaches the 
rangeman, lifts his eyebrows questioningly, and winks. 
The man nods affirmatively, and retreats into his cell. 
The Chief dives into the bosom of his shirt, and flings 
a bundle through the open door. He holds out his hand, 
whispering: "Two bits. Broke now? Be sure you pay 
me to-morrow. That steak there's worth a plunk." 

The gong tolls the dinner hour. The negro trusty 
snatches two pans, and hastens away. The guards un- 
lock the prisoners, excepting the men in solitary who are 
deprived of the sole meal of the day. The line forms 
in single file, and advances slowly to the tables; then, 
pan in hand, the men circle tlie block to the centre, 
ascend the galleries, and arc locked in their cells. 

The loud tempo of many feet, marching in step, 



26o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

sounds from the yard. The shop workers enter, receive 
the pan of soup, and walk to the cells. Some sniff the 
air, make a wry face, and pass on, empty-handed. There 
is much suppressed murmuring and whispering. 

Gradually the sounds die away. It is the noon hour. 
Every prisoner is counted and locked in. Only the 
trusties are about. 



VII 



The afternoon brings a breath of relief. "Old Jim- 
mie" Mitchell, rough-spoken and kind, heads the second 
shift of officers, on duty from i till 9 P. M. The vener- 
able Captain of the Block trudges past the cells, stroking 
his flowing white beard, and profusely swearing at the 
men. But the prisoners love him : he frowns upon club- 
bing, and discourages trouble-seeking guards. 

Head downward, he thumps heavily along the hall, 
on. his first round of the bottom ranges. Presently a 
voice hails him : "Oh, Mr. Mitchell ! Come here, please." 

"Damn your soul t' hell," the officer rages, "don't 
you know better than to bother me when I'm counting, 
eh? Shut up now, God damn you. You've mixed me 
all up." 

He returns to the front, and begins to count again, 
pointing his finger at each occupied cell. This duty over, 
and his report filed, he returns to the offending prisoner. 

"What t' hell do you want, Butch?" 

"Mr. Mitchell, my shoes are on th' bum. I am walk- 
ing on my socks." 

"Where th' devil d' you think you're going, anyhow? 
To a ball?" 

"Papa Mitchell, be good now, won't you?" the youth 
coaxes. 

"Go an* take a — thump to yourself, will you?" 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 261 

The officer walks off, heavy-browed and thoughtful, 
but pauses a short distance from the cell, to hear Butch 
mumbling discontentedly. The Block Captain retraces 
his steps, and, facing the boy, storms at him : 

"What did you say? 'Damn the old skunk!' that's 
what you said, eh? You come on out of there!" 

With much show of violence he inserts the key into 
the lock, pulls the door open with a bang, and hails a 
passing guard: 

"Mr. Kelly, quick, take this loafer out and give 'im — 
er — give 'im a pair of shoes." 

He starts down the range, when some one calls from 
an upper tier: 

"Jimmy, Jimmy ! Come on up here !" 

"I'll jimmy your damn carcass for you," the old man 
bellows, angrily. "Where th' hell are you?" 

"Here, on B, 20 B. Right over you."' 

The officer steps back to the wall, and looks up to- 
ward the second gallery. 

"What in th' name of Jesus Christ do you want. 
Slim?" 

"Awful cramps in me stomach. Get me some cramp 
mixture, Jim." 

"Cramps in yer head, that's what you've got, you 
big bum you. Where in hell did you get your cramp 
mixture, when you was spilling around in a freight car, 
eh?" 

"I got booze then," the prisoner retorts. 

"Like hell you did! You were damn lucky to get 
a louzy hand-out at the back door, you ornery pimple on 
God's good earth." 

"Th' hell you say! The hand-out was a damn sight 
better'n th' rotten slush I get here. I wouldn't have a 
belly-ache, if it wasn't for th' hogwash they gave us 
to-day." 



2.(i2 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Lay down now I You talk like a horse's rosette." 

It's the old man's favorite expression, in his rich 
vocabulary of picturesque metaphor and simile. But 
there is no sting in the brusque speech, no rancor in 
the scowling eyes. On the way to the desk he pauses 
to whisper to the block trusty : 

"John, you better run down to the dispensary, an' 
get that big stiff some cramp mixture." 

Happening to glance into a cell, Mitchell notices 
a new arrival, a bald-headed man, his back against the 
door, reading. 

"Hey you!" the Block Captain shouts at him, 
startling the green prisoner off his chair, "take that bald 
thing out of there, or I'll run you in for indecent ex- 
posure." 

He chuckles at the man's fright, like a boy pleased 
with a naughty prank, and ascends the upper tiers. 

Duster in hand, I walk along the range. The guards 
are engaged on the galleries, examining cells, overseeing 
the moving of the newly-graded inmates to the South 
Wing, or chatting with the trusties. The chairs at the 
officers' desk are vacant. Keeping alert watch on the 
rotunda doors, I walk from cell to cell, whiling away 
the afternoon hours in conversation. Johnny, the 
friendly runner, loiters at the desk, now and then 
glancing into the yard, and giving me "the office" by 
sharply snapping his fingers, to warn me of danger. 
I ply the duster diligently, while the Deputy and his 
assistants linger about, surrounded by the trusties im- 
parting information gathered during the day. Gradually 
they disperse, called into a shop where a fight is in 
progress, or nosing about the kitchen and assiduously 
killing time. The "coast is clear," and I return to pick 
up the thread of interrupted conversation. 



A DAY IN THE CELL-HOUSE 263 

But the subjects of common interest are soon ex- 
hausted. The oft-repeated tirade against the ''rotten 
grub," the "stale punk," and the "hogwash"; vehement 
cursing of the brutal "screws," the "stomach-robber of 
a Warden" and the unreliability of his promises; the 
exchange of gossip, and then back again to berating the 
food and the treatment. Within the narrow circle runs 
the interminable tale, colored by individual temperament, 
intensified by the length of sentence. The whole is 
dominated by a deep sense of unmerited suffering and 
bitter resentment, often breathing dire vengeance against 
those whom they consider responsible for their misfor- 
tune, including the police, the prosecutor, the informer, 
the witnesses, and, in rare instances, the trial judge. But 
as the longed-for release approaches, the note of hope 
and liberty rings clearer, stronger, with the swelling 
undercurrent of frank and irrepressible sex desire. 



CHAPTER XXI 

THE DEEDS OF THE GOOD TO THE EVIL 

The new arrivals are forlorn and dejected, a look of 
fear and despair in their eyes. The long-timers among 
them seem dazed, as if with some terrible shock, and fall 
upon the bed in stupor-like sleep. The boys from the 
reformatories, some mere children in their teens, weep 
and moan, and tremble at the officer's footstep. Only 
the "repeaters" and old-timers preserve their composure, 
scoff at the "fresh fish," nod at old acquaintances, and 
exchange vulgar pleasantries with the guards. But 
all soon grow nervous and irritable, and stand at the 
door, leaning against the bars, an expression of bewil- 
dered hopelessness or anxious expectancy on their faces. 
They yearn for companionship, and are pathetically eager 
to talk, to hear the sound of a voice, to unbosom their 
heavy hearts. 

I am minutely familiar with every detail of their 
"case," their life-history, their hopes and fears. Through 
the endless weeks and months on the range, their trage- 
dies are the sole subject of conversation. A glance into 
the mournful faces, pressed close against the bars, and 
the panorama of misery rises before me, — the cell-house 
grows more desolate, bleaker, the air gloomier and more 
depressing. 

There is Joe Zappe, his bright eyes lighting up with 
a faint smile as I pause at his door. "Hello, Alick," he 
greets me in his sweet, sad voice. He knows me from 
the jail. His father and elder brother have been ex- 

264 



THE DEEDS OF THE GOOT) TO THE EVIL 26^ 

ecuted, and he commuted to life because of youth. He 
is barely eighteen, but his hair has turned white. He 
has been acting queerly of late: at night I often hear 
him muttering and walking, walking incessantly and 
muttering. There is a peculiar look about his eyes, rest- 
less, roving. 

"Alick," he says, suddenly, "me wanna tell you 
sometink. You no tell nobody, yes?" 

Assured I'll keep his confidence, he begins to talk 
quickly, excitedly: 

"Nobody dere, Alick? No scroo? S-sh! Lassa 
night me see ma broder. Yes, see Gianni. Jesu Cristo, 
me see ma poor broder in da cella 'ere, an' den me fader 
he come. Broder and fader day stay der, on da floor, 
an so quieta, lika dead, an' den dey come an lay downa 
in ma bed. Oh, Jesu Christo, me so fraida, me cry an' 
pray. You not know wat it mean? No-0-0? Me tell 
you. It mean me die, me die soon." 

His eyes glow with a sombre fire, a hectic flush on 
his face. He knits his brows, as I essay to calm him, 
and continues hurriedly: 

"S-sh ! Waita till me tell you all. You know watta 
for ma fader an' Gianni come outa da grave? Me tell 
you. Dey calla for ravange, 'cause dey innocente. Me 
tell you trut. See, we all worka in da mine, da coal 
mine, me an' my fader an' Gianni. All worka hard an' 
mek one dollar, maybe dollar quater da day. An' bigga 
American man, him come an' boder ma fader. Ma fader 
him no wanna trouble; him old man, no boder nobody. 
An' da American man him maka two dollars an mebbe 
two fifty da day an' him boder my fader, all da time, 
boder 'im an' kick 'im to da legs, an' steal ma broder's 
shovel, an' hide fader's hat, an' maka trouble for ma 
countrymen, an' call us 'dirty dagoes.' An' one day him 
an' two Arish dey all drunk, an' smash ma fader, an' 



266 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

American man an Arish holler, 'Dago s b f raida 

fight,' an' da American man him take a bigga pickax 
an' wanna hit ma fader, an' ma fader him run, an' me 
an' ma broder an' friend we fight, an' American man 
him fall, an' we all go way home. Den p'lice come an' 
arresta me an' fader an' broder, an' say we killa Ameri- 
can man. Me an' ma broder no use knife, mebbe ma 
friend do. Me no know ; him no arresta ; him go home in 
Italia. Ma fader an' broder dey save nineda-sev'n dol- 
lar, an' me save twenda-fife, an' gotta laiyer. Him no 
good, an' no talk much in court. We poor men, no can 
take case in oder court, an' fader him hang, an' Gianni 
hang, an' me get life. Ma fader an' broder dey come 
lassa night from da grave, cause dey innocente an' wanna 
ravange, an' me gotta mek ravange, me no rest, gotta — " 
The sharp snapping of Johnny, the runner, warns 
me of danger, and I hastily leave. 

The melancholy figures line the doors as I walk up 
and down the hall. The blanched faces peer wistfully 
through the bars, or lean dejectedly against the wall, a 
vacant stare in the dim eyes. Each calls to mind the 
stories of misery and distress, the scenes of brutality 
and torture I witness in the prison house. Like ghastly 
nightmares, the shadows pass before me. There is 
"Silent Nick," restlessly pacing his cage, never ceasing, 
his lips sealed in brutish muteness. For three years he 
has not left the cell, nor uttered a word. The stolid 
features are cut and bleeding. Last night he had at- 
tempted suicide, and the guards beat him, and left him 
unconscious on the floor. 

There is "Crazy Hunkie," the Austrian. Every 
morning, as the officer unlocks his door to hand in 
the loaf of bread, he makes a wild dash for the yard, 
sliouting, "Me wife! Where's me wife?" He rushes 



THE DEEDS OF THE GOOD TO THE EVIL 267 

toward the front, and desperately grabs the door handle. 
The double iron gate is securely locked. A look of 
blank amazement on his face, he slowly returns to the 
cell. The guards await him with malicious smile. Sud- 
denly they rush. upon him, blackjacks in hand. "Me 
wife, me seen her !" the Austrian cries. The blood gush- 
ing from his mouth and nose, they kick him into the 
cell. "Me wife waiting in de yard," he moans. 

In the next cell is Tommy Wellman; adjoining him, 
Jim Grant. They are boys recently transferred from the 
reformatory. They cower in the corner, in terror of 
the scene. With tearful eyes, they relate their story. 
Orphans in the slums of Allegheny, they had been sent 
to the reform school at Morganza, for snatching fruit 
off a corner stand. Maltreated and beaten, they sought 
to escape. Childishly they set fire to the dormitory, al- 
most in sight of the keepers. "I says to me chum, says 
I," Tommy narrates with boyish glee, " 'Kid,' says I, 
'let's fire de louzy joint; dere'll be lots of fun, and we'll 
make our get-away in de' 'citement.' " They were taken 
to court, and the good judge sentenced them to five years 
to the penitentiary. "Glad to get out of dat dump," 
Tommy comments; "it was jest fierce. Dey paddled an' 
starved us someting' turrible." 

In the basket cell, a young colored man grovels on 
the floor. It is Lancaster, Number 8523. He was serv- 
ing seven years, and working every day in the mat shop. 
Slowly the days passed, and at last the longed-for hour 
of release arrived. But Lancaster was not discharged. 
He was kept at his task, the Warden informing him 
that he had lost six months of his "good time" for de- 
fective work. The light-hearted negro grew sullen and 
morose. Often the silence of the cell-house was pierced 
by his anguished cry in the night, "My time's up, time's 
up. I want to go home." The guards would take him 



268 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

from the cell, and place him in the dungeon. One morn- 
ing, in a fit of frenzy, he attacked Captain McVey, the 
officer of the shop. The Captain received a slight scratch 
on the neck, and Lancaster was kept chained to the 
wall of the dungeon for ten days. He returned to the 
cell, a driveling imbecile. The next day they dressed 
him in his citizen clothes, Lancaster mumbling, "Going 
home, going home." The Warden and several officers 
accompanied him to court, on the way coaching the 
poor idiot to answer "yes" to the question, "Do you 
plead guilty?" He received seven years, the extreme 
penalty of the law, for the "attempted murder of a 
keeper." They brought him back to the prison, and 
locked him up in a basket cell, the barred door covered 
with a wire screen that almost entirely excludes light 
and air. He receives no medical attention, and is fed 
on a bread-and-water diet. 

The witless negro crawls on the floor, unwashed 
and unkempt, scratching with his nails fantastic shapes 
on the stone, and babbling stupidly, "Going, Jesus going 
to Jerusalem. See, he rides the holy ass; he's going to 
his father's home. Going home, going home." As I 
pass he looks up, perplexed wonder on his face ; his 
brows meet in a painful attempt to collect his wander- 
ing thoughts, and he drawls with pathetic sing-song, 
"Going home, going home ; Jesus going to father's home." 
The guards raise their hands to their nostrils as they 
approach the cell: the poor imbecile evacuates on the 
table, the chair, and the floor. Twice a month he is 
taken to the bathroom, his clothes are stripped, and the 
hose is turned on the crazy negro. 

The cell of "Little Sammy" is vacant. He was Num- 
ber 9521, a young man from Altoona. I knew him quite 
well. He was a kind boy and a diligent worker; but 



THE DEEDS OF THE GOOD TO THE EVIL 269 

now and then he would fall into a fit of melancholy. 
He would then sit motionless on the chair, a blank stare 
on his face, neglecting food and work. These spells 
generally lasted two or three days, Sammy refusing to 
leave the cell. Old Jimmy McPane, the dead Deputy, 
on such occasions commanded the prisoner to the shop, 
while Sammy sat and stared in a daze. McPane would 
order the "stubborn kid" to the dungeon, and every time 
Sammy got his "head workin'," he was dragged, silent 
and motionless, to the cellar. The new Deputy has fol- 
lowed the established practice, and last evening, at 
"music hour," while the men were scraping their instru- 
ments, "Little Sammy" was found on the floor of the 
cell, his throat hacked from ear to ear. 

At the Coroner's inquest the Warden testified that 
the boy was considered mentally defective; that he was 
therefore excused from work, and never punished. 

Returning to my cell in the evening, my gaze meets 
the printed rules on the wall : 

"The prison authorities desire to treat every prisoner 
in their charge with humanity and kindness. * * * The 
aim of all prison discipline is, by enforcing the law, to 
restrain the evil and to protect the innocent from further 
harm; to so apply the law upon the criminal as to pro- 
duce a cure from his moral infirmities, by calling out 
the better principles of his nature." 



CHAPTER XXII 
THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 



The comparative freedom of the range familiarizes 
me with the workings of the institution, and brings me 
in close contact with the authorities. The personnel of 
the guards is of very inferior character. I find their 
average intelligence considerably lower than that of the 
inmates. Especially does the element recruited from the 
police and the detective service lack sympathy with the 
unfortunates in their charge. They are mostly men dis- 
charged from city employment because of habitual 
drunkenness, or flagrant brutality and corruption. Their 
attitude toward the prisoners is summed up in coercion 
and suppression. They look upon the men as will-less 
objects of iron-handed discipline, exact unquestioning 
obedience and absolute submissiveness to peremptory 
whims, and harbor personal animosity toward the 
less pliant. The more intelligent among the officers 
scorn inferior duties, and crave advancement. The 
authority and remuneration of a Deputy Wardenship is 
alluring to them, and every keeper considers himself the 
fittest for the vacancy. But the coveted prize is awarded 
to the guard most feared by the inmates, and most sub- 
servient to the Warden, — a direct incitement to brutality, 
on the one hand, to sycophancy, on the other. 

A number of the officers are veterans of the Civil 
270 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 271 

War; several among them had suffered incarceration in 
Libby Prison. These often manifest a more sympa- 
thetic spirit. The great majority of the keepers, how- 
ever, have been employed in the penitentiary from fifteen 
to twenty-five years ; some even for a longer period, like 
Officer Stewart, who has been a guard for forty years. 
This element is unspeakably callous and cruel. The 
prisoners discuss among themselves the ages of the old 
guards, and speculate on the days allotted them. The 
death of one of them is hailed with joy: seldom they 
are discharged; still more seldom do they resign. 

The appearance of a new officer sheds hope into the 
dismal lives. New guards — unless drafted from the 
police bureau — are almost without exception lenient and 
forbearing, often exceedingly humane. The inmates vie 
with each other in showing complaisance to the *'can- 
didate." It is a point of honor in their unwritten ethics 
to "treat him white." They frown upon the fellow-con- 
vict who seeks to take advantage of the "green screw," 
by misusing his kindness or exploiting his ignorance of 
the prison rules. But the older officers secretly resent 
the infusion of new blood. They strive to discourage 
the applicant by exaggerating the dangers of the posi- 
tion, and depreciating its financial desirability for an 
ambitious young man; they impress upon him the War- 
den's unfairness to the guards, and the lack of oppor- 
tunity for advancement. Often they dissuade the new 
man, and he disappears from the prison horizon. But if 
he persists in remaining, the old keepers expostulate 
with him, in pretended friendliness, upon his leniency, 
chide him for a "soft-hearted tenderfoot," and improve 
every opportunity to initiate him into the practices of 
brutality. The system is known in the prison as "break- 
ing in" : the new man is constantly drafted in the "club- 
bing squad," the older officers setting the example of 



2^2 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

cruelty. Refusal to participate signifies insubordination 
to his superiors and the shirking of routine duty, and 
results in immediate discharge. But such instances are 
extremely rare. Within the memory of the oldest officer, 
Mr. Stewart, it happened only once, and the man was 
sickly. 

Slowly the poison is instilled into the new guard. 
Within a short time the prisoners notice the first signs 
of change: he grows less tolerant and chummy, more 
irritated and distant. Presently he feels himself the 
object of espionage by the favorite trusties of his fellow- 
officers. In some mysterious manner, the Warden is 
aware of his every step, berating him for speaking un- 
duly long to this prisoner, or for giving another half a 
banana, — the remnant of his lunch. In a moment of 
commiseration and pity, the officer is moved by the tear- 
ful pleadings of misery to carry a message to the sick 
wife or child of a prisoner. The latter confides the 
secret to some friend, or carelessly brags of his intimacy 
with the guard, and soon the keeper faces the Warden 
"on charges," and is deprived of a month's pay. Re- 
peated misplacement of confidence, occasional betrayal 
by a prisoner seeking the good graces of the Warden, 
and the new officer grows embittered against the species 
"convict." The instinct of self-preservation, harassed 
and menaced on every side, becomes more assertive, and 
the guard is soon drawn into the vortex of the "system." 

II 

Daily I behold the machinery at work, grinding and 
pulverizing, brutalizing the officers, dehumanizing the 
inmates. Far removed from the strife and struggle of 
the larger world, I yet witness its miniature replica, more 
agonizing and merciless within the walls. A perfected 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 273 

model it is, this prison life, with its apparent uniformity 
and dull passivity. But beneath the torpid surface 
smolder the fires of being, now crackling faintly under 
a dun smothering smoke, now blazing forth with the 
ruthlessness of despair. Hidden by the veil of discipline 
rages the struggle of fiercely contending wills, and in- 
tricate meshes are woven in the quagmire of darkness 
and suppression. 

Intrigue and counter plot, violence and corruption, 
are rampant in cell-house and shop. The prisoners spy 
upon each other, and in turn upon the officers. The lat- 
ter encourage the trusties in unearthing the secret do- 
ings of the inmates, and the stools enviously compete 
with each other in supplying information to the keepers. 
Often they deliberately inveigle the trustful prisoner 
into a fake plot to escape, help and encourage him in the 
preparations, and at the critical moment denounce him 
to the authorities. The luckless man is severely pun- 
ished, usually remaining in utter ignorance of the in- 
trigue. The provocateur is rewarded with greater lib- 
erty and special privileges. Frequently his treachery 
proves the stepping-stone to freedom, aided by the War- 
den's official recommendation of the "model prisoner" 
to the State Board of Pardons. 

The stools and the trusties are an essential element 
in the government of the prison. With rare exception, 
every officer has one or more on his staff. They assist 
him in his duties, perform most of his work, and make 
out the reports for the illiterate guards. Occasionally 
they are even called upon to help the "clubbing squad." 
The more intelligent stools enjoy the confidence of the 
Deputy and his assistants, and thence advance to the 
favor of the Warden. The latter places more reliance 
upon his favorite trusties than upon the guards. "I 
have about a hundred paid officers to keep watch over 



274 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

the prisoners," the Warden informs new applicants, *'and 
two hundred volunteers to watch both." The "volun- 
teers" are vested with unofficial authority, often exceed- 
ing that of the inferior officers. They invariably secure 
the sinecures of the prison, involving little work and 
affording opportunity for espionage. They are *'run- 
ners," "messengers," yard and office men. 

Other desirable positions, clerkships and the like, are 
awarded to influential prisoners, such as bankers, em- 
bezzlers, and boodlers. These are known in the insti- 
tution as holding "political jobs." Together with the 
stools they are scorned by the initiated prisoners as "the 
pets." 



The professional craftiness of the "con man" stands 
him in good stead in the prison. A shrewd judge of 
human nature, quick-witted and self-confident, he applies 
the practiced cunning of his vocation to secure whatever 
privileges and perquisites the institution affords. His 
evident intelligence and aplomb powerfully impress the 
guards; his well-affected deference to authority flatters 
them. They are awed by his wonderful facility of ex- 
pression, and great attainments in the mysterious world 
of baccarat and confidence games. At heart they envy 
the high priest of "easy money," and are proud to be- 
friend him in his need. The officers exert themselves to 
please him, secure light work for him, and surreptitiously 
favor him with delicacies and even money. His game 
is won. The "con" has now secured the friendship and 
confidence of his keepers, and will continue to exploit 
them by pretended warm interest in their physical com- 
plaints, their family troubles, and their whispered ambi- 
tion of promotion and fear of the Warden's discrimina- 
tion. 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 275 

The more intelligent officers are the easiest vic- 
tims of his wiles. But even the higher officials, more 
difficult to approach, do not escape the confidence man. 
His ''business" has perfected his sense of orientation ; he 
quickly rends the veil of appearance, and scans the under- 
currents. He frets at his imprisonment, and hints at 
high social connections. His real identity is a great 
secret : he wishes to save his wealthy relatives . from 
public disgrace. A careless slip of the tongue betrays 
his college education. With a deprecating nod he con- 
fesses that his father is a State Senator; he is the only 
black sheep in his family; yet they are "good" to him, 
and will not disown him. But he must not bring notori- 
ety upon them. 

Eager for special privileges and the liberty of the 
trusties, or fearful of punishment, the "con man" ma- 
tures his campaign. He writes a note to a fellow-pris- 
oner. With much detail and thorough knowledge of 
prison conditions, he exposes all the "ins and outs" of 
the institution. In elegant English he criticizes the 
management, dwells upon the ignorance and brutality of 
the guards, and charges the Warden and the Board of 
Prison Inspectors with graft, individually and collec- 
tively. He denounces the Warden as a stomach-robber 
of poor unfortunates : the counties pay from twenty-five 
to thirty cents per day for each inmate ; the Federal Gov- 
ernment, for its quota of men, fifty cents per person. 
Why are the prisoners given qualitatively and quantita- 
tively inadequate food? he demands. Does not the 
State appropriate thousands of dollars for the sup- 
port of the penitentiary, besides the money received from 
the counties? — With keen scalpel the "con man" dis- 
sects the anatomy of the institution. One by one he 
analyzes the industries, showing the most intimate 
knowledge. The hosiery department produces so and 



27(i PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

so many dozen of stockings per day. They are not 
stamped "convict-made," as the law requires. The labels 
attached are misleading, and calculated to decoy the 
innocent buyer. The character of the product in the 
several mat shops is similarly an infraction of the 
statutes of the great State of Pennsylvania for the pro- 
tection of free labor. The broom shop is leased by con- 
tract to a firm of manufacturers known as Lang 
Brothers: the law expressly forbids contract labor in 
prisons. The stamp "convict-made" on the brooms is 
pasted over with a label, concealing the source of manu- 
facture. 

Thus the "con man" runs on in his note. With 
much show of secrecy he entrusts it to a notorious stool, 
for delivery to a friend. Soon the writer is called before 
the Warden. In the latter's hands is the note. The 
offender smiles complacently. He is aware the authori- 
ties are terrorized by the disclosure of such intimate 
familiarity with the secrets of the prison house, in the 
possession of an intelligent, possibly well-connected man. 
He must be propitiated at all cost. The "'con man" joins 
the "politicians." 

The ingenuity of imprisoned intelligence treads 
devious paths, all leading to the highway of enlarged 
liberty and privilege. The "old-timer," veteran of oft- 
repeated experience, easily avoids hard labor. He has 
many friends in the prison, is familiar with the keepers, 
and is welcomed by them like a prodigal coming home. 
The officers are glad to renew the old acquaintance and 
talk over old times. It brings interest into their 
tedious existence, often as gray and monotonous as the 
prisoner's. 

The seasoned "yeggman," constitutionally and on 
principle opposed to toil, rarely works. Generally suffer- 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL V1 

ing a comparatively short sentence, he looks upon his 
imprisonment as, in a measure, a rest-cure from the wear 
and tear of tramp life. Above average intelligence, he 
scorns work in general, prison labor in particular. He 
avoids it with unstinted expense of energy and effort. 
As a last resort, he plays the "jigger" card, producing 
an artificial wound on leg or arm, having every appear- 
ance of syphilitic excrescence. He pretends to be fright- 
ened by the infection, and prevails upon the physician 
to examine him. The doctor wonders at the wound, 
closely resembling the dreaded disease. "Ever had 
syphilis?" he demands. The prisoner protests indig- 
nantly. "Perhaps in the family?" the medicus suggests. 
The patient looks diffident, blushes, cries, "No, never!" 
and assumes a guilty look. The doctor is now convinced 
the prisoner is a victim of syphilis. The man is "ex- 
cused" from work, indefinitely. 

The wily yegg, now a patient, secures a "snap" in the 
yard, and adapts prison conditions to his habits of life. 
He sedulously courts the friendship of some young in- 
mate, and wins his admiration by "ghost stories" of great 
daring and cunning. He puts the boy "next to de 
ropes," and constitutes himself his protector against the 
abuse of the guards and the advances of other prisoners. 
He guides the youth's steps through the maze of conflict- 
ing rules, and finally initiates him into the "higher wis- 
dom" of "de road." 

The path of the "gun" is smoothed by his colleagues 
in the prison. Even before his arrival, the esprit de corps 
of the "profession" is at work, securing a soft berth 
for the expected friend. If noted for success and skill, 
he enjoys the respect of the officers, and the admiration 
of a retinue of aspiring young crooks, of lesser experi- 
ence and reputation. With conscious superiority he 



278 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

instructs them in the finesse of his trade, practices them 
in nimble-fingered "touches," and imbues them with the 
philosophy of the plenitude of ''suckers," whom the 
good God has put upon the earth to afford the thief an 
"honest living." His sentence nearing completion, the 
"gun" grows thoughtful, carefully scans the papers, 
forms plans for his first "job," arranges dates with his 
"partners," and gathers messages for their "moll buz- 
zers."* He is gravely concerned with the somewhat 
roughened condition of his hands, and the possible dull- 
ing of his sensitive fingers. He maneuvers, generally 
successfully, for lighter work, to "limber up a bit," "jol- 
lies" the officers and cajoles the Warden for new shoes, 
made to measure in the local shops, and insists on the 
ten-dollar allowance to prisoners received from counties 
outside of Allegheny. f He argues the need of money 
"to leave the State." Often he does leave. More fre- 
quently a number of charges against the man are held 
in reserve by the police, and he is arrested at the gate 
by detectives who have been previously notified by the 
prison authorities. 

The great bulk of the inmates, accidental and occa- 
sional offenders direct from the field, factory, and mine, 
plod along in the shops, in sullen misery and dread. Day 
in, day out, year after year, they drudge at the monoto- 
nous work, dully wondering at the numerous trusties 
idling about, while their own heavy tasks are constantly 
increased. From cell to shop and back again, always 
under the stern eyes of the guards, their days drag in 
deadening toil. In mute bewilderment they receive con- 



* Women thieves. 

t Upon their discharge, prisoners tried and convicted in the 
County of Allegheny — in which the Western Penitentiary is 
located — receive only five dollars. 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 279 

tradictory orders, unaware of the secret antagonisms 
between the officials. They are surprised at the new 
rule making attendance at religious service obligatory; 
and again at the succeeding order (the desired appro- 
priation for a new chapel having been secured) making 
church-going optional. They are astonished at the sud- 
den disappearance of the considerate and gentle guard, 
Byers, and anxiously hope for his return, not knowing 
that the officer who discouraged the underhand methods 
of the trusties fell a victim to their cabal. 

Ill 

Occasionally a bolder spirit grumbles at the exasper- 
ating partiality. Released from punishment, he patiently 
awaits an opportunity to complain to the Warden of 
his unjust treatment. Weeks pass. At last the Captain 
visits the shop. A propitious moment! The carefully 
trimmed beard frames the stern face in benevolent white, 
mellowing the hard features and lending dignity to his 
appearance. His eyes brighten with peculiar brilliancy 
as he slowly begins to stroke his chin, and then, almost 
imperceptibly, presses his fingers to his lips. As he 
passes through the shop, the prisoner raises his hand. 
"What is it?" the Warden inquires, a pleasant smile on 
his face. The man relates his grievance with nervous 
eagerness. "Oh, well," the Captain claps him on the 
shoulder, "perhaps a mistake; an unfortunate mistake. 
But, then, you might have done something at another 
time, and not been punished." He laughs merrily at 
his witticism. "It's so long ago, anyhow; we'll forget 
it," and he passes on. 

But if the Captain is in a different mood, his features 
harden, the stern eyes scowl, and he says in his clear, 
sharp tones: "State your grievance in writing, on the 



2&) PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

printed slip which the officer will give you." The writ- 
ten complaint, deposited in the mail-box, finally reaches 
the Chaplain, and is forwarded by him to the Warden's 
office. There the Deputy and the Assistant Deputy read 
and classify the slips, placing some on the Captain's file 
and throwing others into the waste basket, according as 
the accusation is directed against a friendly or an un- 
friendly brother officer. Months pass before the prisoner 
is called for *'a hearing.'* By that time he very likely 
has a more serious charge against the guard, who now 
persecutes the "kicker." But the new complaint has 
not yet been "filed," and therefore the hearing is post- 
poned. Not infrequently men are called for a hearing, 
who have been discharged, or died since making the 
complaint. 

The persevering prisoner, however, unable to receive 
satisfaction from the Warden, sends a written com- 
plaint to some member of the highest authority in the 
penitentiary — the Board of Inspectors. These are sup- 
posed to meet monthly to consider the affairs of the 
institution, visit the inmates, and minister to their moral 
needs. The complainant waits, mails several more slips, 
and wonders why he receives no audience with the 
Inspectors. But the latter remain invisible, some not 
visiting the penitentiary within a year. Only the Secre- 
tary of the Board, Mr. Reed, a wealthy jeweler of Pitts- 
burgh, occasionally puts in an appearance. Tall and lean, 
immaculate and trim, he exhales an atmosphere of 
sanctimoniousness. He walks leisurely through the 
block, passes a cell with a lithograph of Christ on the 
wall, and pauses. His hands folded, eyes turned up- 
wards, lips slightly parted in silent prayer, he inquires 
of the rangeman: 

"Whose cell is this?" 

"A 1108, Mr. Reed," the prisoner informs him. 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 281 

It is the cell of Jasper, the colored trusty, chief stool 
of the prison. 

"He is a good man, a good man, God bless him," 
the Inspector says, a quaver in his voice. 

He steps into the cell, puts on his gloves, and care- 
fully adjusts the little looking-glass and the rules, hang- 
ing awry on the wall. "It offends my eye," he smiles 
at the attending rangeman, "they don't hang straight." 

Young Tommy, in the adjoining cell, calls out: "Mr. 
Officer, please." 

The Inspector steps forward. "This is Inspector 
Reed," he corrects the boy. "What is it you wish ?" 

"Oh, Mr. Inspector, I've been askin' t' see you a long 
time. I wanted — " 

"You should have sent me a slip. Have you a copy 
of the rules in the cell, my man?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Can you read?" 

"No, sir." 

"Poor boy, did you never go to school?" 

"No, sir. Me moder died when I was a kid. Dey 
put me in de orphan an' den in de ref ." 

"And your father?" 

"I had no fader. Moder always said he ran away 
before I was born'd." 

"They have schools in the orphan asylum. Also in 
the reformatory, I believe." 

"Yep. But dey keeps me most o' de time in punish- 
ment. I didn' care fer de school, nohow." 

"You were a bad boy. How old are you now?" 

"Sev'nteen." 

"What is your name?" 

"Tommy Wellman." 

"From Pittsburgh?" 



282 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Allegheny. Me moder use'ter live on de hill, near 
dis 'ere dump." 

"What did you wish to see me about?" 

"I can't stand de cell, Mr. Inspector. Please let me 
have some work." 

"Are you locked up 'for cause'?" 

"I smashed a guy in de jaw fer callin' me names." 

"Don't you know it's wrong to fight, my little man ?" 

"He said me moder was a bitch, God damn his — " 

"Don't! Don't swear! Never take the holy name 
in vain. It's a great sin. You should have reported the 
man to your officer, instead of fighting." 

"I ain't no snitch. Will you get me out of de cell, 
Mr. Inspector?" 

"You are in the hands of the Warden. He is very 
kind, and he will do what is best for you." 

"Oh, hell! I'm locked up five months now. Dat's 
de best he's doin' fer me." 

"Don't talk like that to me," the Inspector upbraids 
him, severely. "You are a bad boy. You must pray; 
the good Lord will take care of you." 

"You get out o' here !" the boy bursts out in sudden 
fury, cursing and swearing. 

Mr. Reed hurriedly steps back. His face, momenta- 
rily paling, turns red with shame and anger. He motions 
to the Captain of the Block. 

"Mr. Woods, report this man for impudence to an 
Inspector," he orders, stalking out into the yard. 

The boy is removed to the dungeon. 

Oppressed and weary with the scenes of misery and 
torture, I welcome the relief of solitude, as I am locked 
in the cell for the night. 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 283 

IV 

Reading and study occupy the hours of the evening. 
I spend considerable time corresponding with Nold and 
Bauer: our letters are bulky — ten, fifteen, and twenty 
pages long. There is much to say! We discuss events 
in the world at large, incidents of the local life, the mal- 
treatment of the inmates, the frequent clubbings and 
suicides, the unwholesome food. I share with my 
comrades my experiences on the range; they, in turn, 
keep me informed of occurrences in the shops. Their 
paths run smoother, less eventful than mine, yet not 
without much heartache and bitterness of spirit. They, 
too, are objects of prejudice and persecution. The officer 
of the shop where Nold is employed has been severely 
reprimanded for "neglect of duty": the Warden had 
noticed Carl, in the company of several other prisoners, 
passing through the yard with a load of mattings. He 
ordered the guard never to allow Nold out of his sight. 
Bauer has also felt the hand of petty tyranny. He has 
been deprived of his dark clothes, and reduced to the 
stripes for "disrespectful behavior." Now he is removed 
to the North Wing, where my cell also is located, while 
Nold is in the South Wing, in a "double" cell, enjoying 
the luxury of a window. Fortunately, though, our 
friend, the "Horsethief," is still coffee-boy on Bauer's 
range, thus enabling me to reach the big German. The 
latter, after reading my notes, returns them to our 
trusted carrier, who works in the same shop with Carl. 
Our mail connections are therefore complete, each of 
us exercising utmost care not to be trapped during the 
frequent surprises of searching our cells and persons. 

Again the Prison Blossoms is revived. Most of the 
readers of the previous year, however, are missing. 
Dempsey and Beatty, the Knights of Labor men, have 



284 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

been pardoned, thanks to the multiplied and conflicting 
confessions of the informer, Gallagher, who still remains 
in prison. "D," our poet laureate, has also been released, 
his short term having expired. His identity remains a 
mystery, he having merely hinted that he was a "scientist 
of the old school, an alchemist," from which we inferred 
that he was a counterfeiter. Gradually we recruit our 
reading public from the more intelligent and trustworthy 
element: the Duquesne strikers renew their "subscrip- 
tions" by contributing paper material; with them join 
Frank Shay, the philosophic "second-story man" ; George, 
the prison librarian; "Billy" Ryan, professional gambler 
and confidence man ; "Yale," a specialist in the art of safe 
blowing, and former university student; the "Attorney- 
General," a sharp lawyer; "Magazine Alvin," writer and 
novelist; "Jim," from whose ingenuity no lock is secure, 
and others. "M" and "K" act as alternate editors; the 
rest as contributors. The several departments of the 
little magazinelet are ornamented with pen and ink 
drawings, one picturing Dante visiting the Inferno, an- 
other sketching a "pete man," with mask and dark lan- 
tern, in the act of boring a safe, while a third bears the 
inscription : 

I sometimes hold it half a sin 
To put in words the grief I feel, — 
For words, like nature, half reveal 

And half conceal the soul within. 

The editorials are short, pithy comments on local 
events, interspersed with humorous sketches and cari- 
catures of the officials ; the balance of the Blossoms con- 
sists of articles and essays of a more serious character, 
embracing religion and philosophy, labor and politics, 
with now and then a personal reminiscence by the "sec- 
ond-story man," or some sex experience by "Magazine 
Alvin." One of the associate editors lampoons "Billy- 



THE GRIST OF THE PRISON-MILL 285 

goat Benny," the Deputy Warden; "K" sketches the 
"Shop Screw" and "The Trusted Prisoner"; and "G" 
relates the story of the recent strike in his shop, the 
men's demand for clear pump water instead of the liquid 
mud tapped from the river, and the breaking of the 
strike by the exile of a score of "rioters" to the dungeon. 
In the next issue the incident is paralleled with the 
Pullman Car Strike, and the punished prisoners eulogized 
for their courageous stand, some one dedicating an ultra- 
original poem to the "Noble Sons of Eugene Debs." 

But the vicissitudes of our existence, the change 
of location of several readers, the illness and death of 
two contributors, badly disarrange the route. During 
the winter, "K" produces a little booklet of German 
poems, while I elaborate the short "Story of Luba," 
written the previous year, into a novelette, dealing with 
life in New York and revolutionary circles. Presently 
"G" suggests that the manuscripts might prove of inter- 
est to a larger public, and should be preserved. We 
discuss the unique plan, wondering how the intellectual 
contraband could be smuggled into the light of day. In 
our perplexity we finally take counsel with Bob, the 
faithful commissary. He cuts the Gordian knot with 
astonishing levity: "Youse fellows jest go ahead an* 
write, an' don't bother about nothin'. Think I can walk 
off all right with a team of horses, but ain't got brains 
enough to get away with a bit of scribbling, eh? Jest 
leave that to th' Horsethief, an' write till you bust th' 
paper works, see?" Thus encouraged, with entire con- 
fidence in our resourceful frienH, we give the matter 
serious thought, and before long we form the ambitious 
projept of publishing a book by "MKG"! 

In high elation, with new interest in life, we set to 
work. The little magazine is suspended, and we devote 
all our spare time, as well as every available scrap of 



286 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

writing material, to the larger purpose. We decide to 
honor the approaching day, so pregnant with revolution- 
ary inspiration, and as the sun bursts in brilliant splendor 
on the eastern skies, the First of May, 18^5, he steals a 
blushing beam upon the heading of the first chapter — 
"The Homestead Strike." 



CHAPTER XXIII 
THE SCALES OF JUSTICE 



The summer fades into days of dull gray; the fog 
thickens on the Ohio; the prison house is dim and 
damp. The river sirens sound sharp and shrill, and the 
cells echo with coughing and wheezing. The sick line 
stretches longer, the men looking more forlorn and 
dejected. The prisoner in charge of tier "K" suffers a 
hemorrhage," and is carried to the hospital. From assist- 
ant, I am advanced to his position on the range. 

But one morning the levers are pulled, the cells 
unlocked, and the men fed, while I remain under key. 
I wonder at the peculiar oversight, and rap on the bars 
for the officers. The Block Captain orders me to desist. 
I request to see the Warden, but am gruffly told that 
he cannot be disturbed in the morning. In vain I rack 
my brain to fathom the cause of my punishment. I 
review the incidents of the past weeks, ponder over each 
detail, but the mystery remains unsolved. Perhaps I 
have unwittingly offended some trusty, or I may be the 
object of the secret enmity of a spy. 

The Chaplain, on his daily rounds, hands me a letter 
from the Girl, and glances in surprise at the closed door. 

"Not feeling well, m' boy?" he asks. 

"I'm locked up, Chaplain." 

"What have you done ?" 

287 



288 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Nothing that I know of." 

*'0h, well, you'll be out soon. Don't fret, m' boy." 

But the days pass, and I remain in the cell. The 
guards look worried, and vent their ill-humor in profuse 
vulgarity. The Deputy tries to appear mysterious, 
wobbles comically along the range, and splutters at me: 
"Nothin'. Shtay where you are." Jasper, the colored 
trusty, flits up and down the hall, tremendously busy, 
%V his black face more lustrous than ever. Numerous 

stools nose about the galleries, stop here and there in 
confidential conversation with officers and prisoners, and 
whisper excitedly at the front desk. Assistant Deputy 
Hopkins goes in and out of the block, repeatedly calls 
Jasper to the office, and hovers in the neighborhood of 
my cell. The rangemen talk in suppressed tones. An 
. air of mystery pervades the cell-house. 

Finally I am called to the Warden. With uncon- 
cealed annoyance, he demands : 

"What did you want?" 

"The officers locked me up — " 

"Who said you're locked up?" he interrupts, angrily. 
"You're merely locked in" 

"Where's the difference?" I ask. 

"One is locked up 'for cause.' You're just kept in 
for the present." 

"On what charge?" 

"No charge. None whatever. Take him back, 
Officers." 

Close confinement becomes increasingly more dismal 
and dreary. By contrast with the spacious hall, the cell 
grows smaller and narrower, oppressing me with a sense 
of suffocation. My sudden isolation remains unex- 
plained. Notwithstanding the Chaplain's promise to 
intercede in my behalf, I remain locked "in," and again 



THE SCALES OF JUSTICE 289 

return the days of solitary, with all their gloom and 
anguish of heart. 



II 



A ray of light is shed from New York. The Girl 
writes in a hopeful vein about the progress of the move- 
ment, and the intense interest in my case among radical 
circles. She refers to Comrade Merlino, now on a 
tour of agitation, and is enthusiastic about the favor- 
able labor sentiment toward me, manifested in the 
cities he had visited. Finally she informs me of a 
plan on foot to secure a reduction of my sentence, and 
the promising outlook for the collection of the necessary 
funds. From Merlino I receive a sum of money already 
contributed for the purpose, together with a letter of 
appreciation and encouragement, concluding: "Good 
cheer, dear Comrade; the last word has not yet been 
spoken." 

My mind dwells among my friends. The breath 
from the world of the living fans the smoldering fires 
of longing; the tone of my comrades revibrates in my 
heart with trembling hope. But the revision of my sen- 
tence involves recourse to the courts ! The sudden real- 
ization fills me with dismay. I cannot be guilty of a 
sacrifice of principle to gain freedom; the mere sug- 
gestion rouses the violent protest of my revolutionary 
traditions. In bitterness of soul, I resent my friends' 
ill-advised waking of the shades. I shall never leave 
the house of death. . . . 

And yet mail from my friends, full of expectation 
and confidence, arrives more frequently. Prominent 
lawyers have been consulted; their unanimous opinion 
augurs well: the multiplication of my sentences was 
illegal; according to the statutes of Pennsylvania, the 



290 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

maximum penalty should not have exceeded seven years ; 
the Supreme Court would undoubtedly reverse the 
judgment of the lower tribunal, specifically the convic- 
tion on charges not constituting a crime under the laws 
of the State. And so forth. 

I am assailed by doubts. Is it consequent in me to 
decline liberty, apparently within reach? John Most ap- 
pealed his case to the Supreme Court, and the Girl also 
took advantage of a legal defence. Considerable pro- 
paganda resulted from it. Should I refuse the oppor- 
tunity which would offer such a splendid field for agita- 
-* tion? Would it not be folly to afford the enemy the 
triumph of my gradual annihilation? I would without 
hesitation reject freedom at the price of my convictions; 
but it involves no denial of my faith to rob the vampire 
of its prey. We must, if necessary, fight the beast of 
oppression with its own methods, scourge the law in its 
own tracks, as it were. Of course, the Supreme Court 
is but another weapon in the hands of authority, a pre- 
tence of impartial right. It decided against Most, sus- 
taining the prejudiced verdict of the trial jury. They 
n^y, do the same in my case. But that very circumstance 
will serve to confirm our arraignment of class justice, 
'"i'^hall therefore endorse the efforts of my friends. 

But before long I am informed that an application 
to the higher court is not permitted. The attorneys, 
upon examination of the records of the trial, discovered 
a fatal obstacle, they said. The defendant, not being 
legally represented, neglected to *'take exceptions" to 
rulings of the court prejudicial to the accused. Because 
of the technical omission, there exists no basis for an 
appeal. They therefore advise an application to the 
Board of Pardons, on the ground that the punishment 
in my case is excessive. They are confident that the 
Board will act favorably, in view of the obvious uncon- 



THE SCALES OF JUSTICE 291 

stitutionallty of the compounded sentences, — the five 
minor indictments being indispensible parts of the major 
charge and, as such, not constituting separate offences. 

The unexpected development disquiets me : the sound 
of "pardon" is detestable. What bitter irony that the 
noblest intentions, the most unselfish motives, need seek 
pardon I Aye, of the very source that misinterprets and 
perverts them! For days the implied humiliation keeps 
agitating me; I recoil from the thought of personally 
affixing my name to the meek supplication of the printed 
form, and finally decide to refuse. 

An accidental conversation with the "Attorney Gen- 
eral" disturbs my resolution. I learn that in Pennsyl- 
vania the applicant's signature is not required by the 
Pardon Board. A sense of guilty hope steals over me. 
Yet — I reflect — the pardon of the Chicago Anarchists 
had contributed much to the dissemination of our ideas. 
The impartial analysis of the trial-evidence by Governor 
Altgeld completely exonerated our comrades from 
responsibility for the Haymarket tragedy, and exposed 
the heinous conspiracy to destroy the most devoted and 
able representatives of the labor movement. May not 
a similar purpose be served by my application for a 
pardon ? 

I write to my comrades, signifying my consent. We 
arrange for a personal interview, to discuss the details 
of the work. Unfortunately, the Girl, a persona non 
grata, cannot visit me. But a mutual friend. Miss Garri- 
son, is to call on me within two months. At my request, 
the Chaplain forwards to her the necessary permission, 
and I impatiently await the first friendly face in two 
years. 



292 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

III 

As unaccountably as my punishment in the solitary, 
comes the relief at the expiration of three weeks. The 
"K" hall-boy is still in the hospital, and I resume the 
duties of rangeman. The guards eye me with suspicion 
and greater vigilance, but I soon unravel the tangled 
skein, and learn the details of the abortive escape that 
caused my temporary retirement. 

The lock of my neighbor, Johnny Smith, had been 
tampered with. The youth, in solitary at the time, neces- 
sarily had the aid of another, it being impossible to reach 
the keyhole from the inside of the cell. The suspicion 
of the Warden centered upon me, but investigation by 
the stools discovered the men actually concerned, and 
"Dutch" Adams, Spencer, Smith, and Jim Grant were 
chastised in the dungeon, and are now locked up ''for 
cause," on my range. 

By degrees Johnny confides to me the true story of 
the frustrated plan. "Dutch," a repeater serving his 
fifth "bit," and favorite of Hopkins, procured a piece 
of old iron, and had it fashioned into a key in the 
machine shop, where he was employed. He entrusted 
the rude instrument to Grant, a young reformatory boy, 
for a preliminary trial. The guileless youth easily 
walked into the trap, and the makeshift key was broken 
in the lock — with disastrous results. 

The tricked boys now swear vengeance upon the 
provocateur, but "Dutch" is missing from the range. 
He has been removed to an upper gallery, and is assigned 
to a coveted position in the shops. 

The newspapers print vivid stories of the desperate 
attempt to escape from Riverside, and compliment Cap- 
tain Wright and the officers for so successfully protect- 
ing the community. The Warden is deeply affected, and 



THE SCALES OF JUSTICE 293 

orders the additional punishment of the offenders with 
a bread-and-water diet. The Deputy walks with inflated 
chest; Hopkins issues orders curtailing the privileges of 
the inmates, and inflicting greater hardships. The tone 
of the guards sounds haughtier, more peremptory; Jas- 
per's face wears a blissful smile. The trusties look 
pleased and cheerful, but sullen gloom shrouds the 
prison. 

IV 

I am standing at my cell, when the door of the 
rotunda slowly opens, and the Warden approaches me. 

"A lady just called; Miss Garrison, from New York. 
Do you know her?" 

"She is one of my friends." 

"I dismissed her. You can't see her." 

"Why? The rules entitle me to a visit every three 
months. I have had none in two years. I want to see 
her." 

"You can't. She needs a permit." 

"The Chaplain sent her one at my request." 

"A member of the Board of Inspectors rescinded it 
by telegraph." 

"What Inspector?" 

"You can't question me. Your visitor has been re- 
fused admittance." 

"Will you tell me the reason. Warden?" 

"No reason, no reason whatever." 

He turns on his heel, when I detain him: "Warden, 
it's two years since I've been in the dungeon. I am in 
the first grade now," I point to the recently earned dark 
suit. "I am entitled to all the privileges. Why am I 
deprived of visits?" 

"Not another word." 



294 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

He disappears through the yard door. From the 
galleries I hear the jeering of a trusty. A guard near by 
brings his thumb to his nose, and wriggles his fingers in 
my direction. Humiliated and angry, I return to the 
cell, to find the monthly letter-sheet on my table. I pour 
out all the bitterness of my heart to the Girl, dwell on 
the Warden's discrimination against me, and repeat our 
conversation and his refusal to admit my visitor. In 
conclusion, I direct her to have a Pittsburgh lawyer 
apply to the courts, to force the prison authorities to 
restore to me the privileges allowed by the law to the 
ordinary prisoner. I drop the letter in the mail-box, 
hoping that my outburst and the threat of the law will 
induce the Warden to retreat from his position. The 
Girl will, of course, understand the significance of the 
epistle, aware that my reference to a court process is 
a diplomatic subterfuge for effect, and not meant to be 
acted upon. 

But the next day the Chaplain returns the letter to 
me. **Not so rash, my boy," he warns me, not unkindly. 
"Be patient; I'll see what I can do for you." 

**But the letter, Chaplain?" 

**You've wasted your paper, Aleck. I can't pass 
this letter. But just keep quiet, and I'll look into the 
matter." 

Weeks pass in evasive replies. Finally the Chaplain 
advises a personal interview with the Warden. The 
latter refers me to the Inspectors. To each member of 
the Board I address a request for a few minutes' conver- 
sation, but a month goes by without word from the high 
officials. The friendly runner, "Southside" Johnny, 
offers to give me an opportunity to speak to an Inspector, 
on the payment of ten plugs of tobacco. Unfortunately, 
I cannot spare my small allowance, but I tender him a 
dollar bill of the money the Girl had sent me artfully 



THE SCALES OF JUSTICE 295 

concealed in the buckle of a pair of suspenders. The 
runner is highly elated, and assures me of success, direct- 
ing me to keep careful watch on the yard door. 

Several days later, passing along the range engaged 
in my duties, I notice "Southside" entering from the 
yard, in friendly conversation with a strange gentleman 
in citizen clothes. For a moment I do not realize the 
situation, but the next instant I am aware of Johnny's 
violent efforts to attract my attention. He pretends to 
show the man some fancy work made by the inmates, 
all the while drawing him closer to my door, with sur- 
reptitious nods at me. I approach my cell. 

"This is Berkman, Mr. Nevin, the man who shot 
Frick," Johnny remarks. 

The gentleman turns to me with a look of interest. 

"Good morning, Berkman," he says pleasantly. 
"How long are you doing?" 

"Twenty-two years." 

"I'm sorry to hear that. It's rather a long sentence. 
You know who I am?" 

"Inspector Nevin, I believe." 

"Yes. You have never seen me before?" 

"No. I sent a request to see you recently." 

"When was that?" 

"A month ago." 

"Strange. I was in the office three weeks ago. There 
was no note from you on my file. Are you sure you 
sent one ?" 

"Quite sure. I sent a request to each Inspector." 

"What's the trouble?" 

I inform him briefly that I have been deprived of 
visiting privileges. Somewhat surprised, he glances at 
my dark clothes, and remarks: 

"You are in the first grade, and therefore entitled 
to visits. When did you have your last visitor?" 



296 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

**Two years ago." 

"Two years?" he asks, almost incredulously. "Did 
the lady from New York have a permit?" 

The Warden hurriedly enters from the yard. 

"Mr. Nevin," he calls out anxiously, "I've been look- 
ing for you." 

"Berkman was just telling me about his visitor being 
sent away, Captain," the Inspector remarks. 

"Yes, yes," the Warden smiles, forcedly, " 'for cause.' " 

"Oh!" the face of Mr. Nevin assumes a grave look. 
"Berkman," he turns to me, "you'll have to apply to the 
Secretary of the Board, Mr. Reed. I am not familiar 
with the internal affairs." 

The Warden links his arm with the Inspector, and 
they walk toward the yard door. At the entrance they 
are met by "Dutch" Adams, the shop messenger. 

"Good morning, Mr. Nevin," the trusty greets him. 
"Won't you issue me a special visit ? My mother is sick ; 
she wants to see me." 

The Warden grins at the ready fiction. 

"When did you have your last visit?" the Inspector 
inquires. 

"Two weeks ago." 

"You are entitled to one only every three months." 

"That is why I asked you for an extra, Mr. Inspec- 
tor," "Dutch" retorts boldly. "I know you are a kind 
man." 

Mr. Nevin smiles good-naturedly and glances at the 
Warden. 

"Dutch is all right," the Captain nods. 

The Inspector draws his visiting card, pencils on it, 
and hands it to the prisoner. 



CHAPTER XXIV 

THOUGHTS THAT STOLE OUT OF PRISON 

April 12, 1896. 
My Dear Girl: 

I have craved for a long, long time to have a free talk with 
you, but this is the first opportunity. A good friend, a "lover 
of horseflesh," promised to see this "birdie" through. I hope it 
will reach you safely. 

In my local correspondence you have been christened 
the "Immutable." I realize how difficult it is to keep up letter- 
writing through the endless years, the points of mutual in- 
terest gradually waning. It is one of the tragedies in the 
existence of a prisoner. "K" and "G" have almost ceased to 
expect mail. But I am more fortunate. The Twin writes 
very seldom nowadays; the correspondence of other friends is 
fitful. But you are never disappointing. It is not so much 
the contents that matter: these increasingly sound like the lan- 
guage of a strange world, with its bewildering flurry and fer- 
ment, disturbing the calm of cell-life. But the very arrival of 
a letter is momentous. It brings a glow into the prisoner's heart 
to feel that he is remembered, actively, with that intimate inter- 
est which alone can support a regular correspondence. And 
then your letters are so vital, so palpitating with the throb of 
our common cause. I have greatly enjoyed your communica- 
tions from Paris and Vienna, the accounts of the movement 
and of our European comrades. Your letters are so much 
part of yourself, they bring me nearer to you and to life. 

The newspaper clippings you have referred to on various 
occasions, have been withheld from me. Nor are any radical 
publications permitted. I especially regret to miss Solidarity. 
I have not seen a single copy since its resurrection two years 
ago. I have followed the activities of Chas. W. Mowbray and 
the recent tour of John Turner, so far as the press accounts 

297 



298 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

are concerned. I hope you'll write more about our English 
comrades. 

I need not say much of the local life, dear. That you know 
from my official mail, and you can read between the lines. The 
action of the Pardon Board was a bitter disappointment to me. 
No less to you also, I suppose. Not that I was very enthusiastic 
as to a favorable decision. But that they should so cynically 
evade the issue, — I was hardly prepared for that. I had hoped 
they would at least consider the case. But evidently they were 
averse to going oil record, one way or another. The lawyers 
informed me that they were not even allowed an opportunity 
to present their arguments. The Board ruled that "the wrong 
complained of is not actual"; that is, that I am not yet serving 
the sentence we want remitted. A lawyer's quibble. It means 
that I must serve the first sentence of seven years, before apply- 
ing for the remission of the other indictments. Discounting 
commutation time, I still have about a year to complete the first 
sentence. I doubt whether it is advisable to try again. Little 
justice can be expected from those quarters. But I want to 
submit another proposition to you; consult with our friends 
regarding it. It is this : there is a prisoner here who has just 
been pardoned by the Board, whose president, the Lieutenant- 
Governor, is indebted to the prisoner's lawyer for certain polit- 
ical services. The attorney's name is K D of Pittsburgh. 

He has intimated to his client that he will guarantee my release 
for $1,000.00, the sum to be deposited in safe hands and to be 
paid only in case of success. Of course, we cannot afford such a 
large fee. And I cannot say whether the offer is worth con- 
sidering; still, you know that almost anything can be bought 
from politicians. I leave the matter in your hands. 

The question of my visits seems tacitly settled; I can pror 
cure no permit for my friends to see me. For some obscure 
reason, the Warden has conceived a great fear of an Anarchist 
plot against the prison. The local "trio" is under special sur- 
veillance and constantly discriminated against, though "K" and 
"G" are permitted to receive visits. You will smile at the infan- 
tile terror of the authorities : it is bruited about that a "certain 
Anarchist lady" (meaning you, I presume; in reality it was 
Henry's sweetheart, a jolly devil-may-care girl) made a threat 
against the prison. The gossips have it that she visited Inspector 
Reed at his business place, and requested to see me. The In- 



THOUGHTS THAT STOLE OUT OF PRISON 299 

spector refusing, she burst out: "We'll blow your dirty walls 
down." I could not determine whether there is any foundation 
for the story, but it is circulated here, and the prisoners firmly 
believe it explains my deprivation of visits. 

That is a characteristic instance of local conditions. In- 
voluntarily I smile at Kennan's naive indignation with the bru- 
talities he thinks possible only in Russian and Siberian prisons. 
He would find it almost impossible to learn the true con- 
ditions in the American prisons: he would be conducted the 
rounds of the "show" cells, always neat and clean for the pur- 
pose ; he would not see the basket cell, nor the bull rings in the 
dungeon, where men are chained for days; nor would he be 
permitted to converse for hours, or whole evenings, with the 
prisoners, as he did with the exiles in Siberia. Yet if he suc- 
ceeded in learning even half the truth, he would be forced to 
revise his views of American penal institutions, as he did in 
regard to Russian politicals. He would be horrified to witness 
the brutality that is practised here as a matter of routine, the 
abuse of the insane, the petty persecution. Inhumanity is the 
keynote of stupidity in power. 
I Your soul must have been harrowed by the reports of the 
" terrible tortures in Montjuich. What is all indignation and 
; lamenting, in the face of the revival of the Inquisition? Is 
^ there no Nemesis in Spain? 



CHAPTER XXV 
HOW SHALL THE DEPTHS CRY? 



The change of seasons varies the tone of the prison. 
A cheerier atmosphere pervades the shops and the cell- 
house in the summer. The block is airier and lighter; 
the guards relax their stern look, in anticipation of their 
vacations; the men hopefully count the hours till their 
approaching freedom, and the gates open daily to release 
some one going back to the world. 

But heavy gloom broods over the prison in winter. 
The windows are closed and nailed; the vitiated air, 
artificially heated, is suffocating with dryness. Smoke 
darkens the shops, and the cells are in constant dusk. 
Tasks grow heavier, the punishments more severe. The 
officers look sullen ; the men are morose and discontented. 
The ravings of the insane become wilder, suicides more 
frequent; despair and hopelessness oppress every heart. 

The undercurrent of rebellion, swelling with mute 
suffering and repression, turbulently sweeps the barriers. 
The severity of the authorities increases, methods of 
penalizing are more drastic ; the prisoners fret, wax 
more querulous, and turn desperate with blind, spasmodic 
defiance. 

But among the more intelligent inmates, dissatisfac- 
tion manifest more coherent expression. The Lexow 
investigation in New York has awakened an echo in the 
prison. A movement is quietly initiated among the 
solitaries, looking toward an investigation of Riverside. 

300 



HOW SHALL THE DEPTHS CRY? 301 

I keep busy helping the men exchange notes matur- 
ing the project. Great care must be exercised to guard 
against treachery: only men of proved reliability may 
be entrusted with the secret, and precautions taken that 
no officer or stool scent our design. The details of the 
campaign are planned on "K" range, with Billy Ryan, 
Butch, Sloane, and Jimmie Grant, as the most trust- 
worthy, in command. It is decided that the attack upon 
the management of the penitentiary is to be initiated 
from the "outside." A released prisoner is to inform 
the press of the abuses, graft, and immorality rampant 
in Riverside. The public will demand an investigation. 
The "cabal" on the range will supply the investigators 
with data and facts that will rouse the conscience of the 
community, and cause the dismissal of the Warden and 
the introduction of reforms. 

A prisoner, about to be discharged, is selected for the 
important mission of enlightening the press. In great 
anxiety and expectation we await the newspapers, the 
day following his liberation; we scan the pages closely. 
Not a word of the penitentiary! Probably the released 
man has not yet had an opportunity to visit the editors. 
In the joy of freedom, he may have looked too deeply 
into the cup that cheers. He will surely interview the 
papers the next day. 

But the days pass into weeks, without any reference 
in the press to the prison. The trusted man has failed 
us ! The revelation of the life at Riverside is of a nature 
not to be ignored by the press. The discharged inmate 
has proved false to his promise. Bitterly the solitaries 
denounce him, and resolve to select a more reliable man 
among the first candidates for liberty. 

One after another, a score of men are entrusted with 
the mission to the press. But the papers remain silent. 
Anxiously, though every day less hopefully, we search 



302 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

their columns. Ryan cynically derides the faithlessness 
of convict promises; Butch rages and swears at the 
traitors. But Sloane is sternly confident in his own 
probity, and cheers me as I pause at his cell : 

"Never min' them rats, Aleck. You just wait till I 
go out. Here's the boy that'll keep his promise all right. 
What I won't do to old Sandy ain't worth mentionin'." 

"Why, you still have two years, Ed," I remind him. 

"Not on your tintype, Aleck. Only one and a stump." 

"How big is the stump?" 

"Wa-a-11," he chuckles, looking somewhat diffident, 
"it's one year, elev'n months, an' twenty-sev'n days. It 
ain't no two years, though, see?" 

Jimmy Grant grows peculiarly reserved, evidently 
disinclined to talk. He seeks to avoid me. The treach- 
ery of the released men fills him with resentment and 
suspicion of every one. He is impatient of my sugges- 
tion that the fault may lie with a servile press. At the 
mention of our plans, he bursts out savagely : 

"Forget it! You're no good, none of you. Let me 
be !" He turns his back to me, and angrily paces the cell. 

His actions fill me with concern. The youth seems 
strangely changed. Fortunately, his time is almost 
served. 

II 

Like wildfire the news circles the prison. "The pa- 
pers are giving Sandy hell!" The air in the block 
trembles with suppressed excitement. Jimmy Grant, 
recently released, had sent a communication to the State 
Board of Charities, bringing serious charges against the 
management of Riverside. The press publishes start- 
lingly significant excerpts from Grant's letter. Editor- 
ially, however, the indictment is ignored by the major- 
ity of the Pittsburgh papers. One writer comments 



HOW SHALL THE DEPTHS CRY? 303 

ambiguously, in guarded language, suggesting the im- 
probability of the horrible practices alleged by Grant. 
Another eulogizes Warden Wright as an intelligent and 
humane man, who has the interest of the prisoners at 
heart. The detailed accusations are briefly dismissed as 
unworthy of notice, because coming from a disgruntled 
criminal who had not found prison life to his liking. 
Only the Leader and the Dispatch consider the matter 
seriously, refer to the numerous complaints from dis- 
charged prisoners, and suggest the advisability of an 
investigation; they urge upon the Warden the necessity 
of disproving, once for all, the derogatory statements 
regarding his management. 

Within a few days the President of the Board of 
Charities announces his decision to "look over" the peni- 
tentiary. December is on the wane, and the Board is 
expected to visit Riverside after the holidays. 

Ill 

K. & G.: 

Of course, neither of you has any more faith in alleged 
investigations than myself. The Lexow investigation, which 
shocked the whole country with its expose of police corruption, 
has resulted in practically nothing. One or two subordinates 
have been "scapegoated" ; those "higher up" went unscathed, as 
usual ; the "system" itself remains in statu quo. The one who has 
mostly profited by the spasm of morality is Goff, to whom the 
vice crusade afforded an opportunity to rise from obscurity into 
the national limelight. Parkhurst also has subsided, probably 
content with the enlarged size of his flock and — salary. To give 
the devil his due, however, I admired his perseverance and 
courage in face of the storm of ridicule and scorn that met his 
initial accusations against the glorious police department of 
the metropolis. But though every charge has been proved in 
the most absolute manner, the situation, as a whole, remains 
unchanged. 

It is the history of all investigations. As the Germans say, 
you can't convict the devil in the court of his mother-in-law. 



304 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

It has again been demonstrated by the Congressional "inquiry" 
into the Carnegie blow-hole armor plate; in the terrible revela- 
tions regarding Superintendent Brockway, of the Elmira Re- 
formatory — a veritable den for maiming and killing; and in 
numerous other instances. Warden Wright also was investi- 
gated, about ten years ago; a double set of books was then 
found, disclosing peculation of appropriations and theft of the 
prison product; brutality and murder were uncovered — yet Sandy 
has remained in his position. 

We can, therefore, expect nothing from the proposed in- 
vestigation by the Board of Charities. I have no doubt it will 
be a whitewash. But I think that we — ^the Anarchist trio — should 
show our solidarity, and aid the inmates with our best efforts; 
we must prevent the investigation resulting in a farce, so far as 
evidence against the management is concerned. We should 
leave the Board no loophole, no excuse of a lack of witnesses 
or proofs to support Grant's charges. I am confident you 
will agree with me in this. I am collecting data for pres- 
entation to the investigators; I am also preparing a list of 
volunteer witnesses. I have seventeen numbers on my range, 
and others from various parts of this block and from the shops. 
They all seem anxious to testify, though I am sure some will 
weaken when the critical moment arrives. Several have already 
notified me to erase their names. But we shall have a suffi- 
cient number of witnesses; we want preferably such men as 
have personally suffered a clubbing, the bull ring, hanging by 
the wrists, or other punishment forbidden by the law. 

I have already notified the Warden that I wish to testify 
before the Investigation Committee. My purpose was to antici- 
pate his objection that there are already enough witnesses. I am 
the first on the list now. The completeness of the case against 
the authorities will surprise you. Fortunately, my position as 
rangeman has enabled me to gather whatever information I 
neded. I will send you to-morrow duplicates of the evidence 
(to insure greater safety for our material). For the present I 
append a partial list of our "exhibits": 

(1) Cigarettes and outside tobacco; bottle of whiskey and ""dope"; 
dice, playing cards, cash money, several knives, two razors, 
postage stamps, outside mail, and other contraband. (These 
are for the purpose of proving the Warden a liar in denying 



HOW SHALL THE DEPTHS CRY? 



305 



to the press the existence of gambling in the prison, the 
selling of bakery and kitchen provisions for cash, the pos- 
session of weapons, and the possibility of underground com- 
munication.) 

(2) Prison-made beer. A demonstration of the staleness of our 
bread and the absence of potatoes in the soup. (The beer 
is made from fermented yeast stolen by the trusties from 
the bakery; also from potatoes.) 

(3) Favoritism; special privileges of trusties; political jobs; the 
system of stool espionage. 

(4) Pennsylvania diet; basket; dungeon; cuffing and chaining 
up; neglect of the sick; punishment of the insane. 

(5) Names and numbers of men maltreated and clubbed. 

(6) Data of assaults and cutting affrays in connection with "kid- 
business," the existence of which the Warden absolutely 
denies. 

(7) Special case of A 444, who attacked the Warden in church, 
because of jealousy of "Lady Goldie," 

(8) Graft: 

(a) Hosiery department: fake labels, fictitious names 
of manufacture, false book entries. 

{b) Broom shop: convict labor hired out, contrary to 
law, to Lang Bros., broom manufacturers, of Allegheny, Pa. 
Goods sold to the United States Government, through sham 
middleman. Labels bear legend, "Union Broom." Sample 
enclosed. 




306 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

(c) Mats, mattings, mops — product not stamped. 

(d) Shoe and tailor shops: prison materials used for 
the private needs of the Warden, the officers, and their 
families. 

(e) $75,000, appropriated by the State (1893) for a new 
chapel. The bricks of the old building used for the new, 
except one outside layer. All the work done by prisoners. 
Architect, Mr. A. Wright, the Warden's son. Actual cost of 
chapel, $7,000. The inmates forced to attend services to 
overcrowd the old church; after the desired appropriation 
was secured, attendance became optional. 

(/) Librar}^: the 25c. tax, exacted from every unofficial 
visitor, is supposed to go to the book fund. About 50 visitors 
per day, the year round. No new books added to the library 
in 10 years. Old duplicates donated by the public libraries 
of Pittsburgh are catalogued as purchased new books. 

(^f) Robbing the prisoners of remuneration for their 
labor. See copy of Act of 1883, P. L. 112. 

LAW ON PRISON LABOR AND WAGES OF CONVICTS 

(Act of 1883, June 13th, P. L. 112) 
Section 1 — At the expiration of existing contracts 
Wardens are directed to employ the convicts under their 
control for and in behalf of the State. 

Section 2 — No labor shall be hired out by contract. 
Section 4-:^All convicts under the control of the 
State and county officers, and all inmates of reformatory 
institutions engaged in the manufacture of articles for 
general consumption, shall receive quarterly wages equal 
to the amount of their earnings, to be fixed from time to 
time by the authorities of the institution, from which 
board, lodging, clothing, and costs of trial shall be de- 
ducted, and the balance paid to their families or depend- 
ents; in case none such appear, the amount shall be, paid 
to the convict at the expiration of his term of imprison- 
ment. 

The prisoners receive no payment whatever, even for 
overtime work, except occasionally a slice of pork for supper. 
K. G., plant this and other material I'll send you, in a safe 
place. 

M. 



CHAPTER XXVI 
HIDING THE EVIDENCE 



It is New Year's eve. An air of pleasant anticipa- 
tion fills the prison; to-morrow's feast is the exciting 
subject of conversation. Roast beef will be served for 
dinner, with a goodly loaf of currant bread, and two 
cigars for dessert. Extra men have been drafted for the 
kitchen; they flit from block to yard, looking busy and 
important, yet halting every passer-by to whisper with 
secretive mien, "Don't say I told you. Sweet potatoes 
to-morrow!" The younger inmates seem skeptical, and 
strive to appear indifferent, the while they hover about 
the yard door, nostrils expanded, sniffing the appetizing 
wafts from the kitchen. Here and there an old-timer 
grumbles: we should have had sweet "murphies" for 
Christmas. " 'Too high=^riced,' Sandy said," they sneer 
in ill humor. The new arrivals grow uneasy ; perhaps 
they are still too expensive? Some study the market 
quotations on the delicacy. But the chief cook drops in 
to visit "his" boy, and confides to the rangeman that 
the sweet potatoes are a "sure thing," just arrived and 
counted. The happy news is whispered about, with con- 
fident assurance, yet tinged with anxiety. There is great 
rejoicing among the men. Only Sol, the lifer, is queru- 
lous : he doesn't care a snap about the "extra feed" — stom- 
ach still sour from the Christmas dinner — and, anyhow, 
it only makes the week-a-day "grub" more disgusting. 

307 



308 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

The rules are somewhat relaxed. The hallmen con- 
verse freely; the yard gangs lounge about and cluster 
in little groups, that separate at the approach of a 
superior officer. Men from the bakery and kitchen run 
in and out of the block, their pockets bulging suspiciously. 
"What are you after ?" the doorkeeper halts them. "Oh, 
just to my cell; forgot my handkerchief." The guard 
answers the sly wink with an indulgent smile. "All 
right ; go ahead, but don't be long." If "Papa" Mitchell 
is about, he thunders at the chief cook, his bosom swell- 
ing with packages: "Wotch 'er got there, eh? Big 
family of kids you have, Jim. First thing you know, 
you'll swipe the hinges off th' kitchen door." The envied 
bakery and kitchen employees supply their friends with 
extra holiday tidbits, and the solitaries dance in glee at 
the sight of the savory dainty, the fresh brown bread 
generously dotted with sweet currants. It is the prelude 
of the promised culinary symphony. 

The evening is cheerful with mirth and jollity. The 
prisoners at first converse in whispers, then become 
bolder, and talk louder through the bars. As night 
approaches, the cell-house rings with unreserved hilarity 
and animation, — light-hearted chaff mingled with coarse 
jests and droll humor. A wag on the upper tier banters 
the passing guards, his quips and sallies setting the 
adjoining cells in a roar, and inspiring imitation. 

Slowly the babel of tongues subsides, as the gong 
sounds the order to retire. Some one shouts to a distant 
friend, "Hey, Bill, are you there? Ye-es? Stay there!" 
It grows quiet, when suddenly my neighbor on the left 
sing-songs, "Fellers, who's goin' to sit up with me to 
greet New Year's." A dozen voices yell their accept- 
ance. "Little Frenchy," the spirited grayhead on the 



HIDING THE EVIDENCE 309 

top tier, vociferates shrilly, "Me, too, boys. I'm viz you 
all right/^ 

All is still in the cell-house, save for a wild Indian 
whoop now and then by the vigil-keeping boys. The 
block breathes in heavy sleep; loud snoring sounds from 
the gallery above. Only the irregular tread of the felt- 
soled guards falls muffled in the silence. 



The clock in the upper rotunda strikes the midnight 
hour. A siren on the Ohio intones its deep-chested bass. 
Another joins it, then another. Shrill factory whistles 
pierce the boom of cannon; the sweet chimes of a near- 
by church ring in joyful melody between. Instantly the 
prison is astir. Tin cans rattle against iron bars, doors 
shake in fury, beds and chairs squeak and screech, pans 
slam on the floor, shoes crash against the walls with a 
dull thud, and rebound noisily on the stone. Unearthly 
yelling, shouting, and whistling rend the air ; an inventive 
prisoner beats a wild tatto with a tin pan on the table — 
a veritable Bedlam of frenzy has broken loose in both 
wings. The prisoners are celebrating the advent of the 
New Year. 



The voices grow hoarse and feeble. The tin clanks 
languidly against the iron, the grating of the doors sounds 
weaker. The men are exhausted with the unwonted 
effort. The guards stumbled up the galleries, their 
forms swaying unsteadily in the faint flicker of the gas- 
light. In maudlin tones they command silence, and bid 
the men retire to bed. The younger, more daring, chal- 
lenge the order with husky howls and catcalls, — a defiant 
shout, a groan, and all is quiet. 



310 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Daybreak wakes the turmoil and uproar. For twen- 
ty-four hours the long-repressed animal spirits are ram- 
pant. No music or recreation honors the New Year; 
the day is passed in the cell. The prisoners, securely 
barred and locked, are permitted to vent their pain and 
sorrow, their yearnings and hopes, in a Saturnalia of 
tumult. 



II 



The month of January brings sedulous activity. 
Shops and block are overhauled, every nook and corner 
is scoured, and a special squad detailed to whitewash 
the cells. The yearly clean-up not being due till spring, 
I conclude from the unusual preparations that the ex- 
pected visit of the Board of Charities is approaching. 

The prisoners are agog with the coming investigation. 
The solitaries and prospective witnesses are on the qui 
vive, anxious lines on their faces. Some manifest fear 
of the ill will of the Warden, as the probable result of 
their testimony. I seek to encourage them by promising 
to assume full responsibility, but several men withdraw 
their previous consent. The safety of my data causes me 
grave concern, in view of the increasing frequency of 
searches. Deliberation finally resolves itself into the 
bold plan of secreting my most valuable material in the 
cell set aside for the use of the officers. It is the first 
cell on the range; it is never locked, and is ignored at 
searches because it is not occupied by prisoners. The 
little bundle, protected with a piece of oilskin procured 
from the dispensary, soon reposes in the depths of the 
waste pipe. A stout cord secures it from being washed 
away by the rush of water, when the privy is in use. 
I call Officer Mitchell's attention to the dusty condition 



HIDING THE EVIDENCE 311 

of the cell, and offer to sweep it every morning and 
afternoon. He accedes in an offhand manner, and twice 
daily I surreptitiously examine the tension of the water- 
soaked cord, renewing the string repeatedly. 

Other material and copies of my "exhibits" are de- 
posited with several trustworthy friends on the range. 
Everything is ready for the investigation, and we con- 
fidently await the coming of the Board of Charities. 

Ill 

The cell-house rejoices at the absence of Scot Woods. 
The Block Captain of the morning has been "reduced to 
the ranks." The disgrace is signalized by his appearance 
on the wall, pacing the narrow path in the chilly winter 
blasts. The guards look upon the assignment as "pun- 
ishment duty" for incurring the displeasure of the War- 
den. The keepers smile at the indiscreet Scot inter- 
fering with the self-granted privileges of "Southside" 
Johnny, one of the Warden's favorites. The runner who 
afforded me an opportunity to see Inspector Nevin, came 
out victorious in the struggle with Woods. The latter 
was upbraided by Captain Wright in the presence of 
Johnny, who is now officially authorized in his per- 
quisites. Sufficient time was allowed to elapse, to avoid 
comment, whereupon the officer was withdrawn from the 
block. 

I regret his absence. A severe disciplinarian. Woods 
was yet very exceptional among the guards, in that he 
sought to discourage the spying of prisoners on each 
other. He frowned upon the trusties, and strove to 
treat the men impartially. 

Mitchell has been changed to the morning shift to 
fill the vacancy made by the transfer of Woods. The 
charge of the block in the afternoon devolves upon Offi- 



312 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

cer Mcllvaine, a very corpulent man, with sharp, steely 
eyes. He is considerably above the average warder in 
intelligence, but extremely fond of Jasper, who now acts 
as his assistant, the obese turnkey rarely leaving his seat 
at the front desk. 

Changes of keepers, transfers from the shops to the 
two cell-houses are frequent; the new guards are alert 
and active. Almost daily the Warden visits the ranges, 
leaving in his wake more stringent discipline. Rarely 
do I find a chance to pause at the cells ; I keep in touch 
with the men through the medium of notes. But one 
day, several fights breaking out in the shops, the block 
officers are requisitioned to assist in placing the com- 
batants in the punishment cells. The front is deserted, 
and I improve the opportunity to talk to the solitaries. 
Jasper, "Southside," and Bob Runyon, the "politicians," 
also converse at the doors. Bob standing suspiciously 
close to the bars. Suddenly Officer Mcllvaine appears 
in the yard door. His face is flushed, his eyes filling with 
wrath as they fasten on the men at the cells. 

*'Hey, you fellows, get away from there!" he shouts. 
"Confound you all, the *01d Man' just gave me the 
deuce; too much talking in the block. I won't stand 
for it, that's all," he adds petulantly. 

Within half an hour I am haled before the Warden. 
He looks worried, deep lines of anxiety about his mouth. 

"You are reported for standing at the doors," he 
snarls at me. "What are you always telling the men?" 

"It's the first time the officer—" 

"Nothing of the kind," he interrupts; "you're always 
talking to the prisoners. They are in punishment, and 
you have no business with them." 

"Why was / picked out ? Others talk, too." 

"Ye-e-s?" he drawls sarcastically; then, turning to 



HIDING THE EVIDENCE 313 

the keeper, he says: "How is that, Officer? The man 
is charging you with neglect of duty/* 
"I am not charging — '' 

"Silence! What have you to say, Mr. Mcllvaine?" 
The guard reddens with suppressed rage. "It isn't 
true, Captain," he replies; "there was no one except 
Berkman." 

"You hear what the officer says? You are always 
breaking the rules. You're plotting; I know you, — 
pulling a dozen wires. You are inimical to the manage- 
ment of the institution. But I will break your connec- 
tions. Officers, take him directly to the South Wing, you 
understand? He is not to return to his cell. Have it 
searched at once, thoroughly. Lock him up." 

"Warden, what for?" I demand. "I have not done 
anything to lose my position. Talking is not such a 
serious charge." 

"Very serious, very serious. You're too dangerous 
on the range. I'll spoil your infernal schemes by remov- 
ing you from the North Block. You've been there too 
long." 

"I want to remain there." 

"The more reason to take you away. That will do 
now.'* 

"No, it won't," I burst out. "I'll stay where I am." 
"Remove him, Mr. Mcllvaine." 

I am taken to the South Wing and locked up in a 
vacant cell, neglected and ill-smelling. It is Number 2, 
Range M — the first gallery, facing the yard; a "double" 
cell, somewhat larger than those of the North Block, and 
containing a small window. The walls are damp and 
bare, save for the cardboard of printed rules and the 
prison calendar. It is the 27th of February, 1896, but 
the calendar is of last year, indicating that the cell has 
not been occupied since the previous November. It 



314 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

contains the usual furnishings : bedstead and soiled straw 
mattress, a small table and a chair. It feels cold and 
dreary. 

In thought I picture the guards ransacking my former 
cell. They will not discover anything: my material is 
well hidden. The Warden evidently suspects my plans: 
he fears my testimony before the investigation commit- 
tee. My removal is to sever my connections, and now 
it is impossible for me to reach my data. I must return 
to the North Block; otherwise all our plans are doomed 
to fail. I can't leave my friends on the range in the 
lurch: some of them have already signified to the Chap- 
lain their desire to testify; their statements will remain 
unsupported in the absence of my proofs. I must re- 
join them. I have told the Warden that I shall remain 
where I was, but he probably ignored it as an empty 
boast. 

I consider the situation, and resolve to "break up 
Kousekeeping.'* It is the sole means of being trans- 
ferred to the other cell-house. It will involve the loss 
of the grade, and a trip to the dungeon; perhaps even a 
fight with the keepers: the guards, fearing the broken 
furniture will be used for defence, generally rush the 
prisoner with blackjacks. But my return to the North 
Wing will be assured, — no man in stripes can remain in 
the South Wing. 

Alert for an approaching step, I untie my shoes, pro- 
ducing a scrap of paper, a pencil, and a knife. I write 
a hurried note to "K,** briefly informing him of the new 
developments, and intimating that our data are safe. 
Guardedly I attract the attention of the runner on the 
floor beneath; it is Bill Say, through whom Carl occa- 
sionally communicates with "G." The note rolled into 
a little ball, I shoot between the bars to the waiting 
prisoner. Now everything is prepared. 



HIDING THE EVIDENCE 315 

It is near supper time ; the men are coming back from 
work. It would be advisable to wait till everybody is 
locked in, and the shop officers depart home. There will 
then be only three guards on duty in the block. But I 
am in a fever of indignation and anger. Furiously 
snatching up the chair, I start "breaking up." 



CHAPTER XXVII 
LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 

The dungeon smells foul and musty; the darkness 
is almost visible, the silence oppressive; but the terror 
of my former experience has abated. I shall probably 
be kept in the underground cell for a longer time than 
on the previous occasion, — my offence is considered very 
grave. Three charges have been entered against me: 
destroying State property, having possession of a knife, 
and uttering a threat against the Warden. When I 
saw the officers gathering at my back, while I was facing 
the Captain, I realized its significance. They were pre- 
paring to assault me. Quickly advancing to the War- 
den, I shook my fist in his face, crying: 

"If they touch me, I'll hold you personally responsi- 
ble." 

He turned pale. Trying to steady his voice, he de- 
manded : 

"What do you mean? How dare you?" 

"I mean just what I say. I won't be clubbed. My 
friends will avenge me, too." 

He glanced at the guards standing rigid, in ominous 
silence. One by one they retired, only two remaining, 
and I was taken quietly to the dungeon. 



The stillness is broken by a low, muffled sound. I 
listen intently. It is some one pacing the cell at the 
further end of the passage. 

316 



LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 317 

"Halloo! Who's there?" I shout. 

No reply. The pacing continues. It must be "Silent 
Nick"; he never talks. 

I prepare to pass the night on the floor. It is bare; 
there is no bed or blanket, and I have been deprived of 
my coat and shoes. It is freezing in the cell; my feet 
grow numb, hands cold, as I huddle in the corner, my 
head leaning against the reeking wall, my body on the 
stone floor. I try to think, but my thoughts are wan- 
dering, my brain frigid. 



The rattling of keys wakes me from my stupor. 
Guards are descending into the dungeon. I wonder 
whether it is morning, but they pass my cell: it is not 
yet breakfast time. Now they pause and whisper. I 
recognize the mumbling speech of Deputy Greaves, as 
he calls out to the silent prisoner : 

"Want a drink?" 

The double doors open noisily. 

"Here!" 

"Give me the cup," the hoarse bass resembles that of 
"Crazy Smithy." His stentorian voice sounds cracked 
since he was shot in the neck by Officer Dean. 
V "You can't have th' cup," the Deputy fumes. 

"I won't drink out of your hand, God damn you. 
Think I'm a cur, do you?" Smithy swears and curses 
savagely. 

The doors are slammed and locked. The steps grow 
faint, and all is silent, save the quickened footfall of 
Smith, who will not talk to any prisoner. 

I pass the long night in drowsy stupor, rousing at 
times to strain my ear for every sound from the rotunda 
above, wondering whether day is breaking. The minutes 
drag in dismal darkness. . . . 



318 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

The loud clanking of the keys tingles in my ears like 
sweet music. It is morning! The guards hand me the 
day's allowance — two ounces of white bread and a quart 
of water. The wheat tastes sweet; it seems to me I've 
never eaten anything so delectable. But the liquid is 
insipid, and nauseates me. At almost one bite I swallow 
the slice, so small and thin. It whets my appetite, and I 
feel ravenously hungry. 

At Smith's door the scene of the previous evening 
is repeated. The Deputy insists that the man drink out 
of the cup held by a guard. The prisoner refuses, with 
a profuse flow of profanity. Suddenly there is a splash, 
followed by a startled cry, and the thud of the cell 
bucket on the floor. Smith has emptied the contents of 
his privy upon the officers. In confusion they rush out 
of the dungeon. 

Presently I hear the clatter of many feet in the cellar. 
There is a hubbub of suppressed voices. I recognize 
the rasping whisper of Hopkins, the tones of Woods, 
Mcllvaine, and others. I catch the words, "Both sides 
at once." Several cells in the dungeon are provided 
with double entrances, front and back, to facilitate at- 
tacks upon obstreperous prisoners. Smith is always as- 
signed to one of these cells. I shudder as I realize that 
the officers are preparing to club the demented man. 
He has been weakened by years of unbroken solitary 
confinement, and his throat still bleeds occasionally from 
the bullet wound. Almost half his time he has been kept 
in the dungeon, and now he has been missing from the 
range twelve days. It is ... . Involuntarily I shut my 
eyes at the fearful thud of the riot clubs. 

The hours drag on. The monotony is broken by the 
keepers bringing another prisoner to the dungeon. I 
hear his violent sobbing from the depth of the cavern. 



LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 319 

"Who is there?" I hail him. I call repeatedly, without 
receiving an answer. Perhaps the new arrival is afraid 
of listening guards. 

"Ho, man !" I sing out, "the screws have gone. Who 
are you? This is Aleck, Aleck Berkman." 

"Is that you, Aleck? This is Johnny." There is a 
familiar ring about the young voice, broken by piteous 
moans. But I fail to identify it. 

"What Johnny?" 

"Johnny Davis — you know — stocking shop. IVe just 
— skilled a man." 

In bewilderment I listen to the story, told with bursts 
of weeping. Johnny had returned to the shop; he 
thought he would try again : he wanted to earn his "good" 
time. Things went well for a while, till "Dutch" Adams 
became shop runner. He is the stool who got Grant and 
Johnny Smith in trouble with the fake key, and Davis 
would have nothing to do with him. But "Dutch" per- 
sisted, pestering him all the time; and then — 

"Well, you know, Aleck," the boy seems diffident, "he 
lied about me like hell : he told the fellows he used me. 
Christ, my mother might hear about it ! I couldn't stand 
it, Aleck ; honest to God, I couldn't. I — I killed the lying 
cur, an' now — now I'll — I'll swing for it," he sobs as 
if his heart would break. 

A touch of tenderness for the poor boy is in my 
voice, as I strive to condole with him and utter the 
hope that it may not be so bad, after all. Perhaps Adams 
will not die. He is a powerful man, big and strong; he 
may survive. 

Johnny eagerly clutches at the straw. He grows more 
cheerful, and we talk of the coming investigation and 
local affairs. Perhaps the Board will even clear him, he 
suggests. But suddenly seized with fear, he weeps and 
moans again. 



320 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

More men are cast into the dungeon. They bring 
news from the world above. An epidemic of fighting 
seems to have broken out in the wake of recent orders. 
The total inhibition of talking is resulting in more serious 
offences. "Kid Tommy" is enlarging upon his trouble. 
"You see, fellers," he cries in a treble, "dat skunk of a 
Pete he pushes me in de line, and I turns round t' give 
'im hell, but de screw pipes me. Got no chance t* choo, 
so I turns an' biffs him on de jaw, see?" But he is 
sure, he says, to be let out at night, or in the morning, 
at most. "Them fellers that was scrappin' yesterday 
in de yard didn't go to de hole. Dey jest put 'em in de 
cell. Sandy knows de committee 's comin' all right." 

Johnny interrupts the loquacious boy to inquire 
anxiously about "Dutch" Adams, and I share his joy at 
hearing that the man's wound is not serious. He was 
cut about the shoulders, but was able to walk unassisted 
to the hospital. Johnny overflows with quiet happiness; 
the others dance and sing. I recite a poem from Nekras- 
sov; the boys don't understand a word, but the sorrow- 
laden tones appeal to them, and they request more Rus- 
sian "pieces." But Tommy is more interested in politics, 
and is bristling with the latest news from the Magee 
camp. He is a great admirer of Quay, — "dere's a smart 
guy fer you, fellers; owns de whole Keystone shebang 
all right, all right. He's Boss Quay, you bet you." He 
dives into national issues, rails at Bryan, "16 to 1 Bill, 
you jest list'n to 'm, he'll give sixteen dollars to every 
one; he will, nit!" and the boys are soon involved in a 
heated discussion of the respective merits of the two 
political parties, Tommy staunchly siding with the Re- 
publican. "Me gran'fader and me fader was Republi- 
cans," he vociferates, "an' all me broders vote de ticket. 
Me fer de Gran' Ole Party, ev'ry time." Some one 
twits him on his political wisdom, challenging the boy 



LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 321 

to explain the difference in the money standards. Tom- 
my boldly appeals to me to corroborate him; but before 
I have an opportunity to speak, he launches upon other 
issues, berating Spain for her atrocities in Cuba, and 
insisting that this free country cannot tolerate slavery 
at its doors. Every topic is discussed, with Tommy 
orating at top speed, and continually broaching new sub- 
jects. Unexpectedly he reverts to local affairs, waxes 
reminiscent over former days, and loudly smacks his 
lips at the "great feeds" he enjoyed on the rare occasions 
when he was free to roam the back streets of Smoky City. 
"Say, Aleck, my boy," he calls to me familiarly, "many 
a penny I made on you, all right. How ? Why, peddlin' 
extras, of course! Say, dem was fine days, all right; 
easy money; papers went like hot cakes off the griddle. 
Wish you'd do it again, Aleck." 

Invisible to each other, we chat, exchange stories 
and anecdotes, the boys talking incessantly, as if fearful 
of silence. But every now and then there is a lull; we 
become quiet, each absorbed in his own thoughts. The 
pauses lengthen — lengthen into silence. Only the faint 
steps of "Crazy Smith" disturb the deep stillness. 



Late in the evening the young prisoners are relieved. 
But Johnny remains, and his apprehensions reawaken. 
Repeatedly during the night he rouses me from my 
drowsy torpor to be reassured that he is not in danger 
of the gallows, and that he will not be tried for his 
assault. I allay his fears by dwelling on the Warden's 
aversion to giving publicity to the sex practices in the 
prison, and remind the boy of the Captain's official denial 
of their existence. These things happen almost every 



322 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

week, yet no one has ever been taken to court from 
Riverside on such charges. 

Johnny grows more tranquil, and we converse about 
his family history, talking in a frank, confidential man- 
ner. With a glow of pleasure, I become aware of the 
note of tenderness in his voice. Presently he surprises 
me by asking : 

"Friend Aleck, what do they call you in Russian?" 

He prefers the fond "Sashenka," enunciating the 
strange word with quaint endearment, then diffidently 
confesses dislike for his own name, and relates the story 
he had recently read of a poor castaway Cuban youth; 
Felipe was his name, and he was just like himself. 

"Shall I call you Felipe?" I offer. 

"Yes, please do, Aleck, dear; no, Sashenka." 

The springs of affection well up within me, as I lie 
huddled on the stone floor, cold and hungry. With 
closed eyes, I picture the boy before me, with his delicate 
face, and sensitive, girlish lips. 

"Good night, dear Sashenka," he calls. 

"Good night, little Felipe." 

In the morning we are served with a slice of bread 
and water. I am tormented with thirst and hunger, and 
the small ration fails to assuage my sharp pangs. 
Smithy still refuses to drink out of the Deputy's hand; 
his doors remain unopened. With tremulous anxiety 
Johnny begs the Deputy Warden to tell him how much 
longer he will remain in the dungeon, but Greaves curtly 
commands silence, applying a vile epithet to the boy. 

"Deputy," I call, boiling over with indignation, "he 
asked you a respectful question. I'd give him a decent 
answer." 

"You mind your own business, you hear?" he retorts. 

But I persist in defending my young friend, and 



LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 323 

berate the Deputy for his language. He hastens away 
in a towering passion, menacing me with "what Smithy 

got:' 

Johnny is distressed at being the innocent cause of 
the trouble. The threat of the Deputy disquiets him, 
and he warns me to prepare. My cell is provided with 
a double entrance, and I am apprehensive of a sudden 
attack. But the hours pass without the Deputy return- 
ing, and our fears are allayed. The boy rejoices on my 
account, and brims over with appreciation of my inter- 
cession. 

The incident cements our intimacy; our first diffi- 
dence disappears, and we become openly tender and 
affectionate. The conversation lags : we feel weak and 
worn. But every little while we hail each other with 
words of encouragement. Smithy incessantly paces the 
cell; the gnawing of the river rats reaches our ears; the 
silence is frequently pierced by the wild yells of the 
insane man, startling us with dread foreboding. The 
quiet grows unbearable, and Johnny calls again: 

"What are you doing, Sashenka?'* 

"Oh, nothing. Just thinking, Felipe." 

"Am I in your thoughts, dear?" 

"Yes, kiddie, you are." 

"Sasha, dear, I've been thinking, too." 

"What, Felipe?" 

"You are the only one I care for. I haven't a friend 
in the whole place." 

"Do you care much for me, Felipe?" 

"Will you promise not to laugh at me, Sashenka?" 

*T wouldn't laugh at you." 

"Cross your hand over your heart. Got it, Sasha?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, I'll tell you. I was thinking— how shall I tell 



324 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

you? I was thinking, Sashenka — if you were here with 
me — I would Hke to kiss you." 

An unaccountable sense of joy glows in my heart, 
and I muse in silence. 

"What's the matter, Sashenka? Why don't you say 
something? Are you angry with me?" 

"No, Felipe, you foolish little boy." 

"You are laughing at me." 

"No, dear; I feel just as you do." 

"Really?" 

"Yes." 

"Oh, I am so glad, Sashenka." 

In the evening the guards descend to relieve Johnny; 
he is to be transferred to the basket, they inform him. 
On the way past my cell,',he whispers : "Hope I'll see you 
soon, Sashenka." A friendly officer knocks on the outer 
Wind door of my cell. "That you thar, Berkman? You 
want to b'have to th' Dep'ty. He's put you down for two 
more days for sassin' him." 

I feel more lonesome at the boy's departure. The 
silence grows more oppressive, the hours of darkness 
heavier. 

Seven days I remain in the dungeon. At the ex- 
piration of the week, feeling stiff and feeble, I totter 
behind the guards, on the way to the bathroom. My 
body looks strangely emaciated, reduced almost to a 
skeleton. The pangs of hunger revive sharply with the 
shock of the cold shower, and the craving for tobacco 
is overpowering at the sight of the chewing officers. I 
look forward to being placed in a cell, quietly exulting 
at my victory as I am led to the North Wing, But, in 
the cell-house, the Deputy Warden assigns me to the 
lower end of Range A, insane department. Exasperated 



LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 325 

by the terrible suggestion, my nerves on edge with the 
dungeon experience, I storm in furious protest, demand- 
ing to be returned to "the hole." The Deputy, startled 
by my violence, attempts to soothe me, and finally yields. 
I am placed in Number 35, the "crank row" beginning 
several cells further. 

Upon the heels of the departing officers, the range- 
man is at my door, bursting with the latest news. The 
investigation is over, the Warden whitewashed! For 
an instant I am aghast, failing to grasp the astounding 
situation. Slowly its full significance dawns on me, as 
Bill excitedly relates the story. It's the talk of the 
prison. The Board of Charities had chosen its Secre- 
tary, J. Francis Torrance, an intimate friend of the 
Warden, to conduct the investigation. As a precaution- 
ary measure, I was kept several additional days in the 
dungeon. Mr. Torrance has privately interviewd 
"Dutch" Adams, Young Smithy, and Bob Runyon, 
promising them their full commutation time, notwith- 
standing their bad records, and irrespective of their 
future behavior. They were instructed by the Secretary 
to corroborate the management, placing all blame upon 
me! No other witnesses were heard. The "investiga- 
tion" was over within an hour, the committee of one 
retiring for dinner to the adjoining residence of the 
Warden. 

Several friendly prisoners linger at my cell during 
the afternoon, corroborating the story of the rangeman, 
and completing the details. The cell-house itself bears 
out the situation; the change in the personnel of the men 
is amazing. "Dutch" Adams has been promoted to mes- 
senger for the "front office," the most privileged "polit- 
ical" job in the prison. Bob Runyon, a third-timer and 
notorious "kid man," has been appointed a trusty in the 
shops. But the most significant cue is the advancement 



326 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

of Young Smithy to the position of rangeman. He has 
but recently been sentenced to a year's solitary for the 
broken key discovered in the lock of his door. His 
record is of the worst. He is a young convict of ex- 
tremely violent temper, who has repeatedly attacked 
fellow-prisoners with dangerous weapons. Since his 
murderous assault upon the inoffensive "Praying Andy," 
Smithy was never permitted out of his cell without the 
escort of two guards. And now this irresponsible man 
is in charge of a range! 

At supper, Young Smithy steals up to my cell, bring- 
ing a slice of cornbread. I refuse the peace offering, and 
charge him with treachery. At first he stoutly protests 
his innocence, but gradually weakens and pleads his 
dire straits in mitigation. Torrance had persuaded him 
to testify, but he avoided incriminating me. That was 
done by the other two witnesses; he merely exonerated 
the Warden from the charges preferred by James Grant. 
He had been clubbed four times, but he denied to the 
committee that the guards practice violence; and he 
supported the Warden in his statement that the officers 
are not permitted to carry clubs or blackjacks. He 
feels that an injustice has been done me, and now that 
he occupies my former position, he will be able to repay 
the little favors I did him when he was in solitary. 

Indignantly I spurn his offer. He pleads his youth, 
the torture of the cell, and begs my forgiveness ; but I am 
bitter at his treachery, and bid him go. 

Officer Mcllvaine pauses at my door. "Oh, what 
a change, what an awful change !" he exclaims, pityingly. 
I don't know whether he refers to my appearance, or to 
the loss of range liberty; but I resent his tone of com- 
miseration; it was he who had selected me as a victim, to 



LOVE'S DUNGEON FLOWER 327 

be reported for talking. Angrily I turn my back to him, 
refusing to talk. 

Somebody stealthily pushes a bundle of newspapers 
between the bars. Whole columns detail the report of 
the "investigation," completely exonerating Warden Ed- 
ward S. Wright. The base charges against the manage- 
ment of the penitentiary were the underhand work of 
Anarchist Berkman, Mr. Torrance assured the press. 
One of the papers contains a lengthy interview with 
Wright, accusing me of fostering discontent and in- 
subordination among the men. The Captain expresses 
grave fear for the safety of the community, should the 
Pardon Board reduce my sentence, in view of the cir- 
cumstanc'e that my lawyers are preparing to renew the 
application at the next session. 

In great agitation I pace the cell. The statement of 
the Warden is fatal to the hope of a pardon. My life 
in the prison will now be made still more unbearable. 
I shall again be locked in solitary. With despair I think 
of my fate in the hands of the enemy, and the sense 
of my utter helplessness overpowers me. 



I 



CHAPTER XXVIII 
FOR SAFETY 



Dear K.: 

I know you must have been worried about me. Give no 
credence to the reports you hear. I did not try to suicide. I 
was very nervous and excited over the things that happened 
while I was in the dungeon. I saw the papers after I came up 
— ^you know what they said. I couldn't sleep; I kept pacing 
the floor. The screws were hanging about my cell, but I paid 
no attention to them. They spoke to me, but I wouldn't answer: 
I was in no mood for talking. They must have thought some- 
thing wrong with me. The doctor came, and felt my pulse, and 
they took me to the hospital. The Warden rushed in and ordered 
me into a strait- jacket. "For safety," he said. 

You know Officer Erwin; he put the jacket on me. He's a 
pretty decent chap; I saw he hated to do it. But the evening 
screw is a rat. He called three times during the night, and 
every time he'd tighten the straps. I thought he'd cut my hands 
off; but I wouldn't cry for mercy, and that made him wild. 
They put me in the "full size" jacket that winds all around you, 
the arms folded. They laid me, tied in the canvas, on the bed, 
bound me to it feet and chest, with straps provided with pad- 
locks. I was suffocating in the hot ward; could hardly breathe. 
In the morning they unbound me. My legs were paralyzed, 
and I could not stand up. The doctor ordered some 
medicine for me. The head nurse (he's in for murder, and 
he's rotten) taunted me with the "black bottle." Every time 
he passed my bed, he'd say: "You still alive? Wait till I fix 
something up for you." I refused the medicine, and then they 
took me down to the dispensary, lashed me to a chair, and used 
the pump on me. You can imagine how I felt. That went pn 
for a week; every night in the strait-jacket, every morning 
the pump. Now I am back in the block, in 6 A. A peculiar 

328 



FOR SAFETY 329 

coincidence, — it's the same cell I occupied when I first came 
here. 

Don't trust Bill Say. The Warden told me he knew about 
the note I sent you just before I smashed up. If you got it, 
Bill must have read it and told Sandy. Only dear old Horsethief 
can be relied upon. 

How near the boundary of joy is misery! I shall never 
forget the first morning in the jacket. I passed a restless night, 
but just as it began to dawn I must have lost consciousness. 
Suddenly I awoke with the most exquisite music in my ears. 
It seemed to me as if the heavens had opened in a burst of 
ecstasy. ... It was only a little sparrow, but never before in 
my life did I hear such sweet melody. I felt murder in my 
heart when the convict nurse drove the poor birdie from the 
window ledge. 

A. 



CHAPTER XXIX 
DREAMS OF FREEDOM 



Like an endless miserere are the days in the solitary. 
No glimmer of light cheers the to-morrows. In the 
depths of suffering, existence becomes intolerable; and 
as of old, I seek refuge in the past. The stages of my 
life reappear as the acts of a drama which I cannot 
bring myself to cut short. The possibilities of the dark 
motive compel the imagination, and halt the thought 
of destruction. Misery magnifies the estimate of self; 
the vehemence of revolt strengthens to endure. Despair 
engenders obstinate resistance; in its spirit hope is 
trembling. Slowly it assumes more definite shape: 
escape is the sole salvation. The world of the living 
is dim and unreal with distance; its voice reaches me 
like the pale echo of fantasy ; the thought of its turbulent 
vitality is strange with apprehension. But the present 
is bitter with wretchedness, and gasps desperately for 
relief. 

The efforts of my friends bring a glow of warmth 
into my life. The indefatigable Girl has succeeded in 
interesting various circles : she is gathering funds for my 
application for a rehearing before the Pardon Board in 
the spring of '98, when my first sentence of seven years 
will have expired. With a touch of old-time tenderness, 
I think of her loyalty, her indomitable perseverance in 

330 



DREAMS OF FREEDOM 331 

my behalf. It is she, almost she alone, who has kept 
my memory green throughout the long years. Even 
Fedya, my constant chum, has been swirled into the 
vortex of narrow ambiiton and self-indulgence, the play- 
thing of commonplace fate. 

Resentment at being thus lightly forgotten tinges my 
thoughts of the erstwhile twin brother of our ideal- 
kissed youth. By contrast, the Girl is silhouetted on my 
horizon as the sole personification of revolutionary per- 
sistence, the earnest of its realization. Beyond, all is 
darkness — the mystic world of falsehood and sham, that 
will hate and persecute me even as its brutal high priests 
in the prison. Here and there the gloom is rent: an 
unknown sympathizer, or comrade, sends a greeting; 
I pore eagerly over the chirography, and from the clear, 
decisive signature, ''Voltairine de Cleyre," strive to 
mold the character and shape the features of the writer. 
To the Girl I apply to verify my "reading," and rejoice 
in the warm interest of the convent-educated American, 
a friend of my much-admired Comrade Dyer D. Lum, 
who is aiding the Girl in my behalf. 

But the efforts for a rehearing wake no hope in my 
heart. My comrades, far from the prison world, do not 
comprehend the full significance of the situation resulting 
from the investigation. My underground connections are 
paralyzed; I cannot enlighten the Girl. But Nold and 
Bauer are on the threshold of liberty. Within two 
months Carl will carry my message to New York. I can 
fully rely on his discretion and devotion ; we have grown 
very intimate through common suffering. He will in- 
form the Girl that nothing is to be expected from legal 
procedure ; instead, he will explain to her the plan I have 
evolved. 

My position as rangeman has served me to good 
advantage. I have thoroughly familiarized myself with 



332 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

the institution; I have gathered information and ex- 
plored every part of the cell-house offering the least 
likelihood of an escape. The prison is almost impreg- 
nable; Tom's attempt to scale the wall proved disastrous, 
in spite of his exceptional opportunities as kitchen em- 
ployee, and the thick fog of the early morning. Several 
other attempts also were doomed to failure, the great 
number of guards and their vigilance precluding success. 
No escape has taken place since the days of Paddy 
McGraw, before the completion of the prison. Entirely 
new methods must be tried: the road to freedom leads 
underground! But digging out of the prison is im- 
practicable in the modern structure of steel and rock. 
We must force a passage into the prison: the tunnel is 
to be dug from the outside! A house is to be rented in 
the neighborhood of the penitentiary, and the under- 
ground passage excavated beneath the eastern wall, 
toward the adjacent bath-house. No officers frequent 
the place save at certain hours, and I shall find an op- 
portunity to disappear into the hidden opening on the 
regular biweekly occasions when the solitaries are per- 
mitted to bathe. 

The project will require careful preparation and 
considerable expense. Skilled comrades will have to 
be entrusted with the secret work, the greater part of 
which must be carried on at night. Determination and 
courage will make the plan feasible, successful. Such 
things have been done before. Not in this country, it 
is true. But the act will receive added significance from 
the circumstance that the liberation of the first American 
political prisoner has been accomplished by means sim- 
ilar to those practised by our comrades in Russia. Who 
knows? It may prove the symbol and precursor of 
Russian idealism on American soil. And what tremen- 
dous impression the consummation of the bold plan 



DREAMS OF FREEDOM 333 

will make! What a stimulus to our propaganda, as 
a demonstration of Anarchist initiative and ability! I 
glow with the excitement of its great possibiltiies, and 
enthuse Carl with my hopes. If the preparatory work 
is hastened, the execution of the plan will be facil- 
itated by the renewed agitation within the prison. Ru- 
mors of a legislative investigation are afloat, diverting 
the thoughts of the administration into different chan- 
nels. I shall foster the ferment to afford my comrades 
greater safety in the work. 

During the long years of my penitentiary life I have 
formed many friendships. I have earned the reputation 
of a "square man" and a "good fellow," have received 
many proofs of confidence, and appreciation of my 
uncompromising attitude toward the generally execrated 
management. Most of my friends observe the unwritten 
ethics of informing me of their approaching release, and 
offer to smuggle out messages or to provide me with 
little comforts. I invariably request them to visit the 
newspapers and to relate their experiences in Riverside. 
Some express fear of the Warden's enmity, of the fatal 
consequences in case of their return to the penitentiary. 
But the bolder spirits and the accidental offenders, who 
confidently bid me a final good-bye, unafraid of return, 
call directly from the prison on the Pittsburgh editors. 

Presently the Leader and the Dispatch begin to voice 
their censure of the hurried whitewash by the State 
Board of Charities. The attitude of the press encour- 
ages the guards to manifest their discontent with the 
humiliating eccentricities of the senile Warden. They 
protest against the whim subjecting them to military 
drill to improve their appearance, and resent Captain 
Wright's insistence that they patronize his private tailor, 
high-priced and incompetent. Serious friction has also 



334 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

arisen between the management and Mr. Sawhill, Su- 
perintendent of local industries. The prisoners rejoice 
at the growing irascibility of the Warden, and the deeper 
lines on his face, interpreting them as signs of worry and 
fear. Expectation of a new investigation is at high pitch 
as Judge Gordon, of Philadelphia, severely censures the 
administration of the Eastern Penitentiary, charging in- 
human treatment, abuse of the insane, and graft. The 
labor bodies of the State demand the abolition of con- 
vict competition, and the press becomes more assertive 
in urging an investigation of both penitentiaries. The 
air is charged with rumors of legislative action. 

II 

The breath of spring is in the cell-house. My two 
comrades are jubilant. The sweet odor of May wafts 
the resurrection! But the threshold of life is guarded by 
the throes of new birth. A tone of nervous excitement 
permeates their correspondence. Anxiety tortures the 
sleepless nights; the approaching return to the living is 
tinged with the disquietude of the unknown, the dread 
of the renewed struggle for existence. But the joy 
of coming emancipation, the wine of sunshine and liberty 
tingles in every fiber, and hope flutters its disused wings. 

Our plans are complete. Carl is to vi«^it the Girl, 
explain my project, and serve as the medium of com- 
munication by means of our prearranged system, in- 
vesting apparently innocent official letters with sub rosa 
meaning. The initial steps will require time. Mean- 
while "K" and "G" are to make the necessary arrange- 
ments for the publication of our book. The security of 
our manuscripts is a source of deep satisfaction and 
much merriment at the expense of the administration. 
The repeated searches have failed to unearth them. With 



DREAMS OF FREEDOM 335 

characteristic daring, the faithful Bob had secreted them 
in a hole in the floor of his shop, almost under the very- 
seat of the guard. One by one they have been smuggled 
outside by a friendly officer, whom we have christened 
"Schraube."* By degrees Nold has gained the confidence 
of the former mill-worker, with the result that sixty 
precious booklets now repose safely with a comrade in 
Allegheny. I am to supply the final chapters of the book 
through Mr. Schraube, whose friendship Carl is about 
to bequeath to me. 

The month of May is on the wane. The last note 
is exchanged with my comrades. Dear Bob was not able 
to reach me in the morning, and now I read the lines 
quivering with the last pangs of release, while Nold and 
Bauer are already beyond the walls. How I yearned 
for a glance at Carl, to touch hands, even in silence! 
But the customary privilege was refused us. Only once 
in the long years of our common suffering have I looked 
into the eyes of my devoted friend, and stealthily pressed 
his hand, like a thief in the night. No last greeting | 

was vouchsafed me to-day. The loneliness seems heavier, | 

the void more painful. \ 

The routine is violently disturbed. Reading and ': 

study are burdensome: my thoughts will not be com- 
pelled. They revert obstinately to my comrades, and 
storm against my steel cage, trying to pierce the dis- 
tance, to commune with the absent. I seek diversion 
in the manufacture of prison "fancy work," ornamen- 
tal little fruit baskets, diminutive articles of furniture, 
picture frames, and the like. The little momentos, 
constructed of tissue-paper rolls of various design, I 
send to the Girl, and am elated at her admiration 



 German for "screw." 



336 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

of the beautiful workmanship and attractive color effects. 
But presently she laments the wrecked condition of the 
goods, and upon investigation I learn from the runner 
that the most dilapidated cardboard boxes are selected 
for my product. The rotunda turnkey, in charge of the 
shipments, is hostile, and I appeal to the Chaplain. 
But his well-meant intercession results in an order from 
the Warden, interdicting the expressage of my work, on 
the ground of probable notes being secreted therein. 
I protest against the discrimination, suggesting the dis- 
membering of every piece to disprove the charge. But 
the Captain derisively remarks that he is indisposed to 
"take chances," and I am forced to resort to the sub- 
terfuge of having my articles transferred to a friendly 
prisoner and addressed by him to his mother in Beaver, 
Pa., thence to be forwarded to New York. At the 
same time the rotunda keeper detains a valuable piece 
of ivory sent to me by the Girl for the manufacture of 
ornamental toothpicks. The local ware, made of kitchen 
bones bleached in lime, turns yellow in a short time. 
My request for the ivory is refused on the plea of 
submitting the matter to the Warden's decision, who 
rules against me. I direct the return of it to my friend, 
but am informed that the ivory has been mislaid and 
cannot be found. Exasperated, I charge the guard with 
the theft, and serve notice that I shall demand the ivory 
at the expiration of my time. The turnkey jeers at the 
wild impossibility, and I am placed for a week on 'VPenn- 
sylvania diet'* for insulting an officer. 



CHAPTER XXX 
WHITEWASHED AGAIN 

My Dear Carl : Christmas, 1897. 

I have been despairing of reaching you sub rosa, but the 
holidays brought the usual transfers, and at last friend Schraube 
is with me. Dear Carolus, I am worn out with the misery of the 
months since you left, and the many disappointments. Your 
official letters were not convincing. I fail to understand why 
the plan is not practicable. Of course, you can't write openly, 
but you have means of giving a hint as to the "impossibilities" 
you speak of. You say that I have become too estranged from 
the outside, and so forth — which may be true. Yet I think the 
matter chiefly concerns the inside, and of that I am the best 
judge. I do not see the force of your argument when you dwell 
upon the application at the next session of the Pardon Board. 
You mean that the other plan would jeopardize the success of 
the legal attempt. But there is not much hope of favorable 
action by the Board. We have talked all this over before, but 
you seem to have a different view now. Why? 

Only in a very small measure do your letters replace in my 
life the heart-to-heart talks we used to have here, though they 
were only on paper. But I am much interested in your activities. 
It seems strange that you, so long the companion of my silence, 
should now be in the very Niagara of life, of our movement. 
It gives me great satisfaction to know that your experience here 
has matured you, and helped to strengthen and deepen your 
convictions. It has had a similar effect upon me. You know 
what a voluminous reader I am. I have read — in fact, studied 
— every volume in the library here, and now the Chaplain sup- 
plies me with books from his. But whether it be philosophy, 
travel, or contemporary life that falls into my hands, it invariably 
distils into my mind the falsity of dominant ideas, and the beauty, 
the inevitability of Anarchism. But I do not want to enlarge 
upon this subject now; we can discuss it through official channels. 

337 



338 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

You know that Tony and his nephew are here. We are just 
getting acquainted. He works in the shop; but as he is also 
coffee-boy, we have an opportunity to exchange notes. It is 
fortunate that his identity is not known; otherwise he would 
fall under special surveillance. I have my eyes on Tony, — ^he 
may prove valuable. 

I am still in solitary, with no prospect of relief. You know 
the policy of the Warden to use me as a scapegoat for every- 
thing that happens here. It has become a mania with him. 
Think of it, he blames me for Johnny Davis' cutting "Dutch." 
He laid everything at my door when the legislative investigation 
took place. It was a worse sham than the previous whitewash. 
Several members called to see me at the cell, — unofficially, they 
said. They got a hint of the evidence I was prepared to give, 
and one of them suggested to me that it is not advisable for 
one in my position to antagonize the Warden. I replied that 
I was no toady. He hinted that the authorities of the prison 
might help me to procure freedom, if I would act "discreetly." 
I insisted that I wanted to be heard by the committee. They 
departed, promising to call me as a witness. One Senator re- 
marked, as he left: "You are too intelligent a man to be at 
large." 

When the hearing opened, several officers were the first to 
take the stand. The testimony was not entirely favorable to the 
Warden. Then Mr. Sawhill was called. You know him; he is 
an independent sort of man, with an eye upon the wardenship. 
His evidence came like a bomb; he charged the management 
with corruption and fraud, and so forth. The investigators took 
fright. They closed the sessions and departed for Harrisburg, 
announcing through the press that they would visit Moyamensing* 
and then return to Riverside. But they did not return. The 
report they submitted to the Governor exonerated the Warden. 

The men were gloomy over the state of affairs. A hundred 
prisoners were prepared to testify, and much was expected from 
the committee. I had all my facts on hand: Bob had fished 
out for me the bundle of material from its hiding place. It 
was in good condition, in spite of the long soaking. (I am en- 
closing some new data in this letter, for use in our book.) 

Now that he is "cleared," the Warden has grown even more 
arrogant and despotic. Yet some good the agitation in the 



♦The Eastern Penitentiary at Philadelphia, Pa. 



WHITEWASHED AGAIN 339 

press has accomplished: clubbings are less frequent, and the bull 
ring is temporarily abolished. But his hatred of me has grown 
venomous. He holds us responsible (together with Dempsey 
and Beatty) for organizing the opposition to convict labor, 
which has culminated in the Muehlbronner law. It is to take 
effect on the first of the year. The prison administration is 
very bitter, because the statute, which permits only thirty-five per 
cent, of the inmates to be employed in productive labor, will 
considerably minimize opportunities for graft. But the men 
are rejoicing: the terrible slavery in the shops has driven many 
to insanity and death. The law is one of the rare instances 
of rational legislation. Its benefit to labor in general is nullified, 
however, by limiting convict competition only within the State. 
The Inspectors are already seeking a market for the prison 
products in other States, while the convict manufactures of New 
York, Ohio, Illinois, etc., are disposed of in Pennsylvania. The 
irony of beneficent legislation! On the other hand, the inmates 
need not suffer for lack of employment. The new law allows 
the unlimited manufacture, within the prison, of products for 
local consumption. If the whine of the management regarding 
the "detrimental effect of idleness on the convict" is sincere, 
they could employ five times the population of the prison in the 
production of articles for our own needs. 

At present all the requirements of the penitentiary are sup- 
plied from the outside. The purchase of a farm, following the 
example set by the workhouse, would alone afford work for a 
considerable number of men. I have suggested, in a letter to 
the Inspectors, various methods by which every inmate of the 
institution could be employed, — among them the publication of 
a prison paper. Of course, they have ignored me. But what 
can you expect of a body of philanthropists who have the interest 
of the convict so much at heart that they delegated the President 
of the Board, George A. Kelly, to oppose the parole bill, a 
measure certainly along advanced lines of modern criminology. 
Owing to the influence of Inspector Kelly, the bill was shelved 
at the last session of the legislature, though the prisoners have 
been praying for it for years. It has robbed the moneyless life- 
timers of their last hope: a clause in the parole bill held 
out to them the promise of release after 20 years of good be- 
havior. 

Dark days are in store for the men. Apparently the cam- 



340 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

paign of the Inspectors consists in forcing the repeal of the 
Muehlbronner law, by raising the hue and cry of insanity and 
sickness. They are actually causing both by keeping half the 
population locked up. You know how quickly the solitary drives 
certain classes of prisoners insane. Especially the more ignorant 
element, whose mental horizon is circumscribed by their personal 
troubles and pain, speedily fall victims. Think of men, who 
cannot even read, put incommunicado for months at a time, 
for years even! Most of the colored prisoners, and those accus- 
tomed to outdoor life, such as farmers and the like quickly 
develop the germs of consumption in close confinement. Now, 
this wilful murder — for it is nothing else — is absolutely unneces- 
sary. The yard is big and well protected by the thirty-foot wall, 
with armed guards patrolling it. Why not give the unemployed 
men air and exercise, since the management is determined to 
keep them idle? I suggested the idea to the Warden, but he 
berated me for my "habitual interference" in matters that do 
not concern me. I often wonder at the enigma of human 
nature. There's the Captain, a man 72 years old. He should 
bethink himself of death, of "meeting his Maker," since he 
pretends to believe in religion. Instead, he is bending all his 
energies to increase insanity and disease among the convicts, in 
order to force the repeal of the law that has lessened the flow 
of blood money. It is almost beyond belief; but you have 
yourself witnessed the effect of a brutal atmosphere upon new 
officers. Wright has been Warden for thirty years ; he has 
come to regard the prison as his undisputed dominion; and 
now he is furious at the legislative curtailment of his absolute 
control. 

This letter will remind you of our bulky notes in the "good" 
old days when "KG" were here. I miss our correspondence. 
There are some intelligent men on the range, but they are not 
interested in the thoughts that seethe within me and call for 
expression. Just now the chief topic of local interest (after, of 
course, the usual discussion of the grub, women, kids, and their 
health and troubles) is the Spanish War and the new dining- 
room, in which the shop employees are to be fed en masse, out 
of chinaware, think of it! Some of the men are tremendously 
patriotic; others welcome the war as a sinecure affording easy 
money and plenty of excitement. You remember Young Butch 
and his partners, Murtha, Tommy, etc. They have recently been 



WHITEWASHED AGAIN 341 

released, too wasted and broken in health to be fit for manual 
labor. All of them have signified their intention of joining the 
insurrection; some are enrolling in the regular army for the 
war. Butch is already in Cuba. I had a letter from him. There 
is a passage in it that is tragically characteristic. He refers to 
a skirmish he participated in. "We shot a lot of Spaniards, 
mostly from ambush," he writes; "it was great sport." It is 
the attitude of the military adventurer, to whom a sacred cause 
like the Cuban uprising unfortunately affords the opportunity 
to satisfy his lust for blood. Butch was a very gentle boy when 
he entered the prison. But he has witnessed much heartlessness 
and cruelty during his term of three years. 
Letter growing rather long. Good night. 

A. 



CHAPTER XXXI 
"AND BY ALI, FORGOT. WE ROT AND ROT' 



A YEAR of solitary has wasted my strength, and left 
me feeble and languid. My expectations of relief from 
complete isolation have been disappointed. Existence is 
grim with despair, as day by day I feel my vitality 
ebbing; the long nights are tortured with insomnia; my 
body is racked with constant pains. All my heart is 
dark. 

A glimmer of light breaks through the clouds, 
as the session of the Pardon Board approaches. I 
clutch desperately at the faint hope of a favorable deci- 
sion. With feverish excitement I pore over the letters 
of the Girl, breathing cheer and encouraging news. M^y 
application is supported by numerous labor bodies, she 
writes. Comrade Harry Kelly has been tireless in my 
behalf ; the success of his efforts to arouse public sym- 
pathy augurs well for the application. The United 
Labor League of Pennsylvania, representing over a hun- 
dred thousand toilers, has passed a resolution favor- 
ing my release. Together with other similar expressions, 
individual and collective, it will be laid before the Par- 
don Board, and it is confidently expected that the au- 
thorities will not ignore the voice of organized labor. 
In a ferment of anxiety and hope I count the days and 
hours, irritable with impatience and apprehension as I 

342 



"AND BY ALL FORGOT, WE ROT AND ROT" 343 

near the fateful moment. Visions of liberty flutter before 
me, glorified by the meeting with the Girl and my for- 
mer companions, and I thrill with the return to the 
world, as I restlessly pace the cell in the silence of the 
night. 

The thought of my prison friends obtrudes upon 
my visions. With the tenderness born of common mis- 
ery I think of their fate, resolving to brighten their 
lives with little comforts and letters, that mean so much 
to every prisoner. My first act in liberty shall be 
in memory of the men grown close to me with the 
kinship of suffering, the unfortunates endeared by 
awakened sympathy and understanding. For so many 
years I have shared with them the sorrows and the few 
joys of penitentiary life, I feel almost guilty to leave 
them. But henceforth their cause shall be mine, a vital 
part of the larger, social cause. It will be my constant 
endeavor to ameliorate their condition, and I shall strain 
every effort for my little friend Felipe; I must secure 
his release. How happy the boy will be to join me in 
liberty! . . . The flash of the dark lantern dispels my 
fantasies, and again I walk the cell in vehement mis- 
giving and fervent hope of to-morrow's verdict. 

At noon I am called to the Warden. He must have 
received word from the Board, — I reflect on the way. 
The Captain lounges in the armchair, his eyes glistening, 
his seamed face yellow and worried. With an effort I 
control my impatience as he offers me a seat. He bids 
the guard depart, and a wild hope trembles in me. He 
is not afraid, — perhaps good news ! 

"Sit down, Berkman," he speaks with unwonted affa- 
bility. "I have just received a message from Harris- 
burg. Your attorney requests me to inform you that the 
Pardon Board has now reached your case. It is prob- 
ably under consideration at this moment." 



/ 



344 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

I remain silent. The Warden scans me closely. 

"You would return to New York, if released?" he 
inquires. 

"Yes." 

"What are your plans ?" 

"Well, I have not formed any yet." 

"You would go back to your Anarchist friends?" 

"Certainly." 

"You have not changed your views ?" 

"By no means." 

A turnkey enters. "Captain, on official business," he 
reports. 

"Wait here a moment, Berkman," the Warden re- 
marks, withdrawing. The officer remains. 

In a few minutes the Warden returns, motioning to 
the guard to leave. 

"I have just been informed that the Board has re- 
fused you a hearing." 

I feel the cold perspiration running down my back. 
The prison rumors of the Warden's interference flash 
through my mind. The Board promised a rehearing at 
the previous application, — ^why this refusal? 

"Warden," I exclaim, "you objected to my pardon!" 

"Such action lies with the Inspectors," he replies 
evasively. The peculiar intonation strengthens my sus- 
picions. 

A feeling of hopelessness possesses me. I sense the 
Warden's gaze fastened on me, and I strive to control 
my emotion. 

"How much time have you yet ?" he asks. 

"Over eleven years." 

"How long have you been locked up this time?" 

"Sixteen months." 

"There is a vacancy on your range. The assistant 



"AND BY ALL FORGOT, WE ROT AND ROT" 345 

hallman is going home to-morrow. You would like the 
position?" he eyes me curiously. 

"Yes." 

*'ril consider it." 

I rise weakly, but he detains me : "By the way, Berk- 
man, look at this." 

He holds up a small wooden box, disclosing several 
casts of plaster of par is. I wonder at the strange pro- 
ceeding. 

"You know what they are?" he inquires. 

"Plaster casts, I think." 

"Of what? For what purpose? Look at them well, 
now." 

I glance indifferently at the molds bearing the clear 
impression of an eagle. 

"It's the cast of a silver dollar, I believe." 

"I am glad you speak truthfully. I had no doubt you 
would know. I examined your library record and found 
that you have drawn books on metallurgy." 

"Oh, you suspect me of this?" I flare up. 

"No, not this time," he smiles in a suggestive manner. 
"You have drawn practically every book from the 
library. I had a talk with the Chaplain, and he is pos- 
itive that you would not be guilty of counterfeiting, 
because it would be robbing poor people." 

"The reading of my letters must have familiarized 
the Chaplain with Anarchist ideas." 

"Yes, Mr. Milligan thinks highly of you. You might 
antagonize the management, but he assures me you would 
not abet such a crime." 

"I am glad to hear it." 

"You would protect the Federal Government, then?" 

"I don't understand you." 

"You would protect the people from being cheated 
by counterfeit money?" 



346 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"The government and the people are not synony- 
mous." 

Flushing slightly, and frowning, he asks: "But you 
would protect the poor?" 

"Yes, certainly." 

His face brightens. "Oh, quite so, quite so," he 
smiles reassuringly. "These molds were found hidden 
in the North Block. No; not in a cell, but in the hall. 
We suspect a certain man. It's Ed Sloane; he is lo- 
cated two tiers above you. Now, Berkman, the man- 
agement is very anxious to get to the bottom of this 
matter. It's a crime against the people. You may have 
heard Sloane speaking to his neighbors about this." 

"No. I am sure you suspect an innocent person." 

"How so?" 

"Sloane is a very sick man. It's the last thing he'd 
think of." 

"Well, we have certain reasons for suspecting him. 
If you should happen to hear anything, just rap on the 
door and inform the officers you are ill. They will be 
instructed to send for me at once." 

"I can't do it, Warden." 

"Why not?" he demands. 

"I am not a spy." 

"Why, certainly not, Berkman. I should not ask 
you to be. But you have friends on the range, you may 
learn something. Well, think the matter over," he adds, 
dismissing me. 

Bitter disappointment at the action of the Board, 
indignation at the Warden^s suggestion, struggle within 
me as I reach my cell. The guard is about to lock me 
in, when the Deputy Warden struts into the block. 

"Officer, unlock him," he commands. "Berkman, the 



"AND BY ALL FORGOT, WE ROT AND ROT" 347 

Captain says you are to be assistant rangeman. Report 
to Mr. Mcllvaine for a broom." 

II 

The unexpected relief strengthens the hope of liberty. 
Legal methods are of no avail, but now my opportu- 
nities for escape are more favorable. Considerable 
changes have taken place during my solitary, and the 
first necessity is to orient myself. Some of my confi- 
dants have been released; others were transferred dur- 
ing the investigation period to the South Wing, to dis- 
rupt my connections. New men are about the cell- 
house, and I miss many of my chums. The lower half 
of the bottom ranges A and K is now exclusively 
occupied by the insane, their numbers greatly augmented. 
Poor Wingie has disappeared. Grown violently insane, 
he was repeatedly lodged in the dungeon, and finally sent 
to an asylum. There my unfortunate friend had died 
after two months. His cell is now occupied by "Irish 
Mike," a good-natured boy, turned imbecile by soli- 
tary. He hops about on all fours, bleating: "baah, 
baah, see the goat. I'm the goat, baah, baah." I 
shudder at the fate I have escaped, as I look at the 
familiar faces that were so bright with intelligence and 
youth, now staring at me from the "crank row," wild- 
eyed and corpse-like, their minds shattered, their bodies 
wasted to a shadow. My heart bleeds as I realize that 
Sid and Nick fail to recognize me, their memory a total 
blank; and Patsy, the Pittsburgh bootblack, stands at 
the door, motionless, his eyes glassy, lips frozen in an 
inane smile. 

From cell to cell I pass the graveyard of the livin*^ 
dead, the silence broken only by intermittent savage 
yells and the piteous bleating of Mike. The whole 



348 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

day these men are locked in, deprived of exercise and 
recreation, their rations reduced because of "delin- 
quency." New "bughouse cases'* are continually added 
from the ranks of the prisoners forced to remain idle 
and kept in solitary. The sight of the terrible misery 
almost gives a touch of consolation to my grief over 
Johnny Davis. My young friend had grown ill in the foul 
basket. He begged to be taken to the hospital; but his 
condition did not warrant it, the physician said. More- 
over, he was "in punishment." Poor boy, how he must 
have suffered! They found him dead on the floor of 
his cell. 

My body renews its strength with the exercise and 
greater liberty of the range. The subtle hope of the 
Warden to corrupt me has turned to* my advantage. I 
smile with scorn at his miserable estimate of human 
nature, determined by a lifetime of corruption and 
hypocrisy. How saddening is the shallowness of popular 
opinion ! Warden Wright is hailed as a progressive man, 
a deep student of criminology, who has introduced mod- 
ern methods in the treatment of prisoners. As an ex- 
pression of respect and appreciation, the National Prison 
Association has selected Captain Wright as its delegate 
to the International Congress at Brussels, which is to 
take place in 1900. And all the time the Warden is 
designing new forms of torture, denying the pleadings 
of the idle men for exercise, and exerting his utmost 
efforts to increase sickness and insanity, in the attempt 
to force the repeal of the "convict labor" law. The 
puerility of his judgment fills me with contempt: public 
sentiment in regard to convict competition with outside 
labor has swept the State ; the efforts of the Warden, dis- 
astrous though they be to the inmates, are doomed to 
failure. No less fatuous is the conceit of his boasted 



"AND BY ALL FORGOT, WE ROT AND ROT" 349 

experience of thirty years. The so confidently uttered 
suspicion of Ed Sloane in regard to the counterfeiting 
charge, has proved mere lip-wisdom. The real culprit 
is Bob Runyon, the trusty basking in the Warden's 
special graces. His intimate friend, John Smith, the 
witness and protege of Torrane, has confided to me the 
whole story, in a final effort to "set himself straight." 
He even exhibited to me the coins made by Runyon, 
together with the original molds, cast in the trusty's cell. 
And poor Sloane, still under surveillance, is slowly dying 
of neglect, the doctor charging him with eating soap to 
produce symptoms of illness. 

ni 

The year passes in a variety of interests. The Girl 
and several newly-won correspondents hold the thread 
of outside life. The Twin has gradually withdrawn 
from our New York circles, and is now entirely obscured 
on my horizon. But the Girl is staunch and devoted, 
and I keenly anticipate her regular mail. She keeps me 
informed of events in the international labor move- 
ment, news of which is almost entirely lacking in the 
daily press. We discuss the revolutionary expressions 
of the times, and I learn more about Pallas and Luccheni, 
whose acts of the previous winter had thrown Europe 
into a ferment of agitation. I hunger for news of the 
agitation against the tortures in Montjuich, the revival of 
the Inquisition rousing in me the spirit of retribution 
and deep compassion for my persecuted comrades in the 
Spanish bastille. Beneath the suppressed tone of her 
letters, I read the Girl's suflfering and pain, and feel the 
heart pangs of her unuttered personal sorrows. 

Presently I am apprised that some prominent per- 
sons interested in my case are endeavoring to secure 



350 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Carnegie's signature for a renewed application to the 
Board of Pardons. The Girl conveys the information 
guardedly; the absence of comment discovers to me 
the anguish of soul the step has caused her. What 
terrible despair had given birth to the suggestion, I 
wonder. If the project of the underground escape 
had been put in operation, we should not have had 
to suffer such humiliation. Why have my friends ig- 
nored the detailed plan I had submitted to them through 
Carl? I am confident of its feasibility and success, 
if we can muster the necessary skill and outlay. The 
animosity of the prison authorities precludes the thought 
of legal release. The underground route, very difficult 
and expensive though it be, is the sole hope. It must 
be realized. My sub rosa communications suspended 
during the temporary absence of Mr. Schraube, I hint 
these thoughts in official mail to the Girl, but refrain 
from objecting to the Carnegie idea. 

Other matters of interest I learn from correspond- 
ence with friends in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The 
frequent letters of Carl, still reminiscent of his sojourn 
at Riverside, thrill with the joy of active propaganda 
and of his success as public speaker. Voltairine de 
Cleyre and Sarah Patton lend color to my existence by 
discursive epistles of great charm and rebellious thought. 
Often I pause to wonder at the miracle of my mail pass- 
ing the censorial eyes. But the Chaplain is a busy man; 
careful perusal of every letter would involve too great a 
demand upon his time. The correspondence with Mattie 
I turn over to my neighbor Pasquale, a young Italian 
serving sixteen years, who has developed a violent pas- 
sion for the pretty face on the photograph. The roguish 
eyes and sweet lips exert but a passing impression upon 
me. My thoughts turn to Johnny, my young friend in 
the convict grave. Deep snow is on the ground ; it must 



"AND BY ALL FORGOT, WE ROT AND ROT" 351 

be cold beneath the sod. The white shroud is pressing, 
pressing heavily upon the lone boy, like the suffocating 
night of the basket cell. But in the spring little blades 
of green will sprout, and perhaps a rosebud will timidly 
burst and flower, all white, and perfume the air, and 
shed its autumn tears upon the convict grave of Johnny. 



CHAPTER XXXII 
THE DEVIOUSNESS OF REFORM LAW APPLIED 

February 14, 1899. 
Dear Carolus: 

The Greeks thought the gods spiteful creatures. When 
things begin to look brighter for man, they grow envious. 
You'll be surprised, — Mr. Schraube has turned into an enemy. 
Mostly my own fault; that's the sting of it. It will explain to 
you the failure of the former sub rosa route. The present one 
is safe, but very temporary. 

It happened last fall. From assistant I was advanced to 
hallman, having charge of the "crank row," on Range A. 
A new order curtailed the rations of the insane, — no cornbread, 
cheese, or hash; only bread and coffee. As rangeman, I help 
to "feed," and generally have "extras" left on the wagon, — some 
one sick, or refusing food, etc. I used to distribute the extras, 
"on the q. t.," among the men deprived of them. One day, just 
before Christmas, an officer happened to notice Patsy chewing 
a piece of cheese. The poor fellow is quite an imbecile; he did 
not know enough to hide what I gave him. Well, you are 
aware that "Cornbread Tom" does not love me. He reported 
me. I admitted the charge to the Warden, and tried to tell him 
how hungry the men were. He wouldn't hear of it, saying that 
the" insane should not "overload" their stomachs. I was ordered 
locked up. Within a month I was out again, but imagine my 
surprise when Schraube refused even to talk to me. At first 
I could not fathom the mystery; later I learned that he was 
reprimanded, losing ten days' pay for "allowing" me to feed 
the demented. He knew nothing about it, of course, but he 
was at the time in special charge of "crank row." The Schraube 
has been telling my friends that I got him in trouble wilfully. 
He seems to nurse his grievance with much bitterness; he 
apparently hates me now with the hatred we often feel toward 

352 



THE DEVIOUSNESS OF REFORM LAW APPLIED 353 

those who know our secrets. But he realizes he has nothing 
to fear from me. 

Many changes have taken place since you left. You would 
hardly recognize the block if you returned (better stay out, 
though). No more talking through the waste pipes; the new 
privies have standing water. Electricity is gradually taking the 
place of candles. The garish light is almost driving me blind, 
and the innovation has created a new problem: how to light 
our pipes. We are given the same monthly allowance of 
matches, each package supposed to contain 30, but usually have 
27; and last month I received only 25. I made a kick, but it 
was in vain. The worst of it is, fully a third of the matches are 
damp and don't light. While we used candles we managed some- 
how, borrowing a few matches occasionally from non-smokers. 
But now that candles are abolished, the difficulty is very serious. 
I split each match into four; sometimes I succeed in making six. 
There is a man on the range who is an artist at it: he can make 
eight cuts out of a match; all serviceable, too. Even at that, 
there is a famine, and I have been forced to return to the 
stone age: with flint and tinder I draw the fire of Prometheus. 

The mess-room is in full blast. The sight of a thousand 
men, bent over their food in complete silence, officers flanking 
each table, is by no means appetizing. But during the Spanish 
war, the place resembled the cell-house on New Year's eve. 
The patriotic Warden daily read to the diners the latest news, 
and such cheering and wild yelling you have never heard. 
Especially did the Hobson exploit fire the spirit of jingoism. 
But the enthusiasm suddenly cooled when the men realized that 
they were wasting precious minutes hurrahing, and then leaving 
the table hungry when the bell terminated the meal. Some tried 
to pocket the uneaten beans and rice, but the guards detected 
them, and after that the Warden's war reports were accom- 
panied only with loud munching and champing. 

Another innovation is exercise. Your interviews with the 
reporters, and those of other released prisoners, have at last 
forced the Warden to allow the idle men an hour's recreation. 
In inclement weather, they walk in the cell-house; on fine days, 
in the yard. The reform was instituted last autumn, and the 
improvement in health is remarkable. The doctor is enthusias- 
tically in favor of the privilege; the sick-line has been so con- 
siderably reduced that he estimates his time-saving at two hours 



354 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

daily. Some of the boys tell me they have almost entirely ceased 
masturbating. The shop employees en\{y the "idlers" now; 
many have purposely precipitated trouble in order to be put 
in solitary, and thus enjoy an hour in the open. But Sandy 
"got next," and now those locked up "for cause" are excluded 
from exercise. 

Here are some data for our book. The population at the 
end of last year was 956 — the lowest point in over a decade. 
The Warden admits that the war has decreased crime; the 
Inspectors' report refers to the improved economic conditions, 
as compared with the panicky times of the opening years in 
the 90's. But the authorities do not appear very happy over 
the reduction in the Riverside population. You understand the 
reason: the smaller the total, the less men may be exploited in 
the industries. I am not prepared to say whether there is 
collusion between the judges and the administration of the 
prison, but it is very significant that the class of offenders 
formerly sent to the workhouse are being increasingly sentenced 
to the penitentiary, and an unusual number are transferred here 
from the Reformatory at Huntington and the Reform School 
of Morganza. The old-timers joke about the Warden telephon- 
ing to the Criminal Court, to notify the judges how many men 
are "wanted" for the stocking shop. 

The unions might be interested in the methods of nullify- 
ing the convict labor law. In every shop twice as many are 
employed as the statute allows; the "illegal" are carried on the 
books as men working on "State account"; that is, as cleaners 
and clerks, not as producers. Thus it happens that in the mat 
shop, for instance, more men are booked as clerks and sweepers 
than are employed on the loojns ! In the broom shop there are 
30 supposed clerks and 15 cleaners, to a total of 53 producers 
legally permitted. This is the way the legislation works on 
which the labor bodies have expended such tremendous efforts. 
The broom shop is still contracted to Lang Bros., with their 
own foreman in charge, and his son a guard in the prison. 

Enough for to-day. When I hear of the safe arrival of this 
letter, I may have more intimate things to discuss. A. 



CHAPTER XXXIII 



THE TUNNEL 



The adverse decision of the Board of Pardons ter- 
minates all hope of release by legal means. Had the 
Board refused to commute my sentence after hearing 
the argument, another attempt could be made later on. 
But the refusal to grant a rehearing, the crafty strata- 
gem to circumvent even the presentation of my case, 
reveals the duplicity of the previous promise and the 
guilty consciousness of the illegality of my multiplied 
sentences. The authorities are determined that I should 
remain in the prison, confident that it will prove my 
tomb. Realizing this fires my defiance, and all the stub- 
born resistance of my being. There is no hope of sur- 
viving my term. At best, even with the full benefit of 
the commutation time — which will hardly be granted 
me, in view of the attitude of the prison management — 
I still have over nine years to serve. But existence is 
becoming increasingly more unbearable; long confine- 
ment and the solitary have drained my vitality. To en- 
dure the. nine years is almost a physical impossibility. I 
must therefore concentrate all my energy and efforts 
upon escape. 

My position as rangeman is of utmost advantage. I 
have access to every part of the cell-house, excepting the 

355 



356 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"crank row." The incident of feeding the insane has 
put an embargo upon my communication with them, a 
special hallboy having been assigned to care for the de- 
ranged. But within my area on the range are the recent 
arrivals and the sane solitaries; the division of my du- 
ties with the new man merely facilitates my task, and 
affords me more leisure. 



The longing for liberty constantly besets my mind, 
suggesting various projects. The idea of escape daily 
strengthens into the determination born of despair. It 
possesses me with an exclusive passion, shaping every 
thought, molding every action. By degrees I curtail 
correspondence with my prison chums, that I may de- 
vote the solitude of the evening to the development of 
my plans. The underground tunnel masters my mind 
with the boldness of its conception, its tremendous pos- 
sibilities. But the execution! Why do my friends re- 
gard the matter so indifferently? Their tepidity irri- 
tates me. Often I lash myself into wild anger with Carl 
for having failed to impress my comrades with the 
feasibility of the plan, to fire them with the enthusiasm 
of activity. My sub rosa route is sporadic and uncer- 
tain. Repeatedly I have hinted to my friends the bit- 
ter surprise I feel at their provoking indifference; but 
my reproaches have been studiously ignored. I cannot 
believe that conditions in the movement preclude the 
realization of my suggestion. These things have been 
accomplished in Russia. Why not in America? The 
attempt should be made, if only for its propagandistic 
effect. True, the project will require considerable out- 
lay, and the work of skilled and trustworthy men. Have 
we no such in our ranks? In Parsons and Lum, 
this country has produced her Zheliabovs; is the genius 



THE TUNNEL 357 

of America not equal to a Hartman?* The tacit skep- 
ticism of my correspondents pain me, and rouses my 
resentment. They evidently lack faith in the judgment 
of "one who has been so long separated" from their 
world, from the interests and struggles of the living. 
The consciousness of my helplessness without aid from 
the outside gnaws at me, filling my days with bitterness. 
But I will persevere: I will compel their attention and 
their activity; aye, their enthusiasm! 

With utmost zeal I cultivate the acquaintance of 
Tony. The months of frequent correspondence and oc- 
casional personal meetings have developed a spirit of 
congeniality and good will. I exert my ingenuity to 
create opportunities for stolen interviews and closer 
comradeship. Through the aid of a friendly officer, I 
procure for Tony the privilege of assisting his range- 
man after shop hours, thus enabling him to communi- 
cate with me to greater advantage. Gradually we be- 
come intimate, and I learn the story of his life, rich in 
adventure and experience. An Alsatian, small and wiry, 
Tony is a man of quick wit, with a considerable dash 
of the Frenchman about him. He is intelligent and dar- 
ing — the very man to carry out my plan. 

For days I debate in my mind the momentous ques- 
tion: shall I confide the project to Tony? It would be 
placing myself in his power, jeopardizing the sole hope 
of my life. Yet it is the only way; I must rely on my 
intuition of the man's worth. M'y nights are sleepless, 
excruciating with the agony of indecision. But my 
friend's sentence is nearing completion. We shall need 
time for discussion and preparation, for thorough con- 



* Hartman engineered the tunnel beneath the Moscow rail- 
way, undermined in an unsuccessful attempt to kill Alexander 
II, in 1880. 



358 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

sideration of every detail. At last I resolve to take the 
decisive step, and next day I reveal the secret to Tony. 

His manner allays apprehension. Serene and self- 
possessed, he listens gravely to my plan, smiles with ap- 
parent satisfaction, and briefly announces that it shall 
be done. Only the shining eyes of my reticent comrade 
betray his elation at the bold scheme, and his joy in the 
adventure. He is confident that the idea is feasible, sug- 
gesting the careful elaboration of details, and the inven- 
tion of a cipher to insure greater safety for our corre- 
spondence. The precaution is necessary; it will prove 
of inestimable value upon his release. 

With great circumspection the cryptogram is pre- 
pared, based on a discarded system of German short- 
hand, but somewhat altered, and further involved by the 
use of words of our own coinage. The cipher, thus 
perfected, will defy the skill of the most expert. 

But developments within the prison necessitate 
changes in the project. The building operations near 
the bathhouse destroy the serviceability of the latter 
for my purpose. We consider several new routes, but 
soon realize that lack of familiarity with the construc- 
tion of the penitentiary gas and sewer systems may 
defeat our success. There are no means of procuring 
the necessary information: Tony is confined to the 
shop, while I am never permitted out of the cell-house. 
In vain I strive to solve the difficulty; weeks pass with- 
out bringing light. 

My Providence comes unexpectedly, in the guise 
of a fight in the yard. The combatants are locked 
up on my range. One of them proves to be "Mac," 
an aged prisoner serving a third term. During his 
previous confinement, he had filled the position of 
fireman, one of his duties consisting in the weekly 
flushing of the sewers. He is thoroughly familiar 



THE TUNNEL 359 

with the underground piping of the yard, but his 
reputation among the inmates is tinged with the odor 
of sycophancy. He is, however, the only means of 
solving my difficulty, and I diligently set myself to 
gain his friendship. I lighten his solitary by numer- 
ous expressions of my sympathy, often secretly sup- 
plying him with little extras procured from my 
kitchen friends. The loquacious old man is glad of 
an opportunity to converse, and I devote every pro- 
pitious moment to listening to his long-winded stories 
of the ''great jobs" he had accomplished in *'his" 
time, the celebrated "guns" with whom he had asso- 
rted, the "great hauls" he had made and "blowed in 
with th' fellers." I suffer his chatter patiently, encour- 
aging the recital of his prison experiences, and leading 
him on to dwell upon his last "bit." He becomes 
reminiscent of his friends in Riverside, bewails the 
early graves of some, others "gone bugs," and re- 
joices over his good chum Patty McGraw managing 
to escape. The ever-interesting subject gives "Mac" 
a new start, and he waxes enthusiastic over the in- 
genuity of Patty, while I express surprise that he him- 
self had never attempted to take French leave. "What !" 
he bristles up, "think I'm such a dummy?" and with 
great detail he discloses his plan, " 'way in th' 80's'* 
to swim through the sewer. I scoff at his folly. "You 
must have been a chump, Mac, to think it could 
be done," I remark. "I was, was I? What do you 
know about the piping, eh? Now, let me tell you. 
Just wait," and, snatching up his library slate, he draws 
a complete diagram of the prison sewerage. In the 
extreme southwest corner of the yard he indicates a 
blind underground alley. 

"What's this?" I ask, in surprise. 

"Nev'r knew that, did yer? It's a little tunn'l, con- 



360 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

nectin' th' cellar with th' females, see? Not a dozen 
men in th' dump know 't ; not ev'n a good many screws. 
Passage ain't been used fer a long time." 

In amazement I scan the diagram. I had noticed 
a little trap door at the very point in the yard indicated 
in the drawing, and I had often wondered what pur- 
pose it might serve. My heart dances with joy at the 
happy solution of my difficulty. The "blind alley" will 
greatly facilitate our work. It is within fifteen feet, 
or twenty at most, of the southwestern wall. Its situa- 
tion is very favorable : there are no shops in the vicinity ; 
the place is never visited by guards or prisoners. 

The happy discovery quickly matures the details of 
my plan: a house is to be rented opposite the south- 
ern wall, on Sterling Street. Preferably it is to be 
situated very near to the point where the wall 
adjoins the cell-house building. Dug in a direct line 
across the street, and underneath the south wall, the 
tunnel will connect with the "blind alley." I shall manage 
the rest. 



II 



Slowly the autumn wanes. The crisp days of the 
Indian summer linger, as if unwilling to depart. But 
I am impatient with anxiety, and long for the winter. 
Another month, and Tony will be free. Time lags with 
tardy step, but at last the weeks dwarf into days, and 
with joyful heart we count the last hours. 

To-morrow my friend will greet the sunshine. He 
will at once communicate with my comrades, and urge 
the immediate realization of the great plan. His self- 
confidence and faith will carry conviction, and stir 
them with enthusiasm for the undertaking. A house 



THE TUNNEL 361 

is to be bought or rented without loss of time, and 
the environs inspected. Perhaps operations could not 
begin till spring; meanwhile funds are to be collected 
to further the work. Unfortunately, the Girl, a splen- 
did organizer, is absent from the country. But my 
friends will carefully follow the directions I have en- 
trusted to Tony, and through him I shall keep in touch 
with the developments. I have little opportunity for 
sub rosa mail; by means of our cipher, however, we can 
correspond officially, without risk of the censor's under- 
standing, or even suspecting, the innocent-looking flour- 
ishes scattered through the page. 

With the trusted Tony my thoughts walk beyond 
the gates, and again and again I rehearse every step in 
the project, and study every detail. My mind dwells 
in the outside. In silent preoccupation I perform my 
duties on the range. More rarely I converse with 
the prisoners : I must take care to comply with the rules, 
and to retain my position. To lose it would be disastrous 
to all my hopes of escape. 

As I pass the vacant cell, in which I had spent the 
last year of my solitary, the piteous chirping of a 
sparrow breaks in upon my thoughts. The little vis- 
itor, almost frozen, hops on the bar above. My assistant 
swings the duster to drive it away, but the sparrow hovers 
about the door, and suddenly flutters to my shoulder. In 
surprise I pet the bird; it seems quite tame. "Why, 
it's Dick!" the assistant exclaims. "Think of him com- 
ing back!" my hands tremble as I examine the little 
bird. With great joy I discover the faint marks of blue 
ink I had smeared under its wings last summer, when 
the Warden had ordered my little companion thrown 
out of the window. How wonderful that it should return 
and recognize the old friend and the cell! Tenderly I 
warm and feed the bird. What strange sights my little 



362 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

pet must have seen since he was driven out into the 
world! what struggles and sorrows has he suffered! 
The bright eyes look cheerily into mine, speaking mute 
confidence and joy, while he pecks from my hand crumbs 
of bread and sugar. Foolish birdie, to return to prison 
for shelter and food ! Cold and cruel must be the world, 
my little Dick; or is it friendship, that is stronger than 
even love of liberty? 

So may it be. Almost daily I see men pass 
through the gates and soon return again, driven back 
by the world — even like you, 3ittle Dick. Yet others 
there are who would rather go cold and hungry in free- 
dom, than be warm and fed in prison — even like me, 
little Dick. And still others there be who would risk 
life and liberty for the sake of their friendship — even 
like you and, I hope, Tony, little Dick. 



CHAPTER XXXIV 

THE DEATH OF DICK 

Sub Rosa, 
Jan. IS, 1900. 
Tony: 

I write in an agony of despair. I am locked up again. It 
was all on account of my bird. You remember my feathered 
pet, Dick. Last summer the Warden ordered him put out, 
but when cold weather set in, Dick returned. Would you believe 
it? He came back to my old cell, and recognized me when I 
passed by. I kept him, and he grew as tame as before — he had 
become a bit wild in the life outside. On Christmas day, as Dick 
was playing near my cell, Bob Runyon — the stool, you know — 
came by and deliberately kicked the bird. When I saw Dick turn 
over on his side, his little eyes rolling in the throes of death, I 
rushed at Runyon and knocked him down. He was not hurt 
much, and everything could have passed off quietly, as no screw 
was about. But the stool reported me to the Deputy, and I was 
locked up. 

Mitchell has just been talking to me. The good old fellow 
was fond of Dick, and he promises to get me back on the range. 
He is keeping the position vacant for me, he says ; he put a man 
in my place who has only a few more weeks to serve. Then I'm 
to take charge again. 

I am not disappointed at your information that "the work" 
will have to wait till spring. It's unavoidable, but I am happy 
that preparations have been started. How about those revolvers, 
though? You haven't changed your mind, I hope. In one of 
your letters you seem to hint that the matter has been attended to. 
How can that be? Jim, the plumber — ^you know he can be 
trusted — has been on the lookout for a week. He assures me 
that nothing came, so far. Why do you delay? I hope you 
didn't thf^w the package through the cellar window when Jim 
wasn't at his post. Hardly probable. But if you did, what the 
devil could have become of it? I see no sign here of the things 
being discovered : there would surely be a terrible hubbub. Look 
to it, and write at once. A 

363 



CHAPTER XXXV 

AN ALLIANCE WITH THE BIRDS 
I 

The disappearance of the revolvers is shrouded in 
mystery. In vain I rack my brain to fathom the 
precarious situation; it defies comprehension and tor- 
ments me with misgivings. Jim's certainty that the 
weapons did not pass between the bars of the cellar, 
momentarily allays my dread. But Tony's vehement 
insistence that he had delivered the package, throws 
me into a panic of fear. My firm faith in the two 
confidants distracts me with uncertainty and suspense. 
It is incredible that Tony should seek to deceive me. 
Yet Jim has kept constant vigil at the point of de- 
livery; there is little probability of his having missed 
the package. But supposing he has, what has become 
of it? Perhaps it fell into some dark corner of the 
cellar. The place must be searched at once. 

Desperate with anxiety, I resort to the most reck- 
less means to afford Jim an opportunity to visit the 
cellar. I ransack the cell-house for old papers and 
rags; with miserly hand I gather all odds and ends, 
broken tools, pieces of wood, a bucketful of sawdust. 
Trembling with fear of discovery, I empty the treasure 
into the sewer at the end of the hall, and tightly jam 
the elbow of the waste pipe. The smell of excrement 
fills the block, the cell privies overrun, and inundate 

364 



AN ALLIANCE WITH THE BIRDS 3^5 

the hall. The stench is overpowering; steadily the 
water rises, threatening to flood the cell-house. The 
place is in a turmoil: the solitaries shout and rattle on 
the bars, the guards rush about in confusion. The 
Block Captain yells, *'Hey, Jasper, hurry! Call the 
plumber; get Jim. Quick!" 

But repeated investigation of the cellar fails to 
disclose the weapons. In constant dread of dire pos- 
sibilities, I tremble at every step, fancying lurking 
suspicion, sudden discovery, and disaster. But the 
days pass; the calm of the prison routine is undis- 
turbed, giving no indication of untoward happening 
or agitation. By degrees my fears subside. The in- 
explicable disappearance of the revolvers is fraught 
with danger; the mystery is disquieting, but it has 
fortunately brought no results, and must apparently 
remain unsolved. 

Unexpectedly my fears are rearoused. Called to 
the desk by Officer Mitchell for the distribution of 
the monthly allowance of matches, I casually glance 
out of the yard door. At the extreme northwestern 
end. Assistant Deputy Hopkins loiters near the wall, 
slowly walking on the grass. The unusual presence 
of the overseer at the abandoned gate wakes my sus- 
picion. The singular idling of the energetic guard, 
his furtive eyeing of the ground, strengthens my worst 
apprehensions. Something must have happened. Are 
they suspecting the tunnel? But work has not been 
commenced; besides, it is to terminate at the very 
opposite point of the yard, fully a thousand feet dis- 
tant. In perplexity I wonder at the peculiar actions 
of Hopkins. Had the weapons been found, every in- 
mate would immediately be subjected to a search, and 
shops and cell-house ransacked. 



366 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

In anxious speculation I pass a sleepless night; 
morning dawns without bringing a solution. But after 
breakfast the eell-house becomes strangely quiet; the 
shop employees remain locked in. The rangemen are 
ordered to their cells, and guards from the yard and 
shops march into the block, and noisily ascend the 
galleries. The Deputy and Hopkins scurry about the 
hall; the rotunda door is thrown open with a clang, 
and the sharp command of the Warden resounds 
through the cell-house, "General search!" 

I glance hurriedly over my table and shelf. Surprises 
of suspected prisoners are frequent, and I am always 
prepared. But some contraband is on hand. Quickly 
I snatch my writing material from the womb of the 
bedtick. In the very act of destroying several sketches 
of the previous year, a bright thought flashes across 
my mind. There is nothing dangerous about them, 
save the theft of the paper. "Prison Types," "In the 
Streets of New York," "Parkhurst and the Prosti- 
tute," "Libertas— a Study in Philology," "The Slavery 
of Tradition" — harmless products of evening leisure. 
Let them find the booklets ! I'll be severely repri- 
manded for appropriating material from the shops, but 
my sketches will serve to divert suspicion: the War- 
den will secretly rejoice that my mind is not busy with 
more dangerous activities. But the sudden search 
signifies grave developments. General overhaulings, 
involving temporary suspension of the industries and 
consequent financial loss, are rare. The search of the 
entire prison is not due till spring. Its precipitancy 
confirms my worst fears: the weapons have undoubt- 
edly been found! Jim's failure to get possession of 
them assumes a peculiar aspect. It is possible, of 
course, that some guard, unexpectedly passing through 
the cellar, discovered the bundle between the bars, and 



AN ALLIANCE WITH THE BIRDS 3^7 

appropriated it without attracting Jim's notice. Yet the 
latter's confident assertion of his presence at the win- 
dow at the appointed moment indicates another proba- 
biHty. The thought is painful, disquieting. But who 
knows? In an atmosphere of fear and distrust and 
almost universal espionage, the best friendships are 
tinged with suspicion. It may be that Jim, afraid 
of consequences, surrendered the weapons to the 
Warden. He would have no difficulty in explaining 
the discovery, without further betrayal of my con- 
fidence. Yet Jim, a "pete man"* of international re- 
nown, enjoys the reputation of a thoroughly "square 
man" and loyal friend. He has given me repeated 
proof of his confidence, and I am disinclined to 
accuse a possibly innocent man. It is fortunate, however, 
that his information is limited to the weapons. No 
doubt he suspects some sort of escape; but I have 
left* him in ignorance of my real plans. With these 
Tony alone is entrusted. 

The reflection is reassuring. Even if indiscretion 
on Tony's part is responsible for the accident, he has 
demonstrated his friendship. Realizing the danger of 
his mission, he may have thrown in the weapons 
between the cellar bars, ignoring my directions of pre- 
viously ascertaining the presence of Jim at his post. 
But the discovery of the revolvers vindicates the 
veracity of Tony, and strengthens my confidence in 
him. My fate rests in the hands of a loyal comrade, 
a friend who has already dared great peril for my 
sake. 



The general search is over, bringing to light quan- 
tities of various contraband. The counterfeit outfit, 



* Safe blower. 



368 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

whose product has been circulating beyond the walls 
of the prison, is discovered, resulting in a secret in- 
vestigation by Federal officials. In the general excite- 
ment, the sketches among my effects have been ig- 
nored, and left in my possession. But no clew has 
been found in connection with the weapons. The 
authorities are still further mystified by the discovery 
that the lock on the trapdoor in the roof of the cell- 
house building had been tampered with. With an 
effort I suppress a smile at the puzzled bewilderment 
of the kindly old Mitchell, as, with much secrecy, he 
confides to me the information. I marvel at the offi- 
cial stupidity that failed to make the discovery the 
previous year, when, by the aid of Jim and my young 
friend Russell, I had climbed to the top of the 
cell-house, while the inmates were at church, and 
wrenched off the lock of the trapdoor, leaving in its 
place an apparent counterpart, provided by Jim. With 
the key in our possession, we watched for an oppor- 
tunity to reach the outside roof, when certain changes 
in the block created insurmountable obstacles, forcing 
the abandonment of the project. Russell was unhappy 
over the discovery, the impulsive young prisoner stead- 
fastly refusing to be reconciled to the failure. His 
time, however, being short, I have been urging him to ac- 
cept the inevitable. The constant dwelling upon escape 
makes imprisonment more unbearable; the passing of 
his remaining two years would be hastened by the 
determination to serve out his sentence. 

The boy listens quietly to my advice, his blue 
eyes dancing with merriment, a sly smile on the deli- 
cate lips. "You are right, Aleck," he replies, gravely, 
"but say, last night I thought out a scheme; it's great, 
and we're sure to make our get-a-way." With minute 
detail he pictures the impossible plan of sawing through 



AN ALLIANCE WITH THE BIRDS 3^9 

the bars of the cell at night, ''holding up" the guards, 
binding and gagging them, and *'then the road would 
be clear." The innocent boy, for all his back-country- 
reputation of "bad man," is not aware that "then" 
is the very threshold of difficulties. I seek to explain 
to him that, the guards being disposed of, we should 
find ourselves trapped in the cell-house. The solid 
steel double doors leading to the yard are securely 
locked, the key in the sole possession of the Captain 
of the night watch, who cannot be reached except 
through the well-guarded rotunda. But the boy is not 
to be daunted. "We'll have to storm the rotunda, 
then," he remarks, calmly, and at once proceeds to 
map out a plan of campaign. He smiles incredulously 
at my refusal to participate in the wild scheme. "Oh, 
yes, you will, Aleck. I don't believe a word you say. 
I know you're keen to make a get-a-way." His con- 
fidence somewhat shaken by my resolution, he announces 
that he will "go it alone." 

The declaration fills me with trepidation: the reck- 
less youth will throw away his life; his attempt may 
frustrate my own success. But it is in vain to dis- 
suade him by direct means. I know the determination 
of the boy. The smiling face veils the boundless self- 
assurance of exuberant youth, combined with indomita- 
ble courage. The redundance of animal vitality and 
the rebellious spirit have violently disturbed the inertia 
of his rural home, aggravating its staid descendants of 
Dutch forbears. The taunt of "ne'er-do-well" has 
dripped bitter poison into the innocent pranks of Rus- 
sell, stamping the brand of desperado upon the good- 
natured boy. 

I tax my ingenuity to delay the carrying out of 
his project. He has secreted the saws I had procured 
from the Girl for the attempt of the previous year, 



Z70 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

and his determination is impatient to make the dash 
for liberty. Only his devotion to me and respect for 
my wishes still hold the impetuous boy in leash. But 
each day his restlessness increases; more insistently he 
urges my participation and a definite explanation of 
my attitude. 

At a loss to invent new objections, I almost despair 
of dissuading Russell from his desperate purpose. 
From day to day I secure his solemn promise to await 
my final decision, the while I vaguely hope for some 
development that would fgrce the abandonment of his 
plan. But nothing disturbs the routine, and I grow 
nervous with dread lest the boy, reckless with im- 
patience, thwart my great project. 

II 

The weather is moderating; the window sashes in 
the hall are being lowered: the signs of approaching 
spring multiply. I chafe at the lack of news from Tony, 
who had departed on his mission to New York. With 
greedy eyes I follow the Chaplain on his rounds of mail 
delivery. Impatient of his constant pauses on the gal- 
leries, I hasten along the range to meet the postman, 

"Any letters for me, Mr. Milligan?" I ask, with an 
effort to steady my voice. 

"No, m' boy." 

My eyes devour the mail in his hand. "None to-day, 
Aleck," he adds ; "this is for your neighbor Pasquale." 

I feel apprehensive at Tony's silence. Another 
twenty- four hours must elapse before the Chaplain re- 
turns. Perhaps there will be no mail for me to-mor- 
row, either. What can be the matter with my friend? 
So many dangers menace his every step — he might be 
sick — some accident . . . Anxious days pass without 



AN ALLIANCE WITH THE BIRDS 3?! 

mail. Russell is becoming more insistent, threatening 
a "break." The solitaries murmur at my neglect. I am 
nervous and irritable. For two weeks I have not heard 
from Tony; something terrible must have happened. 
In a ferment of dread, I keep watch on the upper 
rotunda. The noon hour is approaching: the Chaplain 
fumbles with his keys; the door opens, and he trips 
along the ranges. Stealthily I follow him under the 
galleries, pretending to dust the bars. He descends to 
the hall. 

"Good morning. Chaplain," I seek to attract his 
attention, wistfully peering at the mail in his hand. 

"Good morning, m' boy. Feeling good to-day?" 

"Thank you; pretty fair." My voice trembles at 
his delay, but I fear betraying my anxiety by renewed 
questioning. 

He passes me, and I feel sick with disappointment. 
Now he pauses. "Aleck," he calls, "I mislaid a letter 
for you yesterday. Here it is." 

With shaking hand I unfold the sheet. In a 
fever of hope and fear, I pore over it in the soli- 
tude of the cell. My heart palpitates violently as I 
scan each word and letter, seeking hidden meaning, 
analyzing every flourish and dash, carefully distilling 
the minute lines, fusing the significant dots into the struc- 
ture of meaning. Glorious ! A house has been rented 
— 28 Sterling Street — almost opposite the gate of the 
south wall. Funds are on hand, work is to begin at 
once! 

With nimble step I walk the range. The river 
wafts sweet fragrance to my cell, the joy of spring is 
in my heart. Every hour brings me nearer to liberty: 
the faithful comrades are steadily working under- 
ground. Perhaps within a month, or two at most, the 
tunnel will be completed. I count the days, crossing 



Z7^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

off each morning the date on my calendar. The news 
from Tony is cheerful, encouraging: the work is pro- 
gressing smoothly, the prospects of success are splen- 
did. I grow merry at the efforts of uninitiated friends 
in New York to carry out the suggestions of the 
attorneys to apply to the Superior Court of the State 
for a writ, on the ground of the unconstitutionality 
of my sentence. I consult gravely with Mr. Milligan 
upon the advisability of the step, the amiable Chap- 
lain affording me the opportunity of an extra allowance 
of letter paper. I thank my comrades for their efforts, 
and urge the necessity of collecting funds for the 
appeal to the upper court. Repeatedly I ask the advice 
of the Chaplain in the legal matter, confident that my 
apparent enthusiasm will reach the ears of the War- 
den: the artifice will mask my secret project and lull 
suspicion. My official letters breathe assurance of suc- 
cess, and with much show of confidence I impress 
upon the trusties my sanguine expectation of release. 
I discuss the subject with officers and stools, till pres- 
ently the prison is agog with the prospective liberation 
of its fourth oldest inmate. The solitaries charge me 
with messages to friends, and the Deputy Warden 
offers advice on behavior beyond the walls. The 
moment is propitious for a bold stroke. Confined 
to the cell-house, I shall be unable to reach the tunnel. 
The privilege of the yard is imperative. 

It is June. Unfledged birdies frequently fall from 
their nests, and I induce the kindly runner, "Southside" 
Johnny, to procure for me a brace of sparlings. I 
christen the little orphans Dick and Sis, and the 
memory of my previous birds is revived among inmates 
and officers. Old Mitchell is in ecstasy over the 
intelligence and adaptability of my new feathered 
friends. But the birds languish and waste in the close 



AN ALLIANCE V/ITH THE BIRDS 373 

air of the block; they need sunshine and gravel, and 
the dusty street to bathe in. Gradually I enlist the 
sympathies of the new doctor by the curious per- 
formances of my pets. One day the Warden strolls 
in, and joins in admiration of the wonderful birds. 

"Who trained them?" he inquires. 

"This man," the physician indicates me. A slight 
frown flits over the Warden's face. Old Mitchell winks 
at me, encouragingly. 

"Captain," I approach the Warden, "the birds are 
sickly for lack of air. Will you permit me to give 
them an airing in the yard?" 

"Why don't you let them go? You have no per- 
mission to keep them." 

"Oh, it would be a pity to throw them out," the 
doctor intercedes. "They are too tame to take care 
of themselves." 

"Well, then," the Warden decides, "let Jasper take 
them out every day." 

"They will not go with any one except myself," I 
inform him. "They follow me everywhere." 

The Warden hesitates. 

"Why not let Berkman go out with them for a 
few moments," the doctor suggests. "I hear you expect 
to be free soon," he remarks to me casually. "Your 
case is up for revision?" 

"Yes." 

"Well, Berkman," the Warden motions to me, "I 
will permit you ten minutes in the yard, after your 
sweeping is done. What time are you through with it?" 

"At 9.30 A. M." 

"Mr. Mitchell, every morning, at 9.30, you will 
pass Berkman through the doors. For ten minutes. 



374 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

on the watch." Then turning to me, he adds: "You 
are to stay near the greenhouse; there is plenty of 
sand there. If you cross the dead line of the side- 
walk, or exceed your time a single minute, you will 
be punished." 



■^1. 



CHAPTER XXXVI 

THE UNDERGROUND 

May 10, 1900. 
My Dear Tony: 

Your letters intoxicate me with hope and joy. No 
sooner have I sipped the rich aroma than I am athirst for 
more nectar. Write often, dear friend; it is the only solace 
of suspense. 

Do not worry about this end of the line. All is well. 
By stratagem I have at last procured the privilege of the 
yard. Only for a few minutes every morning, but I am 
judiciously extending my prescribed time and area. The 
prospects are bright here; every one talks of my applica- 
tion to the Superior Court, and peace reigns — ^you under- 
stand. 

A pity I cannot write directly to my dear, faithful com- 
rades, your coworkers. You shall be the medium. Transmit 
to them my deepest appreciation. Tell "Yankee" and 
"Ibsen" and our Italian comrades what I feel — I know I 
need not explain it further to you. No one realizes better 
than myself the terrible risks they are taking, the fearful toil 
in silence and darkness, almost within hearing of the guards. 
The danger, the heroic self-sacrifice — what money could buy 
such devotion? I grow faint with the thought of their peril. 
I could almost cry at the beautiful demonstration of soli- 
darity and friendship. Dear comrades, I feel proud of you, 
and proud of the great truth of Anarchism that can pro- 
duce such disciples, such spirit. I embrace you, my noble 
comrades, and may you speed the day that will make me 
happy with the sight of your faces, the touch of your hands. 

A. 



375 



37^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

June 5. 
Dear Tony: 

Your silence was unbearable. The suspense is terrible. 
Was it really necessary to halt operations so long? I 
am surprised you did not foresee the shortage of air and 
the lack of light. You would have saved so much time. 
It is a great relief to know that the v/ork is progressing 
again, and very fortunate indeed that "Yankee" understands 
electricity. It must be hellish work to pump air into the 
shaft Take precautions against the whir of the machinery. 
The piano idea is great. Keep her playing and singing as 
much as possible, and be sure you have all windows open. 
The beasts on the wall will be soothed by the music, and 
it will drown the noises underground. Have an electric but- 
ton connected from the piano to the shaft; when the player 
sees anything suspicious on the street or the guards on the 
wall, she can at once notify the comrades to stop work. 

I am enclosing the wall and yard measurements you 
asked. But why do you need them? Don't bother with 
unnecessary things. From house beneath the street, directly 
toward the southwestern wall. For that you can procure 
measurements outside. On the inside you require none. 
Go under wall, about 20-30 feet, till you strike wall of 
blind alley. Cut into it, and all will be complete. Write 
of progress without delay. Greetings to all. 

A. 



June 20. 
Tony: 

Your letters bewilder me. Why has the route been 
changed? You were to go to southwest, yet you say now 
you are near the east wall. It's simply incredible, Tony. 
Your explanation is not convincing. If you found a gas 
main near the gate, you could have gone around it; besides, 
the gate is out of your way anyhow. Why did you take 
that direction at all? I wish, Tony, you would follow my 
instructions and the original plan. Your failure to report the 
change immediately, may prove fatal. I could have informed 
you — once you were near the southeastern gate — to go 



THE UNDERGROUND 377 

directly underneath ; then you would have saved digging 
under the wall; there is no stone foundation, of course, 
beneath the gate. Now that you have turned the south- 
east corner, you will have to come under the wall there, 
and it is the worst possible place, because that particular 
part used to be a swamp, and I have learned that it was 
filled with extra masonry. Another point; an old aban- 
doned natural-gas well is somewhere under the east wall, 
about 300 feet from the gate. Tell our friends to be on 
the lookout for fumes; it is a very dangerous place; special 
precautions must be taken. 

Do not mind my brusqueness, dear Tony. My nerves 
are on edge, the suspense is driving me mad. And I must 
mask my feelings, and smile and look indifferent. But I 
haven't a moment's peace. I imagine the most terrible 
things when you fail to write. Please be more punctual. 
I know you have your hands full; but I fear I'll go insane 
before this thing is over. Tell me especially how far you 
intend going along the east wall, and where you'll come out. 
This complicates the matter. You have already gone a 
longer distance than would have been necessary per original 
plan. It was a grave mistake, and if you were not such 
a devoted friend, I'd feel very cross with you. Write at 
once. I am arranging a new sub rosa route. They are 
building in the yard; many outside drivers, you understand. 

A. 



Dear Tony: 

I'm in great haste to send this. You know the shed 
opposite the east wall. It has only a wooden floor and is not 
frequented much by officers. A few cons are there, from 
the stone pile. I'll attend to them. Make directly for that 
shed. It's a short distance from wall. I enclose measure- 
ments. 

A. 



Tony: 

You distract me beyond words. What has become of 
your caution, your judgment? A hole in the grass will not 



378 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

do. I am absolutely opposed to it. There are a score of 
men on the stone pile and several screws. It is sure to be 
discovered. And even if you leave the upper crust intact 
for a foot or two, how am I to dive into the hole in the pres- 
ence of so many? You don't seem to have considered that. 
There is only one way, the one I explained in my last. Go 
to the shed ; it's only a little more work, 30-40 feet, no more. 
Tell the comrades the grass idea is impossible. A little 
more effort, friends, and all will be well. Answer at once. 

A. 



Dear Tony: 

Why do you insist on the hole in the ground? I tell 
you again it will not do. I won't consider it for a moment 
I am on the inside — you must let me decide what can or 
cannot be done here. I am prepared to risk everything for 
liberty, would risk my life a thousand times. I am too 
desperate now for any one to block my escape; I'd break 
through a wall of guards, if necessary. But I still have a 
little judgment, though I am almost insane with the sus- 
pense and anxiety. If you insist on the hole, I'll make the 
break, though there is not one chance in a hundred for suc- 
cess. I beg of you, Tony, the thing must be dug to the 
shed; it's only a little way. After such a tremendous effort, 
can we jeopardize it all so lightly? I assure you, the suc- 
cess of the hole plan is unthinkable. They'd all see me go 
down into it'; I'd be followed at once — what's the use talk- 
ing. 

Besides, you know I have no revolvers. Of course 
I'll have a weapon, but it will not help the escape. Another 
thing, your change of plans has forced me to get an assist- 
ant. The man is reliable, and I have only confided to him 
parts of the project. I need him to investigate around the 
shed, take measurements, etc. I am not permitted anywhere 
near the wall. But you need not trouble about this; I'll be 
responsible for my friend. But I tell you about it, so that 
you prepare two pair of overalls instead of one. Also 
leave two revolvers in the house, money, and cipher direc- 
tions for us where to go. None of our comrades is to wait 



THE UNDERGROUND 379 

for us. Let them all leave as soon as everything is ready. 
But be sure you don't stop at the hole. Go to the shed, 
absolutely. 

A. 



Tony: 

The hole will not do. The more I think of it, the more 
impossible I find it. I am sending an urgent call for money 
to the Editor. You know whom I mean. Get in communi- 
cation with him at once. Use the money to continue work 
to shed. 

A. 



Direct to Box A 7, 
Allegheny City, Pa., 
June 25, 1900. 
Dear Comrade: 

The Chaplain was very kind to permit me an extra sheet of 
paper, on urgent business. I write to you in a very great ex- 
tremity. You are aware of the efforts of my friends to appeal 
my case. Read carefully, please. I have lost faith in their at- 
torneys. I have engaged my own "lawyers." Lawyers in quota- 
tion marks — a prison joke, you see. I have utmost confidence 
in these lawyers. They will, absolutely, procure my release, 
even if it is not a pardon, you understand. I mean, we'll go to 
the Superior Court, different from a Pardon Board — another 
prison joke. 

My friends are short of money. We need some at once. 
The work is started, but cannot be finished for lack of funds. 
Mark well what I say : I'll not he responsible for anything — the 
worst may happen — unless money is procured at once. You 
have influence. I rely on you to understand and to act promptly. 
Your comrade, 

Alexander Berkman. 



380 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

My Poor Tony : 

I can see how this thing has gone on your nerves. To 
think that you, you the cautious Tony, should be so reck- 
less — to send me a telegram. You could have ruined the 
whole thing. I had trouble explaining to the Chaplain, but 
it's all right now. Of course, if it must be the hole, it 
can't be helped. I understood the meaning of your wire: 
from the seventh bar on the east wall, ten feet to west. 
We'll be there on the minute — 3 P. M. But July 4th won't 
do. It's a holiday: no work; my friend will be locked up. 
Can't leave him in the lurch. It will have to be next day, 
July 5th. It's only three days more. I wish it was over; I 
can't bear the worry and suspense any more. May it be my 
Independence Day! 

A. 



July 6. 
Tony : 

It's terrible. It's all over. Couldn't make it. Went 
there on time, but found a big pile of stone and brick right 
on top of the spot. Impossible to do anything. I warned 
you they were building near there. I was seen at the wall — 
am now strictly forbidden to leave the cell-house. But my 
friend has been there a dozen times since — the hole can't 
be reached: a mountain of stone hides it. It won't be dis- 
covered for a little while. Telegraph at once to New York 
for more money. You must continue to the shed. I can 
force my way there, if need be. It's the only hope. Don't 
lose a minute. 

A. 



July 13. 
Tony: 

A hundred dollars was sent to the office for me from 
New York. I told Chaplain it is for my appeal. I am send- 
ing the money to you. Have work continued at once. There 



THE UNDERGROUND 381 

IS still hope. Nothing suspected. But the wire that you 
pushed through the grass to indicate the spot, was not found 
by my friend. Too much stone over it. Go to shed at 
once. 

A. 



July 16. 
Tunnel discovered. Lose no time. Leave the city 
immediately. I am locked up on suspicion. 



CHAPTER XXXVII 

ANXIOUS DAYS 

The discovery of the tunnel overwhelms me with 
the violence of an avalanche. The plan of continuing 
the work, the trembling hope of escape, of liberty, life 
— all is suddenly terminated. My nerves, tense with 
the months of suspense and anxiety, relax abruptly. 
With torpid brain I wonder, "Is it possible, is it really 
possible ?" 

An air of uneasiness, as of lurking danger, fills 
the prison. Vague rumors are afloat: a wholesale jail 
delivery had been planned, the walls were to be 
dynamited, the guards killed. An escape has actually 
taken place, it is whispered about. The Warden wears 
a look of bewilderment and fear; the officers are alert 
with suspicion. The inmates manifest disappointment 
and nervous impatience. The routine is violently dis- 
turbed : the shops are closed, the men locked in the cells. 

The discovery of the tunnel mystifies the prison and 
the city authorities. Some children, at play on the 
street, had accidentally wandered into the yard of the 
deserted house opposite the prison gates. The piles 
of freshly dug soil attracted their attention; a boy,, 
stumbling into the cellar, was frightened by the 
sight of the deep cavern; his mother notified the agent 
of the house, who, by a peculiar coincidence, proved 
to be an officer of the penitentiary. But in vain are 
the eflForts of the prison authorities to discover any 
sign of the tunnel within the walls. Days pass in the 
fruitless investigation of the yard — the outlet of the 

?:o2 



ANXIOUS DAYS 3^3 

tunnel within the prison cannot be found. Perhaps the 
underground passage does not extend to the peni- 
tentiary? The Warden voices his firm conviction that 
the walls have not been penetrated. Evidently it was 
not the prison, he argues, which was the objective 
point of the diggers. The authorities of the City of 
Allegheny decide to investigate the passage from the 
house on Sterling Street. But the men that essay to 
crawl through the narrow tunnel are forced to abandon 
their mission, driven back by the fumes of escaping 
gas. It is suggested "that the unknown diggers, what- 
ever their purpose, have been trapped in the aban- 
doned gas well and perished before the arrival of aid. 
The fearful stench no doubt indicates the decomposi- 
tion of human bodies; the terrible accident has forced 
the inmates of 28 Sterling Street to suspend their 
efforts before completing the work. The condition 
of the house — the half -eaten meal on the table, the 
clothing scattered about the rooms, the general dis- 
order — all seem to point to precipitate flight. 

The persistence of the assertion of a fatal acci- 
dent disquiets me, in spite of my knowledge to the 
contrary. Yet, perhaps the reckless Tony, in his 
endeavor to force the wire signal through the upper 
crust, perished in the well. The thought unnerves me 
with horror, till it is announced that a negro, whom 
the police had induced to crawl the length of the 
tunnel, brought positive assurance that no life was 
sacrificed in the underground work. Still the prison 
authorities are unable to find the objective point, and 
it is finally decided to tear up the streets beneath 
which the tunnel winds its mysterious way. 

The undermined place inside the walls at last being 
discovered after a week of digging at various points in 



384 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

the yard, the Warden reluctantly admits the apparent 
purpose of the tunnel, at the same time informing 
the press that the evident design was the liberation of 
the Anarchist prisoner. He corroborates his view by 
the circumstance that I had been reported for unper- 
mitted presence at the east wall, pretending to collect 
gravel for my birds. Assistant Deputy Warden Hop- 
kins further asserts having seen and talked with Carl 
Nold near the "criminal" house, a short time before the 
discovery of the tunnel. The developments, fraught 
with danger to my friends, greatly alarm me. Fortu- 
nately, no clew can be found in the house, save a note 
in cipher which apparently defies the skill of experts. 
The Warden, on his Sunday rounds, passes my cell, 
then turns as if suddenly recollecting something. "Here, 
Berkman," he says blandly, producing a paper, "the 
press is offering a considerable reward to any one 
who will decipher the note found in the Sterling Street 
house. It's reproduced here. See if you can't make 
it out." I scan the paper carefully, quickly reading 
Tony's directions for my movements after the escape. 
Then, returning the paper, I remark indifferently, 
"I can read several languages, Captain, but this is be- 
yond me." 

The police and detective bureaus of the twin cities 
make the announcement that a thorough investigation 
conclusively demonstrates that the tunnel was intended 
for William Boyd, a prisoner serving twelve years for 
a series of daring forgeries. His "pals" had succeeded 
in clearing fifty thousand dollars on forged bonds, and 
it is they who did the wonderful feat underground, 
to secure the liberty of the valuable penman. The 
controversy between the authorities of Allegheny and 
the management of the prison is full of animosity 
and bitterness. Wardens of prisons, chiefs of police, 



ANXIOUS DAYS 3^5 

and detective departments of various cities are con- 
sulted upon the mystery of the ingenious diggers, and 
the discussion in the press waxes warm and antago- 
nistic. Presently the chief of police of Allegheny suf- 
fers a change of heart, and sides with the Warden, as 
against his personal enemy, the head of the Pittsburgh 
detective bureau. The confusion of published views, and 
my persistent denial of complicity in the tunnel, cause 
the much- worried Warden to fluctuate. A number of 
men are made the victims of his mental uncertainty. 
Following my exile into solitary, Pat McGraw is locked 
up as a possible beneficiary of the planned escape. In 
1890 he had slipped through the roof of the prison, 
the Warden argues, and it is therefore reasonable to 
assume that the man is meditating another delivery. 
Jack Robinson, Cronin, "Nan," and a score of others, 
are in turn suspected by Captain Wright, and ordered 
locked up during the preliminary investigation. But 
because of absolute lack of clews the prisoners are 
presently returned to work, and the number of ''sus- 
pects" is reduced to myself and Boyd, the Warden 
having discovered that the latter had recently made an -; 

attempt to escape by forcing an entry into the cupola 
of the shop he was employed in, only to find the place 
useless for his purpose. 

A process of elimination and the espionage of the  

trusties gradually center exclusive suspicion upon my- 
self. In surprise I learn that young Russell has been 
cited before the Captain. The fear of indiscretion 
on the part of the boy startles me from my torpor. I \ 

must employ every device to confound the authorities ] 

and save my friends. Fortunately none of the tunnelers | 

have yet been arrested, the controversy between the I 

city officials and the prison management having favored 
inaction. My comrades cannot be jeopardized by Rus- 



386 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

sell. His information is limited to the mere knowledge 
of the specific person for whom the tunnel was in- 
tended; the names of my friends are entirely unfamiliar 
to him. My heart goes out to the young prisoner, 
as I reflect that never once had he manifested curi- 
osity concerning the men at the secret work. Des- 
perate with confinement, and passionately yearning for 
liberty though he was, he had yet offered to sacrifice his 
longings to aid my escape. How transported with 
joy was the generous youth when I resolved to share 
my opportunity with him! He had given faithful 
service in attempting to locate the tunnel entrance; the 
poor boy had been quite distracted at our failure to 
find the spot. I feel confident Russell will not betray 
the secret in his keeping. Yet the persistent question- 
ing by the Warden and Inspectors is perceptibly work- 
ing on the boy's mind. He is so young and inex- 
perienced — ^barely nineteen; a slip of the tongue, an 
inadvertent remark, might convert suspicion into con- 
viction. 

Every day Russell is called to the office, causing 
me torments of apprehension and dread, till a glance 
at the returning prisoner, smiling encouragingly as he 
passes my cell, informs me that the danger is past for 
the day. With a deep pang, I observe the increasing 
pallor of his face, the growing restlessness in his eyes, 
the languid step. The continuous inquisition is break- 
ing him down. With quivering voice he whispers as 
he passes, "Aleck, I'm afraid of them." The Warden 
has threatened him, he informs me, if he persists in 
his pretended ignorance of the tunnel. His friendship 
for me is well known, the Warden reasons; we have 
often been seen together in the cell-house and yard; 
I must surely have confided to Russell my plans of 
escape. The big, strapping youth is dwindling to a 



ANXIOUS DAYS 3^7 

shadow under the terrible strain. Dear, faithful friend! 
How guilty I feel toward you, how torn in my inmost 
heart to have suspected your devotion, even for that 
brief instant when, in a panic of fear, you had denied 
to the Warden all knowledge of the slip of paper 
found in your cell. It cast suspicion upon me as the 
writer of the strange Jewish scrawl. The Warden 
scorned my explanation that Russell's desire to learn 
Hebrew was the sole reason for my writing the alpha- 
bet for him. The mutual denial seemed to point to 
some secret ; the scrawl was similar to the cipher note 
found in the Sterling Street house, the Warden in- 
sisted. How strange that I should have so success- 
fully confounded the Inspectors with the contradictory 
testimony regarding the tunnel, that they returned me 
to my position on the range. And yet the insignificant 
incident of Russell's hieroglyphic imitation of the 
Hebrew alphabet should have given the Warden a pre- 
text to order me into solitary! .How distracted and 
bitter I must have felt to charge the boy with treachery ! 
His very reticence strengthened my suspicion, and all 
the while the tears welled into his throat, choking the 
innocent lad beyond speech. How little I suspected 
the terrible wound my hasty imputation had caused 
my devoted friend! In silence he suffered for months, 
without opportunity to explain, when at last, by mere 
accident, I learned the fatal mistake. 

In vain I strive to direct my thoughts into different 
channels. My misunderstanding of Russell plagues me 
with recurring persistence; the unjust accusation tor- 
ments my sleepless nights. It was a moment of intense 
joy that I experienced as I humbly begged his pardon 
to-day, when I met him in the Captain's office. A deep 
sense of relief, almost of peace, filled me at his unhesi- 
tating, "Oh, never mind, Aleck, it's all right; we were 



388 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

both excited." I was overcome by thankfulness and ad- 
miration of the noble boy, and the next instant the sight 
of his wan face, his wasted form, pierced me as with 
a knife-thrust; With the earnest conviction of strong 
faith I sought to explain to the Board of Inspectors 
the unfortunate error regarding the Jewish writing. 
But they smiled doubtfully. It was too late: their 
opinion of a prearranged agreement with Russell was 
settled. But the testimony of Assistant Deputy Hop- 
kins that he had seen and conversed with Nold a few 
weeks before the discovery of the tunnel, and that 
he saw him enter the "criminal" house, afforded me 
an opportunity to divide the views among the Inspec- 
tors. I experienced little difficulty in convincing two 
members of the Board that Nold could not possibly 
have been connected with the tunnel, because for almost 
a year previously, and since, he had been in the employ 
of a St. Louis firm. They accepted my offer to prove 
by the official time-tables of the company that Nold 
was in St. Louis on the very day that Hopkins claimed 
to have spoken with him. The fortunate and very 
natural error of Hopkins in mistaking the similar ap- 
pearance of Tony for that of Carl, enabled me to dis- 
credit the chief link connecting my friends with the 
tunnel. The diverging views of the police officials of 
the twin cities still further confounded the Inspectors, 
and I was gravely informed by them that the charge 
of attempted escape against me had not been conclu- 
sively substantiated. They ordered my reinstatement 
as rangeman, but the Captain, on learning the verdict, 
at once charged me before the Board with conducting 
a secret correspondence with Russell. On the pretext 
of the alleged Hebrew note, the Inspectors confirmed 
the Warden's judgment, and I was sentenced to the 
solitary and immediately locked up in the South Wing. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII 
•HOW MEN THEIR BROTHERS MAIM' 



The solitary is stifling with the August heat. The 
hall windows, high above the floor, cast a sickly light, 
shrouding the bottom range in darksome gloom. At 
every point, my gaze meets the irritating white of the 
walls, in spots yellow with damp. The long days are 
oppressive with silence; the stone cage echoes my 
languid footsteps mournfully. 

Once more I feel cast into the night, torn from 
the midst of the living. The failure of the tunnel for- 
ever excludes the hope of liberty. Terrified by the 
possibilities of the planned escape, the Warden's de- 
termination dooms my fate. I shall end my days in 
strictest seclusion, he has informed me. Severe pun- 
ishment is visited upon any one daring to converse 
with me; even officers are forbidden to pause at my 
cell. Old Evans, the night guard, is afraid even to 
answer my greeting, since he was disciplined with the 
loss of ten days* pay for being seen at my door. It 
was not his fault, poor old man. The night was sul- 
try ; the sashes of the hall window opposite my cell were 
tightly closed. Almost suffocated with the foul air, I 
requested the passing Evans to raise the window. It 
had been ordered shut by the Warden, he informed me. 
As he turned to leave, three sharp raps on the bars of 

389 



390 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

the upper rotunda almost rooted him to the spot with 
amazement. It was 2 a. m. No one was supposed to 
be there at night. ''Come here, Evans!" I recognized 
the curt tones of the Warden. "What business have you 
at that man's door?" I could distinctly hear each word, 
cutting the stillness of the night. In vain the frightened 
officer sought to explain : he had merely answered a ques- 
tion, he had stopped but a moment. "I've been watching 
you there for half an hour," the irate Warden insisted. 
"Report to me in the morning." 

Since then the guards on their rounds merely 
glance between the bars, and pass on in silence. I have 
been removed within closer observation of the nightly 
prowling Captain, and am now located near the ro- 
tunda, in the second cell on the ground floor, Range Y. 
The stringent orders of exceptional surveillance have 
so terrorized my friends that they do not venture 
to look in my direction. A special ofiicer has been 
assigned to the vicinity of my door, his sole duty to 
keep me under observation. I feel buried alive. Com- 
munication with my comrades has been interrupted, 
the Warden detaining my mail. I am deprived of books 
and papers, all my privileges curtailed. If only I had 
my birds! The company of my little pets would give 
me consolation. But they have been taken from me, 
and I fear the guards have killed them. Deprived of 
work and exercise I pass the days in the solitary, 
monotonous, interminable. 

II 

By degrees anxiety over my friends is allayed. 
The mystery of the tunnel remains unsolved. The 
Warden reiterates his moral certainty that the under- 
ground passage was intended for the liberation of the 



"HOW MEN THEIR BROTHERS MAIM" 391 

Anarchist prisoner. The views of the police and 
detective officials of the twin cities are hopelessly- 
divergent. Each side asserts thorough familiarity with 
the case, and positive conviction regarding the guilty 
parties. But the alleged clews proving misleading, the 
matter is finally abandoned. The passage has been 
filled with cement, and the official investigation is 
terminated. 

The safety of my comrades sheds a ray of light 
into the darkness of my existence. It is consoling to 
reflect that, disastrous as the failure is to myself, my 
friends will not be made victims of my longing for 
liberty. At no time since the discovery of the tunnel 
has suspicion been directed to the right persons. The 
narrow official horizon does not extend beyond the 
familiar names of the Girl, Nold, and Bauer. These 
have been pointed at by the accusing finger repeatedly, 
but the men actually concerned in the secret attempt 
have not even been mentioned. No danger threatens 
them from the failure of my plans. In a communication 
to a local newspaper, Nold has incontrovertibly proved his 
continuous residence in St. Louis for a period covering a 
year previous to the tunnel and afterwards. Bauer 
has recently married; at no time have the police been 
in ignorance of his whereabouts, and they are aware 
that my former fellow-prisoner is to be discounted as 
a participator in the attempted escape. Indeed, the prison 
officials must have learned from my mail that the big 
German is regarded by my friends as an ex-comrade 
merely. But the suspicion of the authorities directed 
toward the Girl — with a pang of bitterness, I think of 
her unfortunate absence from the country during the 
momentous period of the underground work. With 
resentment I reflect that but for that I might now be 
at liberty 1 Her skill as an organizer, her growing 



/ 



392 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

influence in the movement, her energy and devotion, 
would have assured the success of the undertaking. But 
Tony's unaccountable delay had resulted in her departure 
without learning of my plans. It is to him, to his ob- 
stinacy and conceit, that the failure of the project is 
mostly due, staunch and faithful though he is. 

In turn I lay the responsibility at the door of this 
friend and that, lashing myself into furious rage at the 
renegade who had appropriated a considerable sum of the 
money intended for the continuation of the underground 
work. Yet the outbursts of passion spent, I strive 
j to find consolation in the correctness of the intuitive 
I judgment that prompted the selection of my "lawyers," 
the devoted comrades who so heroically toiled for my 
sake in the bowels of the earth. Half-naked they had 
labored through the weary days and nights, stretched 
at full length in the narrow passage, their bodies per- 
\ spiring and chilled in turn, their hands bleeding with 
\ the terrible toil. And through the weeks and months 
of nerve-racking work and confinement in the tunnel, 
of constant dread of detection and anxiety over the 
result, my comrades had uttered no word of doubt or 
fear, in full reliance upon their invisible friend. What 
self-sacrifice in behalf of one whom some of you had 
never even known ! Dear, beloved comrades, had you 
succeeded, my life could never repay your almost super- 
human efforts and love. Only the future years of active 
devotion to our great common Cause could in a measure 
express my thankfulness and pride in you, whoever, 
wherever you are. Nor were your heroism, your 
skill and indomitable perseverance, without avail. 
You have given an invaluable demonstration of the 
elemental reality of the Ideal, of the marvelous strength 
and courage born of solidaric purpose, of the heights 
devotion to a great Cause can ascend. And the lesson 



"HOW MEN THEIR BROTHERS MAIM'* 393 

has not been lost. Almost unanimous is the voice 
of the press — only Anarchists could have achieved the 
wonderful feat! 

The subject of the tunnel fascinates my mind. How 
little thought I had given to my comrades, toiling under- 
ground, in the anxious days of my own apprehension 
and suspense! With increasing vividness I visualize 
their trepidation, the constant fear of discovery, the 
herculean efforts in spite of ever-present danger. How 
terrible must have been their despair at the inability 
to continue the work to a successful termination! . . . 

My reflections fill me with renewed strength. I 
must live! I must live to meet those heroic men, to 
take them by the hand, and with silent lips pour my 
heart into their eyes. I shall be proud of their com- 
radeship, and strive to be worthy of it. 

Ill 

The lines form in the hallway, and silently march 
to the shops. I peer through the bars, for the sight 
of a familiar face brings cheer, and the memory of 
the days on the range. Many friends, unseen for years, 
pass by my cell. How Big Jack has wasted! The 
deep chest is sunk in, the face drawn and yellow, with 
reddish spots about the cheekbones. Poor Jack, so 
strong and energetic, how languid and weak his step is 
now! And Jimmy is all broken up with rheumatism, 
and hops on crutches. With difficulty I recognize Harry 
Fisher. The two years have completely changed the 
young Morganza boy. He looks old at seventeen, the 
rosy cheeks a ghastly white, the delicate features immo- 
bile, hard, the large bright eyes dull and glassy. Vividly 
my friends stand before me in the youth and strength of 



394 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

their first arrival. How changed their appearance ! My 
poor chums, readers of the Prison Blossoms, helpers in 
our investigation efforts, what wrecks the torture of hell 
has made of you! I recall with sadness the first years 
of my imprisonment, and my coldly impersonal valuation 
of social victims. There is Evans, the aged burglar, 
smiling furtively at me from the line. Far in the dis- 
tance seems the day when I read his marginal note upon 
a magazine article I sent him, concerning the stupendous 
cost of crime. I had felt quite piqued at the flippancy of 
his comment, "We come high, but they must have us." 
With the severe intellectuality of revolutionary tradi- 
tion, I thought of him and his kind as inevitable fungus 
growths, the rotten fruit of a decaying society. Un- 
fortunate derelicts, indeed, yet parasites, almost devoid 
of humanity. But the threads of comradeship have 
slowly been woven by common misery. The touch of 
sympathy has discovered the man beneath the criminal; 
the crust of sullen suspicion has melted at the breath of 
kindness, warming into view the palpitating human heart. 
Old Evans and Sammy and Bob, — what suffering and 
pain must have chilled their fiery souls with the winter 
of savage bitterness! And the resurrection trembles 
within ! How terrible man's ignorance, that forever con- 
demns itself to be scourged by its own blind fury ! And 
these my friends, Davis and Russell, these innocently 
guilty, — what worse punishment could society inflict upon 
itself, than the loss of their latent nobility which it had 
killed? . . . Not entirely in vain are the years of suffer- 
ing that have wakened my kinship with the humanity 
of les miseraUes, whom social stupidity has cast into the 
valley of death. 



CHAPTER XXXIX 
A NEW PLAN OF ESCAPE 



My new neighbor turns my thoughts into a different 
channel. It is "Fighting" Tom, returned after several 
years of absence. By means of a string attached to a 
wire we ''swing" notes to each other at night, and Tom 
startles me by the confession that he was the author of 
the mysterious note I had received soon after my arrival 
in the penitentiary. An escape was being planned, he 
informs me, and I was to be "let in," by his recom- 
mendation. But one of the conspirators getting "cold 
feet," the plot was betrayed to the Warden, whereupon 
Tom "sent the snitch to the hospital." As a result, how- 
ever, he was kept in solitary till his release. In the 
prison he had become proficient as a broom-maker, and 
it was his intention to follow the trade. There was noth- 
ing in the crooked line, he thought; and he resolved to 
be honest. But on the day of his discharge he was 
arrested at the gate by officers from Illinois on an old 
charge. He swore vengeance against Assistant Deputy 
Hopkins, before whom he had once accidentally let drop 
the remark that he would never return to Illinois, be- 
cause he was "wanted" there. He lived the five years in 
the Joliet prison in the sole hope of "getting square" 
with the man who had so meanly betrayed him. Upon 
his release, he returned to Pittsburgh, determined to 

395 



30 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

kill Hopkins. On the night of his arrival he broke into 
the latter's residence, prepared to avenge his wrongs. 
But the Assistant Deputy had left the previous day on 
his vacation. Furious at being baffled, Tom was about 
to set fire to the house, when the light of his match fell 
upon a silver trinket on the bureau of the bedroom. It 
fascinated him. He could not take his eyes off it. Sud- 
denly he was seized with the desire to examine the con- 
tents of the house. The old passion was upon him. He 
could not resist. Hardly conscious of his actions, he 
gathered the silverware into a tablecloth, and quietly 
stole out of the house. He was arrested the next day, 
as he was trying to pawn his booty. An old offender, 
he received a sentence of ten years. Since his arrival, 
eight months ago, he has been kept in solitary. His 
health is broken; he has no hope of surviving his sen- 
tence. But if he is to die — he swears — he is going to 
take "his man" along. 

Aware of the determination of "Fighting" Tom, I 
realize that the safety of the hated officer is conditioned 
by Tom's lack of opportunity to carry out his revenge. I 
feel little sympathy for Hopkins, whose craftiness in 
worming out the secrets of prisoners has placed him on 
the pay-roll of the Pinkerton agency; but I exert myself 
to persuade Tom that it would be sheer insanity thus 
deliberately to put his head in the noose. He is still a 
young man; barely thirty. It is not worth while sacri- 
ficing his life for a sneak of a guard. 

However, Tom remains stubborn. My arguments 
seem merely to rouse his resistance, and strengthen his 
resolution. But closer acquaintance reveals to me his 
exceeding conceit over his art and technic, as a second- 
story expert. I play upon his vanity, scoffing at the 
crudity of his plans of revenge. Would it not be more 
in conformity with his reputation as a skilled "gun," I 



A NEW PLAN OF ESCAPE 397 

argue, to "do the job" in a "smoother" manner? Tom 
assumes a skeptical attitude, but by degrees grows more 
interested. Presently, with unexpected enthusiasm, he 
warms to the suggestion of "a break." Once outside, 
well— "I'll get 'im all right," he chuckles. 



II 



The plan of escape completely absorbs us. On alter- 
nate nights we take turns in timing the rounds of the 
guards, the appearance of the Night Captain, the opening 
of the rotunda door. Numerous details, seemingly in- 
significant, yet potentially fatal, are to be mastered. 
Many obstacles bar the way of success, but time and 
perseverance will surmount them. Tom is thoroughly 
engrossed with the project. I realize the desperation of 
the undertaking, but the sole alternative is slow death in 
the solitary. It is the last resort. 

With utmost care we make our preparations. The 
summer is long past; the dense fogs of the season will 
aid our escape. We hasten to complete all details, in 
great nervous tension with the excitement of the work. 
The time is drawing near for deciding upon a definite 
date. But Tom's state of mind fills me with apprehen- 
sion. He has become taciturn of late. Yesterday he 
seemed peculiarly glum, sullenly refusing to answer my 
signal. Again and again I knock on the wall, calling for 
a reply to my last note. Tom remains silent. Occa- 
sionally a heavy groan issues from his cell, but my re- 
peated signals remain unanswered. In alarm I stay 
awake all night, in the hope of inducing a guard to in- 
vestigate the cause of the groaning. But my attempts 
to speak to the officers are ignored. The next morning 
I behold Tom carried on a stretcher from his cell, and 



398 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

learn with horror that he had bled to death during the 
night. 

Ill 

The peculiar death of my friend preys on my mind. 
Was it suicide or accident? Tom had been weakened by 
long confinement ; in some manner he may have ruptured 
a blood vessel, dying for lack of medical aid. It is hardly 
probable that he would commit suicide on the eve of our 
attempt. Yet certain references in his notes of late, 
ignored at the time, assume new significance. He was 
apparently under the delusion that Hopkins was "after 
him." Once or twice my friend had expressed fear for 
his safety. He might be poisoned, he hinted. I had 
laughed the matter away, familiar with the sporadic de- 
lusions of men in solitary. Close confinement exerts a 
similar effect upon the majority of prisoners. Some are 
especially predisposed to auto-suggestion; Young Sid 
used to manifest every symptom of the diseases he read 
about. Perhaps poor Tom's delusion was responsible for 
his death. Spencer, too, had committed suicide a month 
before his release, in the firm conviction that the War- 
den would not permit his discharge. It may be that in a 
sudden fit of despondency, Tom had ended his life. Per- 
haps I could have saved my friend : I did not realize how 
constantly he brooded over the danger he believed him- 
self threatened with. How little I knew of the terrible 
struggle that must have been going on in his tortured 
heart ! Yet we were so intimate ; I believed I understood 
his every feeling and emotion. 

The thought of Tom possesses my mind. The news 
from the Girl about Bresci's execution of the King of 
Italy rouses little interest in me. Bresci avenged the 



i 

I 



A NEW PLAN OF ESCAPE 399 

peasants and the women and children shot before the 
palace for humbly begging bread. He did well, and the 
agitation resulting from his act may advance the Cause. 
But it will have no bearing on my fate. The last hope 
of escape has departed with my poor friend. I am 
doomed to perish here. And Bresci will perish in 
prison, but the comrades will eulogize him and his act, 
and continue their efforts to regenerate the world. Yet 
I feel that the individual, in certain cases, is of more 
direct and immediate consequence than humanity. What 
is the latter but the aggregate of individual existences — 
and shall these, the best of them, forever be sacrificed 
for the metaphysical collectivity? Here, all around me, 
a thousand unfortunates daily suffer the torture of Cal- 
vary, forsaken by God and man. They bleed and 
struggle and suicide, with the desperate cry for a little 
sunshine and life. How shall they be helped? How 
helped amid the injustice and brutality of a society whose 
chief monuments are prisons? And so we must suffer 
and suicide, and countless others after us, till the play of 
social forces shall transform human history into the 
history of true humanity, — and meanwhile our bones 
will bleach on the long, dreary road. 

Bereft of the last hope of freedom, I grow indiffer- 
ent to life. The monotony of the narrow cell daily be- 
comes more loathsome. My whole being longs for rest. 
Rest, no more to awaken. The world will not miss me. 
An atom of matter, I shall return to endless space. 
Everything will pursue its wonted course, but I shall 
know no more of the bitter struggle and strife. My 
friends will sorrow, and yet be glad my pain is over, 
and continue on their way. And new Brescis will arise, 
and more kings will fall, and then all, friend and enemy, 
will go my way, and new generations will be born and 



400 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

die, and humanity and the world be whirled into space 
and disappear, and again the little stage will be set, and 
the same history and the same facts will come and go, 
the playthings of cosmic forces renewing and transform- 
ing forever. 

How insignificant it all is in the eye of reason, how 
small and puny life and all its pain and travail! . . . 
With eyes closed, I behold myself suspended by the 
neck from the upper bars of the cell. My body swings 
gently against the door, striking it softly, once, twice, 
— just like Pasquale, when he hanged himself in the 
cell next to mine, some months ago. A few twitches, 
and the last breath is gone. My face grows livid, my 
body rigid; slowly it cools. The night guard passes. 
"What's this, eh?" He rings the rotunda bell. Keys 
clang; the lever is drawn, and my door unlocked. An 
officer draws a knife sharply across the rope at the 
bars : my body sinks to the floor, my head striking against 
the iron bedstead. The doctor kneels at my side; I feel 
his hand over my heart. Now he rises. 

"Good job, Doc?" I recognize the Deputy's voice. 

The physician nods. 

"Damn glad of it," Hopkins sneers. 

The Warden enters, a grin on his parchment face. 
With an oath I spring to my feet. In terror the officers 
rush from the cell. "Ah, I fooled you, didn't I, you 
murderers !" 



The thought of the enemy's triumph fans the embers 
of life. It engenders defiance, and strengthens stubborn 
resistance. 



CHAPTER XL 
DONE TO DEATH 



In my utter isolation, the world outside appears like a 
faint memory, unreal and dim. The deprivation of 
newspapers has entirely severed me from the living. 
Letters from my comrades have become rare and irregu- 
lar; they sound strangely cold and im.personal. The life 
of the prison is also receding; no communication reaches 
me from my friends. "Pious" John, the rangeman, is 
unsympathetic; he still bears me ill will from the days 
of the jail. Only young Russell still remembers me. I 
tremble for the reckless boy as I hear his low cough, 
apprising me of the "stiff" he unerringly shoots between 
the bars, while the double file of prisoners marches 
past my door. He looks pale and haggard, the old 
buoyant step now languid and heavy. A tone of appre- 
hension pervades his notes. He is constantly harassed 
by the officers, he writes; his task has been increased; 
he is nervous and weak, and his health is declining. In 
the broken sentences, I sense some vague misgiving, as 
of impending calamity. 

With intense thankfulness I think of Russell. Again I 
live through the hopes and fears that drev/ us into closer 
friendship, the days of terrible anxiety incident to the 
tunnel project. My heart goes out to the faithful boy, 
whose loyalty and discretion have so much aided the 

AOl 



402 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

safety of my comrades. A strange longing for his com- 
panionship possesses me. In the gnawing loneliness, his 
face floats before me, casting the spell of a friendly 
presence, his strong features softened by sorrow, his 
eyes grown large with the same sweet sadness of "Little 
Felipe." A peculiar tenderness steals into my thoughts 
of the boy; I look forward eagerly to his notes. Im- 
patiently I scan the faces in the passing line, wistful for 
the sight of the youth, and my heart beats faster at 
his fleeting smile. 

How sorrowful he looks! Now he is gone. The 
hours are weary with silence and solitude. Listlessly I 
turn the pages of my library book. If only I had the 
birds! I should find solace in their thoughtful eyes: 
Dick and Sis would understand and feel with me. But 
my poor little friends have disappeared ; only Russell re- 
mains. My only friend! I shall not see him when he 
returns to the cell at noon : the line passes on the opposite 
side of the hall. But in the afternoon, when the men 
are again unlocked for work, I shall look into his eyes 
for a happy moment, and perhaps the dear boy will 
have a message for me. He is so tender-hearted: his 
correspondence is full of sympathy and encouragement, 
and he strives to cheer me with the good news : another 
day is gone, his sentence is nearing its end; he will at 
once secure a position, and save every penny to aid in 
my release. Tacitly I concur in his ardent hope, — it 
would break his heart to be disillusioned. 

II 

The passing weeks and months bring no break in the 
dreary monotony. The call of the robin on the river 
bank rouses no echo in my heart. No sign of awaken- 
ing spring brightens the constant semi-darkness of the 



DONE TO DEATH 4^3 

solitary. The dampness of the cell is piercing my bones; 
every movement racks my body with pain. My eyes 
are tortured with the eternal white of the walls. Sombre 
shadows brood around me. 

I long for a bit of sunshine. I wait patiently at the 
door : perhaps it is clear to-day. My cell faces west ; may 
be the setting sun will steal a glance upon me. For 
hours I stand with naked breast close to the bars : I must 
not miss a friendly ray; it may suddenly peep into the 
cell, and turn away from me, unseen in the gloom. Now 
a bright beam plays on my neck and shoulders, and I 
press closer to the door to welcome the dear stranger. 
He caresses me with soft touch, — perhaps it is the soul 
of little Dick pouring out his tender greeting in this song 
of light, — or may be the astral aura of my beloved Uncle 
Maxim, bringing warmth and hope. Sweet conceit of 
Oriental thought, barren of joy in life. . . . The sun 
is fading. It feels chilly in the twilight, — and now the 
solitary is once more bleak and cold. 



As his release approaches, the tone of native confi- 
dence becomes more assertive in Russell's letter. The 
boy is jubilant and full of vitality: within three months 
he will breathe the air of freedom. A note of sadness at 
leaving me behind permeates his communications, but 
he is enthusiastic over his project of aiding me to liberty. 

Eagerly every day I anticipate his mute greeting, as 
he passes in the line. This morning I saw him hold up 
two fingers, the third crooked, in sign of the remaining 
"two and a stump." A joyous light is in his eyes, his 
step firmer, more elastic. 

But in the afternoon he is missing from the line. 
With sudden apprehension I wonder at his absence. 
Could I have overlooked him in the closely walking 



404 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

ranks? It is barely possible. Perhaps he has remained 
in the cell, not feeling well. It may be nothing serious; 
he will surely be in line to-morrow. 

For three days, every morning and afternoon, I 
anxiously scrutinize the faces of the passing men; but 
Russell is not among them. His absence torments me 
with a thousand fears. May be the Warden has renewed 
his inquisition of the boy — perhaps he got into a fight in 
the shop — in the dungeon now — he'll lose his commuta- 
tion time. . . . Unable to bear the suspense,. I am about 
to appeal to the Chaplain, when a friendly runner sur- 
reptitiously hands me a note. 

With difficulty I recognize my friend's bold hand- 
writing in the uneven, nervous scrawl. Russell is in the 
hospital ! At work in the shop, he writes, he had suffered 
a chill. The doctor committed him to the ward for 
observation, but the officers and the convict nurses 
accuse him of shamming to evade work. They threaten 
to have him returned to the shop, and he implores me 
to have the Chaplain intercede for him. He feels weak 
and feverish, and the thought of being left alone in the 
cell in his present condition fills him with horror. 

I send an urgent request to see the Chaplain. But 
the guard informs me that Mr. Milligan is absent; he 
is not expected at the office till the following week. I 
prevail upon the kindly Mitchell, recently transferred 
to the South Block, to deliver a note to the Warden, in 
which I appeal on behalf of Russell. But several days 
pass, and still no reply from Captain Wright. Finally 
I pretend severe pains in the bowels, to afford Frank, 
the doctor's assistant, an opportunity to pause at my cell. 
As the "medicine boy" pours the prescribed pint of 
''horse salts" through the funnel inserted between the 
bars, I hastily inquire: 

"Is Russell still in the ward, Frank? How is he?" 



DONE TO DEATH 4^5 

"What Russell?" he asks indifferently. 

"Russell Schroycr, put four days ago under observa- 
tion." 

"Oh, that poor kid! Why, he is paralyzed." 

For an instant I am speechless with terror. No, it 
cannot be. Some mistake. 

"Frank, I mean young Schroyer, from the construc- 
tion shop. He's Number 2608." 

"Your friend Russell; I know who you mean. I'm 
sorry for the boy. He is paralyzed, all right." 

"But . . . No, it can't be ! Why, Frank, it was just 
a chill and a little weakness." 

"Look here, Aleck. I know you're square, and you 
can keep a secret all right. I'll tell you something if you 
won't give me away." 

"Yes, yes, Frank. What is it?" 

"Sh-sh. You know Flem, the night nurse? Doing 
a five spot for murder. His father and the Warden are 
old cronies. That's how he got to be nurse ; don't know 
a damn thing about it, an' careless as hell. Always 
makes mistakes. Well, Doc ordered an injection for 
Russell. Now don't ever say I told you. Flem got the 
wrong bottle; gave the poor boy some acid in the injec- 
tion. Paralyzed the kid; he did, the damn murderer." 



I pass the night in anguish, clutching desperately at 
the faint hope that it cannot be — some mistake^-perhaps 
Frank has exaggerated. But in the morning the "med- 
icine boy" confirms my worst fears : the doctor has said 
the boy will die. Russell does not realize the situation: 
there is something wrong with his legs, the poor boy 
writes; he is unable to move them, and suffers great 
pain. It can't be fever, he thinks ; but the physician will 
pot tell him what is the matter. . . . 



4o6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

The kindly Frank is sympathetic ; every day he passes 
notes between us, and I try to encourage Russell. He 
will improve, I assure him; his time is short, and fresh 
air and liberty will soon restore him. My words seem 
to soothe my friend, and he grows more cheerful, when 
unexpectedly he learns the truth from the wrangling 
nurses. His notes grow piteous with misery. Tears 
fill my eyes as I read his despairing cry, "Oh, Aleck, I 
am so young. I don't want to die." He implores me to 
visit him; if I could only come to nurse him, he is sure 
he would improve. He distrusts the convict attendants 
who harry and banter the country lad; their heartless 
abuse is irritating the sick boy beyond patience. Ex- 
asperated by the taunts of the night nurse, Russell yes- 
terday threw a saucer at him. He was reported to the 
doctor, who threatened to send the paralyzed youth to 
the dungeon. Plagued and tormented, in great suffering, 
Russell grows bitter and complaining. The nurses and 
officers are persecuting him, he writes ; they will soon do 
him to death, if I will not come to his rescue. If he 
could go to an outside hospital, he is sure to recover. 

Every evening Frank brings sadder news: Russell 
is feeling worse; he is so nervous, the doctor has 
ordered the nurses to wear slippers; the doors in the 
ward have been lined with cotton, to deaden the noise of 
slamming; but even the sight of a moving figure throws 
Russell into convulsions. There is no hope, Frank re- 
ports; decomposition has already set in. The boy is in 
terrible agony; he is constantly crying with pain, and 
calling for me. 

Distraught with anxiety and yearning to see my sick 
friend, I resolve upon a way to visit the hospital. In 
the morning, as the guard hands me the bread ration and 
shuts my cell, I slip my hand between the sill and door. 
With an involuntary cry I withdraw my maimed and 



DONE TO DEATH 40? 

bleeding fingers. The overseer conducts me to the dis- 
pensary. By tacit permission of the friendly "medicine 
boy" I pass to the second floor, where the wards are 
located, and quickly steal to Russell's bedside. The look 
of mute joy on the agonized face subdues the excruciat- 
ing pain in my hand. *'Oh, dear Aleck," he whispers, 
"I'm so glad they let you come. I'll get well if you'll 
nurse me." The shadow of death is in his eyes; the 
body exudes decomposition. Bereft of speech, I gently 
press his white, emaciated hand. The weary eyes close, 
and the boy falls into slumber. Silently I touch his dry 
lips, and steal away. 

In the afternoon I appeal to the Warden to permit 
me to nurse my friend. It is the boy's dying wish; it 
will ease his last hours. The Captain refers me to the 
Inspectors, but Mr. Reed informs me that it would be 
subversive of discipline to grant my request. Thereupon 
I ask permission to arrange a collection among the pris- 
oners: Russell firmly believes that he would improve in 
an outside hospital, and the Pardon Board might grant 
the petition. Friendless prisoners are often allowed to 
circulate subscription lists among the inmates, and two 
years previously I had collected a hundred and twenty- 
three dollars for the pardon of a lifetimer. But the 
Warden curtly refuses my plea, remarking that it is 
dangerous to permit me to associate with the men. I 
suggest the Chaplain for the mission, or some prisoner 
selected by the authorities. But this offer is also vetoed, 
the Warden berating me for having taken advantage of 
my presence in the dispensary to see Russell clandes- 
tinely, and threatening to punish me with the dungeon. 
I plead with him for permission to visit the sick boy who 
is hungry for a friendly presence, and constantly call- 
ing for me. Apparently touched by my emotion, the 
Captain yields. He will permit me to visit Russell, he 



4o8 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

informs me, on condition that a guard be present at the 
meeting. For a moment I hesitate. The desire to see 
my friend struggles against the fear of irritating him 
by the sight of the hated uniform; but I cannot expose 
the dying youth to this indignity and pain. Angered by 
my refusal, perhaps disappointed in the hope of learning 
the secret of the tunnel from the visit, the Warden for- 
bids me hereafter to enter the hospital. 

Late at night Frank appears at my cell. He looks 
very grave, as he whispers : 

"Aleck, you must bear up." 
- ''Russell— ?" 

''Yes, Aleck." 

''Worse? Tell me, Frank." 

"He is dead. Bear up, Aleck. His last thought was 
of you. He was unconscious all afternoon, but just be- 
fore the end — it was 9.33 — he sat up in bed so suddenly, 
he frightened me. His arm shot out, and he cried, 
'Good bye, Aleck.' " 



CHAPTER XLI 
THE SHOCK AT BUFFALO 



July 10, 1901. 
Dear Girl: 

This is from the hospital, sub rosa. Just out of the strait- 
jacket, after eight days. 

For over a year I was in the strictest ^litary; for a long 
time mail and reading matter were denied me. I have no words 
to describe the horror of the last months... . . I have passed 
through a great crisis. Two of my best friends died in a fright- 
ful manner. The death of Russell, especially, affected me. He 
was very young, and my dearest and most devoted friend, and he 
died a terrible death. The doctor charged the boy with sham- 
ming, but now he says it was spinal meningitis. I cannot tell 
you the awful truth, — it was nothing short of murder, and my 
poor friend rotted away by inches. When he died they found his 
back one mass of bedsores. If you could read the pitiful letters 
he wrote, begging to see me, and to be nursed by me ! But the 
Warden wouldn't permit it. In some manner his agony seemed 
to affect me, and I began to experience the pains and symptoms 
that Russell described in his notes. I knew it was my sick 
fancy; I strove against it, but presently my legs showed signs 
of paralysis, and I suffered excruciating pain in the spinal 
column, just like Russell. I was afraid that I would be done 
to death like my poor friend. I grew suspicious of every guard, 
and would barely touch the food, for fear of its being poisoned. 
My "head was workin'," they said. And all the time I knew it 
was my diseased imagination, and I was in terror of going mad. 
. . . I tried so hard to fight it, but it would always creep up, and 
get hold of me stronger and stronger. Another week of solitary 
would have killed me. 

I was on the verge of suicide. I demanded to be relieved 

409 



4IO PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

from the cell, and the Warden ordered me punished. I was put 
in the strait-jacket. They bound my body in canvas, strapped 
my arms to the bed, and chained my feet to the posts. I was 
kept that way eight days, unable to move, rotting in my own 
excrement. Released prisoners called the attention of our new 
Inspector to my case. He refused to believe that such things 
were being done in the penitentiary. Reports spread that I was 
going blind and insane. Then the Inspector visited the hospital 
and had me released from the jacket. 

I am in pretty bad shape, but they put me in the general 
ward now, and I am glad of the chance to send you this note. 

Sasha. 



II 



Direct to Box A 7, 
Allegheny City, Pa. 
July 25th, 1901. 
Dear Sonya: 

I cannot tell you how happy I am to be allowed to write 
to you again. My privileges have been restored by our new 
Inspector, a very kindly man. He has relieved me from the 
cell, and now I am again on the range. The Inspector requested 
me to deny to my friends the reports which have recently 
appeared in the papers concerning my condition. I have not 
been well of late, but now I hope to improve. My eyes are very 
poor. The Inspector has given me permission to have a special- 
ist examine them. Please arrange for it through our local com- 
rades. 

There is another piece of very good news, dear friend. A 
new commutation law has been passed, which reduces my 
sentence by 2^/2 years. It still leaves me a long time, of course; 
almost 4 years here, and another year to the workhouse. How- 
ever, it is a considerable gain, and if I should not get into soli- 
tary again, I may — I am almost afraid to utter the thought — 
I may live to come out. I feel as if I am being resurrected. 

The new law benefits the short-timers proportionately much 
more than the men with longer sentences. Only the poor lifers 
do not share in it. We were very anxious for a while, as there 
were many rumors that the law would be declared unconsti- 
tutional. Fortunately, the attempt to nullify its benefits proved 



THE SHOCK AT BUFFALO 4" 

ineffectual. Think of men who will see something unconstitu- 
tional in allowing the prisoners a little more good time than the 
commutation statute of 40 years ago. As if a little kindness to 
the unfortunates — really justice — is incompatible with the spirit 
of Jefferson! We were greatly worried over the fate of this 
statute, but at last the first batch has been released, and there 
is much rejoicing over it. 

There is a peculiar history about this new law, which may 
interest you; it sheds a significant side light. It was especially 
designed for the benefit of a high Federal officer who was recently 
convicted of aiding two wealthy Philadelphia tobacco manufac- 
turers to defraud the government of a few millions, by using 
counterfeit tax stamps. Their influence secured the introduction 
of the commutation bill and its hasty passage. The law would 
have cut their sentences almost in two, but certain newspapers 
seem to have taken offence at having been kept in ignorance 
of the "deal," and protests began to be voiced. The matter 
finally came up before the Attorney General of the United 
States, who decided that the men in whose special interest the 
law was engineered, could not benefit by it, because a State 
law does not affect U. S. prisoners, the latter being subject to 
the Federal commutation act. Imagine the discomfiture of the 
politicians ! An attempt was even made to suspend the opera- 
tion of the statute. Fortunately it failed, and now the "common" 
State prisoners, who were not at all meant to profit, are being 
released. The legislature has unwittingly given some unfortu- 
nates here much happiness. 

I was interrupted in this writing by being called out for a 
visit. I could hardly credit it: the first comrade I have been 
allowed to see in nine years! It was Harry Gordon, and I 
was so overcome by the sight of the dear friend, I could barely 
speak. He must have prevailed upon the new Inspector to issue 
a permit. The latter is now Acting Warden, owing to the 
serious illness of Captain Wright. Perhaps he will allow me to 
see my sister. Will you kindly communicate with her at once? 
Meantime I shall try to secure a pass. With renewed hope, and 
always with green memory of you, 

Alex. 



412 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

III 

Sub Rosa, 
Dec. 20, 1901. 
Dearest Girl: 

I know how your visit and my strange behavior have affected 
you. . . . The sight of your face after all these years com- 
pletely unnerved me. I could not think, I could not speak. It 
was as if all my dreams of freedom, the whole world of the 
living, were concentrated in the shiny little trinket that was 
dangling from your watch chain. ... I couldn't take my 
eyes off it, I couldn't keep my hand from playing with it. It 
absorbed my whole being. . . . And all the time I felt how 
nervous you were at my silence, and I couldn't utter a word. 

Perhaps it would have been better for us not to have seen 
each other under the present conditions. It was lucky they did 
not recognize you: they took you for my "sister," though I 
believe your identity was suspected after you had left. You 
would surely not have been permitted the visit, had the old 
Warden been here. He was ill at the time. He never got 
over the shock of the tunnel, and finally he has been per- 
suaded by the prison physician (who has secret aspirations 
to the Wardenship) that the anxieties of his position are a 
menace to his advanced age. Considerable dissatisfaction has 
also developed of late against the Warden among the Inspectors. 
Well, he has resigned at last, thank goodness! The prisoners 
have been praying for it for years, and some of the boys on 
the range celebrated the event by getting drunk on wood alcohol. 
The new Warden has just assumed charge, and we hope for 
improvement. He is a physician by profession, with the title 
of Major in the Pennsylvania militia. 

It was entirely uncalled for on the part of the officious 
friend, whoever he may have been, to cause you unnecessary 
worry over my health, and my renewed persecution. You 
remember that in July the new Inspector released me from the 
strait-jacket and assigned me to work on the range. But I 
was locked up again in October, after the McKinley incident 
The President of the Board of Inspectors was at the time in 
New York. He inquired by wire what I was doing. Upon 
being informed that I was working on the range, he ordered 
me into solitary. The new Warden, on assuming office, sent 
for me. "They give you a bad reputation," he said; "but I 



THE SHOCK AT BUFFALO 413 

will let you out of the cell if you'll promise to do what is right 
Dy me." He spoke brusquely, in the manner of a man closing 
a business deal, with the power of dictating terms. He reminded 
me of Bismarck at Versailles. Yet he did not seem unkind ; 
the thought of escape was probably in his mind. But the new 
law has germinated the hope of survival; my weakened condi- 
tion and the unexpected shortening of my sentence have at last 
decided me to abandon the idea of escape. I therefore replied 
to the Warden: "I will do what is right by you, if you treat 
me right." Thereupon he assigned me to work on the range. 
It is almost like liberty to have the freedom of the cell-house 
after the close solitary. 

And you, dear friend? In your letters I feel how terribly 
torn you are by the events of the recent months. I lived in 
great fear for your safety, and I can barely credit the good 
news that you are at liberty. It seems almost a miracle. 

I followed the newspapers with great anxiety. The whole 
country seemed to be swept with the fury of revenge. To a 
considerable extent the press fanned the fires of persecution. 
Here in the prison very little sincere grief was manifested. Out 
of hearing of the guards, the men passed very uncomplimentary 
remarks about the dead president. The average prisoner cor- 
responds to the average citizen — their patriotism is very passive, 
except when stimulated by personal interest, or artificially 
excited. But if the press mirrored the sentiment of the people, 
the Nation must have suddenly relapsed into cannibalism. There 
were moments when I was in mortal dread for your very life, 
and for the safety of the other arrested comrades. In previous 
letters you hinted that it was official rivalry and jealousy, and 
your absence from New York, to which you owe your release. 
You may be right ; yet I believe that your attitude of proud self- 
respect and your admirable self-control contributed much to the 
result."'^«»you were splendid, dear; and I was especially moved by 
your i^mark that you would faithfully nurse the wounded man, 
if he required your services, but that the poor boy, condemned 
and deserted by all, needed and deserved your sympathy and aid 
more than the president. More strikingly than your letters, that 
remark discovered to me the great change wrought in us by the 
ripening years. Yes, in us, in both, for my heart echoed your 
beautiful sentiment. How impossible such a thought would 
have been to us in the days of a decade ago I We should have 



414 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

considered it treason to the spirit of revolution; it would have 
outraged all our traditions even to admit the humanity of an 
official representative of capitalism. Is it not very significant 
that we two — you living in the very heart of Anarchist thought 
and activity, and I in the atmosphere of absolute suppression and 
solitude — should have arrived at the same evolutionary point 
after a decade of divergent paths? / 

You have alluded in a recent letter to the ennobling and 
broadening influence of sorrow. Yet not upon every one does 
it exert a similar effect. Some natures grow embittered, and 
shrink with the poison of misery. I often wonder at my lack 
of bitterness and enmity, even against the old Warden — and 
surely I have good cause to hate himW Is it because of greater 
maturity? I rather think it is temperamentally conditioned. The 
love of the people, the hatred of oppression of our younger days, 
vital as these sentiments were with us, were mental rather than 
emotional. Fortunately so, I think. For those like Fedya and 
Lewis and Pauline, and numerous others, soon have their emo- 
tionally inflated idealism punctured on the thorny path of the 
social protestant. Only aspirations that spontaneously leap from 
the depths of our soul persist in the face of antagonistic forces. 
The revolutionist is born. Beneath our love and hatred of 
former days lay inherent rebellion, and the passionate desire for 
liberty and life. 

In the long years of isolation I have looked deeply into my 
heart. With open mind and sincere purpose, I have revised 
every emotion and every thought. Away from my former 
atmosphere and the disturbing influence of the world's turmoil, 
I have divested myself of all traditions and accepted beliefs. I 
have studied the sciences and the humanities, contemplated life, 
and pondered over human destiny. For weeks and months I 
would be absorbed in the domain of "pure reason," or discuss 
with Leibnitz the question of free will, and seek to penetrate, 
beyond Spencer, into the Unknowable. Political science and 
economics, law and criminology-f^I studied them with un- 
prejudiced mind, and sought to slacken my soul's thirst by delving 
deeply into religion and theology, seeking the "Key to Life" 
at the feet of Mrs. Eddy, expectantly listening for the voice of 
the disembodied, studying Koreshanity and Theosophy, absorb- 
ing the prana of knowledge and power, and concentrating upon 
the wisdom of the Yogi. lAnd after years of contemplation and 



;^. 



THE SHOCK AT BUFFALO 4^5 

study, chastened by much sorrow and suffering, I arise from the 
broken fetters of the world's folly and delusions, to behold the 
threshold of a new life of liberty and equality. My youth's ideal 
of a free humanity in the vague future has become clarified 
and crystallized into the living truth of Anarchy, as the sustain- 
ing elemental force of my every-day existence. 

Often I have wondered in the years gone by, was not wisdom 
dear at the price of enthusiasm? At 30 one is not so reckless, 
not so fanatical and one-sided as at 20. With maturity we become 
more universal; but Hfe is a Shylock that cannot be cheated 
of his due. For every lesson it teaches us, we have a wound 
or a scar to show."^'We grow broader; but too often the heart 
contracts as the mind expands, and the fires are burning down 
while we are learning. At such moments my mind would revert 
to the days when the momentarily expected approach of the 
Social Revolution absorbed our exclusive interest. The raging 
present and its conflicting currents passed us by, while our eyes 
were riveted upon the Dawn, in thrilling expectancy of the sun- 
rise. Life and its manifold expressions were vexatious to the 
spirit of revolt; and poetry, literature, and art were scorned 
as hindrances to progress, unless they sounded the tocsin of 
immediate revolution. Humanity was sharply divided in two 
warring camps, — the noble People, the producers, who yearned 
for the light of the new gospel, and the hated oppressors, the 
exploiters, who craftily strove to obscure the rising day that was 
to give back to man his heritage. H only "the good People" 
were given an opportunity to hear the great truth, how joyfully 
they would embrace Anarchy and walk in triumph into the prom- 
ised land! 

The splendid naivety of the days that resented as a personal 
reflection the least misgiving of the future; the enthusiasm that 
discounted the power of inherent prejudice and predilection! 
Magnificent was the day of hearts on fire with the hatred of 
oppression and the love of Hberty! Woe indeed to the man or 
the people whose soul never warmed with the spark of Prome- 
theus, — for it is youth that has climbed the heights. . . . But 
maturity has clarified the way, and the stupendous task of 
human regeneration will be accomplished only by the purified 
vision of hearts that grow not cold. 

And you, my dear friend, with the deeper Insight of time, 
you have yet happily kept your heart young. I have rejoiced 



A 



4l6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

at it in your letters of recent years, and it is especially evident 
from the sentiments you have expressed regarding the happen- 
ing at Buffalo. I share your view entirely; for that very 
reason, it is the more distressing to disagree with you in one 
very important particular: the value of Leon's act. I know 
the terrible ordeal you have passed through, the fiendish perse- 
cution to which you have been subjected. Worse than all must 
have been to you the general lack of understanding for such 
phenomena; and, sadder yet, the despicable attitude of some 
would-be radicals in denouncing the man and his act. But 
I am confident you will not mistake my expressed disagree- 
ment for condemnation. 

We need not discuss the phase of the Attentat which mani- 
fested the rebellion of a tortured soul, the individual protest 
against social wrong. Such phenomena are the natural result 
of evil conditions, as inevitable as the flooding of the river 
banks by the swelling mountain torrents. But I cannot agree 
with you regarding the social value of Leon's act. 

I have read of the beautiful personality of the youth, of 
his inability to adapt himself to brutal conditions, and the rebel- 
lion of his soul. It throws a significant light upon the causes 
of the Attentat. Indeed, it is at once the greatest tragedy of 
martyrdom, and the most terrible indictment of society, that 
it forces the noblest men and women to shed human blood, 
though their souls shrink from it. But the more imperative 
it is that drastic m^hods of this character be resorted to only 
as a last extremity To prove of value, they must be motived 
by social rather than individual necessity, and be directed against 
a real and immediate enemy of the people. The significance 
of such a deed is understood by the popular mind — and in that 
alone is the propagandistic, educational importance of an Atten- 
tat, except if it is exclusively an act of terrorism. 

Now, I do not believe that this deed was terroristic; and 
I doubt whether it was educational, because the social necessity 
for its performance was not manifest. That you may not 
misunderstand, I repeat: as an expression of personal revolt 
it was inevitable, and in itself an indictment of existing con- 
ditions. But the background of social necessity was lacking, 
and therefore the value of the act was to a great extent 
nullified. 

In Russia, where political oppression is popularly felt, 



THE SHOCK AT BUFFALO 4^7 

such a deed would ^be of great value. But the scheme of 
political subjection is more subtle in America. And though 
McKinley was the chief representative of our modern slavery, 
he could not be considered in the light of a direct and immedi- 
ate enemy of the people; while in an absolutism, the autocrat 
is visible and tangible. The real despotism of republican insti- | 
tutions is far deeper, more insidious, because it rests on the | 
popular delusion of self-government and independence. That i 
is the subtle source of democratic tyranny, and, as such, it can- | 
not be reached with a bullet. 

In modern capitalism, exploitation rather than oppression 
is the real enemy of the people. Oppression is but its hand- 
maid. Hence the battle is to be waged in the economic rather 
than the political field. It is therefore that I regard my own 
act as far more significant and educational than Leon's. It 
was directed against a tangible, real oppressor, visualized as 
such by the people. 

As long as misery and tyranny fill the world, social con- 
trasts and consequent hatreds will persist, and the noblest of 
the race — our Czolgoszes — burst forth in "rockets of iron." 
But does this lightning really illumine the social horizon, or 
merely confuse minds with the succeeding darkness? The 
struggle of labor against capital is a class war, essentially and 
chiefly economic. In that arena the battles must be fought. 

It was not these considerations, of course, that inspired 
the nation-wide man-hunt, or the attitude even of alleged radi- 
cals. Their cowardice has filled me with loathing and sadness. 
The brutal farce of the trial, the hypocrisy of the whole pro- 
ceeding, the thirst for the blood of the martyr, — these make one 
almost despair of humanity. 

I must close. The friend to smuggle out this letter will be 
uneasy about its bulk. Send me sign of receipt, and I hope 
that you may be permitted a little rest and peace, to recover 
from the nightmare of the last months. 

Sasha. 



\ 



CHAPTER XLII 
MARRED LIVES 



The discussion with the Girl is a source of much 
mortification. Harassed on every side, persecuted by 
the authorities, and hounded even into the street, my 
friend, in her hour of bitterness, confounds my appre- 
ciative disagreement with the denunciation of stupidity 
and inertia. I reaHze the inadequacy of the written 
word, and despair at the hopelessness of human under- 
standing, as I vainly seek to elucidate the meaning of the 
. Buffalo tragedy to friendly guards and prisoners. Con- 
\ tinned correspondence with the Girl accentuates the 
divergence of our views, painfully discovering the fun- 
damental difference of attitude underlying even common 
conclusions. 

By degrees the stress of activities reacts upon my 
friend's correspondence. Our discussion lags, and soon 
ceases entirely. The world of the outside, temporarily 
brought closer, again recedes, and the urgency of the 
immediate absorbs me in the life of the prison. 

11 

A spirit of hopefulness breathes in the cell-house. 
The new commutation law is bringing liberty appreciably 
nearer. In the shops and yard the men excitedly discuss 

418 



MARRED LIVES 419 

the increased "good time," and prisoners flit about with 
paper and pencil, seeking a tutored friend to "figure out" 
their time of release. Even the solitaries, on the verge of 
despair, and the long-timers facing a vista of cheerless 
years, are instilled with new courage and hope. 

The tenor of conversation is altered. With the ap- 
pointment of the new Warden the constant grumbling 
over the food has ceased. Pleasant surprise is manifest 
at the welcome change in "the grub." I wonder at the 
tolerant silence regarding the disappointing Christmas 
dinner. The men impatiently frown down the occa- 
sional "kicker." The Warden is "green," they argue ; he 
did not know that we are supposed to get currant bread 
for the holidays; he will do better, "jest give 'im a 
chanc't." The improvement in the daily meals is en- 
larged upon, and the men thrill with amazed expectancy 
at the incredible report, "Oysters for New Year's din- 
ner!" With gratification we hear the Major's expres- 
sion of disgust at the filthy condition of the prison, his 
condemnation of the basket cell and dungeon as bar- 
barous, and the promise of radical reforms. As an 
earnest of his regime he has released from solitary the 
men whom Warden Wright had punished for having 
served as witnesses in the defence of Murphy and Mong. 
Greedy for the large reward, Hopkins and his stools had 
accused the two men of a mysterious murder committed 
in Elk City several years previously. The criminal trial, 
involving the suicide of an officer* whom the Warden 
had forced to testify against the defendants, resulted in 
the acquittal of the prisoners, whereupon Captain Wright 



* Officer Robert G. Hunter, who committed suicide August 
30, 1901, in Clarion, Pa. (where the trial took place). He left 
a written confession, in which he accused Warden E. S. Wright 
of forcing him to testify against men whom he knew to be 
innocent 



420 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

ordered the convict-witnesses for the defence to be pun- 
ished. 

The new Warden, himself a physician, introduces 
hygienic rules, abolishes the ''holy-stoning"* of the cell- 
house floor because of the detrimental effect of the dust, 
and decides to separate the consumptive and syphilitic 
prisoners from the comparatively healthy ones. Upon 
examination, 40 per cent, of the population are discov- 
ered in various stages of tuberculosis, and 20 per cent, 
insane. The death rate from consumption is found to 
range between 25 and 60 per cent. At light tasks in the 
block and the yard the Major finds employment for the 
sickly inmates ; special gangs are assigned to keeping the 
prison clean, the rest of the men at work in the shop. 
With the exception of a number of dangerously insane, 
who are to be committed to an asylum, every prisoner 
in the institution is at work, and the vexed problem of 
idleness resulting from the anti-convict labor law is thus 
solved. 

The change of diet, better hygiene, and the abolition 
of the dungeon, produce a noticeable improvement in 
the life of the prison. The gloom of the cell-house 
perceptibly lifts, and presently the men are surprised at 
music hour, between six and seven in the evening, with 
the strains of merry ragtime by the newly organized 
penitentiary band. 

Ill 

New faces greet me on the range. But many old 
friends are missing. Billy Ryan is dead of consumption; 
"Frenchy" and Ben have become insane ; Little Mat, the 

* The process of whitening stone floors by pulverizing sand 
into their surfaces. 



MARRED LIVES 42I 

Duquesne striker, committed suicide. In sad remem- 
brance I think of them, grown close and dear in the 
years of mutual suffering. Some of the old-timers have 
survived, but broken in spirit and health. "Praying" 
Andy is still in the block, his mind clouded, his lips con- 
stantly moving in prayer. "Me innocent," the old man 
reiterates, "God him know." Last month the Board has 
again refused to pardon the lifetimer, and now he is 
bereft of hope. "Me have no more money. My children 
they save and save, and bring me for pardon, and now 
no more money." Aleck Killain has also been refused 
by the Board at the same session. He is the oldest man 
in the prison, in point of service, and the most popu- 
lar lifer. His innocence of murder is one of the tradi- 
tions of Riverside. In the boat he had rented to a party 
of picnickers, a woman was found dead. No clew could 
be discovered, and Aleck was sentenced to life, because 
he could not be forced to divulge the names of the 
men who had hired his boat. He pauses to tell me the 
sad news : the authorities have opposed his pardon, 
demanding that he furnish the information desired by 
them. He looks sere with confinement, his eyes full 
of a mute sadness that can find no words. His face is 
deeply seamed, his features grave, almost immobile. In 
the long years of our friendship I have never seen Aleck 
laugh. Once or twice he smiled, and his whole being 
seemed radiant with rare sweetness. He speaks abruptly, 
with a perceptible effort. 

"Yes, Aleck," he is saying, "it's true. They refused 
me. 

"But they pardoned Mac," I retort hotly. "He con- 
fessed to a cold-blooded murder, and he's only been in 
four years." 

"Good luck," he remarks. 

"How, good luck?" 



422 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"Mac's father accidentally struck oil on his f arm " 

"Well, what of it?" 

"Three hundred barrels a day. Rich. Got his son 
a pardon." 

"But on what ground did they dismiss your applica- 
tion? They know you are innocent." 

"District Attorney came to me. 'You're innocent, we 
know. Tell us who did the murder.' I had nothing to 
tell. Pardon refused." 

"Is there any hope later on, Aleck?" 

"When the present administration are all dead, per- 
haps." 

Slowly he passes on, at the approach of a guard. He 
walks weakly, with halting step. 

"Old Sammy" is back again, his limp heavier, shoul- 
ders bent lower. "I'm here again, friend Aleck," he 
smiles apologetically. "What could I do? The old 
woman died, an' my boys went off somewhere. Th' 
farm was sold that I was horned in," his voice trembles 
with emotion. "I couldn't find th' boys, an' no one 
wanted me, an' wouldn't give me any work. 'Go to th' 
pogy',* they told me. I couldn't, Aleck. I've worked all 
me life; I don't want no charity. I made a bluff," he 
smiles between tears, — "Broke into a store, and here I 
am. 

With surprise I recognize "Tough" Monk among 
the first-grade men. For years he had been kept in 
stripes, and constantly punished for bad work in the 
hosiery department. He was called the laziest man in 
the prison : not once in five years had he accomplished his 
task. But the new Warden transferred him to the con- 
struction shop, where Monk was employed at his trade 



* Poorhouse. 



MARRED LIVES 4^3 

of blacksmith. "I hated that damn sock makin'," he 
tells me. "I've struck it right now, an' the Major says 
I'm the best worker in th' shop. Wouldn't believe it, eh, 
would you? Major promised me a ten-spot for the fancy 
iron work I did for them 'lectric posts in th' yard. Says 
it's artistic, see? That's me all right; it's work Ilike. I 
won't lose any time, either. Warden says Old Sandy 
was a fool for makin' me knit socks with them big paws 
of mine. Th' Major is aw' right, aw' right." 

With a glow of pleasure I meet "Smiling" Al, my 
colored friend from the jail. The good-natured boy 
looks old and infirm. His kindness has involved him in 
much trouble ; he has been repeatedly punished for shoul- 
dering the faults of others, and now the Inspectors have 
informed him that he is to lose the greater part of his 
commutation time. He has grown wan with worry over 
the uncertainty of release. Every morning is tense with 
expectation. "Might be Ah goes to-day, Aleck," he 
hopefully smiles as I pause at his cell. But the weeks 
pass. The suspense is torturing the young negro, and he 
is visibly failing day by day. 

A familiar voice greets me. "Hello, Berk, ain't you 
glad t' see an old pal ?" Big Dave beams on me with his 
cheerful smile. 

"No, Davy. I hoped you wouldn't come back." 
He becomes very grave. "Yes, I swore I'd swing 
sooner than come back. Didn't get a chanc't. You see," 
he explains, his tone full of bitterness, "I goes t' work 
and gets a job, good job, too ; an' I keeps 'way from th* 
booze an* me pals. But th' damn bulls was after me. 
Got me sacked from me job three times, an' den I 
knocked one of 'em on th' head. Damn his soul to hell, 
wish I'd killed 'im. 'Old offender,' they says to the 



424 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

jedge, and he soaks me for a seven spot. I was a sucker 
all right for tryin' t' be straight." 

IV 

In the large cage at the centre of the block, the men 
employed about the cell-house congregate in their idle 
moments. The shadows steal silently in and out of the 
inclosure, watchful of the approach of a guard. With- 
in sounds the hum of subdued conversation, the men 
lounging about the sawdust barrel, absorbed in ''Snakes" 
Wilson's recital of his protracted struggle with ''Old 
Sandy." He relates vividly his persistent waking at 
night, violent stamping on the floor, cries of "Murder ! I 
see snakes!" With admiring glances the young prison- 
ers hang upon the lips of the old criminal, whose per- 
severance in shamming finally forced the former War- 
den to assign "Snakes" a special room in the hospital, 
where his snake-seeing propensities would become dor- 
mant, to suffer again violent awakening the moment 
he would be transferred to a cell. For ten years the 
struggle continued, involving numerous clubbings, tSie 
dungeon, and the strait- jacket, till the Warden yielded, 
and "Snakes" was pennanently established in the com- 
parative freedom of the special room. 

Little groups stand about the cage, boisterous with 
the wit of the "Four-eyed Yegg," who styles himself "Bill 
Nye," or excitedly discussing the intricacies of the com- 
mutation law, the chartces of Pittsburgh winning the 
baseball pennant the following season, and next Sunday's 
dinner. With much animation, the rumored resignation 
of the Deputy Warden is discussed. The Major is 
gradually weeding out the "old gang," it is gossiped. A 
colonel of the militia is to secure the position of assistant 
to the Warden. This source of conversation is inex- 



MARRED LIVES 4^5 

haustible, every detail of local life serving for endless 
discussion and heated debate. But at the 'lookout's' 
whispered warning of an approaching guard, the circle 
breaks up, each man pretending to be busy dusting 
and cleaning. Officer Mitchell passes by; with short legs 
wide apart, he stands surveying the assembled idlers 
from beneath his fierce-looking eyebrows. 

"Quiet as me grandmother at church, ain't ye? All 
of a sudden, too. And mighty busy, every damn one of 
you. You 'Snakes' there, what business you got here, 
eh?" 

"I've jest come in fer a broom." 

"You old reprobate, you, I saw you sneak in there 
an hour ago, and you've been chawin' the rag to beat 
the band. Think this a barroom, do you? Get to your 
cells, all of you." 

He trudges slowly away, mumbling: "You loafers, 
when I catch you here again, don't you dare talk so 
loud." 

One by one the men steal back into the cage, jokingly 
teasing each other upon their happy escape. Presently 
several rangemen join the group. Conversation becomes 
animated; voices are raised in dispute. But anger sub- 
sides, and a hush falls upon the men, as Blind Charley 
gropes his way along the wall. Bill Nye reaches for 
his hand, and leads him to a seat on the barrel. "Feelin' 
better to-day, Charley?" he asks gently. 

"Ye-es, I — think a little — better," the blind man says 
in an uncertain, hesitating manner. His face wears a 
bewildered expression, as if he has not yet become re- 
signed to his great misfortune. It happened only a few 
months ago. In company with two friends, considerably 
the worse for liquor, he was passing a house on the out- 
skirts of Allegheny. It was growing dark, and they 
wanted a drink. Charley knocked at the door. A head 



426 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

appeared at an upper window. "Robbers!" some one 
suddenly cried. There was a flash. With a cry of pain, 
Charley caught at his eyes. He staggered, then turned 
round and round, helpless, in a daze. He couldn't see 
his companions, the house and the street disappeared, and 
all was utter darkness. The ground seemed to give be- 
neath his feet, and Charley fell down upon his face, 
moaning and calling to his friends. But they had fled 
in terror, and he was alone in the darkness, — alone and 
blind. 

"I'm glad you feel better, Charley," Bill Nye says 
kindly. "How are your eyes ?" 

"I think— a bit— better." 

The gunshot had severed the optic nerves in both 
eyes. His sight is destroyed forever; but with the in- 
complete realization of sudden calamity, Charley believes 
his eyesight only temporarily injured. 

"Billy," he says presently, "when I woke this morn- 
ing, it — didn't seem so — dark. It was like — a film over 
my eyes. Perhaps — it may — ^get better yet," his voice 
quivers with the expectancy of having his hope con- 
firmed. 

"Ah, whatcher kiddin' yourself for," "Snakes" inter- 
poses. 

"Shut up, you big stiff," Bill flares up, grabbing 
"Snakes" by the throat. "Charley," he adds, "I once got 
paralyzed in my left eye. It looked just like yours now, 
and I felt as if there was a film on it. Do you see things 
like in a fog, Charley?" 

"Yes, yes, just like that." 

"Well, that's the way it was with me. But little by 
little things got to be lighter, and now the eye is as good 
as ever." 

"Is that right, Billy?" Charley inquires anxiously. 
"What did you do?" 



MARRED LIVES 4^7 

"Well, the doc put things in my eye. The croaker 
here is giving you some applications, ain't he ?" 

"Yes ; but he says it's for the inflammation." 

"That's right. That's what the doctors told me. You 
just take it easy, Charley ; don't worry. You'll come out 
all right, see if you don't." 

Bill reddens guiltily at the unintended expression, 
but quickly holds up a warning finger to silence the 
giggling "Snowball Kid." Then, with sudden vehemence, 
he exclaims : "By God, Charley, if I ever meet that Judge 
of yours on a dark night, I'll choke him with these here 
hands, so help me ! It's a damn shame to send you here 
in this condition. You should have gone to a hospital, 
that's what I say. But cheer up, old boy, you won't 
have to serve your three years; you can bet on that. 
We'll all club together to get your case up for a pardon, 
won't we, boys?" 

With unwonted energy the old yegg makes the rounds 
of the cage, taking pledges of contributions. "Doctor 
George" appears around the corner, industriously pol- 
ishing the brasswork, and Bill appeals to him to cor- 
roborate his diagnosis of the blind man's condition. A 
smile of timid joy suffuses the sightless face, as Bill 
Nye slaps him on the shoulder, crying jovially, "What 
did I tell you, eh? You'll be O. K. soon, and meantime 
keep your mind busy how to avenge the injustice done 
you," and with a violent wink in the direction of 
"Snakes," the yegg launches upon a reminiscence of his 
youth. As far as he can remember, he relates, the spirit 
of vengeance was strong within him. He has always 
religiously revenged any wrong he was made to suffer, 
but the incident that afforded him the greatest joy was 
an experience of his boyhood. He was fifteen then, and 
living with his widowed mother and three elder sisters 



428 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

in a small country place. One evening, as the family 
gathered in the large sitting-room, his sister Mary said 
something which deeply offended him. In great rage 
he left the house. Just as he was crossing the street, 
he was met by a tall, well-dressed gentleman, evidently 
a stranger in the town. The man guardedly inquired 
whether the boy could direct him to some address where 
one might pass the evening pleasantly. "Quick as a 
flash a brilliant idea struck me," Bill narrates, warming 
to his story. "Never short of them, anyhow," he re- 
marks parenthetically, "but here was my revenge ! 'You 
mean a whore-house, don't you ?' I ask the fellow. Yes, 
that's what was wanted, my man says. 'Why,' says I 
to him, kind of suddenly, 'see the house there right 
across the street? That's the place you want,' and I 
point out to him the house where the old lady and my 
three sisters are all sitting around the table, expectant- 
like — waiting for me, you know. Well, the man gives 
me a quarter, and up he goes, knocks on the door, and 
steps right in. I hide in a dark corner to see what's 
coming, you know, and sure enough, presently the door 
opens with a bang and something comes out with a 
rush, and falls on the veranda, and mother she's got a 
broom in her hand, and the girls, every blessed one of 
them, out with flatiron and dustpan, and biff, baff, they 
rain it upon that thing on the steps. I thought I'd split 
my sides laughing. By an' by I return to the house, 
and mother and sisters are kind of excited, and I says, 
innocent-like, 'What's up, girls?' Well, you ought to 
hear 'eml Talk, did they? 'That beast of a man, the 
dirty thing that came to the house and insulted us 
with — ' they couldn't even mention the awful things 
he said; and Mary — that's the sis I got mad at — she 
cries, 'Oh, Billie, you're so big and strong, I wish you 
was here when that nasty old thing came up.' '* 



MARRED LIVES 4^9 

The boys are hilarious over the story, and "Doctor 
George" motions me aside to talk over "old times." With 
a hearty pressure I greet my friend, whom I had not 
seen since the days of the first investigation. Suspected 
of complicity, he had been removed to the shops, and 
only recently returned to his former position in the 
block. His beautiful thick hair has grown thin and gray ; 
he looks aged and worn. With sadness I notice his 
tone of bitterness. "They almost killed me, Aleck!" he 
says; "if it wasn't for my wife, I'd murder that old 
Warden." Throughout his long confinement, his wife 
had faithfully stood by him, her unfailing courage and 
devotion sustaining him in the hours of darkness and 
despair. "The dear girl," he muses, "I'd be dead if it 
wasn't for her." But his release is approaching. He 
has almost served the sentence of sixteen years for al- 
leged complicity in the bank robbery at Leechburg, dur- 
ing which the cashier was killed. The other two men 
convicted of the crime have both died in prison. The 
Doctor alone has survived, "thanks to the dear girl," he 
repeats. But the six months at the workhouse fill him 
with apprehension. He has been informed that the 
place is a veritable inferno, even worse than the peni- 
tentiary. However, his wife is faithfully at work, try- 
ing to have the workhouse sentence suspended, and full 
liberty may be at hand. 



CHAPTER XLIII 
"PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMAN" 

The presence of my old friend is a source of much 
pleasure. George is an intelligent man; the long years 
of incarceration have not circumscribed his intellectual 
horizon. The approach of release is intensifying his in- 
terest in the life beyond the gates, and we pass the idle 
hours conversing over subjects of mutual interest, dis- 
cussing social theories and problems of the day. He has 
a broad grasp of affairs, but his temperament and 
Catholic traditions are antagonistic to the ideas dear to 
me. Yet his attitude is free from personalities and 
narrow prejudice, and our talks are conducted along 
scientific and philosophical lines. The recent death of 
Liebknecht and the American lecture tour of Peter Kro- 
potkin afford opportunity for the discussion of modern 
social questions. There are many subjects of mutual 
interest, and my friend, whose great-grandfather was 
among the signers of the Declaration, waxes eloquent in 
denunciation of his country's policy of extermination in 
the Philippines and the growing imperialistic tendencies 
of the Republic. A Democrat of the Jeffersonian type, 
he is virulent against the old Warden on account of his 
favoritism and discrimination. His prison experience, 
he informs me, has considerably altered the views of 
democracy he once entertained. 

"Why, Aleck, there is no justice," he says vehement- 
ly; "no, not even in the best democracy. Ten years ago 

430 



"PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMAN" 431 

I would have staked my life on the courts. To-day I 
know they are a failure; our whole jurisprudence is 
wrong. You see, I have been here nine years. I have 
met and made friends with hundreds of criminals. Some 
were pretty desperate, and many of them scoundrels. 
But I have to meet one yet in whom I couldn't discover 
some good quality, if he's scratched right. Look aX that 
fellow there," he points to a young prisoner scrubbing an 
upper range, "that's 'Johnny the Hunk.' He's in for mur- 
der. Now what did the judge and jury know about him? 
Just this : he was a hard-working boy in the mills. One 
Saturday he attended a wedding, with a chum of his. 
They were both drunk when they went out into the 
street. They were boisterous, and a policeman tried to 
arrest them. Johnny's chum resisted. The cop must 
have lost his head — he shot the fellow dead. It was 
right near Johnny's home, and he ran in and got a pistol, 
and killed the policeman. Must have been crazy with 
drink. Well, they were going to hang him, but he was 
only a kid, hardly sixteen. They gave him fifteen years. 
Now he's all in — they've just ruined the boy's life. And 
what kind of a boy is he, do you know? Guess what 
he did. It was only a few months ago. Some screw told 
him that the widow of the cop he shot is hard up; she 
has three children,* and takes in washing. Do you know 
what Johnny did? He went around among the cons, 
and got together fifty dollars on the fancy paper-work 
he is making; he's an artist at it. He sent the woman 
the money, and begged her to forgive him." 

"Is that true, Doctor?" 

"Every word. I went to Milligan's office on some 
business, and the boy had just sent the money to the 
woman. The Chaplain was so much moved by it, he 
told me the whole story. But wait, that isn't all. You 
know what that woman did ?" 



432 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

"What?" 

*'She wrote to Johnny that he was a dirty murderer, 
and that if he ever goes up for a pardon, she will oppose 
it. She didn't want anything to do with him, she wrote. 
But she kept the money." 

"How did Johnny take it?" 

"It's really wonderful about human nature. The boy 
cried over the letter, and told the Chaplain that he 
wouldn't write to her again. But every minute he can 
spare he works on that fancy work, and every month he 
sends her money. That's the criminal the judge sen- 
tenced to fifteen years in this hell 1" 

My friend is firmly convinced that the law is entirely 
impotent to deal with our social ills. "Why, look at the 
courts!" he exclaims, "they don't concern themselves 
with crime. They merely punish the criminal, abso- 
lutely indifferent to his antecedents and environment, 
and the predisposing causes." 

"But, George," I rejoin, "it is the economic system 
of exploitation, the dependence upon a master for your 
livelihood, want and the fear of want, which are re- 
sponsible for most crimes." 

"Only partly so, Aleck. If it wasn't for the corrup- 
tion in our public life, and the commercial scourge that 
holds everything for sale, and the spirit of materialism 
which has cheapened human life, there would not be so 
much violence and crime, even under what you call the 
capitalist system. At any rate, there is no doubt the 
law is an absolute failure in dealing with crime. The 
criminal belongs to the sphere of therapeutics. Give him 
to the doctor instead of the jailer." 

"You mean, George, that the criminal is to be con- 
sidered a product of anthropological and physical fac- 
tors. But don't you see that you must also examine 
society, to determine to what extent social conditions are 



"PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMAN" 433 

responsible for criminal actions ? And if that were done, 
I believe most crimes would be found to be misdirected 
energy — misdirected because of false standards, wrong 
environment, and unenlightened self-interest." 

"Well, I haven't given much thought to that phase 
of the question. But aside of social conditions, see what 
a botch the penal institutions are making of it. For one 
thing, the promiscuous mingling of young and old, with- 
out regard to relative depravity and criminality, is con- 
verting prisons into veritable schools of crime and vice. 
The blackjack and the dungeon are surely not the proper 
means of reclamation, no matter what the social causes 
of crime. Restraint and penal methods can't reform. 
The very idea of punishment precludes betterment. True 
reformation can emanate only from voluntary impulse, 
inspired and cultivated by intelligent advice and kind 
treatment. But reformation which is the result of fear, 
lacks the very essentials of its object, and will vanish 
like smoke the moment fear abates. And you know, 
Aleck, the reformatories are even worse than the prisons. 
Look at the fellows here from the various reform 
schools. Why, it's a disgrace! The boys who come 
from the outside are decent fellows. But those kids 
from the reformatories — one-third of the cons here have 
graduated there — they are terrible. You can spot them 
by looking at them. They are worse than street prosti- 
tutes." 

My friend is very bitter against the prison element 
variously known as "the girls," "Sallies," and "punks," 
who for gain traffic in sexual gratification. But he 
takes a broad view of the moral aspect of homosexual- 
ity; his denunciation is against the commerce in carnal 
desires. As a medical man, and a student, he is deeply 
interested in the manifestations of suppressed sex. He 
speaks with profound sympathy of the brilliant English 



434 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

man-of-letters, whom the world of cant and stupidity 
has driven to prison and to death because his sex life 
did not conform to the accepted standards. In detail, my 
friend traces the various phases of his psychic develop- 
ment since his imprisonment, and I warm toward him 
with a sense of intense humanity, as he reveals the in- 
timate emotions of his being. A general medical practi- 
tioner, he had not come in personal contact with cases 
of homosexuality. He had heard of pederasty; but 
like the majority of his colleagues, he had neither under- 
standing for nor sympathy with the sex practices he 
considered abnormal and vicious. In prison he was 
horrified at the perversion that frequently came under 
his observation. For two years the very thought of 
such matters filled him with disgust; he even refused 
to speak to the men and boys known to be homosexual, 
unconditionally condemning them — "with my prejudices 
rather than my reason," he remarks. But the forces of 
suppression were at work. "Now, this is in confidence, 
Aleck," he cautions me. "I know you will understand. 
Probably you yourself have experienced the same thing. 
I'm glad I cafi talk to some one about it; the other fel- 
lows here wouldn't understand it. It makes me sick to 
see how they all grow indignant over a fellow who is 
caught. And the officers, too, though you know as well 
as I that quite a number of them are addicted to these 
practices. Well, I'll tell you. I suppose it's the same 
story with every one here, especially the long-timers. 
I was terribly dejected and hopeless when I came. Six- 
teen years — I didn't believe for a moment I could live 
through it. I was abusing myself pretty badly. Still, 
after a while, when I got work and began to take an inter- 
est in this life, I got over it. But as time went, the sex 
instinct awakened. I was young: about twenty-five, 
strong and healthy. Sometimes I thought I'd get crazy 



"PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMAN" 435 

with passion. You remember when we were celling to- 
gether on that upper range, on R; you were in the 
stocking shop then, weren't you ? Don't you remember ?'* 

"Of course I remember, George. You were in the 
cell next mine. We could see out on the river. It was 
in the summer : we could hear the excursion boats, and 
the girls singing and dancing." 

'That, too, helped to turn me back to onanism. I 
really believe the whole blessed range used to 'indulge' 
then. Think of the precious material fed to the fishes," 
he smiles ; "the privies, you know, empty into the river." 

"Some geniuses may have been lost to the world in 
those orgies." 

"Yes, orgies ; that's just what they were. As a mat- 
ter of fact, I don't believe there is a single man in the 
prison who doesn't abuse himself, at one time or 
another." 

"If there is, he's a mighty exception. I have known 
some men to masturbate four and five times a day. Kept 
it up for months, too." 

"Yes, and they either get the con, or go bugs. As a 
medical man I think that self-abuse, if practised no more 
frequently than ordinary coition, would be no more in- 
jurious than the latter. But it can't be done. It grows 
on you terribly. And the second stage is more dangerous 
than the first." 

"What do you call the second?" 

"Well, the first is the dejection stage. Hopeless and 
despondent, you seek forgetf ulness in onanism. You don't 
care what happens. It's what I might call mechanical 
self-abuse, not induced by actual sex desire. This stage 
passes with your dejection, as soon as you begin to take 
an interest in the new life, as all of us are forced to 
do, before long. The second stage is the psychic and 



43^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

mental. It is not the result of dejection. With the 
l^radual adaptation to the new conditions, a compara- 
tively normal life bej^ins, manifesting sexual desires. At 
this stag^e your self-abuse is induced by actual need. It 
is the more dangerous phase, because the frequency of 
the practice grows with the recurring thought of home, 
your wife or sweetheart. While the first was mechanical, 
giving no special pleasure, and resulting only in increas- 
ing lassitude, the second stage revolves about the charms 
of some loved woman, or one desired, and affords intense 
joy. Therein is its allurement and danger; and that's 
why the habit gains in strength. The more misera- 
ble the life, the more frequently you will fall back upon 
your sole source of pleasure. Many become helpless 
victims. I have noticed that prisoners of lower intelli- 
gence are the worst in this respect." 

"I have had the same experience. The narrower your 
mental horizon, the more you dwell upon your personal 
troubles and wrongs. That is probably the reason why 
the more illiterate go insane with confinement." 

"No doubt of it. You have had exceptional oppor- 
tunities for observation of the solitaries and the new 
men. What did you notice, Aleck ?" 

"Well, in some respects the existence of a prisoner 
is like the life of a factory worker. As a rule, men used 
to outdoor life suffer most from solitary. They are less 
able to adapt themselves to the close quarters, and the 
foul air quickly attacks their lungs. Besides, those who 
have no interests beyond their personal life, soon become 
victims of insanity. I've always advised new men to 
interest themselves in some study or fancy work, — it's 
their only salvation." 

"If you yourself have survived, it's because you lived 
in your theories and ideals; I'm sure of it. And I con- 



"PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMAN** 437 

tinued my medical studies, and sought to absorb myself 
in scientific subjects.'* 

For a moment George pauses. The veins of his fore- 
head protrude, as if he is undergoing a severe mental 
struggle. Presently he says : "Aleck, I'm going to speak 
very frankly to you. I'm much interested in the sub- 
ject. I'll give you my intimate experiences, and I want 
you to be just as frank with me. I think it's one of 
the most important things, and I want to learn all I can 
about it. Very little is known about it, and much less 
understood." 

"About what, George?" 

"About homosexuality. I have spoken of the second 
phase of onanism. With a strong effort I overcame it. 
Not entirely, of course. But I have succeeded in regu- 
lating the practice, indulging in it at certain intervals. 
But as the months and years passed, my emotions mani- 
fested themselves. It was like a psychic awakening. 
The desire to love something was strong upon me. Once 
I caught a little mouse in my cell, and tamed it a bit. 
It would eat out of my hand, and come around at 
meal times, and by and by it would stay all evening to 
play with me. I learned to love it. Honestly, Aleck, I 
cried when it died. And then, for a long time, I felt 
as if there was a void in my heart. I wanted something 
to love. It just swept me with a wild craving for 
affection. Somehow the thought of woman gradually 
faded from my mind. When I saw my wife, it was 
just like a dear friend. But I didn't feel toward her 
sexually. One day, as I was passing in the hall, I 
noticed a young boy. He had been in only a short time, 
and he was rosy-cheeked, with a smooth little face and 
sweet lips — he reminded me of a girl I used to court 
before I married. After that I frequently surprised 
myself thinking of the lad. I felt no desire toward 



43^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

him, except just to know him and get friendly. I became 
acquainted with him, and when he heard I was a med- 
ical man, he would often call to consult me about the 
stomach trouble he suffered. The doctor here persisted 
in giving the poor kid salts and physics all the time. 
Well, Aleck, I could hardly believe it myself, but I grew 
so fond of the boy, I was miserable when a day passed 
without my seeing him. I would take big chances to 
get near him. I was rangeman then, and he was 
assistant on a top tier. We often had opportunities to 
talk. I got him interested in literature, and advised 
him what to read, for he didn't know what to do with 
his time. He had a fine character, that boy, and he was 
bright and intelligent. At first it was only a liking 
for him, but it increased all the time, till I couldn't 
think of any woman. But don't misunderstand me, 
Aleck; it wasn't that I wanted a 'kid.' I swear to you, 
the other youths had no attraction for me whatever; 
but this boy — his name was Floyd — he became so dear 
to me, why, I used to give him everything I could get. 
I had a friendly guard, and he'd bring me fruit and 
things. Sometimes I'd just die to eat it, but I always 
gave it to Floyd. And, Aleck — you remember when I 
was down in the dungeon six days? Well, it was for 
the sake of that boy. He did something, and I took 
the blame on myself. And the last time — they kept 
me nine days chained up — I hit a fellow for abusing 
Floyd: he was small and couldn't defend himself. I 
did not realize it at the time, Aleck, but I know now 
that I was simply in love with the boy; wildly, madly 
in love. It came very gradually. For two years I loved 
him without the least taint of sex desire. It was the 
purest affection I ever felt in my life. It was all- 
absorbing, and I would have sacrificed my life for him 
if he had asked it. But by degrees the psychic stage 



"PASSING THE LOVE OF WOMAN" 439 

began to manifest all the expressions of love between 
the opposite sexes. I remember the first time he 
kissed me. It was early in the morning ; only the range- 
men were out, and I stole up to his cell to give him a 
delicacy. He put both hands between the bars, and 
pressed his lips to mine. Aleck, I tell you, never in my 
life had I experienced such bliss as at that moment. 
It's five years ago, but it thrills me every time I think 
of it. It came suddenly; I didn't expect it. It was 
entirely spontaneous: our eyes met, and it seemed as if 
something drew us together. He told me he was very 
fond of me. From then on we became lovers. I used 
to neglect my work, and risk great danger to get a 
chance to kiss and embrace him. I grew terribly jealous, 
too, though I had no cause. I passed through every 
phase of a passionate love. With this difference, though 
— I felt a touch of the old disgust at the thought of 
actual sex contact. That I didn't do. It seemed to me 
a desecration of the boy, and of my love for him. But 
after a while that feeling also wore off, and I desired 
sexual relation with him. He said he loved me enough 
to do even that for me, though he had never done it 
before. He hadn't been in any reformatory, you know. 
And yet, somehow I couldn't bring myself to do it; I 
loved the lad too much for it. Perhaps you will smile, 
Aleck, but it was real, true love. When Floyd was 
unexpectedly transferred to the other block, I felt thaf 
I would be the happiest man if I could only touch his 
hand again, or get one more kiss. You — ^you're laugh- 
ing?" he asks abruptly, a touch of anxiety in his voice. 

"No, George. I am grateful for your confidence. I 
think it is a wonderful thing; and, George — I had felt 
the same horror and disgust at these things, as you 
did. But now I think quite differently about them." 

"Really, Aleck? I'm glad you say so. Often I was 



440 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

troubled — is it viciousness or what, I wondered; but I 
could never talk to any one about it. They take every- 
thing here in such a filthy sense. Yet I knew in my 
heart that it was a true, honest emotion." 

"George, I think it a very beautiful emotion. Just 
as beautiful as love for a woman. I had a friend here; 
his name was Russell; perhaps you remember him. I 
felt no physical passion toward him, but I think I loved 
him with all my heart. His death was a most terrible 
shock to me. It almost drove me insane." 

Silently George holds out his hand. 



CHAPTER XLIV 



LOVE'S DARING 

Castle on the Ohio, 
Aug. i8, 1902. 
My Dear Carolus: 

You know the saying, "Der eine hat den Beutel, der andere 
das Geld." I find it a difficult problem to keep in touch with 
my correspondents. I have the leisure, but theirs is the 
advantage of the paper supply. Thus runs the world. But 
you, a most faithful correspondent, have been neglected a long 
while. Therefore this unexpected sub rosa chance is for you. 

My dear boy, whatever your experiences since you left me, 
don't fashion your philosophy in the image of disappointment. 
All life is a multiplied pain; its highest expressions, love and 
friendship, are sources of the most heart-breaking sorrow. That 
has been my experience; no doubt, yours also. And you are 
aware that here, under prison conditions, the disappointments, the 
grief and anguish, are so much more acute, more bitter and last- 
ing. What then? Shall one seal his emotions, or barricade his 
heart? Ah, if it were possible, it would be wiser, some claim. 
But remember, dear Carl, mere wisdom is a barren life. 

I think it a natural reaction against your prison existence 
that you feel the need of self-indulgence. But it is a tempo- 
rary phase, I hope. You want to live and enjoy, you say. But 
surely you are mistaken to believe that the time is past when 
we cheerfully sacrificed all to the needs of the cause. The first 
flush of emotional enthusiasm may have paled, but in its place 
there is the deeper and more lasting conviction that permeates 
one's whole being. There come moments when one asks him- 
self the justification of his existence, the meaning of his life. 
No torment is more excruciating and overwhelming than the 
failure to find an answer. You will discover it neither in phys- 
ical indulgence nor in coldly intellectual pleasure. Something 
more substantial is needed. In this regard, life outside does 
not differ so very much from prison existence. The narrower 

441 



442 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

your horizon — the more absorbed you are in your immediate 
environment, and dependent upon it — the sooner you decay, 
morally and mentally. You can, in a measure, escape the 
sordidness of life only by living for something higher. 

Perhaps that is the secret of my survival. .Wider interests 
have given me strength. And other phases there are. From 
your own experience you know what sustaining satisfaction is 
found in prison in the constant fight for the feeling of human 
dignity, because of the constant attempt to strangle your sense 
of self-respect. I have seen prisoners offer most desperate re- 
sistance in defence of their manhood. On my part it has been 
a continuous struggle. Do you remember the last time I was 
in the dungeon? It was on the occasion of Comrade Kropot- 
kin's presence in this country, during his last lecture tour. The 
old Warden was here then; he informed me that I would not 
be permitted to see our Grand Old Man. I had a tilt with him, 
but I did not succeed in procuring a visiting card. A few days 
later I received -a letter from Peter. On the envelope, under my 
name, was marked, "Political prisoner." The Warden was 
furious. "We have no political prisoners in a free country,'* 
he thundered, tearing up the envelope. "But you have political 
grafters," I retorted. We argued the matter heatedly, and I 
demanded the envelope. The Warden insisted that I apologize. 
Of course I refused, and I had to spend three days in the 
dungeon. 

There have been many changes since then. Your coming 
to Pittsburgh last year, and the threat to expose this place 
(they knew you had the facts) helped to bring matters to a 
point. They assigned me to a range, and I am still holding the 
position. The new Warden is treating me more decently. He 
"wants no trouble with me," he told me. But he has proved 
a great disappointment. He started in with promising reforms, 
but gradually he has fallen into the old ways. In some respects 
his regime is even worse than the previous one. He has intro- 
duced a system of "economy" which barely affords us sufficient 
food. The dungeon and basket, which he had at first abolished, 
are in operation again, and the discipline is daily becoming 
more drastic. The result is more brutality and clubbings, more 
fights and cutting affairs, and general discontent. The new 
management cannot plead ignorance, for the last 4th of July 
the men gave a demonstration of the effects of humane treat- 



LOVE'S DARING 443 

ment. The Warden had assembled the inmates in the chapel, 
promising to let them pass the day in the yard, on condition of 
good behavior. The Inspectors and the old guards advised 
against it, arguing the "great risk" of such a proceeding. But 
the Major decided to try the experiment. He put the men on 
their honor, and turned them loose in the yard. He was not 
disappointed; the day passed beautifully, without the least mis- 
hap; there was not even a single report. We began to breathe 
easier, when presently the whole system was reversed. It was 
partly due to the influence of the old officers upon the Warden; 
and the latter completely lost his head when a trusty made 
his escape from the hospital. It seems to have terrorized the 
Warden into abandoning all reforms. He has also been censured 
by the Inspectors because of the reduced profits from the indus- 
tries. Now the tasks have been increased, and even the sick 
and consumptives are forced to work. The labor bodies of the 
State have been protesting in vain. How miserably weak is 
the Giant of Toil, because unconscious of his strength I 

The men are groaning, and wishing Old Sandy back. In 
short, things are just as they were during your time. Men and 
Wardens may come and go, but the system prevails. More and 
more I am persuaded of the great truth: given authority and 
the opportunity for exploitation, the results will be essentially 
the same, no matter what particular set of men, or of 
"principles," happens to be in the saddle. 

Fortunately I am on the "home run." I'm glad you felt 
that the failure of my application to the Superior Court would 
not depress me. I built no castles upon it. Yet I am glad it 
has been tried. It was well to demonstrate once more that 
neither lower courts, pardon boards, nor higher tribunals, are 
interested in doing justice. My lawyers had such a strong case, 
from the legal standpoint, that the State Pardon Board resorted 
to every possible trick to avoid the presentation of it. And 
now the Superior Court thought it the better part of wisdom 
to ignore the argument that I am being illegally detained. They 
simply refused the application, with a few meaningless phrases 
that entirely evade the question at issue. 

Well, to hell with them. I have "2 an* a stump" (stump, 
II months) and I feel the courage of perseverance. But I 
hope that the next legislature will not repeal the new commu- 
tation law. There is considerable talk of it, for the politicians 



444 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

are angry that their efforts in behalf of the wealthy U. S. 
grafters in the Eastern Penitentiary failed. They begrudge the 
"common" prisoner the increased allowance of good time. How- 
ever, I shall "make" it. Of course, you understand that both 
French leave and Dutch act are out of the question now. I 
have decided to stay — till I can walk through the gates. 

In reference to French leave, have you read about the Biddle 
affair? I think it was the most remarkable attempt in the 
history of the country. Think of the wife of the Jail Warden 
helping prisoners to escape ! The boys here were simply wild 
with joy. Every one hoped they would make good their escape, 
and old Sammy told me he prayed they shouldn't be caught. 
But all the bloodhounds of the law were unchained; the Biddle 
boys got no chance at all. 

The story is this. The brothers Biddle, Jack and Ed, and 
Walter Dorman, while in the act of robbing a store, killed a 
man. It was Dorman who fired the shot, but he turned State's 
evidence. The State rewards treachery. Dorman escaped the 
noose, but the two brothers were sentenced to die. As is 
customary, they were visited in the jail by the "gospel ladies," 
among them the wife of the Warden. You probably remember 
him — Soffel; he was Deputy Warden when we were in the jail, 
and a rat he was, too. Well, Ed was a good-looking man, 
with soft manners, and so forth. Mrs. Soffel fell in love with 
him. It was mutual, I beheve. Now witness the heroism a 
woman is capable of, when she loves. Mrs. Soffel determined 
to save the two brothers; I understand they promised her to 
quit their criminal life. Every day she would visit the con- 
demned men, to console them. Pretending to read the gospel, 
she would stand close to the doors, to give them an opportunity 
to saw through the bars. She supplied them with revolvers, and 
they agreed to escape together. Of course, she could not go back 
to her husband, for she loved Ed, loved him well enough never 
even to see her children again. The night for the escape was 
set. The brothers intended to separate immediately after the 
break, subsequently to meet together with Mrs. Soffel. But the 
latter insisted on going with them. Ed begged her not. to. He 
knew that it was sheer suicide for all of them. But she per- 
sisted, and Ed acquiesced, fully realizing that it would prove 
fatal. Don't you think it showed a noble trait in the boy? 
He did not want her to think that he was deserting her. The 



LOVE'S DARING 445 

escape from the jail was made successfully; they even had 
several hours' start. But snow had fallen, and it was easy to 
trace two men and a woman in a sleigh. The brutality of the 
man-hunters is past belief. When the detectives came upon the 
boys, they fired their Winchesters into the two brothers. Even 
when the wounded were stretched on the ground, bleeding and 
helpless, a detective emptied his revolver into Ed, killing him. 
Jack died later, and Mrs. Soffel was placed in jail. You can 
imagine the savage fury of the respectable mob. Mrs. Soffel 
was denounced by her husband, and all the good Christian 
women cried "Unclean!" and clamored for the punishment of 
their unfortunate sister. She is now here, serving two years 
for aiding in the escape. I caught a glimpse of her when she 
came in. She has a sympathetic face, that bears signs of deep 
suffering; she must have gone through a terrible ordeal. Think 
of the struggle before she decided upon the desperate step ; then 
the days and weeks»of anxiety, as the boys were sawing the bars 
and preparing for the last chance! I should appreciate the love 
of a woman whose affection is stronger than the iron fetters 
of convention. In some ways this woman reminds me of the 
Girl — the type that possesses the courage and strength to rise 
above all considerations for the sake of the man or the cause 
held dear. How little the world understands the vital forces 
of life! 

A, 



CHAPTER XLV 
THE BLOOM OF "THE BARREN STAFF* 



It is September the nineteenth. The cell-house is 
silent and gray in the afternoon dusk. In the yard the 
rain walks with long strides, hastening in the dim 
twilight, hastening whither the shadows have gone. I 
stand at the door, in reverie. In the sombre light, I 
see myself led through the gate yonder, — it was ten 
years ago this day. The walls towered menacingly in 
the dark, the iron gripped my heart, and I was lost in 
despair. I should not have believed then that I could 
survive the long years of misery and pain. But the 
nimble feet of the rain patter hopefully; its tears dissi- 
pate the clouds, and bring light; and soon I shall step 
into the sunshine, and come forth grown and matured, 
as the world must have grown in the struggle of suffer- 
ing— 

"Fresh fish!" a range'man announces, pointing to the 
long line of striped men, trudging dejectedly across the 
yard, and stumbling against each other in the unaccus- 
tomed lockstep. The door opens, and Aleck Killain, the 
lifetimer, motions to me. He walks with measured, 
even step along the hall. Rangeman ''Coz" and Harry, 
my young assistant, stealthily crowd with him into my 
cell. The air of mystery about them arouses my appre- 
hension. 

446 



THE BLOOM OF "THE BARREN STAFF" 447 

"What's the matter, boys?" I ask. 

They hesitate and glance at each other, smiling 
diffidently. 

"You speak, Killain," Harry whispers. 

The lifetimer carefully unwraps a little package, and 
I become aware of the sweet scent of flowers perfuming 
the cell. The old prisoner stammers in confusion, as 
he presents me with a rose, big and red. "We swiped it 
in the greenhouse," he says. 

"Fer you, Aleck," Harry adds. 

"For your tenth anniversary," corrects "Coz." 
"Good luck to you, Aleck." 

Mutely they grip my hand, and steal out of the cell. 

In solitude I muse over the touching remembrance. 
These men — they are the shame Society hides within 
the gray walls. These, and others like them. Daily 
they come to be buried alive in this grave; all through 
the long years they have been coming, and the end is 
not yet. Robbed of joy and life, their being is dis- 
counted in the economy of existence. And all the while 
the world has been advancing, it is said; science and 
philosophy, art and letters, have made great strides. 
But wherein is the improvement that augments misery 
and crowds the prisons? The discovery of the X-ray 
will further scientific research, I am told. But where 
is the X-ray of social insight that will discover in human 
understanding and mutual aid the elements of true 
progress? Deceptive is the advance that involves the 
ruthless sacrifice of peace and health and life; super- 
ficial and unstable the civilization that rests upon the 
treacherous sands of strife and warfare. The progress 
of science and industry, far from promoting man's hap- 
piness and social harmony, merely accentuates discon- 
tent and sharpens the contrasts. The knowledge gained 



448 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

at so much cost of suffering and sacrifice bears bitter 
fruit, for lack of wisdom to apply the lessons learned. 
There are no limits to the achievements of man, were 
not humanity divided against itself, exhausting its best 
energies in sanguinary conflict, suicidal and unnecessary. 
And these, the thousands stepmothered by cruel stupid- 
ity, are the victims castigated by Society for her own 
folly and sins. There is Young Harry. A child of 
the slums, he has never known the touch of a loving 
hand. Motherless, his father a drunkard, the heavy 
arm of the law was laid upon him at the age of ten. 
From reform school to reformatory the social orphan 
has been driven about. — "You know, Aleck," he says, 
"I nev'r had no real square meal, to feel full, you 
know ; 'cept once, on Christmas, in de ref ." At the age 
of nineteen, he has not seen a day of liberty since early 
childhood. 

Three years ago he was transferred to the peni- 
tentiary, under a sentence of sixteen years for an at- 
tempted escape from the Morganza reform school, which 
resulted in the death of a keeper. The latter was fore- 
man in the tailor shop, in which Harry was employed 
together with a number of other youths. The officer 
had induced Harry to do overwork, above the regular 
task, for which he rewarded the boy with an occasional 
dainty of buttered bread or a piece of corn-cake. By 
degrees Harry's voluntary effort became part of his 
routine work, and the reward in delicacies came more 
rarely. But when they entirely ceased the boy rebelled, 
refusing to exert himself above the required task. He 
was reported, but the Superintendent censured the 
keeper for the unauthorized increase of work. Harry 
was elated; but presently began systematic persecution 
that made the boy's life daily more unbearable. In 
innumerable ways the hostile guard sought to revenge 



THE BLOOM OF "THE BARREN STAFF" 449 

his defeat upon the lad, till at last, driven to desperation, 
Harry resolved upon escape. With several other in- 
mates the fourteen-year-old boy planned to flee to the 
Rocky Mountains, there to hunt the "wild" Indians, and 
live the independent and care-free life of Jesse James. 
"You know, Aleck," Harry confides to me, reminis- 
cently, "we could have made it easy; dere was eleven 
of us. But de kids was all sore on de foreman. He 
'bused and beat us, an' some of de boys wouldn' go 
'cept we knock de screw out first. It was mc pal Nacky 
that hit 'im foist, good an' hard, an' den I hit 'im, 
lightly. But dey all said in court that 1 hit 'im both 
times. Nacky's people had money, an' he beat de case, 
but I got soaked sixteen years." His eyes fill with tears 
and he says plaintively: "I haven't been outside since I 
was a little kid, an' now I'm sick, an' will die here 
mebbe." 



II 



Conversing in low tones, we sweep the range. I 
shorten my strokes to enable Harry to keep pace. 
Weakly he drags the broom across the floor. His ap- 
pearance is pitifully grotesque. The sickly features, 
pale with the color of the prison whitewash, resemble 
a little child's. But the eyes look oldish in their 
wrinkled sockets, the head painfully out of proportion 
with the puny, stunted body. Now and again he turns 
his gaze on me, and in his face there is melancholy 
wonder, as if he is seeking something that has passed 
him by. Often I ponder, Is there a crime more appal- 
ling and heinous than the one Society has committed 
upon him, who is neither man nor youth and never was 
child? Crushed by the heel of brutality, this plant had 
never budded. Yet there is the making of a true man in 



450 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

him. His mentality is pathetically primitive, but he 
possesses character and courage, and latent virgin forces. 
His emotional frankness borders on the incredible; he 
is unmoral and unsocial, as a field daisy might be, sur- 
rounded by giant trees, yet timidly tenacious of its own 
being. It distresses me to v^itness the yearning that 
comes into his eyes at the mention of the "outside." 
Often he asks: "Tell me, Aleck, how does it feel to 
walk on de street, to know that you're free t' go where 
you damn please, wid no screw to f oiler you?" Ah, 
if he'd only have a chance, he reiterates, he'd be so care- 
ful not to get into trouble ! He would like to keep com- 
pany with a nice girl, he confides, blushingly; he had 
never had one. But he fears his days are numbered. His 
lungs are getting very bad, and now that his father has 
died, he has no one to help him get a pardon. Perhaps 
father wouldn't have helped him, either; he was always 
drunk, and never cared for his children. "He had no 
business t' have any children," Harry comments pas- 
sionately. And he can't expect any assistance from his 
sister ; the poor girl barely makes a living in the factory. 
"She's been workin' ev'r so long in the pickle works," 
Harry explains. "That feller, the boss there, must be 
rich; it's a big factory," he adds, naively, "he oughter 
give 'er enough to marry on." But he fears he will die 
in the prison. There is no one to aid him, and he has 
no friends. "I never had no friend," he says, wistfully; 
"there ain't no real friends. De older boys in de ref 
always used me, an' dey use all de kids. But dey was 
no friends, an' every one was against me in de court, an' 
dey put all de blame on me. Everybody was always 
against me," he repeats bitterly. 

Alone in the cell, I ponder over his words. "Every- 
body was always against me," I hear the boy say. I 



THE BLOOM OF "THE BARREN STAFF" 45 1 

wake at night, with the quivwing cry in the darkness, 
"Everybody against me!" Motherless in childhood, 
reared in the fumes of brutal inebriation, cast into the 
slums to be crushed under the wheels of the law's Jug- 
gernaut, was the fate of this social orphan. Is this 
the fruit of progress? this the spirit of our Christian 
civilization ? In the hours of solitude, the scheme of ex- 
istence unfolds in kaleidoscope before me. In varie- 
gated design and divergent angle it presents an endless 
panorama of stunted minds and tortured bodies, of 
universal misery and wretchedness, in the elemental as- 
pect of the boy's desolate life. And I behold all the 
suffering and agony resolve themselves in the dominance 
of the established, in tradition and custom that heavily 
encrust humanity, weighing down the already fettered 
soul till its wings break and it beats helplessly against 
the artificial barriers. . . . The blanched face of Misery 
is silhouetted against the night. The silence sobs with 
the piteous cry of the crushed boy. And I hear the 
cry, and it fills my whole being with the sense of terrible 
wrong and injustice, with the shame of my kind, that 
sheds crocodile tears while it swallows its helpless prey. 
The submerged moan in the dark. I will echo their 
agony to the ears of the world. I have suffered with 
them, I have looked into the heart of Pain, and with its 
voice and anguish I will speak to humanity, to wake it 
from sloth and apathy, and lend hope to despair. 

The months speed in preparation for the great work. 
I must equip myself for the mission, for the combat 
with the world that struggles so desperately to defend 
its chains. The day of my resurrection is approach- 
ing, and I will devote my new life to the service of my 
fellow-sufferers. The world shall hear the tortured; 
it shall behold the shame it has buried within these 



452 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

walls, yet not eliminated. The ghost of its crimes shall 
rise and harrow its ears, till the social conscience is 
roused to the cry of its victims. And perhaps with eyes 
once opened, it will behold the misery and suffering in 
the world beyond, and Man will pause in his strife and 
mad race to ask himself, wherefore? whither? 



CHAPTER XLVI 
A CHILD'S HEART-HUNGER 



With deep gratification I observe the unfoldment 
of Harry's mind. My friendship has wakened in him 
hope and interest in life. Merely to please me, he 
smilingly reiterated, he would apply himself to reading 
the mapped-out course. But as time passed he became 
absorbed in the studies, developing a thirst for knowl- 
edge that is transforming his primitive intelligence into 
a mentality of great power and character. Often I 
marvel at the peculiar strength and aspiration spring- 
ing from the depths of a prison friendship. "I did 
not believe in friendship, Aleck," Harry says, as we 
ply our brooms in the day's work, "but now I feel that 
I wouldn't be here, if I had had then a real friend. It 
isn't only that we suffer together, but you have made 
me feel that our minds can rise above these rules and 
bars. You know, the screws have warned me against 
you, and I was afraid of you. I don't know how to 
put it, Aleck, but the first time we had that long talk 
last year, I felt as if something walked right over from 
you to me. And since then I have had something to 
live for. You know, I have seen so much of the priests, 
I have no use for the church, and I don't believe in 
immortality. But the idea I got from you clung to 

453 



454 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

me, and it was so persistent, I really think there is 
such a thing as immortality of an idea." 

For an instant the old look of helpless wonder is 
in his face, as if he is at a loss to master the thought. 
He pauses in his work, his eyes fastened on mine. "I 
got it, Aleck," he says, an eager smile lighting up his 
pallid features. "You remember the story you told 
me about them fellers — Oh," — he quickly corrects him- 
self — *'when I get excited, I drop into my former bad 
English. Well, you know the story you told me of the 
prisoners in Siberia; how they escape sometimes, and 
the peasants, though forbidden to house them, put 
food outside of their huts, so that an escaped man 
may not starve to death. You remember, Aleck?" 
"Yes, Harry. I'm glad you haven't forgotten it." 
"Forgotten? Why, Aleck, a few weeks ago, sitting 
at my door, I saw a sparrow hopping about in the 
hall. It looked cold and hungry. I threw a piece of 
bread to it, but the Warden came by and made me pick 
it up, and drive the bird away. Somehow I thought 
of the peasants in Siberia, and how they share their 
food with escaped men. Why should the bird starve as 
long as I have bread? Now every night I place a 
few pieces near the door, and in the morning, just 
when it begins to dawn, and every one is asleep, the 
bird steals up and gets her breakfast. It's the im- 
mortality of an idea, Aleck." 

II 

The inclement winter has laid a heavy hand upon 
Harry. The foul hot air of the cell-house is aggravat- 
ing his complaint, and now the physician has pro- 
nounced him in an advanced stage of consumption. 
The disease is ravaging the population. Hygienic rules 



A CHILD'S HEART-HUNGER 455 

are ignored, and no precautions are taken against con- 
tagion. Harry's health is fast faiHng. He walks with 
an evident effort, but bravely straightens as he meets my 
gaze. "I feel quite strong, Aleck," he says, "I don't be- 
lieve it's the con. It's just a bad cold." 

He clings tenaciously to the slender hope; but now 
and then the cunning of suspicion tests my faith. Pre- 
tending to wash his hands, he asks: ''Can I use your 
towel, Aleck? Sure you're not afraid?" My apparent 
confidence seems to allay his fears, and he visibly rallies 
with renewed hope. I strive to lighten his work on the 
range, and his friend ''Coz," who attends the officers' 
table, shares with the sick boy the scraps of fruit and 
cake left after their meals. The kind-hearted Italian, 
serving a sentence of twenty years, spends his leisure 
weaving hair chains in the dim light of the cell, and in- 
vests the proceeds in warm underwear for his consump- 
tive friend. *'I don't need it myself, I'm too hot-blooded, 
anyhow," he lightly waves aside Harry's objections. He 
shudders as the hollow cough shakes the feeble frame, 
and anxiously hovers over the boy, mothering him with 
unobtrusive tenderness. 

At the first sign of spring, "Coz" conspires with me 
to procure for Harry the privilege of the yard. The 
consumptives are deprived of air, immured in the shop 
or block, and in the evening locked in the cells. In 
view of my long service and the shortness of my remain- 
ing time, the Inspectors have promised me fifteen min- 
utes' exercise in the yard. I have not touched the soil 
since the discovery of the tunnel, in July 1900, almost 
four years ago. But Harry is in greater need of fresh 
air, and perhaps we shall be able to procure the privilege 
for him, instead. His health would improve, and in the 
meantime we will bring his case before the Pardon 



456 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Board. It was an outrage to send him to the peniten- 
tiary, "Coz" asserts vehemently. "Harry was barely 
fourteen then, a mere child. Think of a judge who will 
give such a kid sixteen years ! Why, it means death. But 
what can you expect ! Remember the little boy who was 
sent here — it was somewhere around '97 — he was just 
twelve years old, and he didn't look more than ten. They 
brought him here in knickerbockers, and the fellows had 
to bend over double to keep in lockstep with him. He 
looked just like a baby in the line. The first pair of 
long pants he ever put on was stripes, and he was so 
frightened, he'd stand at the door and cry all the time. 
Well, they got ashamed of themselves after a while, 
and sent him away to some reformatory, but he spent 
about six months here then. Oh, what's the use talk- 
ing," ''Coz" concludes hopelessly; "it's a rotten world all 
right. But may be we can get Harry a pardon. Honest, 
Aleck, I feel as if he's my own child. We've been 
friends since the day he came in, and he's a good boy, 
only he never had a chance. Make a list, Aleck. I'll ask 
the Chaplain" how much I've got in the office. I think 
it's twenty-two or may be twenty-three dollars. It's all 
for Harry." 

The spring warms into summer before the dime and 
quarter donations total the amount required by the at- 
torney to carry Harry's case to the Pardon Board. But 
the sick boy is missing from the range. For weeks his 
dry, hacking cough resounded in the night, keeping the 
men awake, till at last the doctor ordered him transferred 
to the hospital. His place on the range has been taken 
by "Big Swede," a tall, sallow-faced man who shuffles 
along the hall, moaning in pain. The passing guards 
mimic him, and poke him jocularly in the ribs. "Hey, 
you! Get a move on, and quit your shammin'." He 



A CHILD'S HEART-HUNGER 457 

starts in affright; pressing both hands against his side, 
he shrinks at the officer's touch. "You fakir, we're next 
to you, all right." An uncomprehending, sickly smile 
- spreads over the sere face, as he murmurs plaintively, 
"Yis, sir, me seek, very seek." 



CHAPTER XLVII 
CHUM 



The able-bodied men have been withdrawn to the 
shops, and only the old and decrepit remain in the cell- 
house. But even the light duties of assistant prove too 
difficult for the Swede. The guards insist that he is 
shamming. Every night he is placed in a strait- jacket, 
and gagged to stifle his groans. I protest against the 
mistreatment, and am cited to the office. The Deputy's 
desk is occupied by "Bighead," the officer of the hosiery 
department, now promoted to the position of Second 
Assistant Deputy. He greets me with a malicious grin. 
*T knew you wouldn't behave," he chuckles; "know you 
too damn well from the stockin' shop." 

The gigantic Colonel, the new Deputy, loose- jointed 
and broad, strolls in with long, swinging step. He 
glances over the report against me. *Ts that all ?" he in- 
quires of the guard, in cold, impassive voice. 

"Yes, sir." 

"Go back to your work, Berkman." 

But in the afternoon. Officer "Bighead" struts into 
the cell-house, in charge of the barber gang. As I take 
my turn in the first chair, the guard hastens toward me. 
"Get out of that chair," he commands. "It ain't your 
turn. You take that chair," pointing toward the second 
barber, a former boilermaker, dreaded by the men as a 
"butcher." 

458 



CHUM 459 

"It is my turn in this chair," I reply, keeping my 
seat. 

"Dat so, Mr. Officer," the negro barber chimes in. 

"Shut up !" the officer bellows. "Will you get out of 
that chair?" He advances toward me threateningly. 

"I won't," I retort, looking him squarely in the eye. 

Suppressed giggling passes along the waiting line. 
The keeper turns purple, and strides toward the office 
to report me. 



II 



"This is awful, Aleck. Vm so sorry you're locked 
up. You were in the right, too," "Coz" whispers at my 
cell. "But never min', old boy," he smiles reassuringly, 
"you can count on me, all right. And you've got other 
friends. Here's a stiff some one sends you. He wants 
an answer right away. I'll call for it." 

The note mystifies me. The large, bold writing is 
unfamiliar; I cannot identify the signature, "Jim M." 
The contents are puzzling. His sympathies are with me, 
the writer says. He has learned all the details of the 
trouble, and feels that I acted in the defence of my 
rights. It is an outrage to lock me up for resenting 
undeserved humiliation at the hands of an unfriendly 
guard; and he cannot bear to see me. thus persecuted. 
My time is short, and the present trouble, if not cor- 
rected, may cause the loss of my commutation. He will 
immediately appeal to the Warden to do me justice; but 
he should like to hear from me before taking action. 

I wonder at the identity of the writer. Evidently not 
a prisoner; intercession with the Warden would be out 
of the question. Yet I cannot account for any officer 
who would take this attitude, or employ such means of 
communicating with me. 



46o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Presently "Coz" saunters past the cell. ''Got your 
answer ready?" he whispers. 

"Who gave you the note, Coz?" 

*'I don't know if I should tell you." 

**Of course you must tell me. I won't answer this 
note unless I know to whom I am writing." 

"Well, Aleck," he hesitates, "he didn't say if I may 
tell you." 

"Then better go and ask him first." 

Considerable time elapses before "Coz" returns. 
From the delay I judge that the man is in a distant 
part of the institution, or not easily accessible. At last 
the kindly face of the Italian appears at the cell. 

"It's all right, Aleck," he says. 

"Who is he?" I ask impatiently. 

"I'll bet you'll never guess." 

"Tell me, then." 

"Well, I'll tell you. He is not a screw." 

"Can't be a prisoner?" 

"No." 

"Who, then?" 

"He is a fine fellow, Aleck." 

"Come now, tell me." 

"He is a citizen. The foreman of the new shop." 

"The weaving department?" 

"That's the man. Here's another stiff from him. 
Answer at once." 



Ill 



Dear Mr. J. M. : 

I hardly know how to write to you. It is the most 
remarkable thing that has happened to me in all the years 
of my confinement. To think that you, a perfect stranger 
— and not a prisoner, at that — should offer to intercede in 



CHUM 461 

my behalf because you feel that an injustice has been done! 
It is almost incredible, but "Coz" has informed me that 
you are determined to see the Warden in this matter. I 
assure you I appreciate your sense of justice more than I 
can express it. But I most urgently request you not to 
carry out your plan. With the best of intentions, your 
intercession will prove disastrous, to yourself as well as 
to me. A shop foreman, you are not supposed to know 
what is happening in the block. The Warden is a martinet, 
and extremely vain of his authority. He will resent your 
interference. I don't know who you are, but your indig- 
nation at what you believe an injustice characterizes you 
as a man of principle, and you are evidently inclined to be 
friendly toward me. I should be very unhappy to be the 
cause of your discharge. You need your job, or you would 
not be here. I am very, very thankful to you, but I urge 
you most earnestly to drop the matter. I must fight my 
own battles. Moreover, the situation is not very serious, 
and I shall come out all right. 

With much appreciation, 

A. B. 



Dear Mr. M. ! 

I feel much relieved by your promise to accede to my 
request. It is best so. You need not worry about me. I 
expect to receive a hearing before the Deputy, and he 
seems a decent chap. You will pardon me when I confess 
that I smiled at your question whether your correspondence 
is welcome. Your notes are a ray of sunshine in the dark- 
ness, and I am intensely interested in the personality of a 
man whose sense of justice transcends considerations of 
personal interest. You know, no great heroism is required 
to demand justice for oneself, in the furtherance of our 
own advantage. But where the other fellow is concerned, 
especially a stranger, it becomes a question of "abstract" 
justice — and but few people possess the manhood to jeopard- 
ize their reputation or comfort for that. 

Since our correspondence began, I have had occasion to 
speak to some of the men in your charge. I want to thank 



4^2 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

you in their name for your considerate and humane treat- 
ment of them. 

"Coz" is at the door, and I must hurry. Trust no one 
with notes, except him. We have been friends for years, 
and he can tell you all you wish to know about my life 
here. 

Cordially, 

B. 



My Dear M. : 

There is no need whatever for your anxiety regarding 
the effects of the solitary upon me. I do not think they 
will keep me in long; at any rate, remember that I do not 
wish you to intercede. 

You will be pleased to know that my friend Harry 
shows signs of improvement, thanks to your generosity. 
"Coz" has managed to deliver to him the tid-bits and wine 
you sent. You know the story of the boy. He has never 
known the love of a mother, nor the care of a father. 
A typical child of the disinherited, he was thrown, almost 
in infancy, upon the tender mercies of the world. At the 
age of ten the law declared him a criminal. He has never 
since seen a day of liberty. At twenty he is dying of prison 
consumption. Was the Spanish Inquisition ever guilty of 
such organized child murder? With desperate will-power 
he clutches at life, in the hope of a pardon. He is firmly 
convinced that fresh air would cure him, but the new rules 
confine him to the hospital. His friends here have collected 
a fund to bring his case before the Pardon Board; it is 
to be heard next month. That devoted soul, "Coz," has 
induced the doctor to issue a certificate of Harry's critical 
condition, and he may be released soon. I have grown very 
fond of the boy so much sinned against. I have watched his 
heart and mind blossom in the sunshine of a little kindness, 
and now — I hope that at least his last wish will be gratified : 
just once to walk on the street, and not hear the harsh 
command of the guard. He begs me to express to his 
unknown friend his deepest gratitude. 

B. 



CHUM ^ 4^3 

Dear M. : 

The Deputy has just released me. I am happy with a 
double happiness, for I know how pleased you will be at 
the good turn of affairs. It is probably due to the fact 
that my neighbor, the Big Swede — you've heard about him — 
was found dead in the strait-jacket this morning. The doc- 
tor and officers all along pretended that he was shamming. 
It was a most cruel murder; by the Warden's order the sick 
Swede was kept gagged and bound every night. I under- 
stand that the Deputy opposed such brutal methods, and 
now it is rumored that he intends to resign. But I hope he 
will remain. There is something big and broad-minded about 
the gigantic Colonel. He tries to be fair, and he has saved 
many a prisoner from the cruelty of the Major. The latter 
is continually inventing new modes of punishment; it is char- 
acteristic that his methods involve curtailment of rations, 
and consequent saving, which is not accounted for on the 
books. He has recently cut the milk allowance of the 
hospital patients, notwithstanding the protests of the doctor. 
He has also introduced severe punishment for talking. You 
know, when you have not uttered a word for days and 
weeks, you are often seized with an uncontrollable desire to 
give vent to your feelings. These infractions of the rules 
are now punished by depriving you of tobacco and of your 
Sunday dinner. Every Sunday from 30 to 50 men are locked 
up on the top range, to remain without food all day. The 
system is called "Killicure" (kill or cure) and it involves 
considerable graft, for I know numbers of men who have 
not received tobacco or a Sunday dinner for months. 

Warden Wm. Johnston seems innately cruel. Recently he 
introduced the "blind" cell, — door covered with solid sheet 
iron. It is much worse than the basket cell, for it virtually 
admits no air, and men are kept in it from 30 to 60 days. 
Prisoner Varnell was locked up in such a cell 79 days, be- 
coming paralyzed. But even worse than these punishments 
is the more refined brutality of torturing the boys with the 
uncertainty of release and the increasing deprivation of good 
time. This system is developing insanity to an 'alarming 
extent. 

Amid all this heartlessness and cruelty, the Chaplain 
is a refreshing oasis of humanity. I noticed in one of your 



4^4 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

letters the expression, "because of economic necessity," and 
— I wondered. To be sure, the effects of economic causes 
are not to be underestimated. But the extremists of the 
materialistic conception discount character, and thus help to 
vitiate it. The factor of personality is too often ignored 
by them. Take the Chaplain, for instance. In spite of the 
surrounding swamp of cupidity and brutality, notwithstand- 
ing all disappointment and ingratitude, he is to-day, after 
30 years of incumbency, as full of faith in human nature 
and as sympathetic and helpful, as years ago. He has had to 
contend against the various administrations, and he is a 
poor man; necessity has not stifled his innate kindness. 

And this is why I wondered. "Economic necessity" — 
has Socialism pierced the prison walls ? 

B. 



DiAi, Dear Comrade: 

Can you realize how your words, "I am socialistically 
inclined," warmed my heart? I wish I could express to you 
all the intensity of what I feel, my dear friend and comrade. 
To have so unexpectedly found both in you, unutterably 
lightens this miserable existence. What matter that you 
do not entirely share my views, — we are comrades in the 
common cause of human emancipation. It was indeed well 
worth while getting in trouble to have found you, dear 
friend. Surely I have good cause to be content, even happy. 
Your friendship is a source of great strength, and I feel 
equal to struggling through the ten months, encouraged and 
inspired by your comradeship and devotion. Every evening 
I cross the date off my calendar, joyous with the thought 
that I am a day nearer to the precious moment when I shall 
turn my back upon these walls, to join my friends in the 
great work, and to meet you, dear Chum, face to face, to 
grip your hand and salute you, my friend and comrade ! 

Most fraternally, 

Alex. 



CHAPTER XLVIII 



LAST DAYS 



On the Homestretch, 
Sub Rosa, April 15, 1905. 
My Dear Girl : 

The last spring is here, and a song is in my heart. Only 
three more months, and I shall have settled accounts with Father 
Penn. There is the year in the workhouse, of course, and 
that prison, I am told, is even a worse hell than this one. But 
I feel strong with the suffering that is past, and perhaps 
even more so with the wonderful jewel I have found. The man 
I mentioned in former letters has proved a most beautiful soul 
and sincere friend. In every possible way he has been trying 
to make my existence more endurable. With what little he may, 
he says, he wants to make amends for the injustice and brutal- 
ity of society. He is a Socialist, with a broad outlook upon 
life. Our lengthy discussions (per notes) afford me many 
moments of pleasure and joy. 

It is chiefly to his exertions that I shall owe my commuta- 
tion time. The sentiment of the Inspectors was not favorable. 
I believe it was intended to deprive me of two years' good time. 
Think what it would mean to us! But my friend — my dear 
Chum, as I affectionately call him — ^has quietly but persistently 
been at work, with the result that the Inspectors have "seen 
the light." It is now definite that I shall be released in July. 
The date is still uncertain. I can barely realize that I am soon 
to leave this place. The anxiety and restlessness of the last 
month would be almost unbearable, but for the soothing presence 
of my devoted friend. I hope some day you will meet him, — 
perhaps even soon, for he is not of the quality that can long 
remain a helpless witness of the torture of men. He wants to 
work in the broader field, where he may join hands with those 

465 



466 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

who strive to reconstruct the conditions that are bulwarked 
with prison bars. 

But while necessity forces him to remain here, his char- 
acter is in evidence. He devotes his time and means to lighten- 
ing the burden of the prisoners. His generous interest kept 
my sick friend Harry alive, in the hope of a pardon. You will 
be saddened to hear that the Board refused to release him, on 
the ground that he was not "sufficiently ill." The poor boy, who 
had never been out of sight of a guard since he was a child of 
ten, died a week after the pardon was refused. 

But though my Chum could not give freedom to Harry, he 
was instrumental in saving another young life from the hands of 
the hangman. It was the case of young Paul, typical of prison 
as the nursery of crime. The youth was forced to work along- 
side of a man who persecuted and abused him because he re- 
sented improper advances. Repeatedly Paul begged the Warden 
to transfer him to another department; but his appeals were 
ignored. The two prisoners worked in the bakery. Early one 
morning, left alone, the man attempted to violate the boy. In 
the struggle that followed the former was killed. The prison 
management was determined to hang the lad, "in the interests 
of discipline." The officers openly avowed they would "fix his 
clock." Permission for a collection, to engage an attorney for 
Paul, was refused. Prisoners who spoke in his behalf were 
severely punished; the boy was completely isolated preparatory 
to his trial. He stood absolutely helpless, alone. But the 
dear Chum came to the rescue of Paul. The work had to be 
done secretly, and it was a most difficult task to secure witnesses 
for the defence among the prisoners terrorized by the guards. 
But Chum threw himself into the work with heart and soul. 
Day and night he labored to give the boy a chance for his life. 
He almost broke down before the ordeal was over. But the 
boy was saved; the jury acquitted him on the ground of self- 
defence. 

The proximity of release, if only to change cells, is nerve- 
racking in the extreme. But even the mere change will be a 
relief. Meanwhile my faithful friend does everything in his 
power to help me bear the strain. Besides ministering to my 
physical comforts, he generously supplies me with books and 
publications. It helps to while away the leaden-heeled days, 
and keeps me abreast of the world's work. The Chum is 



LAST DAYS 4^ 

enthusiastic over the growing strength of Socialism, and wc 
often discuss the subject with much vigor. It appears to mc, 
however, that the Socialist anxiety for success is by degrees 
perverting essential principles. It is with much sorrow I have 
learned that political activity, formerly viewed merely as a 
means of spreading Socialist ideas, has gradually become an 
end in itself. Straining for political power weakens the fibres 
of character and ideals. Daily contact with authority has 
strengthened my conviction that control of the governmental 
power is an illusory remedy for social evils. Inevitable con- 
sequences of false conceptions are not to be legislated out of 
existence. It is not merely the conditions, but the fundamental 
ideas of present civilization, that are to be transvalued, to give 
place to new social and individual relations. The emancipation 
of labor is the necessary first step along the road of a regen- 
erated humanity ; but even that can be accomplished only through 
the awakened consciousness of the toilers, acting on their own 
initiative and strength. 

On these and other points Chum differs with me, but his 
intense friendship knows no intellectual distinctions. He is to 
visit you during his August vacation. I know you will make 
him feel my gratitude, for I can never repay his boundless 
devotion. 

Sasha. 



Dearest Chum: 

It seemed as if all aspiration and hope suddenly went out 
of my life when you disappeared so mysteriously. I was tor- 
mented by the fear of some disaster. Your return has filled 
me with joy, and I am happy to know that you heard and 
responded unhestitatingly to the call of a sacred cause. 

I greatly envy your activity in the P. circle. The revolution 
in Russia has stirred me to the very depths. The giant is awak- 
ening, the mute giant that has suffered so patiently, voicing his 
misery and agony only in the anguish-laden song and on the 
pages of his Gorkys. 

Dear friend, you remember our discussion regarding Plehve. 
I may have been in error when I expressed the view that the 
execution of the monster, encouraging sign of individual revolu- 



468 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

tionary activity as it was, could not be regarded as a manifesta- 
tion of social awakening. But the present uprising undoubtedly 
points to widespread rebellion permeating Russian life. Yet 
it would probably be too optimistic to hope for a very radical 
change. I have been absent from my native land for many 
years; but in my youth I was close to the life and thought of 
the peasant. Large, heavy bodies move slowly. The proletariat 
of the cities has surely become impregnated with revolutionary 
ideas, but the vital element of Russia is the agrarian population. 
I fear, moreover, that the dominant reaction is still very strong, 
though it has no doubt been somewhat weakened by the dis- 
content manifesting in the army and, especially, in the navy. 
With all my heart I hope that the revolution will be successful. 
Perhaps a constitution is the most we can expect. But what- 
ever the result, the bare fact of a revolution in long-suffering 
Russia is a tremendous inspiration. I should be the happiest 
of men to join in the glorious struggle. 
Long live the Revolution ! 

A. 



Dear Chum: 

Thanks for your kind offer. But I am absolutely opposed 
to having any steps taken to eliminate the workhouse sentence. 
I have served these many years and I shall survive one more. 
I will ask no favors of the enemy. They will even twist their 
own law to deprive me of the five months' good time, to which 
I am entitled on the last year. I understand that I shall be 
allowed only two months off, on the preposterous ground that 
the workhouse term constitutes the first year of a new sentence! 
But I do not wish you to trouble about the matter. You have 
more important work to do. Give all your energies to the good 
cause. Prepare the field for the mission of Tchaikovsky and 
Babushka, and I shall be with you in spirit when you embrace 
our brave comrades of the Russian Revolution, whose dearnames 
were a hallowed treasure of my youth. 

May success reward the efforts of our brothers in Russia. 

A. 



LAST DAYS 4^9 

Chum: 

Just got word from the Deputy that my papers are signed. 
I didn't wish to cause you anxiety, but I was apprehensive of 
some hitch. But it's positive and settled now, — I go out on the 
19th. Just one more week I This is the happiest day in thirteen 
years. Shake, Comrade. 

A. 



Dearest Chum: 

My hand trembles as I write this last good-bye. I'll be 
gone in an hour. My heart is too full for words. Please send 
enclosed notes to my friends, and embrace them all as I em- 
brace you now. I shall live in the hope of meeting you all next 
year. Good-bye, dear, devoted friend. 

With my whole heart, 

Your Comrade and Chum. 



July 19, 1905. 
Dearest Girl: 

It's Wednesday morning, the 19th, at last! 

Geh stiller meines Herzens Schlag 

Und schliesst euch alle meine alten Wunden, 

Denn dieses ist mein letzter Tag 

Und dies sind seine letzten Stunden. 

My last thoughts within these walls are of you, my dear, 
dear Sonya, the Immutable 1 

Sasha. 



\ 



PART lis 



THE WORKHOUSE 



T 



THE WORKHOUSE 



The gates of the penitentiary open to leave me out, 
and I pause involuntarily at the fascinating sight. It 
is a street: a line of houses stretches before me; a 
woman, young and wonderfully sweet-faced, is passing 
on the opposite side. My eyes follow her graceful lines, 
as she turns the corner. Men stand about. They wear 
citizen clothes, and scan me with curious, insistent gaze. 
. . . The handcuff grows taut on my wrist, and I follow 
the sheriff into the waiting carriage. A little child runs 
by. I lean out of the window to look at the rosy- 
cheeked, strangely youthful face. But the guard im- 
patiently lowers the blind, and we sit in gloomy silence. 

The spell of the civilian garb is upon me. It gives an 
exhilarating sense of manhood. Again and again I 
glance at my clothes, and verify the numerous pockets 
to reassure myself of the reality of the situation. I atn 
free, past the dismal gray walls ! Free ? Yet even now 
captive of the law. The lawl . . . 

The engine puffs and shrieks, and my mind speeds 
back to another journey. It was thirteen years and one 
week ago this day. On the wings of an all-absorbing 
love I hastened to join the struggle of the oppressed 
people. I left home and friends, sacrificed liberty, and 
risked life. But human justice is blind: it will not see 
the soul on fire. Only the shot was heard, by the Law 

473 



474 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

that is deaf to the agony of Toil. "Vengeance is mine," 
it saith. To the uttermost drop it will shed the blood 
to exact its full pound of flesh. Twelve years and ten 
months! And still another year. What horrors await 
me at the new prison? Poor, faithful "Horsethief" will 
nevermore smile his greeting: he did not survive six 
months in the terrible workhouse. But my spirit is 
strong ; I shall not be daunted. This garb is the visible, 
tangible token of resurrection. The devotion of staunch 
friends will solace and cheer me. The call of the great 
Cause will give strength to live, to struggle, to conquer. 

11 

Humiliation overwhelms me as I don the loathed suit 
of striped black and gray. The insolent look of the 
guard rouses my bitter resentment, as he closely scruti- 
nizes my naked body. But presently, the examination 
over, a sense of gratification steals over me at the as- 
sertiveness of my self-respect. 

The ordeal of the day's routine is full of inexpres- 
sible anguish. Accustomed to prison conditions, I yet 
find existence in the workhouse a nightmare of cruelty, 
infinitely worse than the most inhuman aspects of the 
penitentiary. The guards are surly and brutal ; the food 
foul and inadequate ; punishment for the slightest offence 
instantaneous and ruthless. The cells are even smaller 
than in the penitentiary, and contain neither chair nor 
table. They are unspeakably ill-smelling with the privy 
buckets, for the purposes of which no scrap of waste 
paper is allowed. The sole ablutions of the day are 
performed in the morning, when the men form in the 
hall and march past the spigot of running water, snatch- 
ing a handful in the constantly moving line. Absolute 



THE WORKHOUSE 475 

silence prevails in cell-house and shop. The slightest 
motion of the lips is punished with the blackjack or the 
dungeon, referred to with caustic satire as the "White 
House." 

The perverse logic of the law that visits the .utmost 
limit of barbarity upon men admittedly guilty of minor 
transgressions ! Throughout the breadth of the land the 
workhouses are notoriously more atrocious in every re- 
spect than the penitentiaries and State prisons, in which 
are confined men convicted of felonies. The Allegheny 
County Workhouse of the great Commonwealth of Penn- 
sylvania enjoys infamous distinction as the blackest of 
hells where men expiate the sins of society. 



At work in the broom shop, I find myself in pecul- 
iarly familiar surroundings. The cupidity of the man- 
agement has evolved methods even more inhuman than 
those obtaining in the State prison. The tasks imposed 
upon the men necessitate feverish exertion. Insuffi- 
cient product or deficient work is not palliated by phys- 
ical inability or illness. In the conduct of the various in- 
dustries, every artifice prevalent in the penitentiary is 
practised to evade the law limiting convict competition. 
The number of men employed in productive work by 
far exceeds the legally permitted percentage; the pro- 
visions for the protection of free labor are skilfully 
circumvented ; the tags attached to the shop products are 
designed to be obliterated as soon as the wares have left 
the prison; the words "convict-made" stamped on the 
broom-handles are pasted over with labels giving no in- 
dication of the place of manufacture. The anti-convict- 
labor law, symbolic of the political achievements of labor, 
is frustrated at every point, its element of protection a 
"lame and impotent conclusion." 



47^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

How significant the travesty of the law in its holy 
of holies! Here legal justice immures its victims; here 
are buried the disinherited, whose rags and tatters annoy 
respectability; here offenders are punished for breaking 
the law. And here the Law is daily and hourly violated 
by its pious high priests. 



Ill 



The immediate is straining at the leash that holds 
memory in the environment of the penitentiary, yet the 
veins of the terminated existence still palpitate with the 
recollection of friends and common suffering. The 
messages from Riverside are wet with tears of misery, 
but Johnny, the young Magyar, strikes a note of cheer : 
his sentence is about to expire; he will devote himself 
to the support of the little children he had so unwittingly 
robbed of a father. Meanwhile he bids me courage and 
hope, enclosing two dollars from the proceeds of his 
fancy work, "to help along." He was much grieved, he 
writes, at his inability to bid me a last farewell, because 
the Warden refused the request, signed by two hundred 
prisoners, that I be allowed to pass along the tiers to 
say good-bye. But soon, soon we shall see each other 
in freedom. 

Words of friendship glow brightly in the darkness 
of the present, and charm my visions of the near future. 
Coming liberty casts warming rays, and I dwell in the 
atmosphere of my comrades. The Girl and the Chum 
are aglow with the fires of Young Russia. Busily my 
mind shapes pictures of the great struggle that trans- 
plant me to the days of my youth. In the little tenement 
flat in New York we had sketched with bold stroke the 
fortunes of the world — the Girl, the Twin, and I. In 
the dark, cage-like kitchen, amid the smoke of the asth- 



THE WORKHOUSE 477 

matic stove, we had planned our conspirative work in 
Russia. But the need of the hour had willed it other- 
wise. Homestead had sounded the prelude of awaken- 
ing, and my heart had echoed the inspiring strains. 

The banked fires of aspiration burst into life. What 
matter the immediate outcome of the revolution in Rus- 
sia? The yearning of my youth wells up with spon- 
taneous power. To live is to struggle! To struggle 
against Caesar, side by side with the people: to suffer 
with them, and to die, if need be. That is life. It will 
sadden me to part with Chum even before I had looked 
deeply into the devoted face. But the Girl is aflame 
with the spirit of Russia: it will be joyous work in 
common. The soil of Monongahela, laden with years of 
anguish, has grown dear to me. Like the moan of a 
broken chord wails the thought of departure. But no 
ties of affection will strain at my heartstrings. Yet — 
the sweet face of a little girl breaks in on my reverie, 
a look of reproaching sadness in the large, wistful eyes. 
It is little Stella. The last years of my penitentiary 
life have snatched many a grace from her charming cor- 
respondence. Often I have sought consolation in the 
beautiful likeness of her soulful face. With mute ten- 
derness she had shared my grief at the loss of Harry, 
her lips breathing sweet balm. Gray days had warmed 
at her smile, and I lavished upon her all the affection 
with which I was surcharged. It will be a violent stifling 
of her voice in my heart, but the call of the muzhik 
rings clear, compelling. Yet who knows? The revolu- 
tion may be over before my resurrection. In republican 
Russia, with her enlightened social protestantism, life 
would be fuller, richer than in this pitifully bourgeois 
democracy. Freedom will present the unaccustomed 
problem of self-support, but it is premature to form 



478 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

definite plans. Long imprisonment has probably inca- 
pacitated me for hard work, but I shall find means to 
earn my simple needs when I have cast off the fetters 
of my involuntary parasitism. 

The thought of affection, the love of woman, thrills 
me with ecstasy, and colors my existence with emotions 
of strange bliss. But the solitary hours are filled with 
recurring dread lest my life forever remain bare of 
woman's love. Often the fear possesses me with the 
intensity of despair, as my mind increasingly dwells on 
the opposite sex. Thoughts of woman eclipse the 
memory of the prison affections, and the darkness of 
the present is threaded with the silver needle of love- 
hopes. 

IV 

The monotony of the routine, the degradation and 
humiliation weigh heavier in the shadow of liberty. My 
strength is failing with the hard task in the shop, but 
the hope of receiving my full commutation sustains me. 
The law allows five months' "good time" on every year 
beginning with the ninth year of a sentence. But the 
Superintendent has intimated to me that I may be 
granted the benefit of only two months, as a "new" 
prisoner, serving the first year of a workhouse sentence. 
The Board of Directors will undoubtedly take that view, 
he often taunts me. Exasperation at his treatment, 
coupled with my protest against the abuse of a fellow 
prisoner, have caused me to be ordered into the solitary. 
Dear Chum is insistent on legal steps to secure my full 
commutation; notwithstanding my unconditional refusal 
to resort to the courts, he has initiated a sub rosa cam- 
paign to achieve his object. The time drags in torturing 
uncertainty. With each day the solitary grows more 



THE WORKHOUSE , • 479 

stifling, maddening, till my brain reels with terror of the 
graveyard silence. Like glad music sounds the stern 
command, "Exercise!" 

In step we circle the yard, the clanking of Charley's 
chain mournfully beating time. He had made an un- 
successful attempt to escape, for which he is punished 
with the ball and chain. The iron cuts into his ankle, 
and he trudges painfully under the heavy weight. Near 
me staggers Billy, his left side completely paralyzed 
since he was released from the "White House." All 
about me are cripples. I am in the midst of 
the social refuse: the lame and the halt, the broken in 
body and spirit, past work, past even crime. These 
were the blessed of the Nazarene; these a Christian 
world breaks on the wheel. They, too, are within the 
scope of my mission, they above all others — these the 
living indictments of a leprous system, the excommuni- 
cated of God and man. 

The threshold of liberty is thickly sown with misery 
and torment. The days are unbearable with nervous 
restlessness, the nights hideous with the hours of ago- 
nizing stillness, — the endless, endless hours. Feverishly I 
pace the cell. The day will pass, it must pass. With 
reverent emotion I bless the shamed sun as he dips 
beyond the western sky. One day nearer to the liberty 
that awaits me, with unrestricted sunshine and air and 
life beyond the hated walls of gray, out in the daylight, 
in the open. The open world ! . . . The scent of fresh- 
mown hay is in my nostrils; green fields and forests 
stretch before me; sweetly ripples the mountain spring. 
Up to the mountain crest, to the breezes and the sun- 
shine, where the storm breaks in its wild fury upon my 
uncovered head. Welcome the rain and the wind that 
sweep the foul prison dust off my heart, and blow life 



48o PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

and strength into my being! Tremblingly rapturous is 
the thought of freedom. Out in the woods, away from 
the stench of the cannibal world I shall wander, nor lift 
my foot from soil or sod. Close to the breath of Nature 
I will press my parched lips, on her bosom I will pass 
my days, drinking sustenance and strength from the 
universal mother. And there, in liberty and independ- 
ence, in the vision of the mountain peaks, I shall voice 
the cry of the social orphans, of the buried and the 
disinherited, and visualize to the living the yearning, 
menacing Face of Pain. 



PART lY 



THE RESURRECTION 



THE RESURRECTION 



All night I toss sleeplessly on the cot, and pace the 
cell in nervous agitation, waiting for the dawn. With 
restless joy I watch the darkness melt, as the first rays 
herald the coming of the day. It is the i8th of May — 
my last day, my very last! A few more hours, and I 
shall walk through the gates, and drink in the warm 
sunshine and the balmy air, and be free to go and come 
as I please, after the nightmare of thirteen years and ten 
months in jail, penitentiary, and workhouse. 

My step quickens with the excitement of the outside, 
and I try to while away the heavy hours thinking of 
freedom and of friends. But my brain is in a turmoil; 
I cannot concentrate my thoughts. Visions of the near 
future, images of the past, flash before me, and crowd 
each other in bewildering confusion. 

Again and again my mind reverts to the unneces- 
sary cruelty that has kept me in prison three months 
over and above my time. It was sheer sophistry to con- 
sider me a *'new" prisoner, entitled only to two months' 
commutation. As a matter of fact, I was serving the last 
year of a twenty-two-year sentence, and therefore I 
should have received five months time oflF. The Super- 
intendent had repeatedly promised to inform me of the 
decision of the Board of Directors, and every day, for 
weeks and months, I anxiously waited for word from 

483 



484 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

them. None ever came, and I had to serve the full ten 
months. 

Ah, well, it is almost over now I I have passed my 
last night in the cell, and the morning is here, the 
precious, blessed morning! 

How slowly the minutes creep ! I listen intently, and 
catch the sound of bars being unlocked on the bottom 
range: it is the Night Captain turning the kitchen men 
out to prepare breakfast — 5 A. m! Two and a half 
hours yet before I shall be called ; two endless hours, and 
then another thirty long minutes. Will they ever pass? 
• • . And again I pace the cell. 



U 



The gong rings the rising hour. In great agitation I 
gather up my blankets, tincup and spoon, which must be 
delivered at the office before I am discharged. My heart 
beats turbulently, as I stand at the door, waiting to be 
call«d. But the guard unlocks the range and orders me 
to "fall in for breakfast** 

The striped line winds down the stairs, past the lynx- 
eyed Deputy standing in the middle of the hallway, and 
slowly circles through the centre, where each man re- 
ceives his portion of bread for the day and returns to 
his tier. The turnkey, on his rounds of the range, casts 
a glance into my cell. "Not workin*," he says mechan- 
ically, shutting the door in my face. 

"Fm going out," I protest. 

"Not till you're called," he retorts, locking me in. 

I stand at the door, tense with suspense. I strain my 
ear for the approach of a guard to call me to the office, 
but all remains quiet. A vague fear steals over me : per- 



THE RESURRECTION 4^5 

haps they will not release me to-day; I may be losing 
time. ... A feeling of nausea overcomes me, but by a 
strong effort I throw off the dreadful fancy, and quicken 
my step. I must not think — not think. . . . 

At last! The lever is pulled, my cell unlocked, and 
with a dozen other men I am marched to the clothes- 
room, in single file and lockstep. I await my turn im- 
patiently, as several men are undressed and their naked 
bodies scrutinized for contraband or hidden messages. 
The overseer flings a small bag at each man, containing 
the prisoner's civilian garb, shouting boisterously : "Hey, 
you ! Take off them clothes, and put your rags on," 

I dress hurriedly. A guard accompanies me to the 
office, where my belongings are returned to me: some 
money friends had sent, my watch, and the piece of ivory 
the penitentiary turnkey had stolen from me, and which 
I had insisted on getting back before I left Riverside. 
The officer in charge hands me a railroad ticket to Pitts- 
burgh (the fare costing about thirty cents), and I am 
conducted to the prison gate. 



Ill 



The sun shines brightly in the yard, the sky is clear, 
the air fresh and bracing. Now the last gate will be 
thrown open, and I shall be out of sight of the guard, be- 
yond the bars, — alone! How I have hungered for this 
hour, how often in the past years have I dreamed of this 
rapturous moment — to be alone, out in the open, away 
from the insolent eyes of my keepers! I'll rush away 
from these walls and kneel on the warm sod, and kiss 
the soil and embrace the trees, and with a song of joy 
give thanks to Nature for the blessings of sunshine and 
air. 



486 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

The outer door opens before me, and I am confronted 
by reporters with cameras. Several tall men approach 
me. One of them touches me on the shoulder, turns 
back the lapel of his coat, revealing a police officer's star, 
and says: 

''Berkman, you are to leave the city before night, 
by order of the Chief." 

The detectives and reporters trailing me to the nearby 
railway station attract a curious crowd. I hasten into a 
car to escape their insistent gaze, feeling glad that I have 
prevailed upon my friends not to meet me at the prison. 

My mind is busy with plans to outwit the detectives, 
who have entered the same compartment. I have ar- 
ranged to join the Girl in Detroit. I have no particular 
reason to mask my movements, but I resent the sur- 
veillance. I must get rid of the spies, somehow ; I don't 
want their hateful eyes to desecrate my meeting with the 
Girl. 

I feel dazed. The short ride to Pittsburgh is over 
before I can collect my thoughts. The din and noise 
rend my ears; the rushing cars, the clanging bells, be- 
wilder me. I am afraid to cross the street; the fly- 
ing monsters pursue me on every side. The crowds 
jostle me on the sidewalk, and I am constatitly running 
into the passers-by. The turmoil, the ceaseless move- 
ment, disconcerts me. A horseless carriage whizzes close 
by me ; I turn to look at the first automobile I have ever 
seen, but the living current sweeps me helplessly along. 
A woman passes me, with a child in her arms. The 
baby looks strangely diminutive, a rosy dimple in the 
laughing face. I smile back at the little cherub, and my 
eyes meet the gaze of the detectives. A wild thought to 
escape, to get away from them, possesses me, and I turn 
quickly into a side street, and walk blindly, faster and 



THE RESURRECTION 487 

faster. A sudden impulse seizes me at the sight of a 
passing car, and I dash after it. 

"Fare, please !" the conductor sings out, and I almost 
laugh out aloud at the fleeting sense of the material real- 
ity of freedom. Conscious of the strangeness of my 
action, I produce a dollar bill, and a sense of exhilarating 
independence comes over me, as the man counts out the 
silver coins. I watch him closely for a sign of recogni- 
tion. Does he realize that I am just out of prison? He 
turns away, and I feel thankful to the dear Chum for 
having so thoughtfully provided me with a new suit of 
clothes. It is peculiar, however, that the conductor has 
failed to notice my closely cropped hair. But the man 
in the seat opposite seems to be watching me. Perhaps 
he has recognized me by my picture in the newspapers; 
or may be it is my straw hat that has attracted his atten- 
tion. I glance about me. No one wears summer head- 
gear yet; it must be too early in the season. I ought to 
change it: the detectives could not follow me so easily 
then. Why, there they are on the back platform ! 

At the next stop I jump off the car. A hat sign ar- 
rests my eye, and I walk into the store, and then slip 
quietly through a side entrance, a dark derby on my 
head. I walk quickly, for a long, long time, board sev- 
eral cars, and then walk again, till I find myself on a 
deserted street. No one is following me now; the de- 
tectives must have lost track of me. I feel worn and 
tired. Where could I rest up, I wonder, when I sud- 
denly recollect that I was to go directly from the prison 

to the drugstore of Comrade M . My friends must 

be worried, and M is waiting to wire to the Girl 

about my release. 

It is long past noon when I enter the drugstore. 



488 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

M seems highly wrought up over something; he 

shakes my hand violently, and plies me with questions, as 
he leads me into his apartments in the rear of the store. 
It seems strange to be in a regular room : there is paper 
on the walls, and it feels so peculiar to the touch, so 
different from the whitewashed cell. I pass my hand 
over it caressingly, with a keen sense of pleasure. The 
chairs, too, look strange, and those quaint things on the 
table. The bric-a-brac absorbs my attention — the people 
in the room look hazy, their voices sound distant and 
confused. 

*'Why don't you sit down, Aleck?" the tones are 
musical and tender; a woman's, no doubt. 

"Yes," I reply, walking around the table, and picking 
up a bright toy. It represents Undine, rising from the 
water, the spray glistening in the sun. . . . 

"Are you tired, Aleck?" 

"N— no." 

"You have just come out?" 

"Yes." 

It requires an effort to talk. The last year, in the 
workhouse, I have barely spoken a dozen words; there 
was always absolute silence. The voices disturb me. The 
presence of so many people — there are three or four 
about me — is oppressive. The room reminds me of the 
cell, and the desire seizes me to rush out into the open, 
to breathe the air and see the sky. 

"I'm going," I say, snatching up my hat 

IV 

The train speeds me to Detroit, and I wonder 
vaguely how I reached the station. My brain is numb; 
I cannot think. Field and forest flit by in the gathering 
dusk, but the surroundings wake no interest in me. "I 



THE RESURRECTION 4^ 

am rid of the detectives" — the thought persists in my 
mind, and I feel something relax within me, and leave 
me cold, without emotion or desire. 

With an effort I descend to the platform, and sway 
from side to side, as I cross the station at Detroit. A 
man and a girl hasten toward me, and grasp me by the 
hand. I recognize Carl. The dear boy, he was a most , 
faithful and cheering correspondent all these years since ; 
he left the penitentiary. But who is the girl with him, j 
I wonder, when my gaze falls on a woman leaning 
against a pillar. She looks intently at me. The wave | 
of her hair, the familiar eyes — why, it's the Girl I How [ 
little she has changed! I take a few steps forward, 
somewhat surprised that she did not rush up to me like 
the others. I feel pleased at her self-possession: the 
excited voices, the quick motions, disturb me. I walk 
slowly toward her, but she does not move. She seems 
rooted to the spot, her hand grasping the pillar, a look 
of awe and terror in her face. Suddenly she throws 
her arms around me. Her lips move, but no sound 
reaches my ear. 

We walk in silence. The Girl presses a bouquet into 
my hand. My heart is full, but I cannot talk. I hold 
the flowers to my face, and mechanically bite the petals. 



Detroit, Giicago, and Milwaukee pass before me 
like a troubled dream. I have a faint recollection of a 
sea of faces, restless and turbulent, and I in its midst. 
Confused voices beat like hammers on my head, and then 
all is very still. I stand in full view of the audience. 
Eyes are turned on me from every side, and I grow 
embarrassed. The crowd looks dim and hazy ; I feel hot 



t 

I 



490 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

and cold, and a great longing to flee. The perspiration 
is running down my back; my knees tremble violently, 
the floor is slipping from under my feet — there is a 
tumult of hand clapping, loud cheers and bravos. 

We return to Carl's house, and men and women 
grasp my hand and look at me with eyes of curious awe. 
I fancy a touch of pity in their tones, and am impatient 
of their sympathy. A sense of suffocation possesses me 
within doors, and I dread the presence of people. It is 
torture to talk; the sound of voices agonizes me. I 
watch for an opportunity to steal out of the house. It 
soothes me to lose myself among the crowds, and a sense 
of quiet pervades me at the thought that I am a stranger 
to every one about me. I roam the city at night, and 
seek the outlying country, conscious only of a desire to 
be alone. 



VI 



I am in the Waldheim, the Girl at my side. All is 
quiet in the cemetery, and I feel a great peace. No emo- 
tion stirs me at the sight of the monument, save a feel- 
ing of quiet sadness. It represents a woman, with one 
hand placing a wreath on the fallen, with the other 
grasping a sword. The marble features mirror un- 
utterable grief and proud defiance. 

I glance at the Girl. Her face is averted, but the 
droop of her head speaks of suffering. I hold out my 
hand to her, and we stand in mute sorrow at the graves 
of our martyred comrades. ... I have a vision of 
Stenka Razin, as I had seen him pictured in my youth, 
and at his side hang the bodies of the men buried be- 
neath my feet. Why are they dead? I wonder. Why 
should I live? And a great desire to lie down with 



THE RESURRECTION 49^ 

them is upon me. I clutch the iron post, to keep from 
falHng. 

Steps sound behind me, and I turn to see a girl 
hastening toward us. She is radiant with young woman- 
hood ; her presence breathes life and the joy of it. Her 
bosom heaves with panting; her face struggles with a 
solemn look. 

"I ran all the way," her voice is soft and low ; "I 
was afraid I might miss you." 

The Girl smiles. "Let us go in somewhere to rest 
up, Alice." Turning to me, she adds, "She ran to see — 
you." 

How peculiar the Girl should conceive such an idea! 
It is absurd. Why should Alice be anxious to see me? 
I look old and worn; my step is languid, unsteady. . . . 
Bitter thoughts fill my mind, as we ride back on the train 
to Chicago. 

"You are sad," the Girl remarks. "Alice is very 
much taken with you. Aren't you glad?" 

"You are mistaken," I reply. 

"I'm sure of it," the Girl persists. "Shall I ask her?" 

She turns to Alice. 

"Oh, I like you so much, Sasha," Alice whispers. 
I look up timidly at her. She is leaning toward me in 
the abandon of artless tenderness, and a great joy steals 
over me, as I read in her eyes frank affection. 



VII 



New York looks unexpectedly familiar, though I miss 
many old landmarks. It is torture to be indoors, and I 
roam the streets, experiencing a thrill of kinship when I 
locate one of my old haunts. 



492 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

I feel little interest in the large meeting arranged to 
greet me back into the world. Yet I am conscious of 
some curiosity about the comrades I may meet there. 
Few of the old guard have remained. Some dropped 
from the ranks; others died. John Most will not be 
there. I cherished the hope of meeting him again, 
but he died a few months before my release. He had 
been unjust to me; but who is free from moments of 
weakness? The passage of time has mellowed the 
bitterness of my resentment, and I think of him, my 
first teacher of Anarchy, with old-time admiration. His 
unique personality stands out in strong relief upon the 
flat background of his time. His life was the tragedy 
of the ever unpopular pioneer. A social Lear, his 
whitening years brought only increasing isolation and 
greater lack of understanding, even within his own circle. 
He had struggled and suffered much ; he gave his whole 
life to advance the Cause, only to find at the last that he 
who crosses the threshold must leave all behind, even 
friendship, even comradeship. 

My old friend, Justus Schwab, is also gone, and 
Brady, the big Austrian. Few of the comrades of my 
day have survived. The younger generation seems dif- 
ferent, unsatisfactory. The Ghetto I had known has 
also disappeared. Primitive Orchard Street, the scene 
of our pioneer meetings, has conformed to business re- 
spectability; the historic lecture hall, that rang with the 
breaking chains of the awakening people, has been turned 
into a dancing-school ; the little cafe "around the corner," 
the intellectual arena of former years, is now a counting- 
house. The fervid enthusiasm of the past, the sponta- 
neous comradeship in the common cause, the intoxica- 
tion of world-liberating zeal — all are gone with the days 
of my youth. I sense the spirit of cold deliberation in 



THE RESURRECTION 493 

the new set, and a tone of disillusioned wisdom that chills 
and estranges me. 

The Girl has also changed. The little Sailor, my 
companion of the days that thrilled with the approach 
of the Social Revolution, has become a woman of the 
world. Her mind has matured, but her wider interests 
antagonize my old revolutionary traditions that inspired 
every day and colored our every act with the direct per- 
ception of the momentarily expected great upheaval. I 
feel an instinctive disapproval of many things, though 
particular instances are intangible and elude my analysis. 
I sense a foreign element in the circle she has gathered 
about her, and feel myself a stranger among them. Her 
friends and admirers crowd her home, and turn it into 
a sort of salon. They talk art and literature; discuss 
science and philosophize over the disharmony of life. 
But the groans of the dungeon find no gripping echo 
there. The Girl is the most revolutionary of them all; 
but even she has been infected by the air of intellectual 
aloofness, false tolerance and everlasting pessimism. I 
resent the situation, the more I become conscious of 
the chasm between the Girl and myself. It seems un- 
bridgeable; we cannot recover the intimate note of our 
former comradeship. With pain I witness her evident 
misery. She is untiring in her care and affection; the 
whole circle lavishes on me sympathy and tenderness. 
But through it all I feel the commiserating tolerance 
toward a sick child. I shun the atmosphere of the house, 
and flee to seek the solitude of the crowded streets and 
the companionship of the plain, untutored underworld. 

In a Bowery resort I come across Dan, my assistant 
on the range during my last year in the penitentiary. 

"Hello, Aleck," he says, taking me aside, "awful glad 
to see you out of hell. Doing all right?" 



8KH PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST [ 

"So, so, Dan. And you?" 

"Rotten, Aleck, rotten. You know it was my first bit, 
and I swore I'd never do a crooked job again. Well, 
they turned me out with a five-spot, after four years' 
steady work, mind you, and three of them working my 
head oflF on a loom. Then they handed me a pair of 
Kentucky jeans, that any fly-cop could spot a mile off. 
My friends went back on me — that five-spot was all I 
had in the world, and it didn't go a long way. Liberty 
ain't what it looks to a fellow through the bars, Aleck, 
but it's hell to go back. I don't know what to do." 

"How do you happen here, Dan? Could you get no 
work at home, in Oil City?" 

"Home, hell ! I wish I had a home and friends, like 
you, Aleck. Christ, d'you think I'd ever turn another 
trick ? But I got no home and no friends. Mother died 
before I came out, and I found no home. I got a job in 
Oil City, but the bulls tipped me off for an ex-con, and 
I beat my way here. I tried to do the square thing, 
Aleck, but where's a fellow to turn? I haven't a cent 
and not a friend in the world." 

Poor Dan! I feel powerless to help him, even with 
advice. Without friends or money, his "liberty" is a 
hollow mockery, even worse than mine. Five years ago 
he was a strong, healthy young man. He committed a 
burglary, and was sent to prison. Now he is out, his 
body weakened, his spirit broken ; he is less capable than 
ever to survive in the struggle. What is he to do but 
commit another crime and be returned to prison? Even 
I, with so many advantages that Dan is lacking, with kind 
comrades and helpful friends, I can find no place in this 
world of the outside. I have been torn out, and I seem 
unable to take root again. Everything looks so different, 
changed. And yet I feel a great hunger for life. I could 
enjoy the sunshine, the open, and freedom of action. 



THE RESURRECTION 495 

I could make my life and my prison experience useful to 
the world. But I am incapacitated for the struggle. I 
do not fit in any more, not even in the circle of my com- 
rades. And this seething life, the turmoil and the noises 
of the city, agonize me. Perhaps it would be best for me 
to retire to the country, and there lead a simple life, 
close to nature. 



VIII 



The summer is fragrant with a thousand perfumes, 
and a great peace is in the woods. The Hudson River 
shimmers in the distance, a solitary sail on its broad 
bosom. The Palisades on the opposite side look im- 
mutable, eternal, their undulating tops melting in the 
grayish-blue horizon. 

Puffs of smoke rise from the valley. Here, too, has 
penetrated the restless spirit. The muffled thunder of 
blasting breaks in upon the silence. The greedy hand of 
man is desecrating the Palisades, as it has desecrated the 
race. But the big river flows quietly, and the sailboat 
glides serenely on the waters. It skips over the foaming 
waves, near the spot I stand on, toward the great, busy 
city. Now it is floating past the high towers, with their 
forbidding aspect. It is Sing Sing prison. Men groan 
and suffer there, and are tortured in the dungeon. And 
I — I am a useless cog, an idler, while others toil; and I 
keep mute, while others suffer. 

My mind dwells in the prison. The silence rings with 
the cry of pain; the woods echo the agony of the dun- 
geon. I start at the murmur of the leaves; the trees 
with their outstretched arms bar my way, menacing me 
like the guards on the prison walls. Their monster 
shapes follow me in the valley. 



49^ PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

At night I wake in cold terror. The agonized cry of 
Crazy Smithy is in my ears, and again I hear the sicken- 
ing thud of the riot clubs on the prisoner's head. The 
solitude is harrowing with the memory of the prison; it 
haunts me with the horrors of the basket cell. Away, I 
must away, to seek relief amidst the people! 



Back in the city, I face the problem of support. The 
sense of dependence gnaws me. The hospitality of my 
friends is boundless, but I cannot continue as the bene- 
ficiary of their generosity. I had declined the money 
gift presented to me on my release by the comrades: I 
felt I could not accept even their well-meant offering. 
The question of earning my living is growing acute. 
I cannot remain idle. But what shall I turn to? I am 
too weak for factory work. I had hoped to secure em- 
ployment as a compositor, but the linotype has made me 
superfluous. I might be engaged as a proof-reader. 
My former membership in the Typographical Union will 
enable me to join the ranks of labor. 

My physical condition, however, precludes the imme- 
diate realization of my plans. Meanwhile some com- 
rades suggest the advisability of a short lecture tour: it 
will bring me in closer contact with the world, and serve 
to awaken new interest in life. The idea appeals to me. 
I shall be doing work, useful work. I shall voice the cry 
of the depths, and perhaps the people will listen, and 
some may understand ! 

IX 

With a great effort I persevere on the tour. The 
strain is exhausting my strength, and I feel weary and 
discontented. My innate dread of public speaking is 



THE RESURRECTION 497 

aggravated by the necessity of constant association with 
people. The comrades are sympathetic and attentive, 
but their very care is a source of annoyance. I long for 
solitude and quiet. In the midst of people, the old 
prison instinct of escape possesses me. Once or twice 
the wild idea of terminating the tour has crossed my 
mind. The thought is preposterous, impossible. Meet- 
ings have already been arranged in various cities, and 
my appearance widely announced. It would disgrace 
me, and injure the movement, were I to prove myself so 
irresponsible. I owe it to the Cause, and to my com- 
rades, to keep my appointments. I must fight off this 
morbid notion. 

My engagement in Pittsburgh aids my determination. 
Little did I dream in the penitentiary that I should live 
to see that city again, even to appear in public there! 
Looking back over the long years of imprisonment, of 
persecution and torture, I marvel that I have survived. 
Surely it was not alone physical capacity to suffer — how 
often had I touched the threshold of death, and trembled 
on the brink of insanity and self-destruction ! Whatever 
strength and perseverance I possessed, they alone could 
not have saved my reason in the night of the dungeon, or 
preserved me in the despair of the solitary. Poor 
Wingie, Ed Sloane, and 'Tighting" Tom; Harry, Rus- 
sell, Crazy Smithy — how many of my friends have 
perished there! It was the vision of an ideal, the con- 
sciousness that I suffered for a great Cause, that sus- 
tained me. The very exaggeration of my self-estimate 
was a source of strength: I looked upon myself as a 
representative of a world movement; it was my duty to 
exemplify the spirit and dignity of the ideas it embodied. 
I was not a prisoner, merely; I was an Anarchist in the 
hands of the enemy; as such, it devolved upon me to 



498 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

maintain the manhood and self-respect my ideals signi- 
fied. The example of the political prisoners in Russia 
inspired me, and my stay in the penitentiary was a cm- 
tinuous struggle that was the breath of life. 

Was it the extreme self-consciousness of the idealist, 
the power of revolutionary traditions, or simply the per- 
sistent will to be? Most likely, it was the fusing of all 
three, that shaped my attitude in prison and kept me 
alive. And now, on my way to Pittsburgh, I feel the 
same spirit within me, at the threat of the local au- 
thorities to prevent my appearance in the city. Some 
friends seek to persuade me to cancel my lecture there, 
alarmed at the police preparations to arrest me. Some- 
thing might happen, they warn me: legally I am still a 
prisoner out on parole. I am liable to be returned to the 
penitentiary, without trial, for the period of my commu- 
tation time — eight years and two months — if convicted of 
a felony before the expiration of my full sentence of 
twenty-two years. 

But the menace of the enemy stirs me from apathy, 
and all my old revolutionary defiance is roused within 
me. For the first time during the tour, I feel a vital in- 
terest in life, and am eager to ascend the platform. 

An unfortunate delay on the road brings me into 
Pittsburgh two hours late for the lecture. Comrade 

M is impatiently waiting for me, and we hasten to 

the meeting. On the way he informs me that the hall 
is filled with police and prison guards ; the audience is in 
a state of great suspense ; the rumor has gone about that 
the authorities are determined to prevent my appearance. 

I sense an air of suppressed excitement, as I enter 
the hall, and elbow my way through the crowded aisle. 
Some one grips my arm, and I recognize "Southside" 
Johnny, the friendly prison runner. "Aleck, take care," 
he warns me, "the bulls are layin' for you." 



THE RESURRECTION 499 



The meeting is over, the danger past. I feel worn 
and tired with the effort of the evening. 

My next lecture is to take place in Cleveland, Ohio. 
The all-night ride in the stuffy smoker aggravates my 
fatigue, and sets my nerves on edge. I arrive in the city 
feeling feverish and sick. To engage a room in a hotel 
would require an extra expense from the proceeds of the 
tour, which are intended for the movement; moreover, 
it would be sybaritism, contrary to the traditional prac- 
tice of Anarchist lecturers. I decide to accept the hos- 
pitality of some friend during my stay in the city. 

For hours I try to locate the comrade who has charge 
of arranging the meetings. At his home I am told that 
he is absent. His parents, pious Jews, look at me 
askance, and refuse to inform me of their son's where- 
abouts. The unfriendly attitude of the old folks drives 
me into the street again, and I seek out another comrade. 
His family gathers about me. Their curious gaze is em- 
barrassing; their questions idle. My pulse is feverish, 
my head heavy. I should like to rest up before the 
lecture, but a constant stream of comrades flows in on 
me, and the house rings with their joy of meeting me. 
The talking wearies me; their ardent interest searches 
my soul with rude hands. These men and women — 
they, too, are different from the comrades of my day; 
their very language echoes the spirit that has so de- 
pressed me in the new Ghetto. The abyss in our feeling 
and thought appals me. 

With failing heart I ascend the platform in the eve- 
ning. It is chilly outdoors, and the large hall, sparsely 
filled and badly lit, breathes the cold of the grave upon 
me. The audience is unresponsive. The lecture on 



500 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Crime and Prisons that so thrilled my Pittsburgh meet- 
ing, wakes no vital chord. I feel dispirited. My voice 
is weak and expressionless ; at times it drops to a hoarse 
whisper. I seem to stand at the mouth of a deep cavern, 
and everything is dark within. I speak into the black- 
ness; my words strike metallically against the walls, and 
are thrown back at me with mocking emphasis. A sense 
of weariness and hopelessness possesses me, and I con- 
clude the lecture abruptly. 

The comrades surround me, grasp my hand, and ply 
me with questions about my prison life, the joy of liberty 
and of work. They are undisguisedly disappointed at 
my anxiety to retire, but presently it is decided that I 
should accept the proffered hospitality of a comrade who 
owns a large house in the suburbs. 

The ride is interminable, the comrade apparently 
living several miles out in the country. On the way he 
talks incessantly, assuring me repeatedly that he con- 
siders it a great privilege to entertain me. I nod sleepily. 

Finally we arrive. The place is large, but squalid. 
The low ceilings press down on my head ; the rooms look 
cheerless and uninhabited. Exhausted by the day's exer- 
tion, I fall into heavy sleep. 

Awakening in the morning, I am startled to find a 
stranger in my bed. His coat and hat are on the floor, 
and he lies snoring at my side, with overshirt and 
trousers on. He must have fallen into bed very tired, 
without even detaching the large cuffs, torn and soiled, 
that rattle on his hands. 

The sight fills me with inexpressible disgust. All 
through the years of my prison life, my nights had been 
passed in absolute solitude. The presence of another in 
my bed is unutterably horrifying. I dress hurriedly, 
and rush out of the house. 



THE RESURRECTION 50I 

A heavy drizzle is falling; the air is close and damp. 
The country looks cheerless and dreary. But one 
thought possesses me: to get away from the stranger 
snoring in my bed, away from the suffocating atmosphere 
of the house with its low ceilings, out into the open, 
away from the presence of man. The sight of a human 
being repels me, the sound of a voice is torture to me. 
i want to be alone, always alone, to have peace and 
quiet, to lead a simple life in close communion with 
nature. Ah, nature ! That, too, I have tried, and found 
more impossible even than the turmoil of the city. The 
silence of the woods threatened to drive me mad, as 
did the solitude of the dungeon. A curse upon the thing 
that has incapacitated me for life, made solitude as hate- 
ful as the face of man, made life itself impossible to me! 
And is it for this I have yearned and suffered, for this 
spectre that haunts my steps, and turns day into a night- 
mare — this distortion. Life? Oh, where is the joy of 
expectation, the tremulous rapture, as I stood at the door 
of my cell, hailing the blush of the dawn, the day of 
resurrection ! Where the happy moments that lit up the 
night of misery with the ecstasy of freedom, which was 
to give me back to work and joy! Where, where is it 
all? Is liberty sweet only in the anticipation, and life a 
bitter awakening? 

The rain has ceased. The sun peeps through the 
clouds, and glints its rays upon a shop window. My eye 
falls on the gleaming barrel of a revolver. I enter the 
place, and purchase the weapon. 

I walk aimlessly, in a daze. It is beginning to rain 
again; my body is chilled to the bone, and I seek the 
shelter of a saloon on an obscure street. 

In the corner of the dingy back room I notice a girl. 
She is very young, with an air of gentility about her, 
that is somewhat marred by her quick, restless look. 



502 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

We sit in silence, watching the heavy downpour out- 
doors. The girl is toying with a glass of whiskey. 

Angry voices reach us from the street. There is a 
heavy shuffling of feet, and a suppressed cry. A woman 
lurches through the swinging door, and falls against a 
table. 

The girl rushes to the side of the woman, and assists 
her into a chair. "Are you hurt, Madge ?" she asks sym- 
pathetically. 

The woman looks up at her with bleary eyes. She 
raises her hand, passes it slowly across her mouth, and 
spits violently. 

"He hit me, the dirty brute," she whimpers, *'he hit 
me. But I sha'n't give him no money; I just won't, 
Frenchy." 

The girl is tenderly wiping her friend's bleeding face. 
*'Sh-sh, Madge, sh — sh !" she warns her, with a glance at 
the approaching waiter. 

"Drunk again, you old bitch," the man growls. 
"You'd better vamoose now." 

"Oh, let her be, Charley, won't you ?" the girl coaxes. 
"And, say, bring me a bitters." 

"The dirty loafer! It's money, always gimme 
money," the woman mumbles; "and I've had such bad 
luck, Frenchy. You know it's true. Don't you, 
Frenchy?" 

"Yes, yes, dear," the girl soothes her. "Don't talk 
now. Lean your head on my shoulder, so ! You'll be all 
right in a minute." 

The girl sways to and fro, gently patting the woman 
on the head, and all is still in the room. The woman's 
breathing grows regular and louder. She snores, and 
the young girl slowly unwinds her arms and resumes 
her seat. 

I motion to her. "Will you have a drink with me ?" 



THE RESURRECTION 503 

"With pleasure," she smiles. "Poor thing," she nods 
toward the sleeper, "her fellow beats her and takes all 
she makes." 

"You have a kind heart, Frenchy." 

"We girls must be good to each other; no one else 
will. Some men are so mean, just too mean to live or 
let others live. But some are nice. Of course, some 
girl^ are bad, but we ain't all like that and — " she hesi- 
tates. 

"And what?" 

"Well, some have seen better days. I wasn't always 
like this," she adds, gulping down her drink. 

Her face is pensive ; her large black eyes look dreamy. 
She asks abruptly: 

"You like poetry ?" 

"Ye— es. Why?" 

"I write. Oh, you don't believe me, do you? Here's 
something of mine," and with a preliminary cough, she 
begins to recite with exaggerated feeling: 

Mother dear, the days were young 
When posies in our garden hung. 
Upon your lap my golden head I laid. 
With pure and happy heart I prayed. 

"I remember those days," she adds wistfully. 

We sit in the dusk, without speaking. The lights are 
turned on, and my eye falls on a paper lying on the table. 
The large black print announces an excursion to Buffalo. 

"Will you come with me ?" I ask the girl, pointing to 
the advertisement. 

"To Buffalo?" 

"Yes." 

"You're kidding." 

"No. Will you come?" 

"Sure." 



504 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

Alone with me in the stateroom, "Frenchy" grows 
tender and playful. She notices my sadness, and tries to 
amuse me. But I am thinking of the lecture that is to 
take place in Cleveland this very hour : the anxiety of my 
comrades, the disappointment of the audience, my ab- 
sence, all prey on my mind. But who am I, to presume 
to teach ? I have lost my bearings ; there is no place for 
me in life. My bridges are burned. 

The girl is in high spirits, but her jollity angers me. 
I crave to speak to her, to share my misery and my grief. 
I hint at the impossibility of life, and my superfluity in 
the world, but she looks bored, not grasping the signifi- 
cance of my words. 

"Don't talk so foolish, boy," she scoffs. "What do 
you care about work or a place? You've got money; 
what more do you want ? You better go down now and 
fetch something to drink." 

Returning to the stateroom, I find "Frenchy" missing. 
In a sheltered nook on the deck I recognize her in the 
lap of a stranger. Heart-sore and utterly disgusted, I 
retire to my berth. In the morning I slip quietly off the 
boat. 



The streets are deserted; the city is asleep. In the 
fog and rain, the gray buildings resemble the prison 
walls, the tall factory chimneys standing guard like 
monster sentinels. I hasten away from the hated sight, 
and wander along the docks. The mist weaves phantom 
shapes, and I see a multitude of people and in their 
midst a boy, pale, with large, lustrous eyes. The crowd 
curses and yells in frenzied passion, and arms are raised, 
and blows rain down on the lad's head. The rain beats 
heavier, and every drop is a blow. The boy totters and 



THE RESURRECTION S^S 

falls to the ground. The wistful face, the dreamy eyes 
— why, it is Czolgosz! 

Accursed spot! I cannot die here. I must to New 
York, to be near my friends in death ! 

XI 

Loud knocking wakes me. 

"Say, Mister," a voice calls behind the door, "are you 
all right?" 

"Yes." 

"Will you have a bite, or something?" 

"No." 

"Well, as you please. But you haven't left your 
room going on two days now." 

Two days, and still alive? The road to death is so 
short, why suffer? An instant, and I shall be no more, 
and only the memory of me will abide for a little while 
in this world. This world? Is there another? If 
there is anything in Spiritualism, Carl will learn of it. 
In the prison we had been interested in the subject, and 
we had made a compact that he who is the first to die, 
should appear in spirit to the other. Pretty fancy of 
foolish man, born of immortal vanity! Hereafter, life 
after death — children of earth's misery. The dishar- 
mony of life bears dreams of peace and bliss, but there 
is no harmony save in death. Who knows but that even 
then the atoms of my lifeless clay will find no rest, tossed 
about in space to form new shapes and new thoughts for 
aeons of human anguish. 

And so Carl will not see me after death. Our com- 
pact will not be kept, for nothing will remain of my 
"soul" when I am dead, as nothing remains of the sum 
when its units are gone. Dear Carl, he will be dis- 



So6 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

traught at my failure to come to Detroit. He had ar- 
ranged a lecture there, following Cleveland. It is 
peculiar that I should not have thought of wiring him 
that I was iinable to attend. He might have suspended 
preparations. But it did not occur to me, and now it is 
too late. 

The Girl, too, will be in despair over my disappear- 
ance. I cannot notify her now — I am virtually dead. 
Yet I crave to see her once more before I depart, even at 
a distance. But that also is too late. I am almost dead. 

I dress mechanically, and step into the street. The 
brilliant sunshine, the people passing me by, the children 
playing about, strike on my consciousness with pleasing 
familiarity. The desire grips me to be one of them, to 
participate in their life. And yet it seems strange to 
think of myself as part of this moving, breathing human- 
ity. Am I not dead? 

I roam about all day. At dusk I am surprised to find 
myself near the Girl's home. The fear seizes me that I 
might be seen and recognized. A sense of guilt steals 
over me, and I shrink away, only to return again and 
again to the familiar spot. 

I pass the night in the park. An old man, a sailor 
out of work, huddles close to me, seeking the warmth of 
my body. But I am cold and cheerless, and all next day 
I haunt again the neighborhood of the Girl. An irre- 
sistible force attracts me to the house. Repeatedly I re- 
turn to my room and snatch up the weapon, and then 
rush out again. I am fearful of being seen near the 
**Den," and I make long detours to the Battery and the 
Bronx, but again and again I find myself watching the 
entrance and speculating on the people passing in and out 
of the house. My mind pictures the Girl, with her 
friends about her. What are they discussing, I wonder. 



THE RESURRECTION 507 

"Why, myself!" it flits through my mind. The thought 
appalls me. They must be distraught with anxiety over 
my disappearance. Perhaps they think me dead! 

I hasten to a telegraph office, and quickly pen a mes- 
sage to the Girl : "Come. I am waiting here." 

In a flurry of suspense I wait for the return of the 
messenger. A little girl steps in, and I recognize Tess, 
and inwardly resent that the Girl did not come herself. 

"Aleck," she falters, "Sonya wasn't home when 
your message came. I'll run to find her." 

The old dread of people is upon me, and I rush out 
of the place, hoping to avoid meeting the Girl. I stumble 
through the streets, retrace my steps to the telegraph 
office, and suddenly come face to face with her. 

Her appearance startles me. The fear of death is in 
her face, mute horror in her eyes. 

"Sasha !" Her hand grips my arm, and she steadies 
my faltering step. 



XII 



I open my eyes. The room is light and airy ; a sooth- 
ing quiet pervades the place. The portieres part noise- 
lessly, and the Girl looks in. 

"Awake, Sasha ?" She brightens with a happy smile. 

"Yes. When did I come here?" 

"Several days ago. You've been very sick, but you 
feel better now, don't you, dear?" 

Several days? I try to recollect my trip to Buffalo, 
the room on the Bowery. Was it all a dream? 

"Where was I before I came here?" I ask. 

"You — you were — absent," she stammers, and in her 
face is visioned the experience of my disappearance. 

With tender care the Girl ministers to me. I feel like 



508 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

one recovering from a long illness : very weak, but with 
a touch of joy in life. No one is permitted to see me, 
save one or two of the Girl's nearest friends, who slip in 
quietly, pat my hand in mute sympathy, and discreetly 
retire. I sense their understanding, and am grateful 
that they make no allusion to the events of the past days. 
The care of the Girl is unwavering. By degrees I 
gain strength. The room is bright and cheerful; the 
silence of the house soothes me. The warm sunshine is 
streaming through the open window; I can see the blue 
sky, and the silvery cloudlets. A little bird hops upon 
the sill, looks steadily at me, and chirps a greeting. It 
brings back the memory of Dick, my feathered pet, and 
of my friends in prison. I have done nothing for the 
agonized men in the dungeon darkness — have I forgotten 
them ? I have the opportunity ; why am I idle ? 

The Girl calls cheerfully : "Sasha, our friend Philo is 
here. Would you like to see him ?" 

I welcome the comrade whose gentle manner and 
deep sympathy have endeared him to me in the days 
since my return. There is something unutterably tender 
about him. The circle had christened him ''the philos- 
opher," and his breadth of understanding and non-inva- 
sive personality have been a great comfort to me. 

His voice is low and caressing, like the soft crooning 
of a mother rocking her child to sleep. "Life is a prob- 
lem," he is saying, "a problem whose solution consists in 
trying to solve it. Schopenhauer may have been right," 
he smiles, with a humorous twinkle in his eyes, "but his 
love of life was so strong, his need for expression so 
compelling, he had to write a big book to prove how use- 
less is all effort. But his very sincerity disproves him. 
Life is its own justification. The disharmony of life is 
more seeming than real ; and what is real of it, is the folly 



THE RESURRECTION 509 

and blindness of man. To struggle against that folly, is 
to create greater harmony, wider possibilities. Artificial 
barriers circumscribe and dwarf life, and stifle its mani- 
festations. To break those barriers down, is to find a 
vent, to expand, to express oneself. And that is life, 
Aleck : a continuous struggle for expression. It mirrors 
itself in nature, as in all the phases of man's existence. 
Look at the little vine struggling against the fury of the 
storm, and clinging with all its might to preserve its hold. 
Then see it stretch toward the sunshine, to absorb the light 
and the warmth, and then freely give back of itself in 
multiple form and wealth of color. We call it beautiful 
then, for it has found expression. That is life, Aleck, 
and thus it manifests itself through all the gradations we 
call evolution. The higher the scale, the more varied 
and complex the manifestations, and, in turn, the greater 
the need for expression. To suppress or thwart it, 
means decay, death. And in this, Aleck, is to be found 
the main source of sufifering and misery. The hunger of 
life storms at the gates that exclude it from the joy of 
being, and the individual soul multiplies its expressions 
by being mirrored in the collective, as the little vine 
mirrors itself in its many flowers, or as the acorn in- 
dividualizes itself a thousandfold in the many-leafed oak. 
But I am tiring you, Aleck." 

"No, no, Philo. Continue ; I want to hear more." 
"Well, Aleck, as with nature, so with man. Life is 
never at a standstill; everywhere and ever it seeks new 
manifestations, more expansion. In art, in literature, as 
in the affairs of men, the struggle is continual for higher 
and more intimate expression. That is progress — the 
vine reaching for more sunshine and light. Translated 
into the language of social life, it means the individual- 
ization of the mass, the finding of a higher level, the 
climbing over the fences that shut out life. Everywhere 



5IO PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

you see this reaching out. The process is individual and 
social at the same time, for the species lives in the indi- 
vidual as much as the individual persists in the species. 
The individual comes first; his clarified vision is multi- 
plied in his immediate environment, and gradually per- 
meates through his generation and time, deepening the 
social consciousness and widening the scope of existence. 
But perhaps you have not found it so, Aleck, after your 
many years of absence ?" 

"No, dear Philo. What you have said appeals to 
me very deeply. But I have found things so different 
from what I had pictured them. Our comrades, the 
movement — it is not what I thought it would be." 

"It is quite natural, Aleck. A change has taken place, 
but its meaning is apt to be distorted through the dim 
vision of your long absence. I know well what you miss, 
dear friend : the old mode of existence, the living on the 
very threshold of the revolution, so to speak. And 
everything looks strange to you, and out of joint. 
But as you stay a little longer with us, you will see that 
it is merely a change of form; the essence is the same. 
We are the same as before, Aleck, only made deeper and 
broader by years and experience. Anarchism has cast 
off the swaddling bands of the small, intimate circles of 
former days; it has grown to greater maturity, and be- 
come a factor in the larger life of Society. You remem- 
ber it only as a little mountain spring, around which 
clustered a few thirsty travelers in the dreariness of the 
capitalist desert. It has since broadened and spread as a 
strong current that covers a wide area and forces its 
way even into the very ocean of life. You see, dear 
Aleck, the philosophy of Anarchism is beginning to 
pervade every phase of human endeavor. In science, in 
art, in literature, everywhere the influence of Anarchist 
thought is creating new values; its spirit is vitalizing 



THE RESURRECTION SHI 

social movements, and finding interpretation in life. 
Indeed, Aleck, we have not worked in vain. Through- 
out the world there is a great awakening. Even in this 
socially most backward country, the seeds sown are be- 
ginning to bear fruit. Times have changed, indeed ; but 
encouragingly so, Aleck. The leaven of discontent, ever 
more conscious and intelligent, is moulding new social 
thought and new action. To-day our industrial condi- 
tions, for instance, present a different aspect from those 
of twenty years ago. It was then possible for the mas- 
ters of life to sacrifice to their interests the best friends 
of the people. But to-day the spontaneous solidarity 
and awakened consciousness of large strata of labor is a 
guarantee against the repetition of such judicial murders. 
It is a most significant sign, Aleck, and a great inspira- 
tion to renewed effort." 

The Girl enters. "Are you crooning Sasha to sleep, 
Philo?" she laughs. 

"Oh, no!" I protest, "I'm wide awake and much in- 
terested in Philo's conversation." 

""It is getting late," he rejoins. "I must be off to the 
meeting." 

"What meeting?" I inquire. 

"The Czolgosz anniversary commemoration." 

"I think — I'd like to come along." 

"Better not, Sasha," my friend advises. "You need 
some light distraction." 

"Perhaps you would like to go to the theatre," the 
Girl suggests. "Stella has tickets. She'd be happy to 
have you come, Sasha." 



Returning home in the evening, I find the "Den" in 
great excitement. The assembled comrades look wor- 



512 PRISON MEMOIRS OF AN ANARCHIST 

ried, talk in whispers, and seem to avoid my glance. I 
miss several familiar faces. 

"Where are the others ?" I ask. 

The comrades exchange troubled looks, and are silent. 

"Has anything happened? Where are they?" I in- 
sist. 

"I may as well tell you," Philo replies, "but be calm, 
Sasha. The police have broken up our meeting. They 
have clubbed the audience, and arrested a dozen com- 
rades." 

"Is it serious, Philo?" 

"I am afraid it is. They are going to make a test 
case. Under the new ^Criminal Anarchy Law' our com- 
rades may get long terms in prison. They have taken 
our most active friends." 

The news electrifies me. I feel myself transported 
into the past, the days of struggle and persecution. 
Philo was right ! The enemy is challenging, the struggle 
is going on! ... I see the graves of Waldheim open, 
and hear the voices from the tomb. 

A deep peace pervades me, and I feel a great joy in 
my heart. 

"Sasha, what is it?" Philo cries in alarm. 

"My resurrection, dear friend. I have found work 
to do."