The Sleeping Wolf

ItwasaboutthistimethatthenewspaperswerefullofthedaringescapeofaconvictfromSanQuentinprison. Hewasaferociousman. Hehadbeenill-madeinthemaking. Hehadnotbeenbornright,andhehadnotbeenhelpedanybythemouldinghehadreceivedatthehandsofsociety.Thehandsofsocietyareharsh,andthismanwasastrikingsampleofitshandiwork. Hewasabeastahumanbeast,itistrue,butneverthelesssoterribleabeastthathecanbestbecharacterisedascarnivorous. 

InSanQuentinprisonhehadprovedincorrigible. Punishmentfailedtobreakhisspirit. Hecoulddiedumb-madandfightingtothelast,buthecouldnotliveandbebeaten. Themorefiercelyhefought,themoreharshlysocietyhandledhim,andtheonlyeffectofharshnesswastomakehimfiercer. Straight-jackets,starvation,andbeatingsandclubbingswerethewrongtreatmentforJimHall;butitwasthetreatmenthereceived. ItwasthetreatmenthehadreceivedfromthetimehewasalittlepulpyboyinaSanFranciscoslumsoftclayinthehandsofsocietyandreadytobeformedintosomething. 

ItwasduringJimHall’sthirdterminprisonthatheencounteredaguardthatwasalmostasgreatabeastashe. Theguardtreatedhimunfairly,liedabouthimtothewarden,losthiscredits,persecutedhim. Thedifferencebetweenthemwasthattheguardcarriedabunchofkeysandarevolver. JimHallhadonlyhisnakedhandsandhisteeth. Buthesprangupontheguardonedayandusedhisteethontheother’sthroatjustlikeanyjungleanimal. 

Afterthis,JimHallwenttoliveintheincorrigiblecell. Helivedtherethreeyears. Thecellwasofiron,thefloor,thewalls,theroof. Heneverleftthiscell. Heneversawtheskynorthesunshine. Daywasatwilightandnightwasablacksilence. Hewasinanirontomb,buriedalive. 

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