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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