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Starr Daily—Love Can Open Prison Doors

Love Versus Dungeon Doors


When I say that love can open prison doors I mean that literally. When I say there are doors much stronger than the doors of a punitive prison, I mean that literally also. But when I speak of this love I’m not referring to it in the usual Pollyanna sense, as something to be hazily realized and half-heartedly applied.

Love is a dynamic media in the world. It is the most powerful creative medium in existence, and it is responsible for nearly everything created by and through man. Love for God, for charity, for service; love for money, for power, for fame—all or any one of these urges will drive men and women to use the creative principle that sends them to the top of their respective desires. But since all human desire is insatiable it is never fully gratified. Creative progress is made in proportion as the driving love medium behind ambition goads the goal-climber into action.

Love for debauchery, for crime, for the gratification of pig-sty appetites send men and women toward the bottom that represents the goal of their respective desires. But again since human desire is insatiable, the gratification sought is never found. Creative degradation is advanced in proportion as the love driving media for degradation is used toward its end.

Behind the creation of an infant lies the contacting medium of love. And since that love is human it produces a human being, and thus perpetuates the human race with all its human desires and aspirations, its human follies and mistakes, its trials and errors, its tragedies and humors, its enormous conceits and egotisms that cause it to survive through all the elemental cataclysms and plagues to which the earth is heir.

Love for opinion makes saints and scoundrels, martyrs and tyrants out of men. Love for publicity and notoriety makes heroes and dare-devils. Love for self creates bigotry; for others, tolerance.

Always love is a medium through which man contacts and applies the creative principle of the universe. And what love is allowed to create through man is up to man himself. His love attitude determines the course taken by creative principle. Inevitably, the creative principle operating on and through man, creates something; something noble or ignoble, constructive or destructive.

The principle in itself is ultimate unity, and is therefore not subject to finite discriminatory limitations. It is beyond time, space, duality, judgment, because in it all things are dissolved into the changeless whole. It has but one purpose, one nature, one reason for being, and that is to create. And create is what it does. To it there is neither good nor bad connected with its creative purpose. These are human discernments recognized by man and obeyed by creative principle. The principle being infinite and discernment finite on the plane of duality, it follows that man can use creative law only in the ratio of his capacity to receive it, and no more. One may sink as low as his faculties of invention are capable of carrying him; one may rise as high as his understanding and application will reach.

The foregoing is no attempt to define love, because that cannot be done. All definitions limit and the limitless cannot be limited, pigeon-holed, or labeled. He who would seek to define the indefinable would only curb his capacity for using it. Consequently, what I have said should be taken for what I have intended it to be, a description rather than an exposition.

Also, when you read this, please understand clearly that I am not a reformed convict, because the term reform has lost the whole of its pristine meaning. Its purity has been defiled by many unwholesome connotations; too much Comstockism, commercialism and hypocrisy have been attached to it in recent years, especially, to warrant my associating myself with it in these pages. The term has become the living symbol of suppression and all that is mean and narrow in human conduct and behavior. Rather, I wish to be looked upon here, not as a reformed criminal, but as a fool who has been privileged to shake off a little of his foolishness; at least to the extent of realizing that a fool’s paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

In every prison they have many unjust rules, the same as every nation has many unjust laws. One of these rules in the prison where I was last confined had to do with what is called, for some strange reason, “the right to trial.”

This right was vouchsafed the prisoner charged with violating prison law in what was known as “High Court.” This court was in session twice weekly. It consisted of the deputy warden, who was its prosecutor, judge and jury. When you entered in to answer the complaint placed against you by your keeper, the deputy would read the charge and then command you to admit your guilt to it. Why all this mockery and waste of time that could have been better employed was, of course, a mystery. Certainly the court was unnecessary since your accuser’s word was infallible. If you denied your guilt and thus dared to infer your innocence, your action was equivalent to calling your keeper a liar, and this implication was certain to increase the amount of punishment meted out, unless, like Galileo, you were diplomatic enough to change your mind and recant. The theory seemed to be that the aspersion “liar” was a natural characteristic of the prisoner, but that all prison keepers were George Washingtons who couldn’t possibly tell a lie.

Naturally, nearly every one recanted sooner or later. Some had to be persuaded by a few weeks in the dungeon on bread and water, it is true. But so far as I know I was the only man haled before the prison court who preferred slow death by starvation rather than life by an admission of guilt. There was no principle involved in my stand. None at all, other than just plain hard-headedness. I was not rebelling against an act of injustice, because I was sufficiently honest to admit that my whole life had been built upon injustice toward others, and that all things being equal I had injustice coming to me. No, I was simply exercising a foolish prerogative to remain obstinate regardless of the pain and physical consequences.

It was in the middle of an exceptionally bitter winter. The torture chamber was damp and foul and dark. The stone walls were full of frost; the concrete floors were wet and icy. You were put into a cell with nothing but a thin, much-washed shirt and overalls. Your shoes were taken away, but you were allowed to retain your socks. At night the keeper of the dungeon brought you a thin and filthy cotton blanket.

Such is a brief picture of the place I entered to carry out my own self-inflicted verdict of death. When he put me into the cell the deputy warden said: “When I let you out you’ll crawl to me on your knees and whine and beg like a dog. And while you’re in here eating bread and water, I’ll be living on ham and eggs and sleeping in a good warm bed.”

Knowing the man as I did, I had no reason on earth to believe he might suddenly become chicken-hearted and relent. On the other hand, I told him in reply, and I knew I meant it, that his rats would carry me out a chunk at a time before I’d ever whine to him. Obviously, therefore, my face was sealed as tightly as it could be sealed by two human wills in conflict.

And yet I was finally released from the dungeon weak but alive and an infinitely wiser person. I had done no whining or begging of any kind. In fact, from the day I entered until the day I was released no word passed between the deputy warden and me. He came each day and opened the solid door of my cell, stood there a moment in silence to give me a chance to speak, then he would close the door and pass on to his next victim.

Although I am engaged here with a few chosen events in my life, and in nowise with an autobiography, it is necessary for me to digress at this point if the reader would be spared the annoyance of numerous digressions later on. Certain things in my life prior to the dungeon experience touched upon, which have a relative importance as bearing upon that experience, must be traced out for a clearer understanding of what might otherwise appear to border on the miraculous or the impossible.

TRUTHUNITY NOTE: We can read Starr Daily’s autobiography, Release, on the Internet Archive.

It is the usual thing to suppose that one’s dream life is closely associated with and to a great extent influenced by one’s conscious life. And this is true to a great extent. No doubt the dream which I shall later describe would seem too far-fetched and contrary were it to stand alone unsupported by conditioning causes.

Since I was a person who for many years followed a criminal career, whose every thought and action during those years had been in violent contrast to all precepts of common decency, it is only reasonable to conclude that my dream life would have revolved pretty much around a similar pattern. Or at least that my dream life could hardly have been expected to revolve around holy and superior things.

But even though the years have a way of blurring the most vivid experiences of childhood, the historic cycle has a peculiar penchant for resurrecting those experiences, both in the conscious and subconscious realms of activity; of duplicating events; of repeating incidents, which in their day were passed over as having no apparent significance.

I wish to say now that as a small child my dreams were frequently woven around the personality of Jesus, although in my home there was no particular stress laid upon religious things, or upon the Savior’s ministry as it was recorded in the Bible. I had no leaning toward church service, and I was not compelled to attend Sunday school. Despite these omissions, nevertheless, my early dream life invariably had to do with things of a holy nature.

Then at twelve years of age I began a series of minor crimes, which soon developed into major ones. At fourteen I was a confirmed criminal with all the bitter, negative philosophy possessed by the toughest of the men who prey. This transition did not affect the intensity of my dream life, but it did greatly affect the quality of my dreams.

My early dreams of Jesus had always been laid in a strange beautiful garden, different from any garden I had ever seen, heard of, or read about. It was a shoe-shaped valley plot surrounded by gently sloping tree and shrub-dotted hills. There were many varieties of flowers growing wild. At one end of the garden a great white-gray rock jutted out; and from behind it or through it, I could never quite tell which, the Master would emerge and walk toward me, carefully avoiding the flowers as He moved slowly along.

The pattern of these dreams changed promptly with the pattern of my life. The peaceful garden through which the Master strolled under Judean stars and dew-freshened dawns, became a merciless jungle filled with gun-toting enemies, emissaries of the law, all bent upon my capture.

In rapid succession of events, I would envision myself under arrest, of being tried in court and convicted. I would hear the grim verdict read and listen to the terrifying pronouncement of sentence. I would experience all the agony of suspense that stretched between the day of sentence pronouncement and the day of its execution. Sometimes I would see myself being escorted to the scaffold or the electric chair behind a dour-faced individual mumbling gloomy prayers for the safe journey of my sin-tainted soul. Very often I would reach the lethal monster and feel the black cap being drawn over my face, like a fiendish bandage, or the straps being adjusted to my legs. But invariably I would wake in the nick of time, trembling, sweating, exhausted.

I’ve passed through the hot pits of many tortures, but none to compare to these subconscious hours where deferred judgment assumed all the hideous aspects of actuality. That they were prophetic dreams I have no doubt. Criminal activities always lead toward the commission of murder and murder toward the executioner. And yet the fear of these sinister prospects was not sufficient to alter the course of my criminal tendencies. In fact, neither fear of punishment nor persuasion, kind treatment or brutal, had any effect on the type of life I preferred to live.

During my many years in prison I was the object of a great deal of well-intentioned kindness, as well as harshness. Different social workers tried to influence my attitude. These good people were called sobsters in the prison vernacular. We used to vie with each other for their gifts and favors, and whatever influence, political, they might bring to bear upon parole boards in our behalf. But always their advice was an extremely obnoxious service which we assumed to relish, lest we forfeit the opportunity of using our advisers toward other ends.

Sometimes they would come to the prison chapel and make sentimental speeches, exhorting us to put on the raiment of reformation. And we would appear to be moved by their soul-stirring appeals, even to the shedding of realistic tears. Then when the ringing call would come for us to resolve to lead new lives, our hands would go up in eager unison, a gesture that was supposed to pledge our souls and our minds to the straight and narrow path ever after.

They would leave the prison burning with the enthusiasm of mighty things accomplished for the Cause. But if they could have heard our remarks following their departure, I’m afraid they never again would have had the courage to face a prison audience.

These good but misinformed souls would spend much time and money in the prison crusades, and I suppose they still do so, but so far as my own experience can reach, I’ve never known a man who was reformed because of their well-intentioned efforts. Personally I am convinced that a man changes his life pattern only when he himself is definitely ready for such a change. And that until he is ready, no pressure, reason, or persuasion on earth can influence him one iota. I am convinced, also, that reform is wholly a matter of transcending old desires and habits of life, and not the suppression of them through fears and other forces of the will. No man can claim to be reformed who is still in conflict with the old habits of his life. So long as such habits are not risen above, a relapse into them is constantly an imminent possibility.

But in spite of what I’ve found to be true in my own experience, I would not presume to set my findings up as a criterion. I have no desire to discredit or discourage the activities of prison social workers. Nor would I wish to discredit or discourage those engaged in the field of juvenile delinquency because of what I have experienced as a juvenile delinquent myself. It is important, nevertheless, that I be honest in presenting my early attitude and conclusions as a youthful outlaw.

Naturally I came in contact with all the reform movements that were active at that time. If they taught me anything it was sharpness of wit. I soon learned that through these movements I could escape the consequences of much of my wrong-doing. I became an artful maker of promises and a skillful creator of lies. These I would trade for immunity whenever it could be done.

Quite often I was made the object for scientific study and treatment. These laboratory adventures, instead of helping me, served only to furnish another excuse for carrying on against whatever restrictive conscience I had left. They made me conscious of my difference from other kids. I was what I was because it had to be that way. I was born with a quirk in my brain. It wasn’t my fault at all. Crime was just something that belonged to me; and any act I performed no matter how vicious was merely an expression of my natural self.

And later when the power of reason began to assert itself, I developed a cynical attitude toward all reform movements, I became skeptical of their motives, and even while I took every advantage of their influence, I resented their patronizing sentimentalism; their self-righteousness; and particularly was I embittered by all psychiatrical attempts to dissect, analyze and label me in the manner of some queer zoological specimen.

Out of this resentment and bitterness grew the most deadly philosophy in the world. I call it convict philosophy. It contains the whitest logic ever conceived in the brains of men. It batters down every sham behind which people hide their weaknesses. It tears at all personal inconsistencies with tiger-like fangs. It makes all men, women and children criminals at heart; gives every one the impulse to kill, steal and ravage. To the criminal in prison it distinguishes but one difference between him and the person outside of prison, and that difference is enunciated with a sardonic sneer. The one is in, the other is out. That is all. A stone wall makes the only difference.

The danger of this philosophy lies in its very truth, for potentially and actually all men and women have come short of the law. The philosophy, also, has its self-condemnatory side. The criminal on the inside arraigns himself brutally for being fool enough to get caught in a trap others skillfully evade. After he is in for awhile he begins to see a hundred ways by which he might have escaped punishment. And he resolves thereupon never to make the same mistake again. And in this respect, at least, he leaves prison with good intentions, according to his own code.

All in all, the only positive thing that can be said about convict philosophy is that it is positively deadly to the man who entertains it. One who is inoculated with it is dogmatic to the point of fanaticism. He cannot be reached by either reason, punishment or persuasion, because his mind is set as hard as concrete against every attempt made to change him by those whose motives he questions. A prison sentence only adds fuel to the fires of his world-girdling disillusionment. He is a confirmed fault-finder, an absolute destructionist, and he seldom wakes up before it is too late to prevent his own physical, mental and moral decay.

During the time I was engaged in the following experiences—a period of three years, perhaps, in all—I made and preserved certain notes, a few of which I later published in a short series of brief articles. These together with the remainder lay fallow in my trunk for many months. Then they were shown to a friend, a man who had done something along the same line himself with, as he said, more or less nebulous results. He became quite interested and urged me to work my notes up in book form. At the time I was unable to respond to his suggestion.

He thought that I was obligated to such a task; that I had no personal right to hide experiences of the kind. I, of course, was interested in his reasons. “Why haven’t I a right to keep them?” I prompted him.

He thought such a book might be helpful to others, frankly my conceit was neither large enough nor my knowledge broad enough to include this reason. The knowledge I had gained, extremely meager though it was when compared to what I had failed to gain, had been sufficient to convince me that one man’s experiences could do little more than stimulate interest in another; that they could not convince another of the efficacy in applying abstract principle to practical problems by merely reading about such experiences.

“That is a great service in itself,” he said, “to stimulate, to encourage others to think for themselves and then apply their thinking to their own problems.”

In his inimitably enthusiastic manner, he referred to me as one who had conquered an inferno. He said my methods had been practical and my accomplishments so obvious that merely to read of them would prove an inspiration to many with similarly difficult problems. “In other words,” I smiled at his fervor, “the world is in need of a brand new Messiah and you’ve picked on me for the job.”

To my surprise and amazement he nodded his head. My smile became a hearty laugh. I the new Messiah! I whose numerous names adorned every police blotter in the country! I whose picture could be found in all the rogues’ galleries, and whose measurements were tucked away in every bureau of criminal identification I I who had just recently emerged from a prison cell to point the way for honest folks to follow! I a burned-out burglar taking up the exemplary task of teaching ethics!

“It isn’t so absurd,” he said dryly. “There’s been some pretty good men in prison cells, and there’s been some pretty good things come out of prison. As I see it, it isn’t that you were in prison that counts at all: it’s what you did there that might be of help to some one else that really matters.”

The upshot of it was that this friend convinced me finally that such a book might truly have some value as a contribution to human encouragement, if nothing else.

Certainly I approach the task humbly. My hope is that some of those in whose hands the book might fall will be moved to try the simple principles to their problems as I have been privileged to try them with highly beneficial results.

Throughout these pages I offer no false claims. There isn't a thing new or original between these book ends. In presenting what is as old as the universe itself, I haven’t even the claim of an original literary style, whatever such a thing might be. I deal wholly in the obvious; but it is an obvious that for many years I refused to see, to even deny, and to continue to deny its presence until the scorching fires of prison hell had welded it into my soul.

I am not an author by any means. I am not even a very well educated person, having had practically no formal schooling. I am just a common ordinary human being who had to be taught horse sense the hard way: by strong-arm methods.

The simple methods I have used were here with Adam. Many have used them before me. Many will use them after I’ve shuffled through the last dark door. All knowledge is a common property that may be appropriated, thank God, by those who need it and wish it. Knowledge is the one thing in existence selfish greed has failed to put a fence around and post with No Trespassing signs. Too, any intelligent person can do far more with a little knowledge than I have been able to do, for I am neither intelligent nor keenly receptive to the finer shades of wisdom and understanding.

As a plain matter of fact, I am handicapped with an over-abundance of that sort of peace and contentment not attracted toward the ends of vigorous ambition. I am what some call a confirmed homebody. I’m satisfied with simple things: my books, my meditations, my thoroughly harmonious home, my club, my friends. I’ve entered the calm after the storm and I find it pleasant.

So far I’ve tried to use the creative principle with great determination only in the hard pinches; and if by recounting a few of these some of you are enabled to take another reef in your own flagging determinations, I’ll consider my feeble effort repaid with multiple compound interest.

For about twenty years I used to engage in a most idiotic pastime. Like most criminals I had not yet discovered humor, so I took this pastime very seriously. I claimed as my pet aversion ignorance in everybody else, except, of course, in myself. And since I had not discovered humor, my voice was raised in bellowing proportion against one particular form of ignorance. It goes without saying, I made a fool and a nuisance of myself. One of my most imposing defiances against this particular shade of ignorance, was a declaration of denial.

“If there’s a God,” I would roar heroically in the presence of some one whom I knew to entertain religious beliefs, “then let Him prove Himself by striking me dead.”

Once I made the silly remark in the company of a sardonic old safe-blower, who replied laconically: “God don’t strike fools dead. He throws ’em a rope.”

The droll remark came back to me when I had just about let out enough rope with which to hang myself.

I started out by hating God and wound up by hating everything, including my own infallible wisdom. I was a little too wise in those days to know anything about the psychology of hate and all other forms of negation. For example, I didn’t know that hate could disturb the digestive and assimilative system to the extent of bringing on attacks of indigestion and constipation, sluggish blood circulation, and many other conditioning reflexes of the mind and body. I went right on suffering them all and hating. Besides it was popular in the circle in which I moved to evince the rebel spirit by hating all things sacred and decent.

I took great pride criticizing everything that did not conform to an attitude of destruction. As for human life, I held it in contempt. Nothing was cheaper, and nothing was so worthy to be preyed upon.

Consequently, being a criminal, and being so poor a criminal as to carry around with me a whole pack of defeatist’s philosophy, I spent the greater portion of my time behind iron bars.

Now short terms in prison are not such terrifying experiences as most people imagine them to be. They terrify the beginner for awhile, but he soon becomes adjusted and settles down to make the best of things. It is the long prison terms that make of prisons a living death-house. When it’s all said and done, there is just one punishment inflicted by prison incarceration, and that falls upon the long termers. But this one punishment is sufficient to defeat any purpose the prison system might hold in the way of correcting criminal tendencies or eradicating criminal causes.

There is no normal outlet, physically, for the most purely animal dynamic force in existence; no normal way to gratify the most maddening hunger that ever gripped the human side of man: no way to turn the procreative impulse into normal human channels of expression. No way, that is, that prisoners have discovered, save a remarkably few. Only a very few have been able to sublimate this energy and turn it into useful purposes.

The usual attempted way, the vicarious way, and it represents all the ways possible to imagine, instead of gratifying the hunger only adds to it. Men and women in prison sacrifice themselves mentally, morally and physically to this relentless appetite without avail. Their sacrifices lead only to disgust with themselves; and occasionally it carries them on to a padded cell.

Otherwise, they are eventually released with the hope they are now purged of their pernicious tendencies. Such a hope is tragic in its pathetic disappointment. Wardens know it. All prison officials know it. But society doesn’t know, because society would rather pay the bill, perhaps, than to take an interest in such sordid facts. Such conditions do not and cannot prove beneficial to the social system. At any rate, such is my opinion. I’m willing to leave the matter in the hands of sociological students. So I’ll go no farther into it here. I may even be wrong. It may be that these poor demoralized objects of an experimental penal age, are an asset to society. I prefer to think otherwise.

As I said before, the deputy warden came every morning to the door of my dungeon cell, tempting me to confess and go free. I held out doggedly for weeks. Emaciated and filthy, I was many times tempted to crawl to the door and accede to his wishes, but I always managed to steel my will against the course. As time went on the torture of starvation became less noticeable and less painful. Too, I felt myself gradually becoming inured to the cold. It seemed that my life was running out into a sort of dull, insensate chaos. Mine was a case of stubborn will versus the law of self-preservation, with the former showing every indication of complete victory.

Why such a thought flashed across my mind I don’t know—it had been years since I’d had a constructive thought—but there came to my soggy brain about this time a thought of wonderment. I wondered where such determination of will would end if it was directed differently, if it was turned toward a purpose of intelligent self-interest.

There followed a period of mild, dreamy delirium in which I seemed to exist half awake and half asleep. For awhile the content of these dreams was like a confused and pointless riddle. They had no beginning and no end; but drifted and drifted and drifted through my head without continuity or consistency. As I grew weaker, however, they appeared to take on more definite outlines, to become more rational, more vivid and meaningful. And then one day there occurred in my dream the man whom I’d been trying to hate for years, Jesus the Christ.

He appeared in a garden in every way similar to the one I had seen Him in as a child. His physical appearance was also similar. The whole picture had that quiet clarity about it that draws out thematic details of expression, of feeling, of thought, of purpose. He came toward me, His lips moving as though in prayer. He stopped near me eventually and stood looking down. I had never seen such love in human eye; I had never felt so utterly enveloped in love. I seemed to know consciously that I had seen and felt something that would influence my life throughout all eternity.

Presently, He began slowly to fade in the manner of some casual process of dematerialization. Out of what had been a vision of Him there emerged a vision of the word Love in large gossamer irregular letters, which remained a moment, and then as He had done, slowly vanished.

Following this particular dream I lay for a long time enveloped in a keen sense of awareness. Even though the visual aspects of the dream had disappeared, its quality lingered. It seemed to have become a part of me. Where I had been the recipient of the Master’s love, I now felt myself exuding love. It seemed to pour from me in the form of some mighty sense of blissful gratitude, not for any one thing or things, but for all things, for life. I had no discernment or consciousness apart from this enchantment of universal love. I seemed to have escaped from all the personal bodily and environmental limitations that had hitherto tortured me. I was not aware of dungeon walls, but my thoughts seemed to roam afar both in space and time. In fact, neither time nor space appeared to have definition or the modification of boundary lines.

And later I became aware of still another sense of freedom. What I had always thought to be imagination, occurred to me as reality. While I visited places undoubtedly historical but ancient, I experienced no difficulty in adjusting myself to the modes and customs of these places. I seemed to possess infinite versatility, readily speaking the language or dialect of the various peoples of these places, and to be perfectly familiar with their laws, their religious beliefs, their government policies, their art and literature. In the reading of the latter, I seemed to possess an amazing proficiency. I read manuscripts and books by pages at a glance with an accuracy that was unerring.

By any by I became aware of my actual whereabouts, but not in the same sense I had been aware of it before. There was no sensibility of discomfort attached to the dungeon now, no feeling of bitterness or stubbornness. The place seemed to radiate with a wholly congenial and alluring atmosphere. My imagination appeared to function in an acute and consistently pleasurable manner.

I would experiment with the barren cell, reappointing it to fit the convenience of special guests, which I would later invite. Always these were men of wisdom, and always the dominating subjects discussed by them were subjects of life, and truth.

It was at these imaginary symposiums that I first heard of the creative principle, of the media of love, discussed in an analytical manner, which later, applied, not only opened my dungeon door without an overture on my part, but opened the front door of the prison for me long in advance of the time set by law for my release.

In trying to describe this state of temporary being, I’m not desirous of being drawn into controversy about its causes or its scientific qualities or its lack of them. I am merely describing what occurred, its effect upon my future conduct and behavior, and what I was enabled to do with the knowledge I had gained in this manner. Nor do I wish to leave any egotistical impressions on the minds of my readers. I was lifted into this state through no conscious efforts of my own. It came to me unbidden, unsought. It was a gift to a man who, from the human standpoint, had rendered himself unworthy of human consideration. That it was an act of Providence I’ve never doubted. Why or for what purpose, I’ve been able only to guess. Left to my own devices my body soon would have been destroyed. I was doing all in my power to bring about that finale, and certainly the time for it was dangerously close at hand.

From the moment I was drawn into the state, unusual things began to happen. The prison doctor stopped at my door for the first time to inquire after my health, and to linger at my door and talk. He came three times in that one day, eager to do something for me in his professional capacity. Courteous and kind, he pressed me again and again for a different answer in regard to my health, and seemed bewildered when I reaffirmed the fact that I had never felt better than I did at the moment.

The keeper of the dungeon, a man who had taken a violent dislike for me from the start, came to my door with gracious words on his lips. I had hated him and now I loved him. He offered to disobey the rules and smuggle in a sandwich from the officers’ dining-room if I’d only say the word. I thanked him, but explained that I was not in the least hungry. He went away shaking his head.

But during this period the deputy warden, who had been making regular daily visits to my door, suddenly stopped coming. Often I thought of him with an all-consuming compassion. I believe it was on the third day that he opened my door and said, “Well, buddy, I think you’ve had enough. You can go over to the hospital and clean up and rest tor awhile.” A few days later I received a complete new outfit of clothing and was assigned a new and easier job in the prison shirt shop.

1935 Edition Printed by DeVorss & Co., Publishers
No copyright shown. No copyright listed in Stanford Copyright Renewals