Wobbly, the Rough-And-Tumble Story of an American Radical

By Ralph Chaplin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 27. BACK IN LEAVENWORTH.
DEATH OF RICARDO FLORES MAGÓN.
COMMUTATION

WHEN I saw them for the second time, "Hell's Forty Acres" seemed entirely unchanged. The familiar red-brick buildings were baking in the sun, and the cinders in the yard were hot underfoot when we went out for our daily exercise. In conformity with prison regulations I was returned to my old job at the TB Annex, only this time as an orderly. Dave Barry, the head nurse, was making his round of the cots. "The 'Croaker' will be here in a minute," he warned. "Grab a broom and pretend to be busy. There's lots of politics in this joint since Warden Biddle took over." While sweeping the sunporch, I could hear the continuous "tap-tap-tap" from the stone shed where the rock gang was "making little ones out of big ones." The prison doctor, as usual, stayed less than five minutes. He hadn't changed either.

It was homecoming week around the "Campus" during our first week-end recreation period. Apart from the absence of Haywood and Andreytchine, the picture was unaltered. Vincent St. John had appropriated Bill's favorite rock. The rest of our group was standing about, or sitting cross-legged in the sunshine. A few anemic morning glories still straggled up their faded strings beside the unpainted boards and broken panes of "Wobbly Shed." But they no longer served as a background for the "big one-eyed bastard" who had originally planted them there.

Everybody wanted word from the outside world. There were a thousand questions about the status of our case, about Centralia, Debs, and Tom Mooney. Librado Rivera and Enrique Flores Magón were particularly interested in the case of Sacco and Vanzetti. After the conclave broke up, I spent my remaining

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