In closing this chapter I must state that Matthew Davies also told me that some years after the massacre Lee was taken by United States Government officials to the Mountain Meadows and there executed on the site of our old corral.
When, at the conclusion of my first ten days’ term in the jacket, I was brought back to consciousness by Doctor Jackson’s thumb pressing open an eyelid, I opened both eyes and smiled up into the face of Warden Atherton.
“Too cussed to live and too mean to die,” was his comment.
“The ten days are up, Warden,” I whispered.
“Well, we’re going to unlace you,” he growled.
“It is not that,” I said. “You observed my smile. You remember we had a little wager. Don’t bother to unlace me first. Just give the Bull Durham and cigarette papers to Morrell and Oppenheimer. And for full measure here’s another smile.”
“Oh, I know your kind, Standing,” the Warden lectured. “But it won’t get you anything. If I don’t break you, you’ll break all strait-jacket records.”
“He’s broken them already,” Doctor Jackson said. “Who ever heard of a man smiling after ten days of it?”
“Well and bluff,” Warden Atherton answered. “Unlace him, Hutchins.”
“Why such haste?” I queried, in a whisper, of course, for so low had life ebbed in me that it required all the little strength I possessed and all the will of me to be able to whisper even. “Why such haste? I don’t have to catch a train, and I am so confounded comfortable as I am that I prefer not to be disturbed.”
But unlace me they did, rolling me out of the fetid jacket and upon the floor, an inert, helpless thing.
“No wonder he was comfortable,” said Captain Jamie. “He didn’t feel anything. He’s paralysed.”
“Paralysed your grandmother,” sneered the Warden. “Get him up on his feat and you’ll see him stand.”
Hutchins and the doctor dragged me to my feet.
“Now let go!” the Warden commanded.
Not all at once could life return into the body that had been practically dead for ten days, and as a result, with no power as yet over my flesh, I gave at the knees, crumpled, pitched sidewise, and gashed my forehead against the wall.
“You see,” said Captain Jamie.
“Good acting,” retorted the Warden. “That man’s got nerve to do anything.”
“You’re right, Warden,” I whispered from the floor. “I did it on purpose. It was a stage fall. Lift me up again, and I’ll repeat it. I promise you lots of fun.”
I shall not dwell upon the agony of returning circulation. It was to become an old story with me, and it bore its share in cutting the lines in my face that I shall carry to the scaffold.
When they finally left me I lay for the rest of the day stupid and half-comatose. There is such a thing as anaesthesia of pain, engendered by pain too exquisite to be borne. And I have known that anaesthesia.