“Tell me the names!” said the sergeant. He had Jimmie’s two hands forced up the back of his neck, and was lying over on Jimmie, pushing, pushing. Jimmie was blinded with the pain, his whole being convulsed. It was too horrible, it could not be! Anything, anything to stop it! A voice shrieked in his soul: “Tell! Tell!” But then he thought of the little Jew, pitiful, trusting—no, no, he would not tell! He would never tell! But then what was he to do’? Endure this horror? He could not endure it—it was monstrous!
He would writhe and scream, babble and plead and sob. Perhaps there have been men who have endured torture with dignity, but Jimmie was not one of these. Jimmie was abject, Jimmie was frantic; he did anything, everything he could think of—save one thing, the thing that Perkins kept telling him to do.
This went on until the sergeant was out of breath; that being one disadvantage of the primitive hand-processes of torture to which American police-officials have been reduced by political sentimentalism. The torturer lost his temper, and began to shake and twist at Jimmie’s arms, so that Connor had to warn him—he didn’t want to break anything, of course.
So Perkins said, “Put his head down.” They bent Jimmie over till his head was on the ground, and Grady tied Jimmie’s legs to keep them quiet, and Connor held his neck fast, and Perkins put his foot on the handcuffs and pressed down. By this means he could continue the torture while standing erect and breathing freely, a great relief to him. “Now, damn you!” said he. “I can stay here all night. Come through!”
Jimmie thought that each moment of pain was the worst. He had never had any idea that pain could endure so long, could burn with such a white and searing flame. He ground his teeth together, he chewed his tongue through, he gound his face upon the stones. Anything for a respite—even a new kind of pain, that he might forget the screaming ache in his shoulders and elbows and wrists. But there was no respite; his spirit was whirled and beaten about in bottomless abysses, and from their depths he heard the voice of Perkins, as from a far-off mountain-top: “Come through! Come through—or you’ll stay like this all night!”
But Jimmie did not stay like that; for Perkins got tired of standing on one foot, and he knew that the Lieutenant was pacing about upstairs, wondering why it took so long to ask a few questions. Jimmie heard the voice from the far-off mountain-top: “This won’t do; we’ll have to string him up for a bit.” And he took from his pocket a strong cord, and tied one end about Jimmie’s two thumbs, and ran the other end over an iron ring in the wall of the dungeon—put there by some agent of the Tsar for use in the cause of democracy. The other two men lifted Jimmie till his feet were off the ground, and then made fast the cord, and Jimmie hung with his full weight from his thumbs, still handcuffed behind his back.