Jimmie Higgins couldn’t understand that here in Archangel were Americans taking their orders from British and French officers, who wasted no breath on pacifism and sentiment, who had no fool ideas about wars for democracy. Was one obscure little runt of a Socialist machinist to be allowed to block their world-plans? Setting himself up as an authority, presuming to accept literally the passages of his President, in defiance of their authority in Archangel! Allying himself with traitorous and criminal scoundrels, trying to poison the minds of American soldiers and light the flame of mutiny among them! Just as once Jimmie Higgins had found himself in a strategic position where he had held up the whole Hun army and won the battle of Chateau-Thierry, so now he found himself in a position of equal strategic importance—on the line of communication of the Allied armies attacking Russia, and threatening to cut the line and force the armies into retreat!
It became more essential than ever to discover these Bolshevik sympathizers and stamp out their propaganda. As hanging Jimmie up by the wrists had not brought forth the desired information, Jimmie was put in solitary confinement on a diet of bread and water, this being another test of sincerity of conscience. For the conscience a diet of white flour and water may be all right, but Jimmie soon found that it is very bad indeed for the intestinal tract and the blood-stream—being, in truth, far worse than a diet of water alone. The man who lives on white flour and water for a few days suffers either from complete stopping of the bowels, or else from dysentery; his blood becomes clogged with starch poisons, his nerves degenerate, he falls a quick victim to tuberculosis, or pernicious anasmia, or some other disease which will prevent his ever being a sound man again.
Also, Jimmie received the water-treatment, as included in the Fort Leavenworth regiment. It was necessary that all prisoners should be bathed; which was interpreted by some guards to mean that they should have a stream of icy water turned on them, and be forced to stand under it. Because Jimmie’s arms were too badly injured for him to scrub himself, Connor seized a rough brush and salt, and rubbed off strips of his skin. When Jimmy wriggled away, they followed him with the hose; when he screamed, they turned it into his mouth and nose; when he fell down, they let the cold water run over him for ten or fifteen minutes.