Vol. 8 No. 2 1941 - page 107

IN THE PENAL COLONY
107
officer threatened it with his fist, then, excusing himself, stretched
his arms out towards the explorer and hurriedly climbed down in
order to observe the action of the apparatus from below. Something
was still out of order which he alone noticed. He climbed up again,
grasped the inner part of the draughtsman with both hands and
then, in order to get down quickly, instead of using the ladder, slid
down one of the rods. To make himself understood above the
noise, he'shouted as loudly as possible into the ear of the explorer:
"Do you understand what's happening now? The harrow is begin–
ning to write: when it has finished the first inscription on the man's
back, the layer of cotton begins to furl up and rolls the body slowly
over on its side so as to present a fresh
surfa~e
to the harrow. In
the meantime, the wound-written parts take their place on the cot–
ton, which stops the bleeding at once, by means of a special prep–
aration, and makes further deepening of the writing possible. Just
here, the spikes on the edge of the harrow tear the cotton from the
wounds, as the body is turned over again, hurl it into the ditch, and
the harrow starts working again. Thus it writes more and more
deeply during the whole twelve hours. The first six hours the con–
demned man lives about as before, he only suffers pain. After two
hours the piece of felt is removed, for the man hasn't the strength
to scream any more. Here, at the head end, we put warm rice por–
ridge into this electrically heated tray, from which the man, if he
cares to, can eat whatever he can lap up with his tongue. None of
them ever misses this opportunity. I know really of none, and my
experience is great. Only around the sixth hour does he lose his
pleasure in eating. Then I usually kneel down here and observe
the following phenomenon. Rarely does the man swallow the last
morseL All he does is to turn it about in his mouth and spit it out
into the ditch. I have to stoop over then, otherwise I would catch it
in the face. But around the sixth hour how quiet the man becomes!
Even the dullest begins to understand. It starts around the eyes.
From here it spreads out. It's a sight which could tempt you to lie
down under the harrow with him. But nothing further happens,
the man is just beginning to decipher the writing, and he purses his
lips as if listening. You have seen that it is not easy to decipher the
writing with the eye; but our maR deciphers it with his wounds.
Of course, that means a lot of work; he needs six hours to accom–
plish it. Then the harrow spears him clean through and hurls him
(Continued on page 146)
80...,97,98,99,100,101,102,103,104,105,106 108,109,110,111,112,113,114,115,116,117,...160
Powered by FlippingBook