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the verb ?????, I strike (for, though we were
commercial, we learnt Greek, hang it!), and
the confiscation of a favourite hockey stick
for which I had given no less a sum than
fourpence and a copy of Philip Quarlldrove
me to desperation. I "chivied" with the full
intention of walking to Portsmouth, and
going to sea. Lord help me!

One bright moonlight night I rose stealthily
from my bed, dressed, and stole down stairs.
I held my breath, and trod softly as I passed
dormitory after dormitory; but all slept
soundly. The French masterwho was wont
to decorate himself hideously at night with a
green handkerchief round his head, and a
night-garment emblazoned like the San
benito of a victim of the Inquisitiongurgled
and moaned as I passed his door: but he
had a habit of choking himself in his sleep,
and I feared him not. Clitheroe, who slept
under the last flight of stairs, was snoring like
a barrel-organ; and Runks, his bedfellow, who
was the best story-teller in the school, was
telling idiotic tales, full of sound and fury
signifying nothing, to himself in his slumbers.
I crept across the playground cautiously, in
the shadow of the wall. The play-shed; the
brick wall against which we were wont to
play "fives;" the trim little gardens, three
feet by four, where we cultivated mustard
and cress, and flowering plants which never
flowered; somehow seemed to glance reproachfully
at me as I stole out like a thief in the
night. The tall gymnastic pole on which we
climbed appeared to cast a loving, lingering
shadow towards me, as if to bring me back.
The sky was so clear, the moon was so bright,
and the fleecy clouds were so calm and peaceful
as they floated by, that I half repented of
my design and began to blubber. But the
clock of Ealing church striking, called to mind
the bell I hated mostthe "getting-up bell."
The pie, the tooth, the dancing-master, the
diminished roll, and the Greek verb, carne
trooping up; and, my unquenchable nautical
ardour filling me with daring, I got over the
low palings, and dropped into the high road
on my way to sea.

Nobody was in my confidence. Such friends
and relatives as I had were far away, and I
felt that "the world was all before me where
to choose." My capital was not extensive. I
had jacket, waistcoat, and trousers with the
etceteras, half-a-crown in money, a curiously-
bladed knife with a boat-hook and a corkscrew
by way of rider, and an accordion. I felt that,
with these though, I had the riches of Peru.

To this day I cannot imagine what the
New Police could have been about, that
moonlight night, that they did not pounce upon
me, many-bladed knife, accordion and all, long
before I got to Hyde Park Corner. Nor can
I discover why Mr. Bogryne pursued me in a
chaise-cart and sent foot runners after me
up and down all roads save the very one I
was walking quietly along. I must have
looked so very like a runaway boy. The
ink was scarcely dry on my fingers; the
traces of yesterday's ruler were yet fresh on
my knuckles; the dust of the playground
adhered to my knees.

A bed next night at a London coffee-
shop; a breakfast and a wild debauch on
raspberry tarts and ginger-beer, very soon
brought my half-crown to twopence, and
I felt a lowness of spirits and the want
of stimulants. A penny roll and a saveloy
brought me to zero. The accordion was a
bed the next night, and a sausage-roll by way
of breakfast, the next morning. The many-
bladed knife produced a mouthful of bread
and cheese and half-a-pint of beer for dinner.
Then, having nothing, I felt independent.

By some strange intuitive education, I felt
myself all at once a tramp, and looked at the
journey to Portsmouth quite philosophically.
Curiously, when the produce of the many-
bladed knife had been consumed and
forgotten, and the want of another repast began
to be very unpleasantly remembered; it never
once occurred to me to turn back, to seek
assistance from any friend or friend's friend or
boy's father with whom I had spent a holiday
in London. It never struck me that if employment
were to be found at sea, there were
docks and ships in London. I was bound for
Portsmouthwhy I know notbut bound as
irredeemably as if I had a passport made out
for that particular seaport, and the route was
not by any means to be deviated from. If the
London Docks were situated in New York,
and if Blackwall were the port of Bombay,
they could not, in my mind, have been
more unattainable for the purpose of going
to sea, than they were, only a mile or so off.
I was not afraid of Mr. Bogryne. I seemed
to have done with him ages ago. I had quite
finished and settled up accounts with him;
so it appeared to me. He, and the days when
I wore clean linen, and was Master Anybody,
with a name written in the fly-leaf of a ciphering-
book; with a playbox, and with friends
to send me plum cakes and bright five-shilling
pieces, were fifty thousand miles away. They
loomed in the distance, just as the burning
cities might have done to Lot's wife, very
dimly indeed.

It was Saturday afternoon. I well
remember loitering some time about Vauxhall,
and wondering whether that hot, dusty road
with the odours of half-a-dozen bone-
boiling establishments coursing up and down
it like siroccoscould be near the fairy
establishment where there were always fifty
thousand additional lamps, and to which young
Simms at Bolting House had beenmarvellous
boy!—twice during the Midsummer
holidays. After listlessly counting the fat
sluggish barges on the river, and the tall
dusty trees at Nine Elms (there was no railway
station there then), I set out walking,
doggedly. I caught a glimpse of myself in the
polished plate-glass window of a baker's shop,
and found myself to be a very black grimy boy.

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