50 Essays Second Edition

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The woman was sent off to the workhouse, and we others into the spike.

It was a gloomy, chilly, limewashed place, consisting only of a bathroom and dining-room and about a hundred narrow stone cells.

This was Scotty, a little hairy tramp with a bastard accent sired by cockney out of Glasgow.

His tin of cigarette ends fell out of his sock at the wrong moment, and was impounded. An official at the gate entered our names and other particulars in the register and took our bundles away from us.

Each of us had three minutes in which to bathe himself.

Six greasy, slippery roller towels had to serve for the lot of us.

Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We just sprawled about exhaustedly, with home-made cigarettes sticking out of our scrubby faces.

Overhead the chestnut branches were covered with blossom, and beyond that great woolly clouds floated almost motionless in a clear sky.

Then we set about smuggling our matches and tobacco, for it is forbidden to take these into nearly all spikes, and one is supposed to surrender them at the gate.

We hid them in our socks, except for the twenty or so per cent who had no socks, and had to carry the tobacco in their boots, even under their very toes.

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