Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
'What do you call a price, now, for this here little weskit?'
'Oh! you know best, sir,' I returned modestly.
'I can't be buyer and seller too,' said Mr. Dolloby. 'Put a price
on this here little weskit.'
'Would eighteenpence be?'- I hinted, after some hesitation.
Mr. Dolloby rolled it up again, and gave it me back. 'I should rob
my family,' he said, 'if I was to offer ninepence for it.'
This was a disagreeable way of putting the business; because it
imposed upon me, a perfect stranger, the unpleasantness of asking
Mr. Dolloby to rob his family on my account. My circumstances
being so very pressing, however, I said I would take ninepence for
it, if he pleased. Mr. Dolloby, not without some grumbling, gave
ninepence. I wished him good night, and walked out of the shop the
richer by that sum, and the poorer by a waistcoat. But when I
buttoned my jacket, that was not much.
Indeed, I foresaw pretty clearly that my jacket would go next, and
that I should have to make the best of my way to Dover in a shirt
and a pair of trousers, and might deem myself lucky if I got there
even in that trim. But my mind did not run so much on this as
might be supposed. Beyond a general impression of the distance
before me, and of the young man with the donkey-cart having used me
cruelly, I think I had no very urgent sense of my difficulties when
I once again set off with my ninepence in my pocket.
A plan had occurred to me for passing the night, which I was going
to carry into execution. This was, to lie behind the wall at the
back of my old school, in a corner where there used to be a
haystack. I imagined it would be a kind of company to have the
boys, and the bedroom where I used to tell the stories, so near me:
although the boys would know nothing of my being there, and the
bedroom would yield me no shelter.
I had had a hard day's work, and was pretty well jaded when I came
climbing out, at last, upon the level of Blackheath. It cost me
some trouble to find out Salem House; but I found it, and I found
a haystack in the corner, and I lay down by it; having first walked
round the wall, and looked up at the windows, and seen that all was
dark and silent within. Never shall I forget the lonely sensation
of first lying down, without a roof above my head!