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PinkMonkey.com Digital Library - PinkMonkey.com-David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


spending the few pence I had, and was even more afraid of the
vicious looks of the trampers I had met or overtaken. I sought no
shelter, therefore, but the sky; and toiling into Chatham, - which,
in that night's aspect, is a mere dream of chalk, and drawbridges,
and mastless ships in a muddy river, roofed like Noah's arks, -
crept, at last, upon a sort of grass-grown battery overhanging a
lane, where a sentry was walking to and fro. Here I lay down, near
a cannon; and, happy in the society of the sentry's footsteps,
though he knew no more of my being above him than the boys at Salem
House had known of my lying by the wall, slept soundly until
morning.

Very stiff and sore of foot I was in the morning, and quite dazed
by the beating of drums and marching of troops, which seemed to hem
me in on every side when I went down towards the long narrow
street. Feeling that I could go but a very little way that day, if
I were to reserve any strength for getting to my journey's end, I
resolved to make the sale of my jacket its principal business.
Accordingly, I took the jacket off, that I might learn to do
without it; and carrying it under my arm, began a tour of
inspection of the various slop-shops.

It was a likely place to sell a jacket in; for the dealers in
second-hand clothes were numerous, and were, generally speaking, on
the look-out for customers at their shop doors. But as most of
them had, hanging up among their stock, an officer's coat or two,
epaulettes and all, I was rendered timid by the costly nature of
their dealings, and walked about for a long time without offering
my merchandise to anyone.

This modesty of mine directed my attention to the marine-store
shops, and such shops as Mr. Dolloby's, in preference to the
regular dealers. At last I found one that I thought looked
promising, at the corner of a dirty lane, ending in an enclosure
full of stinging-nettles, against the palings of which some
second-hand sailors' clothes, that seemed to have overflowed the
shop, were fluttering among some cots, and rusty guns, and oilskin
hats, and certain trays full of so many old rusty keys of so many
sizes that they seemed various enough to open all the doors in the
world.

Into this shop, which was low and small, and which was darkened
rather than lighted by a little window, overhung with clothes, and
was descended into by some steps, I went with a palpitating heart;
which was not relieved when an ugly old man, with the lower part of
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