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face to the Adelphi, pondering on the old days when I used to roam
about its subterranean arches, and on the happy changes which had
brought me to the surface.
MY FIRST DISSIPATION
It was a wonderfully fine thing to have that lofty castle to
myself, and to feel, when I shut my outer door, like Robinson
Crusoe, when he had got into his fortification, and pulled his
ladder up after him. It was a wonderfully fine thing to walk about
town with the key of my house in my pocket, and to know that I
could ask any fellow to come home, and make quite sure of its being
inconvenient to nobody, if it were not so to me. It was a
wonderfully fine thing to let myself in and out, and to come and go
without a word to anyone, and to ring Mrs. Crupp up, gasping, from
the depths of the earth, when I wanted her - and when she was
disposed to come. All this, I say, was wonderfully fine; but I
must say, too, that there were times when it was very dreary.
It was fine in the morning, particularly in the fine mornings. It
looked a very fresh, free life, by daylight: still fresher, and
more free, by sunlight. But as the day declined, the life seemed
to go down too. I don't know how it was; it seldom looked well by
candle-light. I wanted somebody to talk to, then. I missed Agnes.
I found a tremendous blank, in the place of that smiling repository
of my confidence. Mrs. Crupp appeared to be a long way off. I
thought about my predecessor, who had died of drink and smoke; and
I could have wished he had been so good as to live, and not bother
me with his decease.
After two days and nights, I felt as if I had lived there for a
year, and yet I was not an hour older, but was quite as much
tormented by my own youthfulness as ever.
Steerforth not yet appearing, which induced me to apprehend that he
must be ill, I left the Commons early on the third day, and walked
out to Highgate. Mrs. Steerforth was very glad to see me, and said
that he had gone away with one of his Oxford friends to see another
who lived near St. Albans, but that she expected him to return
tomorrow. I was so fond of him, that I felt quite jealous of his