Support the Monkey! Tell All your Friends and Teachers
He had my head as in a vice, but I twined round him somehow, and
stopped him for a moment, entreating him not to beat me. It was
only a moment that I stopped him, for he cut me heavily an instant
afterwards, and in the same instant I caught the hand with which he
held me in my mouth, between my teeth, and bit it through. It sets
my teeth on edge to think of it.
He beat me then, as if he would have beaten me to death. Above all
the noise we made, I heard them running up the stairs, and crying
out - I heard my mother crying out - and Peggotty. Then he was
gone; and the door was locked outside; and I was lying, fevered and
hot, and torn, and sore, and raging in my puny way, upon the floor.
How well I recollect, when I became quiet, what an unnatural
stillness seemed to reign through the whole house! How well I
remember, when my smart and passion began to cool, how wicked I
began to feel!
I sat listening for a long while, but there was not a sound. I
crawled up from the floor, and saw my face in the glass, so
swollen, red, and ugly that it almost frightened me. My stripes
were sore and stiff, and made me cry afresh, when I moved; but they
were nothing to the guilt I felt. It lay heavier on my breast than
if I had been a most atrocious criminal, I dare say.
It had begun to grow dark, and I had shut the window (I had been
lying, for the most part, with my head upon the sill, by turns
crying, dozing, and looking listlessly out), when the key was
turned, and Miss Murdstone came in with some bread and meat, and
milk. These she put down upon the table without a word, glaring at
me the while with exemplary firmness, and then retired, locking the
door after her.
Long after it was dark I sat there, wondering whether anybody else
would come. When this appeared improbable for that night, I
undressed, and went to bed; and, there, I began to wonder fearfully
what would be done to me. Whether it was a criminal act that I had
committed? Whether I should be taken into custody, and sent to
prison? Whether I was at all in danger of being hanged?
I never shall forget the waking, next morning; the being cheerful
and fresh for the first moment, and then the being weighed down by
the stale and dismal oppression of remembrance. Miss Murdstone
reappeared before I was out of bed; told me, in so many words, that
I was free to walk in the garden for half an hour and no longer;