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flute, no Master, no Salem House, no David Copperfield, no anything
but heavy sleep.
I dreamed, I thought, that once while he was blowing into this
dismal flute, the old woman of the house, who had gone nearer and
nearer to him in her ecstatic admiration, leaned over the back of
his chair and gave him an affectionate squeeze round the neck,
which stopped his playing for a moment. I was in the middle state
between sleeping and waking, either then or immediately afterwards;
for, as he resumed - it was a real fact that he had stopped playing
- I saw and heard the same old woman ask Mrs. Fibbitson if it
wasn't delicious (meaning the flute), to which Mrs. Fibbitson
replied, 'Ay, ay! yes!' and nodded at the fire: to which, I am
persuaded, she gave the credit of the whole performance.
When I seemed to have been dozing a long while, the Master at Salem
House unscrewed his flute into the three pieces, put them up as
before, and took me away. We found the coach very near at hand,
and got upon the roof; but I was so dead sleepy, that when we
stopped on the road to take up somebody else, they put me inside
where there were no passengers, and where I slept profoundly, until
I found the coach going at a footpace up a steep hill among green
leaves. Presently, it stopped, and had come to its destination.
A short walk brought us - I mean the Master and me - to Salem
House, which was enclosed with a high brick wall, and looked very
dull. Over a door in this wall was a board with SALEM HousE upon
it; and through a grating in this door we were surveyed when we
rang the bell by a surly face, which I found, on the door being
opened, belonged to a stout man with a bull-neck, a wooden leg,
overhanging temples, and his hair cut close all round his head.
'The new boy,' said the Master.
The man with the wooden leg eyed me all over - it didn't take long,
for there was not much of me - and locked the gate behind us, and
took out the key. We were going up to the house, among some dark
heavy trees, when he called after my conductor.
We looked back, and he was standing at the door of a little lodge,
where he lived, with a pair of boots in his hand.
'Here! The cobbler's been,' he said, 'since you've been out, Mr.
Mell, and he says he can't mend 'em any more. He says there ain't