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I heard all kinds of things about the school and all belonging to
it. I heard that Mr. Creakle had not preferred his claim to being
a Tartar without reason; that he was the sternest and most severe
of masters; that he laid about him, right and left, every day of
his life, charging in among the boys like a trooper, and slashing
away, unmercifully. That he knew nothing himself, but the art of
slashing, being more ignorant (J. Steerforth said) than the lowest
boy in the school; that he had been, a good many years ago, a small
hop-dealer in the Borough, and had taken to the schooling business
after being bankrupt in hops, and making away with Mrs. Creakle's
money. With a good deal more of that sort, which I wondered how
they knew.

I heard that the man with the wooden leg, whose name was Tungay,
was an obstinate barbarian who had formerly assisted in the hop
business, but had come into the scholastic line with Mr. Creakle,
in consequence, as was supposed among the boys, of his having
broken his leg in Mr. Creakle's service, and having done a deal of
dishonest work for him, and knowing his secrets. I heard that with
the single exception of Mr. Creakle, Tungay considered the whole
establishment, masters and boys, as his natural enemies, and that
the only delight of his life was to be sour and malicious. I heard
that Mr. Creakle had a son, who had not been Tungay's friend, and
who, assisting in the school, had once held some remonstrance with
his father on an occasion when its discipline was very cruelly
exercised, and was supposed, besides, to have protested against his
father's usage of his mother. I heard that Mr. Creakle had turned
him out of doors, in consequence; and that Mrs. and Miss Creakle
had been in a sad way, ever since.

But the greatest wonder that I heard of Mr. Creakle was, there
being one boy in the school on whom he never ventured to lay a
hand, and that boy being J. Steerforth. Steerforth himself
confirmed this when it was stated, and said that he should like to
begin to see him do it. On being asked by a mild boy (not me) how
he would proceed if he did begin to see him do it, he dipped a
match into his phosphorus-box on purpose to shed a glare over his
reply, and said he would commence by knocking him down with a blow
on the forehead from the seven-and-sixpenny ink-bottle that was
always on the mantelpiece. We sat in the dark for some time,

I heard that Mr. Sharp and Mr. Mell were both supposed to be
wretchedly paid; and that when there was hot and cold meat for
dinner at Mr. Creakle's table, Mr. Sharp was always expected to say
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