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Here I sit at the desk again, on a drowsy summer afternoon. A buzz
and hum go up around me, as if the boys were so many bluebottles.
A cloggy sensation of the lukewarm fat of meat is upon me (we dined
an hour or two ago), and my head is as heavy as so much lead. I
would give the world to go to sleep. I sit with my eye on Mr.
Creakle, blinking at him like a young owl; when sleep overpowers me
for a minute, he still looms through my slumber, ruling those
ciphering-books, until he softly comes behind me and wakes me to
plainer perception of him, with a red ridge across my back.

Here I am in the playground, with my eye still fascinated by him,
though I can't see him. The window at a little distance from which
I know he is having his dinner, stands for him, and I eye that
instead. If he shows his face near it, mine assumes an imploring
and submissive expression. If he looks out through the glass, the
boldest boy (Steerforth excepted) stops in the middle of a shout or
yell, and becomes contemplative. One day, Traddles (the most
unfortunate boy in the world) breaks that window accidentally, with
a ball. I shudder at this moment with the tremendous sensation of
seeing it done, and feeling that the ball has bounded on to Mr.
Creakle's sacred head.

Poor Traddles! In a tight sky-blue suit that made his arms and
legs like German sausages, or roly-poly puddings, he was the
merriest and most miserable of all the boys. He was always being
caned - I think he was caned every day that half-year, except one
holiday Monday when he was only ruler'd on both hands - and was
always going to write to his uncle about it, and never did. After
laying his head on the desk for a little while, he would cheer up,
somehow, begin to laugh again, and draw skeletons all over his
slate, before his eyes were dry. I used at first to wonder what
comfort Traddles found in drawing skeletons; and for some time
looked upon him as a sort of hermit, who reminded himself by those
symbols of mortality that caning couldn't last for ever. But I
believe he only did it because they were easy, and didn't want any

He was very honourable, Traddles was, and held it as a solemn duty
in the boys to stand by one another. He suffered for this on
several occasions; and particularly once, when Steerforth laughed
in church, and the Beadle thought it was Traddles, and took him
out. I see him now, going away in custody, despised by the
congregation. He never said who was the real offender, though he
smarted for it next day, and was imprisoned so many hours that he
came forth with a whole churchyard-full of skeletons swarming all
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