This e Book is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever.
But is an unwritten law that even the sternest Tramp Majors do not search below the knee, and in the end only one man was caught.
This was Scotty, a little hairy tramp with a bastard accent sired by cockney out of Glasgow.
' So I buried my money in a hole under the hedge, marking the spot with a lump of flint.
Then we set about smuggling our matches and tobacco, for it is forbidden to take these into nearly all spikes, and one is supposed to surrender them at the gate.
It was a gloomy, chilly, limewashed place, consisting only of a bathroom and dining-room and about a hundred narrow stone cells.
The terrible Tramp Major met us at the door and herded us into the bathroom to be stripped and searched.Then we were sent into the dining-room, where supper was set out on the deal tables.It was the invariable spike meal, always the same, whether breakfast, dinner or supper—half a pound of bread, a bit of margarine, and a pint of so-called tea.Literature: an Examination of Gulliver's Travels (1946) Riding Down from Bangor (1946) Some Thoughts on the Common Toad (1946) The Prevention of Literature (1946) Why I Write (1946) Lear, Tolstoy and the Fool (1947) Such, Such were the Joys (1947) Writers and Leviathan (1948) Reflections on Gandhi (1949) It was late-afternoon.Forty-nine of us, forty-eight men and one woman, lay on the green waiting for the spike to open. We just sprawled about exhaustedly, with home-made cigarettes sticking out of our scrubby faces.He was a devil, everyone agreed, a tartar, a tyrant, a bawling, blasphemous, uncharitable dog.You couldn't call your soul your own when he was about, and many a tramp had he kicked out in the middle of the night for giving a back answer.He was a gruff, soldierly man of forty, who gave the tramps no more ceremony than sheep at the dipping-pond, shoving them this way and that and shouting oaths in their faces. 'Well, that's bloody bad luck, guv'nor,' he said, 'that's bloody bad luck, that is.' And thereafter he took it into his head to treat me with compassion, even with a kind of respect. All the indecent secrets of our underwear were exposed; the grime, the rents and patches, the bits of string doing duty for buttons, the layers upon layers of fragmentary garments, some of them mere collections of holes, held together by dirt.But when he came to myself, he looked hard at me, and said: 'You are a gentleman? The room became a press of steaming nudity, the sweaty odours of the tramps competing with the sickly, sub-faecal stench native to the spike.Six greasy, slippery roller towels had to serve for the lot of us.When we had bathed our own clothes were taken away from us, and we were dressed in the workhouse shirts, grey cotton things like nightshirts, reaching to the middle of the thigh.