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Overhead the chestnut branches were covered with blossom, and beyond that great woolly clouds floated almost motionless in a clear sky.
Littered on the grass, we seemed dingy, urban riff-raff.
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.
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.The doors were locked on the outside a little before seven in the evening, and would stay locked for the next twelve hours.The cells measured eight feet by five, and, had no lighting apparatus except a tiny, barred window high up in the wall, and a spyhole in the door.When You, came to be searched, he fair held you upside down and shook you. Pay, and if you went in with money (which is against the law) God help you. 'For the love of Christ, mate,' the old hands advised me, 'don't you take it in.You'd get seven days for going into the spike with eightpence!Title: Fifty Orwell Essays Author: George Orwell * A Project Gutenberg of Australia e Book * e Book No.: 0300011Language: English Date first posted: August 2003 Most recent update: April 2019 This e Book was produced by: Colin Choat Production notes: Author's footnotes appear at the end of the paragraph where indicated.All essays in this collection were first published during George Orwell's lifetime, and have appeared in a number of Orwell essay collections published both before and after his death.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.We defiled the scene, like sardine-tins and paper bags on the seashore.What talk there was ran on the Tramp Major of this spike.