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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.Details are provided on the George Orwell page Project Gutenberg of Australia e Books are created from printed editions which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice is included.
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.
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.
Some of the men refused the bath, and washed only their 'toe-rags', the horrid, greasy little clouts which tramps bind round their feet.
Each of us had three minutes in which to bathe himself.
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.
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.