Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

16 
MEMORIES OF MY LIFE 
I think I can revive my principal feelings at that 
early age with fair correctness, their change during 
growth seeming to have been chiefly due to the 
increased range of mental prospect. The horizon of 
a child is very narrow and his sky very near. His 
father is the supreme of beings. He has to learn by 
slow degrees that there are more and more appreciable 
stages between the highest and the lowest, and the 
number of such stages that he can discriminate affords 
a good measure of his mental calibre at the time. 
It was about the date of which I have been speaking 
that my second brother, Erasmus, then a boy of twelve 
or thirteen, entered the navy, and showed himself to 
us in his uniform, with the dagger or “dirk” that 
was part of it. I, a child of five or so, fingered it 
with awe, and with my little head full of Greeks and 
Trojans looked upon him as a hero, like Achilles, 
and can perfectly recall my sense of increased security 
from knowing that England could henceforth avail 
herself of his puissant arm and terrible weapon. 
I lived and throve in what was practically the 
country until the age of eight, when I was sent to a 
school at Boulogne, whither my father escorted me. 
It was erroneously supposed that I should learn 
French there and acquire a good accent. What 1 
did learn was the detestable and limited patois that 
my eighty schoolfellows were compelled to speak 
under penalty of a fine, and in this cruel way. There 
were transferable metal labels which were called 
“marks,” and the boys in whose possession these 
marks remained after each playtime received a bad 
record whoso accumulation up to a certain point 
entailed punishment, f rebelled with my whole heart
        

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