Page:Passages from the Life of a Philosopher.djvu/37

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I was provided with a pair of plyers, and unbent one of the links, leaving the two portions attached to Marryat's arm and to the lock of the door. This occurred several times, varying by stouter chains, and by having a padlock which I could not pick in the dark.

At last one morning I found a chain too strong for the tools I possessed; so I retired to my own bed, defeated. The next night, however, I provided myself with a ball of packthread. As soon as I heard by his breathing that Marryat was asleep, I crept over to the door, drew one end of my ball of packthread through a link of the too-powerful chain, and bringing it back with me to bed, gave it a sudden jerk by pulling both ends of the packthread passing through the link of the chain.

Marryat jumped up, put out his hand to the door, found his chain all right, and then lay down. As soon as he was asleep again, I repeated the operation. Having awakened him for the third time, I let go one end of the string, and drew it back by the other, so that he was unable at daylight to detect the cause.

At last, however, I found it expedient to enter into a treaty of peace, the basis of which was that I should allow Marryat to join the night party; but that nobody else should be admitted. This continued for a short time; but, one by one, three or four other boys, friends of Marryat, joined our party, and, as I had anticipated, no work was done. We all got to play; we let off fire-works in the play-ground, and were of course discovered.

Our master read us a very grave lecture at breakfast upon the impropriety of this irregular system of turning night into day, and pointed out its injurious effects upon the health. This, he said, was so remarkable that he could distinguish by