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. I t 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. I t was erroneously supposed that I should learn French there and acquire a good accent. What I 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 whose accumulation up to a certain point ci1tailed l i Hiwhment. I rebelled with my wlhc:lc heart