The terrible Tramp Major met us at the door and herded us into the bathroom to be stripped and searched.
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.
This was Scotty, a little hairy tramp with a bastard accent sired by cockney out of Glasgow.
Overhead the chestnut branches were covered with blossom, and beyond that great woolly clouds floated almost motionless in a clear sky.
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.
Then we were sent into the dining-room, where supper was set out on the deal tables.
Each of us had three minutes in which to bathe himself.
Six greasy, slippery roller towels had to serve for the lot of us.