died carefully the subjects I was to be examined in and from time to time wrote to my father reminding him of his promise. But he seemed unwilling to touch on the matter in his letters which were mostly filled with Biblical exhortations, that sickened me with contempt for his brainless credulity. My unbelief made me feel immeasurably superior to him.
Christmas came and I wrote him a serious letter, insisting that he should keep his promise. For the first time in my life I flattered him, saying that I knew his word was sacred: but the time-limit was at hand and I was getting nervous lest some official delay might make me pass the prescribed limit of age. I got no reply: I wrote to Vernon who said he would do his best with the Governor. The days went on, the 14th of February came and went: I was fourteen. That way of escape into the wide world was closed to me by my father. I raged in hatred of him.
How was I to get free? Where should I go? What should I do? One day in an illustrated paper in '68, I read of the discovery of the diamonds in the Cape, and then of the opening of the Diamond fields. That prospect tempted me and I read all I could about South Africa, but one day I found that the cheapest passage to the Cape cost fifteen pounds and I despaired. Shortly afterwards I read that a steerage passage to New York could be had for five pounds; that amount seemed to me possible to get; for there was a prize of ten pounds for books to be given to the second in the Mathematical scholarship exam that would take place in the summer: I thought I could win that, and I set myself to study Mathematics harder than ever.
The result was—but I shall tell the result in its proper place. Meanwhile I began reading about America and soon learned of the buffalo and Indians