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As soon as I got it, I turned around and started running down the other side of the hill, toward old Spencer's house. It was that kind of a crazy afternoon, terrifically cold, and no sun out or anything, and you felt like you were disappearing every time you crossed a road. Boy, I rang that doorbell fast when I got to old Spencer's house. My ears were hurting and I could hardly move my fingers at all. They didn't have a maid or anything, and they always opened the door themselves. What I liked about her, she didn't give you a lot of horse manure about what a great guy her father was. The reason I was standing way up on Thomsen Hill, instead of down at the game, was because I'd just got back from New York with the fencing team. So we got back to Pencey around two-thirty instead of around dinnertime. I only had on my reversible and no gloves or anything. The whole team ostracized me the whole way back on the train. The other reason I wasn't down at the game was because I was on my way to say good-by to old Spencer, my history teacher. I wasn't supposed to come back after Christmas vacation on account of I was flunking four subjects and not applying myself and all. The week before that, somebody'd stolen my camel's-hair coat right out of my room, with my fur-lined gloves right in the pocket and all. Quite a few guys came from these very wealthy families, but it was full of crooks anyway.
Holden, he's behaving like a perfect--I don't know what... Go right in." 2 They each had their own room and all. You never knew if he was nodding a lot because he was thinking and all, or just because he was a nice old guy that didn't know his ass from his elbow.
He just kept talking about Life being a game and all. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules." "Yes, sir.
But if you get on the other side, where there aren't any hot-shots, then what's a game about it?
If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, an what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. Pencey Prep is this school that's in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. Like as if all you ever did at Pencey was play polo all the time. "I've been just fine, Holden." She closed the closet door. " The way she asked me, I knew right away old Spencer'd told her I'd been kicked out. I just mean that I used to think about old Spencer quite a lot, and if you thought about him too much, you wondered what the heck he was still living for.
In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. He used to be just a regular writer, when he was home. I never even once saw a horse anywhere near the place. She hung up my coat in the hall closet, and I sort of brushed my hair back with my hand. I mean he was all stooped over, and he had very terrible posture, and in class, whenever he dropped a piece of chalk at the blackboard, some guy in the first row always had to get up and pick it up and hand it to him. But if you thought about him just enough and not too much, you could figure it out that he wasn't doing too bad for himself. Thanks a lot." He'd written me this note asking me to stop by and say good-by before vacation started, on account of I wasn't coming back. I'd have come over to say good-by anyway." "Have a seat there, boy," old Spencer said.
I mean I've left schools and places I didn't even know I was leaving them. I don't care if it's a sad good-by or a bad goodby, but when I leave a place I like to know I'm leaving it. I suddenly remembered this time, in around October, that I and Robert Tichener and Paul Campbell were chucking a football around, in front of the academic building. It was just before dinner and it was getting pretty dark out, but we kept chucking the ball around anyway. Zambesi, stuck his head out of this window in the academic building and told us to go back to the dorm and get ready for dinner. and came out here for all these goddam checkups and stuff. Anyway, as soon as I got my breath back I ran across Route 204. I don't even know what I was running for--I guess I just felt like it.