He had the grippe, and I figured I probably wouldn't see him again till Christmas vacation started. They gave me frequent warning to start applying myself--especially around midterms, when my parents came up for a conference with old Thurmer--but I didn't do it. The more expensive a school is, the more crooks it has--I'm not kidding.
He wrote me this note saying he wanted to see me before I went home. Anyway, I kept standing next to that crazy cannon, looking down at the game and freezing my ass off. What I was really hanging around for, I was trying to feel some kind of a good-by. All of a sudden I thought of something that helped make me know I was getting the hell out.
Only seniors were allowed to bring girls with them.
It was a terrible school, no matter how you looked at it.
I like to be somewhere at least where you can see a few girls around once in a while, even if they're only scratching their arms or blowing their noses or even just giggling or something.
Old Selma Thurmer--she was the headmaster's daughter--showed up at the games quite often, but she wasn't exactly the type that drove you mad with desire. I sat next to her once in the bus from Agerstown and we sort of struck up a conversation. She had a big nose and her nails were all bitten down and bleedy-looking and she had on those damn falsies that point all over the place, but you felt sort of sorry for her. We'd gone in to New York that morning for this fencing meet with Mc Burney School. I left all the foils and equipment and stuff on the goddam subway. I had to keep getting up to look at this map, so we'd know where to get off. Anyway, it was December and all, and it was cold as a witch's teat, especially on top of that stupid hill.
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.
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?
Where I want to start telling is the day I left Pencey Prep. They advertise in about a thousand magazines, always showing some hotshot guy on a horse jumping over a fence. I know that sounds mean to say, but I don't mean it mean. " "M'boy, if I felt any better I'd have to send for the doctor," old Spencer said. I thought this was the day of the big game." "It is. Only, I just got back from New York with the fencing team," I said.
You could see the whole field from there, and you could see the two teams bashing each other all over the place.
It's really ironical, because I'm six foot two and a half and I have gray hair. The one side of my head--the right side--is full of millions of gray hairs. And yet I still act sometimes like I was only about twelve. Then he said, "I had the privilege of meeting your mother and dad when they had their little chat with Dr.