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graduate of Oxford University, who is still learning about himself and ourallIAmerican values with a hard street beating lesson on his delusional politicalchances to reach the presidency.Oh, my bad. I meant V.S. Naipaul who went to Oxford too from “A Flagon the Island”…Oh wait…sorry….I meant “The Middle Passage,” butweknew that already.
38And so he made his way north through the dark nights, sometimes losing the road so completely that he was forced to backtrack for several days until he regained the route. His shoes wore out and collapsed and for two nights he walked close to the road on bare feet. Finally one morning he entered the open door of a farmhouse while its people were in the fields and made off with a pair of patent leather boots so tight that he had to cut holes for the toes. Thus shod, he pushed through the gloomy woods toward Washington. It must have been August by now and the chiggers and sweat flies and the mosquitoes were out in full swarm. Some days on Hark’s pine-needle bed were almost impossible for sleep. Thunderstorms rumbling out of the west drenched him and froze him and scared him half out of his wits. He lost sight of the North Star more times than he could count. Forks and turnings confused him. Moonless nights caused him to stray away from the road and lose himself in a bog or thicket where owls hooted and branches crackled and the water moccasins thrashed drowsily in brackish pools. On such nights Hark’s misery and loneliness seemed more than he could bear. Twice he came close to be being caught, the first occasion somewhere just south of Washington when, traversing the edge of a cornfield before nightfall, he nearly stepped on a white man who happened at that moment to be defecating in the bushes. Hark ran, the man pulled up his pants, yelled and gave chase, but Hark quickly outstripped him. That night, though, he heard dogs baying as if in pursuit and for one time in his life fought down his fear of high places and spent the hours perched on the limb of a big maple tree while the dogs howled and moaned in the distance. His other close call came between what must have been Washington and Baltimore, when he was shocked out of his sleep underneath a hedge to find himself in the midst of a fox hunt. The great bodies of horses hurtled over him as if in some nightmare and their hooves spattered his face with wet stinging little buttons of earth. Crouching on his elbows and knees to protect himself, Hark thought the end had come when a red-jacketed horseman reigned in his mount and asked curtly what a strange nigger was doing in such a dumb position- obtaining in reply the statement that the nigger was praying- and believed it a miracle when the man said nothing but merely galloped off in the morning mists.
39He had been told that Maryland was a slave state, but one morning when he happened upon a town which could only have been Baltimore he decided to risk exposure by