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ON a January morning in the early eighties I found myself in Paris with less than a dozen francs in my purse, or rather my pockets, for I have always had a habit of distributing my money between waistcoat and trousers, so that if one pocket be picked the contents of the others may have a chance of remaining still in my possession.

How I arrived in Paris is easily explained. After two years and a half in a boarding-school I had become so tired of its monotonous routine and, indeed, of the idleness which prevailed there—for the masters never tried to teach, and, naturally, the boys never tried to learn—that I resolved, when the Christmas vacation came to an end, to leave my home in the south of Ireland and seek my fortune through the world. Accordingly, instead of going back to school, I set out for Dublin, whence I started for London by the first boat. In London I spent a day, and then came on to Paris, filled with vague hopes and vaguer misgivings as to my future. Thus it happened that I at the age of sixteen was walking the streets of Paris on the 6th of January 188-.