It was in Southampton, a sodden January morning. A sickly light , like greased paper, was slanting through the high window into the examination hall. We were waiting, outside the rain beat against the windows, inside we sat in rows, like battery chickens. Each desk measured about two feet by two and had been quite bare except for the examination paper. Now at some them pale silent students were staring at the paper, some busied themselves by setting out their pens, but mostly they stared at the paper. These were the condemned, due to hang their heads in shame within the next month or so.
One prisoner had arrived early and sat alone at the front for a time. Tang was Chinese, a pot bellied dwarf of a man, with a shaven head and intense black eyes. He had a thick, enveloping coat, absurdly too big for his body, that pooled around his feet like oil stain. Two tall invigilators were sitting guarding their papers like temple dogs and ready to pounce on any who turned over a page before it wa