Heaven Lies About Us


FROM the time I left Basham’s office till now I have had to do with newspapers, but my becoming connected with newspapers was, like everything else at that time, haphazard and accidental. I felt no vocation, followed no star more compelling than the need to get a job.

There I was, thirteen years old, thin as a rail, wearing ridiculous short trousers and big boots. There I was with a week to go, and then my job would be ended.

My mother, always optimistic, thought that a year’s service as an office boy qualified me to apply for work as a junior clerk, but things happened otherwise. One of my sisters was a domestic servant in the house of a man who was a subeditor on a Cardiff newspaper. She learned from him that a messenger boy was wanted in the office. I was given the job. The manager who interviewed me was a haughty personage with an unsmiling manner. One of his cheeks was afflicted with a persistent tic. That, and a very dry cough, made him seem terribly aloof and impersonal. And from that day till the day I left the office to go to the Yorkshire Observer in Bradford nine years later, the manager remained an austere Olympian, a sort of very polar bear on a very tall iceberg.

But if the manager was aloof, the editor was familiar with an awful and embarrassing familiarity. Never shall I forget the first time I was called into his room. His appearance was no surprise to me, for his was a well-known figure about the Cardiff streets. On the thin and awkward body of an Abraham Lincoln, clothed always, summer and winter, in a dark gray suit of very thick broadcloth, was imposed a head that reminded me at once of Tennyson’s, as I had seen it portrayed in the frontispiece of one of Frank’s books. The bold high forehead with a sweep of hair flowing nobly back, the beard, the nose — all were there, amazingly Tennysonian.

Now, at close quarters, I looked at him with awe. He addressed me in a voice that was deep and completely without tone. There was no light or shade in it. It was a sepulchral rumble coming out of the beard. ‘Boy,’ he said, ‘how is it with your soul?’

This was awful. Mr. Basham, good Plymouth Brother though he was, had never allowed the soul to intrude into the office; and there was my editor, the high and mighty chief of everything that constituted my new universe, tackling me on first principles at the very outset.

I stood and stared at him, then mumbled: ‘I don’t know, sir.’

He placed a hand on my shoulder, propelling me kindly towards the door. ‘Boy,’ he said, ‘your soul comes first. Think of your soul.’

I wondered for a time whether there was about me some imprint of the primal curse, some mark of the beast which said to all beholders, ‘This boy’s soul needs watching,’ but I soon learned that this was not so, that the editor’s concern about souls was all-embracing. He would come into the subeditors’ room and boom his famous question at subeditors wrestling with the peak confusion of the day’s chief edition. He would ask men at street corners and in tramcars how it was with their souls.

The aureole of poesy that was about his brow was a fraud and a deception. He once swooped upon me when I was reading verse and informed me tersely that I should be better employed reading political economy. He looked with suspicion on all musical and dramatic criticism that went into the paper, and once, when Shakespeare was on our local boards, declared forthright that Shakespeare was ‘all rubbish.’

This dark consistency of his proselytizing character I was to learn bit by bit, learning at the same time his generosity, his selflessness, the reality of what I can only call a perverted saintliness. But during that first startling interview I knew nothing of that; I knew only that I felt upset and afraid, and I crept away to see what work there was to do.


There was work of all sorts. There was running to the station for parcels of news sent in by the district correspondents; there was opening the unending stream of telegrams and learning to sort them into home news, sporting news, foreign news, and to deliver them to the subeditor concerned. There was running down to the machine room for editions. A grand place the machine room, worked by steam in those days, and it was thrilling to see the engineers, incredibly daring souls, crawling about in the pits beneath the stationary monsters, to leap out at the sound of a bell, just in time, as it seemed, to escape annihilation amid the rushing cogs and whirling cylinders, the noise and deep, satisfying vibration, that all culminated in the neatly folded pale primrose sheets spewing out dozen by dozen and filling the air with the hot scent of fresh newsprint.

There was going down to the boiler room with the pipes of subeditors and reporters to have steam blown through them; there was running with copy to the compositors, watching their deft fingers tapping their machines to produce those long galleys of type that, afterwards, were all picked to pieces again by the girls upstairs.

There were journeys through the streets to places where reporters were at work, so that their ‘ copy ’ might be taken bit by bit to the office; and thus one moment you would be in the police court listening with rapt attention to the charge against a girl of soliciting, or against a big buck Negro of using a razor on a policeman in Tiger Bay, and the next you would be at an inquest, or a meeting of the City Council, or the august Assizes, to which in the morning you had seen the judge drive up to the music of trumpets and with all the solemn pomp of black and scarlet.

Through it all was threaded the feeling of an immensely enlarged horizon, of belonging to a great and intricate concern that was so much more spacious than the little brown office in Mount Stuart Square, where Hallows and Hadley were still toasting their toes by the gas fire and discussing the anxieties of the aunts.

And one memorable day there was to be an important political meeting. Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was coming to the Park Hall. I was ordered to be there to run to and fro with ‘copy.’ I had never before been at a political meeting of any sort; I had never seen a ‘great man.’ The excitement was immense. The hall was packed with a cheering, singing crowd. The gaslight filled the place with a sizzling heat and the organ pealed as the local grandees filed on to the platform. Then suddenly everyone on the floor and in the galleries stood up and cheered and cheered. I was standing by the press table under the platform, too small to see anything. A hefty reporter took me under the arms, hoisted me up, and there I was, with my nose and eyes just above the platform level, gazing from two feet away at the bottoms of a pair of creased trouser legs and a pair of big boots. They were Campbell-Bannerman’s. I raised my eyes to the other end of him, and saw him standing there, ruddy, commonplace, kind-looking: my first ‘great man.’ He looked very much like the doctor to whom I had said that we would pay him if he came quickly.


Though blind chance took me to a newspaper office, I was happy there at once; and I have been happy in newspaper offices ever since.

It was clear from the first that the way up was through the reporters’ room; and the way to the reporters’ room in those days was by learning shorthand. It was a lucky thing for me that there was another boy in the office who shared my passion for learning shorthand. It is the easiest thing in the world to learn; but when we had learned the principles there came the question of practice.

We solved this by coming to the office at eight each morning. Our work began at nine, and for an hour before that time we harangued and declaimed to one another from a volume of Sir Edward Clarke’s speeches, borrowed from the office library. To this day, I could pass with honors an examination upon Sir Edward Clarke’s reactions to the burning problems of his day. It was a hard and long-continued grind, but we made ourselves efficient shorthand writers, and in due course we both earned such laurels as efficient shorthand writers may hope to wear. But that is another story.

What is more important is that in time my brother and I made the discovery, which seemed astonishing to us, that you can work for a university degree without attending a university. We learned of such things as the London University, and extramural students, and Tutorial Correspondence Courses.

My brother was now in my newspaper office as secretary to our strange editor. He had never ceased to regret that missed scholarship. Some of the boys who had gone on that time to the Higher Grade School could now be seen a stage further in their careers, going through the streets with mortar boards on their heads and gowns fluttering in the wind, undergraduates of the University of Wales. The thought of all they were getting and all we were missing gnawed him, and suddenly he hurled himself with what can only be called passion into the acquiring of knowledge. With his day filled by the earning of his living, with a wretched physical constitution that was the bequest of our childhood, he nevertheless drove at learning with sustained frenzy. I have come home late at night and found him asleep with his head on the table amid a pile of books and with a penny bottle of ink upset at his hand. It killed him in a few years. He took a trip round the world on a cargo boat in the hope that a wrecked body might be repaired, and he died at sea.

For all of us they were toilsome years that came now. We had somehow got embarked on a grand push. A deathor-glory atmosphere was abroad and used us up. Our editor had something to do with it. Evening classes were held in the University College, a hotchpotch collection of wooden shacks surrounding a building that had once been a hospital. They were good classes. Many of them were conducted by the professors of the University, seeking, even like my old friend Simey, some small addition to what they could earn by day. But the classes differed from night school in this: they had to be paid for.

This was where our strange editor came in. For all the secret laughs we had at that man and his passionate evangelism, he was one of those rare souls who practise what they preach. Out of his scanty means he was a generous giver. He would call you down and inquire about your soul, and then go on to call your attention to the classes at the University. You could join as many as you liked, and he would pay the bill.

With the major problem solved, my brother and I leapt at it, and for about five years we slaved as I hope never to slave again. It grew worse as the time went on, because by then I had found new work in the office. From nine in the morning till five or six at night my job was to take over the telephone news reports from district correspondents for the evening paper. Then forthwith I switched over to the status of reporter for the morning paper, which meant working all through the evening. From seven to eight I might have a class to attend in those old University buildings; then on I would go to pick up a bit of news somewhere. The tail end of another class could be reached when that was done. Back then to the office to write my report; then home to supper and homework, and on again in the morning at nine.

We found a flaw in our arrangements. Latin was compulsory for the matriculation of the London University, and there was no Latin class on the syllabus. We decided heroically that we would find a private tutor. We would raise the money somehow. We would give lessons in shorthand. That would fetch in a bit. I did indeed begin to teach shorthand. One small boy, a few months younger than I, began to attend at our home. That was something else to fit in. Either I was a bad teacher or he was a dull scholar. Anyway, we got nowhere. I threw up the whole thing, and hopes of an income from that source died. In any case we could never have paid for those private Latin lessons. We advertised for a teacher. The answers shocked us. The cheapest offer was ten shillings an hour. It seemed a monstrous sum; but we did n’t give in. We took our case to the principal and urged him to found a Latin class. He said he would do it if we could guarantee a dozen students. We beat them up somehow. Soon they declined to four or five; but by then the class was started, and it went on. We fitted it in. Everything, in those days, seemed capable of being ‘fitted in. ’


English, French, Latin, mathematics, and history were somehow fitted into our bursting days. They had to be, because they were the matriculation subjects. Now all that struggle seems very far off, very dim and dusty, singularly unenriched by human contact — all save the French classes. Who that ever sat under him will forget the boisterous, swelling humanity of old Paul Dalou? For all his long residence in England, he never dimmed the rich Gallic flavor of his being. With his imperial and fierce mustachios, his hair which he treated like a hayfield, allowing it to grow to a luxuriant crop and then having it scythed down till the very skin of his scalp shone through the stubble, with his rolling voice full of deep and splendid inflections in which he would declaim the verses of his country’s poets, with his fondness for little English puns as feeble as the gusto with which he produced them was heroic, he was indeed a moving and inspiring figure of my infancy. He dragooned us mercilessly, drove the conjugations into us with oaths of mock ferocity, and for reward, when all that dry and arid preamble was done, he would take up a French anthology into which, as it were by the gracious afterthought of a tolerant editor, there had crept some verses by his son.

‘Et maintenant,’ he would cry, ‘les poètes, les grands poètes français.’

Before each poem he would utter the name of the author in tones of a deep, vibrant veneration, so that we felt we were permitted to quaff of cups which gods had charged with wisdom and beauty. And when he had gone through his list — Hugo, Verlaine, de Musset, and the rest — he would end: ‘Maintenant, un poète de nos jours — Paul Dalou fils. ’ And he would read his son’s poems with his voice running lovingly over the lines like a light hand caressing velvet. It was an impressive performance.

But how long — how long, O Lord! — it seemed before the stubborn tongue would yield to us, unaided, the riches that came as gayly as light leaping at the touch of a switch when old Paul Dalou’s was the master hand. Hour by hour, dictionary on knee, we ploughed through the obvious elementary books with which the learner is lured: Daudet’s Lettres de Mon Moulin, Souvestre’s Philosophe sous les Toits, and one or two others. But these authors seemed tough and grudging till the night of illumination came. I was reading Hugo’s Quatre-vingt-treize, dictionary and notebook at hand, going as lightly as a clodhopping ploughboy through clay. And then I forgot the dictionary, forgot the notebook, forgot that I was ‘studying’ French, forgot everything, till I came to with a start and realized that the miraculous thing had happened — the thing that comes to the cyclist and the swimmer — the sudden swift enjoyment of having, Heaven knows how, done the trick. It was Hugo’s gorgeous passage about the fight with the gun that got loose on the ship — one of the most exciting passages, I still feel, he ever penned — that had caught me up and by the magic of its invoked scene made me a participant unaware of the medium through which I was seeing. And after that it was all right.

I shall not pretend that I ever found myself on such happy terms with Latin. I never read it with joy, never without a sense that it was both a dead and a foreign tongue. There was a dilapidated arcade, making a right angle from the Hayes to Queen Street. Now, I believe, it is very neat and modern. But then it had a phrenologist’s shop where a white plaster cast of a well-developed pate stood on moth-eaten black velvet; and it had a ‘pets’ shop, where puppies and kittens, little caged birds, and goldfish of a dim debased currency existed in a warm atmosphere of sawdust and excreta; it had all sorts of queer, remote, and somehow dubious businesses existing in its right-angled enclosure of warm and breathless air. It had a bookshop, blessed of impecunious students; and there, for twopence a time, the fruits of all man’s wit and wisdom could be picked up as it were from under the contemptuous and unregarding feet of time.

It was thence we salved our Latin readers: the dim brown-covered version of De Bello Gallico, the little slim blue volumes which enshrined Cicero’s reflections De Amicitia and De Senectute. We dutifully ploughed through them, and through many another Latin book, bought in the same place, which always seemed to me to be, in that moist creek of an arcade, like a ship breaker’s yard to which limped up the crippled residuum of lofty fleets launched with high hopes that had dwindled down the years.

But if Latin never meant to me more than an occasional creep of the spine as the echo of an intended cadence made itself heard through words at best but poorly grasped, yet at any rate it helped to fortify me in another direction. It won me a prize, and for the prize I took Taine’s History of English Literature.

Till then, what with the books my father had instilled into my mind, what with the rich and heterogeneous mass Frank’s brother had left behind him, and what with the vast and unrelated forays I had here and there made on my own account — what with all these things, English literature was for me a glorious, colored jigsaw, not yet composed. And, reading Taine, I saw all the bits and pieces shuffling to their places; I saw new and unguessed bits moving into the pattern; I saw at last not a welter but a design, the rich and royal road of letters, marching from the rugged cell of Bæda to the fertile and watered meadows of Tennyson’s England. And that, too, was one of the grand and unforgettable adventures of the spirit, such as might come to a watcher of the skies, not when some new planet swims into his ken, but when he suddenly apprehends the rich and ordered harmony in which all the planets swing together about their celestial business.

They were great moments, those on which we went to receive our prizes. Gone now was the dingy old Town Hall of Cardiff. No longer were we mere townsfolk: we were citizens, whose Mayor had become a Lord Mayor and been knighted to boot, and we had built for ourselves goodly white palaces, dragon-straddled domes, and slender campaniles whence the mellow bells called the hours of that golden and prosperous day.

That day is ended, but it is good to recall those white buildings and some of the happy occasions they housed. One of them was our annual prize giving. A long, packed room, a formal and academic array at its upper end, a distinguished visitor to give away the prizes, which reposed before him on a table like a rich-colored cake which bit by bit was nibbled away as the evening proceeded.

On one of those occasions, for a variety of subjects, I had won three pounds’ worth of books. It was in the happy days when the volumes of the Everyman Library cost but a shilling apiece. Decorously the students walked up and received their books — one, two, or three. But with a lust for quantity, and to the devil with morocco bindings, I had staked out my claim on Everyman. On my first call I was received with ironic cheers as I bore away a toppling pile of thirty volumes; and when, called later, I added another thirty to the store and walked back to my seat, chin firmly pressed into the topmost volume, there were roars of laughter. It was a business getting home those sixty volumes. I had taken the precaution to provide myself with plenty of string, and, what is more, I got on to a tram, a rare thing to do in those days.


Why does one start to write? And how? Long before this, I had been at it, on the sly. And, again, why is it that one hides those early writings as furtively as one hides some secret sin?

I had a small notebook with a hard shiny cover. A piece of elastic, fastened to the back, snapped round it. To this I confided my first literary work, which was an Ode on the Death of Gladstone. I had read about Gladstone’s death in a newspaper, and that fixes the date. I was nine years old. I do not know why Mr. Gladstone’s decease should have given birth to my Muse. He was, I assure you, nothing to me or mine. Nor do I remember anything of the Ode except the last line — an unfulfilled prophecy which is indelible upon the tablets of my memory: —

The Sun that sets in cloud shall rise in Glory.

Having inscribed the Ode in the shiny notebook and snapped the elastic round it, I placed the book in a flat tobacco tin, and the tin under the contents of the topmost drawer in a chest of drawers. From time to time I would sneak up to the bedroom, unearth the Ode, gloat sinfully upon it, and then bury it again.

An idea that the writing of books was an almost supernatural occupation persisted in my mind. I began to keep a scrapbook into which I pasted every piece of gossip concerning literary people that I could rake together, dozens of photographs of nonentities, reviews of books, interviews. The last time I looked at that book I noticed that the net had been trawled with generous indiscrimination and had landed Tom Gallon, Henry James, Meredith, and ‘Iota.’ Who to-day knows, as I knew then, that Iota’s name was Mrs. Caffyn?

When I had settled down in my newspaper office, I discovered with an unimaginable thrill that it had two authentic contacts with books. One was that a member of the staff had been a reporter on the Nottingham paper which had employed Barrie; the other was that in this very office had worked the novelist whom I shall call Henry Francis.

Francis was already a legend. It was told how he used to come into the reporters’ room wearing an amazing check suit, with a sporting gun over his shoulder and a setter at his heels; how once, when there had been an important coal arbitration in the town, he had been commissioned to take a shorthand note of the proceedings, and with the money thus earned had bought a part share in a small sailing ship, in which he spent much of his time on our adjacent seas.

I never entered a railway station at that time without scanning the rows of sixpenny novels, whose colored covers had a curious shiny attractiveness. There were always a number of Francis’s books among them, and merely to see his name there, and to realize that I was working in the very room where this man had worked, gave me a feeling of personal pride that seems a little ludicrous now, but which I can recall with the least effort of the imagination.

The something bizarre and foreign about him must have had its part in the matter. I knew from Who’s Who all about his mixed parentage of French and English, about his education in a Continental seminary, about his having left our humble paper to work in one of the Dominions. That gesture of taking a part share in a boat seemed to me very fine. I knew how the men in the office scrambled for their bits of ‘linage’ and shorthand notes like dogs for bones, and nothing but a fiercer scramble seemed to come of it. But to wire in like that, intensively, on one good slog, and do something liberating with the cash! That was another matter.

I used to think with a thrill that some day Francis would stroll casually into the office to see his old companions. He never did. Nor is his photograph in my cutting book. I never found a picture of him anywhere, but his picture is still clearly in my mind. I made it up myself. There is a foreign swarthiness about that face, its strangeness mitigated by a love of homely English fields. It is a young face, alert and energetic, and in the poise of the head there is something that suggests a glance accustomed to horizons. The body is lithe and athletic; and all the romances that Francis writes I see as prompted by his own quick and varied experience. I never read one of them. Why, I wonder? What instinct was preventing me then, when perhaps it was good to have a hero, from taking the first step towards smudging the fair canvas my mind had painted?

It was written that I was to meet Henry Francis. More than twenty years had passed. The war had come and gone, and up and down the country memorials were being unveiled to the dead. My work took me to many of those mournful ceremonies. I was in a hotel one night, far from home, that I might be ready for an unveiling by a royal personage the next day. It was a bleak and inhospitable winter night. I had dined and saw no resource for the evening but a novel in the hotel lounge. Suddenly I recalled that Henry Francis, ‘settled down’ at last, was living in that town. An impulse to call upon him seized me. There was no reason why I should not. He was not the great man I had thought him; a less prolific Guy Boothby was about his mark. And our common association with a certain old rag would be an excuse for an evening’s talk. Some inhibition prevented the impulse from going far. I began to perceive that Henry Francis would never be for me merely a creature discerned by the intellect.

I cannot say how it was that I knew him as soon as I saw him the next morning. The memorial was unveiled, and we stood with heads bared on a rainy hill overlooking a sea of lead. The old man — oh, so old and sad! — who stood opposite me, twisting in his fingers a ruffled silk hat, was Henry Francis. He wore an old-fashioned frock coat. He had scanty white hair, and his face was flabby and sagging. He looked very poor. The purple ribbon of a commonplace order was round his neck. I asked a local reporter who the old man was, knowing well enough. ‘Oh, that’s Francis, the chap who writes stories. He lost his only son.’

In the hotel that night I completed the disillusion by reading one of Francis’s novels. And yet . . . When, rarely, something brings Francis to my mind — for he is dead now and his work forgotten — I do not think of an old man with a crumpled face and a crumpled hat, standing on a cliff in the rain, and taking what doubtful consolation he may for the death of a son. I think of a swarthy youth bustling into an office I once knew, whistling his dog to heel; or, on a day all blue and white and blowy, setting a sail to catch a fair breeze down the Channel.


In that new house to which we had moved, and where Frank’s brother’s books were for so long spread out for our delight, we were piling up some stylish things by the simple means of buying tea in the right shop. You got coupons with the tea, and furniture for the coupons. There was a bamboo tripod which supported an aspidistra, a table lamp with an ornate base, plush photograph frames. All these things were in the ‘front room.’ We had all that fanatical devotion to the ‘front room’ which is peculiar to the poor. It was a sacred place. A room of our own to work in would have suited me and my brother splendidly. But the whole family, including us, still crowded into the kitchen for all purposes. It was a fine, comfortable kitchen with an open fireplace, a cheerful room to be in if you had nothing to do but read or talk. Not so good, though, if you had any other sort of work to do.

The simple fact is, of course, that the use of one room for all purposes, in a house with a beggarly income and no servants, arises from the necessity to save money and labor. Using another room would mean laying fires, and fires would mean money, and so would light. That is what really lies behind all the old jokes about the unused ‘parlors’ of the poor. But the consequence is the creation of the ‘sacred’ feeling where the parlor is concerned. Even in the summertime, when light and fire were not in question, one kept out of it.

So when the time came for me to write a novel my bedroom was the only refuge. The work could not be done while the winter classes were on, but once they were out of the way I set to. Under the window in the bedroom there was a washstand, supporting an immense basin containing an immense jug and flanked by a covered soapdish and a small vase, presumably for toothbrushes. I have no recollection that any one of these things was ever used. For all ablutions — labor-saving again — a tin bowl under the scullery tap, supplemented by the Wash All-Over, and later by the cold bath, had sufficed. Yet there was that imposing ‘set,’ and there was another like it in another bedroom, cumbering the earth. To propose that they be sold, given away, or taken into the back yard and smashed, would have seemed to my mother subversive, if not revolutionary.

So the first thing to do was to shove the set, piece by piece, under the bed. Then I could get on with the novel. I had just been reading David Copperfield. I had wanted to read it for a long time, and I knew where I could get a line edition for a shilling. My brother’s birthday was due, so I borrowed a shilling from him and gave him David Copperfield. He was a boy who never took back money lent.

My hero, suspiciously, was named Dangerfield, and when the novel was finished, knowing that Messrs. Chapman and Hall had been Dickens’s publishers, I gave them the first opportunity of keeping in the great tradition. But if they have records going back over more years than I care to count they will find that they returned the book with scant encouragement to its author. It was a heavy blow to me, and scarcely a lighter one to my brother, who had taken the stuff day by day to the office, arriving early and staying late in order to knock it out on the editorial typewriter.

Dangerfield never went out again, nor was another novel begun. The labor was so immense, both for my brother and for me, that we decided I had better try short stories.

A new weekly for boys had just come into being, and, shifting the set again, I sat down to see if I could give it what it wanted. I wrote a rollicking tale of life in a public school. My mind was as virgin of knowledge concerning public schools as it was to be later concerning the theatre, when I sat down to assess the merits of A Wrecker of Men. I filled the tale with prefects and quads, introduced a Doctor and devised gay doings in the Upper Sixth. What was Talbot Baines Reed born for if not to give ideas to hard-up boys?

And the consequence was a check for £1.12.6 — the first check ever to fall through the letter box of a house we had lived in. It was incredible! One and a half guineas for two evenings’ work! Something like delirium settled upon us all; and before the first flush had faded I struck again, and again the editor reacted. He was one of those splendid editors who pay when they accept a thing, not when they use it. And that was fortunate, for neither of those two stories ever saw the light of day, nor did a third, which was bought and paid for.

A man-to-man letter came from the editor. The new paper was not making the headway that had been hoped. He was asking all contributors whether, for the time being, they would write for half rates.

I felt so much affection for that editor that I would have supplied him with boundless quads and unlimited prefects for a great deal less than half rates. But, alas, soon there were no rates at all. The good ship sank, and the Doctor with his prefects disappeared into the limbo where Dangerfield was already with the unhonored dead.

But blessings on that editor’s name. He had demonstrated that it was worth while to shove the set under the bed, to take up the pen and lay into it.

‘You want a new overcoat,’ my mother said, when we discussed the spending of the £1.12.6. ‘Put on your cap and come with me.’

I resisted. Never before had I bought clothes alone, but I did not want my mother to buy that overcoat. I would buy it myself. I did, and there was half a crown change to jingle in my pocket. It was a responsible moment, a moment of beginning to fend for myself and make my own choices. It was the end of infancy.

(The End)

  1. In the January Atlantic Howard Spring, English novelist and critic, began the glowing account of his boyhood in Cardiff, where he played, worked, and picked up his education on the run. — EDITOR