- 2 -
II. A student of literature at the time, and full of certainties at first. To he
nineteen in a warm room, surrounded by books and friendship - the
certainties came easy. Outside the window, beyond the great chestnuts and
the cultivated lawns, the province yawned along rank and stultifying. On
Sundays he could hear the hounds of heaven in the park, a tinny evangelical
baying and barking and the whine of hymns, drifting across the damp grey
air into his back yard and through the big window to where he stretched
across Prudence's tense body for another bottle of Monk from under the bed.
The province was without form and void. Darkness moved upon the face of
He respected Larmour, his tutor, more than the other lecturers in the
Department, though warily and grudgingly, for they agreed on virtually
-You don't find the study of literature a sufficiently rigorous
discipline in itself, Mr. Tosh, without shouldering an additional
responsibility for creating it?
The voice was a kind of genial sneer, Larmour perched well back in his
swivel chair, knees hugged to chest with glee, perpetual monkey grin, a
whiff of satan in the black goatee and the dark, mocking eyes.
-The title of writer is one which I intend to win. Tosh was curt and
stolid in these encounters, privately convinced of his due destiny.
-Doubtless so, but might you not usefully begin your quest by
thoroughly acquainting yourself with the unbroken traditions of nine
centuries of major achievement?
-Tradition is meaningless to me.