By Lord Robbins

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When I think of him the last time I saw him, when I had coaxed him down to Covent Garden to hear a performance of The Trojans, I see still, both in the moments of deep abstraction and in the outpouring of affection and lambent thought, the same figure, half saint, half magician, whom we loved so and who initiated us into so many mysteries long ago. So much for the days before the Flood. CHAPTER II THE outbreak of war in August 1914 came like a bolt from the blue to all my family circle. Without exception, as was to be expected of conscientious Nonconformists, they were all supporters, some of them quite active supporters, of the then great Liberal Party.

But with my father it was different. His ambition for me had been that, after a higher education that had been denied him, I should succeed him in his business and run it on the most advanced principles and techniques. He had come early to realize, however, that that was not my bent; and he had reconciled himself to that. He had no objection in principle to other occupations: indeed he would very much have liked to see me go to the Bar. But my new intentions were different, and so was the attendant ideology.

Moreover, there was Eddie Rose. The call-up had come for this extraordinary creature, so completely unworldly, so utterly unfit for anything to do with the practical side oflife; and with the assistance of Kinersley, who took a secret relish, I fancy, in getting round all the rules in the interests of an eccentric musician, 43 we had contrived to get him enlisted as a gunner in the 19th Battery. I can imagine nothing more pathetically absurd than Eddie as a soldier, his head swimming with music and metaphysics, completely at a loss on the parade ground with his long arms and ill-fitting uniform.

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