SIX

AND BESIDES fishing there was reading.

I've exaggerated if I've given the impression that fishing was the only thing I cared about. Fishing certainly came first, but reading was a good second. I must have been either ten or eleven when I started reading--reading voluntarily, I mean. At that age it's like discovering a new world. I'm a considerable reader even now, in fact there aren't many weeks in which I don't get through a couple of novels. I'm what you might call the typical Boots Library subscriber, I always fall for the best-seller of the moment ( The Good Companions, Bengal Lancer, Hatter's Castle--I fell for every one of them), and I've been a member of the Left Book Club for a year or more. And in 1918, when I was twenty-five, I had a sort of debauch of reading that made a certain difference to my outlook. But nothing is ever like those first years when you suddenly discover that you can open a penny weekly paper and plunge straight into thieves' kitchens and Chinese opium dens and Polynesian islands and the forests of Brazil.

It was from when I was eleven to when I was about sixteen that I got my biggest kick out of reading. At first

-102-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • 1 1
  • One 3
  • Two 11
  • Three 19
  • Four 25
  • II 37
  • One 39
  • Two 47
  • Three 64
  • Four 77
  • Five - Fishing! 93
  • Six 102
  • Seven 106
  • Eight 129
  • Nine 145
  • Ten 154
  • III 167
  • One 169
  • Three 202
  • IV 207
  • One 209
  • Three 232
  • Four 241
  • Five 249
  • Six 261
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