The Search

The Search

The Search

The Search


WHEN I was a child of about eleven, a new excitement suddenly flared up in my life.

It must have been a Sunday night, for my father and I were walking after church. I had not been to the service myself; my father would never have thought of taking me. But occasionally on Sunday evenings he would look embarrassed and tell me: "I shall be in Wentworth Street at eight o'clock, if you'd like to come along." Wentworth Street was round the corner from our parish church, but we were not supposed to know where he was going. He would set off, as though he and the church-bell had nothing in common.

This particular Sunday night was warm and twilit, and I fancy summer was nearly over. As we came to the end of the town, the sun had just gone down behind the river, and -- I remember it as though it were yesterday -- in the yellow sunset sky there was a sickle of new moon, and high over our heads a sprinkling of stars just coming dimly out. We stopped and looked.

My father said:

"I wonder if they're what we think they are? Stars! Stars like this!" He waved vaguely. "People think we know about them. I wonder if we do."

I gazed up at him.

"I wonder if we can, " he added.

I didn't know what he was thinking. All of a sudden I felt . . .

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