CHAPTER II

SEATON was a secretive man, and his dark complexion may have been more than skin deep because of his inability either to read or write. This bred in him--when surrounded as he imagined himself to be by a fair world of literacy--a defensive wish to create his own peculiar brand of pencilled autobiography. He acquired notebooks and filled them with dates and columns of figures, copied monthly calendars on to sheets of cut-out cardboard, on which he starred each dole and signing-on day. In the books he kept accounts of what wages he came by on his short-lived expeditions into the world of employment. A spacious old toffee-tin held bills, lapsed insurance policies, pink forms of one sort or another, fading official letters he had some time received, birth certificates, and two photographs of his dead mother. All these items, as well as each added-up column of wages, were signed by his name in broad rugged handwriting, the only thing that, apart from figures (at which he was remarkably clever and quick), he knew how to write.

This private office, which gave him a sense of still being part of

-142-

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Key to the Door
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page v
  • Contents vii
  • Part One - Prologue 1
  • Chapter I 3
  • Chapter 2 16
  • Chapter 3 30
  • Part Two - Nimrod 51
  • Chapter 4 53
  • Chapter 5 67
  • Chapter 6 83
  • Chapter 7 96
  • Chapter 8 108
  • Chapter 9 121
  • Chapter 10 132
  • Chapter Ii 142
  • Chapter 12 158
  • Chapter 13 170
  • Chapter 14 179
  • Chapter 15 191
  • Part Three - The Ropewalk 201
  • Chapter 16 203
  • Chapter 17 219
  • Chapter 18 235
  • Chapter 19 252
  • Chapter 20 273
  • Chapter 21 289
  • Chapter 22 308
  • Part Four - The Jungle 321
  • Chapter 23 323
  • Chapter 24 346
  • Chapter 25 364
  • Chapter 26 380
  • Chapter 27 396
  • Chapter 28 421
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