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