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The Loom of Youth   By: (1898-1981)

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"Well, I mean there's Davenham now and "

"Davenham!" came the scornful retort. "What does it matter what happens to Davenham? He's absolutely useless to the House, rotten at games and spends his whole time reading about fossils. Who cares a curse about Davenham!"

"Oh I suppose you're right, but "

"My dear ass, of course I am right. Meredith is a simply glorious fellow. Do you remember the way he brought down Freeman in the Two Cock? Why, the House simply couldn't get on without him."

To Gordon all this conveyed very little. He had no idea who Meredith or Davenham were. The only thing he realised was that for those who wore a blue and gold ribbon laws ceased to exist. It was apparently rather advantageous to get into the Fifteen. He had not looked on athletics in that light before. Obviously his preparatory school had failed singularly to keep level with the times. He had always been told by the masters there that games were only important for training the body. But at Fernhurst they seemed the one thing that mattered. To the athlete all things are forgiven. There was clearly a lot to learn.

"To him who desireth much, much is given; and to him who desireth little, little is given; but to neither according to the letter of his desire."


The Loom of Youth



First published in Great Britain 1917 Reprinted July 1917, August 1917, September 1917 (twice) November 1917, January 1918, March 1918, October 1918, 1919, 1921, 1930, 1933, 1945 Cassell's Pocket Library, 1928 Penguin Abridged Edition, 1942 New edition reset and revised 1955 Reprinted 1972

This edition published 1984 by Methuen London Ltd 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE

Copyright (c) Alec Waugh 1917 ISBN 0 413 54970 4 (hardback) ISBN 0 413 54980 1 (paperback)

Printed and bound in Great Britain by Richard Clay (The Chaucer Press) Ltd Bungay, Suffolk

This book is available in both a hardcover and paperback edition. The paperback is solid subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the Publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

Transcriber's Note: Minor typos have been corrected in text. There is one place where a subscript is used and is designated by an underscore and curly brackets thus: H {2}O.

Dedicatory Letter to Arthur Waugh

My Dear Father,

This book, which I am bringing you, is a very small return for all you have given me. In every mood, in every phase of my shifting pilgrimage, I have found you ever the same loving, sympathetic, wise. You have been with me in my success, and in my happiness, in my failures and in my disappointments, in the hours when I have followed wandering fires. There has never yet come to me a moment when I did not know that I had but to stretch out my hand to find you at my side. In return for so much, this first book of mine is a very small offering.

But yet I bring it to you, simply because it is my first. For whatever altars I may have raised by the wayside, whatever ephemeral loyalties may have swayed me, my one real lodestar has always been your love, and sympathy, and guidance. And as in life it has always been to you first that I have brought my troubles, my aims, my hopes, so in the world of ideas it is to you that I would bring this, the first born of my dreams.

Accept it. For it carries with it the very real and very deep love of a most grateful son.



Preface page 9


I Groping 15

II Finding his Feet 21

III The New Philosophy 31

IV New Faces 44

V Emerging 52

VI Clarke 62

VII When One is in Rome 69


I Quantum Mutatus 79

II Healthy Philistinism 102

III Tin Gods 119

IV Through a Glass Darkly 130


I Common Room Faces 134

II Carnival 169

III Broadening Outlook 179

IV Thirds 185

V Dual Personality 196

VI The Games Committee 200

VII Rebellion 208

VIII The Dawning of many Dreams 213


I The Twilight of the Gods 226

II Setting Stars 239

III Romance 242

IV The Dawn of Nothing 249

V The Things that Seem 259

VI The Tapestry Completed 277


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