G. K. CHESTERTON GILBERT KEITH CHESTERTON was born in Campden Hill in London on 29 May 1874. He was the son of a prosperous London auctioneer, whose name is still to be seen on auctioneer's bills on the London hoard- ings. His family were Liberal in politics and Unitarian in religion. Chesterton was sent to school at St. Paul's School. His career there was not outstanding in the conventional academic sense. He lacked the capacity to direct his attention to subjects that did not interest him. Physically he was a large and clumsy boy and in athletics he won no distinction whatsoever. But he, with a group of his friends, of whom the closest to Chesterton and the most distinguished in after-life was Mr. E. C. Bentley, the creator of the form of light verse known as * the clerihew V founded the Junior Debating Club. Chesterton's schoolboy life found its fullest expression in the life of that debating society, over which he presided, and in the friendship of his fellow-members. After leaving school he did not go to the University, but went instead to the Slade School of Art. He had consider- able powers as a caricaturist and draughtsman, as his later illustrations to Mr. E. C. Bentley's verses and to Mr. Hilake Belloc's satirical novels were to show, but it was soon evident that his talents were primarily literary rather than artistic. He drifted out of art into a publisher's office and soon began, at first through casual contributions, to make a name for himself in free-lance journalism. In 1899 tta Conservative Government of the day, under the influence of its vigorous Colonial Secretary, Joseph Chamberlain, had gone to war with the two small Dutch South African Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. Opinion in the Liberal Party was divided on 1 A form of comic biography in a quatrain verse. The lines rhyme and have a certain rhythmical form but do not scan. An example is : What I like about Clive . Is that he's no longer alive. There's a great deal to be said For being dead.