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which had twenty, and its company of white cowls
was clearly visible from our house on the hill. As a
special treat Dixon used to take me down there.
Sitting on Rob Roy at the side of the road I would
count them over and over again, and Dixon would
agree that it was a wonderful sight. I felt that almost
anything might happen in a world which could show
me twenty hop-kilns neatly arranged in one field.

It is no use pretending that I was anything else
than a dreaming and unpractical boy. Perhaps my
environment made me sensitive, but there was an
"unmanly59 element in my nature which betrayed
me into many blunders and secret humiliations.
Somehow I could never acquire the knack of doing
and saying the right thing: and my troubles were
multiplied by an easily excited and emotional tem-
perament. Was it this flaw in my character which
led me to console my sense of unhappiness and
failure by turning to that ideal companion whose
existence I have already disclosed? The fantasies of
childhood cannot be analysed or explained in the
rational afterthoughts of experienced maturity. I am
not attempting to explain that invisible but unfor-
gotten playmate of mine. I can only say that he was
a consolation which grew to spontaneous existence in
my thoughts, and remained with me unfalteringly
until gradually merged in the human presences which
superseded him. When I say that he was superseded
I mean that he faded out of my inward life when I
went to school and came in crude contact with other
boys. Among them he was obliterated but not
replaced. In my memory I see him now as the only
friend to whom I could confess my failures without a
sense of shame. And what absurd little failures they