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the fine old burnished silver shone reflectively on the
mahogany table? I can imagine myself returning to
the barracks after such an experience, my visit having
been prolonged late into the afternoon while Tom
Philipson showed me the treasures of his house. What
charm it all had, ruminates my imagined self, remem-
bering that evocative portrait of Tom Philipson's
grandmother by Sir Thomas Lawrence, and the
stories he'd told me about the conquests^she made in
Dublin and afterwards in London. Yes, I imagine
myself soaking it all up and taking it all home with
me to digest, rejoicing in my good fortune at having
acquired such a pleasant period-example of an Irish
country mansion, where one's host reticently enjoyed
showing his heirlooms to an appreciative visitor. I
should remember a series of dignified seldom-used
rooms smelling of the past; and a creaking uneven
passage with a window-seat at the end of it and a
view of the wild green park beyond straggling spiral
yews, and the evening clouds lit with the purplish
bloom of rainy weather.

And then a door would be opened for me with a
casual, *Tm not a great reader, but the backs of old
books are companionable things for a man who sits
alone in the evenings"—and there would be—an un-
ravished eighteenth and early nineteenth-century
library, where obsolete Sermons and Travels in mel-
low leather bindings might be neighboured by uncut
copies of the first issues of Swift and Goldsmith, and
Jane Austen might be standing demurely on a top
shelf in her original boards. And Torn Philipson
would listen politely while one explained that his
first editions of Smollett's novels were really in posi-
tively mint condition. . . .

But this is all such stuff as dreams are made of.