It was a perfectly grand feeling—–the feeling I had the next day and have had every day since I got here—that I was in a place where there wasn’t a single member of my family to tell me not to do things I wanted to do or to do what I did not want to do; and usually as I dress in the morning I dance a new kind of highland fling which I made up for times when I feel particularly happy. Everybody is well and Mother and the girls are having a lovely time in a place where I would have had a stupid one, being neither grown up nor a kid, but an in-betweener—too young for some ages and not old enough for others; and here in Twickenham Town I am as free as air, and Father is coming to see me as often as he can. I can’t let myself think much about Father or I would take the train straight home.
I had begged him to let me stay with him, but neither he nor Mother would agree. Just because I got the Grome medal at school they imagined I had studied too hard and needed a quiet, restful summer in the mountains; but I will never study too hard while on this little planet called the earth. I got the medal because Billy said I’d never sit still long enough to study for it, and just to show him he very often does not know what he is talking about I made up my mind to get it.
The only thing I ever expect to work hard over is one book. I am going to write one book that the critics will call a Discovery. It is to be dull and dry and dreary, and therefore it will be thought deep and strong and big, and only a few people will know that it has been written. After that I am going to write books that sell, write what people want to read—things that make them forget for a few moments that at times this world is but a fleeting show and there is a good deal of rot in it. If I can I am going to make people laugh, though I don’t think I can do much in that line. I see the funny side of things too quickly to ever be able to write them down, as that takes time; but I am certainly going to be cheerful, and I am not going to croak. I don’t mean I am going to be smiling all the time. I am not. Perpetual smilers are more than human nature can stand. Nothing is ever wrong, everything is beautiful, their smiles seem to say, which isn’t so. There