• Author William Ashenden ignores telephone messages from colleague Alroy "Roy" Kear.
• Ashenden thinks over Kear's career as a writer. Kear is not a particularly great novelist but he is popular.
• Kear is free of hypocrisy and is sincere.
• Kear never marries as he believes it would interfere with his career.
• William and Roy lunch together and William wonders what Roy wants of him.
• Roy brings up the topic of Edward Driffield who William knew as a young man.
• William believes Driffield's novels are boring but Roy believes otherwise.
• Roy asks if William intends to write about Driffield, to which William replies no.
• William reminieces about his childhood growing up with an aunt and uncle in the seaside village of Blackstable.
• William remembers Driffield when he first meets him and thinks Driffield a cad or a coldhearted seducer of women.
• When William learns Driffield is a writer...
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