From The Childhood of Edward Thomas (1938). Written between 1913 and 1915, this is Edward Thomas’s autobiography which unfortunately he was unable to continue beyond his schooldays, but the existing portion is complete in itself. It creates a vivid picture of his middle-class suburban childhood, with many amusing vignettes of his family, friends, school teachers and casual acquaintances, as well as giving a fascinating account of Edward’s burgeoning passions for literature and natural history. It also sometimes, as in this extract, depicts the unpleasant – even brutal – aspects of human nature as they were revealed to this boy.
So I used to enjoy going about with Henry to look at the pigeon shops in Wandsworth, Battersea and Clapham, occasionally to visit the back-garden lofts of working men in the same neighbourhoods.… Continue Reading