The story of one Peter Westcott, from childhood to maturity, taking us from the grim home in Cornwall to a disreputable Devonshire school, and on to a boarding-house in Bloomsbury, to poverty in the East End, to success in literature, to love and marriage, and at last to a catastrophe by which most would mark the end.
"But, boy," says Stephen, bending down so that the end of his beard tickles Peter's neck, "what are yer doing here so late? Your father ...?"
"I'm going back to be beaten, of course."
"If yer go now perhaps yer won't be beaten so bad?"
"Oh, Steve! ... I'm staying ... like this ... always."
But Peter knew, in spite of the way that the big brown hand pressed his white one in sympathy, that Stephen was worried and that he was thinking of something. He knew, although he could not see, that Stephen's eyes were staring right across the room and that they were looking, in the way that they had, past walls and windows and streets--somewhere for something....
Peter knew a little about Stephen's trouble. He did not understand it altogether, but he had seen the change in Stephen, and he knew that he was often very sad, and that moods came upon him when he could do nothing but think and watch and wait--and then his face grew very grey and his eyes very hard, and his hands