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In this book, Charles Ritchie looks back at some of the characters that peopled his childhood and youth, in the years before his brilliant career in Canada’s diplomatic corps began. In these essays we are introduced to his uncles, Harry “Bimbash” Stewart and the dashing, doomed Charlie Stewart; to his indomitable mother; to his mad cousin Gerald; to the newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook; to his college friend Billy Coster, who threw away wealth and a secure future; and to a host of others. With his usual unerring eye and elegant prose, Charles Ritchie brings them all to life again, with affection and wit.