In the year that the Colonel died he took little Rupert to see the swallows fly away. I can find no better beginning than that.
When there devolved upon me as a labour of love the editing of Rupert Ray's book, "Tell England," I carried the manuscript into my room one bright autumn afternoon, and read it during the fall of a soft evening, till the light failed, and my eyes burned with the strain of reading in the dark. I could hardly leave his ingenuous tale to rise and turn on the gas. Nor, perhaps, did I want such artificial brightness. There are times when one prefers the twilight. Doubtless the tale held me fascinated because it revealed the schooldays of those boys whom I met in their young manhood, and told afresh that wild old Gallipoli adventure which I shared with them. Though, sadly enough, I take Heaven to witness that I was not the idealised creature whom Rupert portrays. God bless them, how these boys will idealise us!
Then again, as Rupert tells you, it was I who suggested to him the writing of his story. And well I recall how he demurred, asking:
"But what am I to write about?" For he was always diffident and unconscious of his power.
"Is Gallipoli nothing to write about?" I retorted. "And you can't have spent five years at a great public school like Kensingtowe without one or two sensational things. Pick them out and let us have them. For whatever the modern theorists say, the main duty of a story-teller is certainly to tell stories."