I partly wrote, partly dictated, this hook twenty-eight years ago during a complicated domestic crisis, and with very little time for revision. It was my bitter leave-taking of England where I had recently broken a good many conventions; quarrelled with, or been disowned by, most of my friends; been grilled by the police on a suspicion of attempted murder; and ceased to care what anyone thought of me.
Reading Goodbye to All That over again, for the frst time since igzg, I wonder how my publishers escaped a libel action.
Domestic crises are always expensive, but the book sold well enough in England and the United States, despite the Depression ivhich had just set in, to pay my debts and leave me free to live and write in Majorca without immediate anxiety for the future. The title became a catch-word, and my sole contribution to Bartlett's Dictionary of Familiar Quotations.
A good many changes have been made in the text - omission of many dull or foolish patches; restoration of a few suppressed anecdotes; replacement of the T. E. Lawrence chapter by a longer one written five years later; correction of factual misstatements; and a general editing of my excusably ragged prose. Some proper names have been restored where their original disguise is no longer necessary.
If any passage still gives offence after all those years, I hope to be forgiven.
Deya, Majorca, Spain, 1957 r.G.
Goodbye to All That
As a proof of my readiness to accept autobiographical convention, let me at once record my two earliest memories. The first is being loyally held up at a window to watch a procession of decorated carriages and waggons for Queen Victoria's Diamond JubOee in 1897 (this was at Wimbledon, where I had been bom on July 24th, 1895). The second is gazing upwards with a sort of despondent terror at a cupboard in the nursery, which stood accidentally open, filled to the ceiling with octavo volumes of Shakespeare. My father had organized a Shakespeare reading circle. I did not know until long afterwards that this was the Shakespeare cupboard but, apparently, I already had a strong instinct against drawing-room activities. And when distinguished visitors came to the house, such as Sir Sidney Lee with his Shakespearean scholarship, or Lord Ashbourne, not yet a peer, with his loud talk of 'Ireland for the Irish', and his saffron kilt, or Mr Eustace Miles the English real-tennis champion and vegetarian with his samples of exotic nuts, I knew all about them in my way.
Nor had I any illusions about Algernon Charles Swinburne, who often used to stop my perambulator when he met it on Nurses' Walk, at the edge of Wimbledon Common, and pat me on the head and kiss me: he was an inveterate pram-stopper and patter and kisser. Nurses' Walk lay between 'The Pines', Putney (where he lived with Watts-Dunton), and the Rose and Crown public house, where he went for his daily pint of beer; Watts-Dunton allowed him twopence for it and no more. I did not know that Swinburne was a poet, but I knew that he was a public menace. Swinburne, by the way, when a very young man, had gone to Walter Savage Landor, then a very old man, and been given the poet's blessing he asked for; and Landor when a child had been patted on the head by Dr Samuel Johnson;