The Adventure of Living

John St. Loe Strachey
The Adventure of Living

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Title: The Adventure of Living
Author: John St. Loe Strachey
Release Date: September, 2004 [EBook #6567] [Yes, we are more than
one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on December 28,
Edition: 10
Language: English

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[Illustration: (signature of author) From a drawing by W. Rothenstein.]
A Subjective Autobiography (1860-1922)
By John St. Loe Strachey Editor of The Spectator _"We carry with us
the wonders we seek without us; there is all Africa and her prodigies in
us; we are that bold and adventurous piece of Nature, which he that
studies wisely learns in a compendium what others labour at in a
divided piece and endless volume."_ SIR THOMAS BROWNE

You who know something of the irony of life in general, and still more
of it in the present particular, will not be surprised that, having made
two strict rules for my guidance in the writing of this book, I break
them both in the first page! Indeed, I can hear you say, though without
any touch of the satirical, that it was only natural that I should do so.
The first of my two rules, heartily approved by you, let me add, is that I
should not mention you in my autobiography.--We both deem it foolish
as well as unseemly to violate in print the freemasonry of marriage.--
The second, not unlike the first, is not to write about living people. And
here am I hard at it in both cases!
Yet, after all, I have kept to my resolve in the spirit, if not in the
letter:--and this though it has cost me some very good "copy,"--copy,
too, which would have afforded me the pleasantest of memories. There
are things seen by us together which I much regret to leave
unchronicled, but these must wait for another occasion. Many of them
are quite suitable to be recorded in one's lifetime. For example, I should
dearly like to set forth our ride from Jerusalem to Damascus, together
with some circumstances, as an old-fashioned traveller might have said,

concerning the Garden of the Jews at Jahoni, and the strange and
beautiful creature we found therein.
I count myself happy indeed to have seen half the delightful and
notable things I have seen during my life, in your company. Do you
remember the turbulent magnificence of our winter passage of the
Splügen, not in a snowstorm, but in something much more thrilling--a
fierce windstorm in a great frost? The whirling, stinging, white dust
darkened the air and coated our sledges, our horses, and our faces. We
shall neither of us ever forget how just below the Hospice your sledge
was actually blown over by the mere fury of the blizzard; how we
tramped through the drifts, and how all ended in "the welcome of an
inn" on the summit; the hot soup and the _Côtelettes de Veau_. It was
together, too, that we watched the sunrise from the Citadel at Cairo and
saw the Pyramids tipped with rose and saffron. Ours, too, was the
desert mirage that, in spite of reason and experience, almost betrayed us
in our ride to the Fayum. You shared with me what was certainly an
adventure of the spirit, though not of the body, when for the first time
we saw the fateful and well-loved shores of America. The lights danced
like fireflies in the great towers of New York, while behind them
glowed in sombre splendour the fiery Bastions of a November sunset.
But, of course, none of all this affords the reason why I dedicate my
book to you. That reason will perhaps be fully understood
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