at length got hold of Hume's argument against miracles. That put an end to all my doubts, satisfied me finally. Twelve years later, when studying philosophy in Goettingen, I saw that Hume's reasoning was not conclusive but for the time I was cured. At midsummer I refused to be confirmed. For weeks before, I had been reading the Bible for the most incredible stories in it and the smut, which I retailed at night to the delight of the boys in the big bedroom.
This year as usual I spent the midsummer holidays in Ireland. My father had made his house with my sister Nita wherever Vernon happened to be sent by his Bank. This summer was passed in Ballybay in County Monaghan, I think. I remember little or nothing about the village save that there was a noble series of reed-fringed lakes near the place which gave good duck and snipe shooting to Vernon in the autumn.
These holidays were memorable to me for several incidents. A conversation began one day at dinner between my sister and my eldest brother about making up to girls and winning them. I noticed with astonishment that my brother Vernon was very deferential to my sister's opinion on the matter, so I immediately got hold of Nita after the lunch and asked her to explain to me what she meant by "flattery". "You said all girls like flattery. What did you mean?"
"I mean", she said, "they all like to be told they are pretty, that they have good eyes or good teeth or good hair, as the case may be, or that they are tall and nicely made. They all like their good points noticed and praised."
"Is that all?" I asked. "Oh no!" she said, "they all like their dress noticed too and especially their hat; if it suits their face, if it's very pretty and so