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It has hidden the earlier, attractive man whose special gift, we have been told, was to make everything seem fresh and exciting. All the same, the volume is essential reading for connoisseurs of a certain kind of English eccentricity, but it is also sad. The general outline of the life is well known; we do not lack books about Waugh, including two by himself. The first, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold , contains a searching self-portrait lightly disguised as fiction.
Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet. Inset : the inscription written on the flyleaf. The lovely Manor of Chartwell, Sir Winston's favourite house, nestling deep in the Kentish countryside. Part of the gardens of Chartwell.
The resultant piece was immensely long, and composed in rambling sentences clustered with foreign phrases, dropped names, puns, jokes and libels. Readers who had never heard of Forbes must have wondered what manner of man this was, who appeared to be on such intimate terms with the Royal Family that he knew details about them - the practice of female circumcision in the Duke of Edinburgh's family is one example which springs to mind - which would not necessarily have been vouchsafed even to their medical consultants. Did the Duke of Windsor have pubic hair, and was he troubled by the problems of premature ejaculation?