Ralph Kingsmill drew a deep breath as he looked around. It seemed life had suddenly brought him all that man could desire. In his waking dreams he had pictured this, never hoping to see it realised. And now it had all come to him in most unexpected fashion. A week before and what had he been? A poor, struggling author, with one or two minor successes to his credit, burning with unsatisfied ambition, strong at one moment, lamentably weak the next; in short, a brilliantly clever man, cursed with the temperament that usually goes with the artistic faculty. He had had his debts and his dissolute companions, he had known a full pocket and a purse so lean that starvation had stared him in the face. The sordid side was the more painful, agonising, because Ralph had known the luxury of a refined home, and was an old public schoolboy.