Because of his family background and his own inclinations toward ""everything and everyone Non-English"", it was assumed from Valentine Lawford's early youth that he was destined for a diplomatic career. This unhurried and carefully written autobiography is an account of the author's school years in England and abroad - in Germany, France and Austria, preparatory to his entering the British Foreign Service, in 1934. Lawford's generation was a transitional one: he was 15 in 1926, and he manages to convey, almost as a novelist might, the influences and the images of a fading Edwardianism that were impressed upon him on his way to Whitehall. During the Nazi build-up he was Third Secretary in the London office and later was sent to the Paris Embassy for three years. He ends his account here but he was not to resign from the Foreign Service until 1950. His account is detailed and sensitive, the kind of book best appreciated on a long rainy afternoon.