Walter Starkie now teaches theatre arts at UCLA and some of his earlier books (Raggle- Taggle, In Sara's Tents, etc.) familiarized an American audience with the years he spent as a Romany troubador after this Edwardian dilettante became a wandering minstrel. His new book however begins at the beginning; his childhood in Ireland where he endured several disciplines (the classics, a severe father, critical asthma attacks). He also managed to meet during his youth many famous literati: James Stephens, Synge, Yeats, Pirandello, D'Annunzio, among them. The YMCA sent him to Italy during World War I and entertainment was his assignment- concerts and canteen work. In time he gravitated with his violin toward the gypsy people with whom he wandered. Significant events are only occasionally mentioned- they blur as he ""rubs (his) eyes incredulously"", eventually opens them to the attractions of a signorina. This is the first volume in a continuing reminiscence. It is a gentle, personal memoir, low-keyed in tone and sharper in its well-remembered detail. Perhaps for the David Garnett- Leonard Woolf etc. audience, although Starkie does not have so charmed a circle.