“I would get up early, eat breakfast in the square, and arrive at the library when it opened. I ate lunch in the square when the weather was good, in the members’ room when it was bad; I smoked cigarettes on the embassy steps; in the evenings, I drank at the Red Lion on Duke of York Street around the corner (a pub with an interior so ornate—cut mirrors and drunken, drooping gargoyles—that the architectural historian Iain Nairn said that were he forced to choose, it would be the only building in London he would save). On Sundays, when the library was shut, I was listless. Days among my own books and those of my parents felt inadequate, less nourishing; I longed for Monday to arrive and for my explorations to begin again.”
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