I Became a Collector
will collect anything: stamps, marbles, cigarette cards, insects,
photographs, autographs, bus tickets, motor-car numbers—well, just
anything. But I must have been one of the very few small boys who
collected precious stones. And living in an atmosphere of gems as I
did, perhaps it is no marvel that the jackdaw instincts of pre-adolescence were directed to such an exalted hobby.
won't suggest that my specimens were world-beaters. In fact, I began my
collection by buying a highly insignificant amethyst and paying for it
in terms of spinach. Although I like spinach well enough now, it was
far otherwise in the days of my youth. I had to be bribed to eat it.
The terms under which I obtained my first treasure involved eating
spinach twice a week for a month. But it was worth the price.
was a small, rather lack-lustre amethyst that had come down in the
world through no fault of its own. Apart from being a poor thing from
the beginning, it had had the misfortune to be wrenched carelessly from