By Eric H. McCormick

Eric McCormick was once, from approximately 1940 until eventually his dying in 1995, considered one of New Zealand's so much exclusive writers and students. He pioneered the appreciation and learn of the painter Francis Hodgkins, and he wrote numerous biographies. The autobiographical fragments accumulated the following were edited to make a coherent quantity, tracing his origins in Taihape, to college and collage in Wellington, to schoolteaching in Nelson, to Cambridge and during his wartime studies and function as editor of Centennial courses. It contains his wise observations of social behaviour, recorded with a dry wit.

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With financial self-sacrifice little short of suicidal my parents sent me to boarding-school in Wellington. IV I don’t remember that I ever felt particularly close to Myra during our childhood. She was there, and that was about it. Perhaps the two years between us formed an unbridgeable gulf; perhaps we were too different in our temperaments and interests. I am certain she was ashamed that her younger brother was considered girlish and had a natural attraction for bullies. I was superficially brighter than she was.

Two, ‘Apollo in Taihape’ and ‘“In a State of Intoxication”’ (the introduction to The Expatriate), are printed virtually as published, with the omission only of some previously given information from ‘Apollo in Taihape’ and of a list of acknowledgements from ‘“In a State of Intoxication”’. The first three parts of ‘The Emporium’ come from the Islands essay, ‘Beginnings’, with some passages restored from handwritten drafts which I judged to have been omitted to keep to a word limit rather than because Eric was dissatisfied with them.

Mill-hands from the King Country pushed into crowded bars while their wives trundled prams, followed by trailing children. Young Bloods of the nearby farming settlements strode through the streets, conspicuous in their cord riding breeches and polished leggings. Maori women, wearing black kerchiefs, tartan rugs, and loose blouses of the brightest pink, lounged at the corners or squatted to smoke and ruminate on the steps of the band rotunda. On Christmas eve, supreme climax, the colour and animation of the streets were enhanced by the flash of crackers, the gaudy hues of summer finery, the revels and raucous singing of tipsy merry-makers.

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