In this book the reader is offered the work of one professional author, two dons, a solicitor, a friar, and a retired army officer; if he feels disposed to complain of hotchpotch (which incidentally is an excellent dish; consult the NOCTES AMBROSIANAE) I must reply that the variety displayed by this little group is far too small to represent the width of Charles William's friendships. Nor are we claiming to represent it. Voices from many parts of England -- voices of people often very different from ourselves -- would justly rebuke our presumption if we did. We know that he was as much theirs as ours: not only, nor even chiefly, because of his range and versatility, great though these were, but because, in every circle that he entered, he gave the whole man. I had almost said that he was at everyone's disposal, but those words would imply a passivity on his part, and all who knew him would find the implication ludicrous. You might as well say that an Atlantic breaker on a Cornish beach is 'at the disposal' of all whom it sweeps off their feet.
If the authors of this book were to put forward any claim, it would be, and that shyly, that they were for the last few years of his life a fairly permanent nucleus among his literary friends. He read us his manuscripts and we read him ours: we smoked, talked, argued, and drank together (I must confess that with Miss Dorothy Sayers I have seen him drink only tea: but that was neither his fault nor hers). "Of many such talks this collection is not unrepresentative.