Jerothony Naylor was the happiest of men. He was in no way bothered about being told he was far from handsome, nor indeed that he gobbled unbecomingly when applying himself at table. No, Jerothony is not a spelling error. An unspecified dispute between mother and father caused the latter to make an impetuous decision on his way to the Registry Office – a decision which no subsequent regrets or upbraidings could correct. Still, either the father had an instinct for the appropriate or the lad grew to suit the name.  When experts disagree, who is to decide whether heredity or environment, nature or nurture, is the major influence? At all events Jerothony liked things to be on an even keel, nice and balanced between the options.

To tell the truth, Jerothony did not personally consider himself to be ugly, and the gobbling bit he dismissed out of hand. Beauty, or so we are informed, lies in the eye of the beholder, and when Jerothony beheld the reflection in the bathroom mirror at his parent’s house he was wholly satisfied with what he saw. A nice large determined jaw, well cleft in the middle, a nice determined nose too, overtopped by penetrating beady eyes.

For long periods Jerothony would admire those eyes, and practice penetrating with them. He knew such eyes to be those of a visionary; he knew it from the day his teacher had explained the meaning of the word. Moreover, like the eyes of all well informed visionaries, they perceived the world to comprise what might not unkindly be described as a mess.  A mess, albeit, neatly balanced, with lots of goodness to one side and lots of badness to the other.

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