This Book is written by Arthur Osborne.
My marriage was the first wise thing i ever did. Even materially it marked the end of the descent and the beginning of the upward swing, for soon after it was agreed i received an offer of a post as english master at a government college for training ships’ officers and engineers in the new port of gdynia. They were looking for a suitable person and someone had mentioned my name.
It was quite a while before it was agreed upon, because the lady was not at first convinced. The perseverance and one-pointedness to convince her was a sort of rehearsal for the spiritual training to come later. Even at the time i felt it to be a process of strengthening like the forging of steel through fire. An indication of her nobility of character was that my lack of job or prospects was not one of the things that made her hesitate. She herself was working at the time as a secretary and translator to the general manager of a large combine.
This was also the time when i made my last serious attempt at poetry with a long philosophical poem in blank verse. There were occasional flashes of insight in it; for instance, after writing of man’s insignificance when the whole earth on which he lives is no more than a speck of dust in the cosmos, i went on to refute this view by bringing in the conception of infinity, which dissolves differences of magnitude, being infinitely greater than the greatest as well as the least:
man is not small compared with the vast skies
when, in the infinite, is neither great nor small.
However it was not good poetry — fortunately not, because it would have been regrettable that one who was later to write from even theoretical understanding should have confused matters by first publishing his own unguided meanderings.
It was in 1932 that we set up house in gdynia. I ought to have been ideally happy. I was ecstatically in love with my wife, and i had regular work again. The duties were light — only about half a day — and the salary adequate; in any case i supplemented it with lessons at a commercial school and a few private lessons. We had the sea in front and beautiful wooded hills behind. And yet i was restless and dissatisfied. The thought of life lengthening out into an endless drab vista of work and salary pressed down on me like claustrophobia. My father wrote advising me to get back to school in england, because every year i spent abroad was a year wasted from the point of view of increments on the burnham scale and eventual pension; but that seemed an even more dismal prospect. I could not settle down; i wanted to go off on holidays alone; i laboured constantly at the writing of worthless novels and short stories. I felt inwardly bankrupt. I began to incline towards communism, not for any intrinsic merit i found in it, but simply as a challenge to the sham world around me, not even investigating to see whether it also was not a sham. Christ said that he who seeks will find; perhaps for one who does not even know that there is anything to seek, refusal to be satisfied with a meaningless life may be the equivalent of search.
A cultural anglo-polish society was formed at gdynia, which held weekly meetings and entertained tourists passing through the town and ships’ officers calling there. I wrote and produced humorous one-act plays for it and in their success enjoyed a tawdry imitation of the literary fame i craved. For a while i acted as honorary secretary to the society and then it was decided that the amount of work had increased enough to justify a professional secretary. Four young men straight from oxford held the post in succession while we were there, each staying about a year. The first of them was martin lings, who became a personal friend of ours. He was a slightly built man of medium height, with a vandyke beard and a manner of grave courtesy behind which lay considerable firmness of character. After about a year he left to take up a post as english lecturer at the university of kaunas in lithuania.