Devlin Urquhart, an Oxford student disillusioned with his privileged past and the aesthetic life, heads for Yorkshire and a simpler identity as a gardener. He is employed by a well-connected Colonel in this capacity. But one's past does not lie down quietly, and everywhere Devlin roams, the tendrils of his former life reach out to him. Meanwhile the spirited youngest daughter of an eminent London psychologist rebels against her father's bombastic behaviour by throwing a treasured family heirloom against an antique mirror, shattering both the mirror and her father's complacency. They both go on to play a bizarre role in Devlin's fate. This picaresque, comic novel wittily satirises the social mores and youthful idealism that prevailed in London and the Home Counties between the wars, and will be a treat for the considerable number of MacNeice devotees across the Anglophone world.