By the time she had reached her eleventh birthday, Winifred could remember—more or less distinctly—some half a dozen different homes. The nomadic existence of her parents was a matter not so much of choice as of necessity. Her father, a versatile person of uncertain fortune, was nominally a barrister; but though he took part in many strange activities I have not yet heard of his ever having pleaded a case in court. His various occupations, and their varying lucrativeness, had given to Winifred an experience of town and country residences quite beyond her years. She had lived in the heart of London and on the fringe of its suburbs, “down” country and “up” the river, while no less than one and a half of her eleven years had been blissfully spent in a tiny cottage on the south sea coast.