13 JANUARY 1996, Page 36

I. M. Charles Wrey Gardiner (1900-1980)

Old friend, most dear, what do you ask of me? Dreams have, we know, their own economy entire unto themselves; but you were there behind a coffee-stall with some young Mimi, sharing with her a new anthology without a penny and without a care.

You seemed content in Pluto's company; said it was warm behind the coffee-stall but, yes, you'd have a sandwich and some tea.

There, on the London pavement, at your ease, you reassured me everything was well. `I am,' you said, 'a heavenly pensioner.'

Old friend, old patron, my first publisher, had you some purpose in contacting me?

Derek Stanford