Sadly, we were going to have to flee. We’d need to find somewhere new, and soon, and that would mean paying for our own security. I went back to my notebooks, started contacting security firms again. Meg and I sat down to work out exactly how much security we could afford, and how much house. Exactly then, while we were revising our budget, word came down: Pa was cutting me off. I recognized the absurdity, a man in his mid-thirties being financially cut off by his father. But Pa wasn’t merely my father, he was my boss, my banker, my comptroller, keeper of the purse strings throughout my adult life. Cutting me off therefore meant firing me, without redundancy pay, and casting me into the void after a lifetime of service. More, after a lifetime of rendering me otherwise unemployable. I felt fatted for the slaughter. Suckled like a veal calf. I’d never asked to be financially dependent on Pa. I’d been forced into this surreal state, this unending Truman Show in which I almost never carried money, never owned a car, never carried a house key, never once ordered anything online, never received a single box from Amazon, almost never traveled on the Underground. (Once, at Eton, on a theater trip.) Sponge, the papers called me. But there’s a big difference between being a sponge and being prohibited from learning independence. After decades of being rigorously and systematically infantilized, I was now abruptly abandoned, and mocked for being immature? For not standing on my own two feet? The question of how to pay for a home and security kept Meg and me awake at nights. We could always spend some of my inheritance from Mummy, we said, but that felt like a last resort. We saw that money as belonging to Archie. And his sibling. It was then that we learned Meg was pregnant.