My Dear Newbolt,
Two schoolfellows, who had sat together in the Sixth at Clifton,
met at Paddington some twenty years later and travelled down to
enter their two sons at one school. On their way, while the boys
shyly became acquainted, the fathers discussed the project of this
story; a small matter in comparison with the real business of that
day--but that it happened so gives me the opportunity of dedicating
Fort Amity to you, its editor in The Monthly Review, as a
reminder to outlast the short life granted in these days to novels.
Yet if either of our sons shall turn its pages some years hence,
though but to remind himself of his first journey to school, I hope
he will not lay it down too contemptuously. The tale has, for its
own purposes, so seriously confused the geography of Fort Amitie,
that he may search the map and end by doubting if any such fortress
ever existed and stood a siege: but I trust it will leave him in no
doubt of what his elders understood by honour and friendship.
Of these two themes, at any rate, I have composed it, and dedicate it
to a poet who has sung nobly of both. "Like to the generations of
leaves are those of men"--but while we last, let these deciduous
pages commemorate the day when we two went back to school four
strong. May they also contain nothing unworthy to survive us in our
A. T. QUILLER-COUCH.
April 20th, 1904.
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