THIS volume of papers, unconnected as they are, it will be better
to read through from the beginning, rather than dip into at random.
A certain thread of meaning binds them. Memories of childhood and
youth, portraits of those who have gone before us in the battle -
taken together, they build up a face that "I have loved long since
and lost awhile," the face of what was once myself. This has come
by accident; I had no design at first to be autobiographical; I was
but led away by the charm of beloved memories and by regret for the
irrevocable dead; and when my own young face (which is a face of
the dead also) began to appear in the well as by a kind of magic, I
was the first to be surprised at the occurrence.
My grandfather the pious child, my father the idle eager
sentimental youth, I have thus unconsciously exposed. Of their
descendant, the person of to-day, I wish to keep the secret: not
because I love him better, but because, with him, I am still in a
business partnership, and cannot divide interests.
Of the papers which make up the volume, some have appeared already
in THE CORNHILL, LONGMAN'S, SCRIBNER, THE ENGLISH ILLUSTRATED, THE
MAGAZINE OF ART, THE CONTEMPORARY REVIEW; three are here in print
for the first time; and two others have enjoyed only what may he
regarded as a private circulation.
R. L. S.
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