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A Dream of the North Sea   By: (1852-1891)

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A DREAM OF THE NORTH SEA

by

JAMES RUNCIMAN

Author of Past and Present , Among the North Sea Trawlers , Skippers and Shellbacks , etc.

London: James Nisbet and Co., 21, Berners Street, W.

1889

DEDICATION

To the Queen.

MADAM,

This book is dedicated to Your Majesty with the respectful admiration of one who is proud to have been associated with an effort to make the world more hopeful and beautiful for men who not long ago knew little hope and felt no beauty.

In the wild weather, when the struggle for life never slackens from hour to hour on the trawling grounds, the great work of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen, like some mighty Pharos, sheds light on the troubled darkness, and brave men, in hundreds, are thankful for its wise care and steady helpfulness.

Perhaps, of all the tribe of writers, I know most minutely the scope and significance of that Mission "as well for the body as the soul" of which Your Majesty is the Patron; and it is my earnest conviction that no event in your brilliant and beneficent reign could well be appraised at a higher value than the despatch of Hospital Cruisers to the smacksmen, which your gracious and practical sympathy has done so much to bring about.

Permit me to subscribe myself, MADAM, Your Majesty's most humble, obedient Servant,

JAMES RUNCIMAN.

KINGSTON ON THAMES, May 1, 1889.

PREFACE.

One of the greatest of English classics great by reason of his creative power, simplicity, and pathos has built the superstructure of his famous allegory upon the slender foundations of a dream. But just as the immortal work of John Bunyan had a very real support in truths and influences of the highest power and the deepest meaning, so the pages which record Mr. Runciman's "Dream of the North Sea," have an actual, a realistic, and a tragic import in the daily toil, sufferings, and hardships of the Deep Sea Trawlers. Moreover, the blessed work of healing the bodies, cheering the minds, and enlightening the souls of these storm beaten labourers is not altogether a dream, for the extended operations which are now undertaken by the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen furnish material for one of the brightest and most interesting records of present day beneficence. But so much remains to be done, so great are the trials and the sorrows that still brood on the lone North Sea, that Mr. Runciman's dream in vivid story and deft literary art, goes forth with a strong appeal to every thoughtful reader. The greatness of the work yet to be undertaken may to some extent be conceived from the marvellous results which have already been accomplished. I have elsewhere said that to this issue many persons have contributed, from the Queen on the throne down to the humble and pious smacksman in the North Sea, but that, so far as human skill and genius can achieve a conspicuous success in any human and benevolent enterprise, it has fallen to the lot of the Founder of the Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen to accomplish such a success. No one can now write or think or "dream" of the trawlers on the German Ocean, without referring, and referring again, to Mr. E.J. Mather, either in propria persona , or as the author of "Waverley" might have said in the guise of some Eidolon suited to a Vision of the North Sea. This leads me to explain that though it had been originally announced that the introductory notice to this book would be from the pen of Mr. Mather, that gentleman, in view of the apparent references to himself throughout the tale, shrank from the task, with the result that the honour and the privilege have fallen upon me. I close by expressing a hope that Mr. Runciman's dream of the future may, when it reaches its accomplishment, add fresh lustre to a work which was begun by Mr. Mather in courage and in hope, and by him carried to a unique success.

ALEXANDER GORDON.

CONTENTS.

BOOK I.

I. THE DREAMER II. THE BREEZE III. THE SECOND GALE IV. A NEAR THING V. AFTER THE STORMS VI. THE MISSION HALL

BOOK II... Continue reading book >>




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