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Side Lights   By: (1852-1891)

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First Page:

SIDE LIGHTS

By JAMES RUNCIMAN

WITH MEMOIR BY GRANT ALLEN, AND INTRODUCTION BY W.T. STEAD. EDITED BY JOHN F. RUNCIMAN

London T. FISHER UNWIN PATERNOSTER SQUARE MDCCCXCIII

CONTENTS.

A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR. BY GRANT ALLEN

AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ABOUT THE BOOK. BY W.T. STEAD

I. LETTER WRITERS

II. ON WRITING ONESELF OUT

III. THE DECLINE OF LITERATURE

IV. COLOUR BLINDNESS IN LITERATURE

V. THE SURFEIT OF BOOKS

VI. PEOPLE WHO ARE "DOWN"

VII. ILL ASSORTED MARRIAGES

VIII. HAPPY MARRIAGES

IX. SHREWS

X. ARE WE WEALTHY

XI. THE VALUES OF LABOUR

XII. THE HOPELESS POOR

XIII. WAIFS AND STRAYS

XIV. STAGE CHILDREN

XV. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE MORALITY: PAST AND PRESENT

XVI. "RAISING THE LEVEL OF AMUSEMENTS"

XVII. A LITTLE SERMON ON FAILURES

XVIII. "VANITY OF VANITIES"

XIX. GAMBLERS

XX. SCOUNDRELS

XXI. QUIET OLD TOWNS

XXII. THE SEA

XXIII. SORROW

XXIV. DEATH

XXV. JOURNALISM

A NOTE ON THE AUTHOR.

BY GRANT ALLEN.

I knew James Runciman but little, and that little for the most part in the way of business. But no one could know that ardent and eager soul at all, no matter how slightly, without admiring and respecting much that was powerful and vigorous in his strangely compounded personality. His very look attracted. He had human weaknesses not a few, but all of the more genial and humane sort; for he was essentially and above everything a lovable man, a noble, interesting, and unique specimen of genuine, sincere, whole hearted manhood.

He was a Northumbrian by birth, "and knew the Northumbrian coast," says one of his North Country friends, "like his mother's face." His birthplace was at Cresswell, a little village near Morpeth, where he was born in August, 1852, so that he was not quite thirty nine when he finally wore himself out with his ceaseless exertions. He had a true North Country education, too, among the moors and cliffs, and there drank in to the full that love of nature, and especially of the sea, which forms so conspicuous a note in his later writings. Heather and wave struck the keynotes. A son of the people, he went first, in his boyhood, to the village school at Ellington; but on his eleventh birthday he was removed from the wild north to a new world at Greenwich. There he spent two years in the naval school; and straightway began his first experiences of life on his own account as a pupil teacher at North Shields Ragged School, not far from his native hamlet.

"A worse place of training for a youth," says a writer in The Schoolmaster , "it would be hard to discover. The building was unsuitable, the children rough, and the neighbourhood vile and the long tramp over the moors to Cresswell and back at week ends was, perhaps, what enabled the young apprentice to preserve his health of mind and body. His education was very much in his own hands. He managed in a few weeks to study enough to pass his examinations with credit. The rest of his time was spent in reading everything which came in his way, so that when he entered Borough road in January, 1871, he was not only almost at the top of the list, but he was the best informed man of his year. His fellow candidates remember even now his appearance during scholarship week. Like David, he was ruddy of countenance, like Saul he towered head and shoulders above the rest, and a mass of fair hair fell over his forehead. Whene'er he took his walks abroad he wore a large soft hat, and a large soft scarf, and carried a stick that was large but not soft."

To this graphic description I will add a second one. "He was a splendid all round athlete," says another friend, who knew him at this time, in the British and Foreign School Society's London college. "Six feet two or three in height, and with a fine muscular development, he could box, wrestle, fence, or row with all comers, and beat them with ridiculous ease... Continue reading book >>




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