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Story of My Life, volumes 1-3   By: (1834-1903)

Story of My Life, volumes 1-3 by Augustus J. C. Hare

First Page:

THE STORY OF MY LIFE

VOLUMES 1 3

[Illustration: Georgiana Hare Naylor

From a miniature]

THE STORY OF MY LIFE

BY

AUGUSTUS J. C. HARE

AUTHOR OF "MEMORIALS OF A QUIET LIFE," "THE STORY OF TWO NOBLE LIVES," ETC. ETC.

LONDON GEORGE ALLEN, 156, CHARING CROSS ROAD 1896

[ All rights reserved ]

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press

VOLUME 1

PREFACE

In the autumn of 1878, the desire to comfort and amuse one of my kindest friends during hours of wearing pain and sickness induced me to begin writing down some of the reminiscences of my life. As almost all those who shared my earlier interests and affections had passed away, I fancied at first that it would be impossible to rescue anything like a connected story from "the great shipwreck of Time." But solitude helps remembrance; and as I went on opening old letters and journals with the view of retracing my past life, it seemed to unfold itself to memory, and I found a wonderful interest in following once more the old track, with its almost forgotten pleasures and sorrows, though often reminded of the story of the old man who, when he heard for the first time the well known adage, "Hell is paved with good intentions," added promptly, "Yes, and roofed with lost opportunities."

Many will think mine has been a sad life. But, as A. H. Mackonochie said, "No doubt our walk through this little world is through much fog and darkness and many alarms, but it is wonderful, when one looks back, to see how little the evils of life have been allowed to leave real marks upon our course, or upon our present state."

And besides this, Time is always apt to paint the long ago in fresh colours, making what was nothing less than anguish at the time quite light and trivial in the retrospect; sweeping over and effacing the greater number of griefs, joys, and friendships; though ever and anon picking out some unexpected point as a fixed and lasting landmark. "Le Temps, vieillard divin, honore et blanchit tout."

Many, doubtless, who read these pages, may themselves recollect, or may remember having heard others give, a very different impression of the persons described. But, as the old Italian proverb says, "Every bird sings its own note," and I only give my own opinion. Pope reminds us that

"'Tis with our judgments as our watches none Go just alike yet each believes his own."

And after all, "De mortuis omnia" is perhaps a wholesomer motto than "Nil nisi bonum," and if people believed it would be acted upon, their lives would often be different. While one is just, however, one ought to remember that nothing can be more touching or pathetic than the helplessness of the dead. "Speak of me as I am," says Othello, "nothing extenuate, nor set down aught in malice."

Since I have latterly seen more of what is usually called "the world" the little world which considers the great world its satellite and of the different people who compose it, the later years I have described will probably be the most interesting to such as care to read what I have written. I have myself, I think, gradually learnt what an "immense folio life is, requiring the utmost attention to be read and understood as it ought to be."[1] But to me, my earlier years will always seem far the most important, the years throughout which my dearest mother had a share in every thought and was the object of every act. To many, my up bringing will probably appear very odd, and I often feel myself how unsuited it was to my character, and how little that character or my own tastes and possible powers were consulted in considerations of my future. Still, when from middle life one overlooks one's youth as one would a plain divided into different fields from a hill top, when "la vérité s'est fait jour," one can discern the faulty lines and trace the mistakes which led to them, but one cannot even then see the difficulties and perplexities which caused inevitable errors of judgment in those who could not see the end when they were thinking about the beginning... Continue reading book >>




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