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The Record of Nicholas Freydon An Autobiography   By: (1872-1952)

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E text prepared by Clare Graham from page images generously made available by Internet Archive (

Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See


An Autobiography

[A novel by Alec John Dawson]

This etext prepared from the first edition published in 1914 by Constable and Company Ltd, London.


It would ill become any writer to adopt an apologetic tone in introducing the work of another pen than his own, and indeed I have no thought of apologia where Nicholas Freydon's writing is concerned. On the contrary, it is out of respect for my friend's quality as a writer that I am moved to a word of explanation here. It is this: there are circumstances, sufficiently indicated I think in the text of the book and my own footnote thereto, which tended to prevent my performance of those offices for my friend's work which are usually expected of one who is said to edit. It would be more fitting, I suppose, if a phrase were borrowed from the theatrical world, and this record of a man's life were said to be 'presented' rather than 'edited,' by me. I am advised to accept the editorial title in this connection, but it is the truth that the book has not been edited at all, in the ordinary acceptance of the term. A few purely verbal emendations have been made in it, but Nicholas Freydon's last piece of writing has never been revised, nor even arranged in deference to accepted canons of book making. It is given here as it left the author's pen, designed, not for your eye or mine, but for that of its writer, to be weighed and considered by him. But that weighing and consideration it has not received.

So much I feel it incumbent upon me to say, as the avowed sponsor for the book, in order that praise and blame may be rightly apportioned. Touching the inherent value of this document, nothing whatever is due to me. Any criticism of its arrangement, or lack of arrangement, to be just, should be levelled at myself alone.












Back there in London how many leagues and aeons distant! I threw down my pen and fled here to the ends of the earth, in pursuit of rest and self comprehending peace of mind. Here I now take up the pen again and return in thought to London: that vast cockpit; still in pursuit of rest and self comprehending peace of mind.

That seems wasteful and not very hopeful. But, to be honest and if this final piece of pen work be not honest to its core, it certainly will prove the very acme of futility I must add the expression of opinion that most of the important actions of my life till now have had the self same goal in view: peace of mind. The surprising thing is that, right up to this present, every one of my efforts has been backed by a substantial if varying amount of solid conviction; of belief that that particular action would bring the long sought reward. I suppose I thought this in coming here, in fleeing from London. Nay, I know I did.

The latest, and I suppose the last, illusion bids me believe that if, using the literary habit of a lifetime, I can set down in ordered sequence the salient facts and events of that restless, struggling pilgrimage I call my life, there is a likelihood that, seeing the entire fabric in one piece, I may be able truly to understand it, and, understanding it, to rest content before it ends. The ironical habit makes me call it an illusion. In strict truth I listen to the call with some confidence; not, to be sure, with the flaming ardour which in bygone years has set me leaping into action in answer to such a call; yet with real hope.

It is none so easy a task, this exact charting out of so complex a matter as a man's life... Continue reading book >>

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