In the pages which follow, an
attempt is made to record a few of the early impressions and fancies of
childhood, together with some scattered memories of a boy's life in the
home, at school and on holiday, nearly sixty years ago. In so far as these
are purely personal they can have little interest for any but the narrowest
circle of intimates, yet, as authentic recollections, it is possible that
they may cast an occasional side light on the working of the child mind, or
at least help to preserve some picture of its environment in a past
While ruminating over bygone
days it has been an agreeable surprise to find with what crisp sharpness
apparently trifling incidents have traced themselves on the sensitive film
of memory and how readily they fall into something like symmetrical
sequence. That these homely snapshots may not at once evaporate they are
here developed, fixed and printed. With Bunyan, in his famous Apology, I
might truly say that there were—
More than twenty things that I
This done I twenty more had in my crown,
And they again began to multiply
Like sparks that from the coals of fire do fly.
* * * * *
When at the first I took my pen in hand,
Thus for to write; I did not understand '
That I at all should make a little hook
In such a mode; I only thought to make
I knew not what: nor did I undertake
Thereby to please my neighbour; no, not I;
I did it my own self to gratify.
If, however, the pictures
presented help to awaken slumbering memories of long ago in the hearts of
others, some good purpose may, perhaps, have been served.
The different chapters have,
for the most part, appeared at intervals in the Glasgow Herald, Aberdeen
Free Press and other papers whose Editors kindly consent to their
reproduction in the present form.
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