Collections and Recollections

George W.E. Russell
Collections and Recollections

by George William Erskine

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Title: Collections and Recollections
Author: George William Erskine Russell
Release Date: March 22, 2004 [EBook #11665]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Malcolm Farmer, Wilelmina Mallière and PG Distributed

George William Erskine Russell

DIED MARCH 25, 1898
* * * * *
Is he gone to a land of no laughter-- This man that made mirth for us all?
Proves Death but a silence hereafter, Where the echoes of earth cannot
fall? Once closed, have the lips no more duty? No more pleasure the
exquisite ears? Has the heart done o'erflowing with beauty, As the eyes
have with tears?
Nay, if aught be sure, what can be surer Than that earth's good decays
not with earth? And of all the heart's springs none are purer Than the
springs of the fountains of mirth? He that sounds them has pierced the
heart's hollows, The places where tears are and sleep; For the
foam-flakes that dance in life's shallows Are wrung from life's deep.

It has been suggested by Mr. Reginald Smith, to whose friendliness and
skill the fortunes of this book have been so greatly indebted, that a
rather fuller preface might be suitably prefixed to this Edition.
When the book first appeared, it was stated on the title-page to be

written "by One who has kept a Diary." My claim to that modest title
will scarcely be challenged by even the most carping critic who is
conversant with the facts. On August 13, 1865, being then twelve years
old, I began my Diary. Several attempts at diary-keeping I had already
made and abandoned. This more serious endeavour was due to the fact
that a young lady gave me a manuscript-book attractively bound in
scarlet leather; and such a gift inspired a resolution to live up to it.
Shall I be deemed to lift the veil of private life too roughly if I
transcribe some early entries? "23rd: Dear Kate came; very nice." "25th:
Kate is very delightful." "26th: Kate is a darling girl. She kissed me."
Before long, Love's young dream was dispersed by the realities of
Harrow; but the scarlet book continued to receive my daily confidences.
Soon--alas for puerile fickleness!--the name of "Kate" disappears, and
is replaced by rougher appellations, such as "Bob" and "Charlie;"
"Carrots" this, and "Chaw" that. To Harrow succeeds Oxford, and now
more recognizable names begin to appear--"Liddon" and "Holland,"
"Gore" and "Milner", and "Lymington."
But through all these personal permutations the continuous Life of the
Diary remained unbroken, and so remains even to the present date. Not
a day is missing. When I have been laid low by any of the rather
numerous ills to which, if to little else, my flesh has been heir, I have
always been able to jot down such pregnant entries as "Temperature
102°;" "Salicine;" "Boiled Chicken;" "Bath Chair." It is many a year
since the scarlet book was laid aside; but it has had a long line of
successors; and together they contain the record of what I have been,
done, seen, and heard during thirty-eight years of chequered existence.
Entertaining a strong and well-founded suspicion that Posterity would
burn these precious volumes unread, I was moved, some few years ago,
to compress into small compass the little that seemed worth
remembering. At that time my friend Mr. James Payn was already
confined to the house by the beginnings of what proved to be his last
illness. His host of friends did what they could to relieve the tedium of
his suffering days; and the only contribution which I could make was to
tell him at my weekly visits anything interesting or amusing which I
collected from the reperusal of my diary. Greatly to my surprise, he

urged me to make these "Collections" into a book, and to add to them
whatever "Recollections" they might suggest. Acting on this advice, I
published during the year 1897 a series of weekly papers in the
Manchester Guardian. They were received more kindly than I had any
right to expect; and early in 1898 I reproduced them in the present
volume--just too late to offer it, except in memory, to dear James Payn.
The fortunes
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