In the fifty-second year of my age, after the completion of an arduous and successful work, I now propose to employ some moments of my leisure in reviewing the simple transactions of a private and literary life. Truth, naked unblushing truth, the first virtue of more serious history, must be the sole recommendation of this personal narrative. The style shall be simple and familiar; but style is the image of character; and the habits of correct... more...

CHAPTER I CHILDHOOD IN reading biographies I always skip the genealogical details. To be born obscure and to die famous has been described as the acme of human felicity. However that may be, whether fame has anything to do with happiness or no, it is a man himself, and not his ancestors, whose life deserves, if it does deserve, to be written. Such was Froude's own opinion, and it is the opinion of most sensible people. Few, indeed, are the... more...

FIRST MEMORY. Childhood has its secrets and its mysteries; but who can tell or who can explain them! We have all roamed through this silent wonder-wood—we have all once opened our eyes in blissful astonishment, as the beautiful reality of life overflowed our souls. We knew not where, or who, we were—the whole world was ours and we were the whole world's. That was an infinite life—without beginning and without end, without rest... more...