[From Hall Caine:Man and Novelist, 1901]


IN preparing this monograph on Mr Hall Caine, I have devoted much more attention to his earlier life than to those years during which he has been before the public as a novelist. The reasons for this are obvious, the chief one being that the early life of a famous man, with its struggles against circumstance, and its slow, oft-impeded progress towards success, is of much more interest to the general reader than that part of his life which is passed immediately under the gaze of all interested in him.

I have to express my thanks to Miss Esther Luffman for considerable assistance in Chapters VIL, VIII. and IX; to Miss Brown, daughter of the Rev. T. E. Brown, for permission to use the letters printed on pages 115-17, 145-6, 182-3 ; to Miss Pinto Leite, the literary executrix of R. D. Blackmore, for permission to use the letters printed on pages 90-2, 94-7, 118-19 ; to Miss Harriett Jay, the literary executrix of Robert Buchanan, for permission to use the letter printed on pages 79-80; and to Mr A. P. Watt, the literary executor of Wilkie Collins, for permission to use the letters printed on pages 108-10.

These letters, all of them addressed to Mr Hall Caine, are used with his consent.

I owe my thanks to two early friends of Mr Hall Caine, the Rev. Wm. Pierce and Mr George Rose, for the recollections of the boyhood of my subject which give so much freshness and vitality to my narrative.

In preparing this volume I have sometimes spoken out of my personal knowledge of my subject, and it may be that without intending it I have appeared to commit him to my own opinions. If this be so, let me hasten to say that whatever the value of what I have said, it is everywhere and entirely my own, and the last thing I desire is to charge my own views to my subject, especially where in any degree they concern himself.

After I had finished my work I wished to submit the manuscript to Mr Hall Caine for the verification of facts, and I hoped that perhaps he would give me the benefit of a short prefatory note saying that these were correctly stated. But Mr Hall Caine could not be induced to meet the latter part of my request, and to the former part he would only respond so far as the facts concerned others than himself. I now feel that this decision was the only proper and possible one, but as paragraphs in literary papers have said that Mr Hall Caine has "revised" my biography of himself, I find myself reluctantly compelled to publish the following letter:

"DEAR MR KENYON,-I have looked over the portion of your manuscript which you sent me, and have made a few comparatively unimportant changes. They concern what you say about my friends, living and dead, and therefore I have felt it to be my duty to set you right where I thought you were wrong. With what you say of myself, whether in the way of criticism or biography, I do not feel that I have any right to interfere, and I fear I must deny myself the pleasure of writing the Preface which you are good enough to request. If your view of my life and my books is to have any value for the public, it must stand as your own, without any criticism or endorsement from me.

"Perhaps I feel that much of a book of this intimate nature might be better deferred until the subject of it is gone, but I can only thank you for the goodwill with which you have done what you set out to do.-Yours very truly,


Therefore, in publishing this monograph on a living man who is much in the light of public opinion and still a subject for controversy, I wish to take every responsibility for whatever errors of judgment or taste may appear in my work. My sources of information, with the important exceptions indicated above, have been public ones, and the subject of my sketch has had nothing to do either with the origin of my book or the way in which it has been carried out.


ELLESMERE PARK, ECCLES, September 24, 1901.


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