The Life of Charles M. Doughty

The Life of Charles M. Doughty

The Life of Charles M. Doughty

The Life of Charles M. Doughty

Excerpt

Mr. Doughty, his seventieth year past, wrote to myself, who had asked for autobiographical information: 'I am a private man and an account of the passage of my brief existence through the wood of this world can have but little importance for my fellow-men.' He yielded, however, to my insistence so far as to give me then a few leading facts. After his death his widow, well knowing that his fellow men did not in fact agree that his life had been of but little importance or interest, conveyed to me through a mutual friend a request that I should write his life. I hesitated for two reasons: firstly, because, though I had been in intermittent correspondence with her husband for above twenty years and for more than that period had interested myself exceedingly in what he wrote and did, my personal intercourse with him had been very little and brief; secondly, because I feared that this defect of qualification would not be compensated by any considerable body of such material for a biography as is usually to be expected of heirs and intimates. On putting the matter, however, to some test, I found on the one hand that, outside Mr. Doughty's family, there appeared to be no one very much better qualified by personal intercourse to be his biographer; and, on the other, that considerably more biographical material could be procured than I had looked for. So in the end I agreed to set forth what I could about the life of an extraordinary man, to whose fame the world is not likely soon to become indifferent.

For biographical material I thank first and foremost all Mr. Doughty's correspondents, who have put letters by him at my disposal: their names are quoted in the book that follows. Especially I thank Mr. Edward Garnett, and Mr. Sydney Cockerell, who besides sending me such letters have rendered me other services. For access to and use of documents, which might not unreasonably have been grudged, I am particularly beholden to the Council of the Royal Geographical Society, the Syndics and Secretary of the Cambridge University Press, the Secretary of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

0Most of all, however (as was to be expected), I am in debt to Mrs. Doughty and her daughters, who have imparted to me their memories and knowledge, laid before me every document in their . . .

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