Swinnerton: An Autobiography

By Frank Swinnerton | Go to book overview

III
FROM FLEET STREET TO THE WEST END

First glimpses of Fleet Street; a first appearance in print; a Testimonial; "Jottings"and the formation of new friendships; the Howes; I go to J. M. Dent & Company.

THE EARLIEST RECOLLECTION I have of Fleet Street turns upon the photographs of the Dreyfus re-trial at Rennes which were exhibited in the office-windows of an illustrated weekly called "Black & White". They attracted great crowds in the lunch hour; and as no Jewish Question existed in England we were all apt to regard Dreyfus as a picturesque soldier-martyr against whom personal jealousy had spun a horrible plot. This had perhaps been the view taken from the first; for in much earlier days I had seen posters advertising a play called "One of the Best" (founded upon the Dreyfus case), in which a strapping young Englishman, facing with superb dignity a number of rather less noble British soldiers, remarked: "You may kill me; but you cannot take my Victoria Cross". It was certainly the view taken in 1899 by the great American comic character, Mr Dooley, and by the English man in the street.

I remember, too, the fruit barrows, brimming with strawberries, plums, and apples (I think not yet bananas), which dawdled their way up the street, and the dexterous roadsweepers who, in gathering refuse into little square shovels, whisked perilously between vehicles and darted under the very

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Swinnerton: An Autobiography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • By Frank Swinnerton *
  • Title Page *
  • Three Quotations by Way of Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - I Am Born 1
  • II - Early Days 23
  • III - From Fleet Street to the West End 40
  • IV - Six Years of Growth 53
  • V - Miracles 86
  • VI - My First Acquaintance with Authors 108
  • VII - Adventures in Publishing 122
  • VII - Arnold Bennett 135
  • IX - H. G. Wells 156
  • X - "Crucical" Years 173
  • XI - Some of My Elders 191
  • XII - Melange 227
  • XIV - Some of My Contemporaries 265
  • XV - The United States 315
  • XVI - What I Think About Life 339
  • Index 351
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