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The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft - Gissing

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THE PRIVATE PAPERS OF HENRY RYECROFT

PREFACE



The name of Henry Ryecroft never became familiar to what is called
the reading public.  A year ago obituary paragraphs in the literary
papers gave such account of him as was thought needful:  the date
and place of his birth, the names of certain books he had written,
an allusion to his work in the periodicals, the manner of his death.
At the time it sufficed.  Even those few who knew the man, and in a
measure understood him, must have felt that his name called for no
further celebration; like other mortals, he had lived and laboured;
like other mortals, he had entered into his rest.  To me, however,
fell the duty of examining Ryecroft's papers; and having, in the
exercise of my discretion, decided to print this little volume, I
feel that it requires a word or two of biographical complement, just
so much personal detail as may point the significance of the self-
revelation here made.

When first I knew him, Ryecroft had reached his fortieth year; for
twenty years he had lived by the pen.  He was a struggling man,
beset by poverty and other circumstances very unpropitious to mental
work.  Many forms of literature had he tried; in none had he been
conspicuously successful; yet now and then he had managed to earn a
little more money than his actual needs demanded, and thus was
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