Ernest Belfort Bax

Reminiscences and Reflexions of a mid and late Victorian


The following chapters were written at intervals during the year 1916. They were taken in hand on the suggestion of two well-known London publishers, who assured me that autobiographical notes, reminiscences, and reflexions were, barring fiction and travels, the form of literature in which the British public showed most interest at the present time. One’s natural modesty, assuming one to be a mentally fairly well-conducted person, makes one more or less diffident in writing about oneself. Whether I answer to the above description or not, certain it is that in penning these pages I have felt a shyness in recording personal facts, which has led me to damp down the personal note as a general rule throughout the book – some friendly critics, to whom I have shown a portion of the manuscript, say too much so. Be this as it may, the aim I have kept before me in writing these somewhat disjointed notes and reminiscences has been rather to offer data and suggestions, slight and scattered though they may be, for the due appreciation, now or hereafter, of the particular period of historic time in which my life has been cast – to wit, roughly speaking, the last third of the nineteenth and the opening years of the twentieth century.

For the rest, I am well aware that the present class of work affords ample scope for the detractors animadversions of the anonymous critic who wants to be “nasty.” In a work of reminiscences and reflexions there are almost bound to be some reminiscences which strike some reader or other as being uninteresting and perhaps trivial. These may be the very parts of the book which attract another class of reader. Of the reflexions, again, naturally, while some will appeal to one, the same will antagonize another reader.

As regards reviewers, in this connexion, I suppose I shall come off badly at the hands of him or her whose views are those of pro-Feminist fanaticism, who will doubtless find the book very insipid, or at least will say so. The religious fanatic who has the charge of noticing the book in the Press will also probably have his “knife into me,” and express himself to a similar scornful effect. These are things of course an author has to put up with in taking up a definite standpoint on controversial subjects where feeling runs high.

Notwithstanding such not unbiased judgments that I probably have to expect from the aforesaid reviewers, I must plead guilty to the conviction that there are those among the reading public who, should they come across the book, will find at least something to interest them in the somewhat varied contents of its pages.

PS.-The publication of this book has been unavoidably delayed for more than a year, mainly owing to the difficulties attending the operations of the printing and publishing trades at the present time. Meanwhile, I may remark, the death of more than one person alluded to in the following pages as living has unhappily supervened. Since 1916 changes, moreover, in the political situation, notably the Russian Revolution and its developments, have taken place. These events, however, I do not think materially affect anything in the contents of the volume.


January 26, 1918


Last updated on 28.3.2004