Excerpt from Memoirs of Sir Wemyss Reid, 1842-1885: With Portrait in Photogravure
The sense of personal loss occasioned by my brother's death is still so keen and vivid that if I am to write at all about him - and my duty in that respect is clear - it must be out of the fulness of my heart. My earliest recollections of him begin when I was a child and he was a bright, self-reliant lad in the home at Newcastle, the characteristics of which are with artless realism described in the opening pages of this book. It is the simple truth to say that we grew up in an atmosphere of love and duty. Our father was a man of studious habit, passing rich in the possession of a library of dry works on theology which his children never read, and among which they searched in vain for the fairy books and stories, or even the poetry, dear to the youthful heart. He was a faithful, rather than a gifted preacher, and I have always thought that his power - it was real and far-reaching - lay in his modest, unselfish life, and in that unfailing sympathy which kept him on a perpetual round of visits to the sick and sorrow ful, year in, year out. He had a quiet sense of humour, and was never so happy as when he could steal a day off from the insistent claims of pastoral work for a ramble in the country with his boys.
Always a public-spirited man, and keenly inter ested in political affairs, he talked to us freely about the events of the time, and made us feel that the little affairs of our own home and immediate environment could never be seen in their true perspective until they were set against the larger life of the town, and, in a sense, of the nation. When any great event occurred he used to tell us all about it when any great man died, if we did not know the significance of his life and the loss it meant to the country, it was not his fault. He was a quiet, rather reserved man, terribly in earnest, we thought, and with a touch of stem ness about him which vanished in later life. He mellowed with the passing years, and long before old age crept quietly upon him the prevailing note of his character was charity. He had been in early life associated to some extent with the Press, and later had written one or two books, so that ink was in my brother's blood.
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