‘The Kindest and Most Considerate of Fathers’
(I) My father never talked about himself and his writings: he would always turn the subject to something else. He would even keep the MSS of his most famous books hidden out of sight on a top shelf so that he might not be thought ostentatious. He was a splendid companion for boys and he dearly loved his children…. I used to go snipe shooting in the Christmas holidays in those very Essex marshes which he describes so vividly in Great Expectations. We used to row him up from Rochester to Maidstone, when he used to act as coxswain and laugh and chaff us all the time, and that is how he got to know river life so well. He was very fond of the Thames also, and all his accounts of Rogue Riderhood in Our Mutual Friend, and the pictures of river-side scenery, were all gathered during the expeditions he used to make with us up the Thames.
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