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In lila the late Sir Hem> Rider Haggard completed his memoirs and deposited them under seal with his publisher, with instruc I t.ons that tiley weie not to bo oponed until
after hi3 death. That oocuired in 1925, and now they have been published, under the titled of "The Days of My Life." The desire that thpy should appear posthumously must have been prompted by reticence alone, for they do not contain a word that cquld pos- sibly orfond anyone's siiFiceiittbllilies. On the contrary, they reveal a singularly kindly 'ind generous perspnallty, who is always cig-ir to think the best of human nature, and who gqea out of his way to speak of his con- temporaries in complimentary terms.
Rider Haggard was born in a farm house In an agricultural county, and to that clr cumstanco he used to attribute his lifelong devotion to agriculture. As a ynuth, . be showed little intellectual promise. He fa'le'd to pass the Army Entrance Examination, and his father declared that he was on'y fit lo bo a greengrocer. When ho was nineteen, lie was appointed to a post on the staff of the Governor of Natal, and in South Africa he did, so well that at the age of twenty-one he was Acting-Master of Registrar of the High Court at Pretoria. In Squth Africa, also, lie gained the knowledge of the natives, Hieir customs, and their folk lore, which was to stand him in such good stead later on. 'vA'hen he was twenty-six he returned to England, was called to the Bar. anr] settled down to earn his llvjng with his pen, until such time as briefs should come in- As a matter of (act, he never had much legal work, and gave up practice before long.
His first book, "Cotewayo and his White Neighbours," was a "dud." He bad to pay £50 to have It published, and very fo\v copies were sold. Subsequently, however, vyhen his reputation was established, it ran Into sev- eral editions. "Dawn," and "The Witch's Head" were more successful. But he marlo his first real hit with "King Solomon's Mines," which was written in six weeks. He had great difficulty in finding a publisher for his book, which proved a veritable gold mine, and incidentally laid the foundation of a friendship between Haggard and R. L. Stevenson. Rider Haggard himself had no great opinion of his novels. He thought that his works on agricultural subjects were far more important and enduring, and. he was Indefatigable in his efforts to promote a rovhal of agriculture in England, jin 1913 he visited Australia, as a momber of Hie Dominions Royal Commission, but as his memoirs were already in the safe of Long- mans, Green and Co., no reference is mar.|o to this. (Longmans: Angus and Robertson.)