We must also lessen the number of theological books, and choose the best; for it is not the number of books that make the learned man; nor much reading, but good books often read, however few, make a man learned in the Scriptures and pious. – Martin Luther

The Bar Sinister by Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

The Bar Sinister by Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916)

“When this story first appeared, the writer received letters of two kinds, one asking a question and the other making a statement. The question was, whether there was any foundation of truth in the story; the statement challenged him to say that there was. The letters seemed to show that a large proportion of readers prefer their dose of fiction with a sweetening of fact. This is written to furnish that condiment, and to answer the question and the statement.

“In the dog world, the original of the bull-terrier in the story is known as Edgewood Cold Steel and to his intimates as “Kid,” His father was Lord Minto, a thoroughbred bull-terrier, well known in Canada, but the story of Kid’s life is that his mother was a black-and-tan named Vic. She was a lady of doubtful pedigree. Among her offspring by Lord Minto, so I have been often informed by many Canadian dog-fanciers, breeders, and exhibitors, was the only white puppy, Kid, in a litter of black-and-tans. He made his first appearance in the show world in 1900 in Toronto, where, under the judging of Mr. Charles H. Mason, he was easily first. During that year, when he came to our kennels, and in the two years following, he carried off many blue ribbons and cups at nearly every first-class show in the country. The other dog, “Jimmy Jocks,” who in the book was his friend and mentor, was in real life his friend and companion, Woodcote Jumbo, or “Jaggers,” an aristocratic son of a long line of English champions. He has gone to that place where some day all good dogs must go. – The Author


About the Author - Richard Harding Davis

“The First Glimpse Of Davis” from Davis, Richard Harding. “Exiles and Other Stories” 1920 edition by Charles Scribner’s Sons.

“Dick was twenty-four years old when he came into the smoking-room of the Victoria Hotel, in London, after midnight one July night he was dressed as a Thames boatman.

“He had been rowing up and down the river since sundown, looking for color. He had evidently peopled every dark corner with a pirate, and every floating object had meant something to him. He had adventure written all over him. It was the first time I had ever seen him, and I had never heard of him. I can’t now recall another figure in that smoke-filled room. I don’t remember who introduced us over twenty-seven years have passed since that night. But I can see Dick now dressed in a rough brown suit, a soft hat, with a handkerchief about his neck, a splendid, healthy, clean-minded, gifted boy at play. And so he always remained.

“His going out of this world seemed like a boy interrupted in a game he loved. And how well and fairly he played it! Surely no one deserved success more than Dick. And it is a consolation to know he had more than fifty years of just what he wanted. He had health, a great talent, and personal charm. There never was a more loyal or unselfish friend. There wasn’t an atom of envy in him. He had unbounded mental and physical courage, and with it all he was sensitive and sometimes shy. He often tried to conceal these last two qualities, but never succeeded in doing so from those of us who were privileged really to know and love him.

“His life was filled with just the sort of adventure he liked the best. No one ever saw more wars in so many different places or got more out of them. And it took the largest war in all history to wear out that stout heart.

“We shall miss him. – Charles Dana Gibson.

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