The diary of a looker-on - PDF book by Charles Lewis Hind

The diary of a looker-on 

The diary of a looker-on
Charles Lewis Hind 

This is an autobiography of Charles Lewis Hind (1862–1927)  who was a British journalist, writer, editor, art critic, and art historian.

Such a book is the result of keeping a Diary. 

The battered Diaries lie before me — fourteen pocketbooks closely written, a day to a page, records of things fancied, seen, felt, that seemed worth preserving.
" There's husbandry in Heaven," so why should not I, a writer, utilise impressions of the hour, as occasions arise, in the columns of journals and periodicals? 
In one form or another, in part or in whole, these pages were published in the Daily Chronicle (through whose generous columns the Looker-On was allowed to meander), the Nation the Academy, the St. James's Gazette, the Evening News, the Reader, the Studio, the Bookman, and the Pall Mall Magazine. Here they are collected, amended, extended or curtailed as seemed necessary — grouped in the months when they were written, and in the order of their origin, as the Diary of one who amused himself by imagining that he was a Looker-On at the pageant of life and art. 

You will like the book, I know. But the others, the many others? Some will say that it lacks unity. It does. The only unity in a Diary is the personality of the Diarist. Some day I shall write a sad book to explain why one writes a book. Meanwhile here is this, for better or worse — done. 

We are now starting forth, dear Discourager of Hesitancy, on a greater adventure, toward farther horizons than any I have ever watched. For it is our purpose to wander out into the world. The Diaries will continue; but there will be no need to mail you the journals where the amplification of day-by-day impressions are published, for we shall be together.


For he is an Official, and must only report Government boats, but all homecoming vessels try to make him flash the news of their approach to England. Poor, buffeted, travel-stained ships, striving like unborn souls to make themselves known! He sees them pass, pleading for recognition, is motionless, and watches. 

As I walked through Cheapside I saw a sailor-man standing on Plymouth Hoe, peering into the night. He is quite alone; the rain beats on his muffled figure; nothing seems to be left of him but his gleaming eyes. He is watching for the first glimpse of the American liner, that pauses a little outside the breakwater at Plymouth to take up passengers for Cherbourg. There he watches all night, all next day, if necessary, till he sights the vessel. 

Then he runs to his hut, speaks a few words through the telephone, and the passengers dozing in the hotels, start, grasp their rugs, and say one to another, " Quick! the tender leaves in half an hour! " And the watcher, whom they have never seen, his duty done, walks home from Plymouth Hoe to bed. He watches in his dreams. 

the book details :
  • Author: Charles Lewis Hind 
  • Publication date: 1908
  • Company: New York, J. Lane company

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