Saturday, 20 September 2014

S. Baring-Gould Alleges That He Is Not Dead

This morning papers announced the death of the well-known and picturesque clerical novelist, the Rev S. Baring-Gould. Although the rev gentleman is to-day one day nearer the dissolution which lies before the best of us than he was this time yesterday, we can assure our readers that this morning's statement is slightly wide of the real facts of the case. This morning's papers announced: -

Death of the Rev S. Baring-Gould
The Rev Sabine Baring-Gould, the well-known novelist and the author of the hymn "Onward, Christian Soldiers," died on Saturday evening at Port Elizabeth on board the steamer Norman. He was born at Exeter on the 28th of January, 1834, his father being a country squire, the owner of an estate of 3,000 acres. (Full obituary followed...)

The Rev S. Baring-Gould telegraphs as follows from his home in Devonshire:-
"The news of my death is false. I have not been in Africa."
The gentleman who is dead is Mr E. S. Baring-Gould, of Boxgrove House, Merrow, near Guildford. Mr E. S. Baring-Gould was a cousin of the novelist, and has a brother living at Guildford.


The Rev. S. Baring-Gould
The Western Gazette, Friday 8th of June 1906

Nearly all the morning papers praised the novelist's versatility and productiveness. One pays tribute to his "lively imagination and humour," adding that "these characteristics sometimes ran away with him;" another, giving a list of his numerous works, is of the opinion that he will probably be known to posterity as the author of "Onward, Christian Soldiers;" a third remarks that "he became rather a shadow to the present generation."

"If he never at any point touched or even attempted high literary distinction he did many things," another journal admits, "with brilliance and success."

Regret is expressed by several newspapers that he did not restrict himself to one subject or one branch of literature. Had he done so it is thought he might have left an enduring name.

Mr. Baring-Gould is, however, by no means the first celebrity who has lived to read his own nekrology, and to enjoy the sensation of seeing how people will write of him after his death. It was burning curiosity in this respect which caused Lord Brougham to circulate a report of his own death, and he was by no means flattered by the result.


Rev. S. Baring-Gould Describes the Sensation
The Western Times, Friday 15th of June 1906

The Rev. S. Baring-Gould, in the "Graphic," complies, although with reluctance, to the request of the Editor, to whom he is "under many obligations," to describe the sensation on reading the obituary announcement in the papers of Tuesday of last week. Mr. Baring-Gould says:- "On Friday and Saturday I had been with a friend at Sidmouth, and I had written a postcard to him on my return to inquire whether I had left my shaving tidy and brush in his house. I got a wire from him: 'Condole with you on your death. No shaving tackle here.' Then came a shower of condolences from sympathising friends to my wife. One message was sufficiently curt: 'When and where is the funeral to be?' The following morning came congratulations by wire, and letters 'To the representatives of the late Rev. S. Baring-Gould,' containing cuttings from the papers relative to myself. One made the liberal offer of having a complete set mounted and handsomely bound - I suppose with a death's head and crossbones on the cover - for three guineas. I intended to make a bonfire of the whole lot unread, but instead have packed them in an envelope, sealed, and stowed away with my will. The milliners also sent in their cards and offers to supply widow's weeds. I doubt not that the undertakers would have done the same in their line had not the mistake been rectified in the afternoon papers.

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