In presenting this autobiography to the public I am actuated by no spirit of egotism. It is merely the plain, unvarnished story of my business and public
career dating from the day I left school to make a humble start in the great commercial world, until the occasion, 43 years later, when I relinquished the Mayoral Chair, or, as it is more familiarly termed, the Chair of Van Riebeek, of the City of Capetown. In doing so I somehow feel that I am opening up new ground, for, as far as I know, the theme-that is, the every-day life of a draper's assistant or " counter-jumper "-has not, up to the present, figured to any extent in literature.
We have, it is true, the experiences of the celebrated Tittlebat Titmouse, Esq., in "Ten Thousand a Year"; we have also the careers of "Mr. Kipps" and "Mr. Polly," by H. G. Wells, who, as is well known, commenced his distinguished career in the " Rag Trade " as a " Knight of the Yardstick," and there is the evergreen memory of Mr. Horatio Sparkins in " Sketches by Boz '' ; but the actual trade experiences of these gentlemen form a very inconspicuous part of the stories. There must be many hundreds of thousands of men living in every part of the world whose
xperiences have been similar to mine-that is, as regards the drapery trade-whose memories may be refreshed-if they require or desire them to be refreshed-by reading these pages. My adventures as an apprentice in London may be of some passing interest to the youth of the present day, who, by comparison, will find that existing conditions are far easier than those obtaining at the time of which
I have written.