It was one dark, dank, dreary, dismal night in February, 1888 (I believe that is the way to commence a book, no matter what the subject be), when the present writer might have been seen standing, with other gentlemen, in a sombre dining-room brilliantly illuminated with one ceiling-lamp buried in a deep red shade. We were standing round the dining-room table, each with a dinner-napkin in the left hand; while the right hand was occupied in moving back chairs, to permit of the departure of the ladies for the drawing-room. I could not help thinking that, as they filed off, the ladies looked like queens; while we (especially with the aid of the serviettes) looked like waiters. The gentlemen drew their chairs round the host, and wine was languidly passed round. A tall gentleman, with a heavy beard, to whom I had not been introduced, approached me, and sat by my side. He passed me the spirit-lamp, for which I thanked him while lighting my cigarette. He then commenced a conversation in earnest."Did you see that Mr. is writing his reminiscences?""Yes.""Don't you think it rather a pity that he should do so?""Why a pity?" I asked in reply to his question."Well, I always think the moment a man begins to write his reminiscences he is bound, more or less, to make an ass of himself.""In what way?" I asked."In the first place, he is hampered by having to be so egotistical. He must talk about himself, which is never a nice thing to do. He cannot very well tell stories in his own favour; and if he tells them against himself, he affects humility: if he talks about his distinguished acquaintances, he becomes a snob; in short, I can only repeat my former observation, that he is bound to make an ass of himself."For a moment or two I did not know what to say, for my conscience smote me. At last I said:"I am very pleased to hear your candid, and certainly unbiassed, opinion; for I have just accepted an offer from Mr. Arrowsmith to do a shilling book of my own reminiscences for the Bristol Library Series."