Sir Wemyss Reid


Manchester Times, 14/12/00 p.10, taken, with acknowledgements, from The British Weekly.
In an address to the London Whitefriars Club, last week, Sir Wemyss Reid dealt chiefly with the Brontes. In 1881, when it was learned, he said, that the Haworth Church was to be torn down, Sir Wemyss raised his voice and stormed right and left, in instigate [sic] an agitation against the proposed vandalism, He remembers the late Mrs Lynn Linton* expressing herself to him as painfully surprised that he should take such a course. About this time he paid a visit to Haworth in the company of Bret Harte and another friend, an American Consul, I think. Before they started from Leeds a smart young man of the town, Mr M—— by name, made himself an unwelcome guest, and formed one of the party. Bret Harte was eager to go over the parsonage at Haworth, but Sir Wemyss, knowing the stubborn opposition of the vicar to such visitors, warned him that it was no use trying.
     Bret Harte and the others insisted, however, and Sir Wemyss lighted a cigar and waited some way off while they besieged the parsonage. They stayed much longer than was necessary, but soon they put in an appearance, and Sir Wemyss felt somewhat perturbed by the jubilant air of the youth. “Well,” said Sir Wemyss to him, “you didn’t get in, did you?” “Oh, yes,” replied the young man with alacrity, “I got in all right — was shown all over the place.” Observing Bret Harte’s dejected look, however, Sir Wemyss took his friend, the American Consul, to one side, and asked him what had happened.
     “It just happened as you said it would,” he rejoined; “Bret was the spokesman of the party — told our business to the vicar — we were rebuffed by him, and when Bret handed him his card with the remark that possibly the vicar knew his name, the vicar angrily said, ‘Oh, yes, I think I have seen it before, but that makes no difference.’ Then Mr M—-  spoke up, and explained that we had come a long way to look over the parsonage, &c. At sight of him and his name, the manner of the vicar changed. ‘Mr M—‘,’ he exclaimed, ‘not the son of Mr M— , of the wealthy M—- and M—-? Really. Why, Mr M—-, I’m delighted. Come right in.’ And that is how we got entrance to the parsonage.’
* Mrs Eliza Lynn Linton (1822-1898), née Lynn,  was the first female salaried journalist in Britain, and the author of over 20 novels