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W.T. Stead by Peter Chalmers Mitchell

Excerpted from Peter Chalmers Mitchell, My Fill of Days (London: Faber & Faber, 1936)
Quoted in J.W. Robertson Scott, The Life and Death of a Newspaper (1952) p.237

In Philadelphia, Stead and his wife came across the hotel lounge to where we were sitting at the far end. Stead almost at a run, stooping forwards, his beard untidy, his strange blue eyes making a rather commonplace face more than striking; Mrs. Stead ambling behind with a motherly, humorous smile as of one affectionately and protectively tolerant of anything her husband might do. After shaking hands, she gave Stead a piece of cardboard about a foot square, with a ribbon arranged as if it were to be hung on a wall, like a text in a cottage bedroom, and then went off to the lift. Stead settled himself in an armchair, and hung the placard round his neck. There was printed on it: "W.T. STEAD, London, England". "What on earth?", I began to say. "The Press will be seeking me," he answered; "the reporters don't know me by sight, and I like to save them trouble". The Press was there and did wish to see him. As soon as the placard had been noticed, young men seemed to spring up from every part of the hall and came running across to Stead. Never can there have been a kinder-hearted, more unselfish man than the great English journalist, nor one who at all times was more alert to do some good turn in a great matter or a small matter to those about him.

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