DAVID PAE (1828 - 1884)

Illustrated above, three novels by David Pae: Eustace the Outcast, Lucy the Factory Girl and Hard Times; A Tale of the Cotton Famine.

Lucy the Factory Girl was reprinted by the Sensation Press and has an introduction and other work by Professor Graham Law.

Buy Lucy the Factory Girl by David Pae - click here

A Memoir of David Pae by Mr. James Cromb, Sub-Editor of the Dundee Evening Telegraph.

By Mr. Pae's death a blank has been made in the cultured and literary circles of Dundee. He was a man possessing a large amount of information, gathered from long years of varied reading and study. He had also a profound knowledge of human nature, obtained by close observation among all classes of people, among whom he freely mixed in the early days of his career. He was a writer of uncommon readiness and power, and had accomplished an amount of literary work which throws the performances of some of our most noted authors into the shade. As a journalist he was cautious and discreet; as a reviewer generous yet candid. But it was as a novelist that he won his highest place in literature, having written a number of serials, especially those appearing in the People's Friend, which week after week and month after month, held enchained the attention of his readers, who could be numbered by hundreds of thousands.

An earnest-hearted man, in all his work he tried, though never obtrusively, to enforce on his readers the truest and most valuable lessons of human life. The influence of his pen has undoubtedly done much to preserve the true and thorough character of the Scottish people among whom his writings circulated, and to him is largely due the respect in which the People's Journal is held throughout the country, and the high character it has attained as a weekly messenger to the people. As editor of the People's Friend from its commencement, Mr. Pae had further scope offered him of exercising his strong, manly influence. He placed before himself a high standard to be attained by his miscellany, and the result, we have reason to know, more than reached his expectations. But, as we have said, his contributions to the People's Journal were the chief work of his career. For years he contributed a series of stories of the most brilliant and pleasing kind - bold and subtle in plot, powerful in incident, rich in imaginative qualities, and graphic in their descriptions of character and scenery.

It is difficult, with the news of his death so recent, and with the painful fact scarcely yet realized by the writer, to sum up his personal qualities. Yet we cannot refrain from bearing testimony to the generous manner in which he extended counsel and encouragement to young literary aspirants, and to the interest he took in their subsequent career. More than one who have, thus encouraged, fought their way to success will deeply, with the writer, regret that their friend is no more, and that they can but cherish the memory of him to whom they can no longer express their graitude. He was a genial, simple-minded man - ever shrinking from publicity, and even in the heyday of his literary triumph never desiring that his name should be attached to anything he wrote. He leaves a widow and two sons, for whom much heartfelt sympathy is expressed.

Tribute to David Pae published in the People's Friend, May 21st 1884, by the editor Andrew Stewart
(later reprinted in Eustace the Outcast)

By the time this meets the eye of the reader the grave will have closed over the mortal remains of my dear friend and chief, Mr. David Pae, editor of the People's Friend. The sad news is not many hours old as these lines are being penned, and I find it difficult yet to realise the fact that he will no more occupy his accustomed arm-chair on the opposite side of the desk on his bi-weekly visits to the office. Only last night he was working in his garden at Craigmount, Newport, and writing at his desk, apparently well and in his usual health, and by half-past four o'clock in the morning he had passed into his rest, having died of disease of the heart, after an hour's illness, on the early morning of Friday, May 9th.

My dear friend had a severe attack of heart spasms about two years ago, which brought him to the verge of the grave, but he rallied, and was spared to recover almost his normal good health, and to resume his duties, though cautioned by the doctor to take things easier, and avoid excitement of all kinds. It was not, therefore, without a premonitory warning that death came to him, and, in the satisfaction of enjoying much of his inner thoughts and confidences, I am glad to testify that he was fully prepared for the great change to which we are all hastening.

His loss will be deeply felt by a wide circle of friends, to whom he was endeared by his sterling qualities as a man, and the kindly, genial warmth of his disposition. Beyond the immediate circle of his personal friends, to whom his loss is irreparable, the death of Mr Pae will be a sad blow to many a young literary aspirant whom he has helped by his kindly counsel and encouragement. These, as I know, are not few, and by them all he will be sincerely mourned as a "guide, philosopher, and friend," whose place in their hearts and help in their life will not be easily filled.

David Pae was born, on 6th May 1828, on the banks of the Almond at Buchanty, Perthshire, and was therefore aged 56 at his death. His father was a master miller, who was drowned one stormy night while attempting to ford the Almond on horseback, within sight of the lights of his home. Young David, then only six weeks old, was taken by his mother to Coldingham, on the Scottish Border, where she remained with her family, and here he grew up among that delightful Border scenery he was afterwards to weave in so deftly to the descriptive passages of many of his serial tales. He was educated at the Parish School, and when quite a youth came to Edinburgh, and found a situation as warehouseman with Mr. Thomas Grant, printer and publisher, George Street.

He had all through life a strong fancy for the drama, and it was as a dramatic critic that he was to make his first literary effort. I have heard him express his feelings of fear and anxiety as he slipped into the Post Office his first dramatic criticism addressed to the Editor of The Theatre, a short-lived periodical published at that time in Edinburgh in the interest of dramatic art, and of his joyful excitement when he saw his contribution in all the glories of print in the next number. This led, I understand, to his afterwards being appointed to the editorship of the periodical, which he conducted for the following twelve months.

But it was not in this line that David Pae's finest talents were to find their fullest development. He was an earnest Bible student, and had so familiarised himself with the sacred writings that he was able to quote almost any passage; and the way in which he could supply in after life apt quotations from Scripture to point a conversation or illustrate a thought was somewhat remarkable. As an evidence of his Biblical study and research, and of the early bent of his mind, it may be mentioned that at the time the Crimean war was about to begin, he issued anonymously a shilling pamphlet with the title, "The Coming Struggle," the design of which was to warn the people of this country against an alliance with Continental and Papal Powers, bringing prophecy to bear upon the events then transpiring with an ability and vigour that created a most profound impression, and caused quite a stir throughout the country. This was followed shortly after by a more comprehensive work, entitled "The Second Advent," in which the views set forth in the previous one were elaborated and enforced with singular skill and address. They are both remarkable productions as coming from a young man of twenty-six years of age; but he was still only feeling his way in literature. Not yet had he found the true vein in which he was destined to spend his best energies and years. A treatise upon "Mesmerism and Animal Magnetism" - a subject at the time exciting great public attention - was his next literary effort. This was followed by "A History of America," but not even yet had he touched the proper key, though he was struggling on perseveringly to find it. His literary style was now well formed, and he wielded a singularly graceful and facile pen.

About this period he broke new ground in a serial story, entitled "Jessie Melville, or the Double Sacrifice," or, as it was first entitled, "Jessie the Bookfolder." This story, I understand, appeared simultaneously in the North Briton, published in Edinburgh and in the Penny Post, published in Glasgow - and it is not going too far to say that the success which attended it was something astonishing. It sent up the circulation of both papers with a bound. I have a vivid recollection of the first appearance of "Jessie the Bookfolder" in Glasgow, and of the eager interest with which each weekly instalment was received. It was afterwards published in book form, and is eagerly read to this day.

Shortly before this time the stamp-duty had been taken off the newspapers, and the penny paper was still something of a novelty. But a greater novelty was the appearance of a serial story in a weekly newspaper, and this innovation became popular at once. David Pae may therefore be credited with the origination of newspaper story writing, at least in Scotland, and by the wondrous success and popularity of his stories he has given an impetus to this important branch of literature that is felt over the length and breadth of the land. He had the field - now crowded with competitors - all to himself, and for many years he ruled, if not without a rival, at least without a compeer in the domain he had made his own.

When it is known that his stories for a considerable number of years back have been appearing in perhaps twelve largely circulated newspapers simultaneously, after being first published in the People's Journal, it will be readily believed that he was one of the most extensively read novelists of the present day. As regards the number of serial stories alone that he has written, he exceeds by far Sir Walter Scott, and is at least equal to Anthony Trollope - the exact number being fifty. I have mentioned his first story. The last serial he penned was the one just concluding in the People's Journal, entitled "Done in Secret; a Story of Two Border Marriages."

To give the reader an idea of the literary labours of Mr. Pae in the field of fiction, I give here, so far as I can find, a long, yet incomplete, list of the serials in the order of their publication :- "Jessie Melville, or the Double Sacrifice;" "The Merchant's Daughter, or Love and Mammon;" "Frederick the Foundling;" "Fraud and Friendship;" "Clara Howard, or the Captain's Bride;" "Lucy the Factory Girl, or the Secrets of the Tontine Close;" "The Heiress of Wellwood;" "Nelly Preston, or the Lawyer's Plot;" "George Dalton, or the Convict's Revenge;" "Nora Cushaleen, or the Murdered Wife;" "Biddy Macarthy, or the Hunted Felon;" "Flora the Orphan, or Love and Crime;" "Basil Hamilton, or the Ticket, of Leave;" "Very Hard Times, a Tale of the Cotton Famine;" "Helen Armstrong, or the Rose of Tweedside;" "Effie Seaton, or the Dark House in Murdoch's Close;" "Captain Wyld's Gang, a Glasgow Tale;" "The Smuggler Chief;" "Mary Paterson, or the Fatal Error;" "The Cloud on the Home;" "The Gipsy's Prophecy;" "The Haunted Castle, or a Brother's Treachery;" "Eustace the Outcast;" "Jeanie Sinclair, or the Lily of the Strath;" "The Heir of Douglas;" "Cast on the World;" "Annie Grey;" "The Laird of Birkencleuch;" "Clanranald;" "Isaac Barton's Crime;" "Helen Moir, or Love and Honour;" "The Foster Brother;" "Annabel, or the Temptation;" "Mayhew the Millspinner;" "Victor Mordaunt;" "Harold the Outlaw;" "A Shadowed Life;" "Mabel's Love;" "The Exploits of Rob Roy;" "Paul Jones;" "Deacon Brodie;" "Grace Darling;" "The Lost Heir of Glencorran," &c.

Nor was his talent by any means confined to novels. He was a man who could write gracefully on almost any subject. Essays, descriptive articles, sermons, reviews, flowed from his pen without apparent effort; and on all subjects of wide human interest that did not entail the massing of scientific facts or the piling up of wearisome statistics he was quite at home.

I have mentioned his fondness for Biblical lore, and his wide grasp of Scripture language and imagery. It was the desire of his life, as he has more than once stated, to write a book upon the River Jordan. He felt it would be a congenial theme, and that he could write an interesting and instructive book upon it - its banks were so crowded with Scriptural events, and associated so closely with the history of God's people, but he always said he must first visit the Holy Land before he would undertake to write about it. And he was only restrained from carrying out this project by the fear that the worry and toil of travel would excite him too much, and prematurely hasten the end he knew was appointed unto him.

Mr. Pae wrote for nine years to the North Briton and the Penny Post. He was also two years in Dunfermline - viz., in 1859-60 - as editor at the starting of the Dunfermline Press, where several of his stories first appeared. He married when he was 31, and lived a wedded life of singular felicity and happiness, and he is survived by his widow and two sons, for whom the deepest sympathy is felt in their sore bereavement. Upwards of twenty years ago his services were secured exclusively by Mr. Leng of the Dundee Advertiser as a story writer for the then recently started People's Journal, and since that time he has written steadily, at the rate of almost a serial novel every six months, a series of tales which have been read with keen interest by the immense multitude of the Journal's readers.

In 1869 he was appointed editor of this miscellany at the same time as I myself was appointed sub-editor, and let me bear witness to the cordiality and good feeling that has throughout marked our intercourse during all the intervening years.

Twenty-five years ago, when he married, he purchased Pentland College, at the base of the Pentland Hills, near the village of Loanhead, and devoted himself exclusively to literature. About twelve years ago he left Loanhead and came to reside in Newport. Here he built his handsome villa residence, Craigmount, on the slope of the hill to the east of the village, overlooking the broad estuary of the Tay, and had sat down, surrounded with all the comforts and elegances of life, to enjoy, as one might have hoped, the welcome leisure earned by years of incessant toil in the quiet evening of life, when the sudden summons came that called him hence.

It may perhaps be difficult, if not quite impossible, to estimate the place of David Pae in the rank of novelists, seeing that he preserved his anonymity so carefully, and that critics outside the circle of his acquaintance could not, therefore, pass an opinion upon his tales. This, however, may be said: he wrote for a purpose - to supply a demand for serial stories in weekly newspapers. He discovered the vein that best pleases newspaper readers, and with unflagging energy supplied the demand for upwards of a quarter of a century, writing sometimes two stories simultaneously. The high tone of his stories is worthy of all praise. With every temptation to pander to the craving for excitement, he has, while enchaining his readers with a striking plot and well worked out situations, spoken to them from a lofty moral altitude, the effect of which cannot but be for good. He had a keen eye and warm heart for the beauties of Nature, in all of which he saw with a feeling of reverence the evidences of design, and was able with devout spirit to look "from Nature up to Nature's God."

He had a high ideal before him as editor of the Friend. He wished it to be in the fullest sense an instructive, elevating, and interesting miscellany, and, with a calm impartiality that admitted of no favouritism, he selected his material wherever he found he had the true writer, and the reader can judge for himself with what result. On the starting of the Dundee Evening Telegraph he was appointed dramatic critic for that paper, and up to the note of his death discharged his critical duties with rare ability, combining fairness and candour with sympathetic generosity. To him also was allotted the difficult and responsible duty of selecting tales both for the Journal and Friend, and in the Christmas competitions in connection with the Journal his critical judgment determined the prizewinners.

Among his minor writings may be mentioned a delightful book upon Rosslyn and Hawthornden, published about ten years ago; and a drama entitled "Drumclog," founded upon Scott's "Old Mortality," which was enacted some years ago in Edinburgh. He was also the author of many essays, short tales, and sketches, as well as of three or four of the serial tales in the Friend of past years, the names of which will be found in the list already given. The evening before his death he was busily occupied with the forthcoming Holiday Number, and thus literally died in harness.

And now, dear friend. adieu. With a full heart I have hastily penned these lines. I feel how all inadequate they are to do justice to the chief under whom I have served so long, but, in the hope that they will be accepted in the spirit in which they have been written, I permit them to go, as the expression of my sincere sorrow for the loss of a friend I have esteemed so highly, and whose death I mourn so much.

The Rev. Dr. Thomson fromthe Parish Church of Forgan.

To be known without a name, to be famous with no personal distinction - such is the reward of many a writer of our popular literature, and there is an innate nobility in the man who to the very close of his life-long labours is content with this impersonal honour. This was truly the case with our departed friend Mr. Pae. You learn now from the affectionate and just testimony of editors and fellow-workers in the profession of letters with what diligence and public benefit this popular author employed the high talent with which God had gifted him. In his own calling he used the function of a preacher of righteousness, drawing the rule and principle of conduct exemplified in his interesting tales from the best source open to man's search after wisdom. May we be allowed from this place to pay a humble tribute to the memory of one who did his endeavour to leave the world better for his presence in it - a duty and privilege held out to us all according to the ability God gives us.
Reverend Thomas Fraser, of Newport Established Church, of which Congregation Pae was a member, preached a Funeral Sermon on Sunday, May 11th, from which the following extract is taken (reprinted from Eustace):-

As an author of writings which he knew were read by many thousands, Mr. Pae had a deep sense of his great
responsibility. His aim throughout all his romances was please, to amuse, to thrill, to excite; but it was also to instruct, to elevate, to humanise. His writings abounded in sparkling wit and playful fancy and brilliant satire, but these were often but the outer garb of wholesome thoughts, of true sentiments, of high and noble aspirations. I believe he never wrote anything or even suggested anything that broke down the barrier between purity and sin, or lowered in the slightest degree the sacredness of what is holy and Divine. I would only add a single word as to what was a most marked feature in the character of our departed friend - the deep religiousness of his nature. Mr. Pae was a man most reverent in spirit, of simple and unobtrusive piety, to whom the teaching our Lord Jesus Christ was the great rule of life and conduct, and the wondrous story of the Cross one of personal meaning and value. To him love to God and love to man were the sum and substance of religion. In this faith he lived. It was a life which reflected much of the meekness and gentleness of Christ, and was adorned with "the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."

Tribute to David Pae by Mr. W.D. Latto, editor of the People's Journal. It was published in the Dundee Advertiser and People's Journal, May 10 1884, and was reprinted in Eustace the Outcast.

To-day it is our melancholy duty to announce the sudden death of Mr. David Pae, which occurred at his residence, Craigmount, East Newport, at an early hour yesterday morning. Although it had been known to himself and to his intimate friends for some time back that his life might be cut short at any moment, yet death, as generally happens in such cases, has come with startling suddenness. About a couple of years ago he had a bad attack of spasms in the region of the heart, which greatly alarmed his family, and since that time his health has never been so robust as it was previously. Yet, so far as appearances went, he might have been judged by the casual observer to be in a condition of the soundest bodily vigour. But "things are not always what they seem." There lurked in his system the seeds of that fatal disease which has all too surely done its work. On Tuesday he was in the Advertiser Office in his usual health of body and genial frame of mind, unfolding a design for the composition of a new novel to succeed those presently running in the People's Journal. On Thursday evening he worked in his garden till eight o'clock, took his supper at ten, and retired to rest seemingly m his ordinary health and spirits. At about three o'clock yesterday morning, however, he was seized with severe spasms in the heart, from which death resulted in the brief space of little more than an hour. He leaves behind him a widow and two sons to mourn their sad and sudden bereavement.

Being naturally of a quiet and retiring turn of mind, Mr. Pae did not mingle much in society, and took no part whatever in public affairs. He lived in his study, and had few enjoyments outside his own happy domestic circle. For this reason he was not personally or even by name very widely known in the literary world, and still less was he known to the world at large. Many persons, therefore, whose eyes may alight on the heading to this notice of his death may be excused if they inquire, "Who was Mr. David Pae?" We shall endeavour to answer this question by giving a brief narrative of the leading incidents in his life, and enumerating a few of his literary achievements.

[Here follows a biographical sketch, and list of Mr. Pae's literary works, which will be found in the paper from the Friend.]
The amount of brain work implied in this long tale of literary labour only those who earn their bread by the pen can adequately realise, and, long as the list is, it by no means exhausts the enumeration of his works. He had written many novels, besides other works, before he had formed a connection with the People's Journal. When he began to write in the Journal, on Sept. 5, 1863, the circulation of the Journal was but 49,250; today it is 156,190, and it is not too much to say that for not a little of this amazing growth in its circulation the Journal has been indebted to the indefatigable zeal and rare literary skill of Mr. David Pae. Shortly after the People's Friend was established Mr. Pae was invited to undertake the editorship-in-chief of that popular weekly miscellany; and with the assistance of his able coadjutor, Mr. Andrew Stewart, its success has been hardly less gratifying than that of the Journal.
We feel that in the death of Mr. David Pae we have lost a valued literary coadjutor and steadfast friend - one whom it was a privilege to know, and whom to know was to esteem and love. By his writings he is known to many thousands - we might, indeed, say millions - of readers, not only in Scotland, but also in England and Ireland, who, now that he is dead, will learn for the first time the name of him who has for so many years amused and instructed them by his busy pen; for, with a modesty that is rare among literary men, Mr. Pae shrank from putting his name to any of his works, although had he done so he might have won for it a very high place amongst those of the literary celebrities of his time. Few writers of fiction have been more scrupulously careful than he to adorn his tales by the inculcation of sound religious principles. If he painted vice it was always in the blackest and most repulsive colours, while the virtues were by him invariably set forth in the most attractive hues.

A tribute to David Pae by the novelist William C. Honeyman, published in the Dundee Advertiser, May 14 1884, the day after the funeral, and later republished in Eustace the Outcast. William Crawford Honeyman is best remembered for his Traced and Tracked dectective stories published under the pseudonym James M'Govan.

Only a few, like the writer, knew the man in all his heartiness, generosity, tenderness, and unselfish devotion to every one within his reach. His active brain seemed to know no rest; his strong spirit seemed a very rock to lean upon for advice or consolation; and largely was that massive strength and solidity taken advantage of by the wide literary circle drawn around him. A bright and shining light, he was great in what he did, but greater in what he helped others to do. All he did in this way will never be known, for he did good and spoke not; but many, very many, who read these lines will instantly be struck with the thought, "He did indeed - he did it to me;" and a long series of painstaking hints, and sagacious advice, and actual assistance and beautifying interpolations, extending over many years, will rise in their memories.

When quite a youth he went to Edinburgh, where he became engaged in the service of Mr. Grant, bookseller and publisher, who was afterwards to become the publisher of "Jessie Melville." The eager literary spririt sprang into life, and, like hundreds of other young authors, the boy would write a play. With his head full of the romance of theatrical life, and also of other faculties which go to form the successful playwright, he wrote his drama, but was at a loss how to get it produced. At that time there was on the Mound a wooden theatre, in which the celebrated Scottish comedian Gourlay was either the chief actor or the proprietor. One day when the actors were chatting about the door of this place, Gourlay was surprised to be addressed by young Pae, who offered him his manuscript play. The answer of the actor was rather sharp and rough, and to the effect that they did not in produce any but the plays of well-known authors; and the youth went away rather humbled, with the MS. in his hands. Little did either of them think that the time was to come when Gourlay should be indebted to the genius of that lad for the one success of his life, "Mrs. Macgregor's Levee," which was entirely the work of David Pae, and with which Gourlay and his family travelled the whole world over, much in the style of the Kennedy Family. For this successful play and inimitable portraiture of Scottish character Mr. Pae received the munificent sum of £5! Such characters as Needle Tam had only to be once seen and heard to be remembered for ever.

The writer once chanced to express to Mr. Pae surprise that he had not adopted the Church rather than literature as his profession, when he quickly replied that he had a larger audience weekly than any clergyman, but added that he had written sermons which were preached, though not by him. He then produced a volume of these, and, taking the book with us, we went together to an old churchyard, where, seated on a green mound marking one of the graves, the writer read one of these sermons aloud. It was a calm, sunny Sabbath evening, and the place lovely and secluded, so the sermon was finished without interruption, and when the last page was reached the red light of the setting sun was falling on the book. "A glory gilds the sacred page," was the writer's remark, as with deep emotion he closed the volume, and it was the truest criticism he could think of on what he had read. Looking back on the peaceful scene now through a soft mist of tears he would not have the words altered or improved.

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