Ronald West Howard [1887-1960], A Merry Mountainer. The Story of Clifford Harris of Persia. London: Church Missionary Society, 1931. Pbk. pp.93. [Click to download in PDF]
On a beautiful stretch of Sussex upland, two miles from the town of Horsham, stand the stately buildings of Christ’s Hospital -the ancient school for boys in the new setting to which it was moved from London early in the twentieth century.
Here, on October 24, 1904, Clifford Harris was born; and some account must be given of his early days and of the family life that was to mean so much to him.
He was the youngest of the three children of the Rev. George Harris, a master at the school. Himself of Irish ancestry, the father always made friends by his quick sense of humour and ready fund of enthusiasm. These gifts his youngest son inherited to the full. His mother was a cousin of that famous medical missionary, Dr. Theodore Pennell, who spent his adventurous life of service among the frontier folk of the North-West Frontier Province of India. Something of his mantle was destined
to fall upon his young kinsman.
From his earliest days Clifford, with his brother and sister, knew the happiness of an undivided family life. His sister Ruth, a year older than himself, was his constant companion throughout all his childhood and his best friend in youth. When apart, they wrote regularly to each other every week. Jordan, the elder brother, always exercised a strong inspiration and influence for good over the younger brother. All through Clifford’s career this happy, undivided family life strengthened and moulded his character and service. Those who had most to do with him as a small boy found him delightfully unselfish ; this, and his natural gaiety of spirit endeared him to all who knew him. But he was wholesomely mischievous, too. A governess who had the early management of him-and found the task none too easy-tells how, on the death of her own father, Clifford showed his practical sympathy by saying : ” I am so very sorry your father has died ; and I really will try to behave better now.” Some days afterwards, however, the strain proving heavy, he warned her: “I don’t think I can keep it up much longer “! [Continue reading]