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CHAPTER I.

A FOREWORD

By SIR CHARLES STEWART-WILSON, K.C.I.E.

A queer thing is association of ideas. To me, for instance, the sight of a Kashmir stamp on a cover inevitably recalls a bright frosty winter morning in Lahore, a veranda where the little grey squirrels are eating porridge, while the minas are gobbling grain just outside, and Sir David Masson, the much-loved “D.P.” is superintending matters, now and then letting a squirrel run up his sleeve. He calls me into the tiny room he has built into the end of the veranda and produces the latest bundles of Kashmir covers which his “collectors” have sent him. For he has important interests, both official and private, in Kashmir as well as in Jammu, and is using them for the gratification of his new-born interest in philately. Suddenly he hands me his magnifying-glass and points out that some letter which “should be at half-past-four” is here at “a quarter-past.” This must be seen to. Another cover has a stamp printed on a kind of paper which is rarely found, and another has an odd obliteration. Gradually he is building up new knowledge of these stamps, and the result will be his fine collection and his epoch-making book on the subject, which now yields its authority to this splendid volume by our lamented friends, Messrs. Mortimer and Séfi. But Masson’s work will not be forgotten, and it is certain that, without it, this, the last word on the subject could never have been written. What a pleasure its issue would have been to him, and how he would have rejoiced in the scholarly work done by his successors! If its appearance has the effect of stimulating the interest in these fascinating stamps, his pleasure would have been still greater. He would be the first to acknowledge that his was only pioneer’s work, that he was a philatelic beginner and that the further light which only research by a thorough student could throw on the subject was still wanted.

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And here we have it. It is sad to think that not one of the men who have made its production possible—Tapling, Evans, Masson, Mortimer and Séfi—has survived to see its appearance in public. May we not look on Mr. Pemberton’s pious act in carrying out his partner’s wishes as the setting up of a memorial to all of them? It is indeed a worthy memorial, a big step forward in philatelic study, a noble book. I trust that it will have the success it well deserves.

► Chapter II.

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