This is a biographical book. When Hugh Miller, in 1853, began 'My Schools and Schoolmasters', in the columns of the Witness [note] newspaper, he could look back on a diversified and dramatically ordered life, during which he had figured, always with some distinction, as stonemason, bank clerk, editor, geologist, and author. He had just passed his fiftieth year, having been born in the little seaport and manufacturing town of Cromarty on the 10th October 1802. A sailor's son, the outstanding event of his boyhood had been the death by drowning of his father—last of a line of seamen, not one of whom for a hundred years had found a grave on shore. An erratic and truant school career came to a violent end when Hugh was fifteen. He had shown the makings, but not the self-discipline, of a scholar.