Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/955

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938
RAZZIA—READE, CHARLES

on each size from the base of the culmen to the eye, is in the adult bird in breeding-apparel (with rare exceptions) a further characteristic. Otherwise the appearance of all these birds may be briefly described in the same words—head, breast and upper parts generally of a deep glossy black, and the lower parts and tip of the secondaries of a pure white, while the various changes of plumage dependent on age or season are alike in all. In habits the razorbill agrees closely with the true guillemots, laying its single egg (which is not, however, subject to the same variety of coloration as in the guillemot) on the ledges of cliffs, but it is said as a rule to occupy higher elevations, and when not breeding to keep farther out to sea. On the east side of the Atlantic the Razorbill has its breeding stations from the North Cape to Brittany, besides several in the Baltic, while in winter it passes much farther to the southward, and is sometimes numerous in the Bay of Gibraltar, occasionally entering the Mediterranean, but apparently never extending east of Sicily or Malta. On the west side of the Atlantic it breeds from 70º N. lat. on the eastern shore of Baffin's Bay to Cape Farewell, and again on the coast of America from Labrador and Newfoundland to the Bay of Fundy, while in winter it reaches Long Island. (A. N.)


RAZZIA (an adaptation of the Algerian Arabic ghāzīah, from ghasw, to make war), a foray or raid made by African Moslems. As used by the Arabs, the word denotes a military expedition against rebels or infidels, and razzias were made largely for punishment of hostile tribes or for the capture of slaves. English writers in the early years of the 19th century used the form ghrazzie, and Dixon Denham in his Travels (1826) styles the raiding force itself the ghrazzie. The modern English form is copied from the French, while the Portuguese variant is gazia, gaziva.


RE, the Egyptian solar god, one of the most important figures in the Pantheon. See Egypt, section Egyptian Religion.


RÉ, ÎLE DE, an island of western France, belonging to the department of Charente-Inférieure, from the nearest mainland point of which it is distant about 2 m. The island has an area of nearly 33 sq. m., with a breadth varying from 1 to 4½ m. and a length of 15 m. It is separated from the coast of Vendée on the N. by the Pertuis Breton, some 6 m. broad, and from the island of Oléron on the S. by the Pertuis D'Antioche, 7½ m. broad. The coast facing the Atlantic is rocky and inhospitable, but there are numerous harbours on the landward side, of which the busiest is La Flotte. Towards the north-west extremity of the island there is a deep indentation, the Fier d'Ars, which leaves an isthmus only 230 ft. wide, strengthened by a breakwater. The north coast is fringed by dunes and by the salt-marshes which are the chief source of livelihood for the inhabitants. Some of them are employed in fishing, oyster-cultivation and the collection of seaweed for manure; the island has corn-lands and vineyards, the latter covering about half its surface, and produces good figs and pears. Apart from its orchards it is now woodless, though once covered by forests. There are two cantons, St Martin (pop. in 1906, 8362) and Ars-en-Ré (pop. 4711) forming part of the arrondissement of La Rochelle. St Martin, the capital, which has a secure harbour and trade in wine, brandy, salt, &c., was fortified by Vauban in 1681 and used to be the depot for convicts on their way to New Caledonia. In 1627 it repulsed an English force after a siege of three months.


READE, CHARLES (1814–1884), English novelist and dramatist, the son of an Oxfordshire squire, was born at Ipsden, Oxfordshire, on the 8th of June 1814. He entered Magdalen College, Oxford, proceeded B.A. in 1835, and became a fellow of his college. He was subsequently dean of arts, and vice president of Magdalen College, taking his degree of D.C.L. in 1847. His name was entered at Lincoln's Inn in 1836; he was elected Vinerian Fellow in 1842, and was called to the bar in 1843. He kept his fellowship at Magdalen all his life, but after taking his degree he spent the greater part of his time in London. He began his literary career as a dramatist, and it was his own wish that the word “ dramatist " should stand first in the description of his occupations on his tombstone. He was dramatist first and novelist afterwards, not merely chronologically but in his aims as an author, always having an eye to stage-effect in scene and situation as well as in dialogue. His first comedy, The Ladies' Battle, appeared at the Olympic Theatre in May 1851. It was followed by Angelo (1851), A Village Tale (1852), The Lost Husband (1852), and Gold (1853). But Reade's reputation was made by the two-act comedy, Masks and Faces, in which he collaborated with Tom Taylor. It was produced in November 1852, and later was expanded into three acts. By the advice of the actress, Laura Seymour, he turned the play into a prose story which appeared in 1853 as Peg Woffington. He followed this up in the same year with Christie Johnstone, a close study of Scottish fisher folk, an extraordinary tour de force for the son of an English squire, whether we consider the dialect or the skill with which he enters into alien habits of thought. In 1854 he produced, in conjunction with Tom Taylor, Two Loves and a Life, and The King's Rival; and, unaided, The Courier of Lyons—well known under its later title, The Lyons Mail—and Peregrine Pickle. In the next year appeared Art, afterwards known as Nance Oldfield.

He made his name as a novelist in 1856, when he produced It's Never Too Late to Mend, a novel written with the purpose of reforming abuses in prison discipline and the treatment of criminals. He described prison life with a fidelity which becomes at times tedious and revolting; but the power of the descriptions was undeniable, and the interest was profound. The truth of some of his details was challenged, and the novelist defended himself with vigour against attempts to rebut his contentions. Five minor novels followed in quick succession, - The Course of True Love never did run Smooth (1857), Jack of all Trades (1858), The Autobiography of a Thief (1858), Love Me Little, Love Me Long (1859), and White Lies (1860), dramatized as The Double Marriage. Then appeared, in 1861, his masterpiece, The Cloister and the Hearth, relating. the adventures of the father of Erasmus. He had dealt with the subject two years before in a short story in Once a Week, but, seeing its capabilities, expanded it; and the work is now recognized as one of the finest historical novels in existence. Returning from the 15th century to modern English life, he next produced another startling novel with a purpose, Hard Cash (1863), in which he strove to direct attention to the abuses of private lunatic asylums. Three more such novels, in two of which at least the moral purpose, though fully kept in view, was not allowed to obstruct the flow of incident, were afterwards undertaken,—Foul Play (1869), in which he exposed the iniquities of ship-knackers, and paved the way for the labours of Samuel Plimsoll; Put Yourself in his Place (1870), in which he grappled with the tyrannous outrages of trades-unions; and A Woman-Hater (1877), in which he exposed the degrading conditions of village life. The Wandering Heir (1875), of which he also wrote a version for the stage, was suggested by the Tichborne trial. Outside the line of these moral and occasional works Reade produced three elaborate studies of character,—Griffith Gaunt (1866), A Terrible Temptation (1871), A Simpleton (1873). The first of these was in his own opinion the best of his novels, and his own opinion was probably right. He was wrong, however, in his own conception of his powers as a dramatist. At intervals throughout his literary career he sought to gratify his dramatic ambition, hiring a theatre and engaging a company for the representation of his own plays. An example of his persistency was seen in the case of Foul Play. He wrote this in 1869 in combination with Mr Dion Boucicault with a view to stage adaptation. The play was more or less a failure; but he produced another version alone in 1877, under the title of A Scuttled Ship, and the failure was pronounced. His greatest success as a dramatist attended his last attempt—Drink—an adaptation of Zola's L'Assommoir, produced in 1879. In that year his friend Laura Seymour, who had kept house for him since 1854, died. Reade's health failed from that time, and he died on the 11th of April 1884, leaving behind him a completed novel, A Perilous Secret, which showed no falling off in the arts of weaving a complicated plot and devising thrilling situations.