Books Should Be Free is now
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Or,Three Roads In Life   By: (1806-1872)

The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Or,Three Roads In Life by Charles James Lever

First Page:




By Charles James Lever

With Illustrations By Phiz.

In Two Volumes

Vol. I.

Boston: Little, Brown, And Company



MY DEAR METHUEN, Some idle folk have pretended that certain living characters have been depicted under the fictitious names of these volumes. There is, I assure you, but one personality contained in it, and that is of a right true hearted Englishman, hospitable, and manly in all his dealings; and to him I wish to dedicate my book, in testimony not only of the gratitude which, in common with all his countrymen here, I feel to be his due, but in recognition of many happy hours passed in his society, and the honor of his friendship. The personality begins and ends with this dedication, which I beg you to accept of, and am

Ever yours faithfully,




IF the original conception of this tale was owing to the story of an old and valued schoolfellow who took service in Austria, and rose to rank and honors there, all the rest was purely fictitious. My friend had made a deep impression on my mind by his narratives of that strange life, wherein, in the very midst of our modern civilization, an old world tradition still has its influence, making the army of to day the veritable sons and descendants of those who grouped around the bivouac fires in Wallenstein's camp. Of that more than Oriental submission that graduated deference to military rank that chivalrous devotion to the "Kaiser" whicli enter into the soldier heart of Austria, I have been unable to reproduce any but the very faintest outlines, and yet these were the traits which, pervaded all my friend's stories and gave them character and distinctiveness.

Many of the other characters in this tale were drawn from the life, with such changes added and omitted features as might rescue them from any charge of personality. With all my care on this score, one or two have been believed to be recognizable; and if so I have only to hope that I have touched on peculiarities of disposition inoffensively, and only depicted such traits as may "point a moral," without wounding the possessor.

The last portion of the story includes some scenes from the Italian campaign, which had just come to a close while I was writing. If a better experience of Italy than I then possessed might modify some of the opinions I entertained at that time, and induce me to form some conclusions at least at variance with those I then expressed, I still prefer to leave the whole unaltered, lest in changing I might injure the impression under which the fulness of my once conviction had impelled me to pronounce.

Writing these lines now, while men's hearts are throbbing anxiously for the tidings any day may produce, and when the earth is already tremulous under the march of distant squadrons, I own that even the faint, weak picture of that struggle in this story appeals to myself with a more than common interest. I have no more to add than my grateful acknowledgments to such as still hold me in their favor, and to write myself their devoted servant,




A THEATRE by daylight, a great historical picture in the process of cleaning, a ballet dancer of a wet day hastening to rehearsal, the favorite for the Oaks dead lame in a straw yard, are scarcely more stripped of their legitimate illusions than is a fashionable watering place on the approach of winter. The gay shops and stalls of flaunting wares are closed; the promenades, lately kept in trimmest order, are weed grown and neglected; the "sear and yellow leaves" are fluttering and rustling along the alleys where "Beauty's step was wont to tread." Both music and fountains have ceased to play; the very statues are putting on great overcoats of snow, while the orange trees file off like a sad funeral procession to hide themselves in dusky sheds till the coming spring... Continue reading book >>

Book sections

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books