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The Golden Dream Adventures in the Far West   By: (1825-1894)

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The Golden Dream, by R.M. Ballantyne

Robert Michael Ballantyne was born in 1825 and died in 1894. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy, and in 1841 he became a clerk with the Hudson Bay Company, working at the Red River Settlement in Northen Canada until 1847, arriving back in Edinburgh in 1848. The letters he had written home were very amusing in their description of backwoods life, and his family publishing connections suggested that he should construct a book based on these letters. Three of his most enduring books were written over the next decade, "The Young Fur Traders", "Ungava", "The Hudson Bay Company", and were based on his experiences with the H.B.C. In this period he also wrote "The Coral island" and "Martin Rattler", both of these taking place in places never visited by Ballantyne. Having been chided for small mistakes he made in these books, he resolved always to visit the places he wrote about. With these books he became known as a great master of literature intended for teenagers. He researched the Cornish Mines, the London Fire Brigade, the Postal Service, the Railways, the laying down of submarine telegraph cables, the construction of light houses, the light ship service, the life boat service, South Africa, Norway, the North Sea fishing fleet, ballooning, deep sea diving, Algiers, and many more, experiencing the lives of the men and women in these settings by living with them for weeks and months at a time, and he lived as they lived.

He was a very true to life author, depicting the often squalid scenes he encountered with great care and attention to detail. His young readers looked forward eagerly to his next books, and through the 1860s and 1870s there was a flow of books from his pen, sometimes four in a year, all very good reading. The rate of production diminished in the last ten or fifteen years of his life, but the quality never failed.

He published over ninety books under his own name, and a few books for very young children under the pseudonym "Comus".

For today's taste his books are perhaps a little too religious, and what we would nowadays call "pi". In part that was the way people wrote in those days, but more important was the fact that in his days at the Red River Settlement, in the wilds of Canada, he had been a little dissolute, and he did not want his young readers to be unmindful of how they ought to behave, as he felt he had been.

Some of his books were quite short, little over 100 pages. These books formed a series intended for the children of poorer parents, having less pocket money. These books are particularly well written and researched, because he wanted that readership to get the very best possible for their money. They were published as six series, three books in each series.

Re created as an e Text by Nick Hodson, August 2003.

THE GOLDEN DREAM, BY R.M. BALLANTYNE.

CHAPTER ONE.

ADVENTURES IN THE FAR WEST.

THE CAUSE OF THE WHOLE AFFAIR.

Ned Sinton gazed at the scene before him with indescribable amazement! He had often witnessed strange things in the course of his short though chequered life, but he had never seen anything like this. Many a dream of the most extravagant nature had surrounded his pillow with creatures of curious form and scenes of magic beauty, but never before, either by actual observation or in nightly vision, had Ned Sinton beheld a scene so wonderful as that which now lay spread out before him.

Ned stood in the centre of a cavern of vast dimensions so vast, and so full of intense light, that instead of looking on it as a huge cave, he felt disposed to regard it as a small world. The sides of this cavern were made of pure gold, and the roof far above his head was spangled all over with glittering points, like a starry sky. The ground, too, and, in short, everything within the cave, was made of the same precious metal... Continue reading book >>




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