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Hunting the Lions   By: (1825-1894)

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We trust, good reader, that it will not cause you a feeling of disappointment to be told that the name of our hero is Brown Tom Brown. It is important at the beginning of any matter that those concerned should clearly understand their position, therefore we have thought fit, even at the risk of throwing a wet blanket over you, to commence this tale on one of the most romantic of subjects by stating and now repeating that our hero was a member of the large and (supposed to be) unromantic family of "the Browns."

A word in passing about the romance of the family. Just because the Brown family is large, it has some to be deemed unromantic. Every one knows that two of the six green grocers in the next street are Browns. The fat sedate butcher round the corner is David Brown, and the milkman is James Brown. The latter is a square faced practical man, who is looked up to as a species of oracle by all his friends. Half a dozen drapers within a mile of you are named Brown, and all of them are shrewd men of business, who have feathered their nests well, and stick to business like burrs. You will certainly find that several of the hardest working clergymen, and one or more of the city missionaries, are named Brown; and as to Doctor Browns, there is no end of them! But why go further? The fact is patent to every unprejudiced person.

Now, instead of admitting that the commonness of the name of Brown proves its owners to be unromantic, we hold that this is a distinct evidence of the deep seated romance of the family. In the first place, it is probable that their multitudinosity is the result of romance, which, as every one knows, has a tendency to cause men and women to fall in love, and marry early in life. Brown is almost always a good husband and a kind father. Indeed he is a good, steady going man in all the relations of life, and his name, in our mind at least, is generally associated with troops of happy children who call him "daddy," and regard him in the light of an elephantine playmate. And they do so with good reason, for Brown is manly and thorough going in whatever he undertakes, whether it be the transaction of business or romping with his children.

But, besides this, the multitudinosity of the Browns cuts in two directions. If there are so many of them green grocers, butchers, and milkmen who without sufficient reason are thought to be unromantic it will be found that they are equally numerous in other walks of life; and wherever they walk they do so coolly, deliberately, good humouredly, and very practically. Look at the learned professions, for instance. What a host of Browns are there. The engineers and contractors too, how they swarm in their lists. If you want to erect a suspension bridge over the British Channel, the only man who is likely to undertake the job for you is Adam Brown, C.E., and Abel Brown will gladly provide the materials. As to the army, here their name is legion; they compose an army of themselves; and they are all enthusiasts but quiet, steady going, not noisy or boastful enthusiasts. In fact, the romance of Brown consists very much in his willingness to fling himself, heart and soul, into whatever his hand finds to do. The man who led the storming party, and achieved immortal glory by getting himself riddled to death with bullets, was Lieutenant Brown better known as Ned Brown by his brother officers, who could not mention his name without choking for weeks after his sad but so called "glorious" fall. The other man who accomplished the darling wish of his heart to win the Victoria Cross by attaching a bag of gunpowder to the gate of the fortress and blowing it and himself to atoms to small that no shred of him big enough to hang the Victoria Cross upon was ever found, was Corporal Brown, and there was scarcely a dry eye in the regiment when he went down... Continue reading book >>

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