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In Kedar's Tents   By: (1862-1903)

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First Page:

IN KEDAR'S TENTS by Henry Seton Merriman.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. ONE SOWETH. II. ANOTHER REAPETH. III. LIKE SHIPS UPON THE SEA. IV. LE PREMIER PAS. V. CONTRABAND. VI. AT RONDA. VII. IN A MOORISH GARDEN. VIII. THE LOVE LETTER. IX. A WAR OF WIT. X. THE CITY OF DISCONTENT. XI. A TANGLED WEB. XII. ON THE TOLEDO ROAD. XIII. A WISE IGNORAMUS. XIV. A WEIGHT OF EVIDENCE. XV. AN ULTIMATUM. XVI. IN HONOUR. XVII. IN MADRID. XVIII. IN TOLEDO. XIX. CONCEPCION TAKES THE ROAD. XX. ON THE TALAVERA ROAD. XXI. A CROSS EXAMINATION. XXII. REPARATION. XXIII. LARRALDE'S PRICE. XXIV. PRIESTCRAFT. XXV. SWORDCRAFT. XXVI. WOMANCRAFT. XXVII. A NIGHT JOURNEY. XXVIII. THE CITY OF STRIFE. XXIX. MIDNIGHT AND DAWN. XXX. THE DAWN OF PEACE.

CHAPTER I. ONE SOWETH.

'If it be a duty to respect other men's claims, so also is it a duty to maintain our own.'

It is in the staging of her comedies that fate shows herself superior to mere human invention. While we, with careful regard to scenery, place our conventional puppets on the stage and bid them play their old old parts in a manner as ancient, she rings up the curtain and starts a tragedy on a scene that has obviously been set by the carpenter for a farce. She deals out the parts with a fine inconsistency, and the jolly faced little man is cast to play Romeo, while the poetic youth with lantern jaw and an impaired digestion finds no Juliet to match his love.

Fate, with that playfulness which some take too seriously or quite amiss, set her queer stage as long ago as 1838 for the comedy of certain lives, and rang up the curtain one dark evening on no fitter scene than the high road from Gateshead to Durham. It was raining hard, and a fresh breeze from the south east swept a salt rime from the North Sea across a tract of land as bare and bleak as the waters of that grim ocean. A hard, cold land this, where the iron that has filled men's purses has also entered their souls.

There had been a great meeting at Chester le Street of those who were at this time beginning to be known as Chartists, and, the Act having been lately passed that torchlight meetings were illegal, this assembly had gathered by the light of a waning moon long since hidden by the clouds. Amid the storm of wind and rain, orators had expounded views as wild as the night itself, to which the hard visaged sons of Northumbria had listened with grunts of approval or muttered words of discontent. A dangerous game to play this stirring up of the people's heart, and one that may at any moment turn to the deepest earnest.

Few thought at this time that the movement awakening in the working centres of the North and Midlands was destined to spread with the strange rapidity of popular passion to spread and live for a decade. Few of the Chartists expected to see the fulfilment of half of their desires. Yet, to day, a moiety of the People's Charter has been granted. These voices crying in the night demanded an extended suffrage, vote by ballot, and freedom for rich and poor alike to sit in Parliament. Within the scope of one reign these demands have been granted.

The meeting at Chester le Street was no different from a hundred others held in England at the same time. It was illegal, and yet the authorities dared not to pronounce it so. It might prove dangerous to those taking part in it. Lawyers said that the leaders laid themselves open to the charge of high treason. In this assembly as in others there were wirepullers men playing their own game, and from the safety of the rear pushing on those in front. With one of these we have to do. With his mistake Fate raised the curtain, and on the horizon of several lives arose a cloud no bigger than a man's hand.

Geoffrey Horner lived before his time, insomuch as he was a gentleman Radical. He was clever, and the world heeded not. He was brilliant, well educated, capable of great achievements, and the world refused to be astonished... Continue reading book >>




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