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The Purple Land   By: (1841-1922)

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[Illustration: RICHARD]

THE PURPLE LAND

Being the Narrative of One Richard Lamb's Adventures in The Banda Oriental, in South America, as Told By Himself

BY

W. H. Hudson

ILLUSTRATED BY

Keith Henderson

Second Edition, 1904

NEW YORK

PREFACE

This work was first issued in 1885, by Messrs. Sampson Low, in two slim volumes, with the longer, and to most persons, enigmatical title of The Purple Land That England Lost . A purple land may be found in almost any region of the globe, and 'tis of our gains, not our losses, we keep count. A few notices of the book appeared in the papers, one or two of the more serious literary journals reviewing it (not favourably) under the heading of "Travels and Geography"; but the reading public cared not to buy, and it very shortly fell into oblivion. There it might have remained for a further period of nineteen years, or for ever, since the sleep of a book is apt to be of the unawakening kind, had not certain men of letters, who found it on a forgotten heap and liked it in spite of its faults, or because of them, concerned themselves to revive it.

We are often told that an author never wholly loses his affection for a first book, and the feeling has been likened (more than once) to that of a parent towards a first born. I have not said it, but in consenting to this reprint I considered that a writer's early or unregarded work is apt to be raked up when he is not standing by to make remarks. He may be absent on a journey from which he is not expected to return. It accordingly seemed better that I should myself supervise a new edition, since this would enable me to remove a few of the numerous spots and pimples which decorate the ingenious countenance of the work before handing it on to posterity.

Besides many small verbal corrections and changes, the deletion of some paragraphs and the insertion of a few new ones, I have omitted one entire chapter containing the Story of a Piebald Horse, recently reprinted in another book entitled El Ombù . I have also dropped the tedious introduction to the former edition, only preserving, as an appendix, the historical part, for the sake of such of my readers as may like to have a few facts about the land that England lost.

W. H. H.

September, 1904.

[FOR THE SECOND EDITION]

[Illustration: MARGARITA]

[Illustration: DOLORES]

[Illustration: PAQUÍTA]

[Illustration: TORIBIA]

[Illustration: MONICA]

[Illustration: ANITA]

[Illustration: SANTA COLOMA]

[Illustration: CANDELARIA]

[Illustration: DEMETRIA]

[Illustration: HILARIO]

CHAPTER I

Three chapters in the story of my life three periods, distinct and well defined, yet consecutive beginning when I had not completed twenty five years and finishing before thirty, will probably prove the most eventful of all. To the very end they will come back oftenest to memory and seem more vivid than all the other years of existence the four and twenty I had already lived, and the, say, forty or forty five I hope it may be fifty or even sixty which are to follow. For what soul in this wonderful, various world would wish to depart before ninety! The dark as well as the light, its sweet and its bitter, make me love it.

Of the first of these three a word only need be written. This was the period of courtship and matrimony; and though the experience seemed to me then something altogether new and strange in the world, it must nevertheless have resembled that of other men, since all men marry. And the last period, which was the longest of the three, occupying fully three years, could not be told. It was all black disaster. Three years of enforced separation and the extremest suffering which the cruel law of the land allowed an enraged father to inflict on his child and the man who had ventured to wed her against his will. Even the wise may be driven mad by oppression, and I that was never wise, but lived in and was led by the passions and illusions and the unbounded self confidence of youth, what must it have been for me when we were cruelly torn asunder; when I was cast into prison to lie for long months in the company of felons, ever thinking of her who was also desolate and breaking her heart! But it is ended the abhorrent restraint, the anxiety, the breedings over a thousand possible and impossible schemes of revenge... Continue reading book >>




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