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The Rover's Secret A Tale of the Pirate Cays and Lagoons of Cuba   By: (1851-1922)

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The Rover's Secret A Tale of the Pirate Cays and Lagoons of Cuba

By Harry Collingwood It was a bit puzzling to to work out who or what the Rover was, and what the secret was. The word Rover is not mentioned once in the body text of the book, and the word secret only three or four times. However, eventually I sussed it out. The Rover is a pirate who figures enough in the book for one to be aware he is there. He is mortally wounded, and in the last chapter he tells his secret before he dies, thus providing an explanation for several other puzzling things that we have been told, or that happened, in the book.

On the other hand I was not too happy with the overall style of the book, which is too florid and long winded. Practically every sentence could be greatly shortened without loss, and it is sometimes an amusing exercise to rest from reading, and then try to re phrase the current paragraph.

Apart from those things, the book is written in a style much like that of Kingston. This is typical of Collingwood, but one sometimes thinks he is a bit plagiaristic. That doesn't stop it from being quite an enjoyable book. There is some evidence that there are some missing commas in the text as I have presented it, but I do not think that this will at all impede the flow of the story as it unfolds. THE ROVER'S SECRET A TALE OF THE PIRATE CAYS AND LAGOONS OF CUBA

BY HARRY COLLINGWOOD

CHAPTER ONE.

MY CHILDHOOD.

My father Cuthbert Lascelles was the great painter who, under a pseudonym which I need not mention here, was a few years ago well known in the world of art, and whose works are now to be found enshrined in some of the noblest public and private collections both at home and abroad.

He was a tall and singularly handsome man; with clear grey eyes, and a stern resolute looking mouth shadowed by a heavy moustache which, like his short curly hair and carefully trimmed beard, was of a pale golden tint.

My mother died in giving me birth; and this, together with the fact that she was a native of Italy, was all I, for some years, knew concerning her.

One of the earliest impressions made upon my infant mind for I cannot recall the time when I was free from it was that my parents suffered great unhappiness during the latter part of their short married life; unhappiness resulting from some terrible mistake on the part of one or the other of them; which mistake was never explained and rectified if explanation and rectification were indeed possible during my mother's lifetime.

Having received this impression at so very early an age, I cannot, of course, say with certainty whence I derived it; but I am inclined to attribute it chiefly to the singularity of my father's conduct toward myself.

I was his only child.

He was a man to whom solitude and retirement appeared to be the chief essentials of existence. Though living in London, he very rarely mingled in society, yet I have since heard that he always met with a most cordial welcome when he did so and it was seldom indeed that his studio doors unfolded to admit anyone but their master. If he went into the country, as of course was often the case, in search of subjects, he never by any chance happened to be going in the same direction as any of his brethren of the brush; his destination was invariably some wild spot, unfrequented possibly even unknown alike by painter and tourist. And there if undisturbed he would remain, diligently working all day in the open air during favourable weather; and, when the elements were unpropitious for work, taking long walks over solitary heaths and desolate mountain sides, or along the lonely shore. And when the first snows of winter came, reminding him that it was time to turn his face homeward once more, he would pack up his paraphernalia and return to town, laden with studies of skies and seas, of barren moorland, rocky crag, and foaming mountain torrent which provoked alike the envy and the admiration of his brother artists... Continue reading book >>




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