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Salute to Adventurers   By: (1875-1940)

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First Page:

SALUTE TO ADVENTURERS

BY

JOHN BUCHAN

[Illustration: 1798 EDINBURGH]

TO MAJOR GENERAL THE HON. SIR REGINALD TALBOT, K.C.B.

I tell of old Virginian ways; And who more fit my tale to scan Than you, who knew in far off days The eager horse of Sheridan; Who saw the sullen meads of fate, The tattered scrub, the blood drenched sod, Where Lee, the greatest of the great, Bent to the storm of God?

I tell lost tales of savage wars; And you have known the desert sands, The camp beneath the silver stars, The rush at dawn of Arab bands, The fruitless toil, the hopeless dream, The fainting feet, the faltering breath, While Gordon by the ancient stream Waited at ease on death.

And now, aloof from camp and field, You spend your sunny autumn hours Where the green folds of Chiltern shield The nooks of Thames amid the flowers: You who have borne that name of pride, In honour clean from fear or stain, Which Talbot won by Henry's side In vanquished Aquitaine.

The reader is asked to believe that most of the characters in this tale and many of the incidents have good historical warrant. The figure of Muckle John Gib will be familiar to the readers of Patrick Walker .

CONTENTS.

I. THE SWEET SINGERS II. OF A HIGH HANDED LADY III. THE CANONGATE TOLBOOTH IV. OF A STAIRHEAD AND A SEA CAPTAIN V. MY FIRST COMING TO VIRGINIA VI. TELLS OF MY EDUCATION VII. I BECOME AN UNPOPULAR CHARACTER VIII. RED RINGAN IX. VARIOUS DOINGS IN THE SAVANNAH X. I HEAR AN OLD SONG XI. GRAVITY OUT OF BED XII. A WORD AT THE HARBOUR SIDE XIII. I STUMBLE INTO A GREAT FOLLY XIV. A WILD WAGER XV. I GATHER THE CLANS XVI. THE FORD OF THE RAPIDAN XVII. I RETRACE MY STEPS XVIII. OUR ADVENTURE RECEIVES A RECRUIT XIX. CLEARWATER GLEN XX. THE STOCKADE AMONG THE PINES XXI. A HAWK SCREAMS IN THE EVENING XXII. HOW A FOOL MUST GO HIS OWN ROAD XXIII. THE HORN OF DIARMAID SOUNDS XXIV. I SUFFER THE HEATHEN'S RAGE XXV. EVENTS ON THE HILL SIDE XXVI. SHALAH XXVII. HOW I STROVE ALL NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL XXVIII. HOW THREE SOULS FOUND THEIR HERITAGE

SALUTE TO ADVENTURERS.

CHAPTER I.

THE SWEET SINGERS.

When I was a child in short coats a spaewife came to the town end, and for a silver groat paid by my mother she riddled my fate. It came to little, being no more than that I should miss love and fortune in the sunlight and find them in the rain. The woman was a haggard, black faced gipsy, and when my mother asked for more she turned on her heel and spoke gibberish; for which she was presently driven out of the place by Tarn Roberton, the baillie, and the village dogs. But the thing stuck in my memory, and together with the fact that I was a Thursday's bairn, and so, according to the old rhyme, "had far to go," convinced me long ere I had come to man's estate that wanderings and surprises would be my portion.

It is in the rain that this tale begins. I was just turned of eighteen, and in the back end of a dripping September set out from our moorland house of Auchencairn to complete my course at Edinburgh College. The year was 1685, an ill year for our countryside; for the folk were at odds with the King's Government, about religion, and the land was full of covenants and repressions. Small wonder that I was backward with my colleging, and at an age when most lads are buckled to a calling was still attending the prelections of the Edinburgh masters. My father had blown hot and cold in politics, for he was fiery and unstable by nature, and swift to judge a cause by its latest professor. He had cast out with the Hamilton gentry, and, having broken the head of a dragoon in the change house of Lesmahagow, had his little estate mulcted in fines. All of which, together with some natural curiosity and a family love of fighting, sent him to the ill fated field of Bothwell Brig, from which he was lucky to escape with a bullet in the shoulder... Continue reading book >>




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