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Through Forest and Stream The Quest of the Quetzal   By: (1831-1909)

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Through Forest and Stream, or, The Quest of the Quetzal, by George Manville Fenn.

The book is apparently quite genuinely by George Manville Fenn, judging by its style and content. Yet it does not appear on any list of his books, and copies of it seem to be very rare. For that reason we have not been able to put a verified publication date on the book. It does not even appear in the British Library's catalogue, indicating that it was possibly not registered for copyright. It is fairly short, taking but three hours to read aloud. It was published in the same cover as "The New Forest Spy," which is approximately of the same length, so that they can both be regarded as longish short stories.

The book can be regarded as a sequel to "Nat the Naturalist", except that the action takes place somewhere in the jungles of South America. The Quetzal is a beautiful bird with a long tail, and beautifully coloured. The object of the expedition is to shoot, skin, and mount specimens. There is a passing reference to Ebo, who appears in "Nat the Naturalist" between chapters 25 to 43, so that gives us some kind of a date, for that book was first published in 1883. Let us say 1884 or 1885. Possibly Fenn was asked by members of his young readership for more about Nat, and this is the result.

The co hero is Pete, whom we first meet on board ship being maltreated by the captain. When Nat and his uncle are dropped off with their own small boat, and are camping ashore for their first night, they discharge their fire arms at sounds they take to be enemy locals. The noises turn out to be Pete and Cross, the ship's carpenter, who had jumped ship. Pete had been a dirty looking frightened boy on the ship, but with a quick wash of the face he turns out to be quite a useful lad, and plays a full part in the expedition.

There is the usual Fenn style of apparently mortal perils, overcome by cunning or luck, and it is quite a good read or listen.

THROUGH FOREST AND STREAM; OR, THE QUEST OF THE QUETZAL, BY GEORGE MANVILLE FENN.

CHAPTER ONE.

WHY WE WERE THERE.

The captain of the steamer stopped by where I was watching the flying fish fizz out of the blue ink like water, skim along for some distance, and drop in again, often, I believe, to be snapped up by some bigger fish; and he gave me a poke in the shoulder with one finger, so hard, that it hurt.

"Yes?" I said, for he stood looking hard in my face, while I looked back harder in his, for it seemed such a peculiar way of addressing one, and his manner was more curious still.

He was naturally a smooth faced man with a very browny yellow skin, and he kept on passing the finger with which he had poked me over first one cheek and then over the other, just as if he were shaving himself without soap.

Then his speech seemed more peculiar than his manner, for he repeated my one word, only instead of pronouncing it yes , he turned it into yuss .

He looked so comic and puzzled that I smiled, and the smile became a laugh.

I was sorry directly after, because it seemed rude to one who had been very civil to me ever since we left Kingston Harbour.

"'Tain't nothing to laugh at, young feller," he said, frowning. "I've been talking to him yonder, and I can't make nothing of him. He's a re lay tive of yours, isn't he?"

"Yes; my uncle," I replied.

"Well, I'm afraid he don't know what he's cut out for himself, and I think I ought to tell you, so as you may talk to him and bring him to his senses."

"There's no need," I said, quickly.

"Oh, yes, there is, my lad. He don't know what he's got before him, and it's right that you should. He's going shooting, isn't he?"

"Yes."

"Nattralist?"

"Yes."

"Well, he don't know what the parts are like where he's going. Do you know what fevers is?"

"Oh, yes," I replied; "I've heard of them often... Continue reading book >>




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