CHAPTER ONE The Wicket-Gate I spent one-third of my journey looking out of the window of a first-class carriage, the next in a local motor-car following the course of a trout stream in a shallow valley, and the last tramping over a ridge of downland through great beech-woods to my quarters for the night. In the first part I was in an infamous temper; in the second I was worried and mystified; but the cool twilight of the third stage calmed and... more...

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... more...

INTRODUCTORY. On the last day of May 1902 the signature at Pretoria of the conditions of peace brought to an end a war which had lasted for nearly three years, and had among other things destroyed a government, dissolved a society, and laid waste a country. In those last months of fighting some progress had been made with the reconstruction—at least with that not unimportant branch of it which is concerned with the machinery of government.... more...

CHAPTER I EVENING IN GLENAVELIN From the heart of a great hill land Glenavelin stretches west and south to the wider Gled valley, where its stream joins with the greater water in its seaward course. Its head is far inland in a place of mountain solitudes, but its mouth is all but on the lip of the sea, and salt breezes fight with the flying winds of the hills. It is a land of green meadows on the brink of heather, of far-stretching fir woods... more...

FROM THE PENTLANDS LOOKING NORTH AND SOUTH Around my feet the clouds are drawnIn the cold mystery of the dawn;No breezes cheer, no guests intrudeMy mossy, mist-clad solitude;When sudden down the steeps of skyFlames a long, lightening wind. On highThe steel-blue arch shines clear, and far,In the low lands where cattle are,Towns smoke. And swift, a haze, a gleam,—The Firth lies like a frozen stream,Reddening with morn. Tall spires of... more...


CHAPTER ONE A Mission is Proposed I had just finished breakfast and was filling my pipe when I got Bullivant's telegram. It was at Furling, the big country house in Hampshire where I had come to convalesce after Loos, and Sandy, who was in the same case, was hunting for the marmalade. I flung him the flimsy with the blue strip pasted down on it, and he whistled. 'Hullo, Dick, you've got the battalion. Or maybe it's a staff billet. You'll be a... more...

PROLOGUE. The girl came into the room with a darting movement like a swallow, looked round her with the same birdlike quickness, and then ran across the polished floor to where a young man sat on a sofa with one leg laid along it. "I have saved you this dance, Quentin," she said, pronouncing the name with a pretty staccato. "You must be lonely not dancing, so I will sit with you. What shall we talk about?" The young man did not answer at once,... more...

CHAPTER I THE MAN ON THE KIRKCAPLE SHORE I mind as if it were yesterday my first sight of the man. Little I knew at the time how big the moment was with destiny, or how often that face seen in the fitful moonlight would haunt my sleep and disturb my waking hours. But I mind yet the cold grue of terror I got from it, a terror which was surely more than the due of a few truant lads breaking the Sabbath with their play. The town of Kirkcaple, of... more...

PROLOGUE The three of us in that winter camp in the Selkirks were talking the slow aimless talk of wearied men. The Soldier, who had seen many campaigns, was riding his hobby of the Civil War and descanting on Lee's tactics in the last Wilderness struggle. I said something about the stark romance of it—of Jeb Stuart flitting like a wraith through the forests; of Sheridan's attack at Chattanooga, when the charging troops on the ridge were... more...

CHAPTER ONE The Man Who Died I returned from the City about three o'clock on that May afternoon pretty well disgusted with life. I had been three months in the Old Country, and was fed up with it. If anyone had told me a year ago that I would have been feeling like that I should have laughed at him; but there was the fact. The weather made me liverish, the talk of the ordinary Englishman made me sick, I couldn't get enough exercise, and the... more...