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Chapter One. The Plant-Hunter. “A Plant-Hunter! what is that? “We have heard of fox-hunters, of deer-hunters, of bear and buffalo-hunters, of lion-hunters, and of ‘boy-hunters;’ of a plant-hunter never. “Stay! Truffles are plants. Dogs are used in finding them; and the collector of these is termed a truffle-hunter. Perhaps this is what the Captain means?” No, my boy reader. Something very different from... more...

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Captain Mayne Reid was born at Ballyroney, County Down, on the 4th April, 1818, and was the son of the Rev. Thomas Mayne Reid. Mayne Reid was educated with a view to the Church, but finding his inclinations opposed to this calling, he emigrated to America and arrived in New Orleans on January, 1840. After a varied career as plantation over-seer, school-master, and actor, with a number of expeditions in connection with... more...

A Hunting Party. On the western bank of the Mississippi, twelve miles below the embouchure of the Missouri, stands the large town of Saint Louis, poetically known as the “Mound City.” Although there are many other large towns throughout the Mississippi Valley, Saint Louis is the true metropolis of the “far west”—of that semi-civilised, ever-changing belt of territory known as the “Frontier.” Saint Louis... more...

The Land of the Slave. Land of Ethiope! whose burning centre seems unapproachable as the frozen Pole! Land of the unicorn and the lion, of the crouching panther and the stately elephant, of the camel, the camel-leopard, and the camel-bird! Land of the antelopes, of the wild gemsbok, and the gentle gazelle, land of the gigantic crocodile and huge river-horse, land teeming with animal life, and, last in the list of my apostrophic... more...

AUTHOR'S NOTE. Captain Mayne Reid is pleased to have had the help of an American Author in preparing for publication this story of "The Boy Slaves," and takes the present opportunity of acknowledging that help, which has kindly extended beyond matters of merely external form, to points of narrative and composition, which are here embodied with the result of his own labor. The Rancho, December, 1864. MEMOIR OF MAYNE REID. No one who has... more...


Chapter One. Pepé, The Sleeper. No landscape on the Biscayan coast, presents a more imposing and picturesque aspect than the little village of Elanchovi. Lying within an amphitheatre of cliffs, whose crests rise above the roofs of the houses, the port is protected from the surge of the sea by a handsome little jetty of chiselled stone; while the single street of which the village is composed, commencing at the inner end of the mole,... more...

Chapter One. The Squatter’s Clearing. The white-headed eagle, soaring above the spray of a Tennessean forest, looks down upon the clearing of the squatter. To the eye of the bird it is alone visible; and though but a spot in the midst of that immense green sea, it is conspicuous by the colour of the trees that stand over it. They stand, but grow not: the girdling ring around their stems has deprived them of their sap; the ivory bill of... more...

Souvenirs. Land of the nopal and maguey—home of Moctezuma and Malinché!—I cannot wring thy memories from my heart! Years may roll on, hand wax weak, and heart grow old, but never till both are cold can I forget thee! I would not; for thee would I remember. Not for all the world would I bathe my soul in the waters of Lethe. Blessed be memory for thy sake! Bright land of Anahuac! my spirit mounts upon the aerial wings of Fancy,... more...

On the Karoo. A vast plain, seemingly bounded but by the horizon; treeless, save where a solitary cameel-doorn (Note 1) spreads its feathered leaves, or a clump of arborescent aloes, mingled with rigid-stemmed euphorbias, breaks the continuity of its outline. These types of desert vegetation but proclaim its sterility, which is further evinced by tufts of whiteish withered grass, growing thinly between them. Over it three waggons are moving;... more...

Prologue. During one of many journeyings through the remote provinces of the Mexican republic, it was my fortune to encounter an old revolutionary officer, in the person of Captain Castaños. From time to time as we travelled together, he was good enough to give me an account of some of the more noted actions of the prolonged and sanguinary war of the Independence; and, among other narratives, one which especially interested me was the... more...