Afloat in the Forest by Mayne Reid Page 1 of 281

Chapter One.
The Brothers at Home.

Twenty years ago, not twenty miles from the Land"s End, there lived a Cornish gentleman named Trevannion. Just twenty years ago he died, leaving to lament him a brace of noble boys, whose mother all three had mourned, with like profound sorrow, but a short while before.

"Squire" Trevannion, as he was called, died in his own house, where his ancestors for hundreds of years before him had dispensed hospitality.

None of them, however, had entertained so profusely as he; or rather improvidently, it might be said, since in less than three months after his death the old family mansion, with the broad acres appertaining to it, passed into the hands of an alien, leaving his two sons, Ralph and Richard, landless, houseless, and almost powerless.

One thousand pounds apiece was all that remained to them out of the wreck of the patrimonial estates. It was whispered that even this much was not in reality theirs, but had been given to them by the very respectable solicitor who had managed their father"s affairs, and had furthermore managed to succeed him in the ownership of a property worth a rental of three thousand a year.

Any one knowing the conditions under which the young Trevannions received their two thousand pounds must have believed it to be a gift, since it was handed over to them by the family solicitor with the private understanding that they were to use it in pushing their fortunes elsewhere,-anywhere except in Cornwall!

The land-pirate who had plucked them-for in reality had they been plucked-did not wish them to stay at home, divested, as they were, of their valuable plumage. He had appropriated their fine feathers, and cared not for the naked bodies of the birds.

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