In the Track of the Troops by R M Ballantyne Page 1 of 325

Chapter One.

A Tale of Modern War.

Reveals the Explosive Nature of my Early Career.

The remarkable-I might even say amazing-personal adventures which I am about to relate occurred quite recently.

They are so full of interest to myself and to my old mother, that I hasten to write them down while yet vivid and fresh in my memory, in the hope that they may prove interesting,-to say nothing of elevating and instructive-to the English-speaking portions of the human race throughout the world.

The dear old lady to whom I have just referred-my mother-is one of the gentlest, meekest, tenderest beings of my acquaintance. Her regard for me is almost idolatrous. My feelings towards her are tinged with adoration.

From my earliest years I have been addicted to analysis.

Some of my younger readers may not perhaps know that by analysis is meant the reduction of compound things to their elements-the turning of things, as it were, inside out and tearing them to pieces. All the complex toys of infancy I was wont to reduce to their elements; I turned them inside out to see what they were made of, and how they worked.

A doll, not my own, but my sister Bella's, which had moveable eyelids and a musical stomach, was treated by me in this manner, the result being that I learned little, while my poor sister suffered much. Everything in my father's house suffered more or less from this inquiring tendency of my mind.

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