The Broad Highway by Jeffery Farnol Page 1 of 560

ANTE SCRIPTUM

As I sat of an early summer morning in the shade of a tree, eating fried bacon with a tinker, the thought came to me that I might some day write a book of my own: a book that should treat of the roads and by-roads, of trees, and wind in lonely places, of rapid brooks and lazy streams, of the glory of dawn, the glow of evening, and the purple solitude of night; a book of wayside inns and sequestered taverns; a book of country things and ways and people. And the thought pleased me much.

"But," objected the Tinker, for I had spoken my thought aloud, "trees and suchlike don't sound very interestin' - leastways - not in a book, for after all a tree's only a tree and an inn, an inn; no, you must tell of other things as well."

"Yes," said I, a little damped, "to be sure there is a highwayman - "

"Come, that's better!" said the Tinker encouragingly.


"Then," I went on, ticking off each item on my fingers, "come Tom Cragg, the pugilist - "

"Better and better!" nodded the Tinker.

" - a one-legged soldier of the Peninsula, an adventure at a lonely tavern, a flight through woods at midnight pursued by desperate villains, and - a most extraordinary tinker. So far so good, I think, and it all sounds adventurous enough."

"What!" cried the Tinker. "Would you put me in your book then?"

"Assuredly."

"Why then," said the Tinker, "it's true I mends kettles, sharpens scissors and such, but I likewise peddles books an' nov-els, an' what's more I reads 'em - so, if you must put me in your book, you might call me a literary cove."



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