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    H. Rider Haggard

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    My Dear Little, Some five-and-thirty years ago it was our custom to discuss many matters, among them, I think, the history and romance of the vanished Empires of Central America. In memory of those far-off days will you accept a tale that deals with one of them, that of the marvellous Incas of Peru; with... Read More
    My friend, into whose hands I hope that all these manuscripts of mine will pass one day, of this one I have something to say to you. A long while ago I jotted down in it the history of the events that it details with more or less completeness. This I did for my own... Read More
    Now I, Allan Quatermain, come to the weirdest (with one or two exceptions perhaps) of all the experiences which it has amused me to employ my idle hours in recording here in a strange land, for after all England is strange to me. I grow elderly. I have, as I suppose, passed the period of... Read More
    and Other Tales
    Scientists, or some scientists—for occasionally one learned person differs from other learned persons—tell us they know all that is worth knowing about man, which statement, of course, includes woman. They trace him from his remotest origin; they show us how his bones changed and his shape modified, also how, under the influence of his needs... Read More
    Being an Account of the Great Adventure of Bastin, Bickley and Arbuthnot
    Ditchingham, 1918. MY DEAR CURZON, More than thirty years ago you tried to protect me, then a stranger to you, from one of the falsest and most malignant accusations ever made against a writer. So complete was your exposure of the methods of those at work to blacken a person whom they knew to be... Read More
    More than thirty years ago two atoms of the eternal Energy sped forth from the heart of it which we call God, and incarnated themselves in the human shapes that were destined to hold them for a while, as vases hold perfumes, or goblets wine, or as sparks of everlasting radium inhabit the bowels of... Read More
    A Tale of the Exodus
    This book suggests that the real Pharaoh of the Exodus was not Meneptah or Merenptah, son of Rameses the Great, but the mysterious usurper, Amenmeses, who for a year or two occupied the throne between the death of Meneptah and the accession of his son the heir-apparent, the gentle-natured Seti II. Of the fate of... Read More
    Ditchingham House, Norfolk, May, 1917. My dear Roosevelt,— You are, I know, a lover of old Allan Quatermain, one who understands and appreciates the views of life and the aspirations that underlie and inform his manifold adventures. Therefore, since such is your kind wish, in memory of certain hours wherein both of us found true... Read More
    Now I, Allan Quatermain, come to the story of what was, perhaps, one of the strangest of all the adventures which have befallen me in the course of a life that so far can scarcely be called tame or humdrum. Amongst many other things it tells of the war against the Black Kendah people and... Read More
    I do not suppose that anyone who knows the name of Allan Quatermain would be likely to associate it with flowers, and especially with orchids. Yet as it happens it was once my lot to take part in an orchid hunt of so remarkable a character that I think its details should not be lost.... Read More
    In memory of Oodnadatta and many wanderings oversea I offer these pictures from the past, my dear Vincent, to you, a lover of the present if an aspirant who can look upon the future with more of hope than fear. Your colleague, H. Rider Haggard. To Sir Edgar Vincent, K.C.M.G. Ditchingham, November, 1913. It chances... Read More
    Dear Mr. Stuart, For twenty years, I believe I am right in saying, you, as Assistant Secretary for Native Affairs in Natal, and in other offices, have been intimately acquainted with the Zulu people. Moreover, you are one of the few living men who have made a deep and scientific study of their language, their... Read More
    An Episode in the Life of the Late Allan Quatermain
    Ditchingham, 1912. My dear Sir Henry,— Nearly thirty-seven years have gone by, more than a generation, since first we saw the shores of Southern Africa rising from the sea. Since then how much has happened: the Annexation of the Transvaal, the Zulu War, the first Boer War, the discovery of the Rand, the taking of... Read More
    The author supposes that the first of the above extracts must have impressed him. At any rate, on the night after the reading of it, just as he went to sleep, or on the following morning just as he awoke, he cannot tell which, there came to him the title and the outlines of this... Read More
    Ditchingham, May 27, 1911. My dear Jehu: For five long but not unhappy years, seated or journeying side by side, we have striven as Royal Commissioners to find a means whereby our coasts may be protected from “the outrageous flowing surges of the sea” (I quote the jurists of centuries ago), the idle swamps turned... Read More
    My dear Budge,— Only a friendship extending over many years emboldened me, an amateur, to propose to dedicate a Romance of Old Egypt to you, one of the world’s masters of the language and lore of the great people who in these latter days arise from their holy tombs to instruct us in the secrets... Read More
    Being an Account of the Social Work of The Salvation Army in Great Britain
    I dedicate these pages to the Officers and Soldiers of the Salvation Army, in token of my admiration of the self-sacrificing work by which it is their privilege to aid the poor and wretched throughout the world. H. RIDER HAGGARD. DITCHINGHAM, November, 1910 The author desires to thank Mr. D.R. DANIEL for the kind and... Read More
    Every one has read the monograph, I believe that is the right word, of my dear friend, Professor Higgs—Ptolemy Higgs to give him his full name—descriptive of the tableland of Mur in North Central Africa, of the ancient underground city in the mountains which surrounded it, and of the strange tribe of Abyssinian Jews, or... Read More
    Who that has ever seen them can forget the ruins of Blossholme Abbey, set upon their mount between the great waters of the tidal estuary to the north, the rich lands and grazing marshes that, backed with woods, border it east and south, and to the west by the rolling uplands, merging at last into... Read More
    “The Zulus about here have a strange story of a white girl who in Dingaan’s day was supposed to ‘hold the spirit’ of some legendary goddess of theirs who is also white. This girl, they say, was very beautiful and brave, and had great power in the land before the battle of the Blood River,... Read More
    An Idol of Africa
    Sir Robert Aylward, Bart., M.P., sat in his office in the City of London. It was a very magnificent office, quite one of the finest that could be found within half a mile of the Mansion House. Its exterior was built of Aberdeen granite, a material calculated to impress the prospective investor with a comfortable... Read More
    It was a spring afternoon in the sixth year of the reign of King Henry VII. of England. There had been a great show in London, for that day his Grace opened the newly convened Parliament, and announced to his faithful people—who received the news with much cheering, since war is ever popular at first—his... Read More
    An African Romance
    Beautiful, beautiful was that night! No air that stirred; the black smoke from the funnels of the mail steamer Zanzibar lay low over the surface of the sea like vast, floating ostrich plumes that vanished one by one in the starlight. Benita Beatrix Clifford, for that was her full name, who had been christened Benita... Read More
    The Return of She
    Not with a view of conciliating those readers who on principle object to sequels, but as a matter of fact, the Author wishes to say that he does not so regard this book. Rather does he venture to ask that it should be considered as the conclusion of an imaginative tragedy (if he may so... Read More
    R.M.S. Mongolia, 12th May, 1904 Mayhap, Ella, here too distance lends its enchantment, and these gallant brethren would have quarrelled over Rosamund, or even had their long swords at each other's throat. Mayhap that Princess and heroine might have failed in the hour of her trial and never earned her saintly crown. Mayhap the good... Read More
    A Tale of Three Destinies
    My Dear John Berwick, When you read her history in MS. you thought well of “Stella Fregelius” and urged her introduction to the world. Therefore I ask you, my severe and accomplished critic, to accept the burden of a book for which you are to some extent responsible. Whatever its fate, at least it has... Read More
    A Tale of the Fall of Jerusalem
    TO GLADYS CHRISTIAN A DWELLER IN THE EAST THIS EASTERN TALE IS DEDICATED BY HER OWN AND HER FATHER’S FRIEND THE AUTHOR Ditchingham: September 14, 1902. It was but two hours after midnight, yet many were wakeful in Cæsarea on the Syrian coast. Herod Agrippa, King of all Palestine—by grace of the Romans—now at the... Read More
    A Tale of the Dutch
    In token of the earnest reverence of a man of a later generation for his character, and for that life work whereof we inherit the fruits to-day, this tale of the times he shaped is dedicated to the memory of one of the greatest and most noble-hearted beings that the world has known; the immortal... Read More
    or, The Doom of Zimbabwe
    To the Memory of the Child Nada Burnham, who “bound all to her” and, while her father cut his way through the hordes of the Ingobo Regiment, perished of the hardships of war at Buluwao on 19th May, 1896, I dedicate these tales—and more particularly the last, that of a Faith which triumphed over savagery... Read More
    It has been suggested that at this juncture some students of South African history might be glad to read an account of the Boer Rebellion of 1881, its causes and results. Accordingly, in the following pages are reprinted portions of a book which I wrote so long ago as 1882. It may be objected that... Read More
    A Tale of the Great Trek
    Ditchingham, 20th May, 1898. My dear Clarke, Over twenty years have passed since we found some unique opportunities of observing Boer and Kaffir character in company; therefore it is not perhaps out of place that I should ask you to allow me to put your name upon a book which deals more or less with... Read More
    Some months since the leaders of the Government dismayed their supporters and astonished the world by a sudden surrender to the clamour of the anti-vaccinationists. In the space of a single evening, with a marvellous versatility, they threw to the agitators the ascertained results of generations of the medical faculty, the report of a Royal... Read More
    To the Memory of the Child Nada Burnham, who “bound all to her” and, while her father cut his way through the hordes of the Ingobo Regiment, perished of the hardships of war at Buluwayo on 19th May, 1896, I dedicate these tales—and more particularly the last, that of a Faith which triumphed over savagery... Read More
    To the Memory of the Child Nada Burnham, who “bound all to her” and, while her father cut his way through the hordes of the Ingobo Regiment, perished of the hardships of war at Buluwayo on 19th May, 1896, I dedicate these tales—and more particularly the last, that of a Faith which triumphed over savagery... Read More
    I DEDICATE THIS EFFORT OF “PRIMEVAL AND TROGLODYTE IMAGINATION" THIS RECORD OF BAREFACED AND FLAGRANT ADVENTURE TO MY GODSONS IN THE HOPE THAT THEREIN THEY MAY FIND SOME STORE OF HEALTHY AMUSEMENT. Ditchingham, 1894. On several previous occasions it has happened to this writer of romance to be justified of his romances by facts of... Read More
    My dear Jebb, Strange as were the adventures and escapes of Thomas Wingfield, once of this parish, whereof these pages tell, your own can almost equal them in these latter days, and, since a fellow feeling makes us kind, you at least they may move to a sigh of sympathy. Among many a distant land... Read More
    The autumn afternoon was fading into evening. It had been cloudy weather, but the clouds had softened and broken up. Now they were lost in slowly darkening blue. The sea was perfectly and utterly still. It seemed to sleep, but in its sleep it still waxed with the rising tide. The eye could not mark... Read More
    Sompseu: For I will call you by the name that for fifty years has been honoured by every tribe between Zambesi and Cape Agulbas,—I greet you! Sompseu, my father, I have written a book that tells of men and matters of which you know the most of any who still look upon the light; therefore,... Read More
    Madam, You have graciously conveyed to me the intelligence that during the weary weeks spent far from his home—in alternate hope and fear, in suffering and mortal trial—a Prince whose memory all men must reverence, the Emperor Frederick, found pleasure in the reading of my stories: that “they interested and fascinated him.” While the world... Read More
    The period in which the story of The World’s Desire is cast, was a period when, as Miss Braddon remarks of the age of the Plantagenets, “anything might happen.” Recent discoveries, mainly by Dr. Schliemann and Mr. Flinders Petrie, have shown that there really was much intercourse between Heroic Greece, the Greece of the Achaeans,... Read More
    My Dear Macumazahn, It was your native name which I borrowed at the christening of that Allen who has become as well known to me as any other friend I have. It is therefore fitting that I should dedicate to you this, his last tale—the story of his wife, and the history of some further... Read More
    My dear Mother, I have for a long while hoped to be allowed to dedicate some book of mine to you, and now I bring you this work, because whatever its shortcomings, and whatever judgment may be passed upon it by yourself and others, it is yet the one I should wish you to accept.... Read More
    or The War of the Little Hand
    It may be well to state that the incident of the “Thing that bites” recorded in this tale is not an effort of the imagination. On the contrary, it is “plagiarized.” Mandara, a well-known chief on the east coast of Africa, has such an article, and uses it. In the same way the wicked conduct... Read More
    A Tale of Country Life
    I Dedicate This Tale of Country Life To My Friend and Fellow-Sportsman, CHARLES J. LONGMAN There are things and there are faces which, when felt or seen for the first time, stamp themselves upon the mind like a sun image on a sensitized plate and there remain unalterably fixed. To take the instance of a... Read More
    "Now mark you, my masters: this is comedy."—OLD PLAY. Everybody who has any connection with Birmingham will be acquainted with the vast publishing establishment still known by the short title of "Meeson's," which is perhaps the most remarkable institution of the sort in Europe. There are—or rather there were, at the date of the beginning... Read More
    December 23 ‘I have just buried my boy, my poor handsome boy of whom I was so proud, and my heart is broken. It is very hard having only one son to lose him thus, but God’s will be done. Who am I that I should complain? The great wheel of Fate rolls on like... Read More
    The day had been very hot even for the Transvaal, where the days still know how to be hot in the autumn, although the neck of the summer is broken—especially when the thunderstorms hold off for a week or two, as they do occasionally. Even the succulent blue lilies—a variety of the agapanthus which is... Read More
    In giving to the world the record of what, looked at as an adventure only, is I suppose one of the most wonderful and mysterious experiences ever undergone by mortal men, I feel it incumbent on me to explain what my exact connection with it is. And so I may as well say at once... Read More
    This faithful but unpretending record of a remarkable adventure is hereby respectfully dedicated by the narrator, ALLAN QUATERMAIN, to all the big and little boys who read it. The author ventures to take this opportunity to thank his readers for the kind reception they have accorded to the successive editions of this tale during the... Read More
    "Our natures languish incomplete; Something obtuse in this our star Shackles the spirit's winged feet; But a glory moves us from afar, And we know that we are strong and fleet." Edmund Ollier. "Once more I behold the face of her Whose actions all had the character Of an inexpressible charm, expressed; Whose movements flowed... Read More
    or, Remarks on Recent Events in Zululand, Natal, and the Transvaal
    I am told that these men (the Boers) are told to keep on agitating in this way, for a change of Government in England may give them again the old order of things. Nothing can show greater ignorance of English politics than such an idea. I tell you there is no Government—Whig or Tory, Liberal,... Read More