Overview

CHAPTER I--FRIAR'S OAK



On this, the first of January of the year 1851, the nineteenth
century ...
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RODNEY STONE

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Overview

CHAPTER I--FRIAR'S OAK



On this, the first of January of the year 1851, the nineteenth
century has reached its midway term, and many of us who shared its
youth have already warnings which tell us that it has outworn us.
We put our grizzled heads together, we older ones, and we talk of
the great days that we have known; but we find that when it is with
our children that we talk it is a hard matter to make them
understand. We and our fathers before us lived much the same life,
but they with their railway trains and their steamboats belong to a
different age. It is true that we can put history-books into their
hands, and they can read from them of our weary struggle of two and
twenty years with that great and evil man. They can learn how
Freedom fled from the whole broad continent, and how Nelson's blood
was shed, and Pitt's noble heart was broken in striving that she
should not pass us for ever to take refuge with our brothers across
the Atlantic. All this they can read, with the date of this treaty
or that battle, but I do not know where they are to read of
ourselves, of the folk we were, and the lives we led, and how the
world seemed to our eyes when they were young as theirs are now.

If I take up my pen to tell you about this, you must not look for
any story at my hands, for I was only in my earliest manhood when
these things befell; and although I saw something of the stories of
other lives, I could scarce claim one of my own. It is the love of
a woman that makes the story of a man, and many a year was to pass
before I first looked into the eyes of the mother of my children.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940013087538
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 230 KB

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 21, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bare knuckles prize-fighting in Regency England!

    If you read very, very carefully and remain absolutely attentive to every passing paragraph, you'll realize that "Rodney Stone" is a historical mystery.<BR/><BR/>But, truth be told, the mystery is so subtle as to be almost non-existent and doesn't really form the majority of the story. More than anything else, "Rodney Stone" is a convincing and extremely entertaining historical fiction set early in England's Regency period. The topic is the brutal world of bare knuckles prize fighting and it's easy to see that Conan Doyle himself was a very enthusiastic fan with all of the detailed knowledge that an avid follower of the sport would have. <BR/><BR/>Rodney Stone, the son of a British naval man who, truth be told, spent most of his married years in Nelson's navy fighting off the continental menace of Napoleon Bonaparte, was to all intents and purposes raised by his mother. His uncle, Sir Charles Tregellis, is a wealthy London swell - a sophisticated gentleman, to be sure, but also a high-rolling gambler and a dandy with a full set of outrageously pretentious affectations who regularly vies with socialite Beau Brummel for the attentions of the fashion-oriented set with whom he associates. Tregellis "adopts" young Rodney taking him under his tutelage and attempts to turn him into a well-dress, well-mannered proper London gentleman. But Rodney is made of more earnest steadfast stuff and is much more interested in retaining his lifelong friendship with Boy Jim, the son of John Harrison, a former bare knuckles champion of England now working as a lowly blacksmith. Tregellis does his best to convince Rodney that Boy Jim is beneath his station and is not the sort of person that a young chap like Stone should associate with.<BR/><BR/>Using convincing story-telling, wonderful historical background about the Bonaparte wars, clear class distinctions, entertaining cameo appearances by dignitaries such as Horatio Nelson, Lady Emma Hamilton, Sheridan Fox, Beau Brummell and even the shallow Prince Regent (George IV), Conan Doyle has created a very solid period piece that describes Regency England and, in particular, the shadowy and, even then, illegal world of prize fighting with bare knuckles. <BR/><BR/>Oh yeah ... the mystery! Well, it's there and it gets solved and makes for a great way to close out the book but the history is the thing. As a long-time fan of Conan Doyle's Victorian style of writing as it was used in his Sherlock Holmes and Professor Challenger stories, I was especially pleased to have found and enjoyed this rather lesser known work.<BR/><BR/>Highly recommended.<BR/><BR/>Paul Weiss

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    Posted January 14, 2011

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