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The Death Shot

Mayne Reid

Book Overview: 

Long time since this hand hath penned a preface. Now only to say, that this romance, as originally published, was written when the author was suffering severe affliction, both physically and mentally—the result of a gun-wound that brought him as near to death as Darke’s bullet did Clancy.

It may be asked, Why under such strain was the tale written at all? A good reason could be given; but this, private and personal, need not, and should not be intruded on the public. Suffice it to say, that, dissatisfied with the execution of the work, the author has remodelled—almost rewritten it.

It is the same story; but, as he hopes and believes, better told.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . . the cottage, is heard turning upon its hinges, and two men are seen entering the enclosure.

As these draw near to the porch, where a tallow dip dimly burns, its light is reflected from the features of Simeon Woodley and Edward Heywood.

The hunters are both well-known to all upon the ground; and welcomed, as men likely to make a little less irksome that melancholy midnight watch.

If the new-comers cannot contribute cheerfulness, they may something else, as predicted by the expression observed upon their faces, at stepping into the porch. Their demeanour shows them possessed of some knowledge pertinent to the subject under discussion, as also important.

Going close to the candle, and summoning the rest around, Woodley draws from the ample pocket of his large, loose coat a bit of wood, bearing resemblance to a pine-apple, or turnip roughly peeled.

Holding it to the light, he says: “Come hyar, fellurs! fix yar eyes on this.”

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