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The World's Greatest Books — Volume 08 — Fiction

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Published 08 December 2010
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII by Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII Author: Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds. Release Date: March 22, 2004 [EBook #11659] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS V.8. *** Produced by John Hagerson, Kevin Handy and PG Distributed Proofreaders THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS JOINT EDITORS ARTHUR MEE Editor and Founder of the Book of Knowledge J.A. HAMMERTON Editor of Harmsworth's Universal Encyclopaedia VOL. VIII FICTION MCMX TABLE OF CONTENTS SCOTT, SIR WALTER (Continued) Quentin Durward Rob Roy Talisman SHELLEY MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT , Frankenstein SIDNEY SIR PHILIP , Arcadia SMOLLET, TOBIAS Roderick Random Peregrine Pickle STAËL, MME. DE Corinne STENDHAL (HENRI BEYLE) Chartreuse of Parma STERNE, LAURENCE Tristram Shandy STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER Uncle Tom's Cabin SUE, EUGÈNE Mysteries of Paris SWIFT, JONATHAN Gulliver's Travels THACKERAY WILLIAM MAKEPEACE , Newcomes Virginians Vanity Fair TOLSTOY COUNT LYOF N. , Anna Karenina TROLLOPE, ANTHONY The Warden Barchester Towers TURGENEV, IVAN Fathers and Sons A Nest of Nobles Smoke VERNE, JULES Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea WALPOLE, HORACE Castle of Otranto ZOLA, ÉMILE Drink A Complete Index of THE WORLD'S GREATEST BOOKS will be found at the end of Volume XX. SIR WALTER SCOTT Quentin Durward In mentioning "Quentin Durward" for the first time Scott speaks of himself as having been ill, and "Peveril" as having suffered through it. "I propose a good rally, however," he says, "and hope it will have a powerful effect. My idea is a Scotch archer in the French King's guard, tempore Louis XI., the most picturesque of all times." The novel, which is by many considered one of the best of Scott's works, was published in June, 1823. It was coldly received by the British public, though it eventually attained a marvellous popularity. In Paris it created a tremendous sensation, similar to that produced in Edinburgh by the appearance of "Waverley." It was Scott's first venture on foreign ground, and the French were delighted to find Louis XI. and Charles the Bold brought to life again at the call of the Wizard of the North. The delineations of these two characters are considered as fine as any in fiction or history. I.--The Wanderer Meets Louis XI. It was upon a delicious summer morning that a youth approached the ford of a small river, near the Royal castle of Plessis-les-Tours, in ancient Touraine. The age of the young traveller might be about nineteen or twenty, and his face and person were very prepossessing. His smart blue bonnet, with sprig of holly and eagle's feather, was already recognised as the Scottish headgear. Two persons loitered on the opposite side of the small river and observed the youth. "Hark, sir, he halloes to know whether the water be deep," said the younger of the two. "Nothing like experience in this world," answered the other, "let him try." The young man receiving no hint to the contrary entered the stream, and to one less alert in the exercise of swimming death had been certain, for the brook was both deep and strong. As it was, he was carried but a little way from the ordinary landing-place. But the bonnie Scot turned wrathfully on the younger of the strangers for not warning him of the stream, and only the reproof of the elder prevented a violent quarrel. "Fair son," he said, "you seem a stranger, and you should recollect your dialect is not so easily comprehended by us." "Well, father," answered the youth, "I do not care much about the ducking I have had, provided you will direct me to some place where I can have my clothes dried, for it is my only suit, and I must keep it somewhat decent." "For whom do you take us, fair son?" said the elder stranger. "For substantial burgesses," said the youth. "You, master, may be a money-broker or a corn-merchant." "My business is to trade in as much money as I can," said the elder, smiling. "As to your accommodation we will try to serve you. It is but a short walk from hence to the village. Let me know your name, and follow me." "My true name when at home is Quentin Durward," said the youth. Proceeding along a path they came in sight of the whole front of the Castle of Plessis-les-Tours. "I have some friend to see in this quarter," said Durward. "My mother's own brother, Ludovic Lesly--an honest and noble name." "And so it is I doubt not," said the old man. "But of three Leslies in the Scottish Guard two are called Ludovic." "They call my kinsman Ludovic with the Scar," said Quentin. "The man you speak of we, I think, call Le Balafré; from that scar on his face," answered his companion. "A proper man and a good soldier. Men call me Maître Pierre--a plain man. I owe you a breakfast, Master Quentin, for the wetting my mistake procured you." While they were speaking they reached the entrance of the village of Plessis, and presently approached the court-yard of an inn of unusual magnitude. Maître Pierre lifted the latch of the side door, and led the way into a large room, where arrangements had been made for a substantial breakfast. He whistled and the landlord entered, and bowed with reverence. Quentin Durward had eaten little for two days, and Maître Pierre seemed delighted with the appetite of the young Scot, who indeed devoured an enormous repast. When his appetite had been satisfied, and the old man had put several questions, the door opened, and a girl, whose countenance, so young and so lovely, was graver, Quentin thought, than belongs to an early beauty, entered with a platter and a cup of delicate workmanship. "How now, Jacqueline?" said Maître Pierre. "Did I not desire that Dame Perette should bring what I wanted? But I blame thee not, thou art too young to be--what thou must be one day--a false and treacherous thing, like the rest of thy giddy sex. Here is a Scottish cavalier will tell you the same." But Durward, with the feelings of youth, answered hastily, "That he would throw down his gage to any antagonist, of equal rank and equal age, who should presume to say such a countenance as that which he now looked upon could be animated by