The Wild Man of the West A Tale of the Rocky Mountains
First Page:The Wild Man of the West, by R.M. Ballantyne.
The action of this book takes place entirely in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in North America. We can certainly appreciate the hardness of the life of the hunters in those days, which were during the early part of the nineteenth century. The action is very well narrated, and is very exciting and interesting. All sorts of things are suddenly pulled together in the very last few pages, and it would be quite hard for the reader to guess what was going to happen, before the last two chapters.
THE WILD MAN OF THE WEST, BY R.M. BALLANTYNE.
IN WHICH THE READER IS INTRODUCED TO A MAD HERO, A RECKLESS LOVER, AND A RUNAWAY HUSBAND BACKWOODS JUVENILE TRAINING DESCRIBED THE PRINCIPLES OF FIGHTING FULLY DISCUSSED, AND SOME VALUABLE HINTS THROWN OUT.
March Marston was mad! The exact state of madness to which March had attained at the age when we take up his personal history namely, sixteen is uncertain, for the people of the backwoods settlement in which he dwelt differed in their opinions on that point.
The clergyman, who was a Wesleyan, said he was as wild as a young buffalo bull; but the manner in which he said so led his hearers to conclude that he did not think such a state of ungovernable madness to be a hopeless condition, by any means. The doctor said he was as mad as a hatter; but this was an indefinite remark, worthy of a doctor who had never obtained a diploma, and required explanation, inasmuch as it was impossible to know how mad he considered a hatter to be. Some of the trappers who came to the settlement for powder and lead, said he was as mad as a grisly bear with a whooping cough a remark which, if true, might tend to throw light on the diseases to which the grisly bear is liable, but which failed to indicate to any one, except perhaps trappers, the extent of young Marston's madness. The carpenter and the blacksmith of the place who were fast friends and had a pitched battle only once a month, or twice at most agreed in saying that he was as mad as a wild cat. In short, every one asserted stoutly that the boy was mad, with the exception of the women of the settlement, who thought him a fine, bold, handsome fellow; and his own mother, who thought him a paragon of perfection, and who held the opinion (privately) that, in the wide range of the habitable globe there was not another like him and she was not far wrong!
Now, the whole and sole reason why March Marston was thus deemed a madman, was that he displayed an insane tendency, at all times and in all manners, to break his own neck, or to make away with himself in some similarly violent and uncomfortable manner.
There was not a fence in the whole countryside that March had not bolted over at full gallop, or ridden crash through if he could not go over it. There was not a tree within a circuit of four miles from the top of which he had not fallen. There was not a pond or pool in the neighbourhood into which he had not soused at some period of his stormy juvenile career, and there was not a big boy whom he had not fought and thrashed or been thrashed by scores of times.
But for all this March had not a single enemy. He did his companions many a kind turn; never an unkind one. He fought for love, not for hatred. He loved a dog if any one kicked it, he fought him. He loved a little boy if any one was cruel to that little boy, he fought him. He loved fair play if any one was guilty of foul play, he fought him. When he was guilty of foul play himself (as was sometimes the case, for who is perfect?) he felt inclined to jump out of his own body and turn about and thrash himself! And he would have done so often, had it been practicable. Yes, there is no doubt whatever about it March Marston was mad as mad, after a fashion, as any creature, human or otherwise, you choose to name...