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Before there was Indiana Jones there was Allan Quartermain: the original explorer, treasure hunter, and adventurer. In this sequel to King Solomon’s Mines, Allan Quatermain and his companions once more set out for Africa, this time in search of a white race reputed to live north of Mount Kenya. They survive fierce encounters with Masai warriors, undergo a terrifying subterranean journey, and discover a lost civilization before being caught up in a passionate love-triangle that engulfs the country in a ferocious civil war. Haggard not only narrates his story with wonderfully dramatic and poetic touches, but also reveals many Victorian preoccupations with evolution and race, sexuality, and the New Woman.
106,250 words, with a reading time of ~ 6.4 hours (~ 425 pages), and first published in 1887. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2010.
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A week had passed since the funeral of my poor boy Harry, and one evening I was in my room walking up and down and thinking, when there was a ring at the outer door. Going down the steps I opened it myself, and in came my old friends Sir Henry Curtis and Captain John Good, RN. They entered the vestibule and sat themselves down before the wide hearth, where, I remember, a particularly good fire of logs was burning.
‘It is very kind of you to come round,’ I said by way of making a remark; ‘it must have been heavy walking in the snow.’
They said nothing, but Sir Henry slowly filled his pipe and lit it with a burning ember. As he leant forward to do so the fire got hold of a gassy bit of pine and flared up brightly, throwing the whole scene into strong relief, and I thought, What a splendid–looking man he is! Calm, powerful face, clear–cut features, large grey eyes, yellow beard and hair — altogether a magnificent specimen of the higher type of humanity. Nor did his form belie his face. I have never seen wider shoulders or a deeper chest. Indeed, Sir Henry’s girth is so great that, though he is six feet two high, he does not strike one as a tall man. As I looked at him I could not help thinking what a curious contrast my little dried–up self presented to his grand face and form. Imagine to yourself a small, withered, yellow–faced man of sixty–three, with thin hands, large brown eyes, a head of grizzled hair cut short and standing up like a half–worn scrubbing–brush — total weight in my clothes, nine stone six — and you will get a very fair idea of Allan Quatermain, commonly called Hunter Quatermain, or by the natives ‘Macumazahn’ — Anglic/CHAR: e grave/, he who keeps a bright look–out at night, or, in vulgar English, a sharp fellow who is not to be taken in.