The Tale of Three Lions

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Excerpt from the book...Most of you will have heard that Allan Quatermain, who was one of theparty that discovered King Solomon's mines some little time ago, and whoafterwards came to live in England near his friend Sir Henry Curtis.He went back to the wilderness again, as these old hunters almostinvariably do, on one pretext or another.[*] They cannot endurecivilization for very long, its noise and racket and the omnipresenceof broad-clothed humanity proving more trying to their nerves than thedangers of the desert. I think that they feel lonely here, for it isa fact that is too little understood, though it has often been stated,that there is no loneliness like the loneliness of crowds, especiallyto those who are unaccustomed to them. "What is there in the world," oldQuatermain would say, "so desolate as to stand in the streets of a greatcity and listen to the footsteps falling, falling, multitudinous as therain, and watch the white line of faces as they hurry past, you know notwhence, you know not whither? They come and go, their eyes meet yourswith a cold stare, for a moment their features are written on your mind,and then they are gone for ever. You will never see them again; theywill never see you again; they come up out of the unknown, and presentlythey once more vanish into the unknown, taking their secrets with them.Yes, that is loneliness pure and undefiled; but to one who knows andloves it, the wilderness is not lonely, because the spirit of natureis ever there to keep the wanderer company. He finds companions in thewinds--the sunny streams babble like Nature's children at his feet; highabove them, in the purple sunset, are domes and minarets and palaces,such as no mortal man has built, in and out of whose flaming doors theangels of the sun seem to move continually. And there, too, is the wildgame, following its feeding-grounds in great armies, with the springbuckthrown out before for skirmishers; then rank upon rank of long-facedblesbuck, marching and wheeling like infantry; and last the shiningtroops of quagga, and the fierce-eyed shaggy vilderbeeste to take, as itwere, the place of the cossack host that hangs upon an army's flanks.
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