TravelEtc.: Grand Tours - Diamonds Are a Genre's Best Friend ; the World's Greatest Writers on Their Adventures in Literature. This Week, H Rider Haggard's Ripping African Yarn
Sir Henry Rider Haggard (1856-1925) was born in Norfolk, and went on to more or less invent the Ripping Yarn. At the age of 19, Haggard went to South Africa to take up the post of secretary to Sir Henry Bulwer, then governor of Natal. He fell in love with Africa and Zulu culture and on his return to Norfolk in 1881 began to write. `King Solomon's Mines' was published in 1885 and was an immediate success. Its hero, Allan Quatermain, is killed off in the sequel but features in subsequent stories by Haggard; an early example of the use of a prequel device to bring back a favourite character.
"What was it that you heard about my brother's journey at Bamangwato?" asked Sir Henry, as I paused to fill my pipe before replying to Captain Good.
"I heard this," I answered, "and I have never mentioned it to a soul till today. I heard he was starting for Solomon's Mines."
"Solomon's Mines?" ejaculated both my hearers at once. "Where are they?"
"I don't know," I said. "I know where they are said to be. Once I saw the peaks of the mountains that border them, but there were 130 miles of desert between me and them, and I am not aware that any white man ever got across it save one. But perhaps the best thing I can do is to tell you the legend of Solomon's Mines as I know it, you passing your word not to reveal anything I tell you without my permission. Do you agree to that?"
Sir Henry nodded, and Captain Good replied, "Certainly, certainly."
"Well," I began, "as you may guess, generally speaking, elephant hunters are a rough set of men. But here and there you meet a man who takes the trouble to collect traditions from the natives. It was such a man as this who first told me the legend of Solomon's Mines, now a matter of nearly 30 years ago. His name was Evans, and he was killed the following year, poor fellow, by a wounded buffalo, and lies buried near the Zambesi Falls. I was telling Evans one night, I remember, of some wonderful workings I had found while hunting koodoo and eland in what is now the Lydenburg district of the Transvaal. …
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Publication information: Article title: TravelEtc.: Grand Tours - Diamonds Are a Genre's Best Friend ; the World's Greatest Writers on Their Adventures in Literature. This Week, H Rider Haggard's Ripping African Yarn. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Independent (London, England). Publication date: October 7, 2001. Page number: 24. © 2009 The Independent - London. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.