by JOHN BUCHAN
During the past year, in the intervals of an active life, I have
amused myself with constructing this tale. It has been scribbled in
every kind of odd place and moment - in England and abroad, during
long journeys, in half-hours between graver tasks; and it bears, I
fear, the mark of its gipsy begetting. But it has amused me to write,
and I shall be well repaid if it amuses you - and a few others - to read.
Let no man or woman call its events improbable. The war has
driven that word from our vocabulary, and melodrama has become the
prosiest realism. Things unimagined before happen daily to our friends
by sea and land. The one chance in a thousand is habitually taken,
and as often as not succeeds. Coincidence, like some new Briareus,
stretches a hundred long arms hourly across the earth. Some day, when
the full history is written - sober history with ample documents - the
poor romancer will give up business and fall to reading Miss Austen
in a hermitage.