Greenmantle - John Buchan
Описание книги Greenmantle - полная версия
The book gives the account of Hannay and his associate’s separate journeys through war-torn Europe to Constantinople to thwart an uprising that is poised to throw the Middle East, India, and North Africa into disarray, changing the course of the war.
The book was popular when first published and although it has never been made into a film, the director Alfred Hitchcock was said to prefer Greenmantle to The Thirty-Nine Steps, and considered filming it on several occasions.
By John Buchan.
This ebook is the product of many hours of hard work by volunteers for Standard Ebooks, and builds on the hard work of other literature lovers made possible by the public domain.
This particular ebook is based on a transcription produced for Project Gutenberg and on digital scans available at the Internet Archive.
The writing and artwork within are believed to be in the U.S. public domain, and Standard Ebooks releases this ebook edition under the terms in the CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. For full license information, see the Uncopyright at the end of this ebook.
Standard Ebooks is a volunteer-driven project that produces ebook editions of public domain literature using modern typography, technology, and editorial standards, and distributes them free of cost. You can download this and other ebooks carefully produced for true book lovers at standardebooks.org.
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.
The characters of the tale, if you think hard, you will recall. Sandy you know well. That great spirit was last heard of at Basra, where he occupies the post that once was Harry Bullivant’s. Richard Hannay is where he longed to be, commanding his battalion on the ugliest bit of front in the West. Mr. John S. Blenkiron, full of honour and wholly cured of dyspepsia, has returned to the States, after vainly endeavouring to take Peter with him. As for Peter, he has attained the height of his ambition. He has shaved his beard and joined the Flying Corps.
A Mission Is Proposed
I had just finished breakfast and was filling my pipe when I got Bullivant’s telegram. It was at Furling, the big country house in Hampshire where I had come to convalesce after Loos, and Sandy, who was in the same case, was hunting for the marmalade. I flung him the flimsy with the blue strip pasted down on it, and he whistled.
“Hullo, Dick, you’ve got the battalion. Or maybe it’s a staff billet. You’ll be a blighted brass-hat, coming it heavy over the hardworking regimental officer. And to think of the language you’ve wasted on brass-hats in your time!”
I sat and thought for a bit, for the name “Bullivant” carried me back eighteen months to the hot summer before the war. I had not seen the man since, though I had read about him in the papers. For more than a year I had been a busy battalion officer, with no other thought than to hammer a lot of raw stuff into good soldiers. I had succeeded pretty well, and there was no prouder man on earth than Richard Hannay when he took his Lennox Highlanders over the parapets on that glorious and bloody 25th day of September. Loos was no picnic, and we had had some ugly bits of scrapping before that, but the worst bit of the campaign I had seen was a tea-party to the show I had been in with Bullivant before the war started.
The sight of his name on a telegram form seemed to change all my outlook on life. I had been hoping for the command of the battalion, and looking forward to being in at the finish with Brother Boche. But this message jerked my thoughts on to a new road. There might be other things in the war than straightforward fighting. Why on earth should the Foreign Office want to see an obscure Major of the New Army, and want to see him in double-quick time?
“I’m going up to town by the ten train,” I announced; “I’ll be back in time for dinner.”
“Try my tailor,” said Sandy. “He’s got a very nice taste in red tabs. You can use my name.”
An idea struck me. “You’re pretty well all right now. If I wire for you, will you pack your own kit and mine and join me?”
“Right-o! I’ll accept a job on your staff if they give