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About the Author: R.B. Cunninghame Graham

Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham was a journalist and adventurer who made his fortune in Argentina as a cattle rancher before serving as a Liberal Party Member of Parliament (MP). He was the first-ever socialist member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom; was a founder, and the first president, of the Scottish Labour Party; a founder of the National Party of Scotland in 1928; and the first president of the Scottish National Party in 1934.

His books and articles spanned history, biography, poetry, essays, politics, travel and seventeen collections of short stories or literary sketches. He also assisted Joseph Conrad with research for Nostromo .

There is a seat dedicated to Cunninghame Graham in the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh with the inscription: "R B 'Don Roberto' Cunninghame Graham of Gartmore and Ardoch, 1852–1936, A great storyteller".


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Paperback, Published in Oct 2008 by Herron Press

ISBN10: 1443775363 | ISBN13: 9781443775366

Page count: 252

PREFACE TO HORSEMEN AND OTHERS TYNE hope, tyne a the Scottish proverb says, and it is right, for hope is like a northern hawthorn bush, late flowering but continuing Iong in bloom. There is an element of speculation in it which faith quite lacks. Thus, faith is for youth, hope for middle life, and charity, which only comes when faith and hope are dead, for age. Sometimes, indeed, hope and her half-sister faith run almost into one another. I remember once, in the RepubIic of the Banda Oriental del Uruguay, close to the frontier of Brazil, we came, my partner and myself, driving a troop of horses, to what in South America is called a pass, that is, a ford. What was the rivers name I cannot tell without an atlas, and that would be to put a slight upon my memory, so I refrain but the ford was El Paso de I0s Novills, and to get to it you had to ride down through a wood of espinillo de ogr. The trail that we folIowed to the pass was steep and sandy, and cut by the passage of the animals into deep ruts, leaving long hummocks here and there, called albardones that is, pack-saddles, on which grew thorny shrubs, Great cactuses with their flat leaves, looking like gigantic seeds of honesty, white, gaunt, and sear, stood here and there, and seemed to guard the road. They had an almost human look, and report said, not very long before we passed, a band of robbers had stripped themselves, and standing naked by the whitish stems, were so invisible that they were able quietly to kill some travellers, who rode right into them before they were aware. Therefore we rode with care, hitching our pistols now and then round nearer to our hands as we urged on the troop, swinging our whips about our heads, and pressing close upon the driven horses to prevent their cutting back or separating when they came to the pass. Humming-birds fluttered like gigantic day- moths hung poised, with a thin whir of wings invisible, so that they seemed all body, then darted off so swiftly that no eye could follow them. In the hot air myriads of insects, seen and unseen, raised a shrill melody. Upon the trees black cormorants sat and discoursed, and herons, white, slate-coloured, and brown, stood fishing siIentIy. Carpinchos, looking like little hippopotami, just showed their backs above the surface of the water as we came to the crossing of the stream. We dosed upon the troop, Mansel, myself, Exaltation Medina, Raimundo BarragAn, and the two peons one of them rode a white and dun piebald, whose coat was curly as a sheeps. It had a strip of hide tied round the lower jaw to which the reins were fixed, for it was still unbitted. I see them now just as I saw them then, through a thin cloud of dust. The horses-there were about two hundred-entered the water in a bunch. The stream flowed strongly, yellow and turbid, and in the middle rose a low island, aImost awash, long and grass grown, and looking like one of those albardones in the road which I have spoken of before. The horses took the water well, and we stood back to give them space, so that they should not crowd upon each other and get choked. How well I see them, their heads laid flat upon the stream, the lines made by their backs in the swift current, their tails spread out, and all of them swimming a little sideways, just as a carp swims sideways when he comes up for bread. Their eyes were fixed upon the bank, and in their wake a littIe wave as of a boat washed to the shore...

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