Talbot Baines Reed
Kilgorman, by Talbot Baines

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Title: Kilgorman A Story of Ireland in 1798
Author: Talbot Baines Reed
Illustrator: W.S. Stacey
Release Date: April 5, 2007 [EBook #20994]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

A Story of Ireland in 1798

By Talbot Baines Reed
This was Reed's last book, written even as he lay dying, presumably
from cancer. It is a very well-written book, and is very interesting, even
though as in the works of Kingston and Collingwood there are a lot of
swimming episodes.
The time of the story is in the 1790s, during the French Revolution,
which we see at close quarters during our hero's time in France. We
also visit Rotterdam, in Holland. But most of the action, at least that
which takes place on dry land, takes place in Donegal, that long wild
part of Ireland that lies to its extreme north-west.
There are several lines of the story. One of these is the great love that
exists between the hero and his twin brother. Another is the question,
Are they brothers? For only one person actually knows, and she is far
away: the hint that there is a problem is given in a dying note by the
woman that passed as the boys' mother. The third theme is, as always
with Ireland, plotting for an uprising against English rule. In this
department nothing changes.
Yes, it is a brilliant book, complemented by an "In Memoriam" article
about the life of the author.
Preface, by John Sime


By the death of Talbot B. Reed the boys of the English-speaking world
have lost one of their best friends. For fourteen years he has contributed
to their pleasure, and in the little library of boys' books which left his
pen he has done as much as any writer of our day to raise the standard
of boys' literature. His books are alike removed from the old-fashioned
and familiar class of boys' stories, which, meaning well, generally
baffled their own purpose by attempting to administer morality and
doctrine on what Reed called the "powder-in-jam" principle--a process
apt to spoil the jam, yet make "the powder" no less nauseous; or, on the
other hand, the class of book that dealt in thrilling adventure of the
blood-curdling and "penny dreadful" order. With neither of these types
have Talbot Reed's boys' books any kinship. His boys are of flesh and
blood, such as fill our public schools, such as brighten or "make hay" of
the peace of our homes. He had the rare art of hitting off boy-nature,
with just that spice of wickedness in it without which a boy is not a boy.
His heroes have always the charm of bounding, youthful energy, and
youth's invincible hopefulness, and the constant flow of good spirits
which have made the boys of all time perennially interesting.
The secret of Reed's success in this direction was that all through life,
as every one who had the privilege of knowing him can testify, he
possessed in himself the healthy freshness of heart of boyhood. He
sympathised with the troubles and joys, he understood the temptations,
and fathomed the motives that sway and mould boy-character; he had
the power of depicting that side of life with infinite humour and pathos,
possible only to one who could place himself sympathetically at the
boys' stand-point in life. Hence the wholesomeness of tone and the
breezy freshness of his work. His boy-heroes are neither prigs nor
milk-sops, but in their strength and weakness they are the stuff which
ultimately makes our best citizens and fathers; they are the boys who,
later in life, with healthy minds in healthy bodies, have made the
British Empire what it is.
A special and pathetic interest attaches to this story of "Kilgorman," the
last that left Talbot Reed's pen. It was undertaken while he was yet in
the prime of his strength and vigour. The illness which ultimately, alas,
ended fatally had already laid hold on him ere he had well begun the

book. In intervals of ease during his last illness he worked at it,
sometimes in bed, sometimes in his armchair: it is pleasant to think that
he so enjoyed the work that its production eased and soothed many a
weary hour for him, and
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