Years ago there lived in London a man who wrote books and magazine stories under the name of Julian Croskey. He had been in the Civil Service in Shanghai, had helped to finance and organise a rebellion, and had been turned out of China, whence he came to England to write. In 1901 I began a correspondence with Croskey, who, in the meantime, had gone to Canada and was living alone on a river island. Though we corresponded for years, we never met, and after a time his letters began to show signs of megalomania. But there was such genius in his letters, such brooding energy, such hate of life, and, at times, such an uncanny suggestion of terrific power, that I treasured every word he wrote to me, and, when his letters ceased, something vital and something almost necessary to me passed out of my life. I do not like to believe that he ceased writing to me because I no longer interested him. I hope he still lives. I hope he will read this book. Some day his letters must be published, for they constitute a problem in psychology at once fascinating, mysterious and demonic. And this man whom I never met remains to me the most romantic of all men I have met in the spirit.
Nature had played a vilely cruel trick on Lochinvar Bobby by bringing him into the world as the puny and defective runt of a royal litter. She had threatened his life by casting him loose in the winter woods. But at that point Nature seemed to repent of her unkindness to the poor helpless atom of colliehood. For she taught him the closest-guarded secrets of her awful Live-On-One-Another ritual.
“It is true that none of us have the pleasure of your acquaintance, madame. It is especially to be regretted as one of our number has come specially from New York in order to meet you.”
Our modest hill-side heather,
“There is the mystery,” he said in a puzzled voice, “I can think of no other than Theseus when I behold you. Your face is the type that characterizes our people.”
and passengers and crew stopping in this section found better shelter elsewhere. But Cave-in-Rock was ever pointed out as a place that “in days gone by” had been the den of flatboat robbers. Counterfeiters and other outlaws, however, operated in the neighborhood until as late as 1832.
Tradition has it that James Ford was born some time during the latter part of the Revolution. His father, it is said, was a Revolutionary soldier and moved with his son to western Kentucky about 1803. Thus he appeared in the Cave-in-Rock country about half a dozen years after the Masons and Little Harpe had gone south, but was living in the neighborhood when “Jim Wilson” and some of the other outlaws were holding forth at the Cave. His home was a half-mile southwest
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