The author has visited every country included in the titles of the eleven volumes of the two series of which the present volume is the last published. He has been abroad twice for the sole purpose of obtaining the materials for these books; his object being to produce books that would instruct as well as amuse.
The story of the incendiaries and of the young Spanish officer of the Tritonia, interwoven with the incidents of travel, is in accordance with the plan adopted in the first, and followed out in every subsequent volume of the two series. Doubtless the book will have some readers who will skip the lectures of the professor and the travel-talk of the surgeon, and others who will turn unread the pages on which the story is related; but we fancy the former will be larger than the latter class. If both are suited, the author need not complain; though he especially advises his young friends to read the historical portions of the volume, because he thinks that the maritime history of Portugal, for instance, ought to interest them more than any story he can invent.
The titles of all the books of this series were published ten years ago. The boys and girls who read the first volume are men and women now; and the task the author undertook then will be finished in one more volume.
With the hope that he will live to complete the work begun so many years ago, the author once more returns his grateful acknowledgments to his friends, old and young, for the favor they have extended to this series.
"There are no such peaches this side of New Jersey; and you can't get them, for love or money, at the stores. All we have to do is, to fill our pockets, and keep our mouths closed--till the peaches are ripe enough to eat," said Robert Shuffles, the older and the larger of two boys, who had just climbed over the high fence that surrounded the fine garden of Mr. Lowington.
"What will Baird say if he finds it out?" replied Isaac Monroe, his companion.
"This is most astounding news!" exclaimed Captain Horatio Passford.
It was on the deck of the magnificent steam-yacht Bellevite, of which he was the owner; and with the newspaper, in which he had read only a few of the many head-lines, still in his hand, he rushed furiously across the deck, in a state of the most intense agitation.
"She is a fine little steamer, father, without the possibility of a doubt," said Lieutenant Passford, who was seated at the table with his father in the captain's cabin on board of the Bronx. "I don't feel quite at home here, and I don't quite like the idea of being taken out of the Bellevite."
"You are not going to sea for the fun of it, my son," replied Captain Passford. "You are not setting out on a yachting excursion, but on the most serious business in the world."
"Stand by, Captain John!" shouted Lawry Wilford, a stout boy of fourteen, as he stood at the helm of a sloop, which was going before the wind up Lake Champlain.
"What's the matter, Lawry?" demanded the captain.
"We're going to have a squall," continued the young pilot, as he glanced at the tall peaks of the Adirondacks.