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Ronald Morton, or the Fire-ships
By W. H. G. Kingston


THE inhabitants of Shetland have a grievance. It is not that they complain of being badly governed, of being over-taxed, or of being poor, or of their climate, or of the shortness of the days in winter; but they say, with justice, that they are shamefully ill-treated by the map-makers, who place their well-loved little group of islands out of the way in some corner of the map, so that not one person in ten of those tolerably well-informed in geographical matters generally, has a correct notion of their bearing from the other portions of the British Isles.

Some years ago, however, I made the discovery that they lie due north of Scotland, Orkney intervening; and as I had a desire to pay them a visit, I took ship and reached Lerwick, their capital, in safety. The kindness I there received will never be erased from my memory. I travelled through all parts of the islands, and visited a number of very interesting scenes. Curious tales were also told me of deeds done in bygone days, when the arm of the law was too short to reach ill-doers at a distance from the centre of government, and when might was looked upon as constituting right in those far-off islands.

One of the strange legends which I then heard has served as the basis of the following tale. For years its gossamer threads have been floating before my eyes, though it is only now that I have caught and woven them into a tangible form, and connected them with events belonging to history rather than fiction.

My aim has been to produce in ‘Ronald Morton, or the Fire-ships' a tale of stirring nautical adventure, and at the same time to introduce characters who may add to its interest, and make it a work which will be taken up with pleasure, and not laid down till the end of a winter's evening.

The present new Edition which the public have called for, shows that the interest in the ‘Fire Ships' is still undiminished.

Brentwood.

Ronald Morton, or the Fire-ships


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