In the last century -- and many centuries before the last; but it is about the eighteenth that I am specially speaking -- long before steamers and railways, or even frigate-built ships and flying coaches were dreamt of, when an Englishman went abroad, he stopped there. When he came back, if at all, it was, as a rule, grizzled and sunburnt, his native habits all unlearnt and his native tongue more than half forgotten. Even the Grand Tour, with all that money could purchase in the way of couriers and post-horses, to expedite matters for my Lord, his chaplain, his courier and his dancing master, took as many years as it now does months to accomplish. There were no young novelists in those days to make a flying-trip to the Gaboon country, to ascertain whether the stories told by former tourists about shooting gorillas were fibs or not. There were no English engineers, fresh from Great George Street, Westminster, writing home to the Athenæum to say that they had just opened a branch railway up to Ephesus and that (by the way) they had discovered a præ-Imperial temple of Juno the day before yesterday.This is a tale from before these things -- it is the tale of the Strange Adventures of Captain Dangerous, Vol. I of III. He was a sailor, a soldier, a merchant, a spy, a slave among the moors . . .