Friday, January 30, 2015

From an Air of the Troubador

"It is doubtful that any author could be as home in the world re-created in his novels as Louis Dearborn L'Amour. Not only could he physically fill the boots of the rugged characters he wrote about, but he literally "walked the land my characters walk."

"I think of myself in the oral tradition--as a troubador, a village tale-teller, the man in the shadows of the campfire. That's the way I'd like to be remembered--as a storyteller. A good storyteller."

From Kiowa Trail, one of the more than 100 books by the Medal of Freedom-winning author:

"It was after we got back to the ranch that Jim Sotherton started my education.

"Somehow or other we got on the subject of poetry and I quoted him some of 'Marmion' that I recalled from the readings at home. After that, there was a change.

"While I taught him to track and to live off the country like an Apache, he taught me all he could think of about English literature, history, and other subjects. At some time or other he had been an instructor in a military school in England--I think it was Sandhurst--and he knew a good deal about teaching.

"We spent a good bit of time riding over the country, and from time to time we went to San Antonio or to Austin, and then one day to New Orleans. There we went to a bank and Sotherton picked up some money, quite a lot of it, in gold.

"Then he bought some books and some new equipment, and he bought me a Henry .44 rifle.

"It was the day after we got back to the place at the foot of Burro Mesa that I found the tracks--and they were not Apache tracks. Somebody had been around the place while we were gone.

"Every man's track is distinctive. A man's trail is as easily recognized as his signature. In my own mind I was sure one of the men whose tracks I saw was . . . "

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