his father had seen with regret that there was but little hope of making a profound scholar of him, and that unless he himself could discover the solution of the problems that still eluded him, there was little chance of it being found by his successor.
Once roused, he had the good sense to see that it was not in such a life that Edgar was likely to find success, and he wisely abandoned the idea of pressing a task upon him that he saw was unfitted to the boy's nature. The energy with which Edgar worked with his instructors in arms--who had been already twice changed, so as to give him a greater opportunity of attaining skill with his weapons--and the interest with which the lad listened to tales of adventure, showed the direction in which his bent lay. For the last two years his father had frequently read to him the records of Sir Walter Manny and other chroniclers of war and warlike adventure, and impressed upon him the virtues necessary to render a man at once a great soldier and a great man.
I have some bizarre facination with the way Henty looks down on the lower classes, so i gave this one a try.
It concerns the son of an educated scholar and his friend, a lord's son, as they witness Wat Tyler's attempt to get the king of England to take notice of the serf class in the 14th century.
Although he gives some lip service to their grievances (yes the life of a peasant in the middle ages was aweful), you can really the taste the bile and contempt Henty feels for commoners. To him they should be satisfied with their lot in life and not trouble their betters. Instead of the white man's burden, it is the upper-class's burden. How dare they want to own their own land?
It has that annoying Henty characteristic of having an action scene, then spending the next 30 pages having the characters participating tell those who werent there in excruciating detail. Mainly so the heroes can keep saying "pish-posh, it wasn't anything." Then why keep describing it? If it were a serial, i might understand the need to recap, but I feel like shouting "I was there when it happened! You don't have to keep recaping it for me!"
If you want a upper-class one-sided opinion of Wat Tyler, here it is. As always a pity, because Henty chooses such excellent subject matter. If only he could see beyond his own birth.
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