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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Sir Samuel White Baker (1821–1893)
Critical and Biographical Introduction
 
THE NORTHWEST PASSAGE, the Pole itself, and the sources of the Nile—how many have struggled through ice and snow, or burned themselves with tropic heat, in the effort to penetrate these secrets of the earth! And how many have left their bones to whiten on the desert or lie hidden beneath icebergs at the end of the search!  1
  Of the fortunate ones who escaped after many perils, Baker was one of the most fortunate. He explored the Blue and the White Nile, discovered at least one of the reservoirs from which flows the great river of Egypt, and lived to tell the tale and to receive due honor, being knighted by the Queen therefor, fêted by learned societies, and sent subsequently by the Khedive at the head of a large force with commission to destroy the slave trade. In this he appears to have been successful for a time, but for a time only.  2
  Baker was born in London, June 8th, 1821, and died December 30th, 1893. With his brother he established, in 1847, a settlement in the mountains of Ceylon, where he spent several years. His experiences in the far East appear in books entitled ‘The Rifle and Hound in Ceylon’ and ‘Eight Years Wandering in Ceylon.’ In 1861, accompanied by his young wife and an escort, he started up the Nile, and three years later, on the 14th of March, 1864, at length reached the cliffs overlooking the Albert Nyanza, being the first European to behold its waters. Like most Englishmen, he was an enthusiastic sportsman, and his manner of life afforded him a great variety of unusual experiences. He visited Cyprus in 1879, after the execution of the convention between England and Turkey, and subsequently he traveled to Syria, India, Japan, and America. He kept voluminous notes of his various journeys, which he utilized in the preparation of numerous volumes:—‘The Albert Nyanza’; ‘The Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia’; ‘Ismäilia,’ a narrative of the expedition under the auspices of the Khedive; ‘Cyprus as I Saw It in 1879’; together with ‘Wild Beasts and Their Ways,’ ‘True Tales for My Grandsons,’ and a story entitled ‘Cast Up by the Sea,’ which was for many years a great favorite with the boys of England and America. They are all full of life and incident. One of the most delightful memories of them which readers retain is the figure of his lovely wife, so full of courage, loyalty, buoyancy, and charm. He had that rarest of possibilities, spirit-stirring adventure and home companionship at once.  3
 
 
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