So I searched the net for what was out there, I am only interested in older copies of these classics and to my surprise the original printings were illustrated. This is great but led me to a decision regarding what condition and price I was going to go for. By waiting and looking I ended up with a very nice 1st year (1902) 14th printing.
The illustrations are muted, I think this is not from age but from process, but they are of course nice to have. One click in Photo Shop adds the chiaroscuro necessary for making the renderings more appealing.
After rescuing the maiden from a faltering wagon the Virginian "straightens out" the coach driver after which the driver attends to his business properly for the remainder of the trip to Bear Creek. In this, their 1st encounter, the stage is set, for the romance part of the story.
The Virginian IS the type of book for me; it contains life lessons and views on life written so clearly in many instances that they could and should be chiseled in stone. I wish I had read this as a young man; having lost my father at the age of 16, I was free to run wild without anyone to bounce ideas and problems off of.
It may be as simple as "your reputation is you, and you are your reputations keeper." I learned this early on at work and have done my best to maintain my work reputation pretty well over more than 30 years in the same field. The Virginian is both an outstanding story of Manhood and of Romance; it teaches that if both half's of the symbiotic whole are willing to play their parts as designed by the creator then the relationship is a healthy one.
The end of the book celebrates Love and Nature, the book was dedicated to T.R. and is a direct offspring of the world that these men saw as something to preserve; the Wild West.
Just for fun I often look up the owners name inside:
Also, I was listening to Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game" it fit perfectly with the tone of the book.
I'll now got through the most poignant (for me) passages, there are many more.
Early on a lesson is observed by the narrator regarding the Power of words and the "who, how, and where" that effects the outcome of those words.
In addition our Southerner raps up his take on salvation i.e. Heaven and Hell.
"A half-great poet once had a wholly great day" Wister outlines another aspect of the Virginian's character; being kind to animals is an acknowledged attribute in many circles.
One of the many meaty subjects explored by Wister is this one of street justice, a huge topic that I won't dig into except to say that murdering people for steeling is a little over the top. Wister seams to be justifying the practice at the same time not agreeing with it.
Thanks Owen, Tom