As soon as the anchor touched the ground, the captain ordered a small boat to be lowered, and, leaping into it with two men, rowed toward the shore. The captain of the schooner was one of those men who seem to have been formed for the special purpose of leading and commanding their fellows. He was not only unusually tall and powerful but he possessed voice whose softest tones riveted attention, and when it thundered forth commands in the fiercest storms, it inspired confidence heard it. His eyes were of that indescribable blue color which can exhibit either passion or tenderness intensely. "Have you brought your kit with you, John?" inquired the captain, as the little boat shot over the smooth waters of the bay. "I do not mean to take you aboard again." * R.M. Ballantyne was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in the famous family of printers and publishers who brought the works of Sir Walter Scott to the public. At sixteen he went to Canada to serve with the Hudson's Bay Company, and returned, six years later, to publish his first book, Hudson's Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America.
He worked in the family business for some years, but in 1856 to write full-time, and spent his lifetime writing books for boys -- he wrote dozens of books, in fact, in a career that stretched on for decades.