The Soldier of Three Queens: A Narrative of Personal Adventure.
First edition. Extremely uncommon – COPAC has BL, NLS, Oxford and Cambridge only – account of military service in the Miguelite and Carlist Wars, in India and in the Crimean. Henderson’s father died heavily in debt, forcing him to seek his fortune in the merchant service. Encountering preparations for the expedition against Don Miguel, he attempted to join Colonel Bacon’s corps, but “was for along time baffled” (author’s Introduction), becoming instead ” a sort of amphibious adventurer after the manner of the men who followed Garibaldi to South America.” However, during his time at sea he had “the good fortune to be present when several rich prizes were captured,” and was “one of those who took part in the action off Cape St. Vincent, in which the late Admiral Sir Charles Napier (then in his palmiest days) captured the Miguelite fleet.” Returning to England when the war was over, he joined a cavalry regiment of the British Auxiliary Legion and “served until the termination of the war of succession in Spain.” Back home he “became mixed up with some very fast gentlemen among the sporting celebrities of the day,” rode steeplechases as a gentleman jockey, drove a fast coach on the Brighton Road, and frittered away his Iberian prize money. “I found myself one fine morning about as well to do as when I embarked on my first trip to sea.” He enlists in the 15th Hussars, becomes an instructor in the school of riding, “but having no interest, could not obtain a commission,” and tired of the “monotony of garrison life,” volunteers for India where he joined the 12th Lancers. After 6 years there in the riding department he “marched with that corps by the Overland Route from India to the Crimea – was present at the siege and capture of Sebastopol, and the subsequent operations between Eupatoria and Simpheropol.” His brief account of his time there includes conversations with survivors of the Six Hundred. Contemporary armorial bookplates of George Robbins, to the front pastedowns, and a a quantity of informed marginalia, particularly relating to the account of the Carlist War. A very good copy of a highly desirable memoir of a mid-nineteenth-century freelance.
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2 volumes octavo. Original red pebble-grain cloth, title gilt to spine, blind panelling to the boards, publisher’s device in gilt to the centre of the upper boards, mid-green surface-paper endpapers. A little rubbed, spines a touch sunned, slight separation at the lower edge of the spine of volume I, both volumes with mild lean, volume I very slightly shaken, pale toning.