Dedication from The Thirty-Nine Steps, by John Buchan. First published 1915; my copy published by the Penguin Group as a Penguin Classic in 2004.
THOMAS ARTHUR NELSON,
LOTHIAN AND BORDER HORSE
MY DEAR TOMMY,
You and I have long cherished an affection for that elementary type of tale which Americans call the ‘dime novel,’ and which we know as the ‘shocker’ — the romance where the incidents defy the probabilities, and march just inside the borders of the possible. During an illness last winter I exhausted my store of those aids to cheerfulness, and was driven to write one for myself. This little volume is the result, and I should like to put your name on it, in memory of our long friendship, in these days when the wildest fictions are so much less improbable than the facts.
I did a wee bit of research and discovered that Mr. Nelson, a member of the Lothian and Border Horse regiment, was killed in World War I, 1917, just two years after Buchan’s novel was published.