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Born Robert Michael Ballantyne in Edinburgh, he was part of a famous family of printers and publishers. At the age of 16 he went to Canada and was six years in the service of the Hudson's Bay Company. He returned to Scotland in 1847, and published his first book the following year, Hudson's Bay: or, Life in the Wilds of North America. For some time he was employed by Messrs Constable, the publishers, but in 1856 he gave up business for the profession of literature, and began the series of adventure stories for the young with which his name is popularly associated.

Garret and the Garden

To do him justice, Tommy never had any settled intention of being wicked. His training at the hands of chimney-pot Liz and the gentle Susy had so far affected his arab spirit that he had learned, on the whole, to prefer what he styled upright to dishonourable mischief. For instance, he would not steal, but he had no objection to screen a thief or laugh at his deeds. His natural tenderness of heart prevented his being cruel to dogs or cats, but it did not prevent his ruffling some of the former into furious rage, and terrifying many of the latter into cataleptic fits. 

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