Alexander Armstrong - Mr Standfast

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Click on the image above to watch a clip of Alexander Armstrong reading an extract from one of his favourite books, Mr Standfast by John Buchan.

Mr Standfast by John Buchan

Chapter Eight - The Adventures of a Bagman

I was released, and after some gymnastics dropped on the metals and made my way round the rear of the train. As I clambered on the platform it began to move, and a face looked out of one of the back carriages. It was Linklater and he recognized me. He tried to get out, but the door was promptly slammed by an indignant porter. I heard him protest, and he kept his head out till the train went round the curve. That cooked my goose all right. He would wire to the police from the next station.

Meantime in that clean, bare, chilly place there was only one traveller. He was a slim young man, with a kit-bag and a gun-case. His clothes were beautiful, a green Homburg hat, a smart green tweed overcoat, and boots as brightly polished as a horse chestnut. I caught his profile as he gave up his ticket and to my amazement I recognised it.

The station-master looked askance at me as I presented myself, dilapidated and dishevelled, to the official gaze. I tried to speak in a tone of authority.

'Who is the man who has just gone out?'

'Whaur's your ticket?'

'I had no time to get one at Muirtown, and as you see I have left my luggage behind me. Take it out of that pound and I'll come back for the change. I want to know if that was Sir Archibald Roylance.'

He looked suspiciously at the note. 'I think that's the name. He's a captain up at the Fleein' School. What was ye wantin' with him?'

I charged through the booking-office and found my man about to enter a big grey motor-car.

'Archie,' I cried and beat him on the shoulders.

He turned round sharply. 'What the devil—! Who are you?' And then recognition crept into his face and he gave a joyous shout. 'My holy aunt! The General disguised as Charlie Chaplin! Can I drive you anywhere, sir?'

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Mr Standfast is a classic book set during the First World War. The book follows the thrilling journey of Richard Hannay, a front line army troop who is recalled to be sent undercover. Richard is briefed and sent on secret mission to track down a notorious German agent on loose in Britain. A truly action packed novel by the renowned author John Buchan. 

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