Before I begin my story I must give you some account of certain passages in my early life, which seem to have some connection with the extraordinary facts that I am about to put on record.
To speak more precisely, of the connection of one of them with those facts there can be no doubt at all, and of the connection of the other with them I at least have none.
When I was quite a boy, scarce yet fifteen years old, I happened to be living in a parish on the Welsh coast, which I will here call Penruddock. There were some bold hills inland and some very wild and rugged cliffs along the coast. But there was also a well-sheltered beach and a little pier where some small fishing vessels often lay. Penruddock was not yet reached by rail, but forty miles of a splendid road,