Marches refers to the region in Northern England near the Scottish border. It was a rugged and violent area where hundreds of battles between England and Scotland were fought over many centuries. Some of these Stories from the Border Marches are historical in nature; some are purely legendary, but all show the indomitable character of the rugged folk who dared to populate that lovely, but violent region.
The quotation that speaks of "Old, unhappy, far-off things, and battles long ago," has grown now to be hackneyed. Yet, are not they those "old, unhappy, far-off things" that lure us back from a very commonplace and utilitarian present, and cause us to cling to the romance of stories that are well-nigh forgotten?
In these days of rushing railway journeys, of motor cars, telegrams, telephones, and aeroplanes, we are apt to lose sight of the tales of more leisurely times, when lumbering stage-coaches and relays of willing horses were our only means of transit from one kingdom to the other.
Because the "long ago" means to us so infinitely valuable a possession, we have striven to preserve in print a few of the stories that still remain—flotsam and jetsam saved from the cruel rush of an overwhelming tide.
One or two of the tales in this volume are perhaps not quite so familiar as is the average Border story, and some may contain less of violence and of bloodshed than is common. Yet it must be owned that it is no easy task to divorce the Border from its wedded mate, violence.