Reading progress update: I've read 65%.

The 39 Steps   - John Buchan

It was a wonderful starry night, and I had not much difficulty about the road. Sir Harry's map had given me the lie of the land, and all I had to do was to steer a point or two west of south-west to come to the stream where I had met the roadman. In all these travels I never knew the names of the places, but I believe this stream was no less than the upper waters of the river Tweed. I calculated I must be about eighteen miles distant, and that meant I could not get there before morning.

So I must lie up a day somewhere, for I was too outrageous a figure to be seen in the sunlight. I had neither coat, waistcoat, collar, nor hat, my trousers were badly torn, and my face and hands were black with the explosion. I daresay I had other beauties, for my eyes felt as if they were furiously bloodshot. Altogether I was no spectacle for God-fearing citizens to see on a highroad.

So, our "hero" is shocked and bruised and disorientated from the explosion, and yet, he manages to find his bearings navigating by the stars.


Ok. Fair enough. I have once done so myself in the early hours after a football event in Munich. Sure, I'll buy it. 


But how, just HOW???, does he manage to read a map and scramble across the moors in the pitch dark with only the light of the stars?


I am not kidding. He's miles from nowhere in the Scottish countryside. It's 1914, so little chance of bright lights from nearby villages or anywhere.

He also mentions that the moon was in the last quarter, so not very bright.


How on earth does he see where he is going...for 18 miles! Without getting stuck in the peat bogs or breaking his ankles?