A Voyage round the World - A book for boys
119 Pages
English

A Voyage round the World - A book for boys

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Published 01 December 2010
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Language English
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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Voyage round the World, by W.H.G. Kingston This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: A Voyage round the World A book for boys Author: W.H.G. Kingston Release Date: October 17, 2007 [EBook #23074] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD *** Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England W.H.G. Kingston "A Voyage round the World" Chapter One. My home, and how I left it. The day arrived. A post-chaise stood in front of the old grey manor-house. I have it all before me. The pointed gables—the highpitched, dark weather; stained roof—the numberless latticed windows—the moat, now dry, which had once served to keep out a body of Cromwell’s horse—the tall elms, which had nestled many a generation of rooks—the clump of beech trees, and the venerable wide-spreading oak—the broad gravelled court on one side, and the velvety lawn on the other, sloping away down to the fine, large, deep fish-pond, whose waters, on which I had obtained my first nautical experiences, as seen through the green foliage, were sparkling brighter than ever under the deep blue of the summer sky. At the hall door were assembled all those I loved on earth—and dearly, too, I loved them. My mother, as good and kind a mother as ever nursed a somewhat numerous and noisy progeny; my sisters, dear, sweet, good girls; and half-a-dozen brothers, honest, generous, capital fellows; our father, too—such a father!—we always agreed that no one could come up to him. Other fellows might have very good fathers, but they were not equal to him! He could be just like one of us at cricket, or out fishing, or shooting, and yet he was always right, and there was not a finer-looking gentleman in the county, and that every one said. We were all at home for the Midsummer holidays—that is to say, we boys; our mother was not a person to let her girls go to school. Who could say that we were not met for the last time in our lives? I was the third of the boys. Two of our sisters were older than any of us. I loved them, and they all loved me. Not that we ever talked about that; I knew it and felt it, and yet I was going to leave them by my own express wish. I was not what is called a studious boy. I was fond of reading, and I read all the books of voyages and travels I could lay hands on, and before long began to wish to go and see with my own eyes what I had read about. My brothers were fond of shooting and fishing and rowing, and so was I; but I thought shooting tigers and lions and elephants, and fishing for whales, and sailing over the salt ocean, would be much grander work than killing partridges, catching perch, or rowing about our pond in a punt. I do not know that my imaginings and wishes, ardent as they grew, would ever have produced any definite form of action, had not an old schoolfellow of our father’s, called Captain Frankland, about a year before the day I speak of, come to our house. As soon as I knew he was coming I was very eager to see him, for I heard our father tell our mother that there was scarcely a part of the world he had not visited, and that he was looked upon as a first-rate navigator, and a most scientific seaman. He had been in the navy during the war-time, but peace came before he was made a lieutenant; and believing that he should not there find sufficient employment for his energies, he had quitted it and entered the merchant-service. While in command of a whaler, he had been far towards the north pole. He had traversed the Antarctic seas, and had often visited India and China, and the islands of the Pacific. Still, as money-making or idleness had never been his aim, and his strength was unabated, he kept at sea when many men would have sought for rest on shore. Such was the account my father gave of him. How eagerly I waited for his coming! He had chosen the holidays on purpose that he might see our father’s young tribe, he wrote him word. He was the very sort of person I longed to talk to; still it was with no little awe that I thought of actually breakfasting, and dining, and speaking day after day with one who had seen so much of the world, and met with so many adventures. At last he arrived. I was not disappointed in his appearance. He was a tall, thin, spare man, all bone and muscle. His hair was almost white, and his features, which were not a little weather-beaten, had, I thought, a most pleasant expression. While, however, my brothers ran eagerly forward to meet him, I hung back, watching him at a distance, like a bashful child. Had he been one of England’s greatest heroes, I could not have looked at him with greater respect. “And that is the man,” I thought, “who has sailed over thousands and thousands of miles of water, and has seen Indians dressed in feathers and shells, and negroes running wild in their native woods, and Hottentots, and Esquimaux, and Chinese, and I do not know what other strange people!” I saw my father look round for me, so at last I went forward in time to be presented in my turn with the rest of my brothers. Very soon the feeling of awe wore off, and I became the most constant of his attendants wherever he wished to go. With the greatest eagerness I used to listen to the accounts he gave our father of his various adventures in the distant countries he had visited. My brothers listened also; but while they would at length betake themselves to other occupations, I remained his ever-attentive auditor. The interest I exhibited in what he was saying attracted his attention, and much pleased him, so that when I ventured to ask him questions, he both answered them willingly and encouraged me to ask more. Thus we before long became very great friends. “Should you like to go to sea, Harry?” said he to me one