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Captains Courageousby Rudyard Kipling
Synopses & Reviews
The weather door of the smoking-room had been left open to the North Atlantic fog, as the big liner rolled and lifted, whistling to warn the fishing-fleet.
That Cheyne boy's the biggest nuisance aboard, said a man in a frieze overcoat, shutting the door with a bang. He isn't wanted here. He's too fresh.
A white-haired German reached for a sandwich, and grunted between bites: I know der breed. Ameriga is full of dot kind. I dell you you should imbort ropes' ends free under your dariff.
Pshaw There isn't any real harm to him. He's more to be pitied than anything, a man from New York drawled, as he lay at full length along the cushions under the wet skylight. They've dragged him around from hotel to hotel ever since he was a kid. I was talking to his mother this morning. She's a lovely lady, but she don't pretend to manage him. He's going to Europe to finish his education.
Education isn't begun yet. This was a Philadelphian, curled up in a corner. That boy gets two hundred a month pocket-money, he told me. He isn't sixteen either.
Railroads, his father, aind't it? said the German.
Yep. That and mines and lumber and shipping. Built one place at San Diego, the old man has; another at Los Angeles; owns half a dozen railroads, half the lumber on the Pacific slope, and lets his wife spend the money, the Philadelphian went on lazily. The West don't suit her, she says. She just tracks around with the boy and her nerves, trying to find out what'll amuse him, I guess. Florida, Adirondacks, Lakewood, Hot Springs, New York, and round again. He isn't much more than a second-hand hotel clerk now. When he's finished in Europe he'll be a holy terror.
What's the matter with the old man attending to him personally? said a voice from the frieze ulster.
Old man's piling up the rocks. 'Don't want to be disturbed, I guess. He'll find out his error a few years from now. 'Pity, because there's a heap of good in the boy if you could get at it.
Mit a rope's end; mit a rope's end growled the German.
Once more the door banged, and a slight, slim-built boy perhaps fifteen years old, a half-smoked cigarette hanging from one corner of his mouth, leaned in over the high footway. His pasty yellow complexion did not show well on a person of his years, and his look was a mixture of irresolution, bravado, and very cheap smartness. He was dressed in a cherry-coloured blazer, knickerbockers, red stockings, and bicycle shoes, with a red flannel cap at the back of the head. After whistling between his teeth, as he eyed the company, he said in a loud, high voice: Say, it's thick outside. You can hear the fish-boats squawking all around us. Say, wouldn't it be great if we ran down one?
Shut the door, Harvey, said the New Yorker. Shut the door and stay outside. You're not wanted here.
Who'll stop me? he answered, deliberately. Did you pay for my passage, Mister Martin? 'Guess I've as good right here as the next man.
He picked up some dice from a checkerboard and began throwing, right hand against left.
Say, gen'elmen, this is deader'n mud. Can't we make a game of poker between us?
There was no answer, and he puffed his cigarette, swung his legs, and drummed on the table with rather dirty fingers. Then he pulled out a roll of bills as if to count them.
How's your mama this afternoon? a man said. I didn't see her at lunch.
In her state-room, I guess. She's 'most always sick on the ocean. I'm going to give the stewardess fifteen dollars for looking after her. I don't go down more 'n I can avoid. It makes me feel mysterious to pass that butler's-pantry place. Say, this is the first time
A millionaire's spoiled son learns a valuable lesson when, after being saved from drowning by a fishing schooner, he is made to share the crude life and hard work of his taunting rescuers. Reissue.
Young Harvey Cheyne is rich, spoiled, prejudiced, and totally lacking in the real experiences of life. When the fifteen-year-old is accidentally washed overboard a great ocean liner headed for Europe, he is picked up by a fisherman and brought aboard the fishing schooner We're Here. Harvey's stories of privilege and wealth mean nothing aboard this hard-working vessel, and the boy receives many lessons in self-reliance, values, and hard-bitten reality - "things every man must know, blind, drunk, or asleep" - in the words of Long Jack. Harvey, Long Jack, Tom Platt, Manuel, and many more great characters come alive in this rich retelling of life aboard the We're Here.
About the Author
RUDYARD KIPLING was born in Bombay, India, to British parents on December 30, 1865. In 1871 Rudyard and his sister, Trix, aged three, were left to be cared for by a couple in Southsea, England. Five years passed before he saw his parents again. His sense of desertion and despair were later expressed in his story Baa Baa, Black Sheep (1888), in his novel The Light That Failed (1890), and in his autobiography, Something of Myself (1937). As late as 1935 Kipling still spoke bitterly of the House of Desolution at Southsea: "I should like to burn it down and plough the place with salt."
Kipling and his wife settled in Brattleboro, Vermont, where Kipling wrote The Jungle Book (1894), The Second Jungle Book (1895), and most of Captains Courageous (1897). By this time Kipling's popularity and financial success were enormous.
In 1899 the Kiplings settled in Sussex, England, where he wrote some of his best books: Kim (1901), Just So Stories (1902), and Puck of Pook's Hill (1906). In 1907 he received the Nobel Prize for literature. By the time he died, on January 18, 1936, critical opinion was deeply divided about his writings, but his books continued to be read by thousands.
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