With great skill and sincerity Kingston depicts many of the struggles and efforts that the would-be settlers in the West had to make. Constant harrying by Red Indians, the weather, nasty neighbours, illness, all made life difficult, indeed almost impossible. The book is told through the eyes of a boy, as he grows to adulthood. His family, also Mr Tidey, who acted as family tutor, or Dominie, and Dio, a runaway slave to whom they give a home, form the principal actors in this tale, but there are many others, such as the wicked Bracher, and a mysterious hunter who appears several times in the book in the guise of a rescuer. Well into the last chapter we are presented with all sorts of dreadful happenings, which the hero feels to be like the imagined happenings of a bad dream. But suddenly it all sorts out and we have an unexpectedly happy conclusion to the tale. According to Wikipedia: William Henry Giles Kingston (28 February 1814 - 5 August 1880), writer of tales for boys, was born in London, but spent much of his youth in Oporto, where his father was a merchant. His first book, The Circassian Chief, appeared in 1844. His first book for boys, Peter the Whaler, was published in 1851, and had such success that he retired from business and devoted himself entirely to the production of this kind of literature, in which his popularity was deservedly great; and during 30 years he wrote upwards of 130 tales, including The Three Midshipmen (1862), The Three Lieutenants (1874), The Three Commanders (1875), The Three Admirals (1877), Digby Heathcote, etc. He also conducted various papers, including The Colonist, and Colonial Magazine and East India Review. He was also interested in emigration, volunteering, and various philanthropic schemes. For services in negotiating a commercial treaty with Portugal he received a Portuguese knighthood, and for his literary labours a Government pension.
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B&R Samizdat Express
January 01, 2009
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