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Charley Laurel A Story of Adventure by Sea and Land   By: (1814-1880)

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Charley Laurel, A Story of Adventure by Sea and Land, by W H G Kingston.

Here Kingston gives us a story of a young boy who had been handed to a British seaman, Dick, at a place in the West Indies which had just been attacked by the British. The boy's nurse, a coloured woman, had received a fatal wound. The boy is brought up by Dick on board ship, but there are all sorts of misadventures, such as being cast away on a raft, being picked up by what turns out to be a pirate ship, escaping and then being rescued by a privateer.

It is at this point that the story gets a bit serious. Dick and Charley find themselves on an island in the South Pacific, having been captured by savage tribes, and being kept apart. Charley plays a trick on his captors, which enables him to travel to where Dick is, and bring him back. They escape from the island, and are picked up by a British ship.

Charley is taken back to England, where the shipowner's family take a liking to him, and he is sent to a boarding school, where he does very well. He is then sent back to sea by the kindly shipowner, in one of his vessels. I will not tell you more than this, but there is a rather surprising end.




A good many years ago, before, indeed, I can remember, His Majesty's Ship Laurel , a corvette of eighteen guns and a hundred and thirty men, commanded by Captain Blunt, formed one of the West India squadron.

She, with another corvette, and a brig in company, came one fine morning off a beautiful island, then in possession of the French, although, as Dick Driver, from whom I got the particulars, said, properly belonged to England, at least, it once had. Of course, therefore, it was their business to get it back again. Dick could not recollect its name, nor the exact date of the occurrences I am describing, for, being no scholar, he was a very bad hand at recollecting dates; and as he could not write his own name, of course it was not to be expected that he would keep a journal, or remember very accurately all the places he had visited.

The Laurel and her consorts, having hoisted French colours, stood along the coast, which the captain and officers of the former ship narrowly examined with their glasses.

At length the shades of evening drew on, and they came off a small town, situated on the shore of a bay, the entrance of which was guarded by a fort. The Laurel stood on, as if about to enter the bay, but the land wind coming off the shore, she and the other two vessels stood away till they had got such a distance from the harbour that there was no chance of their being seen by the sharpest eyes, with the best of night glasses, looking out for them.

The ships having hove to, the commanders of the other vessels came on board the Laurel , when Captain Blunt announced his intention of attacking the town, hoping to hold possession of it till another squadron, which had been destined for the purpose, had captured a more important place on the other side of the island. The captain's plan was to send in the different boats of the squadron with a strong party of marines and blue jackets, in three divisions, a couple of hours before daylight, as it was hoped at that time, the garrison of the fort being less on the alert than at an earlier hour, the boats might enter the bay unperceived.

The first and largest division was instructed to take possession of the town; the second was to attack the fort; and the third to cut out any vessels found in the harbour, in case the other two should be compelled to retreat, so that, at all events, there might be something to show for the night's work.

The boats' crews, and all who were fortunate enough, as they considered it, to be selected for the expedition, were soon busily employed in sharpening cutlasses, fitting fresh flints to their pistols, and making other preparations for the possible bloody work in which they were to be engaged... Continue reading book >>

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