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Marmaduke Merry A Tale of Naval Adventures in Bygone Days   By: (1814-1880)

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Marmaduke Merry, A Tale of Naval Adventures in Bygone Days, by William H G Kingston.

This is quite a long book, but it is full of action, and in between the actions there are tales being told about even more action and interesting situations, rather in the style of Captain Marryat.

This edition was printed by Cassell's for use as an English language course book. At the end of the book is printed a sixteen page set of questions and exercises to guide pupils into learning how to read and appreciate the book better. I do wish that more books were printed with such an appendix, as this one, at any rate, was very well constructed.

The only quibble we have about the way Cassell's laid out the book is the amazing amount of inconsistency in the hyphenation, but we believe we have detected most of the instances, and put them right.

While Kingston was a devout Christian, he does not over lard the book with piety, though as usual he puts in a big chunk of it near the end.

You'll enjoy reading or listening to this book.



I belong to the family of the Merrys of Leicestershire. Our chief characteristic was well suited to our patronymic. "Merry by name and merry by nature," was a common saying among us. Indeed, a more good natured, laughing, happy set of people it would be difficult to find. Right jovial was the rattle of tongues and the cachinnation which went forward whenever we were assembled together either at breakfast or dinner or supper; our father and mother setting us the example, so that we began the day with a hearty laugh, and finished it with a heartier. "Laugh and grow fat" is an apothegm which all people cannot follow, but our mother did in the most satisfactory manner. Her skin was fair and most thoroughly comfortably filled out; her hair was light, and her contented spirit beamed out from a pair of large laughing blue eyes, so that it was a pleasure to look at her as she sat at the head of the table, serving out the viands to her hungry progeny. Our sisters were very like her, and came fairly under the denomination of jolly girls; and thoroughly jolly they were; none of them ever had a headache or a toothache, or any other ache that I know of. Our father was a good specimen of a thorough English country gentleman; he was thorough in everything, honest faced, stout, and hearty, not over refined, perhaps, but yet gentle in all his thoughts and acts; a hater of a lie and every thing dishonourable, hospitable and generous to the utmost of his means; a protector of the poor and helpless, and a friend to all his neighbours. Yes, and I may say more, both he and my mother were humble, sincere Christians, and made the law of the Bible their rule of life. He told a good story and laughed at it himself, and delighted to see our mother and us laugh at it also. Had he been bred a lawyer, and lived in London, he would have been looked upon as a first rate wit; but I am certain that he was much happier with the lot awarded to him. He had a good estate; his tenants paid their rents regularly; and he had few or no cares to disturb his digestion or to keep him awake at night; and I am very certain that he would far rather have had us to hear his jokes, and laugh at them with him, than all the wits London ever produced. He delighted in joining in all our sports, either of the field or flood, and we always looked forward to certain amusement when he was able to accompany us. He was our companion and friend; we had no secrets from him, why should we? He was always our best adviser, and if we got into scrapes, which one or the other of us was not unfrequently doing, we were very certain that no one could extricate us as well as he could. I don't mean to say that he forgot the proverb, "Spare the rod, spoil the child;" or that we were such pieces of perfection that we did not deserve punishment; but we had sense enough to see that he punished us for our good: he did it calmly, never angrily, and without any unnecessarily severe remark, and we certainly did not love him the less for the sharpest flogging he ever gave us... Continue reading book >>

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