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Mother Carey's Chicken Her Voyage to the Unknown Isle   By: (1831-1909)

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Mother Carey's Chicken, by George Manville Fenn.

Yet once more George Manville Fenn's talent for writing books so packed with tensions, so full of dreadful situations, is presented to us.

Mark is the son of a sea captain, who has always longed to follow his father to sea. The old captain tells him that life at sea is pretty boring, but eventually agrees to take both Mark and his mother on his next voyage. Of course this turns out to be full of perils and adventures.

Set in the Java Seas, we meet with pirates, sharks, serpents, volcanoes, unfriendly natives, adverse weather, geysers, fire at sea, and many other dire situations.

A very good read. NN




"Go with me, Mark? What for? To live hard, work hard, and run the risk every day of having to die hard. Get out! You're as bad as your mother."

"Not very bad, is it, James, to wish to share my husband's life and cares?"

Captain Strong put down his pipe, got up from his easy chair, crossed to the other side of the fire, and laid his hand upon Mrs Strong's shoulder, while she turned her pleasant sweet womanly face upward and smiled in that of the fine, manly, handsome merchant captain, tanned and reddened by many a fight with the sea.

"No, my dear," he said softly; "but it's a man's duty to face danger, a woman's to keep the nest snug for him and the bairns. Why, Mary, you don't know what the perils of the sea are."

Mrs Strong shook her head slowly, and that shake, as interpreted by her eyes, meant a great deal.

"Ah! you may look," the captain said, "but you do not; and as for this cub come here, you great, strong, impudent young ruffian!" he added; and as his son rose from his chair he took him by the shoulders, gave him a hearty shake, followed it up with a back handed blow in the chest, and ended by gripping his right hand in a firm, manly clasp, his voice turning slightly husky as he continued:

"Mark, my lad, Heaven knows how often, when I'm far away at sea, I feel as if I'd give anything for a sight of your mother's face, ay, and a good look at yours, you ugly young imitation! How dare you try and grow up like me!"

Mrs Strong smiled.

"But it won't do, my lad. I'm earning the pennies in my ship, and you must go on with your studies, take care of your mother, and when I come back after my next voyage we'll have a talk about what you're to be. Let's see; how old are you?"

"Sixteen, father."

"Sixteen, and discontented! Why, Mark, do you know that you possess what hundreds of thousands of men most envy?"

"I do, father?"

"To be sure, sir; health, strength, all your faculties, and all the world before you."

"But I never see any of the world like you do," said Mark dolefully.

"Ha ha ha ha!"

It was a broad, honest, hearty laugh, such as a sturdy Englishman who is in the habit of using his lungs indulges in; and as Mark Strong's brow wrinkled, and he felt irritated at being laughed at, his father thrust him back into his chair.

"I'm not laughing at you, my boy," he said; "but at your notion the common one, that a sailor who goes all round the world is always seeing wonderful sights."

"Well, my dear," said Mrs Strong, taking her son's part, "you know you have seen strange things."

As she spoke her eyes ran over the decorations of their handsomely furnished room in the old fashioned house in old fashioned Hackney, where there were traces of the captain's wanderings in the shape of stuffed birds of gorgeous plumage, shells of iridescent tints, masses of well bleached corals, spears and carven clubs from New Zealand, feather ornaments from Polynesia, boomerangs and nulla nullas from Australia, ostrich eggs from the Cape, ivory carvings from China, a hideous suit of black iron armour from Japan, and carpets and rugs from India and Persia to make snug the floor... Continue reading book >>

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